Anthem Adrift

24 January 2020 | Sint Maarten
23 January 2020 | Sint Maarten
20 January 2020 | Gustavis, St. Barts
19 January 2020 | Gustavis, St. Barts
18 January 2020 | Gustavis, St. Barts
17 January 2020 | Gustavis, St. Barts
16 January 2020 | En Route St. Barts
15 January 2020 | Jolly Harbour, Antigua
12 January 2020 | Jolly Harbour, Antigua
11 January 2020 | Jolly Harbour, Antigua
09 January 2020 | Jolly Harbour, Antigua
05 January 2020 | Jolly Harbour, Antigua
03 January 2020 | En Route Antigua
01 January 2020 | Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadaloupe
31 December 2019 | En Route Guadaloupe
30 December 2019 | En Route Dominica
29 December 2019 | Martinique, W.I.
28 December 2019 | Martinique, W.I.
25 December 2019 | Grenada, W.I.
22 December 2019 | Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

Saints, Sinners and Scammers

24 January 2020 | Sint Maarten
Friday 24 January 2020

Despite fatalistic sentiment expressed yesterday, life has again become worth living as top-up of data was accomplished. It was indeed 10 USD for five point five gigabytes. After calling parent company, Telem, to obtain unpublished method of checking data balance, discovered it does, however, seem to fly away at an unconscionably rapid rate. Perhaps airplane mode when not using will help.

Astute readers may have noticed spelling of St. Barth changed. This is not due elevation to mystical status of longtime mates, Pat & Sue of that name from Atlanta, but that the St. Barthians (Barthites, Barthers, Bartherinos... the French) spell it that way and, although no violence is anticipated, discretion toward local custom seems appropriately politic.

Having observed, for the previous few days, erroneous forecasting that averred sunny skies would prevail into the foreseeable future, respect for weather prognosticators, not situated on a high plateau to begin with, has tottered even lower. GRIB (G!@# R$%^ I&*> B+?~) data, a model algorithm that is unsullied by human intervention, seems to indicate unsettled conditions that does not agree with meteorologists from Weather.com, Weather Underground or Accuweather. So far it's been the better, meaning worse, but we live in hope.

Brit/S. African/Aussie cruising amigos just arrived from St. Barth, so we'll get together for drinks this evening. Seems, since their boat requires work including painting and we've shared cost estimates from various places, they may be inspired to sail back to Trinidad, a felicitous circumstance for us as they are delightful company. As should have been anticipated sooner, prices are dramatically better there than almost anywhere and apparently nearly as good as Malaysia. This partly due a few incidents with yachts en route by Venezuela and some trepidation for necessity to approach within 10 nm of that benighted country and its desperate, tyrannized citizens.

Had breakfast at yet another cafe because we must visit each one - all of them. Called Zee Best, which one might speculate means the Dutch can't spell "the", food and service were excellent. Because, as is our wont to linger (at least the breakyophiles (not a real word) in the crew), we overstayed our welcome past closing and in order to encourage departure, were gifted with four pan au chocolat. This suggests a modus that we may use profitably in future. To wit: if one can become a nuisance, yet remain adorable (it's a delicate balance), people may give you good stuff to go away rather than pelt you with stale baguettes.

Jack & Jan

Anchored, But Adrift

23 January 2020 | Sint Maarten
Tuesday 21 January 2020

Erratum: Our British mates are actually sort of mostly South African... my awareness of accents is, as previously divulged, paltry. One was born in London, the other in Cape Town. Now they live in Sydney when not sailing around the world on their Jeanneau 439.

To no one's surprise wind and wave were not as predicted - significantly higher. Nevertheless, as both were on starboard quarter, it was a wonderful sail and fast. Sunny forecast also went awry as we were periodically rained upon. No worries. Now anchored in Simpson Bay and sun has peeked out. Belying tropical setting, cool weather has prevailed since Grenada. Having never been in the Caribbean during winter, we're a wee bit surprised at how cool it can seem - snuggies at night.

