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Anthem Adrift
The Big, Bad Wolf
01/31/2009, Georgetown

January 31

Hammer fell around 0530 with gradient wind at 25, gusting 30 in squalls. Protection OK. Enjoyed Chinese fire drills as two closest neighbors dragged, then re-anchored elsewhere, leaving extra room. Clouds also left by mid-morning Wind didn't get the memo. Front Monday night with strong wind boxing the compass may chase me, like the craven dog that I am, into Red Shanks. Currently displaying minimum enthusiasm for one mile dinghy smash into town for diesel, gas, produce, etc. Perhaps tomorrow.

Started Rosetta Stone for Spanish. Can now identify un nino, una avioneta y una muchacha. Prefer reverse order. Worked on egregious buzzing sound produced as wind generator approaches warp 6 in a fresh breeze. Eventually located and exorcised worst demons with hose clamps, inner tube rubber and special four-letter incantations. Still need to re-balance blades.

Anticipating Super Bowl commercials Sunday evening at St. Francis. Hear there is also a football game. Also anticipate consumption of adult beverages to ease agony in sympathy with soon to be devastated Arizona fans.

Jack


Prudent Cruising
01/30/2009, Georgetown

January 30

Left Little Farmer's Cay at 0900 in SSE wind for SE passage. Close starboard reach out into Exuma Sound was initially off rhumb line by 45 degrees. Sailed wind angle until veering breeze pulled course back to Conch Cay Cut, the entrance to Elizabeth Harbour, then eased sheets to maintain. Ghosted down toward G-town in dying breeze for arrival on anchor at 1700. Foresight called for puttering in to St. Francis YC for Goombay Smash. The prudent mariner always gets a head start on drowning his
sorrows for all potential catastrophes. Sufficient consumption of alcohol can reduce error potential, as well (see previous explanation).

Wind eases before passage of a weather system as if to gather itself to wreck havoc on unwary sailors. Should hide like a whipped puppy in Red Shanks anchorage for protection from 25 knot forecast overnight, but rolled dice that worst won't fill in until veering past long fetch. Hook is well set in anchorage chock-a-block with boats.

Familiar cruising ground so far has encouraged natural tendency to sloth in reference to planning route, henceforth. Likely to be: Rum Cay, Long Island (no, not that one), Crooked Island (no, not particularly), Aklin's, Plana Cays, Mayaguana, then on to Provo (Providenciales) in the Turks and Caicos. Began to study charts and "Gentleman's Guide to Passages South". Heck, I'm almost there. What could possibly go wrong?

Jack


Gypsies,Tramps and Thieves
01/29/2009, Little Farmer's Cay

January 29

Heard that Rod Blogojevich told the Illinois House that they are reasonable, honest, fair and if they listen to their lying ears they are Anti-American scalawags. I love the guy. He is an archetype of the political class: shameless, narcissistic, power-hungry, usually spineless weasels. Except for your guy, of course. At least Blogo is entertaining.

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
- Aesop

Good fun last night talking to a number of cruisers. Among them, at Club Thunderball, Welsh, now Canadian, folks and two couples traveling together in, respectively, a 50' steel schooner and a reconfigured Navy trawler. Husband/wife team, John & Marty Ace, on a Tiburon 36 ketch, predecessor to the CR38 (same hull), welcomed me aboard for a tour and a beer. I liked them best.

Sailed off anchor at noon for 5.5 knot glide in lee of Harvey Cay prior to windward turn toward day's destination. Surprised by smooth motoring dead into a rapidly dying wind for 3 hour hop to Little Farmer's Cay. Hoping, tomorrow, for an easy South, veering Southwest, breeze for at least some pure sailing into Elizabeth Harbour and Georgetown, cruising hub of the lower Bahamas.

Jack

Another Tough Day
01/28/2009, Staniel Cay

January 28

Slept in, breakfasted at Staniel Cay Yacht Club (favorite meal, see previous reference to 'cheap'), then returned to stately, floating home for well-deserved rest after grueling morning. Not only was SCYC wifi down yesterday, but, though operative today, has been converted from free to $10 since last Spring. Like governments, I suppose, when the available population of supporters decreases, either by circumstance or deliberate action, one inevitably soaks the remaining, hapless few.

