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Anthem Adrift
!@#$%^&*
03/18/2009, Grand Turk

March 18

Wifi keeps freezing the computer and Airmail just dumped all saved daily blogs. For the faint of heart, the title, "@#$%^&*" means "Oh, golly gosh darn", just so you won't think I'm being naughty or offensive in any way. The rest of you may assume, with absolutely no official approval, a more colorful interpretation.

Beautiful close reach in a gentle swell to Grand Turk - for about an hour, then wind eased and went to the bow for duration. Great while it lasted.

Trailed a line with brand new, non-cheesy lure all the way across. Finally, upon passing 'the wall' about 400 yards offshore, hooked a grouper-looking fellow that could have been two inches longer than his intended prey if a barracuda hadn't bitten off his heinie. Glad someone ate fish tonight.

Located Katya, Kristi's friend, who confirmed that KISS blades arrived Provo and would be here tomorrow (OK, that assumes too much, but they did get there). As the British say, brilliant!

Walked around GT all afternoon. My kind of place. Friendly, laid back, good bars. And yes, to those who are snickering, in that order. Good thing, as weather prognosis forebodes continued presence here for a few days. Current location probably untenable by tomorrow afternoon, so will move to North Creek, if able to get in. Reference forecast, say a prayer, if you're inclined that way, for Canadians Ken and Diane on the dismasted Tanzer 26 who left Caicos bank this morning at 4 knots for the
DR. They may be in for a rough ride and difficult entrance, with large north swell, to Luperon's narrow channel.

Jack


Kerboom!
03/17/2009, Cockburn Harbor, South Caicos

March 17

Der vas boots everyvere. There was a gentle explosion about 0700 and boat shrapnel slowly sprayed out from Sapodilla Bay headed toward French Cay, Ambergris Cays and South Caicos. Weather window to Luperon shutting down early, so at least one may not stop en route. Also may leave me in Grand Turk awhile. Or may change again. Three 'mays'... must be cruising. Destination today is dead to windward, more than 10 kts, in one foot chop. Nice except for hideous rumbling from bilge bowels. At least water tanks are full and wazoo (as in 'out the') is leaking electrical thingies.

"Electricity is actually made up of extremely tiny particles called electrons, that you cannot see with the naked eye unless you have been drinking".
- Dave Barry

Fixed fried eggs and toast before approaching coral-strewn skinny water, then crunchy PBJ for lunch. Why don't kids like crunchy, nutty things... nutty enough without? Use to was that (this is a proper expression in the Southern Rural Educational System from which I are grajiated) I wouldn't eat nuts in anything either! Nuts.

Speaking of that, we were ruminating over drinks the other night about long term sailors talking to themselves. I opined that it was probably not true unless the person was already a little twisted. Of course, I took great umbrage at this and refused to discuss it further.

Jack


Rockin' to the Gentle Beat
03/16/2009, Sapodilla Bay - Provo

The "Shoot"

March 16

Another clear, beautiful day in paradise. Wind is blowing, boat is rocking, but all in all not bad. Film crew late due charter boat no show. It's da islands mon. Kristi finally borrowed "Very Nice Boat" and had a friend drive. When finally in sight there were only guys... began to worry. Production crew of six stepped across to check that Anthem was satisfactory, then went back to pick up models, two couples. Cute, nice smiles, photogenic no doubt. Girls were cute, too. No enhanced INDs,
not that I noticed. After a little boat prep, weighed anchor and proceeded to turn this way and that, dodging boats in the harbour, for sun angle. If I ever get a web site operating, will post pictures. That little adventure paid for new KISS blades. Also got intro to folks at Sand Bar (not surprisingly, a bar) in Grand Turk.

Heard today that Obama shovelled some largesse over small small business (leaving big small business unshovelled) to compensate for increasing taxes. He who giveth with one hand taketh away with the other. Would that he would leaveth alone. The world is full of people (few of them politicians) who know how to do successful business in a free, non-fiat driven economy, but the stampeded masses demand action.

Had last sundowner get-together (no green flash), including most cruisers south side of Provo, on a beautiful home-built Brewer 44 (23 years) before all but Mike and Barb head out. Will see some in Luperon. Others go to Jamaica and Cuba. May hook up again with "Astarte" (Barb said name is Babylonian goddess of passionate love) in Puerto Rico. Tomorrow, South Caicos. Wednesday, Grand Turk. Thursday?

Jack


Ignore or Rely On?
03/15/2009, Sapodilla Bay - Provo

March 15

Weather forecasting is too often right to ignore and too often wrong to rely on. Have decided to have blades shipped to Grand Turk FedEx office. We could both arrive there by Wednesday and, given that Cockburn Town is almost halfway, could make DR by Friday if wind and sea prediction remains as advertised. Two 'coulds' and one 'if'. Another triumph of hope over experience? Can hardly wait to see how it works out.