Wednesday

Having eschewed mobile in St. Barth as Orange charged forty five euro for sim and one gig of data, purchased a Telcell card at the Chinese market in Sint Maarten with five and a half Gb for twenty three USD. Same amount top-up for ten dollars... maybe. Great.. except it didn't allow using phone as hotspot. Ever try to use five gig in a week on a wee 5s iPhone? So finally spent awhile on line with someone who had no clue what this was about, but asked someone who did and with a bit of additional prestidigitation and rebooting - we're in.

Thursday

And speaking of internet, rather than buy new sims and data in each country, thought Google Fi might be the ticket - 75 USD a month for unlimited data virtually everywhere immediately upon arrival. Unfortunately outside of US an iPhone, even one more modern than ancient unit someone, who shall remain nameless, has heretofore been too cheap to upgrade, will not operate as a hotspot. Thus gave rise to visions of acquiring a Pixel android phone, which will. But (there's often a big butt.. err but) Google will not sell to someone outside of US or ship to a mail forwarding address. No worries, just send it to best bud who can courier it to me!? No can do, Kemosabi - Google now thinks someone is fooling with my account and shut it down. After an hour and six minutes on chat plus twice verifying ID and payment information with copies of visa card and government photo ID, now waiting possibly forty eight hours to get sanctified. Since credit card and Paypal are both referenced to forwarding address have modest hopes that this will eventually work even if shipping address is righteous. How hard should it be to get Mr. Google to take my money? Of course when you have enough of the stuff that a few million doesn't even reach chump change level... well.

Now, five and a half gig of mobile data has somehow disappeared in last twenty four hours (no streaming), so devoid of internet until going ashore, in the rain, for dinner. It seems we are inexorably dependent on the grid and overwhelmed with angst without. Life sucks, then you die.

Jack & Jan

Parting Party Planned Presently

20 January 2020 | Gustavis, St. Barts
Monday 20 January 2020

Brit buds Dirk & Annie, SV Esprit, made it in from Barbuda late Saturday,
cleared in yesterday then came over for drinks in the afternoon. Otherwise
various crew defrosted freezer, changed generator fuel filter and did little
else but listen to rain washing deck and dripping on settee.

After coffee, quiche, almond croissant and ham & cheese on baguette at Choisy
and a visit to Le Ship chandlery with Esprits, cleared out of St. Bart for St.
Maarten this afternoon - another grand sail tomorrow he speculates confidently.
Dinner aboard their boat tonight and we bid St. Barth adieu.

As may have been noticed, alliteration is a particular favorite, so, with little
else to do (or rather not doing it), allowed mind to wander around through "P":

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers pursuant to passing Penny Potter's
perilous poultry packing plant possessing precarious projecting pinnacles
partially pinioned to pilons planted peripherally on poorly prepared
perpendicular pendulums painfully punching Peter's particularly protuberant
paunch.

He only had himself to blame.

Jack & Jan

Headway Hurdles

19 January 2020 | Gustavis, St. Barts
Sunday 19 January 2020

Fort Oscar, the best preserved of three forts that no longer need to defend Port Gustavia, has been commandeered by the gendarmerie and restricted to police business only. Based on signage apparently nothing illegal is authorized to happen at night or between the hours of 1230 and 1400. A big fence with locked gate enforces this dictate and keeps out interlopers who can additionally only be dealt with using small arms as cannon remain pointed out to sea.

Fort Karl (or Carl depending on which sign one reads), of which there is little left, protected the overland south from dastardly English or whomever the Swedes were having contretemps at the time. As one might guess from place names, although France eventually bought it back in 1878, Sweden owned the island for awhile and built all its defenses. France had traded it to them in 1784 for free port rights in Gothenburg. Perhaps after French pirate habitue "Montbars the Exterminator" was lost at sea in the seventeenth century the place lost its magical allure in favor of honest trade. This preference reflects the advance of civilization and, despite a couple of deplorable episodes in the twentieth century and the odd skirmish since, continues to this day. Look it up and ignore social media and twenty-four hour news - an excellent idea in any case.

