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Anthem Adrift
Buckets and Barnacles
05/02/2009, Solomon Bay, St. John

May 2

Red Hook status tumbles after rocky night in outer bay and dunking of Treo PDA during egress at dinghy dock. Disassembled, soaked in distilled water and dried pricey electronics in warm oven, probably to little avail (haven't tried crank-up yet), so purchased cheapest replacement unit.

Coral World Marine Park and Aquarium, just OK. Worth a look, but don't put it on your bucket list. Dollar ride for phone and fish on local's safari bus was most interesting part of day.

Accomplished afternoon motor across narrow channel to Solomon Bay on St. John for second rocky evening, but wanted to visit nearby Cruz Bay, another great little spot worth return visit. Indeed, may do so tomorrow for breakfast before searching out a calm (he said hopefully) anchorage, probably either Francis or Leinster Bay. Never found friends from Rum Cay, Richard and Terry on "Sea Wolf", moving crewed charter operation on their cat from Bahamas to Red Hook.

Maximum engine RPM is low due, most likely, to crustacea adhering to prop. Restorative dive tomorrow before eggs and bacon a possibility. The few malefactors befouling forward hull will also be 'whacked'. CIA doesn't know what real 'wet work' is.

Jack


How Much Fun Can It Be?
05/01/2009, Red Hook, St. Thomas

May 1

Re-pulleyed alternator and Clorox (yes, sweetheart, I bought some) in hand, proceeded to fantastic looking yacht (Oh, that's right, it's mine) for purpose of departure from Long Bay to experience new adventures. Charlotte Amalie exceeded expectations, but it's time to go. Would enjoy encore sometime.

Shortly after weighing anchor (remains approximately 45 pounds) experienced an amazing event. Those white fabric things located in various locations above deck can actually create forward motion, precluding operation of noisy diesel thing. Who knew? Somebody should patent the concept. They'd make a mint.

Sailed most of distance from Long Bay to Red Hook, east end of St. Thomas, new favorite place on the planet - beautiful view, clear water and great bars. The wine better be superb in St. Martin or I'm coming back here.

Considering staying one more day (having nothing to do with great bars) to visit nearby Coral World Marine Park before bidding fond farewell to St. Thomas.

Hate to admit actual over-indulgence, but 'tonight's the night' (ask Pat about that story). Had great time with new best friends in more than one bar, so am not in most coherent condition. Ambulation early tomorrow could be more challenging than normal, so may delay breakfast at Molly Malone's until late, mid-morning (ish).

Hope everyone is having as much fun as me (without morning after, of course).

Jack


J'ouvert
04/30/2009, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

April 30

J'ouvert (jouvay) (a drunken morning, starting at 0400, of parading around Charlotte Amalie in support of really loud bands) tossed sand into the gears of commerce, cutting off path from dinghy dock to alternator shop which was closed and closing other establishments. Some things re-opened afternoon including most important machine shop. Initially couldn't get to my project until Saturday, but persistence and pitiful puppy-dog look paid off.

Had planned to piss and moan about thwarting of grand scheme for departing St. Thomas Harbour, but new alternator is working, old alternator to be retrieved on May Fool's Day and, anyway, my attention span isn't that long.

Had dinner with fellow who originally varnished Anthem's teak in Tierra Verde two years ago, recognized me having breakfast at Crown Bay and is now running crewed charters on his 47 Beneteau. Business, a tad slow right now.

Long day. Early night. Ta.

Jack


Wasted
04/29/2009, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

April 29

The Liz induced two week relief from boat maintenance has come to an unpleasant, but typical end. Simple project became labyrinth of Minotaurs. Homer might not be impressed, but hey, he's dead, Theseus was probably a wimp and this project, like many, has turned into an interminable Odyssey. Simple switch of alternator reveals that promised "exact replacement" was slightly errant. (The expression "liar, liar pants on fire" is inappropriate for a high toned weblog such as this) Will not expound sleep-inducing details, but stud size (not what some of you think, Amy), jury rigged wiring and a machine shop are involved.

Retreated from field of battle about 1830 to feed the army of one a fantastic grouper dinner at Hook, Line and Sinker in Frenchtown (notwithstanding, pretty sure everyone spoke a version of English) and to abuse a number of rum punches (bartender at said establishment, a fine human being, supplied one such concoction gratis). Met a vociferous former Navy/American Airline/corporate pilot who contributed to wasted, but interesting evening.

Will make some effort to arise before noon to locate previously implied technician for creation of alternator adjuster part to make previously mentioned equipment more useful than as ballast.

Jack

PS In the interest of clarity, not normally a high priority, if any above is too abstruse (e.g. mixing of ancient legend and literature), please contact with suggestion to be considered while uninfluenced by previously mentioned imbibation (

Grisly Business
04/28/2009, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

St. Thomas Harbour

April 28

Fruitlessly struggled to give someone, anyone a large amount of money to rent a car. Instead paid for a tour of the island with two other couples - diverse, fun group. Driver Dennis made tour guide noises and returned us to starting point unscathed by the thousand other tours clogging roads around hot locations. Magnificent views from 1547' peak to Puerto Rico, west and Tortola, east. St. Thomas Harbour view was postcard perfect, even including three absolutely identical thousand foot Carnival ships, nose to tail, Freedom, Liberty and Glory. Missed Justice.

A large black pirate-ship-looking schooner is anchored off the Charlotte Amalie quay that looks to be for charter. "Hello, my name is Jack and I'll be flogging you today. Roger will be handling keel-hauling and Maurice has plank duty. Grog and wenching promptly at 1930 in the orlop."

Relocated Anthem farther out this afternoon to move 100 dB, 2 AM music from forward deck back to shore. Nice background when not shivering timbers and rattling ratlines.

With Liz leaving tomorrow, will again plunge into the grisly business of boat maintenance. Removed, after a luscious meal of every leftover in frig. and customary masterful salad, the old, temporarily fixed alternator. Plan to rebuild, swap double pulley to new unit and install that, using old for spare. Shop in town opens at 0700. Owner promises completion tomorrow before renouncing work for duration of Carnival. Hope to return from airport, 1445 flight, before renunciation commences.

Jack


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


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