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Anthem Adrift
Easy Does It
11/25/2009, Spanish Water, Curacao

Goodbye Bonaire

November 25

Departed Kralendijk mooring before sunrise for a better than expected sail to Curacao. Yankee carried the boat at 4.5, then, as true wind increased to lower 20s, up to 6.3 knots in 3 foot seas on the port quarter. A few sprinkles en route was just enough to cause a layer of deposited wind-borne dust from Bonaire to clump into untidy little piles. Looking for a good gully washer.

Crew arrives Tuesday. Boom arrives Wednesday. Boat fixed Thursday. Wow! That was easy. Meantime, will continue messing with arrangement of particulars to accommodate three souls, two of whom may care about being comfortable(ish).

Spanish (Spaanse) Water, a large, nearly landlocked, irregular bay, located five miles and 20 minutes by bus southeast of the capitol, Willemstad, is the cruising center. Was sceptical of claim for no mosquitos, but discovered that air whips through anchorage like a wind tunnel. No insects; amps out the wazoo; bar close by where Night Hawk and Going South crews set bad example for me to emulate. Doesn't suck so far.

Agenda tomorrow: bus ride to clear in, get lay of the land and find various friends in area. Can't think of a reason to get up before cruisers net at 0745. Unlikely to overheat ganglia trying.

Jack

Round and Round We Go
11/24/2009, Kralendijk, Bonaire

Jibe City

November 24

Chase VISA is off friends and family list due putting temporary hold on payments for boom and items ordered on-line to be carried to Curacao next week by crew. Spent delightful morning confirming all bits in transit after Liz, last night, pummeled card fraud lackeys into submission. This is third time for these donkey orifices and possibly last.

Balance of day spent on rented scooter with barely enough power to get out of its own way and bad shocks. Discovered that outback of Bonaire is filled mostly with cactus and seven species of lizard, some quite fleet. Saw one big, amorous guy, looking to knock off a little iguana, if you get my drift, getting the cold shoulder from a lady (gave her benefit of doubt) at about 20 miles an hour. Also noted many donkeys (passed up chance to visit Donkey Heaven) and goats plus, incongruously, since most of the place is desert, a sizeable population of flamingos, some of which, being almost orange, must eat a lot of whatever does that.

Two useless facts: Eight kinds of bat are the only native mammals and bats, world-wide, make up 1/6th of all mammal species. Awe and amaze your friends at the next polo match with this fascinating data care of Washington Slagbaai National Park Museum where a time-line depiction references events on the island to, among other things, the deaths of Chairman Mao and Elvis. Unable to divine what must surely be a message.

Lac Bay, on south windward coast, is locale for wind surfing center at Jibe City. Didn't see the first kite. Most at beach bar (where frickandellen was found, unsurprisingly, to be chubby sausages) were a tad rotund to use the nearby 'pros only' storage area.

Jack

No Skunk on Menu
11/23/2009, Kralendijk, Bonaire

Jibe City, Windmills, Cactus Fences, Flamingo, KLM MD11 at Airport

November 23

Retrieved most of injured paraphernalia from various locales about the island, all in same woeful state as when parcelled out. Radio will wend its way back home manana as, possibly, the only better-made bit. Clearing out and subsequent return of assault weapon, flare gun should complete preparation for what promises to be a bumpy, downwind sail to Curacao Wednesday morning.

And now for the restaurant section. Should someone discover by chance, deviousness (perhaps your sig-o (abbreviation for significant other sounds suspiciously like sicko) has administered drugs from which you have just awoken (reference yesterday's query)) or conscious act, that your coordinates are consistent with Bonaire (you could check position on a cool new iPhone or just ask someone), find Mona Lisa Restaurant and stay for dinner. (I know the last sentence seems confusing, but diagram it like Mrs. McCaskel made you do in high school for perfect clarity) It's all been terrific: barracuda, wahoo, pork sate. Don't burn your tongue on the au gratin potatoes.

Flocks of flamingos will parade their plumage once I secure a scooter for investigating the island... tomorrow (reason, besides weather, for delaying until day after). Scheduled cruise ship necessitates early rental to preclude getting skunked, so ta ta.

Jack

Boat Projects
11/22/2009, Kralendijk, Bonaire

Cruise Boat

November 22

For anyone finding himself (despite what you may think, this word is generic and refers also to women) in Bonaire (while this implies surprise, the effort necessary to get here would normally preclude an unexpected arrival) and Jonesing for breakfast, City Cafe is a fine choice. This determination was reached after running its price, quality, quantity profile through the BARF (breakfast associated restaurant finder) algorithm. Crispy bacon (first since US); fast wifi; view of the sea. One caveat, ask for eggs over easy lest they be vulcanized (no relation to Spock). Two untried dinner specialties are bitterballen and frickandellen... those wacky Dutch!

