Monday, March 12, 2018

Windward Ramblings

We're just hanging out in Carriacou right now waiting for this weather to settle a bit before moving on up the chain. The north swells were amazingly huge but not amazingly rough for us here. I think we caught a break. KN was gently rising and falling on those swells and it was not uncomfortable.

We watched a few people surfing those swells into the harbor which looked like awesome fun and there was a thought in my head about getting the surfing kayak out but there were also thoughts of bloody welts all over my body from the coral and a lump on my head form the kayak. You get smarter as you get older.
Life is pretty slow right now. We manage to have lunch or beach time with friends once in a while and we still meet strange people at bars. At this point it's difficult to talk about some of those strange people because they may be reading this blog. The cruising world is a small world.

We ran into some Americans from Oklahoma. They chartered a large cat and arrived at a restaurant for dinner. Deb and I were at the bar and I was approached by the woman from Tulsa and we all made some small talk. After a few meet and greet questions she asks me where she could buy some weed. Apparently I have taken on the look of someone who would know. I mentioned a spot on the beach and she took note but I told her I'm not speaking as a buyer. It's just what I've been told. She then proceeded to tell me how unfriendly the locals are. She said this with a local, the bartender, standing right behind her in the quiet bar. Damn embarrassing. I told her you need to engage the people with a greeting and a smile because it makes a difference. She wasn't buying it but I had to change the subject before I became associated with her rude behavior.

A European couple popped in and chatted with us before we were wrapping it up for the night. While in a conversation about European and American politics the Tulsa woman came over and asked me if I would take a group photo of the Oklahoma gang. Sure.

I get over to the group and the bartender (local) was taking the photo but they wanted me to take it instead. Seriously!?  I told them she's knows more about the iPhone than I do and they wanted me to make sure it was taken properly. Honest to god I wanted to slap them all for being so damn racist. I can't tolerate that bullshit any more. So I get back to the bar and the woman I was talking to leans into me and says, "So, the Americans did not trust the black woman to take their photo eh?" I just shook my head and asked them to not judge all of us based on the actions of a few misguided individuals.

"Oh no we don't do that. We know Americans do not get out of their country to travel much. We understand most are good people but they are just ignorant of how to act outside of their homeland". This was going to be a nice long conversation but it was getting dark and we had our fill of good cheer and crazy talk so...

We fled the bar because we did not expect to be out so late and we had no anchor lights on but I was damn glad to get out of that scene.

Some times you just want to run and hide from people.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A day on the Shopping Bus

From yesterday:

Damn, it's like someone pulled the plug on me this afternoon. I'm at zero energy level. I had nothing in the tank all day and it was a busy day.

We took the shopping bus this morning. After a stop at the ATM we split up. One bus goes to Ace Hardware and Budget Marine and then the Mall. The other goes straight to the Mall for grocery shopping and whatever else. Deb went to the Mall and I went the other way.

Typical bus loading cruisers

I was on the all guys bus. The one that smelled like Irish Spring, dirty sandals, Old Spice and weed. We got to the Ace hardware store. I found nothing on my list. I was done early. I went to talk to the Rasta Mon bus driver but he was on the phone. I walked back in the store. I looked at stuff. It all reminded me of home improvement so I walked back out but I stopped to see a sailor looking at a lawn mower. This froze me. It was just so bizarre a thing. I pulled myself away only to see another sailor looking and asking about patio furniture. Huh?? Another sailor had a swim noodle under his arm. OK, that's normal. I walked out into the sunshine again. "Are you done shopping?" asked the driver. Yes. "OK, get in da bus please." I didn't want to get in first because you get the back of the bus and it bounces too much. Damn it. Eventually all the smells came back into the bus and we were off.

When we got to Budget Marine they had a coffee pot brewing and it smelled wonderful. I was greeted by a very tall hyper dude in glasses who wanted to know what I needed. "A starter battery", I said. In a blur he ran towards the batteries with me in tow, grabbed the size I needed, peeled the sticker off the battery, stuck it to my finger and told me to take it up front and tell them where we are dropping it off. Dropping it off? "Yes, you can't buy a battery jus now. We charge it first and make sure it is OK then we deliver it to you" Then he grabbed the battery to put it on a charger and running away he yelled "3PM delivery!" and vanished.

