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Anthem Adrift
Propagation
03/03/2009, South Side Marina - Provo

March 3

Worked fingers to the bone ("as hard as I've ever worked"... did too!) trying to transmit emails last night. First time in a month and a half with no propagation on HF radio. Was OK this morning and no doubt will be tonight (he said with a confident smirk).

Spent early morning taping in preparation for varnish, then Charlyn, dockmaster's wife, gave a tour of Provo. Little damage from two hurricanes last year, as opposed, I hear, to Grand Turk. Lots of building, lots of empty buildings. Also toured hardware, IGA and liquor stores with devastating impact on wallet. Bought respectively: tape, groceries and rum (no, you cynics, the walletal (not a real word) plundering was for food). Squandered all afternoon until dark taping brightwork. Memory of length and difficulty for this activity had apparently been suppressed (self-preservation mechanism). Of course previous operandi was to pack five days work into three weeks. Previous eschewing of sloth now seems premature. Sanding is plan for tomorrow; could also begin varnishing (The triumph of hope over experience?). Hope to finish second coat Thursday in time for weekly cruiser's barbecue in the marina. Again, also hope for world peace.

News flash for residents of home state: For all you devotees of placing your feet into a vat of dead skin eating miniature carp (no, the carp are alive), the fun is over. Florida Board of Cosmetology (nothing to do with stars and planets) has cut you off. No animals, except the occasional customer, are allowed in any salon. Sorry, but one should always adjust one's life to the whims of a misanthropic, bureaucratic government, don't you think?

Jack


Selling Out
03/02/2009, South Side Marina - Provo

Simon & Charlyn

March 2

Liz planning to fly down, Astarte on the way, Windlass - maybe, so in Provo for awhile. Originally planned brightwork varnishing in Luperon, but after 5 months shouldn't wait. Moved to South Side Marina 3 NM east of Sapodilla for the work. Washed off salt with boat soap today, tape and sand tomorrow reference weather. Anybody jonesing to practice varnishing skills is welcome. It's way better than whitewashing fences.

Marina manager a 70 year old Brit. Delightful fellow with *stereotype alert* bad teeth (think Austen Powers). Five year live-aboard cruiser who came over with wife Charlyn from the Pacific, he engaged in fisticuffs with trespasser this afternoon. Went to help and attempted conversation with less dynamic of two interlopers, to wit "So, what's going on?". He was a bit taciturn. No real damage done by relatively harmless miscreants.

Forecast rain in the morning may allow avoiding work without guilt.

Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel.
- Homer Simpson

Jack


Is It Still Sunday?
03/01/2009, Sapodilla Bay - Provo

Stones Engraved by 19th Century Shipwrecked Sailors

March 1

Awoke and crept reluctantly out of bed, thanks to new alarm clock, at 0730 for the Southside Marina cruisers net on Channel 18 (USA). Discovered newly replaced VHF radio was set to Channel 18 (Int'l). For reasons likely known to only three perverse bureaucrats, there are three sets of channels, US, Canadian and international. Some commonality, but not on 18. Caught end of broadcast sans weather after locating manual for reset instructions. May or may not move boat for frontal passage sometime
soon, perhaps.

Even more reluctantly took dink to beach for walk to customs. Discovered, after arrival, that passport had not been returned to important papers satchel (paint me severely chastised). After round-tripping to boat, check-in for seven days was painless and the indicated $23. Cruising permit for 8 to 90 days is $75.

Spent rest of day-of-rest at rest. After moving boat further into shallow bay away from deep draft friends for protection from swell, slept until 1500, then read. Plan something more productive tomorrow... probably.

Jack


It's the Custom
02/28/2009, Sapodilla Bay - Provo

February 28

After arrival in Sapodilla Bay at 1530, pointlessly walked 1/4 mile to customs. No ship, no customs guy - no ship. Ship 0900 tomorrow. Check-in fee is $15. Overtime for weekends $8... but he's already there - SHIP! Can't complain, Bahamas is $300.

Friends, Dennis & Trudy, from Clarence Town on Rapscallion II still here after two weeks. Continuing to Luperon tomorrow. Dinner invite, lobster. Plans to vegetate until tomorrow temporarily on hold.

Sailed to within 25 NM of Sandbore Channel before term 'boat speed' became a misnomer, 1 Kt. Cranked evil noisy thing for concluding segment of trip. In fairness, Westerbeke 46, has become quieter and smoother of late. Of course this is not a good thing unless for some bizarrely recondite reason it has actually become quieter and smoother. Silver lining from recent ear infection?

- Later

After something like 30 hours since real sleep, being plied with lobster, lobster salad and, of greatest consequence, a regrettably massive amount of adult beverage, I have determined that any further attempt at communication is futile, so will retire.

