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Anthem Adrift
Living the Dream
07/05/2009, Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou

Reality

July 5

Weather looked decent at 0630 departure from Chatham Bay, but a fast moving squall caught me with sails up and pants down halfway to Carriacou. After clean- up, managed 6 knots with staysail only until 30 gusting to more swept past.

Rousted out immigration then customs in Hillsborough for Sunday check-in that included overtime of 20 EC each. A trip to an ATM refilled personal coffer for inexpensive breakfast at John's Unique Resort while watching cricket on the telly. Afterwards, sailed on to Tyrrel Bay for walk-about and a Carib at the Lazy Turtle. Dinner at home tonight for possible early crossing to Grenada.

In the December issue of Latitudes and Attitudes Magazine (a touch behind in my reading) editor Bob Bitchin wrote a excellent piece on the dream of cruising versus its reality. A dream is safe. Reality means swapping security for adventure. Dreamers fill boat shows, but there are few who actually go cruising. They don't really want to and that's OK if they realize it. This idea applies to all of life. Achieving what you want is easy. Achieving what you think you want, but don't, is very hard. Knowing the difference can free you to make the right dream a reality.

"Seldom does an individual exceed his own expectations". - Anonymous

Jack

Tottering Hash
07/04/2009, Chatham Bay, Union Island

Nikitas and Hakuna Matadas at Barbecue

July 4

Happy Independence Day!

Seven Americans including two frenetic children showed up for barbecued chicken and snapper brought around from Clifton by James of Shark Attack. Two tolerant Brits also came to help us celebrate tossing King George out. They seemed pleased that we had actually tottered along on our own and hadn't made a hash of it. I assured them that, in fact, we had, but expressed appreciation, anyway, for their kind thoughts.

Eastern Caribbean coinage comes in the same values as in the US, but dollars are more common as there is no bill. Unfortunately, some different denominations are the same size and some same denominations have a different shape - money designed by a committee from the several island states. It is worth 40% of US and has been archly referred to as shrapnel.

Goats are used extensively in the islands as lawn mowers (clipping instead of pulling grass). They are tethered to stakes which are moved as necessary. Kids occasionally may be seen lying down, but adults are always eating. They lead very dull lives.

As possible, given dire forecast for tomorrow, will sail to Hillsborough, Carriacou to clear in (it's part of Grenada), then possibly Tyrrel Bay for the night. If weather eases, plan 30 NM to St. Georges, Grenada Monday and Prickley Bay area Tuesday for a few days before 70 NM crossing to Trinidad. Scheduled haul at Peake Yacht Services is 1300 on the 15th.

Jack

Rocky Road All Day
07/03/2009, Clifton Harbour, Union Island

All MJ CNN

July 3

Planned to leave for Tobago Cays or Mayreau (My-row) early, but squalls all morning cooled miniscule enthusiasm that might have been scraped up despite a hangover. There couldn't have been that much alcohol in those things. Karma making up for my feeling good after spiced rum in Vieux Fort?

Tropical wave generated squalls enhanced disconcerting characteristic of anchorage for wind to go from 5 knots to 25 without warning (williwaw). Today was strongest wind all year, one blast above 50. Took considerable effort to break anchor free when finally departing around 1500. One more tropical wave headed this way from Africa along with dust from the desert that has reduced the normal visibility.

Sailed to, around and past original destinations for Clifton Harbour, Union Island, the most southerly Grenadines customs port. Dinner at Aquarium Restaurant was a ham and raw egg calzone pizza... interesting. Will clear out AM then look for Independence Day beach barbecue. Carriacou on Sunday.

Finally, just heard about the death of Michael Jackson, that good-looking black kid who became an ugly white woman. The bar last night not only put formaldehyde in the rum, but played MJ monopolized CNN at staggering volume. Should have just said no.

Jack

Who Punched the Spike... or... Whatever
07/02/2009, Charlestown Bay, Canouan

Anthem from Frangipani

July 2

To start off, I should warn that the author of this blarney has had only three drinks, but is enjoying a huge buzz. The editor has been drinking too, so please make allowance.

