Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy End of December!

By the Cement Pond...

We celebrated pre-new year's eve/evening by ruining the diet I've been following religiously for the past few weeks. I did this by eating pizza and having some beer in flagrant disregard of Dr Atkin's rules for creative dining. Afterwards, I closed last night's victual debauchery with an evening under the stars, setting by the pool warmed by fire along with my favorite partner in crime!

The flame is catching...

Conflag by the concrete cistern

That tall mug on the little table is mine, filled with a delicious Sierra Nevada Pale Ale poured freshly from the keg. The Spousal Unit is not dieting and does not partake in barley pops, so she prefers grapes that have been smashed and left in a dark place to brood... alone, in a bottle.

Fast forward to now;  Thinking the worst about my recent behavior, I checked my tonnage when I rose this morning and found I lost a pound! She Who Will Be Obeyed also checked hers and reported the same so now we have decided that we should write the definitive diet book called, "The Pizza and Beer Diet; A real world solution to your weight loss angst".

Who's with me on that title? The book will practically write itself!

Someone has to have fun, ok? My recently passed friend, Buck, would be reading this in Portales now (freezing his skinny butt off!) and would comment about this matter and be in full agreement and possibly add some bit of wisdom from his years of having pursued that same objective.

So go out (or stay home), make yourself an enjoyable moment today and I hope all of you who read this remain in good health and cheer.

Next year is gonna be the best!

Barco Sin Vela II, Out.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Boating Sunday

The morning fog was lifting so I decided to bring the Barco to Lamb's and get a diesel fill up. Fuel was down to $3.15, so I thought I would get a couple hundred gallons.

Untied the Barco and everything looked clear so I was underway, solo.

Looks nice, right?

I am wearing a personal floatation device for safety.

Still clear...

Uh, oh. Fog!

Entering the cloud.

Still looks good back at home plate.


Sounding the horn every two minutes.

Downtown Jax.

Bridge is getting clear, finally.

An hour later.

Much better.
I left the Yacht Club and entered some thick fog. I sounded my horn which was a surprise to the anchored fishing boat I passed in the soup.

Slowed the boat to idle and continued North at five knots, doing a prolonged blast on the horn to alert anyone nearby. I did hear some small outboard motors, but never saw them. They heard me, though.

After about fifteen minutes I made a turn to the southwest to enter the Ortega River. I did not see the bridge until I was about a hundred yards away, and  the fog completely lifted as I passed under the bridge. A few moments later I was pumping fuel at Lamb's and was lightened in the wallet by about $802 bucks. It was a great ride back.

Barco is now ready with about 400 miles worth of fuel, let's go boating!

See you later...

Barco Out.

Friday, December 26, 2014

St Augustine run

Beautiful Floriday, outside. Went for a lunch trip to St Augustine and enjoyed a fine Greek meal at the restaurant next door to the Catholic Church.

This is a photo of an Australian Pie Shop which is next door to the Greek joint.

Aussies LOOOVE their pie shops. I've never understood the whole thing about pies, but I don't care for pasties, either. Meat pies are not my idea of food.

Check out the blue sky! So after lunch we drove North on State Road A1A to U.S. 90, made a left and headed home. Nice little road trip along the beach.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve. (Not the blonde woman in Walnut Creek)

Much action in the Barco house; cakes, banana breads, fancy foods and a dinner engagement will fill our 24 hour period!

The following has nothing to do with Christmas and everything to do with my desire to get back out in the world.

This photo depicts a part of Beveridge Reef, one of my favorite places on our wonderful planet. At the very minute the picture was taken... This was back in August of 2010 aboard a CSY 44 called Beaujolais...  I was facing Mike, skipper of Callisto (Who took the shot while perched atop his mast). To give you some perspective, I was on the bigger boat on the right and seated in the cockpit under the green awning. This all happened in Beveridge Reef, an atoll about five days to the west of the Cook Islands. We anchored there for four days until our beer and wine ran out. As usual, click to embiggen.

There were three boats in the whole reef and we were literally in the middle of nowhere, anchored in 40 feet of water protected by a coral reef, barely. We all had a wonderful time spending an evening on each boat sharing spirits and potent potables.

I'm posting this because it is cloudy and miserable outside, and I'd rather be there enjoying warm breezes from the east and the bright sunshine that the tropics endure daily. Besides, isn't nice to go back to our happier times?

Someone might recommend we start a Kickstart campaign to get this ship afloat? I need about $900K and we can be there in six months. Arrrgghhh!

Back to reality!

The winter solstice is a time to review how lucky we are to have our loved ones close by us and to remember those who cannot be by the hearth and heart. Give a thought to those in the sandbox who would rather be home rather than fighting barbarians who would destroy our way of life.

We at the Barco Sin Vela are hoping you all have a healthy and happy Christmas and Boxing Day.

Barco, out.

P.S. The gym is calling... Time to work off all this food!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Just an ugly Monday.

Back again, for the heck of it.

Nothing really to note, the weather is as rotten as Florida weather can be, about 62 degrees and rainy. Good thing I don't really care about shopping, because i don't even want to go out.