Warmest day of trip, so far. Finally changed from original, now scrofulous, jeans to clean pair just in time to need shorts. May rouse torpid corpus (say three times, fast) to perform minor repairs as alluded to in previous communication: 1) find and fix leak in shower, 2)... nahhh, one should be enough to imbue life with sufficient meaning prior to celebratory soda pop, later. In the immortal words of Gov. LePetomain it's just "work, work, work, work".

Later.

Discovered valve O-rings failing after a mere 23 years. The nerve of those sniveling Scandvik poltroons, shirking responsibility for defective parts! Successfully disassembled, cleaned and greased offending seals - no drips. May find replacements in Georgetown; may find solution for World peace... may not.

Jack


Thunderball
01/27/2009, Staniel Cay



January 27Barely able to keep ahead of veering wind last two days. As course has shifted right, wind has shifted faster. Race lost tomorrow as breeze goes strongly Southeast. Good excuse to stay here at Staniel Cay (Bond, James Bond) and possibly abuse an adult beverage or two (shaken, stirred, brewed, whatever). Lighter conditions Thursday for short sail to Little Farmer's Cay, then OK to make Georgetown before hammer falls Friday night after frontal passage. (Currently in lee of Exumas, but Little Farmer's
to Elizabeth Harbour and G'Town requires Exuma Sound) This, relying on weather weasels. Confidence minimal. Today probably last good sail for a few - walked away from a yawl, motor-sailing with main only and pounding like a major hangover.

Was struck, in Marathon, by location of town's largest liquor store beside a health club. Incongruous or complimentary? How about a dermatology clinic/tanning spa? And that reminds me, someone called today for Eczema Park... made me itch. Eggzooma.

Heard about continuing frigid weather in the US. Someone is obviously not doing his part to increase greenhouse gases. Hey!, breed cows, eat beans, breathe faster, kill a tree!!! Come on people, where's your compassion?

Jack

PS Rain! Hoping for enough to banish crust of salt.


Nautical. Related to Naughty?
01/26/2009, Norman's Cay

January 26

46 NM sail to Norman's Cay was hard on the wind building from 10 to 25 knots. Latest forecast indicates conditions worsening, both angle and velocity. Glad to be here today with more protection and better angle for run to Staniel Cay.

Warning! Potentially boring paragraph, sailors may skip. A more accurate description of yesterday's relative wind direction would have been 'two points abaft the port beam'. This means that the wind was coming from the left, 22 1/2 degrees behind, or toward the back of the boat, from a line perpendicular to its fore and aft axis. A point is 1/32 of a full circle, that is to say 360 degrees divided by two, five times. In absolute directions, two divisions create North and West (90 degrees).
Then there are, for example, Northwest, then North Northwest, then between those directions Northwest by North. North by Northwest only describes how Cary Grant got to Rapid City. This explains two additional things as well. Nautical phrases sometimes serve an actual purpose, but mostly, they sound really cool. I particularly like 'splice the main brace', an old English Navy term that has nothing to do with actual sailing.

Sitting at anchor with the wind blowing up over 20 knots. Wind generator is pumping its little heart out. Listening to Beethoven's 6th, roughing it with 10 year old Talisker (18 was sold out - bugger).

Jack


Serious Nonsense
01/25/2009, West Bay, New Providence

January 25

Most people imagine cruising as gliding across a placid sea under billowing sails to anchor in a palm lined, tropical cove where, at dusk, one watches for the green flash, toddy in hand, relaxing with friends in the cockpit of a gently rocking sailboat. Sparkling days and soft nights. It seldom happens, but today was a hint of those occasions to come. 8 to 12 knots apparent abaft the port beam in three foot swell at 5 1/2 knots. 30 miles in 5 1/2 hours under a nearly cloudless sky. Next two
days promise the same.

Reference apparently confusing mention of lightning strike in previous message. It was an actual incident to another boat meant to evidence my opinion that those porcupine looking, static charge dissipating thingies meant to prevent such occurrences don't.

