Anthem Adrift

17 October 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
16 October 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
16 October 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
14 October 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
10 October 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
29 September 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
24 September 2016 | Doom Island off Sorong
22 September 2016 | Waisai, Raja Ampat
17 September 2016 | Pef Island
16 September 2016 | Alyui
15 September 2016 | Alyui
14 September 2016 | Wayag
10 September 2016 | Kokara Besar
08 September 2016 | Doruba
05 September 2016 | Bunaken
03 September 2016 | Manado
26 August 2016 | Tarakan
22 August 2016 | Tawau
10 August 2016 | Pulau Bohaydulang
08 August 2016 | Tungku Bay

Siblings And Driblings

17 October 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
Monday 17 October 2016

On the way through Toronto Friday we stopped to see Ed Tower, Jan's investment counselor, so that she could withdraw money for incidentals and to buy me that 88 inch Samsung TV without which life will be dull and meaningless. When Jan is reminded of this she suggests I harden up. Pointing out that she is a "nice" Canadian has so far proven ineffective.

Many years ago when she was just a sprite, Ed enlightened her about the joys of saving and the miracle of compound interest. He has done well by her since then becoming a great friend. A likeable fellow and, despite being in the financial industry, with a great sense of humor, he has a mischievous smile and always looks like we've caught him doing something naughty. Not completely sure we haven't.

That night we stayed with Jeff & Debbie (Jan's #2 sister) who ride motorcycles across countries all over the world and think we live an interesting life. Funny how one often thinks other people's lives are more fascinating than one's own. Not that it matters, but they have a TV that is more than 3 times as big as the one on our boat. Jan was unimpressed.

Now with Ted & Teri (#1 sister) who dote on their nearly all brand new grand children produced by their 3 girls. We met the ankle-biters for the first time today and of course as everyone with half a brain and anything over 20/400 eyesight agrees they are the 4 most uniquely attractive babies since the dawn of time. With the exception of her of course, Jan's family is shockingly functional and it was great fun seeing them again after 3 1/2 years.. yes, even the babies.



16 October 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
Sunday 16 October 2016

Yesterday we passed near Toronto via a 6 lane highway on a weekend afternoon in wall to wall traffic. For some odd reason millions of people who should know better continue to live where walking outside most of the year without encapsulation in massive layers of wool will result in death. Locals must eat enormous quantities of fat to burn for heat, but fortunately can enjoy all the toothsome oleaginous delights of modern life like KFC, McDonald's and Pizza Hut just like less benighted areas such as Tarakan and Kwandang, Indonesia.

Ducks are essential to Canadians because they produce down. This fluff allows sufficient insulation in duvets for sleeping while avoiding hypothermia without the crushing weight of sufficient blankets. Eponymous geese are also very important for no other reasons than the name and that there are so many that fly south reminding Americans of who's up north and to distribute untaxed goose crap. They're Canada's compensation to the US for KFC, McDonald's and Pizza Hut.

As opposed to your average uncouth American, Canadians have a well-deserved reputation for being nice. However, after hanging around bad influences for years, Jan has recovered from that affliction. She is a deadly slayer of flies and thinks nothing of crushing the life out of a mosquito. She also learned other American ways such as crossing streets in the middle of the block and not waiting for the little walking guy to light up at intersections. Have even observed her driving up to 3 kilometers above the speed limit. The influence goes both ways, of course. I no longer shoot anyone with one of my dozens of automatic assault weapons or powerful hand guns for looking at me crosswise.


The Land Up Over

16 October 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
Saturday 15 October 2016

Ontario, Canada, is mostly rolling hills with an enormous amount of farming considering the growing season hardly extends past a long weekend (slight hyperbole). They grow wheat, corn, soy beans and some other stuff that matures really, really fast. They also produce a pant-load of chicken, an animal that has the mental capacity of cabbage and doesn't tolerate cold very well. These fowl (notice the similarity to foul) are, however, the number one meat eaten by North Americans even though, being amazingly filthy, they must be thoroughly cooked to avoid disease. Given this fact, one wonders whether people naturally love the taste or if they came to prefer it rather than smarter animals because they aren't good for anything else and we don't want our food to wonder what the hell we're doing to them.

