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Anthem Adrift
Angie Baby
05/17/2009, Gustavia, St. Barts

May 17

Despite earlier reports, Colombier was rolly and Gustavia more calm - probably due to recent imposition of north swell. Discovered when clearing in that moorings (fore and aft) in inner harbor are same price as anchoring awaaaay out there in very full boonyland. Anthem is surrounded by downtown.

Sidewalks were folded up for Sunday, but expect gracious welcome tomorrow... at a price. Small Diet Coke on ice at waterfront bar was 3 Euro, around $4.15. Yowee! Dinner at home tonight, but maybe breakfast ashore after long, restful, cheap night.

Gustavia is small and very prosperous. Looked for Glitterati, but the streets were bare. Really expect to see Brad & Angelina, tomorrow. They must know I'm here. I mean, I have a web site. Perhaps some prior notice would have been prudent in case they're out of internet range in Lower Agriblovia assimilating another child.

Notwithstanding indicated intent to accomplish boat maintenance in lieu of fraternizing with fellow cruiser trash, did bubkis all day. Possibility exists that tomorrow will be more productive unless importuned by someone to jet over to Monte Carlo for an evening of baccarat. Would demur unless proffered by first tier celebrity.

Jack

Progress?
05/16/2009, Anse de Colombier, St. Barts

May 16

Customs opened at 0900, so 1130 bridge was earliest escape from lagoon. Could have reached Statia on one tack, but St. Barts was closer. Nice two-tack beat to St. Barts in moderate seas and good wind (wind speed instrument is kaput, probably delayed result of previous lightning strike. Will fix or replace earliest opportunity). Picked up free mooring #13 in Anse de Colombier, a few miles NW of the capitol, Gustavia. Plan to clear in tomorrow and stay a couple of days until squalls ease on Tuesday.

Plans from then a bit fuzzy. Will either run down through chain that includes Statia, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat or make a 13 to 15 hour passage straight to Antigua. Wind, weather and whim will dictate. Since next season plan includes returning this way, compulsion to visit every island somewhat muted.

Have gotten addicted to socializing since Luperon with minimum boat maintenance resulting. Will try to correct that revolting development here and henceforth (or at least until catching up with more friends). Looking forward to a down day or two to recharge.

Really, really rough estimate for future progress: Guadaloupe last week of May; Dominica first week of June; Martinique second week; St. Lucia third week; St. Vincent and Grenadines end of June; Grenada first week of July.

Jack

Happy Place
05/15/2009, St. Martin

May 15

Johnson outboard is in it's happy place again, so Stabil (ref. yesterday), justified or not, will join 2-cycle oil in every tank. Total laundry bill was $9 to allow another three weeks of non-odorous living. Purchase of pineapple juice and coconut cream for rum allows non-odorous living to be worthwhile.

Philipsburg, with cruise ship in harbor, is livelier than without and yet, not crappy. Had egg, cheese and corned beef hash in johnny cake for breakfast (a Dutch/Caribbean Egg MacMuffin). Wandered around town perusing shops, eating Chinese lunch and allowing Gary (Inspiration Lady) to purchase an Acer net book for which he lusted. French side is more upscale and expensive; Dutch side accommodates most boat stuff and best cruiser bars. My favorite is...

Thanks to new wifi setup, conversation with Liz tonight(on Skype) was first since USVI. This unit may have a little better range, arguably, but the big deal is stability. Mac often gets no respect with limited market applications.

Tentative plan, written in jello, is to clear out tomorrow, French side, earliest AM to make 0930 Dutch bridge en route to some part of St. Barts (short sail on best weather day for awhile). St. Kitts next with possibility of either Barbuda or Montserrat (the erupting volcano island) to allow angle for engineless sail to Antigua, which is upwind of the Kittster. Will leave Anguilla, Saba and Statia (St. Eustatius) for another pass.

Enjoyed stay in Sint Maarten/Saint Martin. Hope to be back. Current thinking is another go at the Eastern Caribbean next season before??? All to be revealed in the fullness of time.

Jack

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

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.

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