Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Boxing Day!

Boxing Day, 26 December, is a day celebrated by half the world. The British, warm loving folks were they, gave the hired help the day after Christmas off, and "boxed" up the leftovers from the Christmas celebrations and gave them to the hired folks as thanks.

Sometimes, I'm sure that the "box" was probably over filled with goodies and other necessities that made the holiday a little more special for those less privileged.

Having lived in the UK for four years, I cannot describe how the Brit's go completely crazy for Christmas. Forget getting a restaurant for dinner. Every food and beverage purveyor has a private function going, and you ain't welcome!

Very frustrating.

The following is an example of the bacchanalia of a typical UK Christmas party. The faces have been altered to protect the guilty.

Temps for today: High of 78 and lows of 59.

There shall be boating.

See some of you on the St Johns River!

Some pictures from eleven years ago in London. Times flies fast. Enjoy your time now!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A little boating story

Anyone ever see "Weird Science"? Two nerdy kids with no chance at chicks, become empowered by Kelli Le Brock.

The scene I have in mind is these two geeks are in a Chicago Blues club, and the dark haired kid starts into a story about an eighth grade girl with large...

Sorry, I digress. I will take on the persona of "Wyatt", from previously mentioned film. (I blame River City Vibe for continuing with the Weird Science theme)

Fats, man. Lemme tell you my story, man. Last year, I was insane for this crazy little sailboat...

The dream I had for sailing started in a not-so-normal way. I was working as a Naval Reserve Recruiter at NAS West Coast, California. A newly signed up applicant told of his new hobby, sailing. He said the Navy had boats for rent and that anyone on Active Duty could rent one of these boats. Just do a short course, get checked out and voila, sail the ocean’s blue, on a 35 foot Navy rental sailboat.

Naturally, I didn’t get a chance to take those lessons. But 1986 saw me begin my earliest dreams of the ocean, especially not with any “haze gray” blocking my view. It just so happened that I enjoyed the Buffett music that had a continuous message of getting away from it all. Then add to that a sense of real dislike of what I was and what I had been doing up to that moment. I knew that I could be doing something else.

The problem was getting started.

After all, only rich people sail, right? (I'm gonna give Joe Bones a call and borrow some money.)

1989 saw me move to Jax Beach, Florida, I lived in a little apartment on A1A. I loved Buffet's album by the same name; So I had to live There. One day, I saw an ad on the squadron bulletin board that read, “16 Foot Hobie Cat, easy to sail, even easier to own; $750 bucks”.

I just happened to have just that much cash on hand, and rather than waste this lucre on a couple of visits to the local taverns, I thought, "Hey, I could actually start off on the sailing dream."

So I called my new girlfriend, the prospective 'She Who Will Be Obeyed', and told her that I was buying a boat. We were going to start down the pathway to ocean cruising by starting out with a small beach boat. Also, I had someone who was willing to teach me how to get this Hobie moving.

She was enthusiastic and mentioned that she enjoyed sailing, too. Did I mention that she just liked me, didn't matter if I was accomplishing a thing.

A squadron mate acquired a Prindle 16 at the same time and naturally, (the way we bragged) we became the real “sailors” in our helicopter squadron. Anytime there was a beach gathering, we were there with our catamarans. Two beer goggled buffoon’s careening in such close proximity, it’s a wonder we didn’t get hurt.

Back at it!

Did the daily walk. It was cold, but not horrible. I like that no one is out and about early. Just a couple of cats and maybe one car. We try to walk a couple miles a morning to counteract the dreadful toll our lifestyle exacts from our physiques.

We will have some warmer weather over the next couple days. I enjoy warm Christmas days because that is the deal you expect in Florida.

////Redacted//// continues with his fanatic fascination with other women. Joe Bones has better pictures than mine, but in my defense I have more boats than he.

More later...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Morose Monday

It had to happen. As sure as the weather was grand we knew that the weekend would come to a close.

Stayed on the Barco Saturday and Sunday nights. It's just like having a million dollar condo on the water, plenty comfortable, so why not?

Punch line approaching.....

We get up at the crack of six, put the cat into the bag and pack up the clothes, let's make our way to the car to go home.

But the gate is locked. So is the other gate. It's freakin' cold, the wind is tearing heat away from our faces and the gate is locked!

The Spousal Unit wears a brace to immobilize her left ankle, and the right ankle ain't really there, either. So no hopping the chain link fence.

Our previously cheerful attitude is turning to a darker shade of pissed. Fortunately, She who will be obeyed has a solution; Go walk around the tennis courts and see if there is a walkway.

Yeah, right. It's dark out and cold, but instead of hopping around mad, go find a way out.

Sure enough, she's right. We walked around the tennis courts and found our carriage and headed home.