I was standing there with a sticker attached to my finger and my mouth open. I slowly walked to the counter and stuck my finger at the woman behind it. She looked me in the eye and pulled the sticker off my finger and rang it up asking where and what time. Uh, 3pm at Secret Harbor. Click, click, click, done. Have a nice day! I walked away knowing there were other things I needed but everything happened so fast so I thought I would wander around the store and maybe get a coffee and then the other bus driver George comes up to me and says, "Excuse me. Are you all done shopping?" Well...I... "OK, we go now. Get to the bus and lets go". I got in line with the rest of the guys next to the bus in the bright sunshine and we started getting in the bus. "Don't step in the water!!" There was a puddle. I was about to step into it and then get on the bus. George does not like his bus to get dirty. I got the eye. The eye that said, "You filthy dog gonna just dirty my bus?" Nobody likes to be on George's shit list.

I had a sudden vision of my future.

My nursing home was having a field trip and I was herded into a bus with my other older grumbling pals and we were driven to a shopping center and allowed to wander around. If we touched anything we were scolded by a big orderly and if we purchased anything they pretended we bought it and after we left they put everything back on the shelves. When we got back to the home we didn't remember a damn thing anyway so it was all good fun.

We finally got to the mall and were unloaded. I swear some of the guys just stood there in the sun wondering what to do. I humped it into the mall and raced for the grocery store passing by the coffee shop. It smelled so good. I wanted to catch Debra before she checked out so I could see if she bought any good stuff. Debra tends to get the basics and nothing special. I needed to survey the cart and run around getting all the exotic fun stuff. I walked through the doors and there's Deb checking out. Damn.

The Mall

I just shuffled over to the cart and helped pack. On my dejected walk out of the store I noticed the hardware/housewares store. I remembered we needed something there but I could not recall. "Batteries and a shower curtain", said Deb. I took off to buy a shower curtain of all things. I hate buying housewares. I never buy the right thing. I finally found shower curtains after wandering around a bit and there was no white colored curtains. Figures. Huh, maybe purple would be nice, or this funny color of blue? No better go with beige. I'm buying a shower curtain and batteries. I wanted to add a hacksaw for masculinity verification but I'm too cheap. I was the only one in the store except for the employees gathered at a register. I stood there. "You go to that register", the young lady said. I go over to THAT register and nobody is there. I wait. Some dude comes up and asks if I found everything. Yes. I found my battery powered shower curtain. He walked away. A young lady then came by. Did you find everything? Yes. Did someone help you? No. I found all this on my own. She smiled. I paid. She smiled some more. I smiled back and left.

I assumed Debra was treating herself to a mango smoothie so I stopped by an electronics booth and bought some headphones. Not sure the reason but I break headphones or ear buds regularly. As I got closer to the food court where the bus picks us up I could smell that coffee. Yes!

I finally get to the food court and I can't find Deb. I look outside and she's getting on the bus. She waves me over. Damn it I wanted a Mocha Joe! I really needed a coffee. George is like, "On the bus please we go now!" I looked down first to make sure there were no puddles. We all piled in but we went in order. George puts us in by size. Little people in the back and tall in the front. I'm not a fan of this method. All us hobbits in the back all looked at each other as if to say "Someday the giants will pay". We drove on to the next stop with all the "shorts" popping up in our back seat on every bump.

The veggie store.
The veggie store is weird. It's a butcher shop with a shelf of vegetables. There's also a shelf with liquor. Mostly it's canned goods, eggs, liquor and meat. I don't get the name but I go in anyway because sometimes they have a good selection. Deb went to the pharmacy. I look around. I want nothing but I look. I'm looking at meat. I'm a vegetarian looking at the meat cuts. "Can I help you sir?" said a very tall and attractive woman. Uh. Um. Eh, I am uh...just browsing. I can't believe I said browsing. You don't browse for meat idiot. Geez. I just walked away while she smiled the "pity the fool" smile which I have been getting all damn day. I wander some more. I run into her rounding the aisle. "Are you sure I can't help you find anything?" No. Just...looking. She went in the back room only to pop out carrying some meat and I was blocking her way because I was reading the ingredients on these Cassava Crisps. Very few calories but lots of sugar. "Excuse me please sir." I finally walked out of the "Veggie Shop" and wandered over to the bakery and read their sign out front when I noticed a woman my age smiling at me from a table. Good afternoon I said. "Afternoon" she replied. "Don't be shy. Go and get some pastry". I could really use a coffee I said. "The coffee is terrible here". Oh. OK. I wandered off with my hands in my pockets and got honked at by a car backing up.

Some of the short people are holding coffee's. How is that coffee?, I ask. "We don't know. It's so damn hot nobody has tasted it yet!"

