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Anthem Adrift
Sampson, Not Just Rope
06/19/2009, Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

Spiced Rum in Castries

June 19

Cruisers, while a generally independent bunch or they wouldn't be out here, apparently emit a gravity that tends to clump them seemingly without conscious intent. It is a weak force, however, that does not apply to specific events, such as today's cat herding local bus trip to Castries. Seven eventually congregated to meet Ken & Diane for lunch at a karaoke bar where primary singer was the very good proprietor at, however, painful decibels. Finished almost in time to avoid sounds of a piglet being castrated. Spent afternoon making purchases, each to his own wont. Reconvened for ride back to Iguanawanna (happy hour "noon until late") where, after universal infusion of happiness, plan was hatched to get pizzas and assemble on Spectra for "Captain Ron". Gaiety continued late.

The largest town in St. Lucia is large and prosperous, including a big market area, Home Depot and the ubiquitous KFC (China, for example is lousy with them). Purchased Skype headset for dead one, boat card sheets for used ones and St. Lucia T-shirt because that's what I do. Noticed far too many people who wear form fitting, clingy clothes than should. Avoided nude beaches in French islands for comparable reason.

Beginning to contemplate shearing ungainly locks now that necessity to use ass parts for lion termination has decreased dramatically. Prefer, just in case, a Delilah free salon.


Shame on You!
06/18/2009, Rodney Bay, St. Lucia


June 18

As much as ejaculating (is that a naughty word?) this balderdash (hanging around Brits, you see) engenders the occasional personal chuckle, sometimes the evening gaiety extends past a reasonable hour (for cruisers) and content is below acceptable standards or late (often both). Notwithstanding the purpose of writing this (expletive deleted), which is primarily selfish (ref. Jan. 20 & 25), guilt insinuates into consciousness creating an unseemly thirst for mind altering drugs. OK, I'm passing blame for any rum consumed, but better you than me. There's also that predestination thing. Whatever one does was going to happen anyway, so relax and enjoy. Anyway, there is now ample evidence to exonerate me from any responsibility for being informative or interesting. Do you feel better. I know I do.

Visited the mall (huh?) for various small purchases and a Subway sandwich (huh?). Eschewed the enticements of KFC and Dominos (huh?) which were enjoyed by Sweet Carolines. Avoided all friends dragging spider web of entrapment toward purveyors of adult beverages. Coherence was necessary to begin resolving inconvenience caused by bogus use of VISA card for extravagant purchases from iTunes. New card creates major PIA as old number intertwined in several financial interactions, not even counting unchargeabilitativeness (not a real word) here.

Planted like a mangrove until at least Saturday. May take local bus to Castries with someone or other tomorrow or may sleep until noon when happy hour begins at Iguanawanna.


Beam Me Down, Scotty
06/17/2009, Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

Anthem in St. Lucia Channel

June 17

Two and a half months and 700 nautical miles since first, obviously ill-timed, comment in Dominican Republic that easy sailing would soon become a normal part of cruising experience. It's not that hard-on-the-wind into six foot, short period seas isn't fun. Everyone loves that, but the promise of hull-speed reaching has finally been realized. Fifteen to eighteen knots on the beam in four to six foot seas. Nearly perfect sail from Le Marin to Rodney Bay was capped by rain shower to wash off salt spray. Expectation runs high for continuation of same.

Ken and Diane from Annie II (Tanzer 26, still temporarily abandoned, mastless, in Salinas, PR), who are building a house near Vieux Fort, south end of island, met us (some of gang who traveled with them from Provo) for drinks and dinner. I had a lamb burger. They stayed over with Inspiration Lady to avoid rush hour through Castries... really. The place has changed a tad since last visit eighteen or so years ago.

Before heading to Bequia (BECK wee), plan a week or so around St. Lucia to take advantage of local knowledge for exploration.


Northern Exposure?
06/16/2009, Le Marin, Martinique

Southern Cross

June 16

Not looking for ark material just yet, but 24 hour precipitation is most since last year in Florida. Before going to clear customs, drove dinghy around with plug out for drainage with water cascading over transom. Forecast for break by 1000 was cruel hoax, but small patches of blue appeared late afternoon. Tonight is clear. Tomorrow's forecast (there's that word again - does anybody know what it means?) indicates good sail of 20 NM or so to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. Several boats going AM.