Ontarians can buy beer, wine and spirits only from the government then wonder why Quebec wants independence. In order to get wasted one must go to an LCBO, which stands for Liquor Control Board Ontario. The implication, like much of what government says, is untrue as they don't control liquor, which would be pointless as it is even more stupid than chicken, they control people. For some reason humans beg to be regulated. Guess it makes life easier to have someone else, who is generally quite convincing as he expropriates half your earnings, make your important decisions for you.


Stranger in a Strange Land

14 October 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
Wednesday 12 October 2016

Here we are back in enemy territory (well Jan's Canadian, but can no longer handle the cold, so they disowned her), but it's OK, we've mostly stopped burning each other's cities. Anyway they have to deal with Quebec on their own, snowbirds help keep Florida taxes low and we gave them hip-hop and McDonalds. Serves them right.

So far the trip north has been a success. Jan has gotten to visit with her older brother (his favorite sister as she has explained) and we scored 4 bottles of real Canadian maple syrup direct from the farm for our customary Sunday, banana pancakes.


Made it up to the "frozen windswept tundra" in time for fall colors (that would be colours for everyone who also adds a superfluous letter to aluminium, but when in Rome, as it were). The change is late and not so vivid because of a dry summer. Locals say it's still warm.. they lie. Ontarians speak a dialect of English so it's generally easy to get around. There are a few Canadians in Southeast Asia, more in South Pacific and a pantload in the Caribbean, but nothing like here. They're everywhere. You can hardly move around without bumping into one. They ought to form their own country.

"Americans are benevolently ignorant about Canada, while Canadians are malevolently well informed about the United States." - J. Bartlett Brebner


THE Boat Show

10 October 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
Saturday 1 October 2016

Last night we didn't see a black moon due clouds, also because it wouldn't have been visible anyway. For the non-cognoscenti, such as myself until mere hours ago, it is the opposite of a blue moon. Knew that one: the second full moon in a month. Anyway, didn't look because we were luxuriating in Sorong's first 4 star hotel for the princely sum of 50 USD. Can't get a Motel 6 in the US for that.


After 40 hours in airports and on airplanes stopped for a little rest in Minneapolis and didn't even go to the Mall of America. Did go to nearer Southdale Mall for sim cards and dinner to find it closed.. Sunday. Dang, thought everything stayed open all the time in America. At least Ruby Tuesday's was there to feed and water us.

Two nights at the Baltimore Inner Harbor got us mobile phone service and a visit to Ft. McHenry where we (not me personally - missed it by a few years) fought a battle to keep the dastardly British out of Baltimore and allow a draw in the War of 1812 (we burned York, AKA Toronto, and the Brits/Canuks burned Washington). Jan, being Canadian, was the enemy. She and I have, however, reached rapprochement for Canada's regrettable mistake. That little altercation also resulted in Francis Scott Key authoring what has become the National Anthem.

Today we took a train and a bus within walking distance of our hotel - home for the next 6 nights. Both of us have been struck that nearly everyone speaks American. It's disconcerting. Jan is having trouble understanding the natives. Of course, as noted, she's a foreigner. For me, it's like riding a bicycle, picked up the patois after a few hours.


The United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis is fantastic not just because it's the biggest, but also located in a really terrific town. Stumped around both from early 'til late looking at all 6 of the Hylas at the show or in brokerage and buying a bunch of crap that we don't desperately need, but yet couldn't live without. It would be wrong to make the return trip across 12 time zones without at least a hundred kilo of stuff that will barely fit on the boat.


More show, more stuff, more crab.


Hurricane Matthew made the show a bit wet, but OK anyway.


Early rain, then beautiful.


