Thursday, May 28, 2009


Wednesday evening was a time of R&R. Went over new camera possibilities, had dinner and set the underwater watch in the Spa Device. We returned to the living room because the champagne was gone and the water was cool. After all, the Red Wings were playing the Blackhawks for the Western Division finals.

That was an interesting game. The Boss is a happy one, Her Red Wings prevailed on an over time goal. So we turned the tivo to the George Strait concert and stayed up until 2330.

I can't be staying up on school nights!

We found the wayward camera hiding behind two jackets that were carelessly hung over the back of a chair. Totally my bad. I need to keep better track of my gear! I am so relieved to have not lost the camera permanently. Plus, I saved over 700 bucks that I was going to spend on the replacement!

Today, Roger and Janice of "Beaujolais" will be arriving by air from Panama, spend a weekend with us and continue on to the UK. From the UK they will go to Australia.

I have a keg of Sierra Nevada standing by for action. no doubt, there will be tasty Thai food and great libations to keep our weekend hoppin'!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Tuesday turned out to be nice weather wise, but a bummer.

The Spousal Unit and I had to go to a funeral for a family friend (Her Family in Michigan) who had passed away suddenly last week.

Tim Hogan was a fine fellow who I had met only once or twice, but many years ago. I was really sorry to hear he had passed at a very young age, with so much more to do. His funeral was a fine Catholic one, and his family had a fine home gathering after the service. It was very impressive how dignified his fine Lady, Kathy, was holding up on a tough occasion. Another thing I was very impressed by was how the family was holding together despite another loss just five weeks ago. Nothing but smiles at the reception afterwards, and a large crowd to equal the fine personality now gone.

We returned to Jacksonville yesterday evening and had a quiet pizza to close out the day.

The camera remains missing in action, so I think I will have to buy a new one this weekend. Until then the photo situation will be sparse. Perhaps a scanner and new computer will be acquired, since I am girding my loins to return to the running tale of real sailing! There are charts and memorabilia that need to be uploaded, so that an arduous and legendary journey can be properly remembered and coherently told.

I left the Wildebeest III in the Hamble River, departing for my first English Channel passage to London. Much seasickness, heavy seas and strong winds from the South and a rocky shore to the North are the leavening for a large tale! A place called the Goodwin Sands will also figure in to a rollicking story...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Feels like a Monday, Tuesday.

These weekends never seem to last as long as you would like, unless you have something go really wrong. Fortunately for us, nothing bad happened. No runs, no hits and no errors. Three up and down.

I was cruising the Ace of Spades, and clicked on a link to KOMO TV News, Seattle. They have some wonderful photos of the Hubble Repair Mission.

Stolen from KOMO News

How cool is that?

One thing I did mess up, I seem to have misplaced my camera. I hope I didn't get it ripped off, or lose it doing something stupid. If someone finds it, they will see some really goofy pictures and a bunch of very cool photos of the last couple of vacations.

You know, the same pictures you see on this blog!

I think I left it at the office. Otherwise, I had better get hot in replacing it. So far, I am not in hot water.

The weather returned to Florida's normal; steamy hot with a late evening thunderstorm to cool things down. I can deal with that. This morning's walk was performed with a weird looking backdrop of a blue sky. Weird, because I could see stars.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A fine Memorial Day to all

The rain has let up, and despite it being a little cloudy, it is turning out to be a nice Memorial Day.

I'm not going to get mushy/phony and misty. I am very proud to be an American, and I am glad to have had the opportunity to serve my 20 years and 10 months. There are a few that I knew who didn't get to enjoy the retirement or even get to be around their loved ones on a fine day like this.

We can all just reflect for a moment before digging in to the family barbecue. Just a moment, because those who aren't here anymore will want you to go right ahead and enjoy all the fruits and benefits of being an American. After all, they paid for it.

We took "Le Petite Bateau" for a spin, yesterday.

What a goat rope! We got the boat to the ramp at the Yacht Club, and the motor would not start, while six other members were waiting for me to get out of the way so they could get their boats in the water!


Another feller came over and started the motor, while I was parking the truck. Then I learn that reverse is inop. So I have to get help turning the boat around so we could clear the dock.

