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Sunday, November 25, 2012

S/V Blondie-Dog Settles Into Her New Diggs...

Yippers! Dat indeedy be S/V Blondie-Dog now tied up in her new diggs. And I's also gots to tells ya dat she now be a most happy camper cause she now no longer be out at anchor all day by her lonesums' and dat she also now be most content to be among da likes of her own kind.

In facts, I is quites sure dat if all dem 'udder boats tied up at dat same marina were to somehows be poochie-dogs, 'den fer sure 'deyed all be a 'gettin' down right acquainted wit' one another and a studiously sniffin' one anothers' rear-ends by now.

'Cause dat what poochie-dogs do whens 'dey wants to git' to knows one another not dat ya needed my sorry ass to enlighten ya 'bouts sumptin' dat ya already done knows.

Anywho's dis here boat dock be at a fine, upscale marina located out among da mangroves wheres gators have been known to lurk beneath da docks in hopes of making a meal out of some unsuspectin', incautious, snockerd' sailor.

And I also be glads to tells ya 'dat it be a good thing 'dat I no longers be but a vagrant-on-a-boat and a drinkin' me-self silly every  night and sumhows' be a riskin' dat I becomes but a big pile of gator poop come morning time.

Yep, dis here marina be located in da fine respectable community of Goodland... and it be a fine drinkin' community wit' but a small fishing problem and wheres' but a measly can-opener is all ya needs to breaks into yor neighbors' trailer park home.

Yippers... Blondie-Dog be a happy camper now!

Blondie-Dog... woof! sniff, sniff, sniff.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gringo Mountain, Puerto Rico... An Unlikely Retirement Destination.

Nestled somewhere along the the foothills of the El Yunque National Rain Forest in Puerto Rico is Gringo Mountain... at least that was the case some twenty or so years ago when I last resided on that island.

And I'll also have you know that "Gringo Mountain" wasn't by any means a real mountain per se but rather the name given to a mystical community of sorts that happened to be situated on the outskirts of both the town of Ceiba and the now closed Roosevelt Roads Naval Base.

For you see, "Gringo Mountain" also happened to be the place where a noticeable number of retired US Navy personnel independently elected to retire to after putting in a full career with the Navy.

This was all invariably after having made a port-of-call as a swabbie early on in their careers and later silently promising themselves that this would be the place that they'd eventually reside once their stint in the Navy was complete.

And residing in humble dwellings, all invariably topped with corrugated tin roofs and all precariously perched on precipitous landscape were a number of old, grizzled, bearded retired Navy servicemen.

Hence the name of the so-called community, "Gringo Mountain"...

And if perhaps you ever find yourself doing the tourist thing while exploring this region of the island, don't let it be surprise to you if you too fall victim to the allure of its surrounding hills and topography.

And lastly don't let it be a surprise to you if you happen to come across any of these retired Navy personnel hanging out all day at your local marina. For you see, it is these same disgruntled old farts that could regularly be seen sipping cheap, draft beer at the marinas day after day while bellied up to a bar.

As for myself, I'm inclined to believe that topography, no matter how alluring one might believe it to be, is still in its final analysis but a variation of geography and that geography ain't got much to do with contentment unlike being among friends and family.

How else does one explain why some folks still elect to reside in the hinterlands of North Dakota if not for the fact that home is where the heart is.

View of El Yunque National Rainforest in the background.

Marina Puerto Del Rey, Bahia Demajagua, Puerto Rico

Where the Heart Is... a delightfully good read.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Not So Nostalgic Day Trip to Fort Myers Beach and the Fort Myers City Marina...

Fort Myers is but a mere fifty or so miles on up the road from Marco Island not that I expected you to give a rat's ass one way or another. Nevertheless it also happens to be the place where I purchased S/V Blondie-Dog a while back on somewhat of an impulse.

For you see, I happened to be "wandering" about Florida at about that time essentially camping out of my car while driving from one marina to another and checking out boats that I'd found listed on Craigslist.

In hindsight I suppose that it was a pretex for doing something "constructive" while attempting to collect my thoughts and figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life after an abrupt end to a marriage of twenty-five years.

So after inspecting a number of crapped-out, over-priced project boats along the east coast of Florida in addition to passing through a few gawd forsaken communities such as Indiantown, a remote dot on the map where alligators far out number residents, I finally came across a boat that satisfied my criteria insofar as cost and seaworthiness.

