Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Still here and in service!

Nothing much to report, other than some very fine weather;)

Just finished a record 45 minutes on the stairway to no where and walked a around the block to cool down in the balmy 70+degree air.

After the clean up I shall amble over and perform my civil duty and vote for the least detestable candidate, over at the local voting station.

Note to my fellow Americans; Let's scrap the current primary system. I hate that Iowa, Vermont/New Hampshire and the Carolina's get to decide which candidates go home and leave us in Florida with a lesser number to choose from. I liked when a candidate could get in the race during the election year and make a real difference. See Reagan and Brown in '76 and I'm sure a bunch of better examples in earlier years.

But at least we still get a vote, for now.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A fine Tuesday, it is!

The weather is supposed to be grand today, temps to 78! SWWBO wondered if I should consider sanding some varnish, just to get outside to play on the Barco.

Here is a really nice video and song in honor of the Sailors from WWII who were fortunate enough to have to work on a sailboat.


And of course Nick, Dave and Bob. From 1958;

If I can't be out there, at least my mind can be.

Oh, almost forgot to say 'Happy Birthday', Gary!

Have a fine day!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sorry for the long break, again.

I keep failing my reader(s) out there and neglect doing the necessary duties of creating updates to keep keep this all interesting.

Very quiet weekend, went over to the boat to test out the fridge system. Learned the hard way that one must check fridge door storage shelves to make sure they are properly installed and capable of bearing the weight of a 1.5 liter bottle of wine. I rigged the top shelves just fine. But the bottom shelf kicked the bottle of wine out where it was able to shatter all over the small teak floor, with wine seeping into the bilges through the slats. I guess I can forget about walking in the galley barefooted for the next few months. It is a guaranteed fact of life that the last three invisible shards of glass shall wind up being inevitably located by the first or second feet that tread upon the teak floor!

It took over an hour to mop up the wine and pick up the shards of glass. She Who Will Be Obeyed stayed up in the Sundeck whilst I toiled. She thinks that He Who Breaks shall Unbreak...

I cleaned using a little of the bleach cleaner but there was a  a slight residual smell of Pinot Grigio warring with the clorox cleaner for air dominance. So I opened up some doors and let the wind do the work. This was when we decided to go to the Club for lunch, and maybe a spot of unsullied wine and beer.

Lunch was finally over at about 8:00 pm, and when we got back to the boat it was as clean as can be. We retired to the master cabin and had a nice night away from home (and the three ever-present cats!) We were back home by 0830, Sunday. It was a full day of football and hanging out, subsisting on propane grilled hot dogs; my favorite kind of day.

The weather is really nice out here, too. It is in the upper 70's and we have beautiful blue skies to add the happiness quotient. I really enjoy this time of year, if you haven't heard that time and again. One must endure, I guess.

This would be a good time to begin varnish work. But I know deep down that the minute I break out  the paint brushes will be the same moment that the weather will turn nasty, cold and wet. It seems that mother nature doesn't like varnishing teak, either.

Initiative comes to those who wait, Me Droogies... (We watched that little film yesterday afternoon. Still disturbing and very prophetic.)

More tomorrow. I promise!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Off to a retirement ceremony at NAS Jax

A boating friend from the Navy Jax Yacht Club is finishing up his 22 years of Service in the Navy today. I  shall attend  the ceremony at the NAS Jacksonville Officers Club (1000 sharp!) and there will be the usual VIP's and crew to help send our Shipmate ashore, never to hear the bells and whistle of Naval Service again.

For some it is a bittersweet moment, but I think the Star of the Show is kind of looking forward to the next challenge.

I will bring a camera and record some of the ceremony for my reader(s). There is video of my ceremony from London, maybe I will upload that at some future date.

As for today, this is Steve's day. He is a fine Sailor and I hope he has all the luck and health for the future.

