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Anthem Adrift
Pick Your Fantasy
10/24/2009, Crew's Inn, Chaguaramas

Iguana by Roti Hut

October 24

Won't bore with details, but stars aligned to allow purchasing green 6 gauge wire for best price at Budget Marine this morning due to screwing around too long at late breakfast. Pulled and connected new stuff throughout front of boat. Will work lazarette manana. Discovered that worst offending thru' hull had not been bonded at all. Probably wouldn't have mattered anyway as old, corroded, brittle and broken 7 strand couldn't have been doing much in the way of passing electrons (stop chuckling, Rich, 'electrons' is not a euphemism for gas).

Ended day with potluck organized by Bristol Rose. Shared culinary concoctions with closest buds on porch of shuttered Roti Hut. I brought a succulent specialty for dessert, Chips Ahoy, which barely nosed out second choice, Oreos.

Have acclimated, climatologically speaking, to the point where AC retires when I do each night. Boat remains imminently comfortable until Sol sees newly pristine deck when it then becomes unbearable until electrical cooling recommences.

"American Breakfast" at Lighthouse Restaurant is $95tt. Choosing same components from ala carte menu creates bill of $72tt. The fallacy of "Buy American" is revealed with shocking clarity. Next lesson, "Recycling", to be followed, for the most perspicacious students only, by "Man-made Global Warming". Crews of Astarte and Sea Tryst are invited to attend introductory class "Trolls Under Bridges, Fact or Fiction", subtitle "Are Goats Really Worth the Effort?".

Jack

No Sir, I Don't Mean Maybe
10/23/2009, Crew's Inn, Chaguaramas

Anthem at Launch

October 23

Freely admit to celebrating, this afternoon and evening on patio adjacent to newly opened bar at Crew's Inn, a clean, floating abode aided by a smidgen (somewhere between none and massive amounts) of scotch with a host of friends and acquaintances. 'Tude has taken a huge leap forward.

Pulled wire most of the day (missing the big cricket match between Trinidad and Australia, handily won by the Aussies) while Danielle, lovely Venezuelan wife of Fred (who will be working on Anthem's varnish), cleaned yard crud from her deck. Boat is completely un-bonded until new wire installed. Confidence high that, in the interim, this is an OK thing...

Evening ended sustaining wounds from knucklehead kitten that expressed its fright at my appearance by leaping off the dock into deep water. Saving its life was insufficient to prevent the little rascal (not first choice of nouns) from sinking its fangs, to the bone, into right index finger. If grave illness ensues, plan to hunt down and fling it back in prior my own potential demise.

Besides devouring last can of Sweet Sue (sorry suzy, you're not the only one) chicken and dumplings, am currently enjoying a band on shore obviously destroying pots, pans and various other kitchen utensils at impressive decibels. Rattling hatch boards are due, however, to accompanying percussion. This is, no doubt, Trinidadians celebrating their trouncement (not a real word) by Oz. Although the sport (generally thought by most Americans to be small chirping insects) is more important here than religion (and so the loss was devastating) the team did earn $1.3 million dollars for second place.

Jack

PS No chance for you to understand obscure reference in title unless really, really old. I don't even remember.

Toy Boat
10/22/2009, Crew's Inn, Chaguaramas

Anthem on Rogue Sled

October 22

Today... almost a good day. Launch prep was hot sweaty work (plus having to whip KNL to get them over to grease the prop (next time will buy lubriplate and a grease gun)), but that's OK, we were going back in the water. Choked down chicken roti with friends for rush back to Peake for 1300 launch... no one showed up. A higher priority, local commercial vessel was finally splashed at 1500 allowing movement of the hydraulic sled under Anthem just as one of its arms went berzerk scraping brand new bottom paint and rocking her around like a toy boat, toy boat, toy boat. I remained calm. The interior of this behemoth's control box, which was taken apart several times by its scruffy operator to blow water out, looked like colored spaghetti. After apparent fix (supposedly a bad diode) I suggested that he not continue until !@#$%^&*()_+ sure it was. Finally got launched, after arranging a subsequently unnecessary, complimentary room for the night, an hour after regular closing for short motor across to Crew's Inn. Previous high opinion of yard has suffered some damage.

Tomorrow begins work of reassembly into an operable sailboat after an early night (tomorrow doesn't actually perform any work or have much to do with tonight until rather late).

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Wow - what a ride! - anonymous (Don't even remember who's email footer I stole it from)

Jack

Perceiving Potential Problems
10/21/2009, Chaguaramas, Trinidad

October 21

Having completed a few major projects and somewhat at sea (a little nautical lingo used by dirt dwellers) for proceeding with next, retired to breakfast after luring Ray, knowledge repository for all things boat, to join me.

Background for conundrum: Bonding comprises wiring all non-conductive metal immersed in sea water together and then to a puny, sissy metal (usually zinc) so that IT shrivels over time instead of the important stuff. Got it? This works, and sometimes not (there is more than one opinion), only with good, low resistance connections among all the bits so galvanic and electrolytic current may easily flow, thus equalizing electrical potential and/or sucker punching zinc. OK so far? Thought to fix problem of twenty three year old, lower grade, highly corroded, beyond repair copper wire by whacking it off to de-bond everything. This has been accomplished successfully, I am told. Right! Finally concluded that there is no easy fix, so will rewire entire boat as built (with better wire). Pshaw! (Not first expletive considered).

If you have slogged this far without use of razor blade, noose or poison, mental health professionals are available in a crisis, weekdays from 9 to noon, then from 1:30 to 4, except on Friday.

Psychiatry enables us to correct our faults by confessing our parents' shortcomings. - Laurence J. Peter

Jack

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.

Jack

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.

Jack

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.

Jack

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.

Jack

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 www.sailblogs.com/member/anthem. Direct personal emails will always be appreciated and answered.

Jack

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.

Jack

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S/V Anthem
Who: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes
Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
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