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Anthem Adrift
Just Add Detergent
05/11/2009, St. Martin

May 11

Boy did that suck and glad to be here. Lumpy trip became brutal last 15 NM when unable to find anyone to turn off washing machine creating vertical 3 to 6 foot waves with boat length interval. Diverted to later opening Dutch bridge after slamming to a crawl then heaving to for feral fuel cans and dinghy which had shaken loose and gone wild. Stopped earlier to temporarily reattach broken alternator field wire. Anchored on French side of lagoon, per local knowledge, for clearance into island, $8 total.

Afterward: Two hour nap, Lagoon Marina (actually a bar on Dutch side), Fai Wong Chinese Restaurant, more Lagoon Marina, then abed early to prepare for local bus tour of island, including nude beach, with Inspiration Ladys tomorrow morning. Tentatively plan a week in what promises to be new favorite place on earth.

Jack

Wine and Naked Women
05/10/2009, En Route to St. Martin

May 10

Grabbed rental car, a plucky little Suzuki Gran Vitara, at 0800 for tricky drive to Spanish Town for clearance out of BVI and tour of island. Roads are steep and switch-backed up and down the side of 1359 foot Virgin Peak.

Immigration showed at 0830, customs at 0900 and cashier at 1000. Dallied over good $5 breakfast at nearby New Dixie Cafe, then paid departure fee of $5.16 and was free to go exploring.

Was dismayed to see a sign reading "DIP". As you can imagine, was highly incensed, but shortly thereafter, when car stopped bouncing, realized that, since no one knew I was coming, it probably referred to someone else.

Also noticed liberal use of speed bumps all over the island (almost exclusively on roads). Not the moon launch kind, but effective nonetheless. Apparently, Virgin Gordians have lead feet and now, presumably, bad suspensions. Vast majority of vehicles were small SUVs. Suppose the cliffside roads and velocity inhibitors encourage small, sturdy vehicles.

Once flew into V.G. airport in a Twin Otter en route from Tortola to St. Thomas. Pleased to report that, unlike Beef Island airport previously described, this one has been unravaged by progress.

At southeast end is Copper Mine Point, sight of (you guessed, didn't you?) a former copper mine and smelt (having no relation to fish or disagreeable olfactory input, such as for example, "That rotting fish, smelt?", but rather to making copper do things that it ordinarily wouldn't).

As Sol sets behind Virgin Peak on the horizon, Night Hawk ahead, somewhere, and Emily Grace and Bristol Rose astern, somewhere, Anthem plows noisily ahead under staysail and double reefed main in sloppy five foot seas about ten degrees off rhumb. Discomfort is modest and so is progress, but the lure of St. Martin draws me on... you know, the bread and cheese.

Jack

Conundrum Solved Too Late
05/09/2009, North Sound, Virgin Gorda

May 9

Stay - too short or too long? Tomorrow may be window for move to St. Martin, not to be repeated in foreseeable future. Once had a high school teacher who enjoyed saying, "When in doubt, don't". He probably never had any fun. Still and all, was leaning toward staying until next chance, so screwed around all morning at the airport and gave meaning to existence of breakfast cook at De Loose Mongoose. Return to boat at 1130 was occasion for all available data to coalesce into realization that 10 more days in BVI was some too many. Davited dinghy and took off for check-out and fuel dock at Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda with thoughts of staging to Anegada. Plan collapsed due customs closing at 1230 on Saturday and Sunday. Dang! Could probably have checked out at airport. Dang! Did get fuel, then had good sail right to anchorage west of Prickly Pear Island in North Sound. Apprised that taxi back to customs is $48. Dang! Rented a car for little more allowing some exploration before weighing anchor (doggedly remains around 45 lbs) tomorrow afternoon for night sail in company with Night Hawk to Marigot Bay, St. Martin - wine, cheese, bread, naked women.

Bitter End Yacht Club, favorite place of Pat & Sue - sailor friends, was virtually deserted. Even penned sharks at the dinghy dock have bailed. Numerous boats in harbor. Hint of possible answer, $8.75 drinks, $15 hamburgers. Leverick Bay is perkier. Less extortionate?

Useless tidbit for the day: Informed by Danno yesterday that plural for mongoose here is not mongooses or mongeese, but mongoose dem. Those wacky islander dem.

