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Anthem Adrift
In the Weather Loop
02/23/2009, Landrail Point - Crooked Island

February 23

Dang! Leave for 10 days and the weather changes. How did that happen? Easier to maintain reasonable expectations when checking every day. Crooked Island will probably be home for a day or two due icky (esoteric nautical term) weather Tuesday. Enjoyed morning conversation on HF with another fool... er, cruiser in Landrail Point who claimed it's OK, rolly. Turns out, OK, not too rolly... yet.

Today is first of many, no doubt, requiring motor sail. Needed, didn't get, wind to back 20 degrees to eradicate irritating clatter from bilge, but long period 5 foot swell with 10 knot wind on the port bow made ride pretty good. Squall south of position backed wind enough to sail 15 minutes before it veered right to the bow for last hour and a half.

Got a tow into shore (motor still on davits) from other cruiser (Bob & Sherry on a pretty Tashiba 40, Shamal), accosted by large-toothed dog (unhappy, no doubt, that I'm a Libertarian) then hitched into the settlement for dinner at Gibson's Lunchroom (THE place to eat in town). Good crowd, good food, no alcohol (they're Seventh Day Adventists - like Jews who believe in Christ, I'm told). Got a ride back to a point further down the shore from irritable mutt. Way too dark for stumble down narrow
path, then along eroded beach and 1/4 mile row to yacht.

Fellow I stopped to converse with while walking around claims he'll take me to dive the reef in the AM. Cool! Let you know.

Jack


Whimsy
02/22/2009, Clarence Town - Long Island

February 22

Off the dock; on the hook. Planning early departure for Landrail Point, Crooked Island, tomorrow. Depending on wind, Samana Cay or Atwood Harbour, Tuesday. Mayaguana Wednesday. North route (Samana) longer, but may allow sail. Mario gave a good discount for 10 day stay at Flying Fish Marina and allowed departure as late as this evening. Even in easy conditions, the anchorage is a little rocky.

In walking around, noticed banner proclaiming "Bahamas Agricultural, Marine Resource and Agribusiness Expo - Improving Food Scarcity". I was incensed. Why decrease the supply of food? Are Bahamians too fat? Even if true, reducing availability is just not right. A more meticulous reading seemed to suggest that it actually said, "Improving Food Security". Not helpful. Securing it from what? What else would one protect food from than being eaten by people? I think this is a wrong-headed concept
that can only lead to disaster.

Boy, sure miss the invigorating forty degree temperatures in South Carolina and St. Pete. Bracing winds that chill you to the bone are just great - make you feel alive Cursory thought might have you believe it's better here - Fahrenheit 78 with a ten knot northeasterly. Au contraire. Bright sun shining down from brilliant blue sky and sparkling off crystal clear blue and green water is fraught with untold peril. The soft, balmy breeze caressing your skin induces complacency and danger. I may
lay awake for minutes fretting about the menace that lurks at every moment, and yet, must take to heart the wisdom of a great philosopher:

"Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things."
- George Carlin

Jack


On The Road Again
02/21/2009, Flying Fish Marina - Clarence Town

February 21

Catherine Coules Steadman Warren lived a long, full life. She brightened the lives of everyone she touched. May her presence live on in the kindnesses her influence inspires in those of us who knew her.

Preference would have been, as suggested by friend Amy Clancy, for an Irish style wake complete with alcoholic bacchanalia, but Methodists seem to prefer sober solemnity during their funerals. One must adapt.

Returned to Clarence Town today to find the boat. This was reasonably easy due small size of Flying Fish Marina. Nearly identical to boat left 9 days ago.