Managed to dispense with all of Euro purchasing something called a T-punch at Mango Bay with friends. Two of these concoctions were delivered during happy hour forcing woeful overindulgence. Remained coherent by using some of wherewithal for Boeuf Bourgignon dinner. Tres bon. French is now history until next season. Future energy to be exerted attempting to comprehend local version of English.

Southern Cross is visible indicating position is wonderfully far south. North star sometimes difficult to see above horizon. Sun illuminates only port side of anchored boat all day. (this may be a tad obscure for non-sailors). Temperatures cooler than Florida. Am highly skeptical of assertion that there are those who prefer doing something else than this.

"Attitude is the difference between ordeal and adventure." - Bob Bitchin


Lightning the Load
06/15/2009, Le Marin, Martinique

A Load of Lightning

June 15

More than anything will miss the coffee and pastry in French islands. Went in to Pte de Bout for that and for customs to check out, but cruising guide was wrong. After some internet low finance, weighed anchor (no change) for motor-sail to Le Marin as thunder and lightning began marching across from Fort de France toward Anse Mitan and Ray from Night Hawk in the water cleaning his bottom (actually, his boat's). No one got his bottom shocked. Managed to outrun it then skirt the edge after turning back east into cul-de-sac Marin.

Arrived with barely time to create exciting new taste treat, bisected baby peppers from Louise stuffed with salmon mix as suggested by her (one must realize, of course, that the English invented kidney pie and souse), for 1730 sundowners on Inspiration lady. Thunder trapped everyone there past bedtime and supply of personal libation, so started on box-o-rum and cane syrop (sic) ala Joe, from Spectra,. Not bad... even sober... probably.

Late bed, no alarm set.


Literary Savant
06/14/2009, Anse Mitan, Martinique

Point du Bout

June 14

Although 61 I read at a 65-year-old level, so have tackled some classics on Kindle. Treasure Island is quite short but a terrific read and Tarzan series (at least books 1 - 3 of 10 downloaded) has been surprisingly good. The Three Musketeers is written for 66, so must languish for a few months. Between times, thoroughly enjoyed first of Bob Lee Swagger series by Stephen Hunter. *Warning* If you are ill-disposed toward the NRA, save your centimes.

Experienced cognitive dissonance walking through quaint (PMFSS, Sue) French seaside village with a speaker blaring Great Balls Afire, Good Golly Miss Molly, Run Around Sue and the theme from Hawaii Five-O. Experience extended to lovely long visit and lunch with friend's (Bill & Caroline) friends (fifteen year residents of Martinique, Louise & Luc - English and French, respectively) who play American country western. Conversation was a schizophrenic blend of both languages and a self-rebuke to previous notion of decent pronunciation.

Recent tropical wave petered out (this Peter guy must have been a real loser) with just some rain. Nothing else currently in sight. May remain anchored Anse Mitan Monday and drive to Cul-de-sac Marin in the southeast to avoid 10 NM beat. Seems wrong somehow, but a car at 25 Euro (off-season rate) split three ways is a bargain, goes to weather quite well and lolling here is tres pleasante. Pointe du Bout, our specific location and tourist town, is very pretty with diversions to include scantily clad femmes, good boulangeries and a casino for those who prefer to give their money away than to spend it. May sail to Le Marin Tuesday anyway just 'cause and also for a better wind angle on St. Lucia.


Au Revoir Grande Ville
06/13/2009, Anse Mitan, Martinique

Fort de France

June 13

It was noticeably sweltering in Fort de France this morning waiting for laundry. Nearby chandlery with AC was convenient refuge after patronizing next door pastisserie. Felt badly about abusing their hospitality, so found more stuff to buy without which life would be meaningless.

This place must have more pharmacies per capita than any other on earth, one per corner. Worse than Starbucks in PNW (Pacific Northwest). Profusion of medicine apparently ineffective as "Diary of Anne Frank" sirens are constantly blaring all over town. Saturday (Samedi) is apparently "go to town and create chaos" day in F de F. Biggest city in Lesser Antilles at 130k+. Bye, bye.

