Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I love maritime justice!

This in from Criggo.com;


Great online book: Confessions Online

Confessions Online

You can either download to kindle or read this book for free. Outstanding story of sailing alone around the world. Sorta makes me want to do it, too.


I require another person if only to make me sandwiches and pass up coffee while I steer the boat!

Either way, add this to your list of Boat Reading.

Monday, November 29, 2010

New Tim Dorsey book is coming out

In January. As usual, we will have to pre order to be sure we don't miss it. Here is a video from Timdorsey.com to shill for the latest Travelogue starring that zany Floridologist; Serge A. Storms...

Haven't made it to "Don's Bar" in Key West, I usually frequent the Green Parrot and Captain Tony's.

That's as good a reason to read a book and travel like we do.

See ya!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Film Watching

Sunday Afternoon:
I napped for at least an hour or so, with the Meezer cats and found I was home alone for Sunday afternoon. I decided to watch some tv. First, I watched the Jaguars lose to the Giants. No biggie, I have no dog in that fight. Next I watched a film that had been recorded on our dvr in August while I was away sailing. The film is a Disney Documentary called "Morning Light".

Once we got past the sappy first hour of watching fourteen wealthy caucasian 21 year olds trying to get in shape (The fifteenth was an inner city kid who was a real trooper and deserved a place on the boat) I started to really get into the sailing portion of the film. In fact, I wished I could be sailing, too. Just not on a TP-52 racing sled. I need creature comforts like a shower, proper head (The toilet roll is visible hanging in the navigation space) and most importantly shade and cover from the weather.

Trailer for the film;

This is a well made film and it does not end like you would expect. But it is worth the watch with your family since this is a film you could watch at church. Very well done, indeed.

This has been a pleasant weekend and I will be sorry when it comes to an end tomorrow morning when I head to the J.O.B.

We did take the Barco out on Friday (I think I covered that), but the rest of the time has been at home entertaining the guests. They are all at the local Elk's Lodge, watching even more football.

Have a great week!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ugh. I am stuff-fed.

Too much food and wine. This is Friday morning and I still can't consider eating another bite. Maogwai Cat has been chastised (Loudly) for hopping on the counter to lick the turkey pan and Mally is on my lap demanding attention.

The four bottles of Pinot Noir echo dully in my empty and throbbing head.

So much for Thanksgiving's corpulence and over indulging. On to Christmas' crazy orgy of spending!

Now we can gird our loins and do battle with the rest of the holiday season. I do not participate in Black Friday shopping, I prefer to wait for January sales where they really cut the prices.

One good thing about December's holiday season is listening to Adam Sandler singing the Hannukah (Not sure how to spell...)  song. It never grows old... I wonder if they did a song about Americans who celebrate Boxing Day (Kwanzaa)?

So put on your christmas yarmulke, head on out to wally world and get our economy back on track. I will go elsewhere and be selfishly alone.

Mao! Get off the counter!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yet another video

This time we go back to the Musket Cove regatta, the Round the Island Race. It was a beautiful day for sailing but we made some critical mistakes which took us out of the competition and into a pleasure cruise.

Tough duty, indeed.

Pretty much what it looks like; Mucho Fun!

WE finished about last, but we were back in time for barbeque's and beer.

This is a busy week, we have Spousal Unit's Dad and friends down for the Turkey and we are a happy crew.

The J.O.B. is the same as ever. I need to sell about twenty Life Policies before the end of December.  Just Term policies, so it should be easy, right?

I have gotten involved with Facebook. Very dangerous place, I have been in contact with about ten people from the distant past. As one friend commented, "Dude, that was like, two lifetimes ago..."

Hmmm. Wondering what it might look like on film, with cooler people:

I still don't think I have accomplished enough on the fun front.

Who's with me? Let's get the band together.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, all of you.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I have to post some silly stuff

I like to cruise a few blogs, Buck's, Ace of Spades, People's Cube and finally; The I can haz cheezburger blog.

