Anthem Adrift

10 February 2017 | Cullen Bay Slipway, Darwin
04 February 2017 | Tipperary Waters, Darwin
26 January 2017 | Tipperary Waters, Darwin
08 January 2017 | Pulau Woha
05 January 2017 | Pulau Woha
03 January 2017 | Tual
02 January 2017 | Tual
31 December 2016 | Tual
26 December 2016 | Pulau Aiduma
24 December 2016 | Pulau Aiduma
22 December 2016 | Pulau Aiduma, Triton Bay
19 December 2016 | Selat Sele
18 December 2016 | Selat Sele
10 December 2016 | Charlie's Bay
06 December 2016 | Kwatisore
05 December 2016 | Kwatisore
02 December 2016 | Teluk Orensbari
26 November 2016 | Momfafa
25 November 2016 | Waisai
17 November 2016 | Fruit Bat Bay

On the Hard

10 February 2017 | Cullen Bay Slipway, Darwin
Tuesday 7 February 2017

After high tide departure from Tipperary Waters, boat and crew are situated on a pontoon inside Cullen Bay Marina leading to Darwin Ship Store's slipway - out of the water at 0800 tomorrow. This for anti-fouling and various other out-of-water requirements despite likelihood of Noah magnitude rains over next 3 days - last chance for haul-out this month. So much to do, so little time. A tendency to sloth (1 of 3 favorite deadly sins) weighs heavily on completion of all maintenance before hiatus to ski and visit Indochina. Must beat feet out of Darwin NLT 1 May.


Work window of opportunity was filled by protracted slipway snafus extending until deluge commencement around eleven. Suspect arc construction underway. Tomorrow is forecast worse.

Good lamb shank dinner at a fusion restaurant was accompanied by their highest priced merlot, Bonking Frog. Had to try it, of course, but if reference is accurate, making tadpoles is a regrettably mediocre event for participants.


As expected, rain has played havoc with anti-fouling progress, but hopefully not with quality of preparation. Work continues into Saturday.


Because time out of water is limited we've had to work as if completing a project expeditiously was important. This is much like real work and no fun at all. If someone had warned us earlier that cruising involved this sort of thing we could have spent our golden years in front of the TV watching Wheel of Fortune, waiting to die - way easier. Damn!


Painting was finished yesterday afternoon and of course conditions today are just right for painting. Should be fine unless the wet weather prevented good adhesion in which case peeled off swatches of anti-fouling will prevent barnacle growth on scattered bits of ocean bottom. All to be revealed in the fullness of time.


Altered States

04 February 2017 | Tipperary Waters, Darwin
Saturday 4 February 2017

Ever notice how nobody says Feb-roo-ary, but rather Feb-you-ary? Why not lose the "r" just as Webster chucked the "u" in harbour and "i" in aluminium - entirely superfluous letters, among others, foisted upon the colonies by an overly baroque British. He drew a line at wimmen and tung and didn't make a dent in Gaelic spellings, but that's OK as he gave us skunk and chowder on opposite ends of the esthetic scale. Thanks Noah. Take that you snooty Brits! Actually I love our cultural progenitors. Besides English (a personal favorite nonetheless) they gave the world Isaac Newton, the industrial revolution, scotch and Kate Beckinsale... also spotted dick, cricket and Prince Charles? - they're not perfect.


This operation is installed in Darwin (Charles: another Limey) due a precipitous change of plans as crew, discovering the joy of not pounding against wind and current 2000 NM to Johor, Malaysia, turned left for a 550 mile detour. Having gotten into the habit, yet another modification is being contemplated. Someone noticed that we had sailed most of Indonesia, Malaysia and Western Thailand over the last couple of years and that, not having an overwhelming desire to see Sri Lanka and the Maldives which must be approached from Thailand earlier in the year, crossing the Indian Ocean via Christmas Island and Cocos Keeling could be accomplished beginning in May. We might just be in South Africa by December. The proposition is under advisement.

Above plot will require having all major boat projects completed before end of February if we wish to ski in March, visit Indochina afterward then depart Darwin in April. This retirement thing isn't as relaxing as it's cracked up to be.