Naturally, my ears are turning red as I slowly motor to our dock. I looked like a complete moron who had never operated a boat before. This is happening more and more.

We grabbed a cooler with ice and cokes and (yes, Cokes!) and got underway for the Naval Air Station. I figured that we might need fuel and they have a nice fueling dock there.

The 65 hp Mercury was purring, and we were scooting along nicely. I was waiting for something to go wrong, every minute along the way. The Bateau was bumping along and the motor was going at 3500 RPM.

We had never gone this fast on a boat that we owned!

We arrived at the "F" dock at NAS when we ran out of gas. Yes, we ran out of fracking fuel! Somehow, I managed to get over to the dock where we tied up.

I transferred the fuel line to the ready spare and got the motor running again. We tried to go to the fuel pier, but there were two other boats already there, taking their sweet time of it.

I forgot to mention, a huge thunder cell was rapidly approaching from the east, and you could not see through the rain squall. Time to buster back to home plate.

We actually outran the storm, with nary a burp from the Mercury. We got back to the yacht club in time to enjoy the storm assisted swells. The boat was banging up against the dock, so I decided to get the trailer and stow the bateau.

Not so fast...

It took us about twenty minutes to get the boat on the trailer, we could barely keep control as the waves pushed the little boat to and fro while we vainly tried to get her on the trailer rollers and secure the boat! A kid asked if we needed help... No, thanks.

Finally, I got the boat pulled up to the stops and I got her home. I replaced the cover and rinsed out the motor with fresh water and pushed her into the back yard.

Then the sun comes out.

I took a long cooling shower and picked up Mom for a dinner out at the Yacht Club. We arrive at the club at six pm, thinking it will be a nice little dinner and some drinks... Only the Dining Room was closed.

Just not my day.

So we quickly devised plan "B", which consisted of the "Okinawa" restaurant over by Publix.. They were indeed, open. We dined on filet mignon served up by one of those performance artist fry cooks.

So endeth our Sunday.

We returned to the Barco for a nightcap and an early taps.

Have a great Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I think we should start considering an Ark

The rain has been so constant, I am getting sick up, and fed with being wet. We got the runabout (Buck says that it should be "Le Petit Bateau" because it is male) but the Boss Unit says that all boats are female. She wants an "e" in Petite, so she gets one.

See what I mean about the rain?

I bought a new cover because we had about two inches of water in the boat in just a half hour.

We can't wait until next weekend, because we will be in a monsoon for at least another three days.

Stay dry!

Friday, May 22, 2009

We will be receiving our runabout, Saturday.

Deal has been accepted and the boat will be delivered to home base, tomorrow. The new moniker for said vessel shall be; "Petite Bateau". Not sure if a "La" or "Le" should precede the name, I will trust one of my readers who speaks Frainglish to clue me in on proper naming of small boats.

Got that out of the way, so now it will be to make that boat proper and right. I will be getting a new windshield to replace the plexiglas monstrosity that obscures forward vision. A new paint job will be ordered when the timing is correct. I will use Holland Marine for hull painting, the Tommy is an artist with Awlgrip! (Plus; He is a customer of mine...) Before any of this happens, there will have to be the addition of a hitch and wire harness to keep me legal on the roads.

I hope I am making a good decision on this purchase, but it won't be the dumbest thing I have ever purchased. Not by a long shot.

Dumbest acquisitions by Yours Truly;
Year Dumb Move
1981 1969 Rambler Wagon; I got this for my Mom. Junk. It was gone in a couple of weeks. Mom didn't get a car to drive for almost a year. My bad. It looked just like the picture!

1985 1979 MGB; Had I just told my Father what I was up to, I wouldn't have been overcharged for a piece of junk. This car took three years to work right. Never buy English again. Mine looked almost this nice

1990 My First Home in Jacksonville FL; I assumed another fellow's mortgage, he said it was a good deal. Not.

2004 1988 Marine Trader Sun Deck 40; My broker said it was a good deal. Go ahead and buy now, we can get your sail boat sold in no time! Truth; We had to pay dockage and insurance for two boats for about six months. And we paid about 40K too much. Worst thing I have ever gotten tangled up in! But it was fun. Was being the operative term.