See you in a bit.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

In honor of my last post, I thought I would add in some odd photos

These are from a couple years later and forward. Here is a couple from '83, flying South down the coast of California. I was a Sonar Operator/Search and Rescue Swimmer in the SH3D/H. As usual, click to bigify.

Golden Gater 500

The following are the very few photos I took while in HSL-84 flying as a Radar Operator/ SAR Swimmer in the SH2F. I really disliked the time I spent in that particular squadron and was never very happy. The Sea Sprite had a less than stellar reputation among us aircrew and I know I was always ready for a crash. Our squadron was safe and we never had a major incident. In order to get out of this squadron I left the Navy in 1988.

We used to like customizing the Sonobuoy launcher covers

Our Squadron name was "Thunderbolts"

Blood Guts and Butts.

The early '90's found me in a new situation. I reenlisted and was assigned to HSL-44 flying in the SH60B Seahawk. I am in the doorway lowering somebody to the deck.

Sunday was Steel Beach Time.

I was perpetually annoyed, didn't realize I was having a good time.

I didn't work out as much as the other guys. I used the stair machine and such. They all pumped iron and I suspected they were all a little funny. Second guy from the left was onboard the Samuel B. Roberts when it struck the mine in the Persian Gulf, back in '88. He had some really good sea stories about saving a ship. I'm wearing a Jimmy Buffett shirt.

Every week we had to wash the helo. We were allowed to wear comfortable attire.

Steel Beach in '91, somewhere in the Med.
That is all for now...

Not much to report

Yesterday I spent the afternoon at Mom's, helping her get her new computer running. It was during the booting and setting date and time when I realized the date; 17 January. Today is of course the 18th. This morning I do remember waking at 0500, 33 years ago after only going to sleep at 0230. Our first night was spent getting haircuts and new clothes, and throwing what ever contraband we were carrying into the Amnesty Box.

We did that stuff in the video at 2200 (Ten o'clock) at night. I think these guys were getting it easy because of the film crew.

MCRD San Diego was actually a little easier than I expected, on that tired and early wake up. They threw a trash can across the barracks and yelled a bit, but the Drill Instructors weren't particularly animated. I think they were a bit tired, too. We were in what they called "Receiving Barracks". I thought they would start off running the real show, but no. Receiving Barracks was a ruse to get us comfortable with the idea of being a Marine Recruit.


Us recruits got up and fumbled into our stiff new camouflaged utilities and we were instructed to button the blouse all the way up. We were then invited to "get on the road for chow!" and got pushed out the door because we were too f%^$#@ slow. We got back on our footprints and were told to stand at attention, and all that. After a bit of wailing and gnashing of teeth we were diddy-bopped down a quarter mile to the chow hall, where we were asked kindly to form two lines.

After a rushed meal of fried baloney and oatmeal we were formed up on the road and walked back to the barracks to perform clean up. We made our messy bunks and swept and swabbed the floors. About 0800 we were again invited to go outside to the foot prints ("Feet at a 45 degree angle, Maggots!") and we bopped our way to medical where we got jabbed with needles, stuck with a weird sewing pin with a pustule like object on the end (Small Pox!) and drank a foul shot of polio vaccine. Then the inevitable double tap of the air compressors shooting God knows what into our arms.

Blood was drawn and we were probed and prodded and the famous short arm inspection came to pass. The Corpsman and a Drill Instructor would closely stare, apparently looking for critters and odd social afflictions. They also asked very private questions and laughed at our physiques. Every time I passed into another room, some smarmy Drill Instructor would ask in a faux-kindly way, "Is there anything you forgot to tell the processors at the Armed Forces Entry Station, hmm? "Maybe a small arrest that nobody would give a crap about, or that you like (Insert foul innuendo about a person's orientation), hmmm?"

"Go ahead and tell us now if you fibbed about anything, anyway. "You won't be in any trouble... Just get it off your chest son..."

I saw about five privates vanish after they admitted to whatever. One guy was in tears as he admitted he had no High School Diploma. The Drill Instructor laughed. We nervously giggled.

