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Anthem Adrift
Drifting Along, No Tumbleweed
11/01/2009, N. Observation Bay, Testigo, Venezuela

Red Grouper

November 1

Late start to easy day of minor maintenance and moderate arranging (will engage in real organization after gaining that capability in next life) interrupted by blackened strawberry grouper lunch, freshly caught by Ray & Genna. They left shortly thereafter for Blanquilla as wind picked up. Expect, as last night, that it won't last, but forecast is for even less tomorrow. Initiation of long period, six foot, north swell, this evening, will not adversely effect sailing, but may make this anchorage a smidge rolly.

Magically, boat speed and depth have leaped to action following installation of transducers. Who knew it would be so easy? Interior of boat is now navigable after removing most flotsam, heretofore awash in saloon, to hiding places that will, of course, prevent rediscovery when needed at some future date.

Tomorrow will consist in much the same activity, plus, possibly, stalking the illusive grouper as was done by others so successfully today. Anticipate afternoon departure (guardacostas limit stay to two days without clearing customs on mainland or Margarita) to possibly catch up with Night Hawks in Blanquilla. After that, crystal ball only shows Santa with swirling snow (probably using wrong ball), but future landfall likely to be either Tortuga or Los Roques.

Speaking of Santa, if you think Wal-Mart jumps the gun, Trinidad was, by my observation, rife with Christmas music (and decoration) since at least 15 October. Oh sure, there's the Christian thing, but I really think, based on song choice, it's the snow angle that gets 'em.

Jack

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

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