Sunday, December 28, 2014

Comments screwup and a nice holiday.

I must have changed something in my blogger settings for comments because I see that I had at least 20 comments that required moderation. Huh? I never touched that setting...I think.

So all this time I thought nobody was really reading anything. Sorry folks.

I get to the kids house with broad band and I load blogger only to find all these nice comments on my posts. You guys must have thought I was rude or something. Oh well. They are there now and I changed the settings. We have been so caught up in prepping for leaving the States that I completely overlooked the fact that I had comments to moderate.

I admit to slacking off on the posts lately. Been busy and too lazy to get to the marina office to couch it with the locals getting good wifi. The few times we did manage to get to the couch we met some nice folks. Problem is we get to talking and then I never get the damn posts out there. We are having fun with the kids and about ready to get back to cruising. I hated being in one place this long but it made for a relatively short drive to Savannah from here.

We will be back to our adventuring real soon and with lots of things to write about. Stay tuned.

Hope everyone had a great holiday so far. Christmas was fun this year with our immediate family in one spot for a change, Our Grandsons are amazing. We will really really miss these little men and their wonderful parents. Deb's mom made the trip up from Florida as well so it was extra special for us. Good times.

Now it's back to the business of cruising. 


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Fleece navidad

It's cold! Yes it's fifty degrees but we have no furnace to warm things up before we kick the covers off. 

I am hoping that this weather is just a brief taste of winter. 

I'm not much of a sock guy anymore but waking up to 50 degrees was too much for my old toes. Good thing we have a sun room. 

I was busy yesterday building a temporary new mounting base for our crude radar support pole. If this doesn't work I am either going to mount it on an expensive pole/motor lift or put it on the mast. Pulling the mast is $$. So let's hope this works. Pics later. One nice thing about having jury rigged shit on your boat is that other cruisers see it and they refrain from asking you for any help with their shit. :)

I couldn't make tea fast enough this morning. Needed warmth and caffeine. I then remembered I had this horrible black tea. I thought it was loose leaf when I bought it but opening it I found this:

Tea bag you say? Why no, it's a Sachet. Pinkys out! I would go back to coffee if it didn't destroy my stomach. All those years at GM with that acid we called coffee didn't do me any favors. 

My blogging has been done by iPhone lately. We were charged for more data recently as we went over our limit so we are using it up. The laptop is pretty lame when running on batts. By the time windows gets done with all it's power up horseshit the battery is half gone. There is no wifi in this mooring field which I find pretty lame as well, so we are internet deprived right now which is probably a good thing. We have plenty to do. 

Here's to warmer weather and an awesome Christmas and holiday!
Safe travels. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Why Fi?

Our goal today was to buy some cheap veggies and do some online chores. Things didn't quite work out for us. 

 Our last purchase at Fresh Market was broccoli which didn't make it two days without spoiling so we hit up the hippie farmers market today thinking cheap and fresh. We got shocked at the register when it totaled $51 for two zucchini, radishes, 5 potatoes, one squash, blue berries, broccoli and some tea leaves. What the hell!

I have to take a closer look at those tea leaves because I definitely paid way too much for just vegetables. Maybe that's why they threw rolling papers into the bag?

After getting fleeced at the market we went to Starbucks to pay $3 for a cup of coffee and use their wifi. The coffee sucked and so did the wifi. I ordered an Americano figuring that was as close to a regular cup of joe as I was going to get. I asked for soy milk instead of cream. "How much?" The gal asked. I said a splash. She stared me down and asked if an inch was ok. Geezus. Awfully technical aren't they? Ok an inch then. "Steamed or cold? Ugh. Steamed sounds good. Apparently steaming soy takes a half hour and then some ass hat grabbed my coffee by mistake. I asked him what he ordered. He got the same thing only with milk. Dude, this has STEAMED SOY! Back off. 

Fully jacked on caffeine we strolled to the library to use their wifi which also sucked. Turns out the folks behind us which looked suspiciously like cruisers, were streaming a movie. Really guys? We attempted to use it anyway but it was useless. I wish I knew what movie they were watching so I could tell them how it ended. 

On the way out of the library some homeless guy coughed in our faces and crossing the street some kid yelled something at us from a car. Maybe he said get a job. Do we look like bums? We had backpacks and a grocery bag. Not like we were pushing a shopping cart! Little shithead. Must be the backpacks. I see a lot of homeless folks in the park with backpacks. Could be why that store manager followed me around CVS that one day. Maybe I should shave more often. 
We got in the dinghy and pounded though the two foot chop of this unprotected mooring field feeling totally defeated today. 

Tomorrow is a work day. Boat chores are calling so we will ignore our internet woes. Somehow, some way, somewhere, we will find good WiFi and get some important things done. 

The wifi we pull in with our antenna is spotty at best and it sometimes takes hours just to do a blog post. Not quite what's needed to order boat parts or enroll in health care. Monday we will try again unless the homeless guy gave us a nice gift for the holidays. 


Your moment of zen:

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Pungo Pots

One of our favorite anchorages on the ICW is after the Pungo River on the South end at STM 127.4. We were there on our first trip south from NY. It’s a quiet spot with relatively deep water and room for many boats. It’s not the most protected spot but if it’s not blowing stink it’s OK. We like it because it’s quiet. There may be a few yahoos shooting the bark off of trees and the occasional dog barking but for the most part it’s just you and the fish.

After our adventure with “Snakes on a Chain” at the north end of the river, Deb was determined not to anchor there again so we were pretty excited to pull off the waterway and spend a peaceful night in a favored spot. We came out of the river and glanced to the north towards our refuge. Pots! Crab Pots! Hundreds of crab pots littered the area as far as the eye could see. Our hearts sank and for once I was the calm one while Deb swore like a sailor. It was late in the day and we were tired. We had motored to  the point where we would turn into the anchorage and I said, “Let’s go in and look around.” Deb said, “It’s full of F@#&ing pots!! They are everywhere!” You wouldn't believe the field of pots we saw. We were ready to give up and just find a spot off channel for the night but I thought why not give it a shot.

We bobbed. We weaved. We worked our way toward a spot that looked good while watching the depth sounder. The target area showed promise. It looked full of pots but as we got closer a clear spot opened up for us right in the middle of a small cove surrounded by pine trees. Yes! We tucked in and dropped the hook in mud and settled in for the night. What are the odds that the very spot that was most protected was empty of pots?

