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Anthem Adrift
Old San Juan
04/15/2009, Isleta, PR

April 15

Was anyone aware that boom preventers actually do no such thing? In fact, if you have a preventer and want to use it, you have to go out and find a boom. Encourager, more like. Nautical tidbit for the day.

After spending nearly four weeks in the DR and Puerto Rico, have gained some ability to speak Spanish with a decent accent. For example: "Buenos dias. Dos huevos y jamon y grande cafe con leche, por favor?" and the complimentary "Buenos tardes. Donde este el bano, por favor". This skill is of less utility than one might expect, due to a complete inability to understand the answer unless limited to "si" or pointing.

Liz missed the early non-stop to San Juan from Tampa, so barely got on Delta with a stop in Atlanta. With time to kill, drove short distance to Marina Del Rey (largest marina in the Caribbean) to have breakfast and see friends. They were in slip 1281. Numbers start at 1. They will stay another day due to squalls and resultant gusty winds. Should have left Oh dark hundred for Culebra.

Liz here. In hotel. Bye.


Isleta Me Stay Here
04/14/2009, Isleta Marina, PR

April 14

Yesterday was the ides of April. (Yes April has one too, on the 13th, but Shakespeare didn't care, so why should you?) Spent a restful, breezy night in resurgent trades behind protective reef, however, can't seem to sleep past 0630.

Today, after dispensing with pleasantries of leisurely desayuno at Mangos Cafe, eventually engaged in unpleasantries attendant to decontamination of shower sump, head, sinks and dust bunnynators. Mostly goofed off with Kindle e-book reader reading, oddly enough, and perusing Amazon offerings. Bought all the cheap stuff e.g. three volumes of The World's Greatest Books (digest) for nada plus all the works of Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain for about $6. Boat is pristine within the scope of my understanding of that term.

Have entered a period of decompression after a day and a half without visual contact with any long-time friends. 'Long-time' meaning as much as six weeks. A very, very long time ago. That was like, February of 2009 and this is like, the middle of April. Dude!

Will now be off the boat for at least three days, but quell that hopeful anticipation. Messages are possible using the internet via Airmail's telnet service. I know no mercy. No, no. Then again, might be too lazy. Mercy!

Must stop now to pack for temporary transition to dirt dwelling as Liz and I explore Puerto Rico from a hotel in Old San Juan. Fear runs rampant. Motionless beds are scary. Are they dead or just lying in wait until their victims are asleep?


A Clear Reach to Paradise
04/13/2009, Isleta, PR

April 13

Despite wonderfulness of Greater Antilles, have missed two phenomena. Tasted both today. Observed, through sparkling clear water, anchor break free of sandy bottom at weighing (about 45 lbs.), then quietly proceeded from Pineros to Isleta (discovering, in so doing, use for big stick sprouting from deck besides, of course, humiliating stink-potters). Beautiful, occasionally spectacular, the big islands are generally shored with mangroves, mud and murk. Easting confronts wall of prevailing wind and current. Anticipate minimum such impediments to utopian existence, henceforth.

Ferried across from anchorage at Cayo Obispo, then publicoed (have bad habit of verbiating nouns... also inventing words) into greater Fajardo (port at Fa-HAR-doe is Puerto Real) to search for hatch (no) and solar panel (si) braces at West Marine. Panel support was swept away on passage to Provo, wimpy hatch strut broke. Big city. That aggravation will also mostly join muck and motoring.

Late afternoon dinghy ride to explore adjacent shore and resident marinas for possible restaurant/bar negligibly productive unless eating a slice of pizza with diet Snapple from ferry terminal snack bar tinkles your ding-dong. Guessing Easter Monday not party night in Puerto Real.

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it."
- Groucho Marx

Will remain here, rather than stage from Culebra, for Liz's arrival, Wednesday, to avoid potential ferry misconnect. Confidence shaken by rumor and observation. Will subject wife to 18 NM sailboat ride instead. Spousal inducement to extend visit to St. Thomas is tentative arrival of good friends Pat & Sue. Good friends Morrie & Suzanne delayed due to misfortune of gainful employment.


Slow, More Sensual
04/12/2009, Isla Pineros, PR

April 12

Easy day got extended. First potential stop too soon, second, Palmas del Mar, recently prohibited anchoring. At this point, figured to just go tomorrow's leg too as friends were here, so had an 11 1/2 hr. day starting at 0330. Took longer than necessary trying to sail in fluky conditions, but had first engineless segments since Mona. Made nap nap then choked down white wine with nachos and nuts on their boat. After minimum sleep last night (plus cheap swill) feeling too blurry for extended monologue.