Yellow Brick Road

26 January 2017 | Tipperary Waters, Darwin
Tuesday 10 January 2017

Customs and immigration are now combined into the ABF, Australian Border Force. Four of them came aboard upon our arrival onto the floating pontoon outside Cullen Bay Marina lock, announced that we were allowed 2.25 liters of alcohol each, 4.5 liters total, and, after discovering we had 8 (considerably below normal ships stores due West Papua ban on the stuff), assessed duty of 800 dollars. Those fun-loving rascals, yanking our chains like that. $228 per liter over limit? 2 or 3 times what the stuff cost even in overpriced OZ? Obviously kidding, right? They weren't. Liquor interests must have a hell of a lobby. We took the fortunately available option of sealing it in a locker until clearing out of the country and pinky swearing to purchase large quantities of the local, overtaxed booze.

Required a pest inspection from Biosecurity and treatment of all salt water intakes to protect the marinas from evil mussels and such. They're all enclosed behind locks due 6 meter tides. Couldn't run the engine for 10 hours, so stayed on the temporary pontoon until today. All marinas also have a requirement for $5 million in liability insurance. My underwriter, the English gecko, sells a maximum of $2M... Lockmaster agreed to let us in anyway. Australia is more trouble than infamous Indonesia.


However, any disgruntlement was quickly dissipated in Coles, one of two major supermarket chains in Australia. Had forgotten how much fresh stuff could be available and how good it could look. Went in for limes (bio guys took everything fresh) and came out spending over $300. We took a vote and entire crew thinks the developed world (including Australia) doesn't suck too much.

Wednesday.. not the next one, the one after that.

Lost some of the intervening verbiage due not saving for awhile then having to reboot computer. Annoying to me, gratifying for you.

Over last 2 weeks have rather successfully eschewed 2 of 3 favorite deadly sins (you know the ones) which has led to reducing list of maintenance projects and making inroads toward the svelte, leonine physique that drives women wild. A disguise will no doubt be necessary with just 2 more kilo, possibly 3. Seems ideal weight decreases as one matures even though preferred meal contains more fat and sugar. It's not fair.

Well, guess it's time to give up and send this crap. No biggie as everyone is undoubtedly more interested in the entertainment emanating from Washington (for the non-cognoscenti, that's the font of all benevolence in the US). Know my heart's all atwitter like the puppy that gets so excited by new people and novel experience that it pees on the carpet. Jan gets very upset, so it rarely happens anymore.


On and On

08 January 2017 | Pulau Woha
Thursday 5 January 2017 - Evening

Depending on your point of view, forecast keeps getting better and better or worse and worse. This is often the case when it doesn't stay the same - food for thought. After those awe-inspiring words of unsurpassable wisdom and logic, here's the situation: Latest wind data shows less wind and reduced sea. This is good, right? Hold on there Kemosabi. What we had was not so uncomfortable and a decreasing trend indicates possibility of insufficient wind to get us abeam Melville Island in time, around midnight Sunday, to catch the incoming tide through Howard channel and into Darwin. It's a long way to Tipperary when fighting a 2 knot current.


Oddly enough, forecast is pretty accurate so far. Who knew? Sailing reefed down making excellent speed. Must average 5.6 knots to catch the tide. Well ahead so far, all of 15 NM into 425 NM passage, and bound to remain good, right? Anyway, it's an excellent start. Already enjoyed a squall, but pretty mild as these things go. Hoping that away from land without the extra heat consequently generated they will continue to be pussy cats.

- Later

As turns out, initial weather was a cruel hoax. Wind has been stronger and closer to bow than one might have anticipated had he been foolish enough to believe such prognostications. It could have broken for the better, but didn't. Very energetic sail last 24 hours, enlivened by 30 kt. squalls. Making great time, but hard to relax. Not to worry as new forecast indicates better conditions shortly. Pretty sure we can count on this one.


One down two to go. Conditions have indeed improved, but still close reaching at 55 to apparent wind in meter and a half sea. Now if only we could do something about the squalls.

Sometime last night mainsail in-mast furler decided to croak. Circuit breaker reset no help, but control box has a fuse that might have blown. That can be found under forward bunk, atop which about 150 kilo of dive gear and other crap resides when not accommodating guests. Once mattress is removed a storage locker must then be cleaned out to finally access a thing that is possibly OK. You see where this is going don't you? Fortunately sail was set at maximum reef and there is a manual override on the mast that will be checked sometime later today. Optimism abounds.