Sure there'd be a few issues to deal with such as ground tackle, a topping lift, electrical wiring clanging inside the mast, the head, and finally a compass but other than that she pretty much satisfied my criteria of being fully functional and ready to sail.

And with the boat already having been heavily discounted insofar as price was concerned it was decision time as to whether or not I'd buy the boat.

So there I sat inside my car with a Starbucks coffee in hand overlooking the Calloosahachie River contemplating whether I really wanted to re-live the past and be a live-aboard cruiser again and if not, then where would I go.

An hour had already elapsed past the time that I had committed to call the seller while I sipped the last of my coffee but that's when my phone rang. It was the owner calling me and cheerfully inquiring whether I'd purchase the boat if he dropped the price another thou.

And with me kinda-sorta already having decided not to purchase the boat I proceeded to unilaterally start listing the few things that needed to be done on the boat to make it cruiser-ready. Yet somehow I inadvertently and inexplicably talked myself into buying the boat even though the asking price had never been an issue with me.

If anything, I could re-sell the boat at the same heavily discounted price that I had paid if I were to later to decide that living aboard no longer suited me.

Living aboard would at least give me some time to figure out what exactly it was that I wanted to do with the rest of my life if anything.

Yet the irony of it all, inspite of having had plenty of time to figure out just what it is that I want to do going forward, I'll confess to still being at a loss as to what exactly comes next while tending to an aching heart.

And I'm reminded of the lyrics to an old U2 song... "But I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"...

Fort Myers Beach

City of Fort Myers Marina

Lounge area inside the Fort Myers City Marina.

Yacht Basin

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Visiting the Kennedy Space Center...

My Lady-friend happened to celebrate a birthday the other day yet with her insisting that I not purchase a gift of any sort for her, I was left in somewhat of a quandry wondering just what to get her for her birthday.

Especially since this particular birthday happened to include a number with absolutely no value attached at the end of it thus making it memorable if for no other reason.

But that's when it dawned me that I need not scurry off to a mall to puchase an un-wanted, superfluous, overpriced gift.

Instead I happened to recall the advise of a surfing instructor as related by a radio personality while on vacation in Costa Rica.

That advise was simple yet succint. When on vacation, don't purchase trinkets and such but rather experiences.

For you see, one is soon sure to discard that trinket after but a short while but an experience, whether it be about hiking, sailing, or even taking surfing lessons is sure to last a lifetime.

And with the Kennedy Space Center being but a tank of gas away, tag... that was it, especially since neither of the two of us had ever visited the Center before.

Now I'll be the first to admit that there ain't a damned thing romantic about the Space Center but it was nevertheless as good of an excuse as any for a weekend roadtrip and a brief change of scenery.

And yes, that excursion on out to the Space Coast was indeed rather memorable and we were both glad to have paid homage to all those who dedicated their careers and lives in the pursuit of space exploration.

The Rocket Garden

Gemini Space Capsule

Saturn Five Rocket

And yep... dat indeed be me sticky fingers unsuccessfully attemptin' to swipe a moon rock dat be on display.

Readily visible from a viewing tower are channel markers on a nearby waterway.

It was subsequently explained to me that the Shuttle's solid rocket boosters were transported on barges to the Kennedy Space Center from the state of  Alabama and hence the purpose of having channel markers in what are non-navigable waters to the ordinary sailor..

This nine-ton biosphere resting on a pool of water can be readily moved around with but one hand.

This scaled down version of  the Shuttle was used for training purposes only. The real thing is even larger in size.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

An Unsettling, Nagging Question in the Back of My Mind...

For some compelling reason I've had a nagging, unsettling question a-lingering in the back of my mind that has been a-bugging me for a while now.

For you see, while most recently approaching the Seven Mile Bridge one late afternoon, a fellow in a fishing skiff happened to slowly motor on over astern of Blondie-Dog as she labored against a strong tidal current flowing out from underneath that bridge.

And with my hands fully occupied at that very moment hooking up the fuel tank and cranking up the outboard, I simply wasn't too keen to engage that fellow in conversation while approaching that bridge at a slow crawl. Because the last thing that I needed was have that swift current take a hold of Blondie and push her sideways into one of the many concrete bridge supports while I mindlessly be chattering a way.

