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Anthem Adrift
Playing 'Possum
10/20/2009, Chaguaramas, Trinidad

October 19

Continue to be reminded that the term 'easy job' is an oxymoron on a boat. Case in point was freeing up main anchor roller which had contributed to loss of zinc and subsequent rust on primary anchor chain. Spent morning with that, deep in the bilge installing stuffing box packing, organizing application of anti-fouling and arranging for remarkably inexpensive brightwork varnishing followed by afternoon attempting to drive metabolism to zero in lieu of any sort of motion. Lunch was goat 'buss-up shot' (sort of an open-faced roti). Dinner was flying fish sandwich and callaloo soup. Sailing the Caribbean tends to broaden your palate.

October 20

Apologies to those few masochistic souls who prefer this abuse, daily. One of the deadly sins (naming which would spoil the fun) prevented any contact, last night, with a computer.

Woke early to finish worst of jobs before worst of heat. The luxury of wasting cool(ish) mornings on breakfast seems a distant memory. Again patronized Roti Hut for lunch with Aussie friend, Robert, who is providing instruction in the rudiments of cricket (English game that is completely indecipherable to most Americans. Bet you don't know what a wicket actually is!) Robert's home club may play Trinidad, Friday, for some championship in a version called 20/20 (don't ask). This may call for parking rapidly de-larding caboose under a bar TV with a soda pop or two. Spent balance of daylight, like yesterday, as inert blob of protoplasm.

Living in a boat on the hard sucks for so many reasons. Lusting for launch on Thursday.


Just Do It
10/18/2009, Chaguaramas, Trinidad

October 18

Actually engaged, today, in something heretofore unknown, productivity. Began, early, putting away the 130 pounds of crap brought from Florida until soaked in sweat, then changed shirts and went to breakfast. Spent rest of day (between showers and installing dry clothes) washing the deck, swapping ends on the anchor chain (this required, among other tools, PB Blaster, a hammer, a wedge and a hack saw), discovering that previously purchased teflon replacement is too large after removing packing from the stuffing box (no Cal, this is not naughty) and attempting to lubricate through-hull ball valves (neither is this). Normally truculent wifi smiled upon the yard sufficient to also allow research for various projects.

Was reluctantly induced at 1700 by friends to desist from being thusly engaged to consume adult beverages at Crew's Inn. Despite commendable moderation and an initial desire for an early evening this occupation, along with a bit of dinner, lasted until quite late and tomorrow's activity starts early.

Sanding for application of anti-fouling is to commence at 0800 while I retrieve paint from Budget Marine. Air conditioning man is to replace deceased unit early, before boat interior achieves roasting temperature, and creation of a roti with my name on it is being anticipated for lunch.


Goofing Off With Lights
10/17/2009, Chaguaramas, Trinidad

Lighthouse Restaurant, Crew's Inn

October 17

Shoe-horned perhaps an hour's work into yesterday between the more critical socializing. Night Hawk, Bristol Rose and Slow Mocean are also enjoying the warm and humid hospitality of Trinidad.

After abusing box-o-cabernet last night, having it return the favor this morning and not wanting to either work or watch anyone else do so, strolled slowly around to Lighthouse restaurant at Crew's Inn for breakfast. It's one of few businesses open today as most Christians, Jews, Muslims and Atheists are taking off to celebrate the Hindu holiday of Diwalli, a festival of lights. Ecumenism is so heartwarming. (Upon reflection, that crack sounds a bit harsh, but is in no way an indictment of getting along with those who disagree with you and are therefore horribly wrong. Umm... did that help?)

AC crapped out last night making the boat a simmering oven this afternoon. Someone may come tomorrow to attempt repairs, or not. After relocating the extension cord, repairing two dangerously wired plugs and confirming that sufficient voltage is arriving at the unit, she still don't do her thing. Poo!

Should probably do something productive tomorrow, so sleep might now be an appropriate activity. Good night. Sleep tight. Don't let the bedbugs bite.


Paradise to Paradise, no Paradise
10/16/2009, Chaguaramas, Trinidad

October 16

Returned to Chaguaramas yesterday after a delightful (not a real emotion) adventure in aviation to find a forlorn, bedraggled and filthy, but otherwise intact boat.

After 12 pounds of books, charts and pumps were transferred from a large, Samsonite, checked bag to carry-on to make the former 69 lbs and the latter 40, Continental Connection allowed the whole mess onto their weed whacker to Miami.

Duct tape, carefully wrapped around the hard bag to enhance structural integrity, was cut through for inspection at both Tampa and Miami, negating its influence on latches which nevertheless performed flawlessly despite bits of contents subsequently hanging out of the sides.