'Ceptin' to cook the chicken on the grill. It is roasting as we sit here and write/read.

The next Barco trip is planned for the weekend of the 17th, in which we will plod on down to St Augustine for an RO3N. I expect to make up for all the beer I haven't been drinking this past three weeks.

The only thing I have accomplished recently was an electrical course that was provided by the good folks at the U.S. Power Squadron. Did you know that I am an Advanced Pilot in said Power Squadron, too?


Soooo, I begin the next phase, known as the Junior Navigator?! course on the 20th of January. They will take three months to teach us how to use the Sun with our sextant to do a Noon sight. If I'm good, they will let me take the next course. (I did all this stuff 16 years ago and we did it in one course instead of two) Power Squadron does things differently. And if I want to take the course I have to do things slowly and in the manner of that fine organization.

Dislikin' rules. That. Would. Be. Me!

After the trip in January, there is the hope of going South again for a Keys run. This can happen if I can gather a small crew to come along on that fantastic voyage, maybe looking at two or three weeks underway. March, sometime. All depends on crew. Shows how much I am caring about the upcoming course.

The chicken came out perfect. She Who Will Be Obeyed, Mao and I enjoyed a very moist and justly roasted bird. I chased mine down with water, just like the cat since we are on the Wagon, lately.

It's nice to go to bed and wake up feeling the exact same way... Tired.

Still got the 'Exile in Portales' on my mind. Gonna be a long time wrapping my head around the fact that Buck is gone. I'm not moping around, just noting the void in the web-o-sphere.

Carry on out there, hoping every one stays safe and dry!

Barco Out.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


I know it's been a while, again.

Much has been happening here at home and abroad, at least personally. My close Blog friend Buck took a trip elsewhere and will not be coming back.

I guess we all have to face that final day, he knew it most and mentioned it a few weeks back in a semi-serious manner. I suppose we all get the word of finality, sometimes we accept it and acknowledge that message, sometimes we don't.

Buck Pennington was an Air Force retiree living out his days in Portales,  New Mexico and he ironically called it an exile's existence. His blog covered many subjects, most of them fascinating and easy to read. His favorite stuff to chat about were his two sons (Active Duty in the Navy and Air Force), Buck living the good life, cigars, booze and finally, the Red Wings. Here is the title of his blog


As for me? We are doing exceedingly well. The kegerator is full of premium beer, the wine locker is abundantly stocked and I have my favorite person hanging around with me, helping me serve the cats.

Buck always expressed his envy for all the blessings I enjoy in the present, and that he was vicariously living through my not-so-humble stories. He always commented on my posts and was ready with encouragement for me to continue with this blog. Buck would be the first to comment on this posting and probably say something like, "Welcome back, I hope to see more postings!... or "Suck it up, bovine excrement happens...!"

I hope he has found exactly what he hoped to find in the end.

I know Buck was Air Force, but that seemed appropriate.

Barco Sin Vela, out.

P.S. Maybe I will have more to say in the near future. Happy Christmas and holiday season, to all my reader(s)!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

McGirts Creek

Time for some rural boating!  We toodled up a small creek during an afternoon of boating in NE Florida, Bill invited us to take a ride while we were in the parking lot at our club, heading for the Barco. Why not take a ride on someone else's boat and leave the driving to Bill?

McGirt's Creek has been mentioned a few years ago, when we brought the Barco there to test the depths. This time we rode aboard a very fast moving vessel which nimbly navigated the twists and turns of a fairly wild waterway. (Not!)

Plenty of shade kept the 98 degree temperature tolerable and it was a great couple hour journey exploring a waterway we keep overlooking because of its proximity to home base. While cruising the western shoreline, we came upon what appeared to be an unused gubmint dock. We tied up and took a hike to the shore to see what this place happened to be. Turns out to be Ringhaver Park, and it is an eight hundred foot boardwalk we crossed to reach land. No people were nearby so we had the place to ourselves. We might have to visit again in the near future, only we will bring the Barco for the creature comforts we deserve.

Tying up to the dock using the one-and-only cleat.

See you later, alligator!

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Some videos to watch, I put links so you can see them in HD;

Grassy Key

Barrel Roll dolphins from two weeks ago

Morning would. Be fun!

Bonus video from the Nu-Gnu!

Yes, we do have another sailboat. Just because.

Have a nice weekend!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Off to Marathon!

Off and running for Marathon via Card Sound and the Upper Keys.

Phil went back home to act as staff for the kittehs and so the Spousal Unit and myself continued to Marathon, solo. After 24 years of dreaming, scheming, talking and thinking of Keys boating we were finally about to make it all happen. For realz. We even talked excitedly about the thrill of making yet another bucket list item go into the done it file!

We left Key Biscayne early and rode with the rising sun into the main channel southward to Card Sound. I had a feeling of us now moving into the unknown, like entering the Nung river on a quest to find Kurtz. Pretty silly, millions of people have traveled into the waterways surrounding the Florida Keys and we would be no different.

Just stay away from the hard bits.

Traveling in waters no deeper than eight feet with a clear view of the coral bottom is a bit unsettling, but we kept a close eye on the chart plotter backed up by paper charts to make sure we did not have any accidents. I really would be unhappy if I ruined our moment by inattention or negligence!

