Monday, October 23, 2017

Sleepless in Trini

There does not appear to be any urgency in getting the boat in the water lately. I am not sure why. Maybe we got a bit lazy. To be honest I have not had much of any drive to get things done. Today I am attacking the engine room with some cleaning and organizing and some engine running. Once this is done then all we have to do is put new bottom paint on and mount some new (used) solar panels. We then head over to another marina to have our tanks cleaned. We have to jump marinas because the guy cleaning the tanks works there plus he needs to weld up a new access hatch in the port tank. He doesn't have the power for the welder in the yard. If you really want to clean a tank you have to get your hands into it and that's why we need big access.

If we were ready to launch today we would not because of the oil spill. What a mess. Hopefully this will vanish soon and we can all go in the water. And when I say "all" I mean a lot of people launching one after another into a harbor with very few mooring balls and poor anchoring. Oye. It's enough to make you want to stay in Grenada for hurricane season. We have thought about it.

So I have been having trouble getting a good nights sleep lately. Some will say, "Get a fucking air conditioner!" but that's not the problem. "More wild monkey like sex?!" That could be the problem but I don't see that happening any time soon unless I die and get reincarnated as a monkey and I'm likely to come back as a short monkey with a big head, which would kill any potential for what I had in mind unless a big head is a turn on in monkeyville. I'm not sure what the problem is with sleeping but I came across a book about sleep that was recently published. It's fascinating. You find out about the chemical process that occurs in your brain throughout the day to keep you in your sleep rhythm. The Circadian Rhythm. I read some of the book yesterday. There are graphs. Graphs of the chemical process that makes you sleepy and the average timing of that chemical release. It was fascinating, but then I laid there awake wondering why the release of Melatonin has not had an affect yet. I'm tired so my circadian rhythm is good but no Melatonin? Why? Is it blocked somehow? Is it a tumor? Fuck!

So I slept a little bit I guess. I'm not sure. At one point I was playing a lead guitar on a Neil Young song so I must have been dreaming. Four in the morning I was wide awake thinking about tumors but now I'm starting to sag a little. I guess I will down a few cups of tea and carry on with engine room work. My eyes are so puffy I look like admiral Ackbar in Star Wars.



My guitar playing has picked up a bit. It's a lot more interesting when jamming with others. There are little tricks and short cuts that I didn't know about that make things easier and fun. And that's why we are out here. It's all about fun. With or without sleep.

Cheers!
PJ

It's harder to play while standing. I'll use that as an excuse.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Boat yards and Buckets - Trini



Up the ladder. Down the ladder. Up the ladder. Down the ladder. It's annoying as hell but it's a fact of life when you are living on the dirt. Right now we are waiting on a contractor to quote us on tank cleaning. We want our port tank removed and cleaned properly as it's always been a sludge bucket since we bought the boat. So we wait in the dirt.

We are not really sitting on dirt as you know it. When I first saw what we were sitting on I thought it was petrified goose poop but actually it's old crushed coral and shells plus dirt and gravel. This area must have been reclaimed from the sea a long time ago. You walk around in your flip flops and pointy shells stick in them and sometimes through and into your heel. It's basically unsuitable for flip flops. When I am working under the boat I wear my hiking boots. If I wear sandals the small shells and stone always get trapped under my foot.

One of the gross parts of living on the dirt is bathroom time. Nobody wants to take a dump in their boat because there is no place for it to go except the ground or in your holding tank. Neither is a good option so we visit the bathrooms obviously. Lucky for us the bathrooms here are very clean and most people keep them that way. The gross part I am talking about is the pee bucket. Yes, the pee bucket. That 2 AM pee break when you are not fully awake but basically sleep walking can be a dangerous event as you crawl down the ladder in just your boxer shorts or pajamas and walk across crushed coral and open mouthed and laughing security guards on your way to the bathroom, so you utilize a bucket.

The problem with the bucket is that you have to empty it. People are very discreet with their buckets. At first I was wondering if we were the only people that pee at night. It didn't make sense. Most people here are our age and older and the younger ones party most nights so there is no way they can make it all night without relieving themselves unless they are all androids which I have pondered based on observations. There's definitely some bucket dumping going on and if you get up early enough you can see a few stealthy people creeping around. I know this is gross but if anyone was going to talk about it it's me I guess.

Our first night on the hard in the boat and I was thinking, "I'm not going down a ladder at 2am to take a piss. It's bucket time." Deb just looked at me and I recall her putting her hand on her head and mumbling something about hating the boatyard. It's a very unattractive part of our life. OK, there are many unattractive parts of this life like when I replace the joker valve on the toilet. Our toilet has to pump uphill a bit before gravity takes hold. What I'm saying is, you better make sure it's all fresh water left in that section of hose before you pull that valve out. Speaking from experience here. There will be other sailors out there wondering why I even mention some of these things but it needs to be talked about so we can separate the people from the human like droids. Seriously though didn't you ever wonder where all the people pee at night?

One of the other problems with being in the boatyard is having a spiffy boat next to you. I always hope we get matched up with boats of our kind. You know, the older, weathered and ridden hard boats that are sturdy but not too flashy. Ha! Never happens. We always get placed next to people who clean their boats crevices with a toothbrush and polish everything to a blinding shine. They have pallets at the base of their ladder for their yard shoes and trays of water to wash their feet in. There is an older classic yacht next to us that is spit shined every day. They have white canvas. They wear white clothes. Their hair is even white! We have Mr and Mrs Clean next door. They are very sweet and friendly and they take very good and meticulous care of their boat. It's annoying.

We impressed the hell out of them the other night after Deb and I had a few beers in the cockpit with the bug candles going and some snacks to munch on. We even had some tunes on low volume. It was a fun night but we forgot about the beer cans. About 2 am (bucket time) the wind picked up and the cans blew off the deck into the cockpit. It was one hell of a noise at that hour. We both giggled a bit at the racket outside and when morning came I gathered up the wind chimes from the floor only to see Mrs Clean wiping down the deck of their boat. Good morning she said with a slight smirk. Good morning I grumbled to the sound of crushing cans. They love us.

I don't know if we will ever be at the level that some of these folks are at with their boats. Ours will be shiny and clean when she hits the water and there are a lot of things we would like to improve but right now we spend money carefully and on items that are required to function out here. The pretty stuff will come later when we hop on the social security trail and have some extra cash to throw at this old boat. In the meantime all of us pretty and worn, new and old, clean white and faded blue, sit in the yard and sit at anchor with the same view, the same experiences and the same buckets.

Cheers,
P

Actually, they have a nicer bucket too :(


Friday, September 29, 2017

Things they never told us - Blogs Die and there will be Naked People

"I got up early today. I washed my face, had some tea and read a book. The rain stopped and we went someplace. See pics"

When you read something like that you know the blog is dead. The blogger has no will to type anything of any worth or interest to anyone. The comment section is dead aside for some Ad selling cream to boost your manhood. How does this happen? They were so interesting at one time? Well, as far as I can tell life for them has become routine and there isn't much to write home about. If you are sailing around the Islands for a few years the pictures become the same and the people and boats become the same. Pretty soon your blog posts all become the same.

"Here's a photo of the mango tree on the hill along the way to Customs for the third time. Here's me holding up a mango next to my big head. I have a different hat this year."

When it gets to this point and even your wife stops reading the blog then it might be time to sail someplace different or to maybe get out more and do some different things like visit another mango tree.

It's not a mango next to my big head but if you see this pic again
next season with a different shirt then the blog is dead.



I have seen many blogs fade away like this. Some blogs I used to follow are now years old and you wonder if they died or drowned. No, they just got bored telling you the same old shit all the time or they moved to facebook to post one picture and a few words. WELL, this will not happen here. Even if we, the crew of Kelly Nicole become too boring to write about I will just make shit up.

"As we teetered on the edge of the volcano after sneaking around the barriers I stopped to take a photo of our travelling companions who were excited to be reviving their blog with a volcano pic. Out of nowhere a goat came flying into my view and knocked Gregorio into the volcano! He clung to the edge on a branch coughing until one of his Keens started melting giving him the strength to pull himself up enough for us to grab him! The goat was lost in a quick puff of smoke and a final half bleat."