This is the most awesome tattoo evah;

Wait a Minute . . .
see more Ugliest Tattoos

This next funny was stolen from Facebook (Shamelessly stolen from our friend, Wendy)


Yes. I know that the tattoo is some dude from Seattle and not Bob (Banana Splits) Marley. As for the sticker; Let's face it: Most truckers (who show the skinny version of hot naked babes on their 18 Wheeler Mud Flaps) Go home to a lady who might resemble this decal. Honesty is refreshing!

For your enjoyment:

Video of arrival at Coff's Harbour, Australia

These videos are time consuming to publish, so that is my excuse.

Today is Thursday, I have about four more days of freedom before I return to the J.O.B. and become a wage drone for my boss once again. My tasks for the day are to visit the boat yard and dispute a small bill, vacuum and clean the floors of the house and finally, take a nap with Mao Cat and his sisters Malli and Saffy.

Looking forward to the nap.

I have a number of videos from the trip, some are crappy due to weather or are just plain stupid. The weather ones are dull from being nothing new. Bad weather is bad weather, its just that if you are in the ocean you tend to get wet from inclement skies. No running home to a dry warm hearth, we have to learn to endure the motion and dampness and hope to get a dry berth for the too short period of rest.

We were tied to the Customs and Marina Office Pier

Stewart the Customs Dude lectures Skipper while Bear lurks

GPS view of Coff. Bear is still lurking

After we cleared customs we went to the fuel dock and filled up. We would depart from Coff's Harbour at 0300 the next day for the final 200 miles of fun.

Have a nice Thursday!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ok, Back to normal shoreside living

It has been a busy weekend. Did a Wine Club dinner on Friday night, closed the joint down. After the great food and wine pairings, the Club raffles off a bottle of each wine that had been tested. There were three couples at our table, one couple got a bottle of the White. Another table won the next wine and they came to the dessert wine and gave it to the second couple at our table. The Chef came up and thanked the Club for coming to the dinner and announced that there was no bottle of Chateau Montelena (Because people like moi had three or more glasses- They ran out!) So a replacement bottle was dug up. It was a Stags Leap Artemis which like the Montelena, had been a winner at the 1976 Judgement At Paris wine exposition which was so artfully described in the film, "Bottle Shock".

There was no WAY that we could be so fortunate as to win the bottle, right?

Chef Stephen looked surprised when the name was drawn from the basket... "Uh, the fix is in... " He muttered and he announced our name as the winner of this much coveted wine!!!

Oh, I loved the murderous glances of the Hoi Polloi as the Spousal Unit walked up to claim our just desserts. What a delicious way to wrap up the evening. A good Buzz and a great bottle to take home.

Some of the puttering about is getting the vids online. Here is the latest from the trip Fiji to Coff's:

SO I have all that going for me, which is good.

Have a fine Tuesday!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mission Complete

I am exhausted. I have just finished the 28 hour return trip from Sydney and feel whacked.

The final trip from Fiji started on 23 October in sunny conditions. Once we cleared the outer coral reef we encountered 25 knot winds from the south east and confused seas which were quite ugly.

Not a problem, just 1500 miles to go and I was not a happy camper. In fact, I got sick (with full puking over the lee rail!) first real illness since the Ramsgate trip in the English Channel in 1998. Yewgly!

We reefed in the head sail (reduced sail area) and the main and when the winds backed to the port quarter we began to settle into a very comfortable reach on our course to Australia. I soon felt much better and drank plenty of water to rehydrate and stand my watches. The night watch saw us doing about 6.5 knots on average with Heidi steering admirably. It was a little bumpy but not too unpleasant. We were finally on the way to the new home.