Last day of the show with friends, Morrie & Suzanne, from area. Watched the break down at 1700. All those boats moved in a short span. Way cool. Of course multiple pain killers with Pusser's rum didn't hurt. By the way, Pussers is absolutely rotgut, but with proper ingredients is a great enhancement to your life... at least until the next morning.

OK, this has gone on way too long and there is way too much rum in the system to continue, so bye.


PS Blog location will remain Sorong because that's where the boat is. If you want to know where Annapolis is, search Google.

Prelude to Preponderance of Precordial Palpitations

29 September 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
Sunday 25 September 2016

At the unconscionably early hour of 0800, we left dinghy with John's son and 2 younger siblings to take a ferry across to Sorong for the fresh market. Normal cost is 5K Rp, but unbeknownst to us John had operator Thomas shove off before minimum of 6 passengers showed up so we paid 30. John's neighbor came along so we paid for her too. When his buddy didn't show for transport to market (7Km) we took regular jitney for 5 apiece, also paying for John and his neighbor. Buddy showed up to bring us back and charged 100... John's explanation left something to be desired. Like a Boy Scout, he was helpful, friendly, courteous and some of the 8 or 9 others, but we could have saved a few shekels on our own. In fairness, a hundred thousand rupiah is about 7.40 USD.


Head works properly, first time in over 3 1/2 years. May now actually use the thing occasionally. Windlass (no idea why a winch that hauls up anchor chain is called that), which had become reluctant to let anchor free-fall, has been disassembled, cleaned and regreased, bimini leak has been attended, stern anchor has been cleaned and its roller, which was broken in Semporna as a boat raced by throwing out a tsunami-sized wake in tight quarters, reassembled after welding.


Preparing to depart anchorage, chain came up through gypsy (no idea why part of windlass that captures chain is called that either) like bugs through a goose. Slick as owl sh.... well anyway really slick. May even clean it again one day.


We're tied to a jetty at Helena Base after running onto mud at mouth of river yesterday afternoon with Capt Dahlan piloting. Oops. He normally drives the Helena which draws .4 meters more than Anthem. Previous note from Wick, "Helena is out of service and we are hoping to rebuild a new similar vessel in the near future"... Hmmmm? Tide here is 1.5 meters. Boat is held off jetty by anchor lines fore and aft with breast and spring lines ashore. Keel's on the ground at low tide and we're unable to get off boat then without a ladder. There is no ladder. We can use dinghy. Not much easier. Anyway, nothing around here, so it doesn't matter too much. It's hot and still and we can't use AC (see below). Expect Jan to get cave happy and go psycho before Saturday. Just hope she doesn't murder me in my sleep one night. No load voltage on shore power is 104 and around 93 drawing 10 amps (120 VAC nominal). The place does seem secure enough although boys who work for Wick live next door and partied, loudly, until 0330 this morning. Suspect they're Christian or really, really modern Muslim. Usually don't hear that sort of squealing outside of your average teenage girl's 16th birthday party. Expect transport to Swiss-Belhotel in Sorong Friday by Neddy for flight out Saturday afternoon.


Except for last bit of cosmetic work where winch motor was installed and sealing partners (if not mentioned earlier that's the reinforced deck hole that the mast sticks through on its way to a step on the keel) all intended jobs have been completed - that's right, we're all amazed. Of course, there's no yang without yin, so Fischer Panda generator began running irregularly and blowing dark smoke. Serviced everything possible including all filters, raw water impeller and... oil. Well, the auxiliary required an oil change too so did both at the same time, but (and here's the fun part) forgot to move valve over after filling Panda and overfilled it into the bilge. Now the thing won't turn over. Suspect a hydraulic lock from oil in the cylinder. At least oil doesn't hurt the thing until a way is found to get rid of it. This is all speculation, of course, and the thing may also have injector problem, worse trouble or indeed be completely buggered.