2007 1978 San Juan 28 Sailboat; The broker said it was a 1981. I wound up over paying and not really liking this boat. Not as tragic as the previous dumb move.

So as anyone can see, I screw up on a regular basis. It is so nice that the Spousal Unit doesn't hold grudges!

I feel better...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

This weather is double plus crazy

Finally stopped raining at 1000, the clouds seem to be brightening and letting more sun light through. But I know it's a trick that the weather is playing on us, after 20 inches has fallen in the last three days.

I went over to KGB FM in San Diego and went to their photo galleries and selected "WTF" Photo's.

Photo stolen from KGB FM, San Diego.

I would call the previous; "Focused" Because that person is totally focused on the job at hand.

Gotta be photoshopped.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Up Status

The Barco is UP!

Got a message that all systems are 4.0 and that a test run of the generator was made for one hour with no leaks noted.


The rain has stopped for the moment, also.

I drove to St Mary's, Georgia, endured very bad conditions and looked at a 1968 MFG

Has a decent motor, 65hp Mercury, nice trailer and seems like it is in good shape. I hope things work out, but it would need a new paint job and windshield in the near future. Just to make it look like new. One must keep up appearances, mustn't one.

I made an offer, but it was less than the Gent was wanting, so he asked to have a day or so to consider.

Fine. No rush, I don't even have a tow hitch on the GMC.

Check out this ad:

Too bad we can't get hot babes with these boats. The advertisements always make it look like it is very glamorous to own their boats. (I know... the models depicted as attractive and fun loving are all grand mothers and not so fun looking nowadays.)

Leave us the dream of boating with hot babes, ok?

I see those old boating advertisements and it makes me wish to have been there to see it all for my self. One way to bring one's self to reality is to consider this little detail; In 1968 they did not keep good statistics for boating fatalities. I would presume at least double our rate of 670. In fact, in 1970, there were about 1418 boating fatalities. Probably more, but unreported.

What I am trying to say is that cigarette smoking guys, carelessly refueling their gasoline powered boats while hammered out of their gourds on Kessler, were probably running a higher body count than the government even considered.

I won't even go into the over 52K who passed in automobile accidents.

Ok, another digression. Sorry.

The great news is that boating is safer than ever, despite the fact that there are at least three times the boats registered today, vice back in the fabulous 60's.

I still want to be boating in those happy times, back when killing Communists was not only legal, but encouraged.

Ahh, something else I failed to consider; Today's motors are fuel injected, run cleaner and are safer. They also tend to get the boating enthusiast's to their destinations and back home again.

I'm going to get me an old boat and go away and have fun with my fantasies.

The weather is gettin' nutz

I am not accomplishing a thing. The rain has shut evertything down and it is getting down right chilly.

My call to the Nickster has been unreturned, so I think the upcoming trip on Thursday evening is growing more and more as a no go.


Plenty to do locally, and I do have two boats to look over and consider for purchase.

After the rain stops.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Suddenly the skies open up

What a difference a weather system can bring. We are in a small monsoon, the temps have dropped to 58 degrees this morning and we have had two or three inches of rain. Very refreshing, after the heat of the last couple of weeks.

Here is a few pix (all by Curt, of St Mary's GA) of a boat I would like to look at in the next day or so;

This could be the right boat for us, small and interesting, can carry two couples to shore and back.

Does anyone know anything about changing out a steering hub? Apparently it is frozen, which I would expect from a vessel a year older than myself. The Boss is excited about this boat, compared with some of the others I have been looking at. Something about boats (and Cars!) that came out in the 60's that seem exciting. Their designs seem to express a positive hope of a future with new, better and bigger things. Forget the stodginess and practicalities of the forties, this is the Sixties! "Here at home we'll play in the city
Powered by the sun Perfect weather for a streamlined world
There'll be spandex jackets one for everyone!"

Ok, I stole that last line from a Donald Fagen Song, "I.G.Y"

But there is something comforting about cars, boats and home designs from the Sixties that is comfortable and timeless. These are great examples of early 60's designs of great cars:

I bet everyone remembers the "modern" doors that graced our tract homes. They were half wood with an "X" on the bottom half with little diamond windows on the upper half.