The next day we repeated the first morning's fun, only we got to bed at 2130 and had a bit more sleep. This time we retook the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. This was to ensure some morons didn't use a "Ringer" to take the test for them.

As if being in Marine Boot Camp was some place a rational person would want to be.

I wound up having to take an extra test regarding languages. Apparently I displayed some accidental linguistic talent I was unaware of. But they caught it. They were aware of everything. That afternoon, a couple more young Privates had vanished away from our squad bay. We were down to about forty five recruits and I wondered if I would also be disappeared, too.

No worries. The next morning we continued processing as usual. The funny thing was that we didn't get punished too much, maybe ten push ups as a group and that was about it. We didn't get yelled at too much, either. I was wondering if the Marine Corps had relaxed and that boot camp would be like the Sea Cadet boot camp I had just gone through six months prior. Oh, how nice it would be that the Marine Corps had stepped up to the Twentieth Century, Age of Aquarius and all that! My nerves were on edge and I was scared.

I had good reason to be scared. On the fifth day, we woke up and repeated the routine; On the road for chow at the foot prints, eat, come back and sweep and swab...

Something was different. The nice Drill Instructor came back and told us to pack our seabags with our blankets and sheets. While we were in the midst of doing exactly that, there was a faint rustle in the wind. It was like the temperature just dropped and the air pressure was falling, too. Storm warning?

Four very hard-bodied Drill Instructors with tightly-tailored  khaki shirts and green trousers came flying into the squad bay with a new kind of fury... It took all of us by surprise as things and bodies began to take flight around us!


And so on. There was more but it would all be repetitive, you get the picture.

Actually, I kind of condensed those first few lines. There was an endless staccato of resourceful and articulately clever cursing. We tried to get on the road with our gear but we kept getting kicked and shoved down the street. There were officers watching, to make sure nothing got too out of hand but the many Drill Instructors were pretty much free to kick and curse us down a quarter mile to our new barracks. Fortunately, we were given a ground floor squad bay so no one was hurt on the stairs. It really was an incredible clusterf&*; well, you know what!

Our particular crowd seemed to swell as additional recruits from other barracks mixed in with our group. A Series of Four Marine Recruit Platoons were formed at that moment. We were the first Series for the new year, and our group was it. I found myself in Platoon 3001 and the others were Platoons 3002, 3003 and so forth.

Once we were herded indoors we were assigned thrown by our racks and a roll call was ordered. We had to stand in front of our rack (actually at the head of the rack, facing the other row of privates) with our arms held high, like we were surrendering. We had to count off by numbers. The count would start at one end and circle around. I think I was number 15, or something like that. At the end of the counting (Which took about an hour and a half, really!) Us Privates had to say, "Sir, the count on deck is 59 Recruits, Sir!"

Afterwards, we were invited back out on the road, to form up. Well, that didn't work so well, so we were asked to go onto the dirt at the side of the road. The dirt was sort of soft, and the dirt part was separate from the grass part. In fact, the dirt part was Platoon Shaped. With room for about 60 Marine Corps recruits to frolic in.

We learned about "Bends and Thrusts" and "Lean and Rest", which was usually accompanied by "Down Up... Down Up!" Also, there was another fun thing called Leg Lifts. We sometimes were instructed to either throw dirt at our neighbor (That is the precise terminology!) Or make a dust cloud by blowing into the dirt while relaxing in the Lean and Rest Position.

The dirt area became known as "The Pit". And when we were allowed back inside later, they let us drink some water. I never thought that the taste of something so plain and common could be so delicious. From now on, anything we ate or drank was strictly monitored. As was everything else for the next eleven weeks, especially bathroom breaks.

Oh well, enough of that. I survived. The trick was not to get noticed.  At least not in a negative way.