After finishing city bidness, motored around to other side of fort (called St. Louis, not France - go figure) for diesel and gas at horrendous prices (U.S. has dollar stores, here there is a 10 Euro store (about $14)), then close reach with yankee in 20+ wind at 4.5 kts. across to Anse Mitan for the night. Seven escapees boarded Beach House for sundowners and solving of critical world problems. Lack of progress in this endeavor became less significant as evening progressed.

Major effort at breakfast this morning (eggs, bacon, toast, jam, juice and coffee) will not be repeated tomorrow. There must be more pastry shops here than all of U.S. Buttery croissant and pain aux chocolat with high test coffee (cafe) have, no doubt, significantly attenuated lifespan. C'est la vie.


Achieving Stasis
06/12/2009, Fort de France, Martinique

Fort St. Louis, F de F

June 12

Tropical wave approaching from east is bringing humidity and rain this evening and tomorrow. Can't keep the hatches open for long between showers. Should be gone next week. Boat's clean and free of salt.

Had 5 kilos of laundry for Quick Pressing. Night Hawk had 20. Yowzers! And by the kilo, it ain't cheap. Pick-up tomorrow midday then probably motor around corner to Baie de Tourelles to download diesel, gas and possibly SCUBA tank air. May cross Baie de Fort de France (the big one) to Trois Ilets or Anse Mitan for tomorrow night. Other boats in southing flock are scattered all over bottom end of Martinique.

After dispensing with stinky clothes, two girls went shopping while three boys wandered around looking for an appropriate bar for breakfast beer. They were cold, we were hot. Situation improved greatly by third each. Met wives at a friendly little upstairs restaurant for three hour lunch and two more beers. Reacquired boat to nap through any urge toward productive activity for balance of day.


It's Dark in Here
06/11/2009, Fort de France, Martinique

Birthday Flowers

June 11

Have mastered ability in pidgeon French to ask, 'do you have something to clean toilets?'. Unable to understand answer, however, if not oui or some version of no. Je parle un peu Francaise. Je comprende tres peu Francaise. No toilets have been assaulted by by this product as it is used to clean rust from stainless or so I'm told.

Abandoned road trip after two hours to depart St. Pierre before other trippers for Fort de France. After anchoring, meandered around city gathering information for future activities (laundry, fueling, disposal of used oil, SCUBA tank refill, etc.), then read until late as initiative was abandoned, also.

Was reminded, using wifi enabled Skype, of humongous, stupendous faux pas (that's French, you know) of forgetting better half's birthday. "Jeepers Mr. Wizard, how'd you do that?" "It's easy, Timmy, once you get your cranium past that big old sphincter." Have promised equally humongous recovery attempt at a date to be announced.


High Aspirations
06/10/2009, St. Pierre, Martinique

Canal de Beauregard

June 10

Walking a narrow ledge above several hundred feet of drop at Canal de Beauregard initially caused a bit of angst, but, after a time, pancreas got fatalistic and discontinued adrenalin production, probably thinking "screw it, if he dies, he dies". The eight kilometer out and back was much easier returning as by then the rest of me didn't much care either.

Distillerie Depaz on the slopes by Mt. Pelee volcano is run by a steam engine that once powered the fountains at Chateau de Versailles. Works much better than the 6hp water wheel that ran the place before the 1902 eruption killed everyone and blackened all the old construction. Free tour cost bottles of rum and coconut punch.

Now here's the really stupid part. David, from Jackster, and I climbed to a peak en route to the caldera of Pelee, not much higher, but more than a hop and skip laterally. Hands and feet rock crawl into perpetual cloud around summit was easier than return. Fortunately second episode of dizzying height did not cause sufficient retreat of knackers (ask an Englishman) to effect breathing. Liberal administration of ibuprofen and rum now underway in hopes of avoiding bulbous, disgruntled knees. Second medicine, while ameliorative, is unaccountably not officially approved.

Car available all morning tomorrow, so expect additional exploration before decamping to Fort de France PM.

"If not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled." - P. G. Wodehouse


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