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Anthem Adrift
Bonded to the Edge
06/23/2009, Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

High Flight

June 23

Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of dirt and danced the waves on laughter coppered paint (Apologies to Gillespie Magee). A great poem of flying, "High Flight", captures the same zeitgeist as sailing away from known shores. Many pilots sail because the two endeavors are so similar in many ways - weather, navigation and physics, of course, but also the spirit of adventure, challenge and taking a little peek over the edge of the world where "there be dragons" drives the passion that makes pilots and sailors. I love it and love being with those who feel the same.

Productivity quotient plummeted today as late-night reading, wet morning and sleeping in decreased dividend ((a) little math humor). Finally roused from languidity (not a real word) to fix bacon, eggs and toast, then do little but computer until Inspiration Ladys dragged me forth to pursue the elusive rum and ginger ale (not too bad) after an extensive walk about Gros Islet (gross ee-LAY), north of anchorage (Rodney Bay town is just south).

As can be discerned, Anthem has lost the will to be free at least until Friday. Impetus to press south has eased as destination nears. Coming brisk weather to moderate by Monday, possibly, at which time Bequia will beckon. Hobnobbing with the cruiserati and reconnoitering the fort (what! another one) at Pigeon island might provide some diversion in the interim and there is always boat work... naahhh!

Jack

Short Time
06/22/2009, Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

June 22

A couple of unobvious reasons short hair sucks, 1) higher cost of sunscreen for ears, 2) poorer treatment by locals due cruising sailor look. Clean-cut, yet somehow sleazy, appearance belies possibility that one is a famous, but incognito, celebrity. No one suspects Johnny Depp now.

Drivers on St. Lucia roads tend to slow for pedestrians obviously waiting to cross. Bad idea. Best practice is to hide such intent because squishy, 170 lb. bodies often fair poorly in encounters with thousand+ pounds of high speed metal and glass. Not applicable to Buddhists (reference previous conversion commentary, Feb. 6).

Preferred summer storage yard, Power Boats, in Trinidad is full. Bugger! Have made requests for next two choices, 1) Peake, more coin, better facilities or 2) IMS, cheaper, but dirty. Could also make proposal to Jackline insurance company for technically riskier location, e.g. Carriacou, Grenada or here in St. Lucia, with sufficient precautions.

Crossed paths with Bay area acquaintances, good friends of good friends, David (retired American Airlines pilot - nobody's perfect)& Lisa Meuche on Endeavor 40, Starstream, traveling back to St. Maarten for storm season. Same insurance company.

Spent precious hours of fleeting life polishing stainless and tidying boat. Day passed quickly. Eleven strange individuals, all good friends, coalesced on Jackster, to discuss weighty subjects under influence of mind expanding chemicals (often disguised as rum). No consensus reached, but hope endures. Will advise.

You know laziness is getting out of hand when lying down is just not worth the effort of getting back up. Hey dude, what time is it? Ummmm... Monday?

Jack

Double Trouble
06/21/2009, Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

Warm Spring from Volcano

June 21

Everyone has to get up at 'what time thirty?' to arrive at Soufriere (means volcano in French) volcano before mud gets too hot... Uh huh. We (13 people in, as it turns out, an 11 passenger van) beat crowds to all good spots and hogged pool under warm waterfall until some sucker succumbed to a cute child and its family. Got back home around 2130 after several stops for whistle wetting (including home-spiced rum), a visit to K & D's house construction (beautiful location) and dinner at Bosun's in Rodney Bay Marina. Switch-backed roads made lovely St. Lucia seem bigger. Lubricated discussions determined best way to raise children as only those who never had any can.

Approached yesterday by friendly fellow who has family in Detroit, loves our country and Americans, and hates Germans because (?) they speak poorly of the US (trying to blow smoke where the sun never shines). Read palm to reveal disagreement with sister and generosity toward himself. He mostly hid disappointment at wasted effort. Tried again different location before being informed of error.

Contemplating movement after today with heavy weather coming in late Wednesday through at least Friday. Leaning toward remaining here partly to receive new VISA card UPSing to replace now frozen one used for bogus itunes purchase of $130.

Jack

Lock and Load
06/20/2009, Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

June 20

Haircut huge mistake as feared. Despite explicit instructions, first few whacks took off most hair on one side before initial cut touched floor. Too late for recovery. 'Locks' no longer an operative term as hair shorter than during previous life. Hope to partially recover from shaved skunk look by mid-July return to Florida.

Resurgent wind and sea next several days will make crossing to Admiralty Bay, Bequia rather more exhilarating than necessary. Staying St. Lucia is no hardship as new favorite place on earth has sufficient diversion to prevent ennui. Static location should engender boat work, but rather expect to use St. Martin-developed model: procrastinate until lifestyle is jeopardized (e.g. beer gets warm) then fix everything. This philosophy jibes well with indolent, disorganized personality.

Contemplation of work with now uninsulated brain has induced exhaustion requiring closest possible examination of eyelids. Please maintain a contemplative silence until happy hour.

- Later

Too torpid for happy hour. Played with computer updates until back of eyelids again required attention. Fifteen people in small 15-people van exploring island sights is project for tomorrow. Hoping for universal, lavish use of deodorant. Ordeal or Adventure?

Jack

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.

Jack

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

Mall

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.

Jack

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.

Jack

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

Jack

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.

Jack

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.

Jack

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