Thursday, July 29, 2010

Auckland Calling...

Just arrived in Auckland, and I look like a fargin idiot!

1. It's winter here, about 5 degrees Celsius, and I am wearing a floral island shirt. Everyone else is bundled for the cold.

2. My next leg starts in three hours.

Did you know the average age in the airport is 25? I think it;s because the older folks have jobs and the ute's are all backpackers, living off of gubmint grants and Mummy and Dah'.

Sent a beacon message upon arrival, so a map should be ariving on some of our private enmail accounts.

Today is Friday, but I will be returning to Thursday, in five hours. Mebbe I could check the papers for the winning Rarotongan lotto numbers for Thursday, go back and buy them and be a certain winner.

Sleep hasn't been happening on the airplanes, all three were at capacity. This morning's flight had the pleasure of a planeload of surly NZ teens, returning from their L.A. park vacations. Youth is indeed wasted on the young!

We take off around 1030 and land 3.5 hours later... Too bad I don't feel excited. Just tired.

The weekend will mean I can finally get into this whole Margaritaville idea.

Thanks, LL, Buck and Middle Age Cruising, for the nice comments. Pictures shall be following along with the normal venomous commentary. (You all should see the typing mistakes that are dripping all over the page... Need sleep!)

Off to see the Lizard!

DC in Downunder

The Great Adventure has begun

Well, the Great Adventure has begun.  Darryl and I had a fine breakfast with his Mom yesterday morning then I dropped him off at the airport at 11:30.

He called last night from LA and was having a good trip so far.  The Air New Zealand rep, Kelsey Fisk, was very helpful.  She was able to change his seat from a middle seat (imagine a 12 hour plane ride sitting in the middle of 2 strangers) and was able to check his bags all the way to Rarotonga!  She went the extra mile, calling customs in Rarotonga to confirm their acceptance of his one way plane ticket and letter to join Beaujolais.  Thanks Kelsey for going the extra mile!

The Cats are not happy that Dad is gone.  Normally at least 2 of them sleep on the bed with us.  Mao, the Boy Cat, finally deigned to join me at 5:00 this morning.  Mali didn't join me at all.  She is wandering the house looking for Dad.

Anyway, I will do my best to keep this blog up in Darryl's absence and I am sure that he will be posting some spectacular stories when they have internet access!

All the best.

She Who Will be Obeyed.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

T-18 Hours for launch

Ok, checklists be damned; Start Sequencers are armed and ready for launch at 1230, tomorrow. It is almost time and we are preparing for hand off of controls as we depart for that "one particular harbor".

All of the trash that travels is on the billiards table or stuffed in the two bags I will check in.


The video above is to entertain you while I continue packing my stuff in an almost dual panic/excitement mode of operation.

Once in the plane there is no turning back, and after all the crap I talked about this trip, there is no possibility of turning back. Heck, I left my j-o-b back at the office!

The Malli Cat is sitting about a foot away, snoozing without any knowledge that her favorite human is about to abandon her. She will be most upset, as is the Spousal Unit who hasn't had to send me away since Germany. They need their Staff to stay here and take care of the small stuff that needs taking care.

Like putting the trash out, or cleaning cat litter. Or the dishes.

Beaujolais is in Rarotonga, waiting to meet their new crew at the airport at 1630 local, Thursday.

The hard work begins that Saturday as we prepare to get underway for Niue next Tuesday. 

I sure hope they have dancing Polynesian Ladies wearing grass skirts. You, the reader will be the second or third to know if that happens, because there will be evidence!  No waiting for the film processing, no sirree! Straight to the internet we shall be.

If not, it will be ok, because the weather is warm, with the azure waters covering the coral reefs that have seen and dug it all, baby! And the background groove playing a five beat that only Brubeck contain, digging loud and clear over the travelin' victrola, man...

Right. I'm no where near the words of a Jack Kerouac, but I look forward to trying to describe the culmination of twenty-five years of dreaming and scheming; Actually sailing the islands that Jack London himself sailed. 

Only this time, we won't mess up and get sick and lose the will to persevere, forget where we be headin' which is the Land of Oz, baby!

Malli doesn't care, she knows she can snooze with me tonight.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Got my shots, yesterday. My arms are not happy especially my left which is feeling puffy and sensitive to movement. Those Typhoid/Diptheria/Whooping Cough went in easy enough, but now feel like someone placed a dose of tabasco into the muscle. But the most uncomfortable was the Yellow Fever shot into the right arm. (It really WAS tabasco!) I felt it travel out of the needle and into what passes for muscle. There was no real whining, I didn't want to cause the nice HM3 to be startled, or anything.

Next time, I will ask them to leave the Lime Juice out of the cocktail.

This meant sleeping was a little restless from anytime I rolled to the left.