After a night with dead bugs staining the deck and motoring in fog, this was a pleasant ending to a long day. I slept like a teenager after his first pot party and snack run.

It’s amazing how time on the water has reduced our anxiety over some things like crab pots. Well, for me anyway. When we first started out I was freaking out over all the damn pots everywhere. They used to drive me nuts because everywhere we wanted to anchor or sail there were pots to dodge. I know some of you folks reading at the time were like, chill dude!

I still want to avoid them and snagging one means I have to get in the water with a knife, which would probably lead to being in the water with blood. Being in the water with blood usually means you will have company. I like to swim alone thank you. 

Now I see pots as a sign of shallow water. They keep you honest on the ICW. There were a few times I was almost out of the channel on a turn, but the pots kept me in deep water. We have even anchored with pots all around us, which I really do not like but hey, we all have rights to the water. I remember one crabber getting all pissed off one morning because a sailboat next to us literally backed up over his marker. He was shouting some unintelligible nonsense about keeping the hell away from his pots. I couldn't help but laugh. I saluted him with my coffee mug. How’s it feel asshole. 

Recently in Florida I got all worked up about dodging a pot in mid channel. “Bastards can’t be laying pots here!!” Turns out I was avoiding a coconut.

Life out here sure is amusing and amazing. We continue to gain experience and learn something new with every day. We are now suffering anxiety over the upcoming crossing of the Gulf Stream. I'm sure we will over plan and lose sleep over it until we actually do it. Next year at this time we will be giving advice on how to, or how not to do it. Until then we have projects to complete and some quirky technical issues to solve. 


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Where the Fugawi?


Sitting at anchor near the old Marine Stadium watching the world go by. We have a nice view of Miami and we have a little island next to us that appears to be very popular with the locals. The water is a nice blue and fish are all around, Dolphins drop by for a visit once in a while and something with a big head, possibly a turtle, popped up recently while I was scrubbing the ICW stache off the boat. I hope thats what it was.

We had a nice motor sail from Lake Worth to Government Cut. We left at sunrise with a few other boats. Eventually there were about fifteen boats behind us and it looked like a race to Miami. By the time we made it to the entrance we were one of two boats heading in. Where the hell did everyone go? I have no idea. We didn't see anyone go into Fort Lauderdale so who knows where they all went. They couldn't all have been day sailing. Many times it's just a mystery to me where people go. When we are anchored off the ICW we would see boats go by with about a half hour of daylight left and about five miles to the next anchorage. I dunno.

We caught a nice breeze for a few hours that took us up over seven knots over ground else we would have been lucky to make it after dark. We looked over some anchorages and settled on Virginia Key south of the bridge as it was the easiest to get to and we were dead tired. Our friends on Kintala, Deb and Tim, were anchored on the other side of the causeway at the Marine Stadium. We didn't feel like navigating shallows so late in the day so we opted for the other side with some mega yachts filled with the rich and famous. One thing mega yachts do is attract other boaters. There was plenty of water based activity going on all night. The two yachts have a love affair with LED lights of all colors and it drew people like moths. Unfortunately those moths drove by us all damn night and we rocked and rolled to sleep.

We bailed the next day to the Marine Stadium anchorage with Deb and Tim. It's nice having friends in town. We hopped aboard Kintala for happy hour and snacked out. Good times. Kintala is a pretty nice boat and in great shape. They both do a great job maintaining her and it shows.

This anchorage has a tiny island in it that is quite popular with the locals. I mentioned to Deb on Kintala that we ought to claim it as ours at the first opportunity. Drinks on the Island sounded good. Eventually the place cleared out for a few hours and we claimed it. We sat and chat about life while we watched seaplanes take off . Eventually some kids motored up and blasted some Latino dance music while coming ashore. I guess they figured Grandma and Gramps would run away when they saw and heard them coming. We did. Not so much because of them but from the sand gnats that just came out. About an hour later the kids were gone. Latino dance music has no affect on sand gnats.

Kintala moved on to a better anchorage for the upcoming wind. We decided to stick it out one more night as we were undecided on what we were doing. Do we head to Marathon or not? Our friends there say it is seventy percent full already. What the hell. Do we secure a mooring for the holidays here before they are gone? Our decision was made by mother nature as she threw some really ugly weather our way. For almost a week now it has been blowing stink and then the rain came and has not stopped. Been pretty miserable. Not as miserable as the folks in Buffalo NY though. Friends and family have been buried in all that white stuff. Buffalo now holds the record for the most snow in a twenty four hour period in the US. Damn Lake Effect. I really don't miss all that white stuff falling from the sky. I just hope everyone stays safe. Memories of shoveling snow are not pleasant, though one night I remember as being completely beautiful as I sat on the roof of the house, taking a breather from shoveling the snow off of it before it got too heavy. A crisp star filled night with all the snow a bright white blanket covering the trees and houses was an awesome sight. I had a Molson Canadian Lager stuffed in my jacket pocket for just such an occasion. I must have made quite the shadowy figure to my neighbor across the street.

So here we are bouncing around Biscayne Bay not sure of our immediate future. Christmas is coming and we need to park the boat somewhere so we can spend the holiday with the kids. Relatively speaking it's not a bad situation to be in. We are south where it's supposed to be warm and are in a good position for a jump to the Bahamas when we are ready. If we miss out on Marathon it's not a huge disappointment as we were going to cross as soon as we got back from seeing the kids anyway. This is a good crossing point and a good place to prepare. I wouldn't mind seeing some of Miami either. No complaints. Life is good.

Wait! I do have one complaint. It's about our engine. The Yanmar 4JH gave us an alarm for low oil pressure as we throttled down to drop the main. It was just a few chirps and the gauge was bouncing all over the scale. Deb throttled up and it went away. We then eased the throttle down to idle and it never returned. This happened once before but I found the oil filter had come loose. This time I see nothing wrong. Not sure what this means. I have plenty of oil and it's only 20 hrs old. It's the correct viscosity as well. Weird. Only after running all day does this happen. Oil too hot? Plugged cooler? Looks like I have some investigating to do.


Is this the last of our ICW days for the foreseeable future? Only time will tell.

