Monday, July 30, 2012

Nothing notable to report

Fairly quiet weekend. We did not take the boat out, our new bimini is not ready to be installed, maybe in a couple days.

We will have a blue colored top.

One does not boat in Florida without having cover above your noggin. The sun will wreck you physically in a couple hours, we know this from experience. I sewed a bimini seam that was twelve feet wide on a sunny afternoon in August, by hand. That memorable day is seared into our consciousness.

I take the moment to talk about sun covers because the Barco Crew was invited to a friend's home on Black Creek. They have a little cottage and two docks on the Creek with about seven acres to keep it all cozy. Our hosts were disappointed we arrived by car, but when we did get there the heavens had opened up with a couple of inches of rain, so it goes. It was a great evening of steaks, three bottles of wine and all of our admiration for such a wonderful home.

I suppose most of you are watching the Olympics, I relented and watched a couple hours last night. Our women's gymnastics team look very formidable. When they walk and get to their business, I feel afraid for no reason in general. These young ladies look tough and smart. Kind of like a group of Air Force Fighter Pilots;  Good looking but having no fun of any kind, allowing no buckles to be swashed. You know, like sharks. Go swash buckles on your own time, Bub. Except for the fun one, Gabby. She seems to have a real nice smile to go with her talent. Go USA!
Do not tease or mess with these athletes.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

this is a real nice video I received via email

I know it bleeds over the blog boundary; but who cares? These are wonderful views from Fiji and Tonga. I need to get some bucks together and bring my readers with me to dive in Tonga and Fiji. I just need about $800K.
 Click on the video and watch full screen. Sorry about the ads, I don't own this.

Thanks, Jack!

Better yet, watch the video in You Tube and use the whole screen thing.

Forever Alone

She Who WIll Be Obeyed is traveling and I hold the watch, alone. (Along with all Cat Support duties).

Two of us drove to the airport, yesterday. One of us returned home.

View from the Spousal Unit's room, taken by iPhone.

So it was time to go find out what was wrong with the Mom's air-conditioning water leak. It seems that the condensate drain was clogged, so I (Not knowing what really to do) took off the drain pipe and looked for anything obvious. Nope. I tried blowing into the pipe, but there is no way I have enough hot air to dislodge what ever is blocking. Time to call the experts!

A phone call was made and I was given the dreaded "Between ten and two" arrival time for the technician.

The tech arrived near twelve and he concurred with my assessment. Then he opened up the access to the cooling coil and showed me the mold and junk that had accumulated on the coils. Yuck.

"That will be $149.00 to unclog the drain and $189.00 to clean and unclog your coils".

Since I was paying, I made sure to watch every move the thief Technician made. I will not pay for such services again.

"Brian" was a nice enough fellow, he knew he was over charging me and I knew, too. So when he suggested I do something I gently suggested back that he was doing the job and I was studying his methods.

We got along fine.

Anyway, he took a compressed air can over to the air handler unit (It sure looked like a container of refrigerant, R-34 or something like it), placed the hose into the drain and sealed it with his hand. He asked me to confirm if anything comes out of the drain. I hear the sounds of compressed gasses going into the pvc pipe.

Yep. Brown sludge accompanied by an equally evil smell defecates forth from the drain. Yuck. You will have to imagine it all on your own. Brain bleach, please!

Brian puts the pipe back together with the drain pan and tells me that the cleaner used on the coils will drain and clean out the pvc pipe.

So the tech uses pressurized gases when he should have used an air compressor... Fine with me. I am mentally formulating my plan to go to Harbor Freight Tools and buy a $39.00(with coupon from NRA Magazine) compressor, since I will not be able to use expensive refrigerant to blow my pipes out, next time.

Brian takes out a plastic pump bottle (Like the kind the bug spray/fertilizer comes in), fills half way with a cleaner from Ace Chemicals called "Eco-Kleen" and the rest with water. He starts off by spraying a bit on the dirty coils and using a dog tick comb to pry out the yucky molds and other junk from the delicate metal blades.

This part of the effort took about 25 minutes. After the gunk was removed, the spray jug was used to get the detergent into the coils and deep cleaning began in earnest. Another 20 minutes went into that.