Probably anchor off Cayo Obispo (Isleta Marina) near Fajardo, 6 NM north, tomorrow, then sail 20 or so to Culebra, Tuesday. Isla Pineros, current locale, is shortcut for many-horsed power boats enjoying warp speed within rock throwing distance, creating impressive wakes. Suspect these guys, who are said to extend their masculinity with ever larger engines, are secretly jealous of sail boaters, whose masts are monuments to potency.

As it is now time to vegetate for as long as possible, will leave you with this comment:

"Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana."
- Groucho Marx

Someone will miss the profundity. Email for explanation.


Wicked AND Disagreeable
04/11/2009, Salinas, PR

April 11

Actually engaged in productive activity, today. Ummmmm... Oh yeah, refilled gas can and inserted resistors (purchased before leaving CONUS) in compass circuit to dim frightfully bright light that blinded night sight.

Good easting tomorrow and Monday with trades lighter than usual. Anticipate 0400 departure from Salinas to make 35 NM sail around Punta Tuna to Palmas del Mar. Isla Pineros or Isla Palominos Monday to stage for 18 NM beat to Culebra Tuesday. 0630 ferry Wednesday from there to Fajardo, shuttle at 0815 to Marina del Rey for rental car by 0900 and drive to SJU to pick up Liz around 1030. Car, hotel and ferry are arranged. This level of planning is wicked, disagreeable (nearly unique situation as
wicked is usually quite agreeable) and should never be allowed in the islands.

Cleanup after three months without feminine restraint will also be evil and unpleasant. Feral dust bunnies have become vicious, making recapture difficult and dangerous.

Desiring internet this afternoon, patronized closest establishment with that service for a traditional Puerto Rican dinner: Brat, sauerkraut and a Heineken. By the way, (*stereotype alert*) did you hear about the new fusion cuisine, Chinese/German. Tastes great, but an hour later you're hungry for power. Ach du liber! (don't know the meaning of that, but it sure sounds appropriate).

Must now obtain snoozeage. Ta!


Idle Hands
04/10/2009, Salinas, PR

April 10

Another ghastly day in paradise, but still unable to sustain any vestige of dissatisfaction as mouth corners creep upward despite best effort to frown.

After breakfasting, while stinky sheets rinsed, took Inspiration Ladys on drive into mountains with tail end of rental car time. Had to divert for Good Friday procession of disciples flagellating themselves with knotted rope. They hurt themselves to thus prove their piety. This should not to be confused with flatulating that is enjoyable and comforting, and tends more to abuse those nearby.

Planning for nothing to do is dangerous as with nothing to, did nothing. Idle hands are the devil's playground. Found myself at the marina bar at 1430 drinking beer with friends then migrating to Anthem for sundowners with additional wastrels until 2130 (equivalent to the wee hours in dirt-dweller time). Blew off any useful endeavor at this time and went to bed.


Salinas Sojourn
04/09/2009, Salinas, PR

April 9

Liz, returned this afternoon from visit to Melissa in Twin Cities, to wait until Wednesday for flight here, allowing sit in Salinas until wind eases Saturday or Sunday. New favorite place on earth, yet again.

Ken, of dismasted Annie II fame and triple citizenship (British, Canadian and St. Lucian), is building a house in St. Lucia requiring his immediate attention, so I drove him to SJU airport around noon for possible month away (wife, already there, says two). Cheapest alternative was renting for less than 1/3 cost of taxi, generating free car until 1100 tomorrow for me. Left Tanzer 26 on anchor to languish until his return when two potential rigs (spars, stays and shrouds) may be available.

Despite innate sloth (do you think the three-toed mammals are offended by pejorative use of their name? Rumor is that two-toed variety are completely indifferent) and reprieve with new underwear, washed clothes at convenient and inexpensive marina laundry before drive north. Tomorrow, intend to rewash sheets from Luperon due to gagging detergent smell. Mistaken that odor would ameliorate with time. Otherwise expect to have a good Good Friday filled with naught but leisure.

Late dinner, with amigos, of whole snapper fixed with Salinas' specialty, mojo sauce. Oh, baby! (not what you think Pam). $12.50 with mofongo (mashed plantain with garlic and... stuff) and vegetables.