Beer tongs!
Finally found some with grip.
Perfect for that deep dive into the fridge.
Beer me!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hair and Horse heads

One of my problems with cruising is getting a good haircut. Some towns we visit just do not have a barbershop worth visiting or they don't have one at all. Most places have a beauty salon but nothing for men. There were a few places I've been to where I thought Floyd would be cutting Sheriff Andy Taylor's hair when I popped in. There were also places where I wanted to bolt for the door mid cut. Smock and all.

Cash only. Bring your Doe
When I look for a clip joint I have to find one within walking distance or by bus. This limits my choices as most most American businesses have moved out to the burbs in most towns. I will find a shop on Google maps or Yelp and then do a walk by, commonly known as a stakeout. I'll peek inside to see whats what and decide whether to go in or not.  If all the chairs are full it's a good sign but a long wait. Waiting is good because you can watch the action. If you don't like what you see you fake a phone call and walk out. Easy. When you walk by and you see an old guy asleep in the barbers chair with Judge Judy on the tube well, just keep walking.

My last hair cut I walked into a quiet shop with a kid and his Dad getting some work done by a small Asian woman. I looked around and it was only the one barber. She was using scissors and a comb and was cutting the kids hair in surges. She would back away from the kid, tilt her head, attack with the scissors, then repeat. I sent a text out to the family saying I may need a phone call so I can bail on this place. I would take the call outside and then make my escape. The woman must have sensed I was getting nervous and said, "You next OK?". Ugh. I was toast. Before I knew it the kid was done and I was getting the ninja cut. Back and forth she went. A lunge and a cut. Lunge and cut. I thought she did a good job despite her technique and I tipped her well. When I got home I noticed one side was shorter than the other. Crap. Her lunge from the left wasn't as good as the one from the right I guess. Son of a bitch.

That one wasn't so bad. The last time I was in Vero looking to get the fuzzball trimmed I popped into a place near the beach. Every chair was full and three ladies were doing the cutting. The ladies were pretty happy and joking around a lot. I watched this guy getting trimmed up and when she was done the dude just frowned as he looked into the mirror. Uh Oh. Bad sign. He left without a smile and she was patting the chair for someone to sit. "You next", she said to the three guys ahead of me but they all deferred to the youngest of the three barbers. Shit! Bad sign number two! Our eyes met and she said "Come on handsome. I'm ready for you." I fake smiled and nervously moved to the chair and she proceeded to talk my ear off about everything travel related while I watched her hands and those scissors. She stabbed my ear a little and now I had a tissue stuck to it. She giggled. I figured she was almost half done butchering me when another woman came in and yelled "lunch!". The razor then came out and after a quick trim I was out of the chair and she was asking for twenty two dollars. I reluctantly paid after catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror while the ladies all sat down for lunch with only the young one cutting hair. Worst haircut ever. I now call them the Witches of Vero. They flirted and laughed like they were high on champagne and totally in love with the guy in the chair, but they were secretly plotting to make you look hideous before you left. Deb cringed when she saw me. It was one of the worst haircuts I ever experienced. The next barber I went to asked who cut my hair. "Geez buddy don't go back there!" The witches were too hungry to finish the job and in some ways I'm thankful for that.

Even when we were  dirt dwellers I had issues with hair cuttery. I had this theory years ago about getting your hair cut. If you were a married guy in your 40's with children you should look for the sexiest young hair stylist you could find as there would never again be a time when a sweet young thing would run her fingers through your hair. Made sense back then. I found myself a Morgan Fairchild look alike that worked at the Hair Zoo. She did an OK job, but I didn't care too much. Getting my head massaged in shampoo while she hovered above me was good enough. I was in haircut heaven. One Saturday I strolled in to find Morgan had quit. What? Another girl took her place. She was not Morgan Fairchild. She wasn't even Morgan Averagechild. My haircut was bad. I was depressed. I had another month to find someone to cut my hair.

Amazingly I ran into Miss Morgan at the grocery store and she told me she cut hair in her house now. Oh really. I called for an appointment. Excited I was. Thinking of those magical fingers I couldn't wait to get there. When I arrived, three kids were eating breakfast in their pajamas and staring at me while a black lab wanted to get real friendly with my leg. Labs are fairly large dogs by the way. I was lead to the half bath off the kitchen where the toilet was replaced with a barbers chair. Nice. The door was closed and it was literally like being in a closet together. She cut my hair in between answering the phone, the kids banging on the door and the lab walking in and sniffing my crotch while she stepped out. An hour and a half later I was done. No shampoo. She said to wash before I get here. Damn. She did a good job but my ass cheeks fell asleep and my pants were wet with dog snot. This lasted a few more visits and then the dog started humping my leg again so I bailed despite Morgan freaking awesome Fairchild.

Before we were cruising, listening to Buffett tunes and dreaming about sailing away to paradise, we discussed haircuts and what we would do. Deb said she was going to let it go gray and she would cut her own hair. Me, I said I would let it grow and maybe pull it into a ponytail. Maybe get some tatt's to go along with it. Maybe grow the beard out too. Deb followed through and cuts her own hair. Looks good. I let my hair grow until I realized it still likes to grow out and not down. My head is big and round and the extra hair makes it look even bigger. Sputnik. I can't just let it go. I'd look like a frizzed out Q-Tip. Besides which every old cruiser in Florida looks alike. You can't even describe a fellow sailor now. "He's the dude with the gray pony tail and beard". It's like being a scientist and describing a fellow worker as the guy in the lab coat with the glasses.

There was a barber shop I walked into once. The one hair cutting dude was finishing someone and the other was asleep in the chair. Both kids had tattoos all over. Metal played over the sound system and Reservoir Dogs was on the tube. There was a large poster of The Rat Pack playing pool. Hair was all over the floor. The sleeping dude never stirred so the dude who just finished cutting looked at me and spun the chair for me to sit. "What number?" he said. Number? What the fuck is he talking about? I looked at him like a kid who didn't know the answer to a math problem. "Uh, I uh, regular haircut?" I sat down and the tattooed arms swung around and he grabbed my head and jerked it to one side and ran the dog clippers over my head while it rained salt and pepper hair all over the floor. Two minutes later I was spun around to the mirror. Dude raised a hand mirror to show me the back but I was too stunned to say anything. I just nodded, paid the fifteen bucks and slowly walked to the car. I put a baseball cap on my head, which was now a loose fit, and drove home. The white walls the kid gave me reminded me of an old '59 Buick Electra cruising through Motown. My kids couldn't stop rubbing my head and the guys at work kept saying sorry.