After the coils were completely clean, Brian began to clean my wallet with his bill. It came out to about $370 bucks, even after I presented coupons for a discount. I hate to pay but the job needed doing. The good result is that I know how to perform the same task, too.

Education is indeed expensive!

Today I will stop by the Mom-dwelling and make sure the a/c system is still running well. The reason for using professional services is that I don't mind calling them back in to uncluck anything they have clucked.

 Have a nice day out there!


Who am I kidding; I am the Cat Litter Custodian, even when the Spousal Unit graces our stately manse!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Another Wednesday. Comes after Tuesday, every week, Boss.

Had a great visit to the Wine Club last night, we tested out six Spanish wines, none were bad. We had so much fun that we went down to dinner with two other couples and opened three bottles with dinner, just to show what partying bad-dasses we were! I like that a Spanish wine is usually priced at a level any wino can appreciate, say fourteen bucks with dinner. Muga/Muga/Muga!

Interesting folks dined with us, as I was saying. One feller, by the name of Butch has a 62 foot trawler that he is trying to sell. I kept trying to induce him to let me motor the boat to Australia, where he will probably get a good price. New adventures are needed!

Anyway, Butch was a helicopter pilot in the Southeast Asian area back in the day (1970/71) and had some very interesting stories of his impromptu visit with new friends from the North of Vietnam, who happened also to be visiting mutual friends in a place called Laos... Click on that link! All I can say is that I am unworthy...

The other couple are about the same age, except they worked at UPS for many years and made a good life for themselves without having made any overseas pre-paid trips on behalf of our country. Interesting to see the military/non military perspectives from 1970. Both couples did well for themselves in retirement yet had such divergent lifestyles previously. The non military Gent (Who is a great American, too!) has privately told me that he regrets not having served because of missing out on adventures and that's how things were back then. I believe him.

Some get to serve and some wish they did, it's the American privilege. Just working, paying taxes, being a good citizen is really all that society can expect from each of us.

After many great conversations and fun attempts at humor, we finally broke up to go home at nine-thirty after dinner was finished.

What did I do with the rest of the day?

Previous to all the evening activities, I spent the afternoon updating our computer and its operating system. I have owned this particular machine for the past three years and it still has relatively modern processor speed. The Mac's at the NEX are running at 2.7 Ghz and our machine is a 2.8 Ghz. So why buy a new machine when I can just upgrade the software?

I did not know I could do that. I thought that a computer that is three years old is hopelessly obsolete, but not so on Mac. Another thing; I thought the Mac upgrades would be like PC, where the cost of the software would be in the hundreds of bucks.

"Nope", sayeth the Apple Person at the NEX. "Get Snow Leopard, load it, update it and then download Lion from the Web. "Get this 2 Terabyte hard drive to go with your system and you will be good to go."

Wow! I was set to spend three grand on a new computer and all I had to do was spend $60 on software and $289 for the HUGE hard drive. Too cool!

That was my afternoon...

Thanks to Butch and all his associates (and their parents), I get to live in a great country where my troubles are software/hardware related. For that matter, even those Americans who served in the corporate world helped make our homeland a better place for all and where even foreign illegals get a pretty good break towards a decent life.

I am like a fat tick hanging on a lazy dog, oh yes, life be good!

Have a great rest of the week, we hope to be on the water soon.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Mid Summer Doldrums.

No wind, lots of heat and a general lethargy is dragging the Barco Crew. I am not complaining, just moving a bit slower these past few days.  Nothing really of note is happening save that the Spousal Unit is on her last week of physical therapy, which is a good thing. She is still kind of sore and not walking at 100%, but this is a long process. I'm thinking we will be back doing the neighborhood walks within three or four months. The pain is the sort that is from healing and stretching, not the intense hurt of arthritic bones grinding to powder with each step. There is happiness today, especially on the ankle front!

We stopped by the Barco on Saturday intending to stay the weekend, just the two of us. It was hot and breezy, so we stopped by the Club to say hello. Nobody we knew was there so I had four cokes and we decided we were too bored to stay aboard after all. So we went home and watched movies at the house. That idea saved us from buying dinner and drinks at the club which would have been as pricey as a hundred bucks, or so.

