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Anthem Adrift
Yo Comprendo
04/24/2009, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

April 24

Passage conditions to Charlotte Amalie as expected, confused five foot, short period sea with ENE wind at fifteen. Yesterday better, but enjoyed additional night in Culebra. Crew moved to cockpit shortly after 0400 departure, when sea berth proved too stuffy, and did well until engine lost enthusiasm for continued operation. Different motion of close reach while maintenance personnel drained stinky fuel and replaced Racor filter was poorly received by gastric system. Re-motivated power plant soon delivered all concerned into smoother water approaching downwind side of St. Thomas.

Currently anchored off Yacht Haven Marina, Long Bay, east end of St. Thomas Harbour. Morning travail was followed by nappy time for all hands, delaying exploration of surroundings. Wind descending from hills into anchorage vacillates between five and twenty knots, but proximity to land keeps dinghy dry for short shuttle to shore.

Included all three daily meals at Shipwreck Tavern with a rare burger (Friday is half price for that culinary delight) then cruised shopping mall mostly closed due no cruise ships in town. Recently completed marina very up-scale with stores to match (Rodeo Drive by the bay) that must be passed in exiting to "cheap" stores. Booze and gold are, in fact, reasonable. Interesting experience to understand answer when asking questions in local dialect. There is broadcast television - mixed, to negative, blessing.

Tentative idea to abuse happy hour with friends and friends of friends at local hangout eschewed. Nappy time to recommence early this evening.

Jack


Doing Good Is Its Own Reward
04/23/2009, Culebra

April 23

Yet another long, easy breakfast at the Dinghy Dock advanced our efforts to be totally unproductive for as long as possible, but unfortunately the shower sump vented loop required cleaning to avoid a siphon induced flood. Reverted immediately following goo removal.

Afternoon snorkeling with Mike & Barb substantially avoided devastation of very nice reef. First use of new dinghy entry ladder met with marginal success as depth adjustment seems critical. Further refinement of technic anticipated.

Early dinner of previously uneaten hog parts and mashed potato patties with a typically succulent salad aboat will be followed by endeavor, with Astarte crew, to aid Culebra bar economy. Newly arrived couple with whom I attended Captain's school last year may contribute to this selfless work. Way early departure, tomorrow, will require a dedicated effort to achieve appropriate good before retiring. Confidence runs high for success.

Jack


Leisure Again?
04/22/2009, Culebra

April 22

Leisurely breakfast at Mamacita's (what's with this leisurely thing. Criminy, don't you do productive stuff anymore?) after which we shopped and sent out snail mail postcards to family. Finally left anchorage late mid-early afternoon to a mooring behind Dakity Reef for snorkeling and early start, AM, for St. Thomas. Best laid plans... Mike and Barb showed up in Culebra and, since Friday is possibly better day for beat to Charlotte Amalie, decided to return previous anchorage, near them, for fun and frolic. Frolic somewhat curtailed by their necessity to retrieve sleep lost in early departure from rolly, noisy Monkey Island layover. Plan snorkeling tomorrow at better places as revealed by buddy on "Buddy", John, who is familiar and imparted local knowledge.

Culebra is new favorite place on earth so far, plus close to full-service Fajardo, a $2.25, 1 1/2 hour ferry ride away.

Silver lining of motoring out and back was warm shower tonight. Some crew pleased. Some crew, although accustomed to invigorating ambient temperature, enjoyed more balmy experience.

Muse has abused various mind altering concoctions and fallen asleep on the sole, achieving a state of profound ataxia, so will stop the nonsense and go to bed. May or may not perform keyboard manipulations, tomorrow, depending on state of previously mentioned entity.

Jack


Singing in the Rigging
04/21/2009, Culebra

April 20

Official song for the cruise is a piece by Guinness (who I listen to regularly, Bud). Refrain includes minor modification:

I'm a rambler and a gambler. I'm a long way from home
And if you don't like me just leave me alone.
I'll eat when I'm hungry. I'll drink when I'm dry
And if the rum drinks don't kill me I'll live 'till I die.

Curiosity reference forecast wind increase has been relieved. Now whistling through standing rig, making wind generator happy and trapping boat and crew in Ensenada Honda. Late start to day due excessive deposit from sandman - Goofy and Daffy, but not Grumpy. Day two of negligible ambulation. Hoping to bank rest for looming five hour trek to USVI.