Was stunned and amazed to see, on commercial dock this morning, cruise ship that, to all outward appearance, was a boat. Since new liners look like enormous, newly built, high rise housing projects, this one, also being rather small, must be of rather archaic vintage. Was easily able to stifle normal groan upon first sighting.

Apologies to anyone expecting immediate reply after leaving a comment on website. Editor and social secretary are quite lax. Unable to fire either due to close relationship to captain. Would threaten flogging, but believe it unlikely this would help.

Little open on shore, Sunday, so after purchasing gas at $4.58/gal. and settling with Harbour Village Marina on mooring fees, squandered day with movies, books, arranging boat for crew and unconsciousness.

Jack

Decampment? (A Real Word)
11/21/2009, Kralendijk, Bonaire

Kralendijk Waterfront

November 21

One might think cruisers an independent lot. Au contraire. More like a ragtag military. They tend to campaign in groups and bivouac together to pillage and plunder seaside villages with occasional raiding forays into the countryside. Rucksacks containing provisions, change of uniform and various weapons (flashlights, etc.) are commonly carried. Then, of course, there's the uniform, itself. Sandals (non-marking soles), shorts, with T-shirts and ball caps promoting some previous island or a bar thereon. Although periodic substitutes are lace-up boat shoes, bathing suits, collared shirts (formal events) and floppy wide-brimmed hats, you know, on sight, who they are. If not selling something, locals try to ignore the tramping feet.

Heavy cogitating on all facets of current situation has led, despite enjoyment of Bonaire, to alteration in strategy (a rather free-flow process, at best). Intend, if loose ends (including five bits of property abroad upon the land, six if boom counts twice) get properly tied, sail of 35 nautical miles, probably Wednesday next week, to Curacao. Receipt of new spar will occur a day earlier (ship goes there first), nephew and niece-in-law (Will & Richena), hereinafter referred to as the crew, will save cost of hotel plus shuttle from there to here and location adjustment will result in reunion with friends, conceivably referred to as the Eastern Caribbean Irregulars, presently wreaking havoc in Spanish Water.

Meanwhile, there exist fish, rum and eyelids to be, respectively, eaten, drunk and examined. Let the process begin.

"All human situations have their inconveniences. We feel those of the present but neither see nor feel those of the future; and hence we often make troublesome changes without amendment, and frequently for the worse." - Benjamin Franklin

Jack

Onus On Us All
11/20/2009, Kralendijk, Bonaire

Unsightly BUTT

November 20

Just another beautiful day in paradise. Planned no planning (oxymoron?). Ok, breakfast was a plan, but that was it, well, except for coordinating with Botterop Construction on old and new booms and having them weld a broken casting from Voyager wind vane. But, that was it, absolutely, except for... Never mind.

Rum has been sadly neglected since mishap, which has forced upon me a certain obligation to sugarcane growers everywhere. Incentive to imbibe was also reduced by attempt to drink truly awful Depaz rum from Martinique. Don't know what happened; tasted OK on the distillery tour. May use it, instead, to subdue fish after capture, should there be further such instances. Outrageously cheap gin previously used is actually drinkable with sufficient oliveage (not a real word).

A particularly obnoxious BUTT (Big Ugly Tourist Transporter - cruise ship) steamed in this morning to despoil view and clutter shops in Kralendijk. Had heard island would be spared the ignominy for a few days. At least lagging economy gets a boost.

Went in later to call for Mercy. She handles shipments to Bonaire for Amcar Freight (package, indicated to arrive at shipper today, didn't). Also, in chronological order, provided scruffy local color for polyester clad hoards, called better half (visiting loved ones in West St. Paul, MN) with iPod and lightened personal onus as indicated in paragraph two, before and after wahoo (no Cal, it's a fish) dinner at Mona Lisa Bar.

Jack

Patience, Not Optional
11/18/2009, Kralendijk, Bonaire

Reef Below Anthem's Keel

November 19

Have been informed that focus on boom has apparently resulted in some loss of equanimity. Tend to handle unfinished business by obsessing or completely ignoring, sometimes alternatingly (not really a word). I'll get over it.

Well, he said with newly found sangfroid, the cogs of commerce have begun to grind slowly forward toward the joyful result of returning Anthem to wholeness. Manufacturer, shipper and freight company are all totally resolved, with their last ounces, respectively, of dedication (more sangfroid), to have this process result in a useable spar (at least all the various bits) arriving in Bonaire on December 3rd or 4th. About here, euphoria is somewhat muted, but no delay should be caused as plans included remaining until about then, anyway. Besides, Bonaire doesn't suck.

Took a break at midday to scare multitudinous aquatic life at north end of Klein Island with Night Hawks and Emily Graces. Presumably at the behest of Bonaire rather than fear of losing equipment to depths, Yellow Submarine Diving requires, before renting Scuba tank, a buoyancy checkout wearing all gear. Hold your breath, you float. Let it out, you sink. At this point breathing through regulator becomes as critical to checkee as to checker. Personal tank has been remiss in not getting itself hydrostatically checked, due every five years, so will endure scowls and oblique insults until next availability in a week.