See how easy that was?

I hope it doesn't come to that (maybe it has). There is enough going on in this cruising life to at least entertain the few people that still have me in their feed reader. By the way, thanks for the comments and letting me know you are still here. The best blogs are the few you visit but really don't know why. It's like something bad you don't want to see but can't stop looking. This is that blog.

So now that you know I will be around for a while let's talk about naked people. I really just added "Naked People" to the title to get you to visit the blog one more time and I think it worked but now I am feeling a bit guilty about that little trick so let's do a few paragraphs related to full exposure cruising.

Before we cruised we experienced nakedness while sailing the Great Lakes. The French Canadians love to get naked and jump in the water. Great Lakes water is cold. Cold water has a negative affect on impressiveness. The people did not care. At first it was a shocking reaction on both parties. "Shit! This water is cold!" (Merde! Cette eau est froide!) and "Holy shit those people are naked!". You try not to stare but you do. Then they stare back. Then you look away. Then you see them in the bar. Awkward. Now we see so many people naked that it's to the point where I might say, "Balls overboard!" or "Floating wrinkles!" and no one really cares or looks and we carry on. Amazing what you get used to but you have to because there are so many naked people around.

As soon as we see a German flag arrive we know they will be naked as soon as the anchor is set. The French pour wine first, then get naked. Americans? They hardly ever take their shirts off let alone pants. I can't get into every nations full exposure habits when in harbour because I would get into trouble. You never know who's reading and I don't need boats sailing past KN mooning me or showing me their junk in retaliation. There are some highlights in Naked People sightings though that need to be mentioned.

One day working on the bow I heard splashing water and thought some fish was feeding alongside. No, it was a naked guy snorkeling past the boat. Startling image when you're not expecting it. Before I looked away he did a back stroke to say "Hello". Thanks pal. Awkward wave. He continued to swim alongside all the boats at anchor.

One calm morning I made some coffee and grabbed the tablet for some reading in the cockpit to watch the sun rise. I made myself comfortable and as I took the first sip my eyes met the eyes of a large older hairy dude on the stern of the boat next to us covered in soap and completely naked. I nodded "Good Morning" and then realized he was soaping his dong. Yes, he was actively and in my opinion enjoying too much the soaping of his dong. I spun around fast enough to spill some coffee and decided the sun rise was not that important today. He actually started singing softly as I started laughing quietly until I heard a big splash. Not wanting to stick around for the rinse and dry cycle I went below to get another cup.

The worst is when you drive by in the dinghy and slow down to say hello then realize too late that it's bath time. Sorry, have a nice day. Don't forget behind the ears.

I guess I didn't expect all these naked bodies next to us in these harbors. The large yacht full of naked super models has not shown up yet so I just ignore all the splashing, giggling and soap bubbles now. It's just become the normal with the exception of naked snorkeling. Some day I may join them (Deb says please no) and see what that freedom feels like in the water. For now I will keep my pants on and rest assured there will be no soapy dongs on our stern. No place to sit on our transom anyway.

Thanks for reading and hanging in there.
Cheers!
PJ

Guitar work continues. Sporadic at times but I see improvement. Not ready for public humiliation.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Yoh

Anyone here? Thinking about blogging again and I wanted to see if anyone was still watching.

We are sitting on the boat in the yard in a marina in Chaguaramas Trinidad. The rain keeps falling which makes work difficult so I thought I might type a few words and see if this sticks. The whole facebook adventure is giving me a fucking migraine. I like posting to the Kelly Nicole page, that's alright but my personal page is just too mind altering to observe on a daily basis. It reminds me of little kids playing soccer (football) and the whole bunch of them just follow the ball around the field. You get the topic of the day on FB and the whole lot of my friends just beat it to death with witty and not so smart comments that go on forever. They just go around in circles arguing and never scoring a point. It's tiring.

So, from now on I am looking at FB only to see if my peeps have posted anything of any substance and then I will glance at the news of the day to make sure missles are not raining down and then I will write. I will play guitar after I write. Then, I will do boat projects. This will last until we launch and then things will change a bit because anchoring and all that brings on new schedules.

I had this feeling the other day (completely off topic. Was there a topic?) that we are socially inept and that our introverted selves from years past have come back in force (quietly taken over). Not sure why this is. I find myself saying the wrong things to people or while talking to them I see the WTF look on their faces and start thinking that I am maybe a crazy person. Speaking just for myself mind you. Debra is a very quiet person but when out on her own she tells me of people she meets and conversations she has. Huh. Could it just be me? Has facebook ruined me? Every time I am out on my own I meet nutty people. Nutty in a good way mostly but sometimes nutty fruitcake scary. Like the time I gave a dinghy ride to a sailor to his boat to feed his starving kitty. Guy was illegal and the authorities impounded his boat. I had no idea. Here I am pulled alongside his boat as he unloads shit (probably drugs) from his boat into my dinghy. Never did see his fucking cat. So I get some free time and I make a friend with a sketchy French guy/drug dealer who offered me Quaker Oatmeal for helping him. We poured out the oatmeal into the bay thinking it was mostly cocaine. I wonder what ever happened to that guy. I'm like a damn magnet for weirdos.

So, with all my time spent with weirdos maybe I'm one of them now. Geez. Can I survive without a social life? Will it be a social life with fellow weirdos? Not worried about Debra, she'll be fine. I'm a talker. What the hell am I gonna do? Deb can only take so much chatter and then I will have to go out there and...
make friends?

Cheers!
P



Good to be back writing weird shit again. I think. I have a Morning Tea post almost ready to go. I'm slow. Too much time on Facebook and not alone with my keyboard...or making friends, or even talking to people offline.
posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Things they never told us. Rolling at anchor.

When we were planning this adventure we were already sailors. We had been sailing for quite some time. Big difference though between sailing and cruising. Before we left to go cruising the longest we had stayed aboard the boat while traveling was 3 weeks. This was done on Lake Ontario and most of the cruising was in Canada. It was cold. We stayed in marina's except for the Thousand Islands where we dropped the hook from time to time.

To say we were naive about cruising was an understatement. When we bought Kelly Nicole and hauled her for the survey I looked at the prop and asked, "Are those barnacles?" The people around the boat just stared at me in silence for about 3 seconds and then continued scraping. It was like that scene in the movie Animal House when the frat pledge asks a group playing poker if they are playing cards.



Our only anchoring experience before we left was in Sodus Bay, our home port, so it came as a rude awakening when our first time to anchor as cruisers was in the Delaware River just before the C&D Canal. It was the night a tug and barge drug anchor and came within about 75 yards of making us just splintered fiberglass. That was some scary shit I tell ya. When the Captain of the tug calls you and tells you to get ready to drop your chain you know it's serious.

Since we left we have been anchoring nearly every stop. Our last marina visit was in Puerto Real in Puerto Rico. That was a long time ago. That's a lot of anchoring. Of course there were some moorings we picked up along the way but not too often. It is surprising we didn't quit cruising altogether after some dreadful anchoring experiences capped off with the Derecho in Georgetown. I guess this is what separates the Women from the Girls, the Men from the Boys, the Cruisers from the Day Sailors, the Cats from Kittens, the Alpaca from the Cria, the Democrats from the Republicans (Ha! Don't get all bent out of shape now. Just a joke you trolls).

From the time we started thinking about cruising and reading all those blogs and magazines related to the cruising life there was not a single article or post that I can recall which talked about ROLLING at anchor. Not one. If there was well it didn't stick with me. We had no roll in the Great Lakes unless a boat threw a wake at us. I had no idea that the motion of a powerboat wake rolling you can happen naturally and go on for days and nights! WTF!

Here comes the Derecho!

For a while there during our voyage it seemed every anchorage we landed in was rolling. We started thinking that this is how it is and no one fucking mentioned this and I really really want to slap some people, like maybe the staff at Cruising World Magazine or those overly positive blogger's, where their everyday lives are filled with cheer, happiness and sunshine while holding exotic rum drinks that were brought to their boats balanced on the heads of smiling dolphins. They never mentioned rolling and puking but we know, yes we know now you lying bastards. Those Dolphins aren't bringing you drinks, they are alongside your boat laughing at your green face hanging over the side.

