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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

Bonding With Nature
10/25/2009, Crew's Inn, Chaguaramas

October 25

If Anthem's underwater metals or bottom paint have the ssslightest problem with galvanic corrosion or electrolysis, will strenuously demand eradication of all natural laws governing either process despite this making batteries useless and and chromed Harleys ugly. Hands look and I feel used and abused, but new wire adorns each and every bit of drowned metal. After reinstalling access panels and re-stowing some locker contents, saloon looks like a small tornado went through, a vast improvement.

Had planned a trip to Port of Spain tomorrow, but have decided that recovering is a more felicitous option. There also exist a few other projects that, if completed, will free mind for planned Wednesday tour of Asa Wright Nature Center, some scarlet ibises (ibi?) and a four hour drive along the north coast with friends. Hope to sail somewhere Friday or Saturday. Grenada? Los Testigos?

"A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought." - Dorothy L. Sayers

Jack

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

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