 I know what you are thinking I'm being a bit dramatic about all this. I'm over 55 and really shouldn't care anymore. I know. I'm getting better. There were times I couldn't even walk into a place unless my buddies recommended it, and now it only takes me a few passes by to chance it. It's a problem I know and if I could place any blame it would be on my Dad, Sergio and a creepy horses head.

As a young lad in the early 60's growing up to rock n roll, my Dad would make sure my hair remained short and no longer than the Beach boys. If it started looking slightly British invasion he would take me to Sergio for a trim. Sergio was a barber my Dad somehow came to know and the thing I remember about him was his not so perfect english. Not sure of his accent but he was a nice guy until he got those scissors in his hand. One day he hooked up some vibrating machine to his hand and ran it across my head. My friggin eyeballs felt like they were randomly rolling around in my head and I started getting dizzy. Sergio got a good laugh out of that even though my young brain probably suffered some damage. No wonder I had trouble with math.

When I got to Sergio's he would greet me by saying what a nice young man I was and he was going to make me handsome for the ladies. I never paid much attention to what the hell Sergio was saying because I was staring at the decapitated horses head that was mounted to a barbers chair.

I sat on one of the many customer chairs and instead of looking at the latest Life magazine with Jackie Kennedy on the cover, my eyes were fixed on the dark horse head. The old wooden horse with it's yellowing and chipped white teeth were grinning at me with that bit in its mouth and it's marble eyes wild and accusing. "Sergio is gonna clip those ears right off your head kid! Hee hee hee hee hee..."

Apparently Sergio thought kids would like a decapitated horses head with peeling paint and a mouth filled with oversized teeth, bulging eyes, flared nostrils and a mane matted with the salt of children's tears. When it was my turn for a cut Sergio kept those scissors flying while I kept my eye on the equine pagan idol. When he was done and my hair went from John, Paul, George and Ringo to David and Ricky Nelson I was removed from the dead horse and left standing there for my Dad and Sergio to observe and comment. I'm pretty sure neither one said "What a handsome little guy. He will do good with the ladies eh? No, they probably said "Maybe a little more off the top but he looks good." "Sure. Kind of Charlie Brown looking with that big mellon."

Sergio presented me with a sucker/lollipop for enduring the evil steed without whimpering. I walked out with my Dad, casting one last glance at the horse head who made kids cry and popped the lousy lemon sucker in my mouth. Sergio had only lemon or lime suckers on those lousy looped sticks. Screw Sergio and that damn horse I thought. I survived another one.

The air was a little cooler on the head going home than it was heading out but I didn't care. I was in a Malibu convertible with my Dad and we looked good. Sometimes haircuts aren't so bad. We went cruising for chics.

Just kidding Mom.

Chevy Malibu

Friday, November 7, 2014

Morning Tea. Vero.

Morning Tea posts are just random thoughts dumped onto a page because I can't seem to string any of those thoughts together to form a post lately.

No See Ums. Hate the tiny bastards. Not sure what works out there for protection but we have to try something. Lost a good nights sleep getting eaten.

Vero is a good place to re-stock and get some work done on the boat. It is also good for socializing and meeting new boaters.

The Bus system in Vero is great, you can get anywhere free. Depending on where you go it could be an all day affair and you might enjoy or suffer, depending on your outlook on life, with an out of ordinary discussion with some of the regular riders.

Walking everywhere gets you thinking about all the cars in the Country. It used to boggle my mind thinking about all the cars that were being assembled and hitting the car lots every day. Still amazes me. Actually it's depressing. We would be so much better off with mass transit. The number of cars sold world wide each year :

We've been cruising in stages. First was the A1A cruise from St Aug to Vero. Second was the Northern run from Vero (and Arthur) to the Chesapeake. Now we just completed the Southbound Sail from the Chesapeake to Vero. Blazing new trails from here on out.

When we roll up or down the ICW Debra takes the helm on the straights and I get to steer the wiggles. I am getting much better at making those wide sweeping turns and have not been yelled at lately for driving on the wrong side. Eventually Debra will just take over and I will be assigned to the galley. Wait. I'm already assigned to the galley!

Our Pirate friends suggested the ABC store for a better selection of brewski's. They were right! We have been finding some interesting and tasty brews in cans no less! Consumption is actually down. When corporate swill is all you have you tend to pass and have lemonade.

There are a few things on the boat that have bothered me lately. The rudder post has a tiny leak around the seal. I'll try to tighten the nut a bit. Our shaft seal drips way too much under power and the lock nut won't budge. Hammer time? Recently I went to start the engine and only the solenoid clicked. The next try it fired, but this is disturbing. I have some leaky ports to contend with still and the engine keeps creating belt dust even though the alternator load was electronically reduced by half and the belt is nice and tight, but not too much. WTF?! Alignment?

We are missing the kids and grandkids very much but we will see them all at Christmas. Hopefully we get enough lovin to carry us through the winter.

We have a plan for travel for the winter and that is to get as far south as we can. Not sure where that will take us but we are just winging it day by day, week by week. We found out you can't really make concrete plans in this life we live.

There are some really interesting people out here on the water and especially here in Florida.

We went to Walmart the other day.

We ran from Walmart the other day.

We need to get more exercise. A morning or evening walk needs to happen or we will both have a short cruising life.

I still have not learned anything on the guitar.

I want an electric guitar. This way the whole anchorage will not have to suffer if it's not plugged in. When I learn a few things the whole anchorage will know about it. Yes they will.

There is too much face to screen time on this boat. So goes the world I guess.

My laptop battery only lasts an hour. Maybe this is a good thing.

We called for a bottom cleaning but like last May, the guy will need prodding. This reminds me I need to buy more zincs.

Like many Americans, even the folks on the water seem to be in a hurry. All those Buffett songs about not living in a hurry and enjoying your surroundings didn't stick I guess.

The sometimes comical haircut saga continues. Not sure why I have this problem with getting a good haircut but I think it stems from a bad childhood experience with a horse head. More on that in the next post.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Blog changes coming

I have been meaning to change the look of the blog for some time and now I'm finally getting around to it. There are other more important things to do, like relax in the sun, walk a beach, or fix the many things that need fixing on this tub but the blog was getting a little dated. The cold weather forced us inside so it gave me an opportunity to change a few things.