The first rolling was just annoying. We laughed because we walked funny and bumped into each other and some things were hard to do like boil pasta without 3rd degree burns and peeing while standing. After we left that anchorage we said, "How amusing was that!"

We pulled into a highly recommended and popular anchorage and it looks gorgeous but you literally could not get off your boat because it's rocking so much you fear falling and missing the dinghy and besides, how the hell would you lower the outboard without stuffing it through the floor of the dinghy or losing a few fingers? People on the radio talked about the days they've been trapped on the boat. Days?

One of our first anchorage/mooring harbours where we experienced this was Dinner Key. It wasn't so much the rolling but the 3-4 ft waves racing into the harbour and sending the bow skyward and then diving down. It was like a sub surfacing over and over again. For days this went on. It was insanity. I would stand in the boat and feel my feet leaving the floor only to have it lurch up again. My knees were killing me while we were there. We were trapped on the boat for 5 days.

We were in Bimini and some crusty cruiser I was talking to told me he lives in Bimini now. He asked what we were doing. He then told me to not anchor overnight on the Bahamas Bank because the weather can turn and you'll be sorry as hell you were there. Said he almost lost his boat and his life out there so he never went out there again. Uhh, OK. Thanks  depressing Crusty Cruiser Guy.

We planned a nights anchor out there and we did. It was a beautiful star filled night. A most memorable night. Then morning came. The waves were growing. Growing fast. "Let's move!" I was manually hoisting the anchor (I do not miss Simpson the Windlass) and the bow would rise with the waves and yank at the chain with pretty good force. It was a bit nasty. I kept counting my fingers with every crash. Nine and a half, good. The radio was alive with other cruisers warning of the coming waves and for everyone to mind their fingers and toes. Oye. All I could think of was the crusty cruiser staring at his mangled hand and living in Bimini the rest of his life. We escaped and had a nice run across the banks.

The worst was Rum Cay in the Bahamas. Picture walking through a fun house where you can't avoid hitting the walls as you walk. The boat would roll 10-15 degrees and then back the other way, continuously, for days. It was enough where we had to launch the dinghy to get the hell off the boat and onto stable land else we would have just jumped overboard and let the ocean have it's way with us. The harbour was so bad we had a hard time leaving the dinghy to get ashore! The bar at Rum Key was crowded because everyone wanted off the boats. Now you have a beer buzz and you have to get back to the fun house. Fun!
By the way, a beer buzz and a rolling pitching boat do not go together very well. There was no hurling but sleeping was very uncomfortable. Now I have to mention that neither of us has ever really hurled from seasickness. Deb is the only one that ever hurled but it was because of food poisoning in Puerto Rico. Don't order the penis pasta.



When we got back to the rolling boat in Rum Cay we were sitting in the salon watching a jar of peanut butter, a tissue box and a flashlight slide back and forth on the counter while the door to the breaker panel opened and slammed shut repeatedly. Everything in motion with the boat, back and forth, back and forth. We broke out in laughter at all this and it eventually turned to tears and pleading to the Gods to make it all stop. When it was time to leave we took off into the wind and waves in conditions that were a bit rough but compared to the anchorage it was heaven. It was one of our best sails.

Now don't get us wrong, we aren't complaining...much. The majority of the places we have anchored are beautiful and the conditions have been just fine. We have also been getting used to the motion of the ocean and are not so bothered by it all. There are little tricks we can do to minimize the rolling and we have applied them all with some success at times. We do have our favorite spots where the water is flat as a pancake most times but they are everyone's fav's as well. Which brings me to my next Things They Never Told Us post, Anchoring Togetherness. Nothing like coming up on deck with your morning coffee and seeing your neighbors soapy dong.

Cheers!
P


I know, put on a shirt. 

See. No rolling. Nice.


So who will be the 1st one to tell me to buy a cat and avoid the rolling? We're not buying a cat so save your words unless they are really funny or super sarcastic because a cat vs mono battle in the comments section is almost as good as a Best Anchor comment.
posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Update. Rochester NY

We have a few weeks left in our furnished apartment in Rochester. We made a good choice as the place is super clean, roomy and has what we need plus it's just 15 minutes from the kids. It's still apartment life and all the odd stuff associated with it.

The sound proofing is amazing really. Hardly hear people except the heavy foot person above us who seems to jog around their apartment every morning before work. One day we heard someone next door in a muffled scream. They screamed the words, "Die you fucking son of a bitch!!" Then more screaming. That person always goes to work in scrubs so assuming a med professional. Either that or an axe murderer selling body parts to the hospital. We assume that the dude is a Gamer and is having difficulty getting to the next level.

Yesterday the cable guy shows up. "High I'm from Spectrum. You have an appointment?" No. "I have you scheduled for today". Nope. What's Spectrum? "Cable. Time Warner." Nope. "I need to see your connection. There's a problem. Only take a minute."

I paused, saw the ID. Looks legit. Kid is not that big. He's not the potential axe murderer from next door. My chefs knife is on the table...OK.

Dude looks at our connections. Says it's illegal. See the office dude. Not my problem. He makes some phone calls and then leaves. Seconds pass and the wifi and cable box shut down. Son of a...
I ran out the door (I left the knife but did give it a glance) and chased him down. Gone. Bastard. I call the office. Hey WTF!

Next I see the cable guy knocking on the security door. I asked why the fuck he shut it all down. "All a mistake. They called me and said they shut it down and I was like, why? so I hurried back." he said. He then spent the next half hour installing a "box" to make the system legal and give us the wifi back. That whole time Debra was trapped in the bathroom as the kid was right outside the door.

Cable guy asks if we rent the place with all the furniture and everything. Then wants to know what we do. When he found out he was in awe. "Damn, I will never get to do that." I told him it's completely possible but you have to work towards it. Staying debt free is number one. After those words he deflated and mentioned his student loans of epic proportion. Oye. Not much I could say after that. Poor bastard cable guy.

We have cable and wifi again and Deb is out of the shower. We turned the TV on maybe twice since we've been here. Nothing to see. It's all shit.

Enjoying the visit and having fun. The Grandkids are amazing and fun to be around and their parents are tolerating us just fine ;D

Cheers!
PB

Our boat babysitter says all is well with KN
Batteries look good :D

posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Goodbye Dad

Life with Dad had it's ups and downs. At times it was like walking on thin ice. Other times he was fun to be around and then there were times where he was just Dad, the guy who came home, read the paper, watched a show and went to bed.

My Mom and Dad and Grandpa with me riding
the Horse with No Legs. Is that a song?

When you are young you just see your parents before and after work and have no idea what their life is like in between. We didn't see the details of their daily existence, just the results. Some evenings were good, some were bad. Eventually the evenings were leaning more towards bad than good as the economy also shifted to bad and having a lazy teenage son laying around the house acting like he owns the place didn't help any. Dad and I were not getting along. I made plans. Community College graduation was close and I already had a good job. I was saving. Saving for that U-haul.

Me, Dad and Uncle Rog

I moved out of the house and down the thruway as soon as I could get away. I was young and trying to figure out what direction to take in life and where to live it. Getting a job in Rochester removed me from the daily family drama of my parents living with three teenage disco girls and a dog that bites people in the ass if they try to leave. I imagine it was a fun place now that I was gone and I pretty much just kept it to Sunday phone calls and the occasional visit. I did not see much of the family and I hoped that my absence might improve my relationship with Dad. It did a little bit but you see, my Dad and I had an eight hour relationship time limit.

After being together for about eight hours one of us would say something or do something to piss each other off. It could be anything. One that comes to mind is the Pete Rose Hall of Fame issue. My Dad talked about Pete deserving to get into the Hall. I casually asked, Didn't he bet against his own team? There was a slight pause and then Dad replied with, "What the hell do you know about baseball!!". Enough to know a cheater when I see one. And just like that conversation was over and replaced with occasional glaring and avoidance. It was usually some silly disagreement that set us off or an off hand comment said in jest that was received the wrong way. We could easily co-exist in the same space for four hours. After four things get dicey and no way we can go beyond eight. It just didn't work.

Dad sitting down the kids and I for a chat.