We got herded to the bus. Everyone knows their place now.

Next stop is the wholesale store. This is where you find out who all the drunks are. You can find out a lot about people just by following them around a store, especially a wholesale. Hey look, 5 giant bottles of fiber. Interesting. Preparation H 12 pack! Seven bottles of rum! Wow. Last week it was five. Must be the wife is arriving. How can someone possibly eat that much mayo? The Prep H 12 pack just bought a case of hot sauce!

We wait on the bus for the drunk plugged up mayo eaters to get back. I ask the back row about the coffee. "Still too damn hot!" The French woman next to me wonders how many more stops there are. Last one we tell her. She smiles and talks about all the stuff she forgets when at the store, like her list. We all laugh because we all do the same thing. She's having fun. We are too even though we complain sometimes. We all agree that these shopping trips are way better than the trips we make at home. We talk about where we are from and where we are going. We talk about kids, grand kids, things we miss, things we don't. Soon the bus is full again and we drive off.

We arrive back at the dinghy dock. George unloads our groceries because he doesn't want the parking lot gravel back in his bus and one by one we peel away to go back to our boats. "By everybody!" "See you later!" "Have a great day!" "Nice meeting you!" "Au revior!" "This coffee is delicious!"

Pauly B tired.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Things they never told us - Boat Snobs

"So, what kind of boat do you have?"
One with sails.
"Funny, but what brand? Who built it?"
I don't know who exactly. I'm sure it was more than one person but the brand is a Morgan. Catalina Morgan to be exact.
"Oh, OK. Nice. (insert awkward silence) Excuse me I need to talk to someone."
OK. Nice not talking to you. Dick.
"It's Bob!"

At times you meet other sailors at a gathering and the first thing they want to know is what boat you sail. If you answer correctly then the conversation continues otherwise you get the cold shoulder. Not everyone we meet does this but on the rare occasion it happens and it will piss you off or make you laugh.
There was one time I was surrounded by big money boat owners that all knew each other and I was the new guy. I was also the shortest but I'm sure that had nothing to do with it. I knew the question was coming and it was eventually asked. It's actually a question for more than your boat brand. It's a question about you and whether you are worthy of inclusion.

"So Paul is it? Nice to meet you. What are you sailing these days?"
Oyster 56.
"Wow! you don't look like Oyster material Really?
No not really. Actually I sail a 1989 Morgan 44. She only has one hull and two sails but 
I do have five solar panels!
"I see. Well here, stare at my back will you? I have a really cool dive shirt with a nice 
logo from a place you will never sail to."

That actually happened though the dialog was a wee bit different. It really was a cool dive shirt. Amazing it fit over his head.

There was this guy who stopped by the boat to chat once. He was looking to purchase our dinghy. He told me his sailboat was smaller, which I knew because he was anchored right next to us. Duh. He asked me if I knew the people on this other boat. I didn't. He explained that he had run into them at various ports all over the world. This was his way of telling us he was a CIRCUMNAVIGATOR. He looked at our boat and asked, "What is this?" My blood pressure started it's climb at that point because I knew what was going to come out of his mouth. I pointed to the Morgan Emblem in front of his face.

"Oh, a Morgan. I see that now. So you folks are just going to Island hop then? No big offshore plans right?" 
Yes, for now. We'll wait around a bit until the Arctic Route opens up. 

Asshole. We sold the dinghy to someone else :D

We were at a potluck once and a woman heard a story of our friends rough passage in the North Atlantic and asked the folks what boat they had. When she heard she loudly pronounced that she would never go to sea in one of those! "My Gawd that would be suicide!" I could not believe she said that. My friends handled it well. She then handed out her boat card showing her lovely "Blue Water" designed yacht that she motors around in up and down the ICW. Other than that outburst she was a very nice woman but I was starting to see a pattern here. Call it crowd separation. A bunch of people meet and then they separate out amongst their kind based on what they sail and where they've been. Eventually I was left sitting with the toothless drunk guy with the old Morgan.

"So what ya sailing these days Bob?"
It's Paul and we have a Morgan.
"No shit Bob! We sail one too. She's a 78. How bout yours?"
She's an '89.
"Ooh a fancy one. Need a beer?"
Absolutely. Nice to meet you.
"Same here. This beer might be a little warm. Was in my pocket."
No problem. Cheers buddy!