Jack

Eschew, a Real Word
05/08/2009, TrellisBay

Beef Island Airport

May 8

Dawn cracked without me, but still managed to depart anchorage by 0700 for 0930 arrival at Trellis Bay. Talk about locusts. Anthem looked like the ball in a pachinka machine (without collision noises) motoring through to find, perhaps, the last open anchoring location in harbor. Night Hawk picked up one of last moorings several minutes later. After a gigantic omelet at De Loose Mongoose, discussed state of the world with Danno and Captain Bill who were quaffing beers on the outside bar at 1030, getting a leg up on tonight's festivities, no doubt.

Mission for tomorrow, check out Beef Island airport, short stroll from dock. Last perusal around 15 years ago revealed a shack. New terminal looks like small O'Hare. Recent charter rates probably responsible for upgrade. Check moorings.com to see, as our last charter week in BVI was $1200.

Despite poor wifi and congenital laziness, have finished, kinda/sorta, assembling web site. If desirous of seeing beta version, try www.sailblogs.com/member/anthem. Will eventually check for more user-friendly address. Will, also, eventually offer option to eschew (great word) emails for non-intrusive, self-directed updates on voyage.

Full moon party was well attended with gazillion boats in harbor. Great time with gazillion participants, times three or four on average. May succumb to cruiser's bane, however, early sleepage (not a real word) with commensurate early riseage (ditto ref. real wordage (also, not a real word). (New web site goes nuts at symbol indicating arrow, so will dispense with (eschew) that usage, henceforth)). OK, who counted the parentheses? Liar, liar pants on fire.

Jack

PS Have found that latest efforts have not created chuckle for which this effort is intended. Seems like quality has waned. Solicit input as to reception by abused, albeit willing, recipients.

Picture Postcard
05/07/2009, Cane Garden Bay

Arundel Distillery

May 7

Just erased entire message. No recovery. Golly gee whiz or words to that effect. Perhaps this will teach a lesson about saving work... nahhh!

Anegada not happening today. Weather OK, just not inspired. Siren song of the "Drowned Island" apparently didn't get this far as Night Hawks still here, too. Dinked ashore to beautiful little place, Myett's Garden Inn and Grille, for breakfast. Palm framed, postcard view over pristine sand beach to a mast-filled lagoon with Jost van Dyke in the background. Thought to go somewhere in Sir Francis Drake Channel to stage for the shindig tomorrow or just stay here.

Waitress placed coffee on wrong side, then apologized when it was moved, like she should read minds. Could have explained that what I'm thinking is a secret to me, too.

Flagged down Ray & Jenna as they walked along the shore and we sat long enough to have lunch. Watched a troupe of medium-bodied, short-legged dogs cavorting up and down the shore like Shriner's at a convention without the tiny motorcycles. Said mean things about power and bare-boaters. Complimented our own superior natures. 'Just stay here' alternative slowly lost it's optional status.

Later, walked to small rum distillery that probably looked the same a hundred years ago. Have picures and some product. The dark rum is a half step above MD 20/20; pineapple wine not as good.

Cane Garden Bay new favorite place on earth. Hate to depart (O dark hundred to assure anchor spot in Trellis Bay for party), but must go on to bigger, better? and possibly more imprudent adventures.

Jack

Locusts
05/06/2009, Cane Garden Bay, Tortola

May 6

Backwinded boats were floating all around anchors and moorings this morning, so bailed out early. Vacillating breeze soon made up it's mind, making beat toward next anchorage an escapade. Apparent wind 18 gusting 28. Double-reefed main, staysail and a bit of yankee kept the lee rail above water, but cost a knot from hull speed.

Arrived Cane Garden Bay early enough that overnighters were just leaving and new group had yet to arrive. Beautiful location. White beaches fronting palm trees and cool bars. It's not called paradise for nothing. Spent day working on web site and reading. Late afternoon explored the several beach bars, diet coke in hand, and bought cereal and lemons. Bar band will entertain (or aggravate) on the boat tonight. Night Hawk thinking to go Anegada tomorrow before Trellis Bay Friday. May do likewise if forecast amenable. Four hour trip out and three back if wind stays south of east.

If charter business slow, hate to be here when not - bareboaters like locusts. Many crewed boats, too.

After diving on anchor yesterday (for the landlocked, this is to confirm a good set), used drywall knife without gloves to scrape more shells from hull. Bad idea. Barnacle cuts tend to fester (not to be confused with character on Gunsmoke) and can't stay dry on a boat. Let that be a lesson... Nahhhhh!

Jack

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