Tried to send this, but no connection so blather rolls on.

Paid for good conditions yesterday with squally weather throughout the night. Notwithstanding that delay, progress has been so good expect to stop for five hours or so on Melville Island before continuing with favorable tidal current. Howard passage has up to 3 knots, so it's worth the wait and after last night, need the nap. Should arrive Cullen Bay Pontoon around 1300.


Heavy squalls and 2 kt. adverse current only gave us 2.5 hours rest at Melville, but felt good. Plan is working so far through channel. One more try getting this sucker out then may have to wait until the marina.

Altered watch after nap had Jan in the unusual circumstance of being awake for sunrise. She's not impressed. Apparently, compared to sunset, which is often accompanied by the non-coffee beverage of one's choice, it's just not worth interrupting one's prime sleeping time. Rest of crew is beginning to appreciate the concept.


Gone With The Wind

05 January 2017 | Pulau Woha
Thursday 5 January 2017

Early start yesterday had us cleared out in only 5 1/2 hours including lunch. Woohoo! It only cost a million eight for going 3 days over visa expiration. Huh!? Careful perusal of passport showed we had been laboring under a false assumption and should have renewed by 1 January. Oops! Visit to immigration for advance intel previous week had not triggered appropriate revelation. Bugger! Still, 135 USD was much better than the 600 Jan initially assumed. Phew!

Notwithstanding that both Customs and Harbour Master indicated we could remain in Tual an additional day or more to avoid inclement weather, Imigrasi, who know diddly about boating, might not be quite so charitable. Pondering that they could conceivably borrow a boat with weaponry and that sailing big seas is more comfortable than an Indonesian lockup, we took off this morning before likelihood of them noticing we were still in town.

Turns out that wind and wave were much less than anticipated. Easy sail 25 NM to Woha where we'll hide out to rest and clean the bottom before beginning passage tomorrow morning. Latest forecast (if one believes those sorts of things) shows wind abaft the beam (cool nautical talk) at 15 to 20 knots and no seas over 1.8 meters for a day or so before both gradually decrease. A perfect sail is unquestionably in the offing. Confidence knows no bounds... except for one wee caveat.

Arrived at anchorage mere moments before onset of squall gusting 37 kts. Continuing unsettled weather of last several days, which extends all the way to Darwin, imperils previously mentioned sanguinity. No worries. We're comfy in the lee and will ignore such things. In the sagacious words of Miss Scarlett, "Tomorrah is anothah day". Whar's mah mint julep, Prissy?


Doing Time

03 January 2017 | Tual
Returning to Dinghy

Tuesday 3 January 2017

Latest GRIB (Golliwhomper Regurgitation of Indecipherable Bewilderment) shows inception of agreeable weather for Darwin passage has retreated a day. Although Australian Border Force has given its imprimatur to anchoring off overnight before entering port, a night on the quarantine dock until Tuesday appears necessary in any event. A pest inspection and seawater intake pipe treatment will be performed by Bhagwan (Indian for god) Marine, which only operates 9 to 5 and not on Sunday, that will incapacitate the vessel for at least 10 hours while all the evil stowaways die an apparently slow and arduous death. We will, perforce, remain aboard until the following morning listening to their anguished cries.

Above circumstances aggravate nascent stir craziness with expectation for 2 additional days aboard. This was mitigated only slightly by a dinghy dash into Tual for critical eggs and tomatoes just before next 25 knot squall blew through. With little to do except important boat repairs, which are being conscientiously ignored, decided to put photos and a short video on the blog. That's not much fun either. There just isn't enough peanut butter in the world to bridge the gap between coffee and gin. Considering sleeping later and moving happy hour up to 1600, perhaps 1530. It's currently 1528.


