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Anthem Adrift
04/04/2009, Boqueron, PR

April 4

Another adventure in bureaucracy has intruded upon an otherwise serene and idyllic existence. Called customs at 0900. Being too busy, they requested a call back at 1300. At that time (despite my expending some effort obtaining necessary documentation to become a "trusted boater" and avoid pointless trip to customs when re-entering US territory) a woman in Mayaguez insisted on my presence, a 30 minute drive north. Very nice agent in San Juan (24 hour check-in) found my information in the computer, insisted that everything had been done correctly and that I should not have to go. Unfortunately, during business hours closest port of entry has precedence. He called back after speaking with his supervisor to reiterate. Being more amused and bemused than irritated by arbitrary decision making and peremptory agent (who had possibly just been dumped by someone who sounds like me), I remained resolutely calm and polite during our four conversations. Example: Me: "I understand that you have the authority to-". Her: "Well apparently you don't, because you keep questioning me". Me: "No, I do understand that you have the authority to harass people, but that doesn't mean you should." She did become more equanimous after I courteously requested communication with her supervisor. Unfortunately, he was in a meeting for at least another hour, but when he came out she would be sure to have him call and, by the way (as it was now about 1430), if I was unable to get there before closing, she would not be responsible for the BIG trouble I would be in. Of course, she offered, it was up to me to decide what to do. I graciously thanked her for her sympathetic advice.

Friends and acquaintances in Boqueron apprised me of the fact that, in my absence, three large government boats as big as Anthem were doing donuts around her (presumably to flush me from hiding) and at one point put out fenders, preparing to board. They did not. Perhaps someone noticed the dinghy missing. Probably just a coincidence.

On most levels this was really huge fun. Remained in incredulous good humor for the duration. The $15 and two hours expended were worth avoiding Mayaguez harbor, meeting driver Raul Santiago ("Rolling Thunder" on the VHF) and couple from Short Sail similarly summoned, getting a tour of the country and, most agreeably, tweaking the lion's whiskers. Returned in time to enjoy status as outlaw with buddies over drinks and dinner.


Faux pas from April 3: Crossers, not crossees.

Protect and Serve
04/03/2009, Boqueron, PR

April 3

Insufficient time or concentration to write anything tonight due to governmental games and necessity to get drunk and silly with Mona Passage crossees at Gallaway's in Boqueron. Spent much of day patiently and politely explaining to customs officials in Mayaguez, with commiseration from sympathetic officer in San Juan, that they were petty bureaucratic assholes, spawned from syphilitic, mongoloid, crack whores who should, more wisely, expend limited resources protecting citizens of Puerto Rico from bad guys. Regrettably, no one was receptive to this helpful advice. Will probably communicate all, tomorrow, including aborted assault on Anthem by coast guard and local police armada, while absent owner made completely unnecessary trek to Mayaguez. Remind me if I forget.

Will now infiltrate bedding in hopeful attempt to sleep past 0645 after failure to do so this morning.


04/02/2009, Boqueron, PR

April 2

First 93 of 150 NM passage was wet, lumpy and ugly, crashing into wind and wave. The misery escalated approaching northeast corner of the DR and entering Mona Pass where the confluence of wind, current and underwater topography conspire to torture hapless sailors. Tacked back and forth with main and engine in often futile attempt to avoid crashing directly into steep, short period five foot onslaught.

Then, after turning the corner at Hourglass shoal, the heavens parted, the seas calmed and the wind became a friend. Picture a scene from "Adventures in Paradise". Sparkling seascape under white-puffed, blue sky. Schooner Tiki making way with a fair wind to Tahiti.

Cruising is like this, the best and the worst. Lows are lower, highs are higher and either way, you know you're alive.

Didn't expect to get in before midnight, but wind has backed and filled for hull speed. Yahoo!

Sleep in tomorrow followed by inspection of bars in reputed party town. Yahoo!


No Fooling
04/01/2009, Escondido, DR

Approach to Escondido

April 1

Still feel pretty good after second night, no drooling or muttering outside of normal parameters. At 0700, three hours from planned stop for the day, right brain advanced idea to continue on to Puerto Rico. Left brain laughed derisively and made dumb side wear pointy cap and sit in corner. However, Escondido anchorage very rolly, Punta Macao likely to be as bad so sissy half began process of reconsideration. After gathering every nano-bit of information, integrating all into a vast holistic model and performing highly sophisticated micro-analytical calculations using the nearly infallible eeny, meeny algorithm, determined conclusively that the best plan is to depart at 1800 today for arrival Boqueron tomorrow night. There you have it. Brilliant, what?

Doing best to goof off and sleep this afternoon. Some success, despite lurching bunk and intermittent squalls, playing on natural proclivities. Did manage to arise in semi-somnambulance to cook brown rice for tasty mushroom and green bean casserole dinner. Yum.

For next message, expect what you get. Notwithstanding current jaunty demeanor, may feel a bit squishy tomorrow.


It's Fun!
03/31/2009, Rio San Juan, DR

March 31

Reasonably non-torturous journey from Luperon to Rio San Juan from 2300 to 0900. Early departers, leaving at 1900, arriving after 0800, were beaten up. Looks to be similar tonight with adverse (meaning more adverse) wind remaining until after midnight. Probably go to Escondido, about the same distance, then? After two nights of sleep deprivation, can't see 30 hours over third to PR as double-handers are considering. Thinking to stop Punta (Poonta) Macao (northeast corner of DR), then pass by
Punta Cana (east end) to Isla De Mona (Mona Island in the south center of Mona Passage) fourth day. That should allow some actual sailing and potentially make an easier passage on to Boqueron (Boe-cuh-RONE). No rush up to a point as Liz plans flight into San Juan on 13th. Best laid plans of mice and bigger mice.

Reference above, don't expect much for the next few days. Current level of lucidity not significantly worse than marginal, normal state, but anticipate onset of stupidity following second overnighter. After that, Katie bar the door. (Who's Katie and why would that help?)

Nine boats here, most apparently going to Escondido tonight. Annie II, of the lost mast and now solo with wife flying home for business, was towed by big trawler, Spectra, last night. Good deal. Need to work on poor, pitiful, puppy dog face... nah, why spoil the fun? North coast of DR (250 NM from Luperon across Mona) is heart of the 'Thorny Path' from Bahamas to Virgins. And it's fun!


Vayo Con Dios, Luperon
03/30/2009, Pinzon Anchorage, Luperon

March 30

Up before dawn to get internet bidness done then snuck (sneaked?) to Pinzon Anchorage, outer harbor, for Commandante avoidance. Chocobo, Inspiration Lady, Annie II and Double Dutch were here, too, same reason. All those guys headed into the great water before sunset and are reportedly getting shellacked with 20-25 knots on the bow. Gouge is to leave later, when katabatic winds off mountains kill the trades. Barring excessively slow speeds, they will be at Rio San Juan (50 miles) before sunrise
to wait for entry.

Safaried ashore with gang to blow-holes at entrance. Extremely impressive last week with six foot swell. Pretty cool, today, with only three. Afterward, dove the prop to remove barnacles (anchor chain also speckled with them) in two feet visibility, took a shower and napped. Dinner was salad and purchased, homemade quiche (no wisecracks). Now just hangin' until 2200 or so.

Rio San Juan reportedly also has a Naval Commandante who, like in Luperon, also has no boat. Somebody needs to work on some logic, here. Navy? Boats? The guy commandeers a local and expects the cruiser to pay them, sort of. Rum is said to work. After anchoring, think I'll lock up, go to sleep and play possum. Continuation of prison rescue watch is advised.


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