The second morning had the seas still confused and  a strong 18+ wind, but the boat and crew was settling
into a routine that would see us through Thursday with fair winds and following seas. The nights were bright with a full moon and steady winds, in fact we averaged 7 knots for three nights in a row. This meant 150 mile days for the passage and our routine was quite pleasant. Except for our refrigeration completely failing on the third day we were having a legendary sail!

Oh, the fridge... All the fresh food had to be eaten up and that was going to be tough. You can only eat so much ground beef and salad. We concentrated on eating up the veggies and let the meat spoil which was sort of bad but not health wise. Dinners became a scavenger event with the search for black beans, corned beef and cans of Irish stew. I actually enjoyed our mismatched dinners which were usually quite delicious. The fridge turned out to be not so much a loss except for no milk and no cold drinks.

I drank filtered water from the tanks and did not have coffee or tea. Usually, I had a 3/4 liter bottle of water on each watch so I was well hydrated. I also took stugeron to keep the sea sick bug at bay, I only had one more sea sick issue on the next to last day, but it was not as ugly as our first evening.

By the way; I make it sound like I was debilitated from my first evening Mal De Mer event... I was feeling a bit uncomfortable but was still standing my watch. It was after a quick dinner of chicken soup and bread when I suddenly felt the urge to chum for fish. I was definitely sick for about fifteen minutes and soon felt much better. After my off watch nap I was completely back in form and the Stugeron did the job keeping me able and willing to face the challenges.

The night watches were a real pleasure, my favorite time of sailing. We had a beautiful full moon for most of the trip and usually good winds that did not exceed 20 knots. With double reefed main and sometimes reduced head sail we really cooked along in a very comfortable manner. Indescribably good to be more exact. A person on night watch can really do some reflection and deep thinking about where you are heading and have been both physically and metaphorically. The ocean water winks and flashes back at you with bio-luminescence as the miles tick away. I wish my camera could have recorded these images to share with you, the reader.

The seventh day saw the winds go away and we began to motor in order to maintain our 6 knot average passage speed. We had 130 gallons of diesel so we were sure of at least 600 miles of motoring range. It just so happened that we had 600 miles to go! Saturday evening was calm and we motored through the night.

Sunday, the eight day was even more calm with the sea being like glass. We started the day with a bit of laundry and had the rails covered with drying t-shirts and shorts. I commented that I really appreciated sunny calm days on the ocean and was glad for the calm for the flat seas and a chance to read and relax. Of course, my words brought out a vicious squall in which the winds went over 30 knots with a complete washdown of the boat in fresh rain. So much for calm...

Sunday evening and Monday morning brought out some more winds that kept us going towards Australia but there were some definite changes in the weather patterns, we were being affected by the continent and we were not having as much of the trade winds. This meant winds from the West becoming more common. In fact, we were getting some strong westerlies with rain which slowed our progress to about 3 knots. So I took a nap. Usually, after I snooze for about three hours I will find the weather changes for the positive and it did, indeed. I took over the watch with winds being more favorable and us traveling 4 knots towards Coff's Harbour. As my watch progressed, our speed picked up to over 7.5 knots, apparently aided by an ocean current which was in our favor!

This situation continued to the point where we had to actually de-power the sails at 0400 to slow us down so we did not arrive in the dark.

We approached Coff's Harbour with a lovely clear sky and calm winds and wrapped up our 1500 mile trip in the proper way with the sun behind us. Not too bad considering we had only been underway for ten days and I was expecting hard weather and a fourteen day passage. We tied up at the Customs dock and checked in.

Stewart, our Customs and Quarantine agent, was very nice and polite as he inspected the vessel and documents. Then he kindly took the remainder of our eggs, bread, sunflower seeds, dried milk and milk products, raisins, dried fruits, etc. It was quite a large bag of good food that were taken away with the authority of the Australian government to keep Australia safe from contaminants. At least he was nice about it and we complied fully.

We were allowed to go ashore, so we took Beaujolais over to the fuel dock and refueled. Then we went to our overnight berth and cleaned up and went ashore for some liberty. We kept it safe and sane and only drank about ten beers each along with a fine Indian dinner out in town.