Friday was the "Scratch Off Coupon" day at the Base NEX. So I got a Apple TV converter and a 2 Terrabyte hard drive for our computer. The Apple TV thing allows us to use Netflix on our LCD TV and watch movies and old shows right from our internet. Adam 12 for everyone! DirectTV will be reviewed over the next couple months and we will at the very least get rid of the HBO/Showtime. It gets wearisome to pay $143.00 a month and have hardly anything worth watching. There is a Hulu Plus that we will review, too. Technology is a great thing, but are we happier now? Back in the 70's, we had maybe ten channels on the TV and watched about the same amount of crap as today, but those ten channels were free.

Speaking of Adam 12; We spent Friday night watching the first three episodes. I loved that show as a kid, but the stories and acting still hold their own in this "enlightened age", 43 years later. Jack Webb stunted script delivery and all.

No plans for the next five weeks. I feel like we are stranded on a sand bar.

Maybe it would be better if we could all be Somewhere Over China?

Have a nice week!

Monday, July 9, 2012

We are back.

Sorry for the long break.

Among other stuff going on, I have been having problems with Google and blogger, (made the mistake of linking an account with a google account and lost access to my Youtube account!) I show up as "Unknown". Net result is that I do not like Google.

Soooo, after the storms finally dried up at the end of June, I began sanding teak rails and preparing to refinish those rails on the Barco. I did not want to be out front of the Yacht Club with ugly bright work. The air temps have been averaging above 98 degrees which is not a good way to introduce brushed on varnish to finish that sanded wood. The varnish will dry too quickly and not be properly absorbed by the wood so a new plan was formulated on the run. I found a product from Flood (CWF/UV) that sealed, waterproofed and protected the wood from the ultraviolet sun rays. Our sailing friend Roger was nice enough to brush on a couple coats while I prepared the onboard machinery for extended running. Man it was hot in that engine compartment!

The teak rails came out looking outstanding!

We loaded up the boat with our luggage and went to dine at the club on Tuesday night. Mom was coming by with her neighbor so there was sure to be a good time. (Three bottles of Pouilly-Fuisse with dinner...!) It was indeed, a long evening. Why not? We were on holiday time, baby!

The Barco had a plentitude of visitors for watching the fireworks that evening. It was great having three families on board with front row/no obstruction views of the fireworks display. The long and hot afternoon took a big toll on me (No, I was not over served with barley-pops!) and I was exhausted by the time the show was over and I was snoozing in the rack by ten o'clock. We were heading out to Fernandina the next morning and I wanted to be ready!

It was a beautiful and clear sunshiny morning when we slid out of our berth at seven o'clock. Off to Fernandina!

Luck was on our side and we found the railroad bridge in the "up" position at downtown, no delays for our transit.

We made it to Fernandina Beach Marine in seven hours, with an escort of dolphins surfing along side for a goodly part of the run. Once at the dock we refueled with 170 gallons of diesel and we were soon tied up for the night. After a nap in the air conditioned sleeping areas, we headed out to find dinner.

Roger was kind enough to treat us to a wonderful dinner at Joe's Bistro. Joe's is a block from the Marina and this was important because someone special to me is still a bit shaky on her ankle and does not have the range to walk long distances. But the food was great and we really enjoyed prompt attentiveness of our server. The Chef even made up a great cheese platter to go with our dessert Port.

We walked back to the boat and found that our dock was a promenade for the dating crowd. We settled back on the Barco and watched the happy couples cruise by. Until the mosquitoes convinced us to retire below in the cool air of the Barco's Salon. I do enjoy trawler living, it's so easy and comfortable!

I was up and untying the Barco before zero seven hundred Friday morning. The tide was gently heading out and we were being pushed from the dock and other boats. So why not leave, right?

First, I had to carry our trash bag to the dumpster. Regular tourist-y types were filtering on to the dock and I politely said "Good Morning" to one gent as I made my way around them. In fact, I noticed that some of those folks were worried that I might be trying to cut my way through their now forming line to the charter fishing boats.

Heh. I brought my own boat to this rodeo!

I walked back to the Barco, took off all but one line, fired up the diesels, climbed off and untied the last line and shoved us off, and I scurried back to the helm and performed a reversed 270 degree turn with our boat, turning the bow to the South a mere 20 yards from the tourist onlookers. I made eye contact with the one fellow I greeted and was most satisfied by the look of envy he glared at me.