As promised rain has been torrenting and wind is yet wailing, so we enjoy a lazy morning on the boat. Even though sun is now peeking through hazy clouds, will probably remain aboard doing squat-all until tomorrow unless English mates sail over from Barbuda. Wind is predicted to ease nicely day after, but then turn extremely light or go against for the following several days, possibly until after we need to be in St. Maarten. Tuesday is the go. Clear out tomorrow afternoon then, since only sixteen nm to Simpson Bay, no rush for early departure - a fine opportunity to avoid sunrise and, after suitable advancement into daylight, awaken Princess with croissant and a spot of tea.

For you Gregorian calendar apostates Saturday is the first day of 4717, year of the rat. This seems particularly apropos in the US as we approach an election. If you were hoping for a year of fluffy bunnies or any hint of decorum or reason prepare to be dismayed.

Jack & Jan

Sumptuous Consumption

18 January 2020 | Gustavis, St. Barts
Saturday 18 January 2020

Pan au chololat in Antigua, good; in St. Bart, excellent. They're French you know. No fried eggs and bacon at Carambola Patisserie, but darn good quiche and fine coffee. Clear in was easy as expected. Beautiful harbor. Beautiful town. Enhanced trade winds for a few days will in consequence have us loiter until at least Wednesday before sailing to Sint Maarten. Boating services are mainly on Dutch side, but Saint Martin has pain au chocolat too. They're French you know. None of it sucks.

Speaking of food, we like virtually every cuisine from every country (not poi, lutefisk or anything with raw celery), but Thai is a particular favorite. Red curry fish and green curry chicken at the Black Ginger on Rue S. Fahlberg last night were as good as in Phuket and wine was excellent too. Only cost an arm or a leg, not both.

In previous visit walked to Fort Gustav protecting north approach to harbor. Today, Fort Oscar south. Both are built on hills with magnificent views of Gustavia and surrounds. Choisy Boulangerie on Rue Oscar II for breakfast will precede any such exertions. Got to keep up our strength you know. Anticipation is enhancing our will to live.

Tonight we may patronize Le Select, where Jimmy Buffett was known to frequent with an impromptu tune or two. He may have sung about it there, but it's a bar so probably had to go elsewhere to actually get his 20 euro Cheeseburger in Paradise. After that a restaurant with availability may be hard to find as the place is chock-a-block in boats from 100 meters down to rowboats with all their well heeled passengers and crew. The value of all yachtage, power and sail, in the area is probably higher than the GDP of most countries. And then there's the odd cruiser trash like us.

Jack & Jan

Accentuate the Positive

17 January 2020 | Gustavis, St. Barts
Friday 17 January 2020

Oddly enough the passage yesterday was (guess as hazarded using weather weasel
guidance) nearly perfect. Seventy five nautical miles from Antigua to Gustavia
in just over twelve hours. Not bad with aquaculture that makes the bottom look
like a large furry cheese grater. Since we're getting redone in Trinidad and
don't mind if a diver scrapes off all the anti-fouling perhaps we'll expend a
quid or two on professional cleaning. Anchored off Gustavia with sun still up
for dinner and episode three of Sharpe. Expect to clear in tomorrow.

As mentioned previously, American half of crew sounds, well, American. Yes,
absolutely true. Those people, while exhibiting regional differences, all seem
to have a particularly North American accent (English Canadians will probably
take offence, but while they can, to the discerning ear, be distinguished from
their more southerly (mostly) brethren (what's that aboot, eh!) the basic accent
bears a striking resemblance - French Canadians, by the way, also have this
characteristic and are apparently difficult to understand by people from other
French speaking countries). The aforementioned crew, who was born near Boston
into a military family and lived, at least some of his formative years, in other
than the south, when he talks is usually assumed by people everywhere around the
country to be from somewhere else. This is particularly curious because he is
trying to teach other half of crew, a Canadian as it happens, to speak Southern.
What do you call officers of the law? PO-leece. It's a work in progress.

We love boobies; look at them all around the world. Never play boobies,
however, because sticking your head in a hive and hollering "boo bees" is
dangerous. But that's not what we're talking about here. We mean a type of
gannet with brightly colored feet. Blue, yellow or red footed boobies are
nearly everywhere we've been. Good looking birds, they seem to have a
fascination with sailboats, often landing on a rail or the dinghy to gift us
with fish poo. They may love Canadians, nearly everyone does, or perhaps the
boat passage scares up fish they can catch, but suspect they're just curious.
If you meet some ask if they've seen us: dark blue hulled, cutter-rigged sloop
with large US and Canadian flags flying from the backstay. They'll know the
one.