Always rather liked Miami Airport. However, the goodly trek from Concourse G to C required another adventure in security (one of three) where the TSA, like in Tampa, expressed a particular fascination with the minutia of my carry-on. Also, closest access to gates was once, strangely enough, through top of concourse, but now requires trudging past for a hundred yards or so before returning to within 50 feet of your position 5 minutes previously. Security instead of Minotaur hides in the labyrinth.
Entire experience somewhat ameliorated by discovery of Talisker in duty free, which then necessitated Nassau hoop jump to maintain ownership. This trip was first experience with commercial aviation since retirement 13 months ago (on purpose). All other choices are worse? To be fair, when you absolutely, positively have to get there quickly, nothing goes to weather like a jet.

Flying over an area, for the first time, that has only been cruised is always cool. Perspective is so different. That which requires a long, sometimes difficult day of sailing glides by in 10 minutes. A journey of many days is immediately observable. The sea level experience is more extended, more uncomfortable, more challenging and way more fun.

To continue the melancholy zeitgeist of this note, Friday before last was one of three 13ths this year - February, March and November. The last year with three of these rascals was 1998, next 2015. Y'all be careful out there!

Jack


Catherine
02/12/2009, Clarence Town - Long Island

February 12, 0630

Catherine passed away last night at 2030.

For those who have sent and will send condolences, thank you.

Jack

Hiatus
02/11/2009, Clarence Town - Long Island

February 11 PM

There will be no emails for at least a week. Catherine, my 91 year old mother, after a very long and full life is dying and I will be leaving the boat at the Flying Fish Marina in Clarence Town to fly to her home in Lexington, SC.

While this news is surely devastating, leaving a void in your lives, I'm confident you will find something more interesting to read in the interim.

Jack


Bufert or Bofert?
02/11/2009, Clarence Town - Long Island

February 11

Jonesing to leave Clarence Town tomorrow, but Chris (weather router) says Friday better. Wind now 110 degrees at 18 - 20, almost directly from next stop, Landrail Point, Crooked Island. Wind and sea may not lay down until later tomorrow. Could make Provo by Monday. Could become an aardvark and develop taste for ants. Who knows.

Mentioned force 5 wind yesterday. Beaufort scale describes wind and resultant sea conditions that actually go from 0, calm, to 12, hurricane. Useful, but pedantic. More interesting description, stolen from blog by Rod & Eveline Crist, is as follows:

"Mariners use a universal measure of the severity of storms, called the Beaufort scale, which classifies sea conditions for sailors. The categories - or "forces" are: 1. No wind at all; 2. Too little wind; 3. Too much wind; 4. Much too much wind; 5. Wind, wind, wind - whoooeee, will it ever stop blowing? and 6. Blammo!" - Beard. Immutable law of cruising #42: Wind is never between 2 and 3 or it's on the bow.

Cleaned the shower. What else possibly to do but go ashore? Happy, an appropriately named Boston bull terrier, can lead me over to the Outer Edge Grill (part of his job) for a slider and wifi. Given up on Rowdy Boys Bar due tendency to have Jerry Springer on DTV. Geez!

Jack



Clarence Town Again?
02/10/2009, Clarence Town - Long Island

February 10

Pretty sure the wind's been too strong for too long when Force 5 feels like a zephyr. Still too high with sea running for warm squishy body. KISS (wind generator) is happily spinning amps 'out the wazoo' (leaky repository for a variety of items). Conditions forecast lighter by Thursday into Friday. Atlantic pattern shift next week, easing Trades, may make movement along the DR and PR more agreeable for discerning sailors. May not. (For non-sailors, Trades along the Greater Antilles blow east,
blow strong and blow from where you want to go. Called the Thorny Path for a reason.)

Boat had gotten nearly as bad as previously owned Chevy van with 1/4 turn slop in steering. New cables stretch initially. Fix was reasonably easy. Getting there was not. Immutable law of cruising #27: Wherever you wish to get is below the largest pile of crap on the boat. This is also applicable to stored items such as your one can of Coco Lopez for that pina colada without which you just discovered an inability to survive. Spent better part of morning accomplishing task, made longer by desire
to have turk's head knot exactly top of wheel when rudder exactly centered. I normally don't do anal.