I regret that bottle of red after the bottle of bubbly. Last night.

View Larger Map

Page two.

Saturday found us moving the Barco to its new digs.

The new place is very private and the boat is safely tucked into a cove off of the St Johns river.

I think we will fit in nicely with the other boats and look forward to a great new year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Drawn Cutlass Blog had a great Dolphin story

You can see the link in comments.


Back in July of '92, I was the senior aircrewman onboard DD-989, and we were down in the Caribbean doing the Counter Drug Ops thing. This consisted of flying around, doing a radar and visual search for the drug runners.

One fine day, and I do mean FINE! We zoomed around and came upon scraggly assed fishing trawler. It had rust and stains all over and looked barely able to continue its mission. It was flying a dishrag looking Venezuelan flag and was chugging along. we did a lookover and called the skipper, did the list of questions and established the bona fides.

As we started to fly away, the pilot in command loudly said, "Wooooahhh. F*^%$!"

We looked down and saw the biggest effing hammerhead, lolling along about a hundred yards off of the fishing boat! I mean about 30 foot, if he was a day!!!!

Kinda gives one chills... especially since we could fly into the water at any minute!

I tossed a mark 25 smoke on the position to let everyone know that something was there. No doubt the Venezuelans would like to know about this creature.

That's when that shark starts nosing the smoke and looking like he was establishing if that shiny piece of flaming aluminum was food!

Pilot: "If that shark bites that smoke, he'll never go back to Mexicans..."

P.S. That was the only shark I ever saw in person.

Furry Fabulous Fridays

Sorry, I slurred.

Friday is usually the favorite day of any week. It is usually the day where our thoughts leave the confines of seriousness and work and we look towards the possibilities of the weekend.

Take a look at this site; Deleted Name is a sorta drinking buddy ///Link deleted///But he never takes my calls. Calling Joe is an exercise in futility rewarded maybe three times annually. Usually he calls me out of the blue, wanting me to come over and sample some swill he might have available, always at some time that is only convenient to him. He makes his own beer. Quite drinkable. Good thing She Who Will Be Obeyed is my all- the- time- drinking buddy. Otherwise, I'd die of lonliness/thirst. But great fun when we all get together.
I will insert a gratuitous pic of Intracoastal wildlife:

Not this... I stole this from another site. Wish I could give them the credit.

Pod of Dolphins. Check.

Murder of Crows. Check.

Sinister of Siamese?

This! Total aquatic fun.

As one wends their way on the Floridian waterways, this can be a common sight. Dolphins love bow waves.

We had a pod of dolphins follow us all the up the Florida coast, from West Palm to Daytona.

They will make a clicking sound to get your attention, then start showing off.

Today, temperatures are back in upper 70's, again.

There will be boating. Either on the dock, tonight or early tomorrow. Need to pick up some beer and wine.
One does not boat without libations. Does one?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thirsty Thursdays


These pics are some of Biscayne Bay. Stiltsville is a great place to visit.

Title explanation: Just thought I would use that worn out night club slogan. Like "Drinkin' with Linkin

Not really good for you, and those fading memories of crappy night clubs gone by make me grateful for the present.

Today's temps should reach upper 70's. This is why I live here and not some other nice places. South Florida is grand, but winter turns the joint into New York/Boston. With warmer weather.

Nothing like a crush of mass-holes driving their Mercury Marquis/Buicks/Cadillacs at the break neck speed approaching 25 knots, doing a Jersey slide from the left lane to make that right turn they've been dreaming of.

Boating in Biscayne Bay has to be an experience best done, personally.


Beautiful azure water, warmly oozin over breathtakingly white sands. Lobster and other creatures frolicking in the six foot crystal clear water, while huge fish of unknown pedigree (I call 'em poo-pike) lazily traverse past your anchored boat.

It's really nice. Right up to when those folks I described driving a couple paragraphs past, whiz past you in your anchorage going the speed of heat, waking the daylights out of your boat.

I have an intracoastal waterway chart book, and it is a wonderful tool for exploring your bays and waters of Florida. They even include valuable Lat/Long waypoints with magnetic courses printed on the blue parts. As we headed to Elliott Key one day, I was wondering why we were getting run over about every four minutes. I quickly realized that they were using the same book, and instead of actually driving manually, these safe boaters had punched in the waypouints on their computers and set the autohelms to acquire these waypoints, most ricky-tick!

Wouldn't be so bad, since I looked like the big dummy, having not read the memo. So I started setting my courses and waypoints about three hundred yards to the port. There. Showed. Them!

Photo on the bottom of the page is me setting waypoints, off of Miami.

I'm thinking that a trip somewhere, this weekend, may be the plan. With temps over 70 degrees, I am obligated to go out and see the sea.