Jack & Jan

Foreign, But Familiar

16 January 2020 | En Route St. Barts
Thursday 16 January 2020

To all those who wished me a happy birth anniversary two days ago on some social media or other, which Jan occasionally wallows in, thank you. I love each and every one of you like a brother or a sister or other (I'm woke), but have been rather successful in avoiding those digital domains. Please forgive me for not responding from my Facebook page which, since creation of it a very long time ago, has, due a desire not to divulge whether I wear boxers or briefs, been allowed to remain fallow.

Although Americans are represented everywhere in the Caribbean, Antigua seems especially favored with those from the South. The really odd thing is, considering that my parents were from South Carolina and I was largely raised and lived in that region of the country, they seem to have an accent. In fact, all Americans, wherever from, have a noticeable brogue. Having listened for the previous 11 years, primarily to Aussies, Kiwis, S. Africans and Brits as well as those for whom English is a second or third language, and usually not given it much thought or noticed anything unusual, it seems that Americans just talk funny. Scary thing is, I sound just like them.

Left Jolly Harbour about an hour and a half before sunrise. Jan was not amused, but napped through the actual event so it could have been worse. Wind, as is often the case, is stronger than forecast, but could, if it remains this brisk, get us to Gustavia before sunset. Expect to clear in tomorrow. French, so easy peasy. Playground of the rich and famous, so expensive. Gorgeous, so worth it.

Jack & Jan

Up, Up and Away

15 January 2020 | Jolly Harbour, Antigua
Tuesday 14 January 2020

Errata: SV Mersoleil went via South Africa, not the Suez, but then sailed up to Morocco and into the Med before crossing via the Canaries. They're returning to Fort Lauderdale to sell their 2010 Hylas 46 and become dirtlings. If anybody wants a wonderful example of one of the finest and prettiest cruising yachts made (entirely unsolicited, unbiased and objective opinion), check it out at David Walters Brokerage.

Wednesday

Bus ride yesterday to St. John's, capital of Antigua & Barbuda, was cheap and easy. Not the prettiest in Caribbean (that would be Gustavia, St. Barts, our next stop), but, except for a cruise ship (Big Ugly Tourist Transporter) looming in the background, OK. Walked all over, visited the Museum of A & B and had tasty coffee - not much else to say. More fun choking down a pre-happy hour beer (or two) with guys from SV Plane to Sea, Jim & Connie, at the Westpoint Bar. Dinghied home with takeaway pizza for episode two of the excellent Sharpe's Rifles (circa 1993 with Sean Bean - the guy from Lady Chatterley) on the telly. Just discovered we had the sixteen part series. If you liked Master and Commander books and the movie with Russell Crowe, you'll probably like this set.

Weather report for tomorrow's trip indicates 12 to 14 knot wind just aft the beam and easy quartering swell; ergo a perfect sail in our beautiful balloon (if you recognize this reference, you're probably way old). Have conducted a secret ballot amongst the crew in which this scenario won in a landslide. Therefore, in spite of habitually dubious performance of these prognostications, it's now no longer in doubt. After clearing out this afternoon expect to depart at too-freaking-early hundred because it's 75 nm and want to arrive before dark. This is the only blemish in an otherwise flawless plan as Jan will, much to her chagrin, be required to view a sunrise.

Jack & Jan

What Goes Around

12 January 2020 | Jolly Harbour, Antigua
Sunday 12 January 2020

In the "holy crap where did you come from" segment, while having coffee ashore yesterday, bumped into Dirk & Annie on SV Esprit whom we met in Darwin and haven't seen since crewing for SV Bali Hai in Langkawi and Phuket two years ago. They went through the Suez and just arrived from Cape Verde. They informed us that coming in soon are Robbie & Bev on a Hylas 46, SV Mersoleil, who we last saw in Auckland nearly five years ago. They went through the Med as well and are just arriving today. We will now be forced (forced I say) to patronize the Crow's Nest (two for one happy hour and great burgers) for at least two night's running to catch up. It's a dirty job, but... Luckily we had not contemplated going on the wagon this year.