In a way Dad and I were opposites. Dad loved baseball. He played it all his life. I thought baseball was boring. I played it too. Dad was not impressed and neither were my coaches. I spent a lot of time in right field watching birds and catching grasshoppers. Dad watched a lot of football. I built a lot of model airplanes. Once I wanted to impress him by watching a game on a small black and white TV up in my room. I think I even had a helmet on. By the time he got home I had built a fort of chairs and blankets around the TV and turned it into a secret airbase for jet fighters. Dad asked me about the score. Uh, I uh.. He also finally realized that he had a nerd in his family and would just have to deal with it. He did, in a way.

As the years went by, the 8 hour rule still applied. We saw less and less of each other. As we grew older my life got more hectic as Dad's slowed down. My weekly phone calls became bi-weekly and then monthly. Dad's conversations with me seemed like a chore for both of us. Sometimes we hit it off and laughed a lot and sometimes it was a grunt for a hello and a "talk to your Mother" moment. Sometimes he didn't pick up. My visits became even less frequent and sometimes we didn't even make it to 4 hours before conversation stalled. The whole relationship was going south.

Still trying to impress my Dad even in my 40's I got the brilliant idea of taking him to a Boston Bruins game. Yes, the one solid thing we still had in common and it involved sports. Dad and I were hockey fans. We loved the sport and we loved the Boston Bruins. I will never forget a game the Bruins were playing against the hated Montreal Canadiens long ago. We were on the couch in front of the TV and stressed out about a very close game. It was a tie game. It was a playoff game. With just seconds left Boston scored on a rebound from a shot by Bobby Orr and as I lept off the couch Dad did a somersault roll from the couch to a leap in the air in front of the screen! I thought it was the funniest thing I ever saw. It was good to laugh with Dad. It did not happen often but when it did it was usually memorable.

Planning this Boston trip might be the craziest thing I ever did. What about the 8 hr. rule? He might want to strangle me before we even get to Albany! I bought the tickets not knowing if he would even want to go but he agreed. Wow! Now what? This could be a total disaster!

I was pretty nervous when we got into the car. All I could think of was what words would come out of my mouth to set him off. I turned on the radio and hoped he would sleep. He didn't like the music. Damn, no oldies stations. We ran out of coffee, damn. It started to rain, damn. I had to hit the brakes and the car shuddered and the anti-lock brake light came on and also the check engine light. Damn. Is this a sign to turn around? I kept driving while Dad looked at me and then the dash lights. No problem Dad this happened before and it was nothing I lied. "Better get that looked at", he said. "The new Honda is nice. The Accord. My Grand Prix was a lemon. Terrible car." I was biting my tongue. I worked at GM. I drove a Grand Prix. Tic toc tic toc...

We continued on. Almost to Albany now. A truck on a side road to the thruway sideswiped a utility pole and the wires separated and there was blue arcing and flame on the pole. Holy smokes! Something is telling me this is a bad idea. Dad was asleep at the moment and there was no turning back now. I also really really had to use the bathroom but I did not want to wake him up. This reminded me of a time when he took me on a sales trip to Ohio. In order to make good time we skipped all meals both ways. I lived off a bag of blue mint candies he had for the ride. I can never eat those candies again. I laughed at his sleeping face wishing I had a bag of those mints if he said he was hungry.

As we entered Boston my Dad was awake and his eyes were wide as he pointed out various places around town and commented on my dangerous driving. By some miracle I found my way to our hotel and we parked and got settled in no time and without conflict. Hell I think we may break this eight hour limit.

Our hotel was near MIT and it is a long walk to the arena downtown. Dad asked how far a walk it is. Uh oh. Not far I lied, again. At this point it was dark outside and we started walking to dinner. We wanted to go to Cheers, the bar made famous by the TV show. Dad now understood how far this walk was but he was so fascinated by his surroundings that he never gave it a second thought. The air was crisp this fall evening and the holidays were quickly approaching. It was a perfect night for a walk.

With our hands in our jackets we walked down the long street, passing many old Brownstone houses worth millions and we were so close to them that the windows were too high for me to see into, so I was jumping up and down as we passed a window to get a look. I wouldn't call it peeping, more like just being nosey. Dad would laugh, "You're short like your mother". Yeah what's with that anyway? I asked. I have a head sized for a bigger body. I was malnourished or something. We laughed some more as we worked our way uphill, still joking as we passed beautiful home after home. Any minute. Any minute he's going to ask me if we were actually walking back home instead of going to dinner. Any minute now. Finally, "Hey, If I don't make it to dinner just roll me back down into the river." How about I bury you next to Samuel Adams? More laughter.

Dad and I Sumo wrestling


As we reached the top of the hill I continued on but soon realized Dad had stopped walking. I looked back and he was staring down the hill to the commons. Everything OK?, I asked. I couldn't hear what he said and when I walked back to him he nodded down the hill, "look at that."


At the bottom of the hill the commons were all aglow. The ice rink shined bright white. Girls were practicing their figure skating routines for a Christmas show all dressed in white and silver. The ice rink was surrounded by beautiful ice sculptures and the ladies ice danced as the Christmas music filled the air. Both of us were as frozen as the sculptures as we stared down the hill. No traffic. Nobody but us and all quiet except the distant sound of music. I looked at Dad and he had a smile unlike any I had ever seen on his face. It wasn't the smile from a joke, or a sitcom or a laugh at the bar. This was a genuine love my life right now smile. It was the smile I needed to see.
"That's something. That's really something.", he said.

The rest of the walk was easy. We were buoyed by the wonderful sight before us and had a little more spring in our step on our way to dinner. Dinner was good. Afterwards we visited Melville's upstairs and rubbed elbows with folks who Dad entertained with a few jokes and some stories. The hockey game was great. The Bruins won and I made sure Dad didn't do a somersault off his seat into the aisle when they scored.

We had busted way past our old 8 hr time limit. After that moment on the hill I never gave it another thought. That smile. That moment. That is what I needed after all those years.

That weekend happened many years ago but I think it was somewhat of a turning point in our relationship. We saw each other a little bit differently afterward and our attitudes towards one another improved.

Now that Dad is gone I look back and wonder how things could have been different between us, but then I realize that even if we had the chance for a repeat we would probably be the same two individuals we were.
Dad and I saw each other months before his passing when he was in the hospital and we had a lengthy talk. After many hours of memory filled conversation we both had no apologies or regrets. We were just thankful for the time we did have as father and son.

Rest in Peace Dad. Wherever you are I am sure you are sporting that smile you had on the hill and that is how I will remember you.




Cheers Dad.
P
posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, May 15, 2017

Sailing Nights

Well this was a short season wasn't it? One more overnight hop and we will get hauled into a hot sweaty yard and perform two weeks of boat cleanup and storage work. I feel like we just did this. We did and it sucks to have to do it again so soon but life is weird sometimes.

As readers know we are not fond of overnight sailing. Weird shit happens at night.

Before we had autopilot we were doing an overnight down the east coast of the US. I commented to Deb about the high speed powerboats zipping around. Damn those are fast! We near a Navy base or something because those are definitely military. Wow! Deb says, "Those lights are stationary. You are turning the boat." Huh? I looked down at the compass and sure as shit I was turning. Good thing it was dark so my glowing red face didn't show too bad.



One night off the coast of the DR we lost all GPS systems. All of them. Even the handheld. The autopilot went nuts and so did I. What the hell is going on! I called over to SV Odin and they were like, "What the hell are you doing up there?" They never had the problem. Weird. I'm sure they looked at each other and said, Have another beer Paul!

There was a night I was on watch and downed a bag of Reese's Peanut butter cups. The whole bag. I was not right. I think I started hallucinating. To this day I can't even think of them without my stomach getting queasy.

Deb was on watch heading for Grenada and I come up and she has a strange look on her face. I ask her if there is anything I need to know. She gets up to go below and says, "A UFO and that big ship is heading for us". I ignored the sky for the UFO but saw the ship coming at us. Geezuz!! She went to bed.

Deb comes up to relieve me on our sail from Trini to Grenada. What's up? Nothing going on except that bird will not leave the Bimini. You can see it's tail sticking out over it right there. I point to it. It will not leave. I tried punching the canvas to get it to fly away but it just moves to another spot. Deb just blinked at me and I thought maybe punching the bird was bad so I explained that it shit all over the Bimini and I think it peed on my arm. Stupid shitty bird. I went below. Deb let the bird ride without trying to punch it and it hopped off within site of Grenada.

