Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year's Eve!

I feel like I have been slacking on the updates. The reason is that there have been little in any boating news from the Barco Crew, just having a very nice Christmas and New Year celebration with the two of us alone, with Meezer Kitties.

Christmas dinner was the usual Peking Duck with Mom and our Shipmate, Phil. We distributed small gifts to everyone and enjoyed the warm living room with TV as the main entertainment.

Today; In two hours, we depart for the Barco Sin Vela (1800) where we will shift to Mess Dress for the formal Wine Dinner and New Year celebration. I will wear my tux (With Gold Aircrew Wings and Surface Warfare devices) on my left collar, just to be a wise ass to the few retired Navy Captains who wear their Aviator Wings, similarly. The Spousal Unit has given me a stern "NO" for me wearing my leopard skin Fez. I have no idea why not. It has a tassle and is definitely, cool.

We will be dining on a five course wine dinner paired with five exotic wines with appropriate beef and sea foods. I generally get quite full on the foods offered and the staff always sneaks in some extra glasses for me and the Spousal Unit. Florida Yacht Club really goes the extra mile to make us feel welcomed, even if I am not as well heeled as some of the other members.

After dinner, there will be the live music and bubbly to ring in the New Year in boating style. Afterwards, we will be walking back to the Barco Sin Vela for a night cap and stay the night safely away from the roads and other craziness that will be present on the streets of Jacksonville.

New Years is "Amateur Night" for most drinkers, so prudent care and planning will keep us all safe so we can be with our loved ones for yet another year.

I would like to thank all of our readers for the past year, it has been a pleasure to jot down some of our adventures semi-coherently. Perhaps some of you may have been inspired to do a bit more outside your normal routines. Maybe my small utterances have entertained and made some sense.

It has been a wonderful year with our St Johns trips and the highlight being the trip across the Pacific which I hope to return for some more island hopping.

Can I get someone to donate $75K? It seems that Holland America Cruise Lines has a 112 day round the world journey leaving and returning to Fort Lauderdale, early in 2012. Two persons in a suite. Sounds like the perfect trip; someone else driving and navigating... five hots and a luxurious cot. That's livin', baby.

I can dream, can't I? The Loving Spousal Unit says that it would be a great celebration for my 50th birthday. She's always thinking of me! I remain a very lucky feller...

Speaking of lucky; I am. We live in a wonderful place with plenty of food and good times. There are many people in the world who do not have the same luxuries, so I hope you can pause and reflect and remember them, especially those who are imprisoned and suffer. Cuba Libre!

We all need to aspire to do something new which improves and energizes us, whether crossing an ocean or doing something as tough as keeping vertical in unhealthy times. Still, we all need to elevate ourselves to make it to the next day, season, valley, mountain or ocean.

Ocean crossings are easy. The departure is the tough part. Fear and Air are holding us back from our next grand adventure, so let's break through and live!!!

A most wonderful New Year to all. May you all receive maximum Good Luck!

(After all, it's better to be Lucky, than good!)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is once more with us, and I hope everyone is having a fine morning.

The Meezers are acting up and being excited. They seem to know it is a special morning and they are pacing about, jumping on us and complaining. I haven't the heart to tell them that they have no presents today. Their humans have selfishly acquired presents for themselves and have had nary a thought about them.

One nice thing with living in a house is that we are warm and have nice facilities (Bathrooms!) compared to the three Christmas's we spent living on Wildebeest III in London. As we dug into our crusty sourdough french toast this morning, we reflected on the past twenty Christmas mornings that we have enjoyed together. With sausage and coffee, reflect we did, in great luxury.

Mom and Phil will be over in two hours, we have presents under the tree for everyone, and every one of us will be happy to be together living in the greatest country. When we have our first Mimosa's, we will think of all those not present who have other duties which require them to be away from their loved ones. Like Steve, who is in that s%$&* hole; Afghanistan.

I type this with a large male Siamese cat head-bumping my hands as he purrs contentedly. Mao is a happy cat, as are all of us at Barco Base. Mally Cat has pushed Mao out of my lap as she begins the routine of pacing back and forth, looking for a way to climb onto my right shoulder.

She is there; Claws hooked into my skin and purring in my ear.

Have a great Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

This just in from Nigeria

I always knew that the Nigerians were really here for me!

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Federal Republic of Nigeria
Lagos Liaison Office
13/15 Kofo Abayomi Street,
Victoria Island,
G.P.O Box 1727,

Re: An Open Letter To All Scam Victims, 

Attn: Scam Victims,

We sincerely apologies for all the damages you must have gone through in the hand of Nigerian fraudsters. We are Projecting favourably the image of the government and people of Nigeria locally and internationally through a proactive mechanism (in line with global best practices) of informing, enlightening and educating Nigerians and the International Community about Nigeria. 