Up in North Florida, we have beautiful rivers and not so clear waters. So all the nice folks from the north tend to pass us by on their way to reliably warmer climes.

In fact, the St Johns river has so much effect on local water clarity, we don't see the bottom of the ocean until you get south of St Augustine!

Good deal for me.

I spoke of the crowds in South Florida. Up here, we have a huge river (bigger than Biscayne!) and maybe six boats on it at any given moment. I'm not counting bass boats and small fishers.

I can anchor in a cove (Colee Cove is my favorite!) and we will reliably be the only boat.
See the sunset picture above.
I gotta figure out how to place pix where I want...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

'Splainin the site

Barco Sin Vela is South Florida Spanish: Boat without sail.

We were huge fans of sailing, for about 15 years. Even got to be known as sailing folks when we were onboard Wildebeest III.

2004 found us living in Fort Lauderdale. The place we lived was five miles up the Intracoastal from the ocean, but we may as well have been three hours away.

A trawler (read slow power boat) is a bridge between sailing and stink pots. I like to go as fast as the next person, but I can't afford to pay 50 plus gallons per hour to do it. Most sailors get old and move to Trawlers. We did it because of some health issues, but mainly because we could get to the ocean in about 30 minutes, without waiting for bridges to open.

Barco Sin Vela was a Marine Trader Sundeck 40. It was destroyed last August in TS Fay. I will cover that story another time.

Barco Sin Vela II is a Nova 40. Similar to the Marine Trader, but some different features.

Previously, there were a few sail boats I will cover at other times.

The Wildebeest III can be seen on the left corner. That picture was taken in Portugal.

Already 17 December...

Sea Story Time:

There I was;

I am remembering a visit to Rum Key Bahamas, back in May 2000. Warm breezes and a great couple of days.

We were on a six day sail from Roosey Roads, Puerto Rico. Intended to stop in Matthewtown, Great Inagua, but it didn't work out. Made the turn north and headed to the nearest fuel and water.

Thing was, we did not have an operating bilge pump and out trusty Perkins 4108 diesel was pissing oil. I was tired and not thinking as methodically as I might. I put a plastic bag around the offending leak point and kept rebuilding the bilge pump. Morning came and we saw the island in the distance.

I turned up the volume on the vhf and heard the following:

"Rum Cay (pronounced 'key') marina this is Sailing vessel *****"

"This is Rum Cay, come back"

"Rum Cay, we need to come in and get a dock for the night and refuel"

"Sailing vessel ****, wait. We have a VIP inbound from the air strip and it will be awhile before we can have you at the fuel dock"

That sounded reasonable to me. But there was more. Wait for the snickers...

"Rum Cay, we have been sailing all night! We are tired and can't wait. We need to come in!"

At this point, Lynne and I are in stitches. "... sailing all night!!!"

Oh. The humanity!

"Sailing vessel ****, understood. You have to wait until the dock is free. Stand by on this channel and we will get back to you. Rum Cay standing by...."

Wow. After that little exchange, with both voices sounding a little miffed, I wisely decided to wait until we were within a mile, or two of the harbor. Naturally, we are having a hearty laugh about those poor souls who have sailed all night. After the six days we spent underway, we were feeling a little shagged!

I watched a pickup truck advance from what looked like the far end of the island and a group of passengers embark on a 60 ft sport fisher. The radio comes alive, right after the sporty gets underway.

"Sailing Vessel ****, Rum Cay. We are ready for you to make your approach."

Petulantly, the reply comes back;

"Rum Cay, don't bother. We are anchored."


This is when your story teller picks up the mike, and arrogantly jumps in; Imagine a perfectly modulated radio voice....

"Rum Cay, Rum Cay.... Sailing Vessel Wildebeest 3, with you from the South. Request fuel stop and if you can, a dock, at your convenience... over"

Spousal Unit was howling...!

"Wildebeest, this is Rum Cay. We seemed to have lost contact with the other boat... we are ready to take you both immediately."

This is when the other boat comes back again, with the repeat of their last. Oh, much loud laughter was had on our boat!

We then proceeded to follow explicitly, all turn instructions from the dockmaster. It was like making a instrument landing approach. The water was so shallow, with coral heads on each side, we wended our way through the shoals to the dock.

We arrived without hitting anything (see post below, on that issue...) and began refueling and rewatering. The dock master was less than enthused about the other boat. In fact, he said that he planned on having a little chat with them about their manners...

Turns out that the VIP in question was a famous NASCAR driver. The Dockmaster asked if we were interested in meeting him. I said I recognized the name, but no. We did not want to bother this person who was obviously there for the fishing. The dockmaster gave me a weird look. I reiterated that this Dale guy had no idea who we were and probably would prefer his privacy.