In spite of previously expressed dilatoriness would have replaced the AC cooling water pump today, but in checking inventory list discovered that spare resides in bottom layer under forward bunk. Jan, not wanting to haul out the half ton (very slight hyperbole) of junk on and under it to access the thing, requested we wait. Notwithstanding that this is one of my three most popular deadly sins, just hate when compelled to be slothful. You believe me don't you? However, like do-gooders everywhere, a righteous intent is what's important and positive results are irrelevant. I love being morally superior. Probably makes you feel all warm and fuzzy too. There's a lot of it going around.

Jack & Jan

What Shall We Do?

11 January 2020 | Jolly Harbour, Antigua
Friday 10 January 2020

Wind has come in with a vengeance and, with forward hatch open, is blowing up interior carpet and everything else not nailed down. Should last four or five days then take a hiatus for us to make St. Barts and St. Maarten without repeating the Indian Ocean experience. Highly touted Rocna anchor dragged through heavy mud bottom after being well set. Now have twelve to one scope with enough chain dragging on the bottom that the anchor is probably superfluous. We took the thing around the world and didn't lose the boat, but have had some problems. Considering returning to old reliable CQR. Visions of cabin fever are dancing in our heads due some reticence to leave boat unattended next few days plus neighbor's boat is sailing back and forth on its ground tackle like it wants to either spank us or decamp to somewhere more agreeable.

Notwithstanding we'll probably risk having boat drag to Honduras tomorrow by going ashore for more phone data and perhaps a wee dram with other degenerate cruisers - good crowd anchored here in Jolly Harbour. Already swapped books, now hope to find new movies for our giant 19" flat screen. May upgrade current unit as it is restricted to regions Down Under and in Asia - no free TV. When wifi not prohibitive we can watch Netflix, etc. through Apple TV and anyway having done without broadcast for awhile, wonder if there is anything worth watching. Probably not, but don't tell Jan. She's absolutely opposed to getting that awesome 88" Samsung curved screen. She focuses on some inconvenient, but irrelevant facts such as that because it won't fit below we would have to locate the thing on deck and build a waterproof enclosure. OK sure, sailing vision ahead would be blocked and windage would be horrendous, but gloryosky, anything worthwhile is worth a trivial amount of inconvenience, right! She may be willing to compromise on a locally enabled 21.

Saturday

Euclidean geometry explains why everything doesn't happen at the same place. Time explains why it doesn't happen all at once. Assumed true, these scientific theories allow vast expanses where very little occurs. Quite often on a boat they are proven wrong. This is not one of those occasions. As we meander for the next three days toward my birthday (a misnomer as it's merely an anniversary of that singular, august event) with howling wind and periodic rain, have reflected that we should discontinue vegetating and do something productive. Admittedly everything useful is working at the moment, but some broken systems are not being used. For example, the AC cooling, raw water pump is encrusted with rust and has discontinued operation. Onboard resides a spare for just such an eventuality, so an obvious strategy is presented: procrastinate until it's needed. As one might possibly miss, conscientiousness and judgment were two of the important occupational attributes that now allow us to be where we are, doing what we do and not use them.

Jack & Jan
Vessel Name: Anthem
Vessel Make/Model: 1997 Hylas 46
Hailing Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
Crew: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes disgraceful.twaddle@gmail.com
About:
Jack: Formerly productive member of the community as a Northwest Airlines Captain who retired to become a drain on, and embarrassment to, polite society. [...]
Extra:
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 [...]
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/anthem
Anthem's Photos - Main
5 Photos
Created 2 January 2017
Waterfall, etc.
5 Photos
Created 19 May 2009

S/V Anthem

Who: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes disgraceful.twaddle@gmail.com
Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
For a better map select "View Tracking" and click "+" below "Google" left lower of Sailblogs map. Download .kml file and open with Google Earth. See full profile for information on why this mess is being foisted upon an innocent world and for information on contact. Don't be a stranger.
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