This might be a good time for another disclaimer. While I will be delighted if anyone else enjoys these excursions into blogispheric silliness, the primary purpose is personal amusement. This is not travelogue, cruising guide or philosophical exploration of anything in particular, merely random musing of a slightly twisted mind. Despite what, to most sane, rational readers, is obtuse verbiage and obscure references, I'm often aware of what I meant and occasionally enjoy a chuckle. However, I
shall try to do better. Suggestions are always welcomed.

"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, And that enables you to laugh at life's realities."
- Dr. Seuss

West Bay tonight (yes, palm trees), Norman's Cay tomorrow then possibly either Warderick Wells (Exuma Land and Sea Park) or Staniel Cay (location of Thunderball Cave from the movie) Tuesday.

Apologies for the unforgivable seriousness (and length) of this message.

Jack


Cheap AND Lazy
01/24/2009, Chub Cay Marina

January 24

Commercial SSB (single side band (or HF, high frequency) radio) email service utilized on previous trips is available, but am currently abusing HAM email network due ingrained frugality and efficiency (see Title). It's free, Airmail software tunes the proper frequency and there are more available stations. But that's not all friends and neighbors! Just discovered that (this is the best part) it automatically turns the SSB on and off. Is that cool or what!? Best service has been through Montreal.
Hope you Francophobes (Rod & Eveline may skip this part) are properly chastised.

Explorer Chart indicates $1.35/foot Chub Cay dockage, $25 (deductible from overnight cost) just to stop for Customs. Figured $26.30 net to stay, right? New rate is $2.80/foot, 40' minimum. Holy Mother Goose! There goes bar money... nahhhh! Maybe I'll cut back on food. Speaking of which, restaurant has Banana fried cheese cake with vanilla bean ice cream if one wishes to commit coronary suicide to avoid outrageous bill. Ninety six slip marina (beautiful floating piers) nearly empty. Perhaps
jacking fees even higher will attract more business. Pretty sure this concept was part of the MBA.

Shortish hop to West Bay, New Providence (Nassau's island) tomorrow.

Jack


The World in Balance
01/23/2009, Chub Cay Anchorage

January 23

Motor sailed until Northwest Channel Lt. then shut down obnoxious bilge thing last 2 1/2 hours to arrive Chub Cay in the dark.

Pleased to report that several minor problems have occurred. Despite your prejudice (don't try to deny it) against these little speed bumps on the path to perfection, this is a good thing. You Calvinists out there (no need to identify yourselves) should understand. If nothing goes wrong, one builds up an error potential. As with lightning, eventually the differential becomes so great that an explosion occurs to restore balance. This is a bad thing. Incidentally, those fuzzy mast-top dissipaters splatter molten metal all over your deck when struck. Non-sailors may ignore that last bit.

Sleep-in tomorrow to prepare for grueling cashectomy (expect future expoundation (not a real word)) at Customs. Early to bed, late to rise, way good, that's wise.

Jack


Half a Loaf
01/22/2009, South Riding Rock

January 22

Flogged reluctant carcass out of soft, warm cocoon at 0530 to hear NOAA weather enticement to climb back in. Frigid temps (already had a clue) - 15 kt. North wind - seas 5 to 7, "higher in the Gulf Stream". Forecast Friday for directly on the bow and strengthening again next few days - Dang! Thought to take a look.

Beam reached with double reef in 15 to 22 kts. (weather weasels are always wrong and always in the wrong direction. I don't know why) across the reef and into Florida Straits. Set scull and cross-bones icon on chart plotter at reported west wall of Stream. Got there and... (as Jimmy Buffet said on an unrelated issue).. "That's when I saw the bear. He was a Kodiak lookin' feller about 19 feet tall". OK, not quite. Decent ride with heading adjusted windward to take waves just forward the beam,
little cross-sea. Carried on thusly in 1/2 to 1 1/2 Gs until early afternoon when introduced to Friday forecast. East wind 5 - 8. At least the sea lay down. Motor-sailed to S Riding Rock by dusk.

In spirit of our new "green" administration have decided to eschew the boat holding tank and deal only in organic, free-range effluent. I yearn to be a good citizen.

Jack


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