Malaria meds were not prescribed. This because I didn't give people about a six week heads up for my travel. So I remarked that if I get malaria, I wll be sure to bring it back to Jacksonville. This way I can reintroduce malaria to the Jacksonville mosquitos because I couldn't get anti-malarial medicines when my travel plans did not agree with the health authorities.

I will just head to the islands and buy the anti-malarial stuff on the economy. If I can remember; I will stop by the Army-Navy store to see if they have any mosquito netting and head covers.

Back in '82, I went through the Land Survival course at Eglin AFB as part of Aircrew Candidate school. There were mosquitos for everyone, so I brought a mosquito net that fit over my boony hat and loosely tied at my collar. Since I wore my flight suit sleeves secured at the wrist and the net thing, not one mozzy was able to get me, plus there was a liberal dousing of bug repellent, so I had that going for me.

I don't care to be bitten by mozzies, but I really detest them trying to fly in my ears. Why, it keeps me awake at night. Can't have that, can we? Did I hear the word Deet?

Last weekend home, so we will be jumping through hoops to complete the ever extending takeoff checklist.

Monday is the last day at the J-O-B. This is all coming together very quickly, before I know it I will be in the equatorial sunshine wearing a deet cologne and wondering just how I got there.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

If you are interested in sailing adventures

Please read P. Lutus story of sailing a Pacific Seacraft 31 around the world alone, twenty years ago. It is a free book and written quite well, especially from an engineer's perspective.


Heading over to the Hospital for a pile o'shots. Yellow Fever, Hep A and B, Typhoid and probably a few others. This will hurt me a lot more than it will hurt ewe.

I was re-reading a portion of Jack London's, "Voyage of the Snark", last night. Here is the entire book on line, it is great reading!

Stolen from Sonoma College

Especially the portion describing the various illnesses and afflictions and some thing called "Yaws".


Ah, well. I have to be obsessing about something, right?

I wonder if Corrosive Sublimate is still available as a treatment for sores.

Ahh, it seems about forty years ago, we called a related solution to corrosive sublimate; Mercurochrome. That substance was possibly  Corrosive Sublimate after watering it down with either a alcohol solution or water. I bet a couple tubes of of the current antibacterial ointments will perform the task more readily.

Good thing I have some of Neosporin in my soon to be packed pile of stuff.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Remembering better days

As a seven year old in 1969 who thought only great things were ahead, I was riveted to our Panasonic 16 inch black and white tv, watching CBS' (Channel Five in the SF Bay Area) live feed from the historic NASA Moon Landing of Apollo 11. It was a warm summer day and we had a full moon, so I could almost imagine seeing a bit of red white and blue on the surface.

I feel as if life has been on a down hill spiral after they cancelled the Apollo Program.

Here is a British paper, The Guardian's take.

NASA has always been an important balance to the other Federal spending on Health, Education and Welfare, Defense and all that. Because NASA is/was about hope for the future, to make better things for today and explore what we are and where we came from; The Stars.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Moving forward

Busy weekend; bought new camera, clothing and other supplies for the big trip. Have all air arrangements made for both ends of the trip.

Wish the bargain prices weren't so hard on the seating selection process. I will ask for better seats when I get to the boarding process.

Anyway, I will endure about 26 hours of travel each way, including layovers. The sailing will more than make up for the discomfort.

A personal location beacon was previously purchased, it is a 406 Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon by ACR. There is a boat EPIRB already, but I wanted one for my sailing harness.

I's hates to says I is sorry... So I better take care of me.

There is a annual subscription fee for this beacon, so when I press the "test" button, a signal will be generated and sent to the Search and Rescue satellite which will prompt ACR to send an email to five addresses which will give a canned message with a Latitude/Longitude position on the world map.

Test of this feature was successfully made this morning. A map of my location was zoomed in to my neighborhood. It will be a good way for both Spouses to know where we are when I do the daily noon fix of Beaujolais' location.

There is a Laser Flare to back up the traditional smokes/signal flares, but this sends out a 20 mile range laser line which can be seen via infrared. I tested it out; At two feet, the wall shows a bright 2 inch line of light. At twenty miles the Laser will show a 1500 foot line of light which will not dazzle the eyes of the pilots. And the Laser flare works for 72 hours per two AA battery load. You might want to read this appraisal.

Money well spent.

So, lots of shorts, skivvies, t-shirts will be carried, not to mention floatation harness, tether and foul wx gear. There are some spares I will mule back along with snickerdoodle cookies and some other handy foods.