So my first inclination was to want to tell that fellow, "Dude... I ain't got time for your sorry ass so save whatever it is that you've got to say, 'cause for one, I'm busy and two, I don't give a rat's ass about any unsolicited commentary that you might feel obligated to send my way.

'Cause the simple truth of the matter is that very seldom if ever does one have a power-boater motor on over while one is under sail unless they want to gripe about something or fling some gratuitous crappy commentary in one's direction.

Yet to my disarming surprise, that fellow with longish, curly sun-bleached locks along with a set of deep dimples in his cheeks and a genuine smile on his face to go along with a deep southern drawl, hadn't come to gripe about anything or even so much as utter an unsolicited suggestion my way.

Instead he had simply called out with words to the effect of, "Don't mind me, I'm just admiring your boat" followed by, "Is that an Intrepid 28?"... and later, "I kinda thought so, they're good boats"...

And after briefly exchanging a pleasantry or two, that easy-going fellow just as quickly waved goodbye, throttled up and pulled away leaving me struggling with the nagging thought that we had some how and some where previously met only that I couldn't exactly pinpoint the when and where.

But it was while sailing underneath the Seven Mile Bridge that it dawned on me that the fellow had to be none other than Gary. The very same gregarious Gary that I'd previously met while aboard S/V BratCat in Key West way back in '88.

Yep... it had to be the same Gary whose trawler was aptly named "Magician" who would entertain one and all with his endless assortment of magic tricks. And it had to be the very same fellow that I'd previously described in a prior blog posting.

Hey Gary? That was really you wasn't it?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Retrieving an Errant Anchor After Hurricane Issac Skirts on by Marco Island...

Tropical Storm Issac may indeed be but an afterthought by now insofar Southwest Florida and the Florida Keys are concerned, but I somehow gotta believe that a good many of us in its path somehow managed to inadvertently dodge an errant bullet of sorts.

Not a real bullet mind you but just a figuratively speaking bullet unlike the ones inflicted upon the dumbass mofo who against his better judgment, managed to somehow piss-off former Vice President Dick Cheney while bird hunting in Texas one weekend awhile back.

Yet I also gotta say that it was quite fortuitive for Marco Island and the rest of Southwest Florida that Tropical Storm Issac elected to scoot further on out into the gulf and not come ashore after crossing over the Florida Keys.

For with me no longer being but a vagrant-on-a-boat and with me now gainfully employed and all, the last thing that I wanted to do was to have to take time off from work and have to deal with securing my boat out at anchor.

But that 'feller sailors is just what I did. I set about purchasing yet another anchor at the last moment 'cause we all know that one simply can't have too many anchors when dealing with hurricanes.

And although S/V Blondie-Dog did happen to have two anchors holding her down in place, I had to believe that a third anchor was imperative because in the not so memorable words of Jimmy Buffet, "You Just Can't Reason With Hurricane Season".

And after fortuitively finding an affordable anchor for sale off of Craig's List, I arranged to buy the darned thing that very same Friday afternoon. I'd worry about getting my ground tackle squared away the following morning. Unfortunately for me however that was when the stress of dealing with an approaching hurricane evidently started to take its toll on me.

For ya see, my heart just hasn't been into sailing for awhile now and I would have much preferred to be doing anything but screwing around with my boat come first thing on a Saturday morning.

So after getting my ground tackle all squared away, I loaded it all up into the dinghy along with my newly purchased anchor and proceeded to "set" the thing after heading on out to the boat.

Unfortunately for me however, that was when I discovered to my sudden dismay that I had failed to cleat off the bitter end of my anchor rode while dinghing out away from Blondie-Dog. My anchor along with twenty feet of chain and one hundred and fifty feet of rode was now silently resting at the bottom in about seven feet of muddy, murky water much to my consternation.

That anchor and stretched out chain and rode might as well have been lying in a good hundred feet of water 'cause the reality of it all is that murky is murky and one simply can't see much beyond one's eye-lids while in murky water.

And never mind whether or not I had invested some four hundred dollars or so procuring that anchor and ground tackle and that a hurricane now happened to be on its way. And never mind whether or not that I for one had previously guffawed and scoffed at other sailors who had in the past failed to cleat off their anchor prior dropping the thing into the water for I had now inadvertently joined an unenviable club.