All this on a boating blog!

I am hoping to hear from the Nickster later on, telling us that the generator is a productive happy generator and that we are free to go boating this weekend. Weather willing.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Still no progress made this weekend

My Ebay bids have been rejected and the St Augustine boat dealer I had spoken with decided not to open his doors this weekend.

His Daughter is having her first Communion.

I like when a person puts his family first, over business. But I don't remember my first Communion taking up an entire weekend.


Did some housekeeping on the boat, got called to a surprise birthday party for a friend, which was held in a local tavern. We were glad to show some support to our friend, you only turn 40 once, right?

Arrived at the karaoke bar, (ohhhh, I dread bad singing. This includes me, which is why I don't get up there).

The first fellow up there, takes the mike and gives a little speech;

"I'd like to take a moment and thank all of "Rascals" Two weeks ago, we had to bury my first grandchild. Our fifteen year old daughter had gotten pregnant, and her son was born with Anencephaly, was born at 7:21 am and passed away at 4:30 pm.

"I watched my daughter suffer as her child was dying. "The good people of "Rascals" had a dart tournament and we raised enough money to have a proper burial of my grandson, thanks, from the bottom of my heart."

How the h e double toothpicks did I get involved in this kind of evening?

This was a definite buzz-kill situation.

So, we did our best to have a good time, but could only stay about two hours, because the cigarette smoke was burning our eyes.

Our friend, John, was doing ok. He had three girls who were there with him, literally on a date. Happy 40th, John!

We went home and I watched the NASCAR All Star Race, while the Spousal Unit went off to bed. Big evening, indeed.

I'm still bummed.

Hope all of you had a fine weekend!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Keep on Keeping on

Work has come to a stop on the barco. We are now in an "AWP" status, (Awaiting Parts) so we will stand by to stand by. I hope we don't go into SPINTAC, as we got travelin' to do in the next week. (Can anyone remember what SPINTAC is? Five extra points if you do!)

Nick has cleaned up the work area so that we can use the Barco as a crash pad after dinner tonight. We just won't be getting underway anytime soon. I would rather everything be in a stopped motion state. Nick says he doesn't care for Kohler generators, but there is no way I can get a new generator, anytime soon.

I have been looking at runabouts and center console motorboats. I would like to get a 15 to 18 footer that looks and runs nicely. Our intent is to use it as a water taxi between the base and Pirates cove. Also, I would like to have something that can be transported easily that fits in tiny creeks and tributaries off of the St Johns.

Good value is the real desire, especially if it is under 4500 bucks.

Both of these boats are a little more than 4500 bucks, but value is good.

Let me know if anyone knows of some stupendous boat deals!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Go visit Beaujolais

Beaujolais, Is a CSY44 that used to be based in Jacksonville.

Our friends, Roger and Janice, are taking the long route to their new home in Australia. We met Roger in Calais France, back in 1996, while we were on a Little Ship Club Rally.

I stole this picture from the Beaujolais site.

Roger stopped by to visit in January, I gave him a t-shirt from my private collection, since he had no t-shirt for relaxing in the Florida sun. Great to see the Pabst colors in Panama!

Everybody gets to have fun but me...

Got a long phone call from Nick, last night. Seems that the water pump on the generator is not happy and it needs replacing.

"You really f*&^d that generator up, Boss".

"I checked for water flow, every time I ran it." I lamely replied.

"That f*^&ing thing grenaded, and all the water is spraying around."

"Well, get another part and make it better." I said.

You get the picture. These boats get awfully frustrating to those of us who write the checks and those who are fixing, especially when those who fix are trying to do a good job of keeping costs down.

I asked Nick to add in gauges so that I can really monitor temps and oil pressures, this way we don't replicate the situation.

Nick assured me we will still make our trip.

At least we are not in Panama!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Maintenance Reports

Received a maintenance update from our clever mechanic, Nick. He said that it was not a filter issue, but a "Impeller Issue".

Nick said that no water was making into the generator for cooling. My reply was that I checked for water flow (I did...) and saw water coming out of the exhaust.