In Like a Lion

02 January 2017 | Tual
Dinghy Landing

Sunday 1 January 2017

Happy New Year everyone. Slept through most of the 14 hours into 2017 that we enjoyed before East Coast America. Not the first bit, however, due awakening at midnight from a hell of a commotion. There had been a bit of activity starting at sundown, but at the stroke of 12 the waterfront of Tual, over a mile and a half, lit up with constant aerial fireworks, continuous from end to end. Looked like "Shock and Awe". We're about 700 meters offshore in the catbird seat. Never seen anything like it. Made the guys in Sydney Harbour look like pikers. Finally eased a bit after 30 minutes, so returned to sleep with the pop, pop, popping of continued revelry. Figure either fireworks are really cheap here or constitute the bulk of foreign aid to Indonesia from China. There was a pantload for sale in town.

Have crossed our wake in the Kai Islands to complete a circumnavigation of Indonesia - across the bottom and back over the top. Returning to Malaysia, may check out more of the middle, Sulawesi and Kalimantan.

Tropical low in NT (Northern Territory of Australia) producing this wayward weather and keeping us in Tual until then should ease by Thursday or Friday. After that, as might be expected, there's no wind until after visa expires. Remember that comment about Mother Nature? Trick will be to catch the change with good sailing all the way to Darwin. Sanguinity abounds, but may put us at destination on Sunday with overtime charges. Hey, it's already expensive guys! Have requested anchoring out to clear in Monday. Let's just see how reasonable nanny state officialdom can be.


Wind still howling like a coyote in heat with few glimpses of sun intersperse with overcast and rain. Fortunately we have a sufficiency of coffee, peanut butter and gin to get us, for another several days, from morning through lunch into evening. Should be well rested for the envisioned perfect passage. Depending on wind (see above) may take about 75 hours. Entire crew champing at the bit to get there and patronize restaurant in Tipperary Marina, Frying Nemo Fish and Chips. Don't let the children know.


Weather or Not

31 December 2016 | Tual
Port of Tual

Wednesday 28 December 2016

Sailing is that thing sailboats often do (ergo the name) when there is appropriate wind from a useful direction. This excludes all velocities from directly ahead or light air directly behind. Despite absence from forecast those two circumstances have been present so far for most of this estimated 28 hour passage, including 4 in squalls of 25 and 30 knots right on the honker. Greenhouse gas producing hydrocarbons have been utilized extensively. What up? Mother nature can sometimes be a perverse old biddy. Once took 4 days to make a normal 2 day passage from Niue to Pago Pago, 1 NM in one 24 hour period as wind and current nearly canceled each other, but that was back in the days of soloing with more patience and less fuel.

- Later

Notwithstanding previous paragraph, last few hours before arrival had us fully reefed making hull speed as wind howled in from the east. This is the stuff we will avoid bashing into for much of 2200 miles by ducking into Darwin. Monsoon winds shift west around April.


Contacted everyone and his brother-in-law yesterday to prepare for arrival into Australia. Internet makes life so much easier - then it stopped. Mytelkomsel app shows 10 GB left, but no go. Probably used up "national" data and rest only usable local Sorong where purchased. Hard to tell when instructions are in Indonesian. Must go into Tual for more, but crazy wind and rain since yesterday morning and no end in sight.


Finally got a break in the weather yesterday to get ashore, check on clearance procedures and go shopping at the Gota Supermarket for essentials: eggs, bread, chicken parts (parts is parts), lemons, etc. Fought wind getting back to the boat and it's been raining and blowing since.

Ah, but there's good news. Finally worked out the geometry on rain catchment (we are now replete with water) and induced uncooperative AC cooling pump to work (bad hidden wire splice) so that we have cool, dry air in the necessarily closed-up, otherwise muggy cabin (Jan has become rather fond of me). Also replaced rattley (not a real word) fan over my naughty corner (chart/computer table) with new, wonderfully quiet one (more fond). Next is to make generator run smoothly. Suspect air leak in fuel manifold. Trouble will be shot in the fullness of time (possibly tomorrow), but more critical affairs are at hand - it's almost 5 o'clock.