Deb was asleep in the cockpit while I was on watch. It was a little stormy so all the canvas was up and I was sitting up off the seat and next to the canvas. I had on a headlamp in case I needed light. I was just sitting there thinking of the usual weird stuff and a large something smacked into the canvas right next to my head. I damn near jumped out of my skin! I flicked the light on and unzipped the canvas to take a peek. As the rain and sea hit my face I could see a large flying fish flipping around on the deck. Holy shit that thing damn near hit me in the face! I went over to Deb and shook her awake to tell her and show her the fish but I forgot the light and she woke up to blazing LED's hitting her in her eyeballs. She thrashed a bit shielding her eyes and then told me I was an asshole and some other things I could not quite make out. I went back to save the fish but it was toast.

Off the US coast Deb says, "Damn that ship is big." I look back and see it's all lit up so it must be a cruise ship. It's heading towards us and moving fast. Nothing on AIS. Let's keep an eye on it. Minutes later. That damn thing is closer than I thought. I might have to call them to let them know we are out in front of them. Then as we are watching this "ship" the clouds part to reveal the moon rising behind us. There was laughter.

One lonely night of boring droning diesel motoring in flat seas I thought I would put the headlamp on and in the red light write a little bit. So I wrote something. I basically wrote a porn story about a sailor who has sex with a Mermaid on the deck of a sailboat while underway. I read it in the morning and I thought, what in the hell was all this about? Wow. It was a comedy of sorts but naughty as hell. I still have it but it will never be posted. Just...wow.

Deb was sleeping and I am sailing down Martinique. The wind is getting light. We had just enough to keep us moving at about two knots. Wait. Two knots going backwards! What the hell is going on here? I am pointing south but the GPS has me tracking north. Huh? My tired, sleep deprived brain could not get a grip on this. Before I started losing it I realized there is a current pushing north. We had just enough wind to keep the boat pointed south but the current was carrying us north. We started the diesel and continued...south!

I will try to sail in any wind before starting the diesel and Deb refuses to say, "Start the motor". No one wants to run under power but I am too stubborn to give up on sailing and Deb has this weird thing about not being the one to decide to power up. It can get strange as we drift along at 3 knots. Eventually I give in and then Deb frowns like she wanted to sail at 3 knots all day but Mr. Motorhead has to burn some dinosaur juice.

Don't sail with us. It's maddening. Ask our kids :D

We have another overnight in store for us as we head further south. I am hoping for a normal voyage but just once I would like to see the UFO.

Cheers!
PB



"Sailing Nights"

Like the wind that carried ahab
To a far, more distant shore,
To a shipwreck that was certain
Long before.
I can see there's no use sailing
Among ships i've known before.
It will only bring me more,
And more and more
Lonely sailing nights, more,
Racing, dimming lights.
Lonely nights, and all too
Familiar sights.

Just as water seeks its level,
So i only seek to live;
Hoping somehow i can find
A way to give.
And the sea, it softly beckons,
"come and go where you've not been."
With the dawning of a new day,
I'm gone, again.
Lonely sailing nights, ... gone,
Racing, dimming lights,
Lonely nights,
And all too
Familiar sights.


By Bob Seger
posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sparks will fly

Cruising is full of surprises. Some are good, like meeting people in a bar and becoming friends. Some are bad, like an early morning start to sailing to your next island and smelling something electrical burning.

We were in Bequia and leaving before sunrise to head up the chain to St Lucia. Way too early for us two. We were like zombies getting the boat prepped for voyage and it was time to start the engine and let her warm up. We are not 'start and go' people when it comes to systems. We like them to run up a bit and then we check to make sure everything is hunky dory. Hell we are not start and go with anything especially getting an early start, as our old "buddy boat" knows.

Something smelled wrong. We had not showered in a few days but this was something unrelated to the body.



Our engine room blower exits at deck level and if something is burning in there we will know it quickly and we sure did that morning. I thought it smelled electrical and Deb thought it smelled like a belt burning. I went below to find the alternator smoking and when the engine room door opened the smoke alarm went off and I yelled for Deb to shut the engine down. We went from peaceful easy morning to WTF IS HAPPENING! in just a few minutes and I am not sure our early morning zombie brains could really get a handle on it.

After a quick inspection for anything obvious we started back up and I checked the current from the alternator to the batteries. Damn, not much there for trying to restore a bank at 85%. We shut her down again and I gave Debra the bad news that the alternator was probably shot. I came to this conclusion when molten stuff was flying out of the vents accompanied by smoke and the distinct smell of electrical components burning. Deb just put her head in her hands realizing we are staying for a while and then said we are heading back. "Too many failures. This season is jinxed and I am not going any further risking a disabled boat." I understood.

This engine has always had a high output alternator. I didn't want one so I removed the old 135 amp beast and tried to put an 80 amp in it's place but everyone talked me into at least a 100 amp unit. Our Yanmar 4jh does not like anything that size even with a 1/2 inch belt but I listened to the experts and went with the Balmar 100 amp super expensive alternator with the ARS-5 super deluxe regulator. Wow. I felt superior. Superior and poor. That shit was expensive.

One year into cruising and the ARS-5 lit up like a roman candle and ate itself in the Abacos. Two years later the Alternator did the same thing. Son of a ...

Everyone online thought we were doomed. No way will you find an alternator in Bequia. Out of sheer luck we did. There was a Hitachi internally regulated 80 amp alternator in a box on a shelf in some obscure little shop behind a hairdresser and under some palm trees run by a sleepy guy who really wanted to help and knew his gear. The only thing he didn't know was if the thing was internally or externally regulated. There were no model numbers anywhere. The box it came in was not the original. It was a sketchy deal but we were desperate sailors.

We found this guy by stopping at the local chandlery where a young Aussie fellow said he knows a guy who can help and to go to the petrol station and cross the street to a field with a bodega/shop. Go behind the shop and follow the path to a gate. Go through the gate and ask for Cary. We found Cary and he said we need to go see Piper. Take the back road towards the church and he is on the right by the hair cutters but don't go past the church.

We bought the alternator from Piper after verifying through Wifi that we had the right style. Unfortunately there were no wiring diagrams and the wifi on the boat is extremely poor but what the hell, there are only three termination points to deal with. I should be good.



It didn't work. The alternator case was only marked with 'Batt' nothing else. I assumed the negative batt cable went to the terminal in contact with the case. Wrong. I assumed the blue wire coming out the side of the case was the field wire. Wrong. I assumed the alternator was externally regulated. Wrong. I suck at this. Correct!

To make a rather long story short (not short enough you say) I found some patience and waited for Debra to search for a schematic. We found one from some forum and some random dude bitching about his Hitachi alternator wiring. He sketched the correct wiring with explanation of the terminals. Awesome!

Our internally regulated alternator (damn) had the negative batt cable relocated to the correct terminal (not grounded) and there is no field wire (internal regulator) and the vertical blade on the T-connector is the ignition wire. Let's go make some amps! Nope. The random dude had the wrong terminal on the T-connector. Now let's go make some amps! Ta Da!

This morning we will start the engine while the batts are down about 70 amp hrs and we should see the alternator kick in with a full load. Hoping not to see smoke or burning belts or smelling anything burning except the spliff from the lobster guy.

Cheers!
P

Paradise. More like Pair a Dice. Every voyage is a roll of the dice. You feeling lucky?

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Hello

Ah, this poor neglected blog. I was on a roll there for a while and now I slacked off again. I blame the internet. For some stupid reason we have been blessed with good wifi since we got back. We have no cell phone contract or prepaid minutes. This is just pure luck with a wifi booster antenna. I know this will end sooner or later so I have been taking advantage of it and basically binging on Youtube guitar lessons and watching Adult Swim on the cartoon network. Yes, I watch that. I find it hilarious especially Robot Chicken which apparently no one else around me enjoys.