This is why I am in insurance, and not a mechanic! The Nickster is running probes around the innards of the cooling system, looking for rubber impeller blades. The other issue with the sanitation system has been isolated and a pump replacement is in progress.

We pay for professional maintenance so that things work. Whenever I do these small repairs, it means taking three trips to various parts places untill all gaskets, fasteners and special tools are acquired, usually with the job hanging there half completed.

Really fun when the parts store clerk speaks only French or Spanish. I have had these problems before, in far away places, where I didn't have a car to get around.

Thanks, Nick!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The weather is here... Then it is not!

This past week has been very warm, and I was starting to think Summer was going to be early, until today. It is cloudy and cool, probably about 70 degrees and it seems to threaten rain.

After roasting at 97 degrees yesterday, it is a welcome break, let it rain!

Nick, our boat mechanic, says he will be by to make the Barco right, tomorrow. He is a retired Boatswain's (Pronounced Bosun's) Mate Chief. He is an excellent repair person and tells great sea stories. I think he forgets that I'm a retired Sailor, too. Doesn't matter; he does a great job and is a great value when it comes to billing. I make sure he gets his payment right away since it is tough to get personalized service around boats.

Voice over Talking; "That's the Mark Zeigler Yachts service guarantee..."

Mark has sent many customers to me for insurance, over the last four and a half years, so I thought I would toss a plug out.

Back to our regularly scheduled broadcast...

So it will be a Silver Glen visit on the Memorial Day Weekend.

Silver Glen Springs

View Larger Map

I went to the Florida Adventuring web site and stole that map link and the following picture;

Many people SCUBA dive this park, and this freshwater spring has spectacular caves just eighteen feet below the surface. These caves extend hundreds of feet into the limestone and link directly to the Aquifer. The water in the run between Lake George and the actual Spring is very shallow, too shallow for the Barco to enter the run. We will anchor just outside in the Lake. We might take a dinghy in, and I will try the pure water and hopefully slake my thirst with ancient water from thousands of years ago.

Interestingly, there is a salt water spring about six miles to the North. The water in that spring is ocean water that was trapped by the development of Florida, many thousands of years ago. Springs like the Salt Spring are responsible for much of the brackish water unique to the upper St Johns River.

I just can't get enough of this St Johns River system!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday reports

Friday was entirely too much fun. We arrived at the club and Mom was almost immediately behind us. We had a couple of pre-dinner drinks and went to the formal dining room.

The dinner was a hit, and we closed dinner with dessert of cheese and Port. After this, we idiotically went in to the piano bar and sang waaaay off tune and in my case, waaay off lyrics with our piano playing host, Roger.

I always enjoy adding in my own lyrics, which can have references to Siamese Cats.

Silly that way, I am!

Perhaps I just don't have enough reverence for the printed words, especially after Port.

Saturday began about two hours after it usually does, but we felt much better for the extra forty winks. General clean up and traveling to the local sized hardware store for material to create a sun shade.

We used clamps to hang an opaque cotton screen, which served to drop the temp about ten degrees in the harsh afternoon sun. Spousal Unit suggested I get a grommet tool and use grommets, next time.

I hate it when she is right and clever.

But I can make cheezburgers.

We had a very sedate evening on Barco and called it a night about 2100.

Naturally, my snooze was disturbed at 0430, while I was thinking about the repairs that the generator would need. About then the heads began to malfunction, and would not turn off after being engaged. These are vacuum flushed heads and the pump will run about a minute to ready the system for the next go-round. Only the pump would not shut off. Not until I used the Direct Current breaker panel to secure the pump, that is. That's when I discovered the holding tank was mega full.

Yuck. At 0430.

Since nothing else was to be accomplished, I went back to bed and slept until 0730.

I passed on the useful info to not use the head, so we had to walk up to the Tennis Club to use their facilities. Just like when we lived in London!

After we got back we started the coffee and prepared to depart for Lamb's Marine. There we would get a fill up and pump out the holding tank. This would make it so our maintenance person would not get a unhealthy surprise when he removed the vacuum pump.

This is the Ortega River Bridge. It is a nice little bridge, it opens at least 40 times a day. That is probably how you would see the bridge, if you were trying to get home by car.