Into the gym and later I will do some shopping for wine and foods that are going on sale at a local supermarket chain. Said chain is closing down for good in Florida, the economy is still doing its best to stay on the ropes.

Have a fine day and remember that someone in the Armed Forces would gladly switch places with you!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Apparently, the dead vote without id!

In New Hampshire.


Always wonder why I get treated like poorly when I vote. I guess I do not look literate enough to vote properly.

Well, anyway... Got the Barco back late yesterday afternoon. Left for the home dock immediately after because the water was ultra calm. I figured I could get her back and tied up faster by myself rather than wait for an extra hand.

Paid the bill from Sadler's this morning at 0900, sharp. Fourteen hundred big ones for the install of the fridge, repairs to side door, repacking shaft glands, repair of vacuum head system and finally recharging the forward A/C with freon. Add the nine hundred bucks for 240 gallons of diesel and we have a large hole in the budget for January!


Ah well, could be having to pay for something else like legal fees or bail. Which is why we keep the Barco the way we do; it keeps us out of trouble! Like a home away from home, especially when we have had wine with dinner at the club.

The fuel price seems rough, but we only refuel about twice a year, at the most.

A set of sails for a comparable sized sailboat would run about 14K for main, and two head sails. Sails last about eight to ten years, so you can see for yourself that the propulsion costs are fairly even. And yes, I know the arguments for and against. This is my ship, and I'm the Captain!

Full speed ahead on the fun, ok?

Today, the winds have been very brisk and we waited for some showers which haven't materialized. Good thing I moved the boat in yesterday's calm. Looking at the weather map, looks like the approaching cold front is at Tallahassee and heading this way.

Not sure if we will actually get out for this weekend, playing it by ear and staying warm are the priorities!

See you later!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Back again!

Survived the great weekend, the weather was top notch with temps reaching 78 yesterday! Even better with a full moon with clear skies to enjoy both night and day here in sunny Florida.

The Barco remains at Sadler Point undergoing maintenance, I hope to get her back in the next couple days.

Here's a new one for you readers; This morning, I heard what sounded like cats scurrying about in the billiards room. I looked and found that there were no cats present. Just a lot of rustling in the closed up fireplace, up the flue. It was getting pretty frantic up there and I could tell that either a raccoon or squirrel was trying to get out.

I went online looking for a solution. There was even a phone number for a local critter gitter, but I don't feel like paying an outrageous amount of bucks to some 20 year old to remove squirrels.

There is a mound of boating detritus by our air conditioning unit, outside. There is an anchor, two kayaks, two rubber dingys, and a dock box. And a fifty foot length of 3/4 inch anchor line.

Hmmm. Plenty of line for what I need!

Went into the garage, acquired a ladder (blew the dust off!), a broom (for whacking any larger creatures like possums or coons) and for weight, found a two inch zinc which was perfect for lowering into the chimney.

Climbed up on the roof for the first time, walked carefully to the chimney. I had no idea that our chimney was made out of galvanized steel. I thought it was white brick.

Anyway, got to the chimbley and lowered about fifteen feet of line with the zinc tied in a big not at the bottom. Tied off the line to the chimbley itself, and departed for twenty minutes to give any shy creatures an opportunity to free themselves.

Noise had vanished when I returned to the billiards room. I waited a little longer to be sure before returning to retrieve the line and weight.

Good deed for the day has been accomplished, I also did the gym and followed with the daily 20 minutes on the stair machine. Next up is a trip to the Barco and then returning to my studies this afternoon.

I think a trip up the St Johns river will be mounted this three day weekend. Especially if the weather stays as nice as it has, because someone has to do it!

Speaking of Squirrels...

The Suit's are picking up the bill!

I love this group!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Update on Maintenance

Progress is being made. I stopped by this afternoon to check out the status and wound up being pulled into the effort. The Yard people were unable to remove and replace the fridge at the current dock so they had me move the boat over to the haulout berth. Took a few minutes to untie and move from the dock, muscle the Barco about to the right and move about 25 feet. What makes all this interesting is that the space between piers is about 50 feet and the Barco is 40 feet long. That means nerves of steel as we back up, stop, twist to the right, all while the current is merrily pushing to the east.