Went ashore to check out Tamarind Bar, the only show in town, where a rum punch costs over 20 EC ($8). To be fair, banana chips were served and the alcohol content is probably more than two drinks elsewhere, but then rum is less expensive than the mixer, so it's really a scurrilous trick. After two drinks and realizing the error of my evil ways, paid the outrageous bar tab and started for home, but (you knew there was going to be a 'but' didn't you?), noticed a new boat from the US in the anchorage. Went over to say hi and was forced (forced I say!) to imbibe another rum drink after loaning tester to check their poorly performing water-maker. Will probably re-connect with Craig & Angela on Hakuna Matada (classic Morgan 41) in Union Island for developing 4th of July celebration sponsored by David & Rae Anne (sp?) on Nikita.

Post-consciousness AMs usually consist of listening to Eric's weather at 0630, Chris's at 0700 and the Coconut Telegraph at 0800 while performing various boat related or personal hygiene activities. Skipped the Telegraph this morning for eggs at Frangipani, just a shell skip away from Anthem, to depart Admiralty Bay early.

Glided out at 0900 after shipping outboard and dinghy for excellent sail in Grenadine shoal protected sea (moderate, climbing to an easy six feet) into Canouan. Voyager wind vane steering performed well in brisk beam wind. Most cruisers name their great friend and crew-mate, the autopilot wind vane, yet I have not. Suggestions are solicited.

Already way too wordy, so will leave Michael Jackson, williwaw anchorage and Sahara sand for future indulgence. Remind me, OK?

Jack

Au Revoir, Mes Amis
07/01/2009, Admiralty Bay, Bequia

Some of the Gang

July 1

Have you ever noticed that the first time for anything is usually either the best or worst. There's probably an immutable law of nature in there somewhere.

Paid real cash money for wifi connection in Admiralty Bay. It took considerable perseverance to get slow system to take proffered fee for this service, so expectations were low. They have been met.

Rain and wind arrived last night as foretold. Although Bequia is located at northern extremity of tropical wave induced unpleasantness, sound and fury interrupted crew slumber several times. Trust that 45 lb. CQR is reaching for China. Twenty to twenty five knot trades are not expected to moderate until, possibly, weekend after next, but squalls may decrease periodically as waves march through.

Obligations require me to consider eighteen NM bash to Canouan tomorrow, moving toward Trinidad, leaving cruising companions behind, some forever. Have been leapfrogging; meeting, separating and re-meeting with a few since Bahamas, some of closest friends since Turks and Caicos (end of March) or Luperon. Will likely reconnect with at least a couple after returning in October, depending on itinerary decisions, which are just smoke on the horizon until you do it. I will miss them. I will miss the life.

"Delusions of grandeur make me feel a lot better about myself." - Jane Wagner

Jack

Do Wenches Winch?
06/30/2009, Admiralty Bay, Bequia

Jenna With Winch

June 30

Bugger! End of June already. Where do da time go?

Went ashore to dump trash and find manifold assembly parts to replace current one suspected of allowing air to enter pressure water system (due inappropriate gate valves) and to buy replacements for little springs and pawls to be lost during imminent equipment maintenance. Previous statement is slightly misleading as parts are lost or broken when disassembling gear only if no spares are at hand. In this case, outrageously expensive bits were available, but left on the shelf, partially appeasing gods responsible for this phenomenon. Found some, but not all pieces that will (he says hopefully) alleviate spitting faucets.

While thusly engaged, met several newly arrived friends on shore for the express purposes of clearing customs and luring me to a Texmex margarita. Peer pressure, however, was ineffective against a steely resolve to hack the day's mission. Chicken burrito was washed down with a colorless, tasteless liquid while others imbibed more aggreeable substances.

Being clean and sober allowed servicing most winches in an afternoon, including hours of lubrication, rubbing and delicate hand work. Despite any implication, Cal & Lora, my non-sailingest (not a real word) friends, moral stigma is rarely attached to this duty. Your old maid aunt (everybody should have one) could observe even the self-tailers with equanimity, disregarding periodic expletives, of course.

Sucky weather (archaic maritime phrase used to describe wind at 25 with 40 knot squalls and 10 foot seas) to pin normally intrepid sailors in protected harbor until, possibly, next week.

Jack

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

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