One BIG change is that Debra is getting her own blog! Deb has been keeping a journal and taking photos and I convinced her to put it online. I am not a travelogue person and I do not detail the places and people we meet everyday. That's Deb's job now :)

I will continue to post the weird and quirky details while Debra gives you another more normal take on things. Details to follow shortly.

We are in Vero Beach Florida getting a few things taken care of like dental and doctor visits. We are also picking up some spare parts and getting the bottom scrubbed. I plan on re-bedding a few ports as well. There needs to be some major organization taking place onboard as well. We kind of have stuff scattered all over.

Our V-berth is relatively cleaned up but I still have that pile of line to splice into new dock lines. We have a hot knife now and all I need is a fid and I'll give it a go.


Monday, October 20, 2014

A lazy update

We are strapped to a dock in Beaufort South Carolina and enjoying the "break" from traveling. From here we will jump offshore to Florida and hang out in Fernandina Beach for a bit. We are ahead of the pack for now but they are slowly catching up to us.

Our time here was well spent with our daughter Nicole and our grandson Aiden. He is growing up fast and seems to change every week. The visit was too short but we got our playtime in with the little guy and we were blessed with a smile from time to time. We also witnessed a few diaper fills and a spectacular hose vomit scene in Nicole's car. Go Aiden!
What impressed us was how much Nicole and Jonathan have grown as parents. They are doing a great job and their love for the little guy really shines. We are very proud grandparents.

He always falls asleep when I hold him

Aiden is not too pleased with the Bills hat.

Poor guy didn't like the bright sunshine.

Tough for Grandma to let go.

Debra and I enjoyed our 33rd anniversary recently. We walked around town (pub crawl) and enjoyed our day well into the evening. I had a nice reminder of our good time in the morning when the sunlight hit my bloodshot eyes. Some people never learn. Debra just shakes her head.
Thirty three years of wedded bliss. Who would have thought someone would stick with me that long. I consider myself to be pretty lucky in the relationship department. Deb should definitely win an award for patience.

So here we are on our way to the Bahamas and beyond. Lots of things to do before that happens this winter. I'll post about the list of things that need to happen before we jump the stream. Nothing too major, just items to make our life less stressful while we are away from the states.

We enjoy every day in a relaxed pace right now. We see old friends and make new ones. We do a little boat work some days, and then others we read a good book and nap in the sun. It's nice. Blood pressure is down and the only stress is boat related and  (knock on wood) it's normal stuff.

I admit to being a tad lazy about blogging lately. Lazy days in the Sun do not provide enough material for posting unless you want me to write some poetry.

the sun hit the water
our day was now over
the anchorage was quiet
conversation got lower

out of the dark
into our realm
a ghostly vessel creeps
dark strangers at the helm

rattle of chain
shouts from the bow
the shadow grows near
they're close! holy cow!

the wind will increase
the boats they will travel
the strangers will shout
my evening will unravel

the sun returns
the night was long
everyone is ok
the strangers are gone

relaxed in the sun
i dream of a night
where the ghostly vessel creeps
i am nowhere in sight


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

It's a shit! It's a no good.

When I worked at GM, ages ago it seems now, there was this little Italian guy who never really mastered the English language. He ran an assembly line making little plastic valves for an emission system. A kind fellow, always smiling and polite he would try to make small talk with me even though I barely picked up what he was getting at. I was one of the manufacturing engineers in his department and responsible for keeping his line running when he could not. Once a week I would get a call to his line because it was down for whatever reason and little Tony needed help.
I would ask Tony what the problem was and he would reply, "It's a shit! It's a no good." Then the little bastard would walk away to get some coffee leaving me with a dead machine, a screaming foreman, and no clue as to what happened. There were some long days and nights trying to figure out what went wrong while Tony shot the shit with the ladies and added more sugar to his coffee. I would mumble to myself how just once I would like to be little Tony, sucking java and flirting with the ladies (even though most of them didn't know what the hell he was saying) and not a care in the world.

As we motor sailed down the Chesapeake Bay towards Portsmouth we saw the wind had died and our headsail was sagging. It was time to roll it up but it got half way there and stopped. A couple more tugs and it still wouldn't budge. I went up to the bow and tried to man handle the drum but realized it was no use. She was jammed. The aluminum track had slipped down over the turnbuckle and the top collar had pulled clean off the track. Crap! I had to manually wrap the headsail and because I am not ten feet tall it looked like hell. Big and puffy and loosely hanging on. I wrapped a few sail ties around it and prayed the wind wouldn't pick up tonight. Deb asked what happened. I really didn't know so I just said it's jammed and walked away from it. I might as well have said "It's a shit! It's a no good."

We dropped anchor in front of Portsmouth at hospital point or whatever it's called. I call it barely enough room to anchor. It was crowded and I felt that all the nice nice boats were looking at the sloppy headsail on the old Morgan. That annoyed me so I let out one hundred feet of chain and let her swing with the wind. I was a tad irritable at this point and I hope all they could think about in their bunks was the thirty thousand pound Morgan moving around out there.

We motored up the Lizzy River towards Great Bridge and the folks who were going to repair the furler. We were happily motoring along when we noticed the first bridge, a railroad bridge was not up. A call on the radio produced an unintelligible garble. Maybe Tony had moved and his brother got him a job with the railroad.

We circled for about forty minutes. In the distance I saw the second railroad bridge was up. Cool. A train consisting of three cars finally rolled over the bridge and then twenty minutes later the bridge opened. I called the Gilmerton Bridge operator. This bridge is directly next to the second RR bridge. The gal says she's sorry but the Railroad bridge is down and she can't open until it's fixed. Sure as shit the freeking second bridge must have closed right after we got through the first one! The Gilmerton operator says to call the No.7 bridge operator to ask about the No. 5 bridge. Really? You people don't communicate with each other? I called the damn RR Bridge dude but got no answer. We waited. And waited. An hour later a tug calls us and says he's coming through and wants me to stay clear. OK. Mushmouth gets on and says, "Sailboat cap$%^ $%^$ the bridge$%$#&^(".  I had no clue. The Gilmerton bridge operator then tells me to go to marker 22 and wait there until its clear. OK. WTF is with all the ordering around?