"My boat is bigger", I smugly thought. The Spousal Unit wondered why I was laughing while performing the previously described maneuver, and after I explained the situation, the whole of the Barco Crew was feeling the same giddiness as the Skipper.

What a great way to start the trip. Off to St Augustine we were!

It was a long run down the Intracoastal. We made fair time and it took about seven hours from dock to dock. The City Marina is efficient, friendly and expensive. $190.00 for two nights, but the location is worth it. We had our post trip naps, showered and set off for the Tropical Tradewinds bar... Our old friend Mark Hart starts his Happy Hour set at five o'clock, but this time, we won't stay for the whole set. We'll go get dinner afterwards. Yeah, that's the plan!


We walked into the bar and Mark immediately called out my name and greeted us all. Not a good start, this usually leads to too much fun. There was a special guest sharing the happy hour set with Mark by the name of Jim Carrick. Oh, what a great talent... we stayed for All. Of. The. Set.

We had to. When talent is being show cased on a small stage, one feels obligated to at least enjoy it, right? (I did not know that Jim Carrick is all over youtube; Check it out for yourself.)

Jim Carrick was nice enough to briefly chat with us and we had no idea of his history. I really enjoy the great people we always seem to meet at St Augustine. We were sure to buy a couple cd's for later.

The Crew departed and were back aboard the Barco by 9:30 and I was in the snooze mode soon after. We still had Saturday to endure so we needed to be rested up!

Saturday, we had an appointment with a Sailmaker who was going to estimate a job for the Barco; We need a new Flybridge Bimini and enclosure. Lots of blue cloth and plastic windows for to keep the rain off our pretty heads and faces. Pat, from Gioia Sails was early and he was onboard at a little after eight o'clock. Good thing I had a cup of coffee and was relatively clear headed.

After the terms were accepted, Pat took a down payment and was on his way. Roger and Myself took up  a bucket and scrub brushes and washed the muck off the boat. About an hour and a half later we had cleared most of the dirt. It was now super hot and time to get ready to find a dark place to dine on lunch. We accomplished that at the Athena. Great food!

No trip to St Augustine is complete without the walk down George Street. We went direct to the Rooster Bar. Sangria and many games of "Shut The Box" were on tap with the nice Museum bar tenders in period dress who showed us how the patrons of that bar may have entertained themselves back in the early days of St Augustine.

Run on sentences always help carry me away, yes they do!

Anyway, back to the American Legion Post 37 for a couple beers and some bar snacks. Then we returned to watch sunset from the deck of the Barco Sin Vela. Our day was wrapped up with burgers served with champagne, a fine way to end Saturday. It was an early night because we would depart by zero seven hundred, with the outgoing tide.

Not much to report on the Sunday ride home; It was quiet, clear and beautiful out and we were happy to be the only boat on the water until ten o'clock. I made sausage sandwiches and Roger poured the champagne and orange juice (Bucks Fizz) which was a fine way to greet the warm sunshine.

We bucked the tide for a good portion of the day until we reached the St Johns River, and we were swept all the way through downtown and back to our dock at the Florida Yacht Club. Seven hours it took to travel and we tied up at precisely two o'clock, on the dot.

A great week, for sure. That is why I didn't post any blog entries, hope you all accept my excuse!

Moving North at a nice clip.

You've heard the terms Gaggle of Geese, Murder of Crows and so forth. We call this a "Condo of Egrets".

Always helping.

Watering hole on Second Street, Fernandina Beach.

Joe's Bistro Menu

Otto is driving...

Nice houses on water

Great view of our past.

St Augustine on late Saturday afternoon. 

Playing the old sailor game, "Shut the box".

Period dress of bartender from 400 years past.

George Street, St Augustine.

American Legion

Legion Hall.

Heading back to the Barco Sin Vela.

A1A Alehouse.

Heading Home.


Ernest Borgnine was apparently the real deal as a person, even though he was a well known actor for so many years. What a guy! I hope I can be as spry into my nineties. (Ok, just making it to the nineties with any kind of decent health would work for me!)

I stole a link to this video from a commenter (Usual Suspect61) at Cdr Salamander's site;

Fairwinds, Gunners Mate 1/c Ernest Borgnine, USN!