If able today will attend to partners, followed by Ayu, our only English speaking connection to anybody around (Aussie Wick doesn't return until 5th), and Capt Dahlan arriving at 1400 to sort dinghy/outboards, key to companionway, payment, transport to and from hotel/airport and boat checks while we're gone.

- Later

Partners are attended to (futilely no doubt), dink and both outboard engines moved ashore and secured (we hope) money paid (receipt to follow), systems checks explained (in Bahasa) and key for access to interior of boat and all possessions conveyed. Confidence at absurd levels. Ummmm, high. What could possibly go wrong? Whose idea was this trip anyway?

We can shortly look forward to leaving our only home and everything we own in the clutches of strangers to begin 45 hours or more of supreme discomfort proceeding through airports and traveling on standby in sardine can congestion to the opposite side of the world where jet lag will be at its maximum... in order to look at sailboats. Makes sense to me.


Movin' and Rejuven'

24 September 2016 | Doom Island off Sorong
Friday 23 September 2016

Having sucked all the fun to be had out of Waisai we've decided that Doom might be better. While many people might not consider this an improvement, the island just off Sorong is reportedly very nice where a helpful fellow named Beauregard (just made that up until able to find his real name) can help acquire fuel, laundry, groceries, transport into town, etc. Swinging on anchor will be cooler than Waisai Public Marina plus quieter, where we had a lot of motors running and traffic traipsing about at all hours, including uninvited onto the deck.

Although 3 big jobs are complete (installing winch motor/gearbox (covering resultant holes is in progress), restoring a disintegrating teak cockpit grate and tearing apart forward bunk to remove washing machine for parts replacement, there is yet much to do. Oddly, the head (toilet, Cal) rebuild should not be that difficult even though only thing remembered from previously is that it didn't take all day and worked when done. Expectations are high. Fuel selector valve shouldn't take a full day either if all the appropriate parts can be found (somewhat possible). Rebedding of portlights (opening windows, Cal) is a messy, nasty job using butyl and will never be complete as something will always leak - that's cruising truth #47 (to be procrastinated using any excuse at hand). Sealing the partners (hole where mast goes through deck, Cal) is entirely impossible (cruising truth #5), but should constantly be attempted because wood below stays wet and rots.

"Procrastination isn't the problem, it's the solution. So procrastinate now, don't put it off." - Ellen DeGeneres


Ref. previous dubious guess, guy's name is John (not a Muslim, one might suspect) who helped us get diesel this morning for a good price. We'll go fresh shopping in Sorong with him tomorrow at the unconscionably early 0800.

Afternoon was frittered away rebuilding forward, Raritan head. This one has been on the list since we bought the boat over 3 1/2 years ago. OK, it didn't explode bowl contents all over you if operated very carefully (learned that lesson straight off), but needed to make it right. Et voila. Haven't properly checked it yet (transformation of tonight's dinner should provide sufficient ingredients for a serious test), but confidence runs amok.


The Fun Part

22 September 2016 | Waisai, Raja Ampat
Thursday 22 September 2016

Despite smothering heat and humidity, have eschewed habitual sloth for a few major boat projects before departing to the "gleaming alabaster cities" and "amber waves of grain" (hey, those are the lyrics, what can I say!). Anyway, stuff is happening and the boat and our moral fiber will be improved by it. At least that's the optimistic notion. Activities include cutting holes and destroying lungs grinding fiberglass to mount really heavy overhead motor, wiring really heavy overhead motor (oddly enough it works as envisioned and has yet to cause a calamitous fire), forming parts from fiberglass, sticking things back together with fiberglass, making a mess with fiberglass, rebuilding a toilet, rebedding deck hardware to fix leaks, rebuilding a greasy, stinky fuel valve system plus uncounted additional burdens... that is to say, fulfilling endeavors. This cruising thing, while often a delight, full of wondrous adventure, tends occasionally to have a less giddy moment or two. You know what they say: There's no light without a darkness to put it in. "They" should be drawn and quartered, then really made to suffer. A little recreational whingeing is pleasantly cathartic, but would rather avoid the need. Look forward to re-engaging the wondrous part. Perhaps this will occur during the 45 hours 18 minutes of travel on the 6 flights from Sorong to Annapolis. Perhaps not.