If you have been scammed send your name and address to us via the email address stated below for verification at Western Union and MoneyGram offices and after verification if truly you have been scammed you will be reimbursed with the sum of two hondred thousand dollars only. The compensation fund has already been insured and the transfer charges have been paid by the Federal Government of Nigeria to avoid unnecessary deduction from the fund. Please note that we have never held any scam victims compensation programme in Nigeria. This is the First-Of-Its-Kind. 

This email address is set up for this compensation purpose only: 

Please do not respond to email which asks you to send your username and password. 

Yours sincerely,
(Mr)Kelly Robert

Monday, December 20, 2010

Back at home from the hospital.

Departed home base at 0500 with a tough job looking us in the face, today was the time for the required medical attention that we were a-needin' back in September.

We both were a bit nervous when we arrived at St Vincent's at 0515. There was a crew of greeters and explainers of where I need-to-be stationed right in the entry way, pointing the way to the various stations of the Hospital.

We stopped at a desk where we were pleasantly welcomed aboard with all the paper work ready and within minutes we were in the pre operating standby area. It had a curtain... The Spousal Unit was given one of those lovely green coverall devices and she was instructed to drop full trow.

By 0630 the Doctor was present and everyone mustered to the surgery where the guttin' and cuttin' was going to commence. (Of course, I exaggerate greatly, just to disguise my nervousness!)

We got the briefing from the Anesthesiologist crew and Surgeon and the cocktail was presented to the Guest of Honor. I was asked to kindly leave for the waiting area.

I gave Her the kiss and bade her well as she was wheeled outbound to another hall. My course was set and the traveling was down to the waiting area, whereas I slunk in silently with my sound suppressing headphones donned. Verily, I was jamming with Johnny, Joey, Dee-Dee and Tommy. Cranked to Eleven, as I wanted to appear to be shakin' and quakin' to the tunes. Also, I wanted nobody to be buttin' into my bidness, I needed solitude, baby!

About an hour and a half later I was summoned to meet with the Surgeon who reported that all was complete and that there were no runs, no hits, and most importantly; no errors and the inning was about up. I went to wait some more with a number of rude, flatulent people who complained about the no-smoking rules and the effort it was to walk to the tobacco area.

My name was called forty-five minutes later and I was led to a small recovery hooch where my coherent spouse was in repose. She was required to do a small task and then we were allowed to get her dressed and be wheeled out for discharge.

The five hours were spent well, there is no pain and we look forward to a rapid recovery.

We reflect in gratitude. Once again, St Vincent's Hospital exceeds our expectations and we are very happy with the results, and we are hoping that this takes care of any unfinished business.

On to Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Years. I hope everyone is healthy and happy!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nothing really new going on here

Just juggling event from the day and trying to keep warm. Yesterday's excitement was returning home for lunch and discovering the smell of something burning in the air. It was like the airhandler for the A/C was doing something doubleplus ungood, there was also an aroma of oil in the air.

I called the local heating and airconditioning outfit who promptly sent out a technician. He arrived at 1400 and began tearing apart the airhandler.

Yep, the motor was leaking oil and it was shot. Thankfully, the motor was under warranty so he said it would be a two hour job and I only had to pay for labor.

I hate paying Journeyman's wages for trainees. This guy was not giving me warm and fuzzy feelings about his technical acumen. After struggling for three hours, he got the motor in and it worked. Warm air was flowing.

Not good enough, super-tech decided that we needed to make sure the outside compressor was working. He took it apart and had a rat attack him and then he decided the compressor was not working.

"But everything was working earlier, today..." I said in futility.

"Well, we gotta make sure that everything works. Did you know that you have rats in there?"

Like I really care... I will get some poison, later.

So after another hour and a half he puts it back together and calls it macaroni. Nothing had changed and everything worked. Like before.

"That'll be $321.00, please".

I just wrote out a check and dismissed him curtly. I weary that some will pad time for a few more bucks, but I was grateful that we were not going to have a air handler fire, like one of my insurance customers had on Monday.

That's how the week is going and we have a medical event for someone close to me this coming Monday, 0600.

Could all be worse; We could have had a house fire like the above mentioned customer.

"We endeavor to persevere," Says Chief Dan George (As Lone Watie: We thought about it for a long time, "Endeavor to persevere." And when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Welcome Aboard, John H!

John is the new owner of the Morgan 43 we used to own, Wildebeest III which has been renamed; Hoydin.