Have installed a 12v powered switcher connecting VHF and AIS to one antenna. It actively blocks out AIS when transmitting on the radio to prevent overload. AIS operates only with chart plotter, so powered both black boxes (mounted adjacent) off that circuit. Radio transmissions should have, and have been, passing through unpowered switch, however, weak signal and meowing noise began a few days ago. No problem underway, but PITA when anchored with no need for sailing instruments. Spent morning
ripping out panels and tracing connections for successful rewire. Spent rest of afternoon contemplating blade problem and back of eyelids.

- Later

A young lady came by late afternoon to ask if a horde of models could invade Anthem for a magazine shoot in the morning at 0700 (photographer saw and liked the boat). Dang! Planned to sleep in. Hope it's not a gay mag. Sort of looking forward to distaff pulchritude. Kristi claims they will pay and she will help with shipment of KISS blades to Grand Turk reference her private concierge business (if coming to The Turks and Caicos visit her web site: after5.tc, email: after5tci@yahoo.com). Cool!
I'll take pictures if appropriate (see above). Well, must go shower, trim mustache & beard and lay out best clothes because... ummm... it's that time of week?

Jack


Change O' Plans
03/14/2009, Sapodilla Bay - Provo

March 14

Screwed the pooch (does anyone know what that means? Is it naughty?) this morning. Managed, while flailing about with a boat pole, to break off one of three whirring wind generator blades. !@#$%^&*, or words to that effect. Contemplating plan. If new set sent here, will delay for at least a week, but not sure how reliable is delivery to Luperon. Will find out by Monday AM for decision. "And I was having SUCH a good day".

- Later

I was wrong. It's not just snipe hunting for gullible rubes. Not just afterglow from six rum & cokes imbibed too quickly. Not just the dying embers of rods & cones from staring too long into a clear sunset. After years of looking, the non-believer was born again last night. The Green Flash lives!!! Hallelujah! I have seen the light!

Also, as occurs for 3 to 5 days following each full moon, just after gloaming, glow worms on the bank engage in species preservation. Females release eggs which are quickly fertilized by a male who, similar to the preying mantis & black widow lads, has had his last tango in Caicos and drifts, with peaceful contentment one hopes, to the bottom as, well, worm food. The effect is bright green bioluminescent spots over the surface followed by explosions of more diffuse green around or trailing away from the first. Five minutes, then done. Remarkable.

These two performances right before St. Patrick's Day, coincidence you say? I think not. So Paddy, good on ye, laddie. I'll drink to the green on your day.

The glow worms were feisty and frisky,
But for males the endeavor is risky.
He has a grand time,
Then becomes bottom slime,
So let's toast him with fine Irish whiskey.

Jack


I Feel Pretty and Witty, not Gay
03/13/2009, Sapodilla Bay - Provo

March 13

Here it is, Friday the 13th #2. Nothing bad happened (well maybe a $24 haircut), no excitement. Disappointment is palpable.

Moved back to Sapodilla Bay, near Mike, Barb and wifi, after returning car. It's sad when water camping requires the internet. Remember when hitting rocks with a stick could entertain you for hours? Too long ago? OK, how about a slinky? Pong? First generation Nintendo? How old are you anyway?

Made red beans and rice (from scratch you scoffers) to contribute to dinner. Mike and I talked computers, not boats. Barb again plied me with mahi mahi. We talked about books and she admitted to finding George Bush cute and Dick Cheney cuddly. Said Rene did too. I was drinking $4 wine from Kishco.

Big Bad Wolf will be huffing and puffing from direction of next destination for a couple of days, so will chill in place for the nonce.

Big day, late start on this email. Toodles.

Jack


Got My Mojo
03/12/2009, Annex to South Side Marina - Provo

March 12

Moved this morning to anchor in the "Annex", as Simon calls it, a completely protected proto-marina at the opposite side of Cooper Jack Bight from the unaffiliated South Side to which there is reasonable dinghy access. Four other boats here, everyone going to tonight's barbecue. Mike and Barb came in, but, uncomfortable with tight quarters, returned to Bay. Most cruisers at hand will be heading for Luperon Sunday or Monday as latest weather bluster mellows.

Procured Suzuki squareback to get items from FedEx and replenish rum (rhum). Will gather up Mike and Barb in the morning from their adjacent beach for a day of provisioning, sight-seeing and carefree frivolity. Plan to decamp Anthem from current location for Sapodilla subsequent to car return tomorrow afternoon due better scenery, more wind and, way important, free wifi.

- Later

Terrific potluck at the marina this evening dampened only slightly at the end by a sprinkle which was insufficient to wash encrusted salt off recent arrival boats. Cake was served to celebrate one lady cruiser's 29th birthday (wink, wink, nod, nod (as an aside, the rental car is named Nod, another was Blinkin)) and someone brought key lime pie. Barb shared mojo (moho) marinated dolphin with me to earn my eternal gratitude, love and next born... a little much?, well, it was really good fish!