Deb and I have some common ground on humor but then I tend to branch off into what she calls weird shit. Kind of like the blog sometimes. After she reads this blog she will just shake her head and not say anything. I'm like, What? What's wrong with it? Is it too weird? Offensive? She doesn't say anything and she know's it bothers the shit out of me. I bet she snickers on her way to the aft cabin knowing I am re-reading the blog post.

By the way, I will only watch youtube or any vids late at night so I do not soak up the bandwidth for others. The guitar lessons I set for download after midnight. About the only people I am bothering at that point are the pervs watching porn :D

Without getting too much into politics, I have been zoomed in on the latest crapola coming out of DC because the ACA is near and dear to our survival out here. I refuse to call it by it's other name. It is the Affodable Care Act and it helps people like us (no income and retired) and our grandson who has kidney disease. Without New York State's free child health care I feel our kids would be very challenged financially right now. You get the picture. The ACA is not perfect but for us it is a blessing. Hoping it will morph into single payer for all.

So enough of that. What else have we been doing besides zombified internet browsing?
Mostly we are just lounging around the boat like seals sunning on a rock. I do find time for projects when the mood strikes me. I have some gelcoat repairs to make and some wiring fix ups. The engine could use some cleaning/rust removal in some spots. The boat is kind of grundgy after the mechanics spent several days onboard spreading grease everywhere. They made a sad effort to clean it up and I was thinking if this was a new Hinckley they would be sending a crew back out to make it shine, but because we are just an old Morgan they made a wipe or two and left. One of these days we will find the time to re-paint the interior and re-varnish the wood. I know, get off the rock and get to work right? Yeah well we have almost written off this season because it is so short so we are just focused on sailing and island hopping until we have to get back to Trini to fly home.

We are experienced now in hauling and yard work in Trini and we know who and how to get things done quickly. We will be prepared and are actually going to get some interior carpentry work done. We will also make sure the hull and deck are cleaned and waxed properly this time. No major projects are planned other than adding more solar. Another 200 watts will be perfect. We will add these to the top of the Bimini. The current 400 ah battery bank appears to be the proper size. We lose about 50 ah overnight and by 2pm we are fully charged. Another 200 watts should get us to float by noon I would think.

That's all I have to say right now I guess. Fairly normal blog post from what I can see. Might have to weird it up a little next time. Maybe once we got to a more crowded anchorage I will have some ideas. This place is pretty mellow. We have South Africans and Brits all round us and they are pretty boring (normal). We had some Norwegians nearby that were interesting. The ladies went to shore in thongs. Yes, thongs. I was in the dinghy waiting to get the groceries handed to me by Deb and I froze as two tall blonde ladies in thongs stood up in their dinghy and smiled at my slack jaw and frozen outstretched arm waiting for Deb to hand me a bag. I can't help it. It's my American upbringing. I had to stare. Deb was not amused but she had the Norwegian guys in Trini to look at.

So today I will do a few chores and then get back on that rock for a nap in the Sun. Looks like Carriacou next week for more fun times.




Cheers!
PJ


posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Magic Peas

Last week Deb bought me some Channa which is dried and roasted chickpeas with just the right salt and pepper. A very tasty snack. I couldn't eat enough of them. In fact I ate the whole jar in 2 nights. What I didn't know was they are magic peas! Yep, super high in fiber and I am talking very. high. fiber. No fiber pills for me. I'm eating Channa! Deb, buy some more!

This week Deb bought another bottle of Channa. I grabbed a handful and munched away with a happy face. My happy Channa face soon turned red because the channa was 3rd degree burning my mouth! HOT HOT! What the hell? There is nothing on the label that says hot. Deb said it's the same one she bought last time. Damn. I had major hiccups. Damn that's fking hot Channa!

I ate them anyway. Sure they were hot but I liked it. I ate half the bottle. You kind of get used to the flame after a bit. Then bed time came around. I read for a while then closed my eyes. Burning. My stomach is burning. Oh god. My eyes sprung open and I went for some water. I drank a half gallon and it still burned. It burned all damn night and I swear I could feel that chickpea lava work it's way all down the pipe while I lay under a hatch in the salon swearing at myself for eating those god damn things. Oh the pain.

After sweating it out for hours I finally went back to bed. I think I nodded off after a half hour and then - Oh no. The chickpeas want to leave. But, but it's 3 am!

[insert imagined TMI]

After wiping...the tears from my eyes I was ready to finally get some sleep. Ahh, sleep.

BEEP BEEP BEEP!! The alarm went off at 5 am so I can get ready to make the bus to the farmers market in Port of Spain. Ah crap. I got up and made some tea and got dressed. I sipped my tea with half open eyes and after fifteen minutes of  I went to the stern to lower the dinghy. Uh Oh. Oh no. Channa Lava! I ran back to the head.

Screw the farmers market. Saturday was a long day. I kept falling asleep and waking up with a burning lower half. It was better laying down than sitting. It didn't help that Friday was St Patty's day and I may have tipped a few extra brews. Deb reminded me that I only ate Channa for dinner so my stomach was filled with flaming hot chickpeas in a beer stew. Not too smart.

I'm better now. Today was good and healthy. I took Deb in to get laundry done while I put water in the tanks. On the way to get Deb I found the old crushed jar of the 1st purchase of Singh's Whole Channa laying in the dinghy. The label was green though. The last one Deb bought is red. Same brand. AH HA! Red means hot!? WTF. It should say HOT on the label! I don't know. I'm gonna buy a green label tomorrow and see.

On a historical note: Channa was the go to snack at movie theaters in Trinidad up until recently. You would buy it from carts outside and bring it in to munch on while watching a movie. I would love to munch on Channa instead of popcorn at the movies though I would have been the one with the hiccups down in front saying, "Shit, these are the hot ones!" while I slurped all my drink and crunched the ice to cool off. Shhh! Quiet please - they would have whispered. "Some people are such flaming assholes."

Eat, drink and be regular.
Cheers!
PB

There is good magic and there is bad. Look for the green label.

Looks harmless

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, February 24, 2017

Relax. Be merry.

The boatyard blues were playing for most of the last month weren't they? It seemed like we made progress towards 'launch and leave' but then got knocked back to 'stay and fix' status. After a while it got tiring. Some people handle this well. I used to do it every day and handle it with a smile and sarcasm. I tried that this time and for the most part it worked. Despite the yard setbacks I continued my merry ways, whistling and living in my head where life is good.

Debra on the other hand got real quiet. But how is that possible you say, because Debra is already so quiet. Well, Debra is in charge of money monitoring. When you see money flowing in one direction for a very long time you get concerned. When Debra gets concerned she gets quiet. Sometimes I have to purposefully look to see if she is still there. Yep, there she is.

When I was single and had a good paycheck I would go my merry way (today's word is merry) doing this and that until I realized I had no money until the next paycheck. Oh, damn. I guess it's spaghetti and Genesee Beer week again. Genny was the cheap local brew. Debra was not like this at all. Debra would live on beer and spaghetti on purpose to save money. She was merry when she wanted to be.

Normally I am the paranoid pessimist onboard this vessel. I will fret over stuff I can not control and talk myself into worrying about things that I have done thousands of times before with no problems. It's who I have been all my life. I like the what if's a lot. When it comes to money I act differently. For some reason I do not freak out about it like I should. It's not like I am a big spender either. When we owned a home I had tools and yard gear that was 15 yrs old and it was not premium stuff. My cars were company cast offs and when we needed a new car I took Debra's old one. We didn't have dining or living room furniture for almost ten years after we built the house. Frugal to say the least. It's how we always roll.

This could be the reason I do not freak out about it that much. We are so frugal in many ways that I know we will be all right. I do not need a spreadsheet to know this. I have a number in my head and the number is good. I have an idea how the markets are doing and they are doing OK right now. I have a few people I trust watching these things. Now, being markets they can explode at any time. This I will talk my way into worrying about. I will hypothesize about our latest invitees into the white house will start a war we can't handle and the world economy will collapse and we will starve to death in a remote anchorage or killed by mobs of people angry at Americans. Debra may think about this scenario (maybe not) but does not let it get to her. Probably because she is so focused on the money flow. Deb does not like to spend money. Never has. It physically hurts her I think. The only time Debra liked spending money is on the kids and Grandkids. Then it pours. Then I get quiet. "You know they will out grow these outfits in 2 months right?" But they're so cute!