Now it's late, I'm wiped after grueling day in air conditioned car and clean sheets adorn soft, inviting cradle, so buenos noches.


Let Me Count the Ways
04/08/2009, Salinas, PR

April 8

Have come perilously close to running out of clean underwear, so did what any reasonable single-hander would, bought more. Should probably wash eventually, dirty clothes bag being one limiting factor, but no sense asking for trouble.

Unusual NNE wind after departure from Ponce (you're not thinking PONE-say, are you?) at 0430 allowed some sailing in gentle swell to Salinas, new favorite place on earth so far. Breakfasted with four friends at marina snack bar on banyon canopied, outside deck overlooking about 40 anchored sailboats in this well protected small harbor. May risk getting hammered on Friday if the wind picks up as forecast, but thinking to stay an extra day. A place like this justifies north coast DR slog. Best and worst.

Mike & Barb on Astarte asea from Grand Turk, ETA Mayaguez this evening, avoiding Hispaniola. Should catch up by Culebra.

Casual readers of this journal might have inferred that cruise thus far was a delightful journey of discovery and adventure, but... OK, it actually has been way, way fun, but now expect to add a 'way' or two.

Liz arriving San Juan airport, Monday, for several day visit. Looking forward to her company into USVI after exploring PR and Culebra. Friends, Morrie & Suzanne, to meet us in Charlotte Amalie; will make open water dives to finish PADI SCUBA certification. Unrestrained hijinks to ensue.


Genial Gesticulation
04/07/2009, Ponce, PR

Walmart Special

April 7

Rented a car yesterday afternoon with two couples and subsequently became intimately familiar with back streets all over south Ponce trying to extricate ourselves from back streets all over south Ponce. Eventually located a Walmart where one couple's acquisitive bent completely filled dinghy to gunwales sans occupants. There are pictures.

Surprised at great number of Puerto Ricans who speak no English. Usually managed to communicate via Spanglish and universal hand gestures (no, not those as we are trying to make friends), but still experienced failure to find Chinese restaurant, lusted after by one of our group, until 1930. Eventually settled for Chinese-ish place with McDonalds level decor. Food was good, but came with French fries?

Walked around Centro Ponce all morning. Mannequins along the street gave an indication where sexual emphasis lies as all were waist down and turned backward. Rows and rows of tight little butterbeans. Very small import given to flat tummies. Even young women have a bulge of loose adipose tissue jiggling around their navels. Suspect empanadillas (traditional breakfast deep fried meat pie) as the reason.

Due to weather, will now skip Isla Caja de Muertos (Coffin Island) to land Salinas tomorrow morning after 0500 start. Wind kicking up Thursday afternoon increases incentive for continued eastward march to assure Puerto del Rey near Fajardo and retrieval of Liz from the delights of San Juan Airport Monday morning.


Jackson's Marauders
04/06/2009, Ponce, PR

April 6

Yesterday, after arrival, dinked in to find reported restaurant. At only building ashore, was accosted by round, androgynous guard demanding immediate departure unless buying something. It seemed, however, a bit vague as to what was available. E & E'd around personality challenged Maginot Line to enjoy plate heaped with lunch for $2.99, beer $1. Should mention, here, that recent descriptions of two grumpy individuals only due to marked contrast to most.

This morning, seas were up by 0600 to make slog to Ponce bouncy, rolly and slower, but, nevertheless, arrived on the Yacht and Fishing Club fuel dock around 0900, where a swarm of customs agents were milling about someone else's boat.

Fortunately, this same dock was undefended in 1996 for an alleged midnight raid by undocumented delivery crew purportedly consisting of Capt. Jackson, Fitz, Angela, Birky and myself. After pounding into the wind and sea for 4 1/2 days from Provo to abeam Ponce en route to Roosevelt Roads Navy Base, in a leaky, stinky, nasty O'Day 39, with fuel nearly gone, attempted, all day, to sail against trade winds and adverse current. Achieved three NM in three times that many hours before deciding to steal ashore. Priorities were fuel, beer and food, not necessarily in that order for all crew (Fitz). Responsible individuals went for diesel, other individuals, who shall remain nameless (oops, too late), because Capt. allowed no libation aboard, went for beer and at least one, due to a prom in progress, enjoyed an epiphany of cleavage in quantity and quality not seen in the U.S. since women's liberation made it declasse decades earlier.


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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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