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Anthem Adrift
Responsible Avoidance
05/14/2009, St. Martin

May 14

Successful check-out will result (he said hopefully) in delivery, tomorrow, of new wifi system. Demonstrated better distance and stability expected to close the circle on perfect existence. Well... pretty close. Anybody want a slightly used long-range, marine, internet set-up that supposedly works well with Windows? Cheap?

Have religiously mixed Stabil with outboard gas resulting(?) in perfect operation until last tank at which point engine began idling and starting poorly. Coincidence or a message from God? Have now added appeasement dose. Sufficient to avoid wrath of Poseidon? The future awaits.

*Gravitas alert* Colregs are the maritime regulations for collision avoidance. There are no rights. Stand-on and burdened vessels each have responsibilities and, except in extreme circumstances, both are faulted by contact. The rules do not exist to give anyone power over another, but rather to facilitate felicitous coexistence. The concept translates well into all human interaction. We change the right to be left peaceably alone into a 'right' to virtually anything at someone else's expense at our, and our civilization's, peril. Whoa, dude. Way heavy. Uno mas cerveza, pour favor... oops, wrong country. Pardonez moi, s'il vous plait.

Trip to Philipsburg, Sint Maarten tomorrow? Trip to Anguilla Saturday/Sunday? Vegetate in European paradise until forced to beat feet to Trinidad? Will consider at later time... or possibly after that.

Jack

Mundanity (a real word)
05/13/2009, St. Martin

May 13

Even extra underwear won't save me sans (that's French, you know) a laundry in near future. Do it yourself at Lagoon Marina for $6 a load or $9 at Bob's Marina for elves to wash, fold and wrap in plastic. Hey! my time is valuable, you know, and besides we can't have little elfin beggars littering the streets of Cole Bay.

Maho Bay is off the approach end of Princess Juliana Airport - just. Fun-seekers (AKA numbskulls) were holding top of fence behind departing jets with feet lifted off the ground. FAA and Homeland Security would have a hissy. Group of us waited for scheduled B747 that either arrived early or canceled. Had fun anyway watching sailboats in adjacent bay, departures and smaller arrivals pass by at 50'. St Bart's beckoned on the horizon. Amstel light and veggie burger at nearby bar were good, conversation was better. Returned to Turtle Pier at 1700, where dinghies were left, for happy hour and cruiser's weekly assemblage. Live music was good, conversation was better.

Have been increasingly aggravated by long-range wifi setup, so finicky to become a nuisance, crashing computer more than working. Talked with a fellow who sells another rig, Wirie, that works, according to him and users, with Mac much better than does the WaveRV currently installed. Mac guy who bought one last week will schlep his over tomorrow for test. May dispense cash for one (which is upgradable and more flexible, but somewhat more cumbersome) and peddle disappointing Radio Labs unit to unsuspecting rube at first opportunity. (Hey, I'm not a bad guy. It works OK with XP!)

Rest of day to be spent (no pun intended) possibly exchanging dinero for various boat bits: boat pole to replace one attacked by wind generator, circuit board for lightning effected and now hinky ST-60 wind instrument, hatch brace, LED bulbs, stuffing box packing, stainless dry-wall tape knife for slaying stowaway barnacles and pineapple juice (not technically a part). Preceding is non- exhaustive list.

Tomorrow's offering will concern the always fascinating Colregs as they relate to the decline and fall of Western civilization... or not.

Jack

PS Too wordy. Sorry.

Chimps Not Allowed
05/12/2009, St. Martin

May 12

The 0930 bus road show to Grand Case (Grahn - lots of nose - Cahs) got underway at 1130, waiting for Gary to not fix his generator. Interesting caper. Inspiration Ladys, Night Hawks and moi (that's French for... oh, heck, everyone knows Miss Piggy) rode local transit to seaside town for stroll along waterfront packed with eateries and lunch of ribs, chicken and various other stuff, then, because it was getting late and Ray and I wanted to check out marine stores on Dutch side of lagoon, $1 bus ride back to Marigot. Eschewed, until another day, Baie Orientale (Orient Bay) where all parts of the anatomy are allowed to live free. Gary was devastated, but capitulated to will of majority.

Noticed a place named Happy Shop. Sounded interesting, but turned out to be misnamed grocery. Would have been happier serving adult beverages.

Budget Marine is impressive and has stores all along Eastern Caribbean. Bought really cool chain markers and scoped out future purchases before being thrown out at 1700 closing, just in time for happy hour at Lagoonies. The two other couples showed shortly thereafter for night of hijinks and not a few $1 Presidentes. Celebrated end of eastward motor-sailing with surprisingly mediocre Punch Cuban cigar purchased in BVI. Ray shared much better Dominican Partegas.

Meandered back to French side of lagoon for imminent shower and extended period of unconsciousness.

Tomorrow's plan includes safari to beach under flight path of B-747 arrivals for indeterminate mischief, then Wednesday night cruiser's gathering at Turtle Pier for continuation of monkey business (no monkey are to be harmed in this endeavor).

Jack

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

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