Back to the pump out, and the reasons why...
It really is tough to find good mechanical help and one does not want to give them a high pressure anointing, care of the holding tank.

Guess Who? Had to hold the special holding tank attachment firmly onto the deck access hole, while waiting for the vacuum pressure to build and void the tank. I was there for at least ten minutes before I heard a "thunk" sound of the tank letting go of it's frothy badness.

Next time, I will offer the guy a tenner, if he will do the honors. No mess, just unpleasant thoughts.

After that little bit of fun, I went over and filled both starboard and port tanks. We took on 175 gallons, which is how much we have burned over the last couple of weeks going up and down Florida's best waterways. The total cost was $345.00. Not bad, considering this was the cost of some great times and memories.

We departed Lamb's Marine and made way to the Ortega Bridge, requested and received an opening which led us back to the St Johns River. This is the view of downtown:

I left the large images so that you can see the heat moving in. It was about 90 degrees and we were only getting to noon.

A decision was made to see what was going on at the Naval Air Station. No one was at Navy Jax Yacht Club, so we came in for a low pass. First thing we could see was the alleged Rock Hudson boat leaning in the sling, after being salvaged from a spot on the "F" dock, where she sank a month ago.

The Seabees will be making repairs to the Navy marina, we are all looking forward to a comfortable and safe marina to visit. I know I can't wait, I'm even looking to purchase a little runabout motorboat just to run back and forth from Pirate's Cove to the NAS Yacht Club.

Pending final repairs this week, we will be looking to return to Silver Glen Springs for the Memorial Day trip. Apparently, it gets like Mardi Gras, what with a couple of hundred boats and the accompanying warm weather.

Hmmm. But only if we can have airconditioning.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Funtime Friday!

Big day, today. I hope it will be as nice for all of you, too!

After work, we will muster at the Yacht Club for a formal dinner with Mom at 1830. I like to beat the rush and avoid the silliness of Mothers Day Brunch.

Far better to have burned vegetarian flesh, red wine and a dessert of Port and cheese.

I may have said this a few times; What do they call vegan's in the wild?


Ann, from Montana had a comment on the last post, "I kind of like the idea of an uninhabited AND uninhibited Island..."

Me, too.

Here is a great you tube video about that same subject:

Jay Ferguson and his 1977 Pop Hit, "Thunder Island"

This kind of music can inspire one to get out traveling!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thanks for your patience Thursday

We return to the endless tale of a thirty six hour trip by departing the Camachee Harbor Marina.

By 1030, most of the boats that were literally tied to us have departed, I slowly started to remove our own docklines to go. Started the Perkins 200's, fired up the electronics while the Spousal Unit removed extraneous lines.

Only I silently hopped ashore and started pulling off the spring lines. The Barco started to move away from the dock, slowly, with only one stern spring holding her close to the dock. I scampered over to the starboard stern and pushed the boat away, since she was about to grind into the concrete. That is when my little antic was noticed by Her.

"Get aboard, quick, otherwise I'm going to drive..."

I was a steppin' and a fetchin', I handed her the now untied line so that it wouldn't fall into the water and tangle into the props. What a mess I was starting, we were underway, and I was still on the swim platform climbing up the ladder with a will, hoping to gain control before we struck something.


The wheel was a turned, throttles were brought out of idle, and we were back in control.

To the casual observer, we had just executed the perfect and expert looking undocking eveolution. The reality, though, is that we looked as serene as a duck in a river, looking fully in control and all the while there is frantic activity below the waterline.

So naturally, I grab the camera and start snapping pictures, while traversing a ten yard narrow channel.

My Spouse was not amused with my antics.

I looked to the South and snapped this picture of St Augustine Harbor, it was very low tide, so I decided to not go further.

But there was traffic, a 34 foot Catalina sailboat was just ahead. It was called "Fantasea". Really Clever. At least it wasn't named after a Buffett song. Doing that is a sign of a severe lack of clevertude.

I am sure this family was having the best Sunday, ever.

Now, in fairness to all boat owners, the naming of your vessel is intensely personal. I like to make fun other people's choices, especially those names that I rate as unoriginal. Like my comment about Buffett tunes. Darn it, though, Ol' Jimmy stole all the best names, making them unavailable to ME!

