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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


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