Further requirements in MIA necessitated checking the obese carry-on, from which more expensive contents were transferred, to small backpack. Cannot really complain as all possessions arrived concurrently with semi-conscious carcass in Piarco Airport, earlier than forecast, for scheduled pickup by Derek, trustworthy employee of Jesse James (that's really his name), transporter to Peake Yacht Services, locale of Anthem.

Today's adventure may arrive on this blog in the fullness of time, but, currently, sleep calls after over-indulgence in box-o-wine with good buddy, Ray, at Crew's Inn, across the bay. Not my fault, I blame him entirely.


Summer Interlude
07/20/2009, Tierra Verde, FL

Tierra Verde

July 20

Re-adapting to dirt dwelling proceeds apace. Having done just that for many years, it's like riding a bicycle, no training wheels are necessary. Unlimited, warm, full-flow showers aren't the huge luxury anticipated - nice, but RO water is better than soft. Have found that sleeping accommodation is now disagreeably still and silent, creating angst. Did you ever see a cowboy movie where the dialog goes, "It's quiet", "Yeah, too quiet", just before the Indians attack? It is, however, good to see main squeeze and old (read that long-time) friends.

Return to Chaguaramas, middle of October, will precede at least two week's work to include polishing topsides ("the upper part of a ship's side, above the waterline"), varnishing brightwork (strangely enough, Cal, this refers to exterior wood, not shiny metal) and anti-fouling bottom (this involves paint, not toilet paper). Grenada should be first subsequent destination. Events after that are a mystery to be discovered in the fullness of time, however, current thinking presumes travel, in the fall, westward through the Venezuelan outer islands, Colombia, ABCs, Panama and, possibly early next year, the Canal and Pacific. Anticipate soliciting crew from personal reference or internet sites for at least some of that. Extensive experience not required. I can teach necessary skills to someone who has a desire, is upbeat and does not get debilitated by motion sickness.

This may be the last entry until October at which time the blogsite could entirely supplant emails unless otherwise specifically requested. Additional work for individual messages is minimal, but internet access is a better solution for a number of reasons. Check it out, if interested, at Direct personal emails will always be appreciated and answered.


Fowl Falsehood
07/17/2009, JFK Airport

Delta B-757 at JFK

July 17

Awoke at 0415 to Trinidad's rainy season. Was uncharacteristically 15 minutes early to await transport for airport. Driver Mike was a little early, too, plus traffic was going the other way, allowing extra time for languishing in the Piarco terminal with half the population of T & T and all the over-sized bags. Flight 486 goes to New York Kennedy and many seem to be moving there with entire households via luggage large enough for sofas or less favored family members. There are no electronic kiosks, so waiting in long lines is de rigueur. Security, at least, wasn't terribly abusive. Ask me if I've missed it. Go ahead!

At least there was a Starbucks knock-off that offered drinkable coffee with good muffins and free, albeit intermittently glacial, wifi. Of the two eating establishments in the main rotunda, not counting Rituals Coffee, one is Royal Castle Chicken and the other is KFC. Church's is down a concourse leading to all gates. I like the stuff, but at some point the law of diminishing returns sets in and you simply have too much chicken. Is this an attempt to solve an epidemic of feral roosters? Perhaps they're running around in packs smoking weed, robbing banks and stealing small children. Hope they take the loud ones and share their dope.

My ride to NY was first class in 3D. 4D if you count time (4:55). Route of flight took us just south of Salinas, PR, where Ken & Diane left their mastless Tanzer 26, Annie II, and one of several favorite places on earth. Watched the excellent "Gran Torino" on a personal entertainment center. Thought I was just special, then noticed that all passengers had one. Delta! What a great airline! Run out and fly somewhere on them right now. (Should I mention they pay my pension?)

Lied again. Promised to desist after this edition, but got on a roll and went long, so will place a temporary halt on this nonsense after one more dispatch sometime in the future, possibly tomorrow.


Stay of Execution
07/16/2009, Chaguaramas, Trinidad


July 16

This was suppose to be an easy day. Silly rabbit. A/C (8K Btu) was expertly installed in forward hatch early, as promised. After helping with that, cleaned frig, head and shower (three favorite chores) and found a way to operate battery charger (original idea to have solar panels keep up lacked cluefulness (not a real word). Also performed a plethora (i.e. a pant load) of little things that take more time than one (me) might think. Of course, disorganized running back and forth to hotel room as ideas changed on what to take and what to leave didn't help. At least now there is an 87.3 percent chance that a huge catastrophe has been averted... probably.