Like, "Hemisphere Dancer". Or "Changing Channels" (A great song!), we won't mention the apostasy of "Marga*******"

Over the years and over eight or nine boats, we were unique with our names. I was wanting to name our first boat, "Cygnus X-1", which was turned down without even discussion.

My girl hates any references to some Canadian Rock Band named for fast.

"Wildebeest" was a Sovereign Seven Meter. "Wildebeest II" a Watkins 27. "Wildebeest III, Morgan 43.

Not very original, so I am a hypocrite, but a very lazy and original one.

Back to the ICW!

We passed "Fantasea", at slow speed, asince I didn't want to wake them. Looking to our starboard was two bubba's water skiing.

About that time we got waked by a very fast moving boat. The dreaded Polizei. Local St Augustine Talent;

So early on a Sunday, the police. In a hurry to go somewhere.

We broke out the champagne, which was going to be served mixed with orange juice and we call it a "Buck's Fizz" in the UK, or "Mimosa" which is the local name. I call it refreshing.

As I was enjoying my refreshment, another Gendarme came flying by, this time a County Mounty.

This time, they had someone of interest. Busted.

Prepare for the safety inspection from H E double toothpicks!

We just zoomed on by, at the speed of 5 knots. Nothing to see here.

Those darn flies had come back with a vengeance. I began to obsessively search and swat with my rolled up news paper. The Spouse set the underway suntan watch while I entertained myself with my fly bodycount.

An SH-60B was flying over us, doing pattern work at the St Augustine Airport. Brought back memories, it did!

Out to the right, a very odd sight came into focus; Some young chicks came running out of an uninhibited island, wearing underwear. Naturally, I began shooting photo's, as unobtrusively as possible. The camera saw more than my eyes, and I offer these creepy pictures;

Ahh, to go back to my early twenties, I could have had access to such a cool boat, frolicking on some island somewhere. But still, creepy to see someone's daughter smeared with mud that is loaded with two cycle oil from over the past 100 years of boating on the ICW.

We soon entered into the narrow cut going through Palm Valley and Ponte Vedra. (Note, as I write this, my Lovely Lady is working at her Company's hospitality booth, over at the ninth hole in the Tournament Players Championship PGA course at Ponte Vedra. She is doing the Grip and Grin with clients and the public. I am at my j o b not accomplishing anything but entertaining you)

As we approached the Palm Valley bridge, we saw the place where five unfortunate accident victims lost their lives three weeks ago, when the boat they were traveling on struck a parked barge. Tragic.

Apparently, there were 14 people on a 18 foot boat. Ya gots to be careful, things can really go wrong, especially on a small and quick boat.

I wouldn't mind having 14 people on the Barco, we have twenty life jackets and plenty of room for people to safely roost and mingle, on three decks. We don't even know that many people, personally!

Small and quick; Doth not describe the Barco Sin Vela nor the Captain of said vessel.

We got some great pictures of a dock that was decorated like a River Boat. Very nice!

As we left Ponte Vedra, more boats began to fly by us as they too, were heading home. Just that they can go thirty knots.

We passed by this island, just North of the Atlantic Blvd Bridge, we call it the "Uninhibited Island".

This is an old joke that She and I share; Back when I was at HSL-44, a friend of mine was single, and he happened to be just right (so we thought) for to introduce to a colleague of the Wife. So we invited the two onboard "Wildebeest II", we would go sail to St Augustine via the Ocean. While doing the Northerly course, we passed this island pictured, and my friend, wanting to show that he was cultured and smart blurts the following, "Oh, look; an uninhibited island!"

Silence was deafening and yet loud. The resulting sound was a potential night of romance being stripped away, sadly. Our female guest was an educated young lady who wanted good conversation. The other stuff, maybe later.

No chance for anything to happen, ever.

All I could do was chime in with a cheery, I Hope You Didn't Really Say That, "Yeah, and there's nobody there!"

Look. I can set you up, but I can't close your deal, ok?

So now, every island is uninhibited. It was that funny.

Back on the trip to Hontoon Island, I mentioned that we would go up the St Johns River, maybe find Kurtz.