For now, I will merrily go about this cruising life while we are here making repairs. I will chat with the mechanics and ask dumb questions. I will laugh at something funny on the internet while eating lunch. I will have a beer and talk about the neighbors. I will cook something not so delicious and then put hot sauce on it to make it better. I will whistle while I work on odd jobs around the boat. I will annoy Debra in many ways.

Deb will sit quietly and ponder the many ways I could be silenced while she keeps track of our spending. It's a depressing job but someone has to do it...I suppose.

Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you may die.
Cheers!
P



posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, February 20, 2017

Morning tea - the boat yard, Trinidad

The Morning tea post is a brain dump of stuff I currently have floating around in my head. It is usually brought on with unusual amounts of caffeine hitting my system when I am in the right mood to be sharing. This doesn't happen very often because I am usually busy messing around in a boat. Lately my thoughts are focused again on cruising rather than repairing, allowing my mind to wander a bit. This is a good indicator that I am ready to start posting regularly to the blog instead of blowing gobs of money on the boat. My brain is yours.  








Life on the hard is hard.

Every time a fork truck goes by the whole boat shakes. At first we were thinking earthquakes.

They have many earthquakes here in Trinidad. One time we shook and it WAS an earthquake.

One of my favorite radio shows is called Whole Lotta Shakin which we stream once in a while. The DJ announces his show and a fork truck carrying a heavy load goes by. It's shit like that which makes my day.

The longer we are here, the more things we find to repair. The more things we find to repair, the longer we are here.

There's beer at the top of the ladder.

There's a bathroom at the bottom of the ladder.

You would think going up and down a ladder all damn day would be a good workout.

The locals here do not wear shorts.

My skinny white legs get frowned upon wherever we go.

Our cameras are failing us.

Trinidad has a problem with Lithium batteries. There are none.

We have a growing list of things to bring back including batteries and new cameras.

I used to work for Eastman Kodak. I hated the place.

The only camera on the boat that works now is our 15 year old Kodak camera.

I try not to take photos of people without their permission.

Everyone here has a cell phone

I wonder if my skinny white legs appear in any local memes.

I was picking on Debra for buying a shitty Sony camera, bragging about my new Olympus

The screen died on my new Olympus piece of shit.

I order from the street vendors out front. I ask for slight spice. I get fire.

I order from a street vendor, "Veggie Roti with potato salad on the side". I get a veggie roti stuffed with potato salad.

Deb should order our food.

Always greet with good morning or good afternoon. Usually it is said twice. "Good morning, good morning!" We always get a response.

My morning greeting at the Doubles hut the first time was met with stares and no response. "Good morning! How we doin today? Yeah, I'll take two doubles. One spicy and one plain. What do I owe ya, about ten bucks right? Where do ya get coffee around here?"

People are very soft spoken in Trinidad unless they are arguing or singing.

How do Trinidadians work so hard in this heat?

There is a really nice boat next to us with a really nice person who works really hard every day. Damn her :)

I have been doing better with the fluid intake and not just beer. Keep hydrated down here or pay the price.

Migraines are triggered by dehydration.

I am basically not wearing glasses at all except sunglasses. I really do not understand this but I like it.

I wonder how many words I spelled wrong in this post?

My grammar is pretty bad. I need an editor. Where is Deb?

Sunscreen is slowly becoming a morning ritual now. This is good. I feel the need to protect myself from the sun now more than ever.

One of those floppy bucket hats seemed to be the way to go as it protects my ears but apparently my nose still gets burned.

Our survey went well despite some miscommunication.

Our surveyor is a Scotsman. I asked him to slow it down a bit. We laughed a lot. He spelled my name wrong. I do not want to be known as Paul Ryan.

There is always someone in the yard that is on the same bathroom schedule as I am. Very annoying.

Lot's of sailors have their boats prepped before they get here. Imagine coming back and having your boat ready to go? I will keep imagining this.

When you put your boat back together yourself you notice abnormalities.

Abnormalities have a rating system:
1. Meh.
2. Well, that's strange.
3. Ah shit.
4. Are you friggin kidding me!
4a. Is the beer cold?
5. Holy shit we could a friggin died!
5a. We still have Rum?
6. I better not tell Deb.

I really make a mess when I do projects.

Hearing someone climb the ladder means you owe money, help has finally arrived or there is something under your boat that someone wants.

I put an old fender out by the garbage can and someone came over and asked if it was available for them.

I put expired flares out under the boat and someone asked if they were available for them.

I put a manual windlass under the boat and nobody even gave it a second look.

I had a wrench laying on the deck for a few hours. I went to grab it. I dropped it pretty quick and ran cold water over my hand.

I wear shoes on the deck to prevent a hot foot.

Climbing into the cockpit the toe of the flip flops caught the deck and I fell head first. My head was fine but my shin had a nice egg on it.

Flip flops have been banned on deck.

There were kids flip flops at the bottom of the ladder one day. What the hell?

The Rasta dude working the shaft install has some small feet and colorful taste.

My beard was getting annoying so I shaved it off. Where the fuck did my chin go?

The ladies at Budget Marine laugh because I say goodbye, see you in July, and they say see you tomorrow.

I am drinking instant coffee.

I started getting facebook ads for instant coffee brands from Trini.

Facebook is getting scary.

I will be happy when we have little Internet except I will miss our video chats with the family.

Without getting too political, we are a little on edge these days with all the talk of eliminating health care and privatizing social security. This would be a hell of a shitty way to end our cruising life.

Sometimes folks think we are being unsociable but really, we are just on a low budget.

If we had to do this work to the boat anywhere else it would have broken us.

Yes, I said I was drinking instant coffee. How low I can go?

For the most part tea is still for me.

Some days I just require more of a kick start.

What's with the Trini love for KFC?

Corporate food is taking over.

We find ourselves eating in most of the time.

Knock on wood, my stomach issues of the past seem to have vanished.

Robot Bees for pollinating where the real ones fail. What could possibly go wrong. Robo Bees.

If you are walking along the border taking a stroll and a bunch of Robo Bees are following you just act normal and check that your papers are in order.

I keep playing with the windlass and I usually do this while Deb is in the salon staring at a game on her iPad. Apparently it is quite noisy down below when that chain comes out of the locker :D Did you not get top score?

Guitar practice has suffered the last few months. Trying to get back at it. I sound terrible again.

Deb keeps sweeping and dusting but the wind keeps blowing and the dust keeps flowing.

Now see, if we had air conditioning....

The surveyor asked 3 times if we had air conditioning. Three times he shook his head and then looked at the salt stains on my shirt.

Surveyor looks at your wiring and says, marvelous, lovely, good stuff. Proud you are.

Surveyor comes to the boat before we washed it from 5 months in the yard. "Uh, I will come back in a few days. You need to wash this. This is not good. You do not want me to start the survey today."

Green is not a good look for a deck.

We will never leave the boat for that long a period.

The boat next to us had a shrink wrap covering and green was not a good look for them either.

Our laptop is back in action but so is Microsoft. Bastards keep trying to forcefully upgrade me. I hate you Microsoft.

I have lost some of my PC skills.

I think PC now refers to Politically Correct instead of Personal Computer with a windows OS. I have lost some of those skills as well.

Every cruiser has a different cost of living.

Why do people want to know how much we spend per month doing this? If you see people from all walks of life out here sailing then it's totally within your reach. Results may vary.

Buying the new Beneteau 47 footer and parking it at every marina all the way down here and then saying cruising is out of your reach financially is really making me laugh.

We are looking forward to just sitting at anchor and getting a few "cheap" months in our books.

The surveyor laughed at our liferaft. "You will puke all over yourselves and die." I like this guy.

When a surveyor says, "You're not crossing any oceans are you?" and then does not explain, it is very unnerving. I don't like this guy.

I hit my hand with a hammer. I have a lump that refuses to go away.

I fell into the cockpit and whacked my shin. I have a lump that refuses to go away.

I have taken my lumps and apparently I am keeping them.

You start working on the boat and someone will stop by with a price to get it done faster.

In the US you start working on the boat and some prick walks up and tells you how he does it better and if you want I can show you my boat that's way better than yours.