Most of us all get along very well and we really don't care what you sail as long as you're friendly and not a jackass. I have witnessed how helpful cruisers can be in our little community. The charitable giving of cruisers to one another and to the communities they travel in are amazing. If you are a sailor in need then it doesn't matter what boat you have because someone will be there for you.

I joke about the boat snobs but they are out there. Fortunately we do not run into them too often (Most are in a marina) and I have a sense of humor and can laugh at their self importance. They may not want to shoot the shit over a beer with you but I am pretty certain that if you or your boat were in trouble they would be right there to help because big or small, one hull or two, circumnavigator or island hopper, we really are all in the same boat.


I believe that's a Morgan. How did THAT get in here?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Ten Years

I just noticed my blog is over ten yrs old. Wow! Over ten years of nonsense written down and published for the World (10 people) to see. It's been a long run of odd ramblings. I understand that I might be a little different than your average sailing blogger. That's OK. I wasn't going to be a blogger who documents our every experience every day. That's just not me. When some weird or peculiar thing happens to us then I will publish, or if I find the need to dump the random thoughts in my head, as in the Morning Tea posts. There is usually no lack of material to write about because I am very much a weirdo magnet. Not sure why but if there is someone strange in the area they will find me and talk to me. This magnetism has led to many blog postings. There are also complete fabrications that started with some small grain of truth in them like when I burned down a row of boats in the marina. I had to go back and edit the damn post so people would stop emailing me.

Here is the link: My Last Post. Goodbye.

I also noticed I picked on religion a bit over the years. I have no problem with God. It's her fan club I don't care for. For anyone who read the blog over all these years you probably know I'm not a very religious person.

I was such a poser. After the photo I wore the rosary on my head
and the bow tie was a mustache. On the way home I tossed a cherry bomb
through the front door of a funeral parlor. "Loud enough to wake the dead"
I said. To this day I worry I gave someone a heart attack with that stunt.

I might be more like a Pagan only without the creepy rituals. Actually I don't fit any spiritual mold. I have a feeling we're here and gone, just life and then atoms scattered into the universe. If we didn't worry so much about where we're going maybe we would take better care of where we are.

Reincarnation would be cool as long as I don't come back as a bug or anything that eats bugs, or a Horse. Holy shit imagine me coming back as a horse! No doubt I would be a pony. Deb says more like a Jack Ass.

Slipping into other dimensions would be completely awesome as long as you knew you were continuing life in another dimension. Maybe you get a glimpse of your other lives just before you wink out in one dimension and then you continue on in another. Like a collective conscious of your previous lives.

In other dimensions you made different choices. Maybe I chose not to ride my bike down the driveway into the path of a Chrysler thereby not missing third grade which helped me become a math genius and I grew into my head size and was now over six feet tall. I sell my tech company and retire early to a horse farm where my wife raises champions and I run the Church of Equine Spirit when not on TV as the New Bozo the Clown kids show host which got cancelled after I got elected to office and eventually became President. I destroyed the economy for lack of wars and became labeled the Clown in the White House which pissed me off so I resigned on the white house lawn dressed as Bozo and flipping off the public.

Flipping off the public didn't sit well with the Church of Equestrian Spirit members and soon it went bankrupt which lead to a divorce and half my income. As I leave the white house for the last time someone takes a shot at me with a crossbow because I banned guns and the arrow pierces my rubber nose and my brain. I become a martyr for the Clown Wars which divide the country into Red States and Clown States. Eventually the Bozo Republic is formed and prospers for a few years only to become a failed state because they were just a bunch of fucking clowns after all.

Maybe we're just bio robots programmed to rape the planet for our alien overlords but something went wrong. Maybe our overlords were sucked into a black hole and we were left to ourselves with no more firmware updates so we just kept raping the planet until we killed it and ourselves. We're basically proof that artificial intelligence is bad if left unchecked.

You may have also noticed I go off the rails from time to time exploring loosely related subject matter :D

OK back to the blog...
This blog covered many of our sailing mishaps and adventures. The mishaps continue and the adventures are a little less dramatic and infrequent. Is this because I'm getting older and boring? I don't know. I think it's because we are just enjoying where we are right now. We island hop and pretty much see the same stuff with some new experiences sprinkled in here and there. Maybe we need new adventures. There is still talk of sailing west to the ABC's and beyond but we're not ready. For many years I dreamt of sailing the Caribbean chain of windward and leeward islands and I'm not ready to move on. Still so much to see here. Maybe some day if the mood strikes us we will venture westward. Maybe we will head back to the States from here. We really have no plans anymore other than relaxing in the islands and spending time with the kids and grand kids back home. The pull on the heart strings is strong. I realize this is the so called "downfall" of a lot of cruisers with kids. We take it day to day. Some days I want to fly home and scoop up those kids and hug them all day long. Other days I'm floating beneath a waterfall or watching the sun set over the warm waters of the Caribbean sea. It's a balance. When the balance shifts we will make other plans but for now Latitude 43 is still a sailing adventure blog. OK maybe sometimes it's a sailing adventure blog and then sometimes it's a "What's wrong with him?" blog. Either way it's been fun writing stuff here.