I get to marker 22 and there's like six feet of water and the wind is blowing me in the shallows. I do a quick circle and here comes the tug and barge. The Gilmerton operator goes "CAPTAIN OF THE SAILBOAT YOU ARE GOING THE WRONG WAY!!! I laughed and told her everything is cool. We circled around and slipped past the Tug. She didn't reply when I thanked her for the opening and to have a nice day.

The rest of the journey to Atlantic yacht Basin was a peach. We got to the marina and tied off. It then rained all night and the next day. When the sun finally came out so did the staff. "You have to take that headsail off so we can look at it." they said. Um, no. I can't. "Why not?" they replied.
Because...It's a shit! It's a no good.

Now under a crane. One that's not tall enough to get someone to the top of my fifty nine foot mast. You would think with all the sailboats on the ICW that...oh never mind. We hauled a small dude (not me) up the mast to unpin the headstay and gently lower the furler and sail to the ground. After the guys took a look at it and perused the manual I gave them, they concluded that the two pins in the drum that were holding up the aluminum extrusion had both backed out and allowed everything to slide down onto the turnbuckle. Re-seated pins and two extra pins later and we were back in business. Deb and I were directly involved in the process, from running people up the mast to lowering the furler assembly, removing the sail and consulting on the repair.

At the end of the workday the lead tech on the furler job came over to shake my hand. He thanked me for making the job fun and helping him out. He said he loved talking and working with us both and was happy everything went together so well. He also told us to be sure to write :)

I always thought little Tony had it licked. Let someone else fix it. Not my problem. I learned a long time ago that Tony had it all wrong. You can't go through life letting someone else solve your problems. There will be times when you need assistance, but you better learn from them because the problem will repeat itself eventually and your help may be a long way away.

Not sure if I could have solved this one on my own. I did learn a few things though. I learned I could loosen my backstay and drop the headstay without the rig coming down. I learned that the furling's aluminum piece can bend almost like spaghetti and not break and I can lower it with the halyard. So maybe at a remote dock somewhere I can repeat this procedure with a few helping hands.

Little Tony, I am sure you are still around somewhere enjoying an espresso and chatting up the ladies. I can tell you that those ladies would have been a hell of a lot more impressed had you bought them all a coffee at break time with your sleeves rolled up and your hands dirty from getting the line running again.

I do remember that coffee that little Tony used to make. It was a shit! It was a no good.


I want you all to know that I really liked most of the people I worked with at GM. Most were hard working friendly people. I liked Tony as well. His only fault was when he encountered something he didn't understand he was too quick to bail and refused to get training. I put up with this for years and it bothered me to no end. One day I pressed, and tried to train him on an issue. There was a moment there when I realized the problem with Tony was that he couldn't read. He also realized I had figured it out. We looked at each other and I could see his eye's watering a bit. I dropped the issue, patted him on the back and bought him some of that shit coffee.
I ran into little Tony years after he retired. He still looked good and rested and he never did improve his language skills. I'm not sure but I think he said retirement was the shit. I was all good.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bug Sex

I kept hearing a buzzing or whining sound when we were at anchor just south of the Alligator Pungo Canal. It was dark and I went into the cockpit to get one last look at the chartplotter before I turned in. As I stood there listening to that whining it sounded like a group of crotch rocket motorcycles in the distance. I thought, damn if it doesn't sound like a lot of bugs. I better make this fast. I lit up the chartplotter and checked our position and then THE SWARM descended upon me. What the hell! The chartplotter was covered in bugs. I jumped up and thats when I realized that the entire bimini was covered in mosquito like bugs. In fact, the entire boat was covered in them! I was covered in them! I shook em off and dove down below and closed up quickly hoping by morning they would go away. None were biting and the few that got below were easily killed. All night they buzzed and whined, but I slept easy. Just harmless bugs. Meh.

I woke up and crawled out of bed in my zombie walk to the propane tank so I can heat up some tea. Must. Have.Tea. When I got to the tank I realized I was standing in a bug filled orgy of epic proportions. No. Biblical proportions! Every inch of the deck and cabin top was covered in green goo and dead bugs. It looked like the Jolly Green Giant had explosive diarrhea all over the boat. Son of a biiiiitch! I really can't explain the shock of what I saw. It was everywhere!

I ran for a bucket with bugs all around me and started splashing the deck. I tried to wash off as much as I could but it was futile. Shit was everywhere. The deck was stained. It was going to need scrubbing and probably some rubbing out. Hard to describe how I felt. It was one of those verbal moments where you make up fking swear words quietly and you curse the boat, the bugs, the place and you finally call yourself a friggin idiot for thinking this cruising life was such a god damn great idea. I finally yelled for Debra to help me up here. "Hey Deb, come look at what all the buzz was about last night!" We cleaned up what we could but it was like cleaning up after woodstock. It would never be totally clean. I did finally calm down and warned Deb that we would be scrubbing the boat once we got to the dock in Oriental. I had to clean it. I couldn't stand it.

This is after we threw buckets of water on it.

I watched some of the little bastards in action. They would jump on each other for a little bit and then one would fly away, soon to be replaced with another humper. When the one getting humped would move a little there was a green spot left behind. Imagine how much action it would take to coat a whole deck in enough green spots to where it was running a green river down the deck. Disgusting.

With as much cleaning as we could do without a hose we got under way. Later Deb brought up lunch. A veggie wrap in a green spinach tortilla. Really? No thank you. I'll just eat some fritos.

We carried the little bastards with us all the way to Oriental NC where we hosed down the boat and scrubbed the whole damn thing with a stiff brush. There was a dead pool of bugs behind the boat. Next step is to rub out the green spots and re-wax.

One thing I failed to mention. We had those solar powered lights hanging on the lifelines at night. They are nice for coming back to the boat in the dark or when you have to go out on deck at night. Not so nice in those bug filled anchorages. Just saying.

Life on a boat.


I still think this cruising life is great, despite the bug orgies.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Liebster Award

A Liebster Award!  It’s nice to be recognized. 

Thanks to one of my seven followers I have been recognized as having a blog worth visiting once in a while.  For that I get a nice graphic to paste and possibly a few new readers. A thank you goes out to Melissa and Mike on SV Galapagos for the recognition. They have a great blog which I highly recommend reading. I believe I discovered them on the Three Sheets Northwest site.