Like Yoder's canned bacon.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

We must leave Japan, now

Lets bring our forces home. We have won the war and this is the result:
Stolen from I Can Haz Cheezburger and Youtube

Friday, July 16, 2010

Less than two weeks to go and

I still need tickets to LAX, but the trip to New Zealand and Rarotonga is paid for. $1575 takes me to Auckland and Rarotonga, and includes the Sydney back to LAX leg. Naturally, the only seats available to me are center seats. I just hope I'm not in the middle of a Samoan sandwich. Dey's Big Bruddah's, you bet!

The phone call to my Doctor's office was less than fruitful; I hoped to get a quick appointment in for anti-malaria medicine. Sounds simple enough, right?

No. I called and was placed on hold for ten minutes. The medical professionals feel obligated to have "Lite 95 FM" piped into the hold circuit.

I HATE F#%&$(@ LITE music!!!!! Air Supply? DIE! Jack Wagner? DIE!. And so on.

Soooo, ten long minutes goes by and one of the helpful ladies (This is a rated PG blog, I can't say any more) says she can't hear me, and I should call back.

Of course, like a complete tool I comply. Ten more minutes of the Lite Country, Lite Country 92 FM.

My taste in music also does not extend to caterwauling, modern Country Chanteuse's wailing about how they love their good for nothing skinny cowboys.

Finally, another nice lady picks up and apologizes for the poor phone reception.

"Could I see the Doctor for about fifteen minutes, sometime in the next week?" I nicely asked.

"Which one?" Was the quick reply.

"Either one would be ok. I am traveling to the South Pacific and I would like to get a prescription for anti-malarial drugs."

"Oh, we can't do that.  We don't carry that kind of medicine."

Smart girl, oh yes indeed.

"I understand. I just need the prescription and I will take it to the Naval Hospital, where I am sure they have boxes of such items. They seem to do a lot of traveling over there."

"Well, we can't help you. I talked to the Doctor, he says you have to go to Shands Hospital (They are associated with University of Florida and are the health care providers to the indigent) and talk to the Public Health people, there."

"So what you are telling me is that I won't get any anti-malarial pills, right? Ok. I will just go without. You've been a great help, have a nice afternoon..."

Now I know why many men will get prostate cancer, they just don't feel like being emasculated by the medical front desk workers. Why would any self respecting man having problems urinating want to go through the triage area set up by these nice people?

At dinner last night, I was telling my frustrated fable to She Who Will Be Obeyed, and she comes up with a very agreeable solution; "I'll call Eric (Doctor Eric...) he can write a prescription for you."

And I won't have to endure "Lite Music". Why did I just go through all of the previous?

This is why women run the health care industry and the access points to medical care. They just know all the rules for access, while I beat my head against brick walls.

Speaking of frustration; The Spousal Unit worked from home yesterday. Our brand new Kenmore stove had a oven window malfunction while snickerdoodles were being baked. Shattered like my dreams of importance, it did. A call to Sears last Sunday, she explained it was the inner glass and when can we get a technician to fix it?

"Oh, and will you tell the technician that it is THE INNER GLASS, so the tech will not come out and confirm that it is broken glass, and say that another tech will come out with the glass, next week?"

"The technician will be there on Thursday, between 12:00 and 5:00. Be there, hmmm?" Sayeth Sears, in Mumbai.

At 3:30 yesterday, a technician calls the house to say she is on her way, what is the trouble with your Kenmore stove?"

At that very moment, two miles away at my office I was startled by the crack! of a tactical nuclear weapon. The email soon rumbled in explaining that our worst fears were realized. Only now, was the glass for the oven being ordered from the factory and it will be here next week. This because the Mumbai branch of Sears/Kmart did not communicate with the Bangalore branch of Sears/Kmart technicians of the nature of our oven malfunction. (Probably a Caste issue, as an American, I could never understand)

I am scheduled for innoculations at the Naval Hospital, next week. Surely, that will go well, because it has to hurt. Believe it or not, it sounds like they have their act together, at least in the overseas prep section. They do a lot of traveling there... I will have my good attitude with me when the visit happens. There are some really good folks there who fight and bleed for me and thee, and I am honored that they would take the time to help me prepare for my journey.

Plus, if I give them any lip, I might find myself processing for a return to active duty and traveling to a sandy place where I might not have any fun at all.

Thanks to our military forces, (and my own 20+ years of service) I get to go sailing in the South Pacific and have fun.

I will try to stay humbled by that thought, and be grateful that I get to go through the steps I take for the departure.

It's all good!

Have a great Friday, ok?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Barco is getting a thorough Field Day

Barco Sin Vela II is in the midst for a great field day, much rubbing of compound on the gel-coat and waxing of surfaces. Charlie, our new wax on/wax off specialist is hard at work on the project. We will be looking shiny and clean by Saturday. A visit to the fuel docks on the Ortega River will occur because we are down to a mere two hundred gallons, and one must keep diesel tanks full to inhibit water formation. Water in diesel gives life to some odd critters who live to clog filters and diesel injector systems, which then keep a whole industry alive who specialize in removing said gunk.