Dinner: Personally sauted actual potatoes with stewed tomatoes and refried beans with, umm, stewed tomatoes (hey! the can was open). Eat your heart out Emeril.

Jack

Two Months, Tops
11/18/2009, Kralendijk, Bonaire

Waterfront, Kralendijk

November 18

Unable to duplicate defunct Isomat spar, but found good replacements from either Z-spars or Selden at reasonable price, no problem. Getting 17 foot, 55 pound chunk of aluminum to Bonaire sometime this year? "Hold on there pard". Working fingers to nub for solution. (Anybody remember song by Hoyt Axton "Bony Fingers"?) From Monday forward, kept thinking 'tomorrow' will conclude all but awaiting arrival of boom. Silly rabbit. Also, no word from VHF radio.

Had opportunity for extensive use of really cool, new iPod Touch using Skype to organize (probably too optimistic a term) making Anthem, again, the sleek, sexy sailing machine she once was. One finds amusement as one can. Have utilized free wifi at a Watta Burger (couldn't make this up). Haven't yet, but figure to owe them the month or two one of their greasy, ground delicacies will shorten my life.

If efforts are rewarded reasonably early (plan to hold breath until turning blue to coerce action) will do some diving. Water is crystal clear, reef starts right behind transom and extends pretty much everywhere.

And now, in an effort to fill out today's highly uninspired commentary, a quote.

"I have noticed that the people who are late are often so much jollier than the people who have to wait for them." - E. V. Lucas

Jack

Connections
11/17/2009, Kralendijk, Bonaire

Best and Worst in Bonaire

November 17

Considering that ABCs are a windsurfing, now predominantly kite surfing, Mecca (no religious offense should be taken, OK, guys? OK?), there is no wind. Mosquitos yes. First need of screens since... don't remember. However interesting it may make transit of Colombian coast (one of more challenging, I'm told) prefer to have trade winds back. Also, because wind generator isn't making whirring noises (as with Westerbeke, ref. Nov. 15, this is also apparently a secondary effect, although loads quieter (pun intended)), unable to detect amps coming 'out the wazoo' (leaky-when-full repository of amps, fresh water and various other stuff).

Can't find Caribe in Bonaire, but, as one might expect, it's lousy with Heineken. Amstel is, understandably, also available, but second most common brew is - wait for it, wait for it... Polar Beer. Uh huh, uh huh, OK. Possibly named to honor one of those Arctic creatures who strayed here, once, in consequence of freezing his little bear butt off at home or an allergy to cold seal. Reminds me of some graffiti seen as an undergraduate at USC (not that one): "Herman Melville Eats Blubber". Seemed awfully funny and sophisticated at the time as did: "Nietzche is Peachy". Hey, a little slack. I was 19! (As an aside, Freddy, as his drinking buddies no doubt called him, was a really depressing character. Questioned the value and objectivity of truth and was therefore nuts. He actually died insane) (Second aside: Do you think this paragraph wandered a bit? Not so. Connection?... beer and nuts)

Have had difficulty getting wifi for use of Skype. Reluctant to use telephone to US for research into new boom today, but that, or something, will change tomorrow. No auto tour due working on boom problem and potentially better rates with no cruise ships next few days. (Connection?... cheap)

Jack

Boowahhhh! Boogah, Boogah!
11/16/2009, Kralendijk, Bonaire

That Ain't Right!

November 16

Found a metal working/machine shop that seems certain they can unify two-piece boom. Not convinced it will be trustworthy, so tomorrow, will investigate having new one shipped from US. Did anyone mention that manufacturer, Isomat, is no longer in business? Minor glitch in perfect plan to be resolved, or not, in the morning... possibly.

There are no electronics shops on the island, but found a fellow named Hans who (as you might have surmised is from The Netherlands) worked on radios for the Dutch Navy and continues tinkering for a hobby. Met him for first time on a dock, handed over radio and remote mike, got no receipt. Confidence high for eventual return. Fixed?

Also, have a local phone, which number will be shared with Liz, my dear wife, and nephew/niece-in-law crew who will join this train wreck on December 2nd, but not broadcast to the vast and idolatrous legions of this blog's readers.

Had barracuda for the first time. Delicious. As yet have noticed no abnormal effects, effects, effects from the neurotoxic dinoflagellate (not a prehistoric beast seeking sexual gratification), commonly found in the meat of this species, which causes bizarre nervous system anomalies, monopolies, autocracies. Boowahhhh!

May rent a car with Night Hawks, tomorrow, for various stuff (including taking duplicitous boom to shop) and tour of island.

"Ah, this is obviously some strange usage of the phrase 'vast and idolatrous legions' that I wasn't previously aware of". - Douglas Adams (paraphrased)

Jack

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