Hoydin currently based in Fernandina, Florida and hopes to get out cruising in May of 2011.

Just go to older posts listed on left side, and you can see some of the posts concerning Wildebeest III and the sail across the Atlantic.

We hope to visit the old girl and will be glad to answer any questions and help you off to your journey. That boat treated us well and we know that you will create some lasting memories.

You can email us at maogwaicat at gmail dot com

All the best!

Civilian UAV or better; First Person View soaring

From Wiki; 
"First Person View (FPV), also known as Remote Person View (RPV) or Video Piloting, is a method used to control a radio controlled model vehicle from the driver or pilots view point. Most commonly it is used to pilot an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or a Radio-controlled aircraft. The vehicle is either driven or piloted remotely from a first person perspective via an onboard camera, fed wirelessly to virtual reality goggles or a video monitor. More sophisticated setups include a pan-and-tilt gimbaled camera controlled by a gyroscope sensor in the pilot's goggles and with dual onboard cameras, enabling a true stereoscopic view."


I have been very interested in this First Person View soaring, which is a Radio Controlled Glider with a small battery powered motor and camera which provide the operator with an actual view of the flight path.

This is new to me, I knew of the technology, but never knew the actual costs. It seems a person can get into this hobby for less than fifteen hundred bucks which happens to be a month's worth of boating.

Not terribly sure I can actually get into this, for now I enjoy the videos provided by .

These guys really rock! If you follow the video link you can see some of their great videos which are a wonderful way to view the Alps in Europe, all in the comfort of your computer room.

Here is a link to Vimeo and "Team Black Sheep" soaring over New York City.  I know that I would not have the skills to pull off a flight like that, but still, this is a great way to do some touring from home.

She who will be obeyed will not approve of me buying the gear to do this. She knows that I would be interested for a few days and slip back into my lazy routine. Plus, I would hate to spend a grand or more on these beautiful gliders only to crash and burn in the swamp.

As for this weekend; Had a great dinner with Mom at the Club on Friday, watched the Navy beat Army and had an early evening yesterday and will visit Mom this afternoon. I think we will go to the Elks Lodge to watch the Raider/Jaguar game. It is rainy and cool out, so no outdoor activities.

Hoping you all stay safe out there, only a few more weeks to endure in this holiday season.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Freezing in Jacksonville and a look to the weekend

A couple months ago, I spent weeks soaked in sweat from the island heat enjoying 32 degree (Celsius) heat. Now, we enjoy the same 32 degrees of heat only in Fahrenheit. Somehow, I am not happier. Neither is the grapefruit tree out back, currently swaddled in black plastic bags to keep from a frosty demise.

I like the great stores and the abundance of foods and everything else, but you can give this cold weather back to the North, I don't want it!

On to important things:

This weekend is the Army Navy football game, a favorite at our house. The bitter tears shed by Army fans are like an annual tonic that lightens my step and brings joy to the hearts of the big and little children who roost at the Barco Home. What better way to celebrate the holidays than with watching the annual Navy smack down of their brethren from the South Hudson Institute of Technology? Popcorn and Brie, says I, along with fine libations to accompany our game viewing pleasure.

Another thing; This will be (for the Seniors in both schools) the final amateur football game to wrap up many years of football and other sports that each Cadet and Midshipman grew up with before they graduate and go out to fight for all of us overseas.

No more fun for these guys, it's all "Marlboro Country" out there.

But on Saturday, it's THE game. The Cadets and Midshipmen deserve some good natured fun and sport and I think we can all use a break from the politics and business as usual.

I think that America wins, no matter the outcome of a mere football game.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pearl Harbor Day thoughts

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives Collection.

Pearl Harbor day. Not a good day for America in 1941, but it became an opportunity to rally forth and show America's inherent greatness. We lost at least 2400 Americans in this attack (Not unlike that sneak attack on 9/11); But I will be different, I am sorry for the loss but the attack removed the Navy's Battleship Fleet as an effective primary fighting force which compelled our leaders to shape a new war plan with the Aircraft Carrier as the focus of our fight. Had we attempted to combat the Japanese with the old battleships, we might have lost over 15K valuable, experienced Sailors as those ships would have been destroyed in the early part of the war. Instead, those Battleship sailors became the core of a mighty Navy which built more ships and they trained the future crews necessary to win this war.

Today, the smell of cookies' baking floats out of the kitchen and into the rest of our house. I think the Sailors and Marines of Pearl Harbor would think that this would be a fitting tribute to their sacrifice for the American way of life. 

We will get to boating again, soon.