Diving For Dollars

17 September 2016 | Pef Island
Sunday 18 September 2016

Cool entry into small inner lagoon of Pef Island between vertical rock pillars and down narrow channel.

After anchoring in 16 meters went ashore at small dock and across mangrove boardwalk to Raja 4 Divers, other side of island. They cater mostly to Europeans for usually 2 weeks or more. Jan ('Yan', French Swiss dive instructor) showed us around. 18 guests max., rustic, but nice, lots of staff, many toys and extensive dive facilities so figured expensive. Didn't ask, thinking it wouldn't effect us. Got the good news later when boat came by just before dusk.

Yachts must pick up one of 3 moorings and pay 20 euro/person/day. Yowser! Includes full use of services: laundry, wifi (onshore), kayaks, small store, etc. for additional cost. Restaurant is available: breakfast 25 euro, lunch 35, dinner 45, bottle of Bintang 5. 55 euro/person/dive, equipment rental extra. Holy trust fund Batman! Another anchorage, 1.5 ESE, is free - better choice. Not wanting to screw with moving we worked out leaving anchor set and paying 1/2 price. Dinnered aboat.

Cruising guide (having given erroneous information about anchoring and costs) reports a large croc, but resort dives in lagoon, so maybe not. Wouldn't be surprised, however, to find the odd mosquito who tells 2 friends, who tell 2 friends, who tell... anyway, screens were in.

Now en route to Waisai into 3 knot current. Just passing a family of wee dolphins with tall, pointy dorsal fins out for their Sunday excursion. If we ever get there at this rate hope to stay a week or so on dock to make repairs and mount previous purchases before abandoning our home in Wamon river near Sorong to sponge for awhile off relatives and friends in N. America. Although particularly lovable, we'll try not to abuse their hospitality too much.. may want to visit again one day.


A Little Bite of Paradise

16 September 2016 | Alyui
Saturday 17 September 2016

A magical place. After visiting the 25 year old, Australian owned, pearl farm yesterday morning (regrettably for everyone but me and the piggy bank, they don't sell pearls plus they were in vacation mode) and a long visit with its French manager, we worked on the boat (really), then took dink out for a late afternoon stroll around the bay. Wonderful water clarity and a glassy surface gave the appearance of flying over fields of coral and fish. Above are towering green hills undercut from millennia of erosion that seem to completely surround the bay interspersed with the occasional white sandy beach. A beautiful sunset capped a charming day. Downside is that local village demands a million rupiah a week per boat (about 75 USD) to stay and enjoy the enchantment. This on top of the half mil. park fee assessed per person from which the locals get nothing. OK, it's worth it especially if money helps limit reef bombing, but annoying nonetheless. Look forward to returning when able to dive.

Some of day's warm and fuzzy was dissipated as it took 3 hours to watch 2 hour movie because apparently damaged disk kept hanging up. Wine and fruit cake helped over the hurdle and the movie was pretty good. Probably wouldn't do any good to complain. We paid less than a dollar and despite having no legitimate place to buy DVDs suspect the producers might be less than sympathetic.

Today is first of 2 relatively short ones to Waisai. Tonight's stop is Pef described as "one of the most photographed islands in Raja Ampat. Lush tropical jungles surround blue lagoons and many small mushroom islets are scattered around the bays. Raja Ampat's famous karst cliffs are located here and add a surreal Jurassic Park feel to the area." Don't think I could paraphrase that any better. Cruising Guide to Indonesia also mentions that charts are worthless. Great. Fortunately reefs, which come straight up from outrageous depths, are easily seen with good light. We'll tiptoe around so they don't jump up and bite us.

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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