Around the time we began passing Elliot Key, we heard a fast "Mayday, Coast Guard..." on channel 16. I turned up the volume so we could understand a bit better.

Coast Guard: "Vessel calling Mayday, please identify your vessel and location."

Garbled: "...Sinking, three people...(Garbled) baby..."

Coast Guard: "Vessel calling Mayday, what is your location... Ensure all persons have lifejackets..."

Garbled: "...West of Key Biscayne...(Garbled)..."

Coast Guard: "Pan Pan, Pan Pan, Pan Pan, This is United States Coast Guard Sector Miami... Break. Time Twelve Twenty Universal Coordinated Time. Break. Coast Guard Sector Miami heard a Mayday in Biscayne Bay, West of Key Biscayne. All Stations requested to keep sharp lookout for this vessel, Signed, Commander Coast Guard Sector Miami. Break. This is United States Coast Guard Sector, Miami, Out."

I said my favorite word aloud and we discussed how glad we were to be further along South. Otherwise we would have to help in the search...

"Coast Guard, Coast Guard; This is vessel "Heaven Sent", we have the sinking boat in sight-"

Pandemonium erupts on the VHF with the Coast Guard trying to get through all the chatter of boaters unaware of the drama, making routine calls for 'Radio Check'...

Finally, Coast Guard Sector Key West gets on the line and begins to speak with "Heaven Sent".

CG Key West: (In urgent voice) "This is United States Coast Guard Sector, Key West... Heaven Sent, do you have people in the water in sight?"

Heaven Sent; Female voice, getting instruction from away from the microphone--"...Roger That... Three adults and a baby, near sinking hull. We are moving in to pick them up... This is Heaven Sent".

I can tell you we were glued to the radio!

CG Key West: "How many people are in the water? Life jackets?"

Heaven Sent:  Same voice... "...Roger That... They're all there... three adults and a baby, jackets... we're there, getting them onboard..."

SWWBO and myself were practically high Fiving (I hate auto correct!) at this point. Other than the over use of that "Roger that", nonsense, the rescue was succeeding! How cool is it that a boat named, "Heaven Sent" happens on a boat sinking in Biscayne Bay???

I bet that family that was fortunately rescued stops by church tomorrow and gives thanks for their blessings!

Anyway, cutting a half hour of radio chatter away from this narrative, The gist of it is that the family had just departed Dinner Key for a saturday of fishing on a trailerable boat. I imagine the stern plug was forgotten and when the mishap crew stopped to wet some fishing line they found the water climbing up to their ankles, quickly.  "Heaven Sent" happened upon the scene and then had to spend the rest of the morning answering questions, waiting for Coast Guard assets to arrive and pick up the survivors and assess the mess.

Great story! Glad we were six miles down range and opening, delay free.

Still, how cool is a boat named "Heaven Sent" ???

Back to our own fun!

We arrived at Card Sound an hour later and began to navigate those waters, dodging the fast moving sport fishing boats who had to go fast and wake the crap out of us, regularly. That's what happens on constrained waterways on a weekend. Beautiful waters, skies and weather... We on the Barco just grinned and enjoyed the ambiance of the islands!

View behind us at Key Biscayne YC

Key Biscayne

Miami at 0700.

If we could find a way to get backing for a about $1.5M, we will acquire one of these and be glad to take the financier and one other guest around the world, all costs included. Any takers?

I would like this to be "Next Boat". Nordhavn 62. 

Near Key Largo

Key Largo

US 1 bridge at Key Largo

Anchorage at Largo

Finally out in the open Gulf waters!

Give you a view of the charts of our locale

Anyone recognize these? Where would someone acquire a pair???

Everglades National Park

Crystal clear water is difficult to photograph with new tech cameras. Camera refuses to focus where I want it to.

Flagler's bridges.

Panoramic view. 

I get so sweaty I would remove shoes and let them dry in the sun. Because.

Flats boaters.

The wakes from these boats are a hazard but the boats are pretty good looking  as they haul ass across the waterway.

Birds need a roosting place.

Marathon YC

Tight Quarters

Channel into the club marina

Somewhere in the Keys. Forgot circumstances.

Happy skipper. Notice my new Power Squadron cover?

We anchored for a couple hours for lunch and champagne. And a swim. Not all in that order!

Everglades in the distance


Marathon in the distance

Weather changes in moments down in the Keys. Sunny and bright to cloudy. Just like that.

Morning we departed Marathon

Heading back to Biscayne Bay

We traveled about 50 miles from Key Biscayne to Community Harbor. The next morning we made the final push to Marathon Yacht Club. It was only one night at the destination but the journey was what the trip was all about.

The Florida Keys are a great destination and we shall return.

If anyone would like to chip in for expenses, I would be glad to take the Barco back out for another visit. Round trip from Jax to Marathon ran us about 500 gallons of Diesel, food and  other costs were an additional $600. About $3K in total costs.

Yes, it is cheaper to drive but again, the journey is the reason for the trip!

More later... Barco Out.