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Anthem Adrift
Re-Gassed
04/27/2009, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

April 27

Set out at 0900 to replenish depleted gas. No, not what you think, it was propane. Abundant supply of other is mostly useless for cooking without some contortion and extreme caution. Hundred mile trek (possible slight exaggeration) across two harbors to St. Thomas Gas was more fun outbound than against 20 knots on upwind return.

Later, we rode the tram up to Paradise Peak for spectacular view of St. Thomas Harbour and the most beautiful boat at anchor, a Cabo Rico cutter... well shiver me timbers, that could be Anthem. Paid $1000 (possible slight exaggeration) for virgin strawberry daiquiri and local Island Summer Ale (brewed in Maine). Still and all, an agreeable afternoon. Between us, choked down eleven tacos and 3 rum punches at Wikked happy hour before returning to boat pleasantly mellow.

If able to rent a car (V.I. Carnival has attenuated supplies) will tour island tomorrow evening and Wednesday morning before seeing Liz off on 1445 Delta flight to Atlanta. Further plans murky. May stay in area a few days for boat-related activity, then sail St. John, St. Croix (the Danish were heavily into saints, apparently) and BVI before overnight to St. Martin. (Caribbean is eat up with saints. At that time in history, a primary activity seems to have been converting or killing all the non-Christian indigenous population. Well, that and taking all the gold)

Jack


Cheap and Muted
04/26/2009, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

April 26

Two Big Ugly Tourist Transporters (all adjectives refer to boat - tourists are mostly not that ugly) were at dock this morning causing all shops to be open and in aggressive pursuit of passers by (even the small attractive ones). We E & Eed around the hordes to find a Pueblo supermarket and K-Mart for minor purchases. That and refilling dinghy gas tank was extent of productive activity by late afternoon. Hope to engage in revelry ashore, later. Still hoping for world peace, as well.

Have actually begun a web page/blog. Should be ready for publication in a year or two, possibly earlier. Will advise.

- Later

Wandered around county fair rides, pricey food kiosks and loud music loving crowds for awhile, then retired to Wikked for a bushwacker and "Fun With Dick and Jane" on the telly. Raucous partying and tympanic membrane puncturing music was never a preferred environment. Plan for tomorrow's dinner at Carnival sites under review. Inclination toward aforementioned establishment with happy hour taco, rum and beer specials is escalating. Quite, frugal dissipation is a more comfortable milieu.

Jack


Say What?
04/25/2009, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

April 25

Didn't expect to like Charlotte Amalie very much, but am pleasantly surprised. Last time here was about 1980 and the place has been cleaned up. Also, locals speak English. (By the way, has anyone noticed that the English, who invented the language, have apparently developed a very peculiar accent? I can't believe they get even little children to do it) Of course, this means that all the effort to become proficient with Spanish, all thirteen words, is now wasted. It's very discouraging. Even worse, there are islands farther south were people speak yet a third language. Man, this cruising thing is getting way complicated.

This week is carnival in St. Thomas - music, food and products from all of Caribbean plus general mayhem. Main effect for us so far is music blaring into V-berth hatch (that's bedroom window for the nautically challenged) until 3AM or so. This is less a problem than usual as nightly squalls often keep deck holes closed. Rain awning experiment tonight may be mixed blessing.

First Cabo Rico seen since US is anchored near us, owned by friendly Australian couple (haven't really mastered English yet either) who are headed to Oriental, NC to lay it, Jabiru, up for summer, then decamping Down Under to feed cruising kitty for next season.

Out of propane, so borrowed tank from Night Hawk until Monday refill. Now obliged to make breakfast in situ tomorrow. The sacrifices one makes!

Jack


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


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