Reveille was held at 0300 and we were underway for our final 200 mile excursion to Newcastle, which was to be the new home for Beaujolais. After leaving the harbor I was directed to go below or the second watch which I gratefully accepted. At 0700 I was back on watch in a cloudy rainy sort of morning. But we were in the Australian southerly current so we were hauling along at 8.5 knots. Since the wind was on our nose we were motoring. But at over 8 knots, so our mood was bright despite the ugly weather.

My first night watch was 2000 to 2300 (8:00 pm to 11:00 pm) and the winds were picking up over 20 knots off the nose and the seas were reacting to a "wind against current" situation, which is to say not optimal. Very doubleplus ungood.

When I returned to watch at 0200 it was worse. The winds had increased to a high of 37 knots, we were having to hand steer to keep on our course of 240 magnetic. And the winds were from an easterly direction causing huge ocean swells to collide with the already confused and bumpy seas. And it was dark. With a blinding rain, we were unable to see any of the many commercial ships heading north and south in our area.

We. Could. Not. See. Anything.

At  0300, we were hit by a breaking swell on our port side which blew out the plastic side curtain and filled the cockpit with cold water. I stood there soaked from the waist down and my feet were in a standing puddle, ankle deep as the cockpit drains did their thing.

Roger called from down below asking if I had called to him, I replied that I had not called to him but  had said "F&^%*!!!"

I could not react to seas and steer away from danger, I could only try to hold our course in the gusting winds and hope that we did not get knocked down or flattened by one of the house sized breakers. This was not how I hoped my last turn at watch would be on this voyage. Actually, I was wondering if I would ever go sailing again. Certainly not off the Australian Coast, anyway...

My watch was supposed to end at 0500, but since I was already soaked, cold and awake, I might as well make it to sunrise. Besides, we were only ten miles away from Newcastle Harbour which is a commercial one so I knew that weather would not be an issue to us arriving. Roger was up at 0600 and joined me in the cockpit and took the helm for our approach.

We were a two miles out and could finally see the entrance lights in the brightening gloom of rain and misty winds. At a mile and a quarter I called Newcastle Harbour Control to let them know we were going in the channel when we were instructed to not enter the jetty; "There is a large Commercial Vessel making its way out and you need to stand clear."

"Well, ok... but it is quite bumpy out here so if they expedite we will comply", I replied.

Sure enough a large ore carrier came out and we stood off. As soon as the ship turned east and left the breakwater we shot in like a bullet heading for the calm of the harbor and tied up at the marina with no further ado.

That was it.

Roger and I shook hands and I congratulated him on his Pacific crossing, one more check off on his bucket list. We cleaned the boat some, reset lines and took long, hot hollywood showers.

Janice, Roger's wife was soon at the dock and we went to a cafe for breakfast and coffee. A surprise for the Skipper was his two daughters with three grandchildren in tow to welcome Roger back to Australia. What a homecoming!

Champagne and coffee and loud family conversation filled the salon of the busy sailboat. While all that was going on, I tried out my cellphone and found it worked on the Aussie Cellnet. So I called the Spousal Unit and let her know I was safely in port and celebrating with the family, but feeling like a fifth wheel wishing she was there with me.

It really was a wonderful morning seeing Roger's family (They have been acquainted with Spousal Unit and I from 14 years ago in London) There were two new children since my last visit in 2008 and it was great to see everyone again.

The last day saw a long three hour drive to Sydney on Thursday and I said my goodbye's at the United departure terminal to Roger and Janice. Just a quick hug and handshake and an exchange of "Thanks" and I was gone.

Twenty four hours of flying and I was home at midnight, Thursday. It was like I had never left.

So, that was that. Cook Islands to Beveridge Reef, Niue, Tonga and Fiji. Then off to the land of Oz.

Mission Complete.