I was pretty comfortable with the few dedicated followers I have (Thanks Mom) but now I may reach the ten count which puts pressure on me to actually write something worth reading.  With the award I have questions that need to be answered. You the reader see the answers to these questions and then y'all get to know us a little better and proceed to delete us from your feed reader. So here we go.

#1. What’s the worst mistake you ever made on your boat?
Besides the purchase? Kidding. We love our old girl. Personally I think I've made lots of little mistakes with this beast but I'm hard pressed to think of any one thing that stands out. Maybe the time we left Toronto Canada bound for Sodus point NY and the weather turned to shit and the seas built to over ten feet.  We both had misgivings about leaving that morning under a clear sky. All the forecasts called for a “not too bad” sailing day. The wind and waves would be with us, but we both thought it could possibly be a mistake yet we never expressed this to each other. This was the first time I was actually scared to be out on the water. We had a relatively new boat in extreme conditions and the feeling that I fucked up had me quaking in my Sperry’s. We surfed down ten to twelve footers sometimes getting a little sideways trying to make home port before dark. The Morgan got pushed hard but she handled it well. We were one slip of the wheel or a wave over the side from being in an ugly situation. We survived, and kissed the ground after we tied up. Lake Ontario is extremely Bi-polar and we knew it. She can turn from sweetheart to bitch within an hour. From that point on if we have our reservations about something we express it.

#2. What is your secret fear about living/cruising on a sailboat?
OMG what a question. Me? Biggest fear? There are so many to choose from. Let’s keep it cruising related and I can narrow it down. As we gain experience out here the list of fears gets smaller. Running aground isn't so bad. Eight feet of water is plenty. There is always the ever present fear of being eaten alive by a large fish. I never got over the jaws movie and if I ever meet Spielberg I'm going to kick his ass. I've taken enough statistics courses to know the odds but I still hear the music whenever I'm in the water.

I guess my biggest fear in cruising is not having control of the boat. Whenever we are in a tight space or in current in front of a bridge I go through scenarios of engine or steering loss. I do not like the feeling of not being in control. One of the reasons I do not like to fly. Now that they closed off the cockpit I sit there wondering if the pilot just got served divorce papers after his wife discovered his wild weekend with the tranny flight attendant, and now feels his life and mine are worthless. I have enough small plane experience to know the basics so maybe, maybe I could at least keep it level until coached. I know a certain Tim and Deb that are laughing right now, but hey it’s knowing all possibilities of survival are cut off that makes me freaked out to fly. Back to cruising…
Some people fear sinking which is totally understood, but we have plans for that. We have a raft, dinghy, life jackets, EPIRB, flares, radio and what not. I don't have plans for my rudder falling off.  

A good husband would say he fears losing his wife overboard but I know Deb does not take risks with her safety. She is always secure and in a good spot on the boat. ‘Till death do us part pretty much refers to me making the exit.

#3. What do you like and dislike most about being a blogger?
When I started this blog it was just a way for me to tell a tale of two about our sailing adventures and other weird events of life.  Sometimes my strange quirky personality comes through and I’m not sure how it’s received. I do not want the blog to be a total travelogue. That would be like watching your parent’s slide show from Europe. “Here’s your father holding up the leaning tower of Pizza.” It’s Pisa Mom!
I really didn't think anyone would visit the blog except the kids once in a while and maybe some close friends. It amazes me sometimes when I see people from around the world taking a peek. Maybe someday my grandkids will read the blog! Maybe if it was limited to two sentences and an animated GIF they might. I'm not very good at keeping a written journal and I tend to leave it for months at a time without putting any ink on it. No one after my generation can read cursive anyway. My grandkids would have to have it translated.

I like to tell a tale and try to keep it humorous. Sometimes it works, most other times it doesn’t. Some topics are better left without humor but I tend to find it in a lot of things we experience. Of course I am the only one who finds some of this stuff funny. Even Debra will look at me sometimes and wonder why I am always smirking. Blogging can also be a lot of work. That is why I tend to disappear from the internet from time to time with or without Wi-Fi. A lot of times there just isn't anything going on. Having a facebook page really helps sometimes when you want to show a quick photo with comment or let people know where you are. Problem is that facebook has stolen some of the updates that would normally appear in blogger. Not sure of the future of blogging.

Having been involved with computers and electronics all my life there are times when I say “Enough!” and unplug my brain. We are out here to live an adventure by boat, not writing short stories. I am not a fast writer and the words do not spill for me like it does for others, so if I spend all my time telling you about what I did then how much am I really experiencing? Some people can do it. I really admire their, energy and skill at writing it all down. 

When you first start blogging you are kind of anonymous and you can write whatever you feel without reservation. Once you lose that anonymity your writing changes and you become a little more reserved in your expressions. I suppose I should quit being a wimp and just write what I feel without worrying who sees it but I am a wee bit more careful now about what I write. Too many people out there with guns.

#4. What is the most important thing to look for in a sailboat? Just one thing.
What is one important thing to look for in shopping for a sailboat? Fun. That’s right, fun. Look at the boat and ask yourself, “Will this boat be fun, or a lot of work?” If work, then does it have the potential to be fun? If it’s not going to be fun to sail and reside in then what the hell is the point in buying it?
Our boat choices over the years have resulted in fun times. We didn't own classics. We didn't own racing sleds. We didn't own “blue water boats” either. However, they were all a lot of fun to sail and cruise around in.