April 21

Spent all day confirming suspicion that traversing San Juan from east to west and back is completely impossible. Eventually got to Arecibo to discover that telescope and caves are closed on Tuesday. Three hours of ferry and extra charge car rental eventually vindicated by El Yunque, purchase of bunny taming Swiffer and humongous sparerib dinner. Returned to boat after cerveza at Mamacita's, where dinghy spent quiet day communing with nearby red mangrove.

Lusty weather to continue until next Tuesday, but may attempt St. Thomas Thursday or Friday with slight easing. Crew exhibiting tepid response to tentative plan.

Jack


Leisure
04/19/2009, Culebra

April 19

Enjoyed leisurely breakfast with friends from Night Hawk at Mamacita's, then leisurely dinghy ride to ferry dock for schedule, then leisurely day on the boat reading. Well hey, it was Sunday. After dinner played dominoes in the cockpit with Night Hawks. Nobody was much interested, so just sat and shot guano.

Culebra (means snake in Spanish for it's shape) is about 7 miles by 3 and has 15 separate car rentals listed in the cruising guide? Thinking to rent bikes Monday, but competition may drive down driving cost. Tuesday plan is to brave ferry to Fajardo for tour of El Yunque and/or Arecibo; Wednesday move to reef for snorkeling; Thursday, with cooperative weather, sail to St. Thomas. Again, way too much planning.

For those living in sin and wanting a more legally punitive relationship, spurn Reno for Culebra. Contact Sandy at www.weddingsinculebra.com to "set up a free consultation". They also do Vieques.

After today's somewhat dry message will leave you with a deep thought.
"Honesty may be the best policy, but it's important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy." - George Carlin. This quote is unrelated to previous paragraph as far as you know.

Jack


Do We Like Dewey?
04/18/2009, Culebra

April 18

Returned car, ate desayuno at Isleta and hit the road to Culebra before onset of pesky high trade winds tomorrow. May or may not return via ferry to visit El Yunque, Arecibo radio telescope, etc. Future activity depends on persistence of roughage (

Light Up Your Life
04/17/2009, Isleta Marina, PR

April 17

One thing missed while living afloat is a full flow shower. Unfortunately, in the hotel, couldn't stay under the water for complete satiety as Liz wanted to use that twelve hours to explore Old San Juan. Barely able to prune before yielding to pressure.

Puerto Rican women tend toward very tight clothes. Except for cleavage, as previously discussed, this is only rarely sexy.

Kayaked into a bioluminescent bay just north of Fajardo last evening. Never seen anything to match. Any disturbance of the water made it glow like... ummm... well, never seen anything to match. Paddle strokes were luminous. Transparent bottom (not yours) streaked with light as you made way. Hitting the gunwale made shrimp and minnows light up as they were startled. No swimming here, but bays at La Parguera and Vieques allow. That would be a trip from the 70s.

Unable to keep up with scribbling as entertaining guest mops up time used for ruminating. Your anguish at this loss of erudition is palpable. I feel your pain. Will attempt to think at unaccustomed times, for example when sober, in which case entertainment value likely to wane.

Jack


Beat Feet
04/16/2009, Isleta, PR

April 16

Drive into Old San Juan, yesterday, a real treat on tax day. Local tax office generated massive traffic moving very slowly. It was like bumper cars without collisions, total chaos in molasses.

Hoofed Old San Juan from end to end. Pretty neat place. Castillo San Felipe del Morro, guarding entrance to San Juan Harbor is very impressive. Couple of big floaters disgorged their touristas to rape and pillage souvenir shops that, if you didn't read, couldn't be distinguished from ones on St. Pete Beach. Most of these folks were what was once called young upwardly-mobile professionals (YUPpies). Was one myself, but have now become poor outwardly-mobile old person (POOPie... oh... ahem). Well, let's just say I'm a terminally useless retired dude.

Dinner at a local's place away from bustle at about 1/4 cost of night before. Retrieved posh ambiance walking back by high dollar establishments, then had drinks at best place found, Barrachina. Great spot for dinner, too. Not so pricey. Beam over some afternoon as soon as the Air Force releases that Area 54 technology.

May do El Yunque rain forest tomorrow, then begin staging from boat. Saturday looks like easy, calm day for motor to Culebra.

Jack


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.

Jack


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?

Jack


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