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Anthem Adrift
Trick or Treat
11/01/2009, N. Observation Bay, Testigo, Venezuela

October 31

Arrived on anchor in N. Observation Bay, Testigo Grande at noon. Napped. Accompanied by Night Hawks checked in with guardacostas at 1400. Napped. Repaired to previously mentioned vessel for modest (quantity not quality) rum tasting. Asleep by 2100. Left pumpkin uncarved and light off so no costumed munchkins would ring doorbell.

Jack

Testigos, Spanish for Knackers?
10/31/2009, North of Peninsula De Paria, Venezuela

Ray, Genna, Trish, Sonny, Blake, Robert - Roti Hut

October 30

Anticipating noon at the Roti Hut to say goodbye to Bristol Rose and Slow Mocean, went with bowl of cereal for breakfast. Ordered Raisin Bran with cold milk (warm is an option). Got granola and a glass with rapidly melting ice bits in warm milk. Waitress is a pretty girl, but a couple heifers short of a herd.

Except for lunch (mediocre food day as duck buss-up shot could have been aardvark for all I knew due to mistake of requesting pepper) can't recall any indolence in preparations for putting to sea, but customs mandated departure time, 1800, left without me. Finally slipped (pun intended) out undetected at 1945 to begin an unexpectedly wonderful sail until midnight when the wind became poopy (archaic nautical term once used to mean 'light wind with sloppy following sea') as forecast.

Was aggrieved to discover that both boat speed and depth instruments were inoperative. This was very frustrating atop death of cockpit VHF mike. Electronics are evil. Of course, one possible fix might be to reinstall respective transducers which were removed for storage. May try that before engaging in more rigorous troubleshooting.

Have not been boarded and killed, yet, by marauding Venezuelan pirates. As it is now after midnight, trust that it's past their nappy time.

Jack

Dashing for Decadence
10/29/2009, Crew's Inn, Chaguaramas

Too Much Chaguaramas

October 29

Varnishing - close, but no cigar. Probably done tomorrow... honest. May still try to break the shackles of Trinidad by nightfall, which could allow arrival Los Testigos, Venezuela with a fair current and no wind around noon. Really should begin to research points west, but then where would lie the adventure?

Mostly accomplished necessities for the day, that is, found a DVD player that works and, uh, some other stuff - fuel, bending on headsail, buying bits and pieces and discovering that replacement, in a day, of freshly inoperative remote VHF mike not possible - new version not backward compatible (like Windows 7 for you Gatesian reprobates).

Moving about Port of Spain is like bumper cars without bumps. Horns honk, vehicles veer, pedestrians pedest. How they interact without gristle and viscera splattering pavement is a mystery. Speaking of which, had daily special (6" Black Forest ham) at downtown Subway (exactly the same except no honey mustard dressing and they charge extra for honey oat bread) as primary nourishment of the day.

How can cruising the Caribbean be so busy? Oh wait, that isn't happening, yet. Perhaps this twaddle will achieve more vigor with augmented leisure after leaving Chaguaramas.

Jack

Getting What You Want
10/28/2009, Crew's Inn, Chaguaramas

More Chaguaramas Bay

October 28

Rain again bedeviled varnisher, Fred Graham, who yet performs yeoman service making Anthem look presentable and persists in predicting a Thursday finish. C'est demain. C'est possible? Just on the edge of likelihood to blow this pop stand on Friday evening for overnight to, probably, Los Testigos or, possibly, Grenada. Forecast not favorable for westing next several days (a following sea and no wind). She sucks when the wind, she don't blow.

Incredibly cheap Coby DVD player resists all entreaties (tried good cop and bad cop) to operate or even make disk go around, so contemplate purchase of replacement before bidding a fond farewell to civilization until Bonaire or possibly Curacao. Los Testigos, Blanquilla and Los Roques likely have minimal facilities. Reading a guide might be instructive. May do that sometime.

Wine tasting at Apadoca liquor store 5 o'clock and dinner at Sail restaurant afterward with several friends rounded out a plausibly well-spent day. Tomorrow could be even better if stars align, creek don't rise and wandering mind can maintain focus. Friday, before departure if it happens, will consist in putting all the bits that make this thing a 'sail' boat in proper place, including, as it happens and you may not be astounded to hear, sails.

"The trick in life isn't getting what you want, my dear, it's wanting it after you get it." - Katherine Hepburn as grandmother Janou in Love Affair

Jack

Boring Recitation
10/27/2009, Crew's Inn, Chaguaramas

Chaguaramas Bay

October 27

Early day spent breaking fast, then finding new refrigerator thermostat (later installed), buying diesel and gas in jerry jugs at local place/prices (about $1.40 US/gal. vs. marinas which are closer to 4) and haunting a couple of chandleries (previously unconsidered, but now indispensable crap was bought) while awaiting late completion of work on port bow roller (also later installed).

Finally made it downtown by midafternoon to purchase, from Jimmy Aboud, premier local purveyor of all things fabric, 18 yards of Sunbrella for an awning. Paid a pretty good price of $14.71/yd for 60" tweed. Current bimini and sail cover color, 'Hemlock' (dark green), was unavailable, but 'Linen' matches well and much lighter hue should be cooler, or so the theory goes.

Lack of broad interest has doomed Asa Wright excursion, tomorrow, so will shop for groceries to place in newly operative frig. (admitting to breakage of same would be inappropriate and will not be done), launder indescribably grimy clothes, purchase additional diesel and, it is sincerely hoped, screw off for extended periods.

Jack

Foibles and Fantasies
10/26/2009, Crew's Inn, Chaguaramas

October 26

Breakfast is my favorite meal. Although possibly considered an affectation by cruising friends, any failure to ingest ovoid chicken ejecta (real word) due to circumstance, if one or more are available nearby, causes peckishness to ensue. Ensuement (not a real word) does not eventuate (huh?) without reasonable expectation (i.e. if I doesn't thinks to get it, I doesn't gets grumpy).

Blew most of day searching for propane to refill tanks and tap-dancing to induce reluctant manager to service old ones (liability). T & T enacted a law effective this May requiring hydrostatic testing of cylinders past five years from last and plant had, as yet, no such capability. Four of eight were out of range. Mine is dated 1985. Crap! After 30 or 40 minutes of tap-dancing we wore him down using every argument short of promising to die in any resultant explosion. Cost of gas was less than a quarter of transport to get there.

One interesting difference between Eastern Caribbean and Trinidad is more US boats (several from USVI) than Canadian here. Brits and Aussies also make up a much larger contingent. Cruiser net control this morning had the most beautiful Scottish accent. In event of conversion to Buddhism immediately prior to grisly and untimely demise (see some explanation of this reference from 6 Feb 2009 & 22 June 2009 and, with a more detailed exegesis for those with previous emails, 21 May 2008 & 29 April 2008), hope for next life with soft Highland burr. (Query. Is there a timely demise?)

Jack

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