These wacky Turks.. Turkers.. Turkeys.. residents of the Turks & Caicos have been warped by the Brits into driving on the left, but cars have left side steering and drive-up ATMs are on the left. It's just not right! Britain may redeem itself, however, by sending a delegation shortly to depose current government ministers who are so corrupt they have outraged the citizenry. For laid-back islanders, that's pretty serious. Wish them luck. Now if only... never mind.

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

Jack


Getting Crowded
03/11/2009, Sapodilla Bay - Provo

March 11

Mike and Barb motored in about noon. Would have offered a celebratory brew after their two day passage, but wanted them sufficiently lucid to prepare freshly caught fish for early dinner. White wine will likely leave them catatonic by dusk.

Earlier, a Canadian Tanzer 27 arrived dismasted. A watch had been broadcast for them with Caribbean Weather, Cruiseheimers and Basra (Bahamas Air Sea Rescue) for last few days. Came out of Atwood Harbour three or four days ago and parted a shroud south of West Plana. Lost everything from the deck up. Limped into Mayaguana for a rest on an 8HP motor, then on to here this morning. Rerigging may cost more than boat value and apparently no insurance. Ouch!

Sapodilla Bay is mine no longer. Eight boats here and at least three more in South Side and the Annex. Looking at a good turnout for the Thursday barbecue.

- Later

Put Astarte crew to bed by 2030 after numerous downloads of adult beverage. Fish was delicious. Will probably move to Annex (protected anchorage near marina) tomorrow for easy access to get-together and possible Friday car rent because: Rum has reached danger level as panic looms. Haircut scheduled as small children and puppies cringe at horrible sight. Boat parts needed (Duh!). ATM (called B(for bank)TM in T&C) required after paying cash for marina (5% added for VISA - read cheap). FedEx
pickup of watch and phone (thanks, again Liz). Groceries. Other stuff. Thinking to head South Caicos Saturday, Grand Turk Sunday, stage at Big Sand Cay Monday for Luperon. Depends, as always, on weather.

Jack


Crustacea
03/10/2009, Sapodilla Bay - Provo

March 10

Performed appropriate bureaucratic genuflections this morning to stay in the Turks & Caicos another week and, more critically, to allow official departure as the Dominican Republic gets petulant otherwise. All cruisers around last week have bailed, most heading to Luperon. Last to leave was "Idunno". How named? Idunno. Anyway, Sapodilla Bay is mine, all mine, buwahahahaha!! Ahem. This will change as wind and sea allow movement from north. Despite delay finishing teak, could have made weather
window all the way to DR, but want to visit other islands in the group and Mike and Barb will come in tomorrow with fresh dolphin (not Flipper, mahi mahi - a marketing ruse). It don't get no better.

Put leftover croquette in a sandwich for lunch and planned the last two for dinner, but a boat came by selling lobster (actually a guy in the boat did all the selling as boats are generally not very entrepreneurial), two small ones for $10. Menu modification ensued.

Using AIS (stands for Aphrodisiac Insect Testicles, something like that... anyway, it receives data from large nearby boats), discovered a 97 foot motor yacht in Turtle Cove Marina, "Hooter Patrol IV". Reflect a moment. That much plastic costs serious coin, the name is completely devoid of taste and the owner's done this four times. I'm thinking Jimmy Swaggart.

Jack


Free From Bondage
03/09/2009, Sapodilla Bay - Provo

March 9

A reread of yesterday's email revealed possible unintended confusion, as oppose to the befuddlement that is deliberate. Objective was to thank Liz for FedExing items that I forgot. Thanks, Sweetheart.

Mosquitos in the Turks and Caicos are quite agile unlike the torpid creatures that inhabit Florida and the humongous ones in Minnesota. Proved devilishly hard to flatten six of the !@#$%^&* things last night, however, at this rate, will cut time to extinction by 2/3 from previous estimate that assumed two a day. As word gets out, expect nasty letters from imperiled makers of Deep Woods Off, et. al.

Wrapped up business at South Side including gas and diesel for very relaxing broad reach in 18 Knots of NE wind under yankee only back to Sapodilla Bay. Tuesday morning appointment for immigration is near here. Mike and Barbara, kindred spirit Dolphins (not actual dolphins (those are very particular with whom they associate), Dolphin Cruising Club Members) are sailing down from Georgetown Wednesday. After a visit with friend flying in on 22nd they are also proceeding unhurriedly to Trinidad by
July or so. Will enjoy frolicking with them (really, not actual dolphins) for a few days, then continue via South Caicos and Grand Turk to Luperon, DR. May or may not spend a week or two there.

After six days of productive activity, felt guilty reading and napping all afternoon. Fortunately, was not raised (*Stereotype Alert*) as either Catholic or Jewish, so the feeling was fleeting. Recovered self-esteem by making salmon croquettes (successful virgin attempt, albeit with Italian spiced bread crumbs) and salad for dinner. Liz, you would be proud.

Jack


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