Did you know that grease has to be put around every path from ground to boat for prevention of ant infestation? Does anyone remember "Lohengren and the Ants" where the ensuing hordes crawled over a sacrificial first wave to bridge streams?

By the by, if anybody is thinking of Sailor's Wharf for a bottom job (yes, Cal, it's legal), Anthem needs more anti-fouling after excessive fee to them for Micron 66. It blew even if there had been sufficient thickness. Sea Hawk's Island 44, with a toxin that will probably annihilate all life on earth, is to be slathered on in October. Being a good steward of the planet is way over-rated.

Originally thought this would be the last message before sojourning ashore for three months, but resolved to abuse your attention one more time. Traveling through Piarco Airport is surely worth a line or two of obtuse prose. Tomorrow will start at 0415, so don't look for serious erudition. Superficial fatuousness is, however, possible to likely.


Dropping Rain, Not Boats
07/15/2009, Chaguaramas, Trinidad

Anthem on Tug

July 15

It's probably less stressful crossing the Mona in a full gale than anticipating having your baby hauled in a foreign country. The reality, however, was a very pleasant experience. Peake personnel are good. A diver jumped in to set the slings, Anthem was picked up, placed on a tug and slipped in between two larger boats before you can say acribadaba... abracribana... abracabrabar... really fast. She looks pretty forlorn in there.

Air conditioning will be installed aboard tomorrow, so effort today concentrated on off-boat activities. Laundry of sheets and a few dirty clothes was accompanied by an NCIS marathon on the telly. Dinner of pizza and beer was with Roger and two crew from his 1972 Ocean 67 that was pulled just before mine.

Was a huge fan of roti until today's lunch version with chicken wing and back including bones wrapped up in a corn tortilla. Taste was fine, but boy howdy was it a mess.

Rainy season has been kind while getting the boat ready, but this afternoon had people sucking up to anybody named Noah. Never anticipated having a boat shrink-wrapped, but it's almost necessary here. Actually, a PVC frame is built over the boat, extending out from the gunwale by half a foot, and this is covered with heat tightened plastic. Keeps the rain and sun off while hiding activity of thieves who are stealing you blind. Nothing's perfect.


Clean and Semi-sober
07/14/2009, Chaguaramas, Trinidad

Laid Back Cruiser?

July 14

Advance information on Chaguaramas was right. I'm not an Englishman, so must be a mad dog. With cockpit cover removed, midday sun is wicked hot.

Except for main, which remains on the boom and has been dropped and lashed to the bimini frame, all sails and canvas have been removed, cleaned and stored. Dinghy is locked down on the foredeck and davits have been folded in (this last to save as much as $90. Peake charges by the foot and measures to furthest extension). Am attempting to clear deck of all enticing thievables. Outboard will have to remain on the transom, double locked. Sorry big guy.

Looking at boat names is sometimes pretty interesting. Barb Sobocinski is considering writing a book on the subject. Noticed a rather large sailboat on the hard in Peake today, "Warrior Lord". Don't think you want to get into a tacking duel with this guy. At least it's not a cutesy name. They should be reserved for power boats - big, fast, noisy ones.

"I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth." - Umberto Eco


Happy After Nappy?
07/13/2009, Chaguaramas, Trinidad

Chaguaramas Bay

July 13

End of the road for now. The delights of Chaguaramas will wait for another day as boat prep consumes virtually all available time. After being on the hook for four months, even Coral Cove Marina, is no treat. Air conditioning feels unnatural and less comfortable than a fresh breeze through the hatch plus passing boat traffic periodically makes us all rock like Jerry Lee Lewis.

If not for a two knot adverse current, arrival would have been way early. Best sail of the year. Spent a fair bit of last night above seven knots using the wind vane to steer. Ending this segment on a high note is bittersweet. Finally cranked up electric autopilot when traffic (most servicing the two oil platforms, apparently) and proximity to narrow channel into Chaguaramas required more precision. Requested deviation from one ship to avoid rundown.

Spent morning convincing T&T government that I am an asset to their world, getting processes underway to drag the boat ashore, arranging for shrink wrap cover/dehumidifier and investigating possible work to be done. Removed foresails and began clearing deck in the afternoon. Won't begin to catalog all to be done. Probably cheaper and easier to leave the sucker afloat.

You may have noted a lack of humor in the above. Exactly. No nappy for 38 hours, so focus has drifted. Early night to precede long day followed by at least three more before arrival in Florida, probably, Friday evening. Mister Happy Face has turned upside down. Expect to reacquire normal jollity after sufficient period of unconsciousness.


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S/V Anthem
Who: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes
Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
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See profile for information on why this mess is being foisted upon an innocent world and, despite what is probably your better judgement, how to make contact.
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