An alert/deployment order has been received from the island of Huahine; One or two of the Barco Crew shall be required to mount a relief for the good sailing boat "Beaujolais". The First Mate having some medical issues which require a return to Australia.

I will be departing in the next two weeks for Rarotonga, by way of New Zealand. Upon arrival, Beaujolais departs 02 August for Niue.

Here is the itinerary:

Depart Rarotonga, Cook Islands August 2nd for Niue (5 nights at sea)
Cruise Niue – 8th  to 11th August
Depart Niue 12th August for Tonga (2 nights at sea)
Cruise Tonga – 15th to 24th August
Depart Tonga 25th  August for Savu Savu, Fiji (4 nights at sea)
Cruise Savu Savu 31st August to 4th September
Depart Savu Savu, Fiji 5th September for Suva, Fiji (1 night at sea)
Depart Suva, Fiji 7th Sept for Musket Cove, Fiji (2 nights at sea) 
Musket Cove Race Week - 10th to 17th September
Cruise Fiji Islands – 18th September to 28th September 
Depart Fiji 30th September for Vanuatu
Cruise Vanuatu
Depart Vanuatu 14th October for Bundaberg Australia, maybe via New Caledonia, to arrive Bundaberg 28th October (8 or 9 nights at sea)
Depart Bundaberg 2nd November to arrive Coolongolook by 7th November.

The great thing is that I don't have to purchase a sailboat to take this trip. But I have to be the crew, so I hope that I can fit into that role as well as I would want my crew to be.

As for the blog; I hope to update when there is internet availability and I will include many more photo's than you have seen from my previous journeys. That will be because of the technology of digitized cameras. I won't have to purchase film or wait for the processing. You, the reader will see more underway photography and less bar scenes.

It will be a busy two weeks.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Happy Friday, In Engrish!

Well sports fans, we here in Florryday are in full heatsink of summer, so stand by those air conditioner vents and keeps youin's well hydrated.

I was visiting my favorite Fail-Blog There was a great Fail that reminded me of Jihad Gene, who is so ronery;

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Welcome aboard!

I would like to welcome the nice folks from the soon to be sailing vessel, Nirvana!

These nice people have done a wonderful job getting their sailboat ready for the cruise of a lifetime. Stop by and see the beautiful pictures and watch as they make preparations to get underway. They are based in Lake Pontchartrain, which means they are in the midst of a Cajun paradise, as it is.

I envy the steps towards the journey, it's the reason for the season. Good luck to Ken and Cheryl, we will be watching.

Limited Availability Period

Hello all;

The holiday weekend was filled with activity, we pulled the Barco Sin Vela around front of the Yacht Club and spent three nights of partying with our boating friends. The Fourth of July fireworks were exciting, as the barge which launched them all was about 150 yards off of our stern.

We have never been so close to exploding ordnance that ash was left on our boat after the festivities!

Today, I have asked a boat maintenance person to give me a quote for a full compounding, washing and polish/wax of the topsides. This means that we will not be using the boat while the maintenance is performed. In the Navy, we called it a "Limited Availability Period", which was a euphemism for The Ship will be in the Yards for triple the normal work which will require the crew to put in eighteen+ hour days for the next few weeks and even though we might be near home our loved ones will hardly see us so embrace the suck.

The "Limited" was merely that our availability for missions was Limited. Not the effort required.
In today's case, we will have limited money left this week for fun things like Dinner, or good bottle of wine.

The boat will look great, and others will have sweat mightily for our betterment.

We really need to get some good boating in before the Hurricanes make their way towards Florida.

On other issues, there was the possibility of moi and a friend making a trip to the South Pacific for a boat transit, but events have conspired to make this hopeful journey look more and more faint. It would have been great to do some real overnight passages again, especially in places I have never sailed. Maybe next year. hmmm?

Stay cool out there, all you Hot Foxes and Cool Daddio's!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Why is this guy homeless?

This homeless person was video taped in El Paso, 0130 in the morning in a driving rain. He finds a flagpole fallen, with our flag on the ground. So like a good citizen, he folds the flag carefully, in the rain. Picks up the flagpole and moves it out of the way and goes back to his camp.

I don't know of any politician in Washington D.C. that could ever hope to pack the gear that this simple homeless Gent carries in his heart.

The office workers who found the flag and viewed the security camera are mystified. Probably because they cannot imagine why someone would hold a piece of cloth in reverence.

Again; Why is this guy homeless? Probably because he prefers his freedom straight up.

Wish I could buy this feller a meal.

Stolen from Youtube and Yahoo News.