- Later

Bugger! Wind picked up again for post sunset return across harbour after obligatory happy hour. Happiness effectively dissipated.

Jack


Make a Martini
02/09/2009, Clarence Town - Long Island

February 9

Paint me green and call me an olive. Easy (relative term) fix worked. Wind generator switch was burned, creating high resistance on critical connection. Cleaned and reassembled in "on" position for emergency use, but until replacement, must physically stop overworking unit. Feeling pretty good as slayer of electrical demons. Luxuriated in mild abuse of adult beverages last evening on Sunborne, also with couple from Rapscallion. Good crowd. Horst, originally from Hamburg, very dry, very funny.
All, plus Halberg-Rassey, Nikita, at marina, headed south.

Will be happy when Big Bad Wolf gives up on this piggy's brick house. Of course, grievance then will be wind on bow, motoring into seas and no sailing. Apologize in advance for recreational griping. By the way, if you haven't seen me lately, the expression "by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin" has more than one meaning now. Retirement!

Friends Mike & Barb are headed to EC (Eastern Caribbean) about three weeks behind me. I purchased a book by Hunter S. Thompson and 3 fish pillows from their dump-this-crap-before-sailing-away garage sale. Thompson (of Gonzo journalism fame) is a wonderful writer if you can get around the meanness. Aquaria have been installed in both bunks as another irresistible inducement to visit. Shark guards rum locker.

Chris this morning giving no hope of blowing this pop stand until at least Wednesday. Looks like I'll be hosting refreshments tonight.

Jack


Last Nerve
02/08/2009, Clarence Town - Long Island

February 8

Offered to host snacks and movie last night, but weather too ugly for one and dinghy too frail for the other. Instead, invited for dinner. Cool! Win points for offer plus free meal. Missed scheduled HF call to Mike Hawkins at 1900. Dude! Free food. Cooked by someone who knows how. What's a mother to do?

KISS wind generator has performed sepuku (sp?); bit the dust; seen the green weenie. She's a goner. Electric brake remains on regardless switch position. That or alternator? Former may allow fix, otherwise probably dead to Provo (behold, the triumph of hope over experience).

Another day of ennui. Motion underway can be tiring, but not as wearing in same way as jumping around on the hook with howling wind (perhaps because of less engagement in boat operation). Thus, dinked in to Rowdy Boys Bar & Grill for breakfast and internet. (screeching child forcing reconsideration of action). Batelco (Bahamas Telephone Co.) has dropped ball again, but omelet was good.

Expect easing conditions Monday, then worst yet Tuesday. What's a mother (mothah?) to do? May stage to Little Harbour, 10 NM down the coast, during the respite, for better wind angle, shorter jump Wednesday in settling conditions (another triumph of hope over experience?) to Crooked Island's Landrail Point.

Jack


Dancing?
02/07/2009, Clarence Town - Long Island

February 7

Eighteenth anniversary yesterday for couple on Sunborne, Nothing says "I love you" like a boat ride in 8 foot seas, getting drenched in sea water. Couple in Rapscallion broke their dinghy transom on the reef accompanying me back from libation and chowder at bar last night. They're spending today with epoxy and spare bits to fix. The romance of cruising is undeniable.

Boat is dancing like a nervous thoroughbred, but well protected against 25+ winds. Four of us at anchor, some in marina, all waiting for break in weather. For Dolphins, Pete & Dee Schwartz on Windlass are pinned in Jumentos. They plan return to Long Island as able.

Strolled Clarence Town, today. Two very pretty Anglican churches. Everything else closed except bars and restaurants. Well... I AM trying to support the local economy.

Jack

PS If you have checked my location, ignore the one 120 NM due north of Georgetown. Oops! Latitude entered was 2 degrees off. 25 should have been 23.


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S/V Anthem
Who: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes
Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
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See profile for information on why this mess is being foisted upon an innocent world and, despite what is probably your better judgement, how to make contact.
 
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