Jack


Jet Lag
02/27/2009, Enroute Providenciales

Coral at Landrail Point

February 27

Early departure, Friday, ill advised, reference weather guy, so dove the wall again. Sweet. Possibly (unlikely) got a decent picture of the odd marine critter or two and/or the reef. Weighed anchor at 1100 to conditions, north side Aklins, worse than forecast (see previous comments on weather weasels). Eight foot seas did not lay down until late day with 20 knots true at 100 degrees (looking for no further right than 60). Beat what passes for brains out all day until starboard turn north of
Plana Cays at 2200. Apparent wind still in 20 - 25 range, but no longer needed bilge beast. Spent chuckle-free night watching and adjusting heaving, high mass dinghy due leaving motor on (Sloth. Note to self: Move on to another deadly sin). Seas calmed considerably southwest of Mayaguana, then winds finally eased to 10 - 12. Boat's still sailing, 3 - 2.5 knots, but not quite making entrance to Sapodilla Bay anchorage. May have to rethink passage strategies. Only second sail since February
6.

Dive buddy, Dave, a grumpy SOB, but like a kid with a new bike about diving. His wife is a saint. Found locals on Crooked Island especially friendly. Found US visitors at Pittstown Landing Resort especially drunk. After last day found myself especially happy about impending arrival Providenciales. Special!

Jack


What Do He Do Now?
02/26/2009, Landrail Point - Crooked Island

February 26

Weekly ship arrived today with lettuce, tomatoes, bananas and crunchy peanut butter, the necessities. Mostly spent day buying as indicated, visiting and preparing boat for possible departure mid-morning. Bob & Sherry from Tashiba 40, Shamal, came over for drinks and snacks. Just left.

Wind clocking east through south by sometime Saturday is a problem, so may travel to Provo over Friday night, arriving Saturday morning, with potential to sail much of the way - earlier departure increases chance. Also possible to stay Landrail for two or more days and dive the reef or may assume fetal position and finish second Tarzan book on Kindle. Hoping for easing seas early tomorrow. Wind currently blowing like stink. Anchor bridle adjusted and working well to mellow boat motion.

Civilization slipping away as XM radio starts to fade.

Inspiration zero today, so will leave you with this observation from George Carlin:

"The very existence of flame-throwers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to himself, You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done."

Jack


Opportunity Lost
02/25/2009, Landrail Point - Crooked Island

Wall by Anchorage at Landrail Point

February 25

Dang! Fat Tuesday passed unnoticed. Non-Catholics have the best of both worlds if they pay attention, an excuse to party without subsequent 40 day penance. Oh sure, suffering builds character, but you just shouldn't overdo. Highly moral people are no fun at parties. Excess is only appropriate when enjoyed and then, in the words of great friend, Phil Bowden, "anything worth doing is worth doing to wretched excess".

Drop off from 40 to a bazillion feet is about 300 yards from boat. Dove with Dave (Nadal. Claims no relation to deceased, unlamented Abu) down to 100 feet. Way cool! Tentatively plan dive again AM if local, Robby, can refill tank or provide loaner. Pizza on the beach at 1700. Definitely staying until Friday. This cruising thing could almost get fun.

Glad to see the market was so enthusiastically positive about the Prez's plan in his speech last night... What? It... Oh! Never mind.

- Later

2000 (twenty hundred) hours, after pizza and ride up to Pittstown Landing Resort (they have a bar) to visit friends of friends, clear sky, no moon, dark as a Siberian well digger's donkey. One mile ride back to boat in dinghy with bioluminescent sparklers shooting out along the wake was magic. This cruising thing could almost get fun.

Jack


Lazy Day
02/24/2009, Rum Cay - Sumner Point Marina

February 24

Completely blew opportunity to become a productive member of this crew until mid-afternoon (the captain was quite disappointed). After listening to weather and Cruiseheimers net, napped and read most of the day. Too blustery and rough to dive, maybe tomorrow. Finally whipped slothful body into modest exertion around 1500. Jury-rigged gooseneck fitting (articulating connection between boom and mast) that had nearly come apart on Monday (Hoping for correct part in Provo) and adjusted dinghy motor davit operation (with obligatory loss of piece overboard).

Drove to small boat basin, cut into shore rock, for look around with freshly-motored dink (closed-vent gas tank was found crumpled in on itself due cool spell - oops). Chased out by returning bone fishermen. Rigged anchor bridle to stern for swell coming around Pittstown Point (mo bettah). Had dinner of sauteed potato, onion and scallops with fresh frozen grouper (from friends in Rum Cay) and leftover scratch-prepared red beans and rice (menu included for you culinary skeptics. I flaunt my spatula in your general direction).

Will probably remain here among friendly locals and habitues until Thursday or Friday.

Jack

PS Anybody know how to access diacritical marks with Windows XP, e.g. habitue, sauteed.


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


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