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Scientology measles ship Freewinds ditches St. Lucia quarantine for Curaçao, its home port

[Marine tracking website shows the Freewinds sailing west from St. Lucia just after midnight]

St. Lucia officials quarantined Scientology’s floating cathedral, the Freewinds, on Monday morning, and word from health officials was that the measles case on board would require 21 days of no passengers disembarking. But they also admitted that they had no power to keep the ship from sailing away.

And ship tracking websites are now showing that Thursday night, the Freewinds did just that, ditching St. Lucia and sailing west, with a destination of Curaçao, its home port, and the place where a crew member’s measles case was reportedly first discovered. (UPDATE: The Dutch language press in the region is saying that the test detecting the measles case of a crewmember, a woman who boarded the ship on April 17, was done in Aruba, before the ship went to Curaçao and then on to St. Lucia.)

Later in the morning we’ll try to get some word from Dutch Caribbean officials about whether the ship will remain under quarantine once it arrives.

St. Lucia is no doubt happy to be rid of the vessel, but ditching a quarantine doesn’t exactly seem like the best public relations move by the Church of Scientology does it? We’d love to have some experts weigh in.

In the meantime, we’ve been checking social media to get some idea of who’s on board the ship.


Yesterday, we explained why we think there’s at least a small chance that Scientology leader David Miscavige was on the ship for his birthday, which was Tuesday. But what’s the rest of the mix like? Former church executive Tom DeVocht suggested that at this time, several weeks before the annual Maiden Voyage celebration, there might be families with children on board.

One passenger we know about is Australian musician Rob Meister, who has been documenting his trip aboard the ship at his Facebook page. Rob is a longtime Scientologist who goes around the world to perform for Scientologists at church events.

Along the way, he sometimes posts photos of himself with Scientology’s celebrities, like radio personality Kerri Kasem in Los Angeles last year…


And singer Stacy Francis, also in L.A. last year…


At the grand opening of the new “Advanced Org” in South Africa in January, he posted a photo of himself with Scientologist rapper Doug E. Fresh and Scientology flim-flam man, the Rev. Alfreddie Johnson Jr….



He also finds time on occasion to post memes consistent with Scientology’s hatred for psychiatry and psychiatric drugs…


…and to praise Scientology’s founder. Meister’s caption: “Happy birthday to the man that saved my life more times than I can remember! #lronhubbard #happybirthday”


On March 4, he posted a video from the Freewinds, saying that he was going to be spending several weeks on the barge…


“All right, so 75 hours of flying in the last few weeks has been bloody intense. And I’m very happily on board the Freewinds and enjoying a few weeks in the Caribbean. Hope you’re doing great.”

On March 25, he gave us a glimpse of the party on board the ship, entertaining the OTs…



After a stop in Cartagena, Rob gave a glimpse of the harbor in Aruba…


And then his most recent posting was this photo with the caption, “St Lucia bound.”


Rob’s probably going to be very busy entertaining frustrated, confined Scientologists over the next three weeks. We hope he was up on his vaccinations.

UPDATE: Based on new information from Curacao’s health officials, and marine tracking websites and the help of Eivol Ekdal, here’s the timeline we have been able to put together to help understand the situation. (These are local times.)

The Freewinds departed Cartagena harbor on April 5, and then made stops at Santa Marta, Colombia (April 6), Aruba (April 7), and Curacao (April 16). It left Curacao a little after midnight on April 17.

Wednesday, April 17, 7:04 am: Freewinds arrives at Oranjestad, Aruba.

Wednesday, April 17: Unnamed female crew member joins the ship from Europe.

Monday, April 22, 5:12 am: Freewinds arrives at Willemstad, Curacao.

Monday, April 22: Crew member visits a doctor in Curacao for cold symptoms. Blood sample taken and is sent to Aruba for testing.

Wednesday, April 24, 6:05 am: Freewinds arrives at Oranjestad, Aruba.

Sunday, April 28, 5:28 am: Freewinds arrives at Willemstad, Curacao.

Sunday, April 28, 10:09 pm: Freewinds departs Willemstad for St. Lucia.

Monday, April 29: (Freewinds en route from Curacao to St. Lucia.) Aruba health officials alert Curacao that the blood test is positive for measles. Curacao officials in turn alert St. Lucia officials that the ship coming to them has a confirmed measles case.

Tuesday, April 30, 7:51 am: Freewinds arrives at Castries, St. Lucia and is put on quarantine.

Thursday, May 2, 11:18 pm: Freewinds departs quarantine in Castries, St. Lucia, bound for Curacao.

The ship is scheduled to arrive in Willemstad early tomorrow morning. Sure would be nice if we had some correspondents there with cameras.


HowdyCon 2019 in Los Angeles

THURSDAY NIGHT OPPORTUNITY: This year’s HowdyCon is in Los Angeles. People tend to come in starting on Thursday, and that evening we will have a casual get-together at a watering hole. But we also want to point out that Cathy Schenkelberg’s “Squeeze My Cans” will be running at the Hollywood Fringe, and we encourage HowdyCon attendees to see her show on Thursday night, June 20. Tickets and more dates available here.

Friday night June 21 we will be having an event in a theater (like we did on Saturday night last year in Chicago). There will not be a charge to attend this event, but if you want to attend, you need to RSVP with your proprietor at tonyo94 AT gmail.

On Saturday, we are joining forces with Janis Gillham Grady, who is having a reunion in honor of the late Bill Franks. Originally, we thought this event might take place in Riverside, but instead it’s in the Los Angeles area. If you wish to attend the reunion, you will need to RSVP with Janis (janisgrady AT gmail), and there will be a small contribution she’s asking for in order to help cover her costs.

HOTEL: Janis tells us she’s worked out a deal with Hampton Inn and Suites, at 7501 North Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, (818) 768-1106. We have a $159 nightly rate for June 19 to 22. Note: You need to ask for the “family reunion” special rate.



Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Kelly Preston, Beck, and Anne Archer]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] How Scientology’s mental health ideas end up enabling the worst compulsions
[TWO years ago] Scientology fires again at Clearwater aquarium and calls county commissioner ‘shameful’
[FOUR years ago] Whale watching: The wealthy donors keeping Scientology afloat, 2015 edition
[FIVE years ago] Ken Dandar gets another day in court after his $1 million Scientology judgment
[SIX years ago] Scientology is Staking Everything On Portland Like It Actually Matters


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,435 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,564 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,068 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,548 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 608 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 499 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,806 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,674 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,448 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,222 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,568 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,134 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,054 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,221 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,802 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,063 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,102 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,814 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,340 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,429 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,569 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,889 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,745 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,864 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,220 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,522 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,628 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,030 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,902 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,485 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,980 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,234 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,343 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on May 3, 2019 at 00:30

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2018 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2018), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists | GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice | SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts | Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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