I looked adequate as a boat handler. Had I not appeared, the yard crew was going to use lines to warp the boat around. My way saved about an hours work.

Looks like something is missing...

Had to remove the side access to increase the clearance.

Looks like four monkeys doing something unnatural to a football!

Without a scratch or dent!

Got it?
One thing I appreciate is that there are four guys to help muscle that thing in. Once inside, they had to lift and clear a countertop and wiggle around until it was just right. There are some alterations that will happen to the fridge closet, the clearances are an inch or two off. That's why I hired the pro's. They have an awesome set of tools and a bit of experience to get the job done right.

Great way to spend an afternoon in the Florida sunshine, at a working marina!

Have a wonderful Friday evening!

Bad old jokes

Stolen from here

Four workers were discussing how smart their dogs were.

The first was an IBM employee,
who said his dog could do math calculations.
His dog was named "T-Square"
and he told the dog to go to the blackboard and draw a square,
a circle, and a triangle, which he did with no trouble.

The Ford employee's dog was named "Slide Rule."
He was told to go fetch a dozen cookies,
bring them back,
and divide them into 4 piles of 3 each,
which he did.

The AT&T company employee said that was pretty good,
but he told his dog "Measure" to go buy a quart of milk
and pour seven ounces into a 10 ounce glass.
He did it perfectly.

The three of them agreed that their dogs were pretty smart,
and they all waited to see what the City of Jacksonville employee's dog,
who was named "coffeebreak" could do.
At the snap of his owners fingers,
"coffeebreak" strolled over,
and ate the cookies,
drank the milk,
screwed the other 3 dogs,
claimed he injured his back,
filed a workman's compensation form,
and went home on sick leave.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Prepare the Barco for getting underway!

We are off at 0745ish for Sadler Point Marina. A new refrigerator has arrived and needs to be professionally installed. There are a few other tasks (Head system, forward A/C) that will also be checked and tweaked by the technicians, too. After the work is complete we will head over to another marina to load on about 300 gallons of diesel.

It is 35 degrees outside, so now I must rustle up some thermals and a warm jacket. I hate doing anything in the cold.

Have a nice thursday!


Ok, back at home at 1100. It. Was. Freezing. At 0730 at the marina! I looked over the dock and waited for Barco Crew Phil to come pick me up at Sadlers. I was not too keen on going out in 35 degrees temps, but I was committed. Got to the boat, fired up the motors on the Barco at about 0800 and let those babies warm up for twenty minutes. The Generator was a real trooper and ran the A/C system which has reverse cycle heat. Blessed heat.

Underway at 0825, we backed slowly into Pirates Cove, made the clearing turn and opened the throttles to 1800 rpm, which drove us at a bit more than eight knots. There was no one else on the water but us freezing cats! It was so cold, I could not roll up the eisenglass flaps for visibility up in the fly bridge. I had to hold the flap up like a moron while I steered the boat away from the shore.

The chat subject de jure was Phil's upcoming trip to the Bahamas and South Florida. A much warmer subject, to be sure and full of what if's and what to do's. Wish I could go...

We passed through the half opened Ortega River Bridge and chatted amiably with the workers on the scaffold who were pretending to work as we passed, slowly.  About five minutes later we were greeted by one of the Sadler Point employees who was nice enough to grab lines as we docked.

The sun was definitely over the yard arm as we tidied up for work. In fact, it was getting down right warm and I wish we could have stayed out for a bit more of boating on the empty river.

'Til later...

Let's have some Música Nueva (from 1955) from Cuba to warm us up!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy Birthday to Mom J. Cat!

I will be taking Mom to the club for lunch.

Lets hope Mom has a good lunch and a happy birthday, too!