So we get invited to the big barbecue scheduled for that evening. I was standing around the pit with some huge fellows who pronounced 'out' like 'oat'. They were NHL players. I have no idea who they were, but it was a great evening with boating and fishing being the topic of conversation. But we did ask if Mark Messier would be kind enough to sign our chart of Rum Cay for the niece and nephews. Nice fellow and all the players were very much a pleasure to dine with. Even if I have no idea who they were!

Back to the pump and oil issue. I tightened up some fittings on the engine and slowed the oil leak. This would need a new part and we would not be able to acquire said part at Rum Cay. The bilge pump was shot. I am not keen on sailing 600 miles with out a way to dewater the boat. But, since I was well rested... a couple of ideas emerged.

How many pumps are on a regular boat?

At least four. 1. Bilge (Inop.) 2. Icebox drain pump 3. Engine coolant pick up pump (This one will dewater an entire boat in moments! Disconnect the inlet hose from the seacock and let it suck the bilge dry! Only do this in great emergency, though. It will foul by picking up the detritus which will break the impeller) Finally 4. Shower bilge pump.

What? A shower bilge pump? Why yes. Cut a section of garden hose, place the hose on the barb and dangle a bit into the bilge and Presto! New manual bilge pump. Got us home.

End Sea Story mode.

Below are a couple of photos. As Jimmy once sang, ..."I used to rule my world, from a pay phone..."
Wildebeest is the small looking sailboat. It was 43 feet long.

Time flies when one is having fun!

Back to current events:

Had the VHF radios replaced. Got those new ones that connect to the GPS and allow the authorities to know where one is when one hits the distress button. If I were paranoid, I would imagine that the radio sends out a digital signal identifying where the Barco may happen to be, at any particular moment.

Good info to have handy, if a barco was carrying a load of fertilizer and diesel. Got plenty of diesel. Prolly have plenty of fertilizer, if you count the bull excrement spewing forth from the Captain. I'm just not feeling very explosive today.

Our boat maintenance staff have also brought Barco to the 1990's with the replacement of the tape deck with a CD player. Fortunately, there is a little auxiliary connector for a Ipod, or whatever. The skipper and crew haven't arrived in the noughts, either.

T-minus a week before x-mas. Peking Duck and bubbly are scheduled for dinner. Bring a bottle and come on by.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Post 2 The hope to place photos and commentary

We left the new reader with images. This one concerns "She who will be obeyed". She is driving the old Barco Southward, on the Intracoastal. Above, is a pic with us and friends on the St Johns River, by the Naval Air Station.
The newer Barco is a different boat compared to the older model. This one is professionally maintained. That is new-speak for "Itsacostinusbux".
I guess we are like those folks who enjoy Recreational Vehicles. But this one goes about ten knots. Downhill.
Barco II has been on the river three times, since we acquired her. Handles nicely and has heating. Very important in Florida when one is boating in winter.

First Post

First post on the journal to the world, Barco Sin Vela. Like any of you really gives a rat's flatulance!

I wish I knew how to add in some video, I would use the opening sequence from "Stingray", some goofy grey haired puppet says, "Stand byyyy, for action!" Then the bongos start bongo'ing and you see an antenna blow up and some sort of Freudian thing comes out of the ground. We will try this:

Thrilling. To an eight year old.


Not so much.

I will try to keep the cussing down. Mostly I will rant endlessly about the things I find interesting.




The Navy.

The Men's department of the Navy: Marine Corps. (Yes, I was in for a short time. 15 Dec 1978 to 21 May 1979, Active duty for training for the Marine Corps Reserve. I graduated from Platoon 3001, 3rd Bn RTR San Diego, 92140 on 04 Apr 1979. As soon as I was released to the reserves? Voom! Like a rat out of the aquaduct to the Navy. Some may consider me a traitor. Sorry.

The Navy has airconditioning. Plus, more openings for Naval Aircrew positions.

Served on Frigates and Destroyers as HS and HSL aircrewman. Includes a few years doing a couple weeks at a time onboard HMCS Provider, AOR 508. Best times ever were with the Canadian Navy! After 20 years of mostly undetected crime, they paid me to leave.

This brings us to Boats.

Began sailing in 1990 with a Hobie Cat. Ended in May 1991 with me wrecking into the Mayport Jetty. In front of people.

Feb 1992, restarted the boating thing with a Sovereign 7 Meter monohull after returning from Med 3-91. First time out we plowed into a bridge. But I got better!


Spousal Unit and I sail our San Juan 28. (Which is loosely for sale, 6K).

We also have Barco Sin Vela II, a Nova Heritage 40 trawler. We haven't hit anything, yet.