South by West

26 December 2016 | Pulau Aiduma
GRIB from Triton to Ambon

Tuesday 27 December 2016

Wanted to stay around Triton Bay awhile longer, but GRIB (Good Reason for Incessant Babbling) forecast shows strong west wind by Friday afternoon between here and visa renewal. Not needing to depart early this morning, went into the resort to sponge some coffee and say goodbye to guests heading out diving and to Jimmie and his crew whose hospitality has been wonderful. Enjoyed very good dives if too few and didn't get to see more whale sharks, but this was an excellent respite before the 3 day, 3 night slog coming up. Expect to be marooned around Ambon for at least a week before adverse wind begins to abate.

iMovie is cool. Benighted Windows miscreants have something similar if obviously inferior (as everyone with the possible exception of retired IBMer Birky will no doubt agree). The app makes creating excellent videos easy for those with artistic sensibilities. Fortunately, a total lack can be partially mitigated with a really cool subject such as, oh say, whale sharks. OK, OK, know you're sick of hearing about them, but 2 home movies have been produced which may end up on the blog. This eventuality will depend on the timely confluence of 3 efforts: learning how to post such things, finding fast, free internet (which has been non-existent for some considerable time) and getting someone's dead butt in motion. Look for them on a computer near you, but don't forget to exhale in the interim.

Based on a tentative routing, Puteri Harbour is around 2300 NM from Triton Bay. Ambon is 385. After Friday we'll have less than 2000 NM to go. Piece of cake. Almost there.

- Slightly later

Reference first and third paragraphs and likelihood of similar weather all the way to Puteri, may make a slight change in itinerary. Shortly after leaving Triton Bay this morning, discovered to our amazement that current plan was completely nuts. Who knew? When found, responsible party will be given a severe tongue-lashing. Have decided that Darwin for a few months is a better option. It's in Oz. It's 191.25 from current position. It's three days from Tual where we may clear out of Indonesia or renew visas and continue west if the dementia returns. Expect to arrive tomorrow noon on a reach (that's nautical talk for actual sailing). New, improved strategy is not a sure thing, but fresh reasons for it are constantly presenting. Of course there are cyclones and crocs and it is Australia, but we can just ignore all that.


Holiday Spirits

24 December 2016 | Pulau Aiduma
Christmas Eve Dinner

Christmas Day 2016

Delightful Christmas Eve dinner last night with Jimmie and his 5 new guests, 1 Italian and 4 Australians. Called an early night as they had just arrived - Paulo straight from Italy - with 3 dives planned for today. Christian staff continued to party hearty with help from numerous Bintangs until Jimmie shut them down at midnight. Muslims were more subdued.

** Warning ** Buzzkill alert. Do NOT read next 2 paragraphs.

Have never understood how St Nick (Old Nick? Santa: anagram for Satan?) brings all that loot on a small sleigh when there is often no chimney and anyway how does a guy that rotund get through the small opening? Have come to suspect some nefarious goings on. Pretty sure the old scalawag is trying to lure little kids into a life of crime by getting them acclimated to taking stuff without working for it. That naughty and nice thing is just cover to fool parents. This year I've demanded an 88" curved screen Samsung TV and someplace to mount it. Otherwise I'm turning to burglary.

And another thing. Christians in Southeast Asia, where it's hot and humid year round, display Mr. Jollybutt with reindeer, sleighs, decorated trees and fake snow. They sing carols about snowmen, sleighbells and white Christmases. What's that all about? How did missionaries, typically the Dutch who enslaved and murdered the indigenous population willy-nilly, get them to buy into this? On the other hand with fewer restrictions they do have more fun than Muslims, so there's that.

** Continue here **

On a more serious note, to all and sundry no matter your beliefs (particularly those mavericks who did not heed the prudent warning): Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and/or Joyful Occasion. May everyone delight in such fullness of life as you can wish for.

Jack & Jan
Vessel Name: Anthem
Vessel Make/Model: 1997 Hylas 46 - MMSI xxxxxx750
Hailing Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
Crew: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes
Jack: Formerly productive member of the community as a Northwest Airlines Captain who retired to become a drain on, and embarrassment to, polite society. [...]
While I will be delighted if anyone else enjoys these excursions into semi-intelligible foolishness, the primary purpose is personal amusement. This is not travelogue, cruising guide or philosophical exploration of anything in particular, merely random musing of a slightly twisted mind. Despite [...]
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S/V Anthem

Who: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes
Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
See profile for information on why this mess is being foisted upon an innocent world and, despite what is probably your better judgement, how to make contact.
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