 Read about Frenchy and his "kitty" here: Weirdo magnet in action.

Before I go and leave the blog for possibly another few weeks I would just like to say thanks for following along. I never anticipated anyone other than maybe some family members, close friends or flippin weirdos reading any of this. It was primarily meant for my entertainment only because I enjoy writing what makes me laugh and I am laughing most days. Even at the most wrong times to be laughing I tend to see the humor in all of my experiences. My daughters know instantly when I am finding humor in something. "OK Dad, what's so funny?" They know me too well. At work people would be wondering what the hell I thought was so funny. "This is serious Paul! Not sure what you find so funny about all this." You know how many times I heard that? All through school I got yelled at - "Wipe that stupid smirk off your face mister!"

Even at my Dad's funeral it happened. I was carrying his ashes around out in the lobby of the church talking with family members. Some were crying. I had a smirk. All I could think of was a time my Dad tried to leap into our old backyard pool with a running start, failing to clear the side with his knees catching the top rail which fell off, bending the side in and starting the rush of water that flooded three backyards and sent water into basements as my Dad got swept away into the grass. Funniest thing I ever witnessed. I got a few odd looks in church as I walked around laughing to myself.

So, when I start to see the humor in something out here I promise I will try to write some of it down for you. Some of you will laugh and some of you will shake your head.


You find all this amusing Mr. Bryan?!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Rum Stupid

Every now and then yours truly does something stupid. Running a waste pump without opening the exit seacock was one recent blooper. A messy blooper. Sometimes the stupid is the result of ingesting brain toxins. Most of us ingest brain toxins like caffeine, sugar and beer. Some people ingest 150 Proof Grenadian "under the table" Rum with tree bark, seeds, herbs, possibly cannabis and other assorted goodness after climbing a steep hill in the jungle having only eaten a peanut butter sandwich the whole day. That idiot was me. I very seldom drink hard liquor for good reason but for lack of brains I got Rum Stupid.

Jab Jab Village was an event at a makeshift bar/eatery up in the hills. There was beer, rum, food, hiking, dancing, beer, rum.....

I love hiking so after a few beers and some snacks a group of us ventured into the jungle. We had guides. The guides pointed uphill. No shit dude, we're climbing up there? OK, let's go! We climbed. It took a while and it was a good workout. I was parched. I didn't bring water and that was dumb. The good news was there is refreshment at the top of the hill along with a great view. Awesome! Keep going!

After reaching the top we marvelled at the view and took pictures. I was sweaty, thirsty and hungry. The guides opened a bag and out of it came sandwiches? No. Bottled water? No. A jug of 150 proof rum with some nature floating in it? Yes. Shots all around but only some of us (RumDums) decided more was better. "C'mon Pauly have another. Be a man, have another!" Life was good. Pals hanging out in nature drinking island rum overlooking a splendid view. What could be better?

Floating on air. That would definitely be better.

It was time to go downhill for dinner at the Jab Jab Village. I started walking down the hill. Then I started floating. I floated upside down. It was amazing! I was floating down the hill man! How is this happening? Then a face appeared in front of me. Hey, I know that guy. Hi John! Is John floating too? Wait, why am I looking up at John? I heard voices. I saw hands. Magically I was transported to a table next to Debra. A Debra who was looking at me and shaking her head in a concerned and possibly scolding way. What just happened? How did I get here? I wasn't really floating was I?

People were asking me if I was OK. I think I said something but not sure if it made sense. I should just nod. Please God may all the camera batteries in the surrounding 2 miles be dead.

The only thing that was actually floating was my brain. My brain disconnected from my legs to conserve energy or to just be a prick and embarrass me into never doing it again. Lesson learned Mr. Brain. No more rum for me. At least not 150 Proof Grenadian Under The Table Rum with nature floating in it.

Hate to even say it but..

No alcohol for a week after that. Amazingly the next morning there was no hangover and I went on an island tour and had a real monkey on my back.