In the US you start working on your boat and someone from the marina drives up and charges you for materials not purchased in their shop. "You buy that sandpaper here?" Prick.

There's a lot of Pricks in US boat yards.

Do I really need a high output alternator? Fucking belt dust.

Mosquitos sit in your boat and wait until you go to bed before they try to land in your ear.

This coffee is really bad.

Being out of the water for so long really makes it hard to stay calm when it's time to go back in. You start thinking about what you did to the boat that might screw you when you are 100 miles away from a dock.

Some people just return and slap some paint on and go.

We heard about a boat that launched and then took off for Grenada at some horrible hour of the morning then spent the better part of that horrible morning calling the coast guard to tow them back.

Maybe I'm just paranoid but I worry quite a bit about shit like that.

I imagine sailing with me at times is a lot like having Woody Allen onboard...without the creepiness. Maybe.

I guess if I was that bad Deb would not be out here.

Where is Deb?

This wifi is a real distraction. We are parked in front of one of the antennas. Best signal we ever had.

Today I woke up thinking it was like 2am. Two minutes later it was daylight. Not really used to this quick sunrise and sunset.

The yoga instructor down the yard wears bright clothing. She always waves to me in the morning. We are on the same schedule. I have donut dust on my lips and she is sweaty from a healthy workout. What is wrong with me?

Some men can do yoga and that's great. I would love to try it but my brain fights it. "You will get stuck in a position and fall over while farting. Don't embarrass yourself."

I think I will go for a walk today. Hey there's the yoga lady.

I have been wearing my hiking boots in the yard because it is dusty and gritty. Socks too. Not the usual footwear in this place.

"Hey Paul where you heading?" Yoga class. Kidding, Just to the boat shop over there. They glance down at my boots.

"You play guitar?" Nope. "But I saw you.." Nope. "Someone said you.." Nope.

I am not ready for prime time musical talent shows.

We go through a lot of paper towels.

There is no room to anchor in this harbor.

As usual most mooring balls are taken by local derelict boats or boats that we will see for the next several years with ever increasing bottom biology.

We were just thinking that knowing what we know now if we were to ever go back to Sodus Bay we would be anchored out all the time and only come in to pump out. We will never be anchoring in Sodus bay.

For those still in Sodus Bay remember the whole bay is no deeper than about 30 ft and you all do not have to anchor in that tiny space on the west side. Seems so stupid now.

It may take a few tries to perfect this whole automatic chain dispensing thing on the bow.

My brain has decided to wander off on other things so I have to stop for now. There is a boat to prepare for launch tomorrow.

I think I will have another coffee.

Zoom. Zoom.

Now thinking of dinner.

I make a simple pan of pasta. I add about 4 cups of butter. (Edit: Tblespoons not cups you bavarian butter eater!) Add garlic. Maybe some red pepper flakes. The pasta. Then I add about a half a cup of the pasta water. Then I stir in an egg yoke. Lots of pepper. Some parm. Toss with Broccoli. A nice pinot. Dinner tonight.

When I wake up I think tea or coffee, then food. I don't think of breakfast. I think of dinner. Weird eh? I have to be really hungry to think of breakfast in the morning.

Lunch is unimportant. If you get food great. If not, meh. Lunch kind of slows me down to be honest. I want to nap afterward.

When I was a kid I immediately poured a bowl of cereal. Usually raisin bran. I was a pretty regular kid. I waited for the test pattern to go away and the national anthem to come on the TV. Then cartoons!

As a kid, lunch was big. We ate good. German grandmother made sure I was full. Usually I was stuffed with liverwurst slathered in mustard.

Grandma would not understand vegetarians. She always said we needed animal fat to keep our hair shiny and healthy. Hmm...

I could just hear the EMT's commenting on my amazing hair while they hook up the AED to restart my sausage filled heart.

I took a ride in an ambulance once. It was in 1967. I asked if I was going to die. Don't think so kid but if you keep doing stupid shit like that last stunt they will just call for a street sweeper instead. The two jerks laughed as I watched the trees go past. Back then the ambulance was pretty much the same as a hearse only white instead of black.

While I watched the trees and heard the siren wail I also heard the radio. The Rain, The Park and Other Things was playing. All I could think of was I was going to die listening to the fucking Cowsills. It couldn't be the Beatles or the Doors but the fucking Cowsills. I passed out. A Whiter Shade of Pale would have been aprapos.

I'm running around like a dufus trying to get the boat ready and Deb is baking cookies. What the hell!

Deb is like, the motor runs and the sails are on. Settle down squirrel.

I have a few things to do and hopefully it will not result in finding more shit to work on but it looks like we will be heading north soon. Quite a switch from the last year and a half. Thanks for staying with me for the odd post from my strange mind. I will have to get back to describing some of my dreams to you guys as Debra should not have all the fun of hearing it all by herself. Bizarre but funny stuff. I was kicking the bookshelf the other night, trying in my dreams to get away from cat paws clawing at me. The cats were my sisters. WTF does that mean Sigmund?
Anyway...

We may be off the grid for a bit which is a good thing I think. The world is getting very connected and I think we, the humans are not handling it very well. Just like the early days of travel and exploration brought new disease, slavery and destruction; The new communications have exposed us to paranoia, false reality, distrust and manipulation. Humans exploit very well. It's what we do. I never thought I would miss the days of sending post cards and letters.

Good thing we still have blogs to entertain us. OK, maybe it just entertains me but where else can you freely express yourself without getting locked up? Yeah I just jinxed myself.

Enjoy your day and keep your dreams to yourself if you want to maintain friends.

Cheers!
PJJB



posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Good morning

The sun started it's quick rise here in Trinidad and then a light shower rolled through. We did the rain dance and scrambled to close everything and a minute later it stopped. Typical, but we are used to it.

With the last trickle of showers I stepped out on the deck to open the propane tank. I noticed several bees flattened by the rain. Overhead the morning birds that wake us up every day were all chirping and flying around. The bees will recover and fly away. The birds will find a place to hide from the Sun. We will look at our list and find something to work on before we have to hide from the Sun as well.

The air smells of fresh rain and the Sun is reflecting off the pooled water on the solar panels. The tea is ready. Thoughts of what is left to do run through my head. The project list is small and the excitement of getting underway is tickling my nerves. I always forget something no matter how hard I try. I wonder what it will be. I wonder which stall is low on toilet paper.


Cheers!
PJJB

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Ready, set ..

Well good morning! I slept like the dead last night after all the stress and work of yesterday. I was even too tired to have a beer. I know, right?

The place has a different look about it now that we are ready to go. I just felt like we were running into too many boat projects and bleeding money in the boat yard and it was always on my mind. I just thank the stars that Trini has such skilled and reasonably priced labor. If we did all this elsewhere I would be back to work stocking shelves or playing the guitar on the streets for money. Of course I only know one song. "Could you play Teach your Children?" Sure. I would then proceed to play Wild Thing by the Troggs. "I want to hear Stuck in the Middle with you by Steelers Wheel" OK ...Wild thing. You make my heart sing...
Eventually people would find it a novelty and give me money just to laugh and hear Wild Thing in place of every request. Before long I would be good enough to start their actual song request as they were walking away but then when they turn around to listen I would go back to Wild Thing. This would work well until people went home and could not stop hearing Wild Thing in their heads which would eventually lead to someone beating the crap out of me. Hopefully not too severe a pounding so that I can go back to stocking shelves.

If this weather window holds we are going to launch next week and go north. I am not a fan of just launching and going big distances but the harbor in Chaguaramas is noisy, busy and crowded. Not somewhere I want to float around for very long.

Cheers!
Pj




Wild thing, you make my heart sing
You make everything groovy, wild thing
Wild thing, I think I love you
But I wanna know for sure
Come on and hold me tight
I love you
Wild thing, you make my heart sing
You make everything groovy, wild thing
Wild thing, I think you move me
But I wanna know for sure
Come on and hold me tight
You move me
Wild thing, you make my heart sing
You make everything groovy, wild thing
Wild thing, you make my heart sing
You make everything groovy, wild thing
Wild thing, you make my heart sing
You make everything groovy, wild thing
posted from Bloggeroid