#5. What thing do other boaters do that irritates you?
Where do I begin? Actually, let me just say that 99% of the people out here are great. They are helpful, friendly and operate their boats in a safe manner. There are a few though that can raise your blood pressure to unsafe levels. Being on the ICW we see the best and worst, so here are my top five things boaters do that annoy me.
  • Common courtesy. If you are going to pass me from behind on the ICW please call me and let me know your intentions. Do not sneak up on me at 30 mph, or pass me just fast enough to throw a three foot wake.
  •  Don’t crowd me Bro! If I’m waiting for a bridge to open in 20 mph winds and a 2 knot current keep the Fk away! Have you seen the scratches in my gelcoat? I will hit you before I hit the bridge or run aground.
  • Flocking. We anchor because we like being in nature and away from crowds. We try hard not to crowd someone already there. Some folks feel it’s necessary to drop the hook close enough to pass us a sandwich. Why? It’s like the movie theater. You have the whole place to yourself and no matter if you are in the back, the front, side or middle someone always plops their ass right next to you or worse right in front of you. Flocking irritating it is.
  • Where are you? Fishing boats with no lights. I saw you one minute and the next you are gone. Are fish scared off by navigation lights? What’s with the incognito bullshit? Sailboats, especially dark hulls without anchor lights. You guys are just asking for it.
  • Slow the flock down.  Some folks, power and sail, are just too damn stressed by having to be the first one in an anchorage or getting the last mooring ball or bridge opening. We have been cut off many times. We have been passed with inches to spare. We have been waked into a death roll by someone who had to wait another 10 minutes for a bridge 500 yards away. We had a sailboat at peak rpm pass us and then slow down to idle speed to scope out an anchorage. Now that I sound like the old guy in the neighborhood yelling for you to get off his lawn, let me repeat that it’s only a small percentage of folks that annoy me J

5. Journey or destination? 
Journey of course. We own a sailboat. If I blasted through the water at over 25 knots I might be inclined to say destination because the ride would be more like driving a car. Ooh, was that a slam on my powerboat friends? J  The journey is awesome. Night skies with mystery lightning. Shooting stars and bioluminescence in the night sails along with cloudless lightning were amazing. Leaping Dolphins and flying fish as your travel companions make you smile away the hours to your destination. Sometimes the destination is not worthy of the experience in getting there.

6. Which sailboat reference book would you recommend someone absolutely have on board? Which sailing adventure book?
Tough one to answer. For a sailboat reference I would pick Dennis Conner’s “Sail like a Champion”, but I’m an ex racer so I find it cool reading. I learn something every time I read it. Yes I've read it multiple times. You would think we would sail more often. I also use Beth Leonard’s Voyagers Handbook. Tons of good info in there.
Not sure I've read a sailing adventure book. There was a book long ago that was about a guy sailing with three women. I do not recall the author or title as we no longer have a room filled with books I can go to, but Deb reminded me that I liked it. As I recall it was not very well written but detailed enough to keep me interested.

8What is the most important piece of gear you carry on your person or keep handy in your cockpit?
Easy. Lifejacket. Always handy and always on when it gets rough. We should wear them all the time but in the safety of a large cockpit in calm waters we typically just keep them handy.  I still wear one when in the dinghy alone and at night they are always on no matter what the weather conditions.

9. How slow will you go before you turn on your engine?
Depends on where we are and where we are going but we have been known to try to sail in half a knot for hours before turning on the diesel. We did this recently in the Rappahannock River as we had a good portion of the day left to get to our anchorage. This used to drive our kids to the point of insanity.

10If money were no object, what boat would you choose?
If we were rolling in the dough we would hire Robert Perry to design us a custom boat and then go with his recommended builder. We would rent a place nearby and watch each phase of construction. The boat would be very similar to the M44 only updated with modern materials and maybe a tad more forefoot for maneuvering and changes to improve upwind performance. We would not get a boat bigger than 44 feet, in fact we would go smaller if we could. Sailing ease and performance would be number one, followed by living space and comfort. As we get older I’m sure the specifications will change.

Well there you have it. You know a little bit more about us thanks to the crew at Little Cunning Plan.
Now we come to the fun part. I get to nominate blogs for this award as well. The blogs I have selected are by some of the people we have met along the way. I had to narrow it down somehow. I enjoy reading all of them. Drum roll please.

And the Liebster award goes to (alphabetical order)…
·         Galley Wench Tales
·         SV Magnolia
·         The Life Afloat Archives
·         The Retirement Project
·         Veranda422
·         Wildcat Sailor Girl

Congratulations to all and to all these simple questions.
  1.  When did you first catch the sailing/cruising bug?
  2. Describe your worst repair or maintenance job on the boat besides the head. Everyone already knows that’s a shitty job.
  3. If you could turn back time just 3 years what would your cruising life be like today? If I could turn back time just 5 minutes I would have asked a different question because now I have that stupid Cher song in my head.
  4. Music soothes the soul. Do you listen to music onboard? What type of music and on what media? If it’s 70’s disco please decline the award and I’ll remove you from my feed. Just kidding. Feel free to add a mirror ball to the salon and dance all night long. I don’t judge. Much.
  5. Was there ever a time on the water when you thought "Oh shit!" and all the fun was over for that day?
  6. Wine, beer, booze or tea? Doesn't matter to me. I get high on life. 
  7. Has there ever been a destination you couldn't wait to arrive at only to be disappointed when you got there?
  8. What part of cruising do you dislike the most besides no flushing toilets or bloggers asking stupid questions?
  9. Describe the best time you ever had on a boat unless it was illegal, then just email me.

Thank you for reading and cheers to you all!
Paul and Debra

This is the first good WiFi we've had in over a month so I'm a little behind in postings. Chronological order is now whacked so it might be confusing as to where we are. Not sure it matters unless you are actually following us. Creeper.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Oxford blah's

This post never published last week. For some reason it just did. Strange. Now I'm out of order. 

We are still anchored near Oxford MD on a gray and cold for us day. We were going to move but rain is coming and well, who the hell wants to be rainy and cold? So tomorrow we will move either to another creek or back to Solomon's for a refresh on fuel, water and food. 

The trek south is starting. We have seen many boats heading that way, many of them Canadian. We were one of the few boats going north but now the nights are cooler and my feet are cold so we are out of here soon. 

Oxford is a tiny town. It's the end of the season and the few places we saw in town were closed or getting ready to vacate until spring. Bartender told us it's a town of 500, soon to be 200 as the sailors go south. Not sure what people do here all summer besides sailing, drinking and eating :)

We got caught in an anchorage exposed to a 20 something north wind the other night. We had shallows to leeward and the chain was stretched so I was on watch all night. We held but it was a bit intense there for a while. Wind was predicted to be ten or less. Figures. 

If we broke loose we would have been washed up in the cornfield. Sailors of the corn. Never to be seen again. 

We managed to find sloooow wifi here so we will update a few times while I recover from a bout of stomach issues which showed up right after eating ashore. When a place says they are closing in two weeks maybe you shouldn't eat there.