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Anthem Adrift
Roller Coaster
06/29/2009, Admiralty Bay, Bequia

Admiralty Bay, Bequia

June 29

Didn't lounge abed late as promised, but that done was done well. Hit the ground running with boat duties early then to customs before they opened. After becoming legal, began to explore Port Elizabeth and that's when the wheels fell off. Found Night Hawks for breakfast at Gingerbread Restaurant and remained planted there wounding guano until afternoon. Finally roused torpid carcasses to ambulate about checking for cruiser oriented stores. Successfully found a Texmex place that served margaritas. For those interested, the big four are: chandlery, grocery, laundry and bar, not necessarily in that order.

Some sort of Calvinist-like guilt eventually began to insinuate into what passes for my mind, so bought 1/4" Dacron double-braid rope (it's not line until it crosses the gunwale) from Piper Chandlery to repair shredding starboard lazy jack (for you sniggering I-knew-its out there, that phrase predates me). Whipping was required. On a boat, this is often a socially acceptable activity. Of course, because no messenger was tied to the old line (reference 'mind' above), the Topclimber had to be rigged for reeving new one through its block at the spreaders. (For non-sailors, I climbed halfway up the mast to run some new rope through a pulley because I screwed up taking old one off)

Having fulfilled second or third curious urge toward constructive activity, repaired to Sea Otter (met at the Pitons) for incredibly rich dessert and, as I recall in retrospect, additional adult beverage disguised as coffee.

Jack

Bon Appetit
06/28/2009, Admiralty Bay, Bequia

Night Hawk in St. Vincent Channel

June 28

Did not feel like dog squeeze this morning. Should have. Is that a bad sign?

Didn't bother weighing anchor at 0600 while shipping it. History suggests little change. Initially a very pleasant reach in forecast 080@15, although slowed by nearly two knot northwest setting current in the channel south of St. Lucia. Theory was that windward side of St. Vincent would provide less distance to Admiralty Bay and more consistent wind than leeward side, and therefore... go ahead, say it... a shorter sail time. Well now hold on there, Magellan. Foul current and dying, backing wind made for modest progress until halfway down the island when they went away altogether. Flopped around at one knot with slatting sails for quite awhile before getting cranky... me first, then the Westerbeke. Wind and current became favorable turning the corner into Bequia Channel after a noisy hour, to allow resumption of more soothing sailing type sounds.

Offered freshly caught fish dinner to Night Hawks for willingness to await my late arrival, eat small portions (two regular meals, one super-size) and (the big hurdle) risk culinary masochism. Suckers! Preparing boat for guests was biggest chore. Actually turned out OK (used egg and Italian bread crumbs in frying pan with olive oil, Liz). Want more fish, practice, etc.

Port Elizabeth, Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is as remembered from charter, quaint (PMFSS, Sue) town with large protected harbor. Will be a good place to ride out forecast tropical wave arriving Tuesday. Expect sleep-in tomorrow, then siege of customs at 0830. Heavy exploration to ensue with stops at chandlery to replace frayed lazy jacks (my favorite part) and at Hinkson's Whaleboner (with bar and furniture made from... yes, that's right) for drinks and munchies.

Jack

Spice Up Your Day
06/27/2009, Vieux Fort, St. Lucia

Ray in Vieux Fort

June 27

Arrived Vieux Fort from Pitons around 1000. Went ashore with Ray of Night Hawk to look around and, except for quick dinghy ride to pick up Jenna, remained in town until late evening. With a day off from house building, Ken & Diane, Annie II, met us for drinks, lunch, drinks, drinks, dinner and drinks. Endeavored to try every spiced rum (each place has its own concoction) within walking distance. None as good as first in Castries.

End of evening removal of outboard to stern rail and daviting of dinghy was a real joy in the dark with pretty good swell. Task complicated by first theft of trip, two tie-down straps with caribiners. Guy watching for me may have gone for a whiz.

Speaking of which, found a sign behind one bar stating, 'urinate this way' with an arrow. Fortunately, there was no need to determine whether this was directions to a toilet or a demonstration.

Jack

Eat Your Heart Out, Madonna
06/26/2009, The Pitons, St. Lucia

Night Hawk Below Petit Piton

June 26

Easy clearance out of St. Lucia (72 hour window) at 0800 after rousting customs agent hiding in back office. Pleasant, but challenging sail to the Pitons with winds alternately shifting, gusting and dying, but calm seas. Quick stop-over in Marigot Bay for pain du raisin with orange juice and many snapshots. Incredibly picturesque bay is as remembered from Moorings charter maybe 18 years ago. Some additional construction includes Discovery Resort in far back corner with outrageous prices being major discovery.

Pitons were also no disappointment. Mooring location is between two nearly vertical spires that were thrust skyward, before St. Lucia was formed, from volcanos that didn't erupt. The broader Gros Piton climbs straight from the water to 2619' and steeper Petit Piton goes to 2460'. No IND (you remember, don't you?) jokes here, they are awesome.

Sea was lousy with flying fish today. Kept looking for little tiny goggles, leather helmets and scarves, but perhaps they've modernized as has much of this island.

Early AM go for last stop before Grenadines.

Jack

Love Ya, Bye!
06/25/2009, Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

Pigeon Island

June 25

Surprised by Pigeon Island (misnomer since causeway that sites Sandels Resort and also protects Rodney Bay anchorage was built early 1900s) fort and park. Spent three hours of morning and early afternoon tramping between and up to the twin peaks. Prettiest park so far in the Eastern Caribbean with flowering poincianas and great views of Rodney Bay. If you have a free afternoon, fly down for the delicious lamb roti at Jambe de Bois by the park's dinghy dock, 15 EC (about $6 plus a little extra for the flight and taxis).

Approached the edge of togetherness fatigue today, but didn't peek over after starting with 1000 Pigeon 'peninsula' trek, afternoon drinks at Iguanawanna and over-priced Chinese until late evening. Also itchy, after nine days in Rodney Bay, however great, to move on. Weather window starting Monday will smooth crossing to protected Admiralty Bay before forecast tropical wave hammer drops late Wednesday. Pitons tomorrow, Vieux Fort Saturday, then nine hours of heavy sailing to another country.

Jack

Work, Play, Play
06/24/2009, Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

Pitons from Above Soufriere

June 24

Sadly, today from 1400 on was taken up by drinking and watching Castries cruise ship denizens cavort on the beach opposite our anchorage. Ray, from Night Hawk, suggested that he and I dinghy into the beach bar for the entertainment. Agreed that this was appropriate celebration after replacing rusted secondary anchor hardware and polishing most of deck stainless. All work and no play, you know. He invited me back for dinner (surprise, Jenna!) of ribs (yum) and a movie (Last Legion), so this communication could be pretty short.

Forecast higher wind is keeping batteries charged and boat cool, although ITCZ (intertropical convergence zone) has intruded toward Trinidad creating windless humidity and showers south. Poopy! (seldom used nautical term meaning... um... er... well, poopy.) Rodney Bay with wifi, grocery, bars and friends is not a hardship.

Plan for tomorrow is short trek to previously mentioned fort, then recovery from all above. Subsequent plans anticipate move to Soufriere ('sue free AIR' - sounds like something a lawyer practicing 'legal ethics' might try) and the Pitons on Friday, Vieux Fort, Saturday and Admiralty Bay, Bequia on Sunday or Monday. All proposed future activities are subject to wind, waves and whim.

Jack

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

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