We did find "Curts", only it is the USS Curts, FFG-38. (I spent years on this type of ship, Fast Frigates)

By now, we picked up speed back to ten knots as we made tracks for home. The last couple hours were uneventful and we were back in our berth in Pirates Cove after a trip of six hours.

This weekend will probably be some maintenance, I will change out a filter before calling a mechanic, on that generator problem.

We have been invited to either Fernandina (Fort George) or down to Silver Glen Springs, off of Lake George on the Memorial Day weekend.

Rigid Flexibility will guide us in our decision.

Thanks for reading and all the nice comments!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Busy Tuesday

My apologies for slacking!

I was going to finish the post below, but my stupid HP photo program would not let me take a block of photos from an email and republish on this blog. I am going to carry out the threat to buy a Mac in the next few weeks. I have really had it with HP and their proprietary BS. Back to yesterday's entry:

Tuesday, 05 May 09

Busy and more busy at the j o b, so I regret not getting on with the St Augustine trip.

We last left the Barco in the Cabbage Swamp area, just passing some anchored sailboats and continuing on to St Augustine...

The bugs were starting up. There are these brown deer flies that are bigger than some bee's, and will land, check out the situation on your skin and then the sharp sting as they commence dining operations.

Only one bite, then they fly off before you turn them into skin spackle. After feeling a couple of the nibbles, I became a lunatic with a newspaper.

We finally came upon this sailboat, stuck in the exact place we had run aground, nine years ago. He was running the engine and you could see the water churning in futility behind the boat.

I called him on the VHF and suggested that they raise sail and let the boat lean over in the wind and then hit the throttle. It had worked for us.

"No, thanks. Appreciate the advice..."

So I told them that the tide was incoming, that they would be on their way in the next hour, or so.

TINS Alert!:

The brave Wildebeest III was heading north on the Intracoastal waterway, The Spousal Unit and myself were feeling mighty froggy, heading up smooth brown waters in the warm May sun of North Florida, not unlike Saturday. We felt sooo safe and soooo confident that we were playing Cribbage and drinking hot coffee, while "Otto" drove us north in the channel. I looked up as I made a left turn and saw that the green marks were on the right side, sort of like these signs:

We drifted to the right and ran firmly aground. What I didn't know was that we would be stuck for about three hours as the power boats passed, I knew they were laughing. We deployed the dinghy, raised full sails and I used the dinghy as a pusher tug, pushing the bow off of the mud until we were in deep water.

Lesson? Pay attention and don't play games in shallow water, even if you have traveled this stretch many times before.

Back to the present;

I called the boat back and wished them luck.

This is the next view, the Vilano Bridge about five miles away!

The Final Stretch!

The last turns on the ICW started getting easier, but there was more traffic to contend with, namely Personal Water Craft. They are like mosquitoes, buzzing around and making noise, jumping our little wake.

Winds were really picking up, about 20 gusting to 25 out of the Southeast, making our ICW decision the best one. I made the radio call to Camachee Cove, letting them know we were fifteen minutes out.

I made the turn to the east into the narrow entry channel, just prior to passing under the Vilano bridge, we made our way to the face dock where two line handler's
assisted our docking. I looked like a real pro!

Two welcome committee types hopped aboard and we shared a Pabst nad chatted about the great trip. Then we checked into the Marina and paid the 97 bucks for the night.

The engine compartment was opened and I attempted to figure out the Generator malfunction. It would start, run for five minutes and shut down. Water was flowing so that means fuel issues, and I think it will be another filter. I was not going to mess with it, so I had a beer, instead. Saves my sanity, makes me feel superior to the problem and most important; Nothing is irrepairably broken. This is a theme, here.

I had a couple of beers and secured for an hour's nap before checking in to the big Barbecue by the pool. Much dolfin fish and steaks and meeting friends. I even became reacquainted with a customer from work. Small world.

Taps was held by 2100.

Sunday came and we were up at the crack of seven. Cleaned up the boat, checked over the fluids and went to breakfast by the pool.

Sorry Bob, I didn't have a car to get me to Castillo San Marco. Next trip we will be sure to visit the castle.

We had a nice poolside breakfast and then began preparations for departure. I will continue this later.