Yet the most incredulous part of it all is that but a minute or two earlier I had indeed realized that I hadn't cleated off the darned thing to begin with and somehow in my haste I had rationalized, "Oh screw it, I've got plenty of rode up on deck, I ain't got to worry about it."  "I'll cleat it off when I get back."

And with that ignominious blunder I then motored on back to my boat to retrieve my mask and fins along with a dinghy anchor in but a feeble attempt to locate and retrieve my anchor.

Only this time I emphatically made it a point to diligently tie off my rusty dinghy anchor to the transom before dropping it overboard. 'Cause the last thing that I needed to see happen at that very moment was have Issac blow my dinghy clear across the river while I still be in the water furtively searching for my anchor.

Needless to say, locating that errant anchor was like attempting to find the proverbial needle in a hay stack. There wasn't a chance in hell that I'd ever find it. Visibility couldn't have been more than a foot at most in that shallow muddy water. And with Issac scheduled to swing on by sometime later in another day or two, there was little to do but resign myself to the inevitable and call it a day.

Well so much for diligent hurricane preparations... Unfortunately for me however I ain't got no one else to blame for my incautious mistake... and yep, that stupid mistake was all on me and nobody else.

I suppose that's what happens when one is aggravated in the first place for whatever reason. I simply didn't want to be dealing with the task at hand at that particular moment and in my haste made a stupid yet completely avoidable mistake. Oh well... it wouldn't be the first time that I made an impulsive f***-up.

It also goes without saying that I did unleash a few choice words in Issac's direction.... all in Spanish of course so that that mofo might fully understand just what it was that I had to say to his sorry ass... "PuNieTa!!, CaRaJo!!, CoNiO!! were a but a few choice words that readily come to mind at this particular moment not that anybody else could hear me when hurling those unpleasantries into the twenty knot winds.

So that's how spent the next two days or so... pissin' and moanin' about my f***-up all the while contemplating just how I was going to go about retrieving my errant anchor once the weather had finally decided to settled down.

Yep!, 'dat indeed be me decidedly pleased with myself a week later after retrieving my errant anchor with my modified boat-hook contraption.

Well heck, I may even look into patenting the dang thing. And I also gotta believe that it's a good thing that I'd occasionally peruse a random "Popular Mechanics" magazine or two back in the day. 'Cause for sure I wouldn't have come up with my brilliant idea had I not ever put down the Playboy magazine that I'd invariably be holding in one hand back in my youth.

I do nevertheless suppose that my contraption will need a catchy name of sorts to make it some what marketable. Well heck... perhaps West Marine might possibly be interested in displaying my contraption on their shelves. I suppose that I just might call it a "Snag an Errant Anchor Rode Modified Boat Hook". Yep, 'dats a catchy name that ought to work.

Assembly Parts:

one boat hook
fifty feet of clothes line
three garage hooks
two hose clamps
one spring loaded shackle
one set of tool wrenches, (for weighing down the boat hook)
and a good measure of patience

Well after twenty minutes or so of trolling for my anchor rode I hit pay dirt and snagged that mofo. It was a darned good feeling when my dinghy lurched to an abrupt stop upon snagging that anchor rode. In but an instant I was cautiously pulling that snagged anchor rode on up to the surface after putting my outboard in neutral.

And I'll also have you know that I ain't ever before seen or smelled such slick, nasty, smelly crud a-clinging to the rode and anchor not that you will hear me complaining.

And to tell ya the truth, it kinda, sorta reminded me of something akin to the slick, nasty, smelly crud that might perhaps be a-clinging to one's business after hooking up with some random, scanky chic at a bar only to later engage in an impulsive, after-hours poke & go if ya knows what I means. (wink, wink, chuckle, chuckle, chuckle...)

Yippers... there was simply no way in hell that I wasn't going to retrieve that errant anchor dammit... that is unless of course my small portable cooler were to first run out of cold beer that I happened to be sippin' while trolling for that anchor.

Yeah man... 'dat be my errant anchor and rode.

And 'dat be me totally pleased with myself before heading back ashore for a celebratory cold brewski at Jack's Lookout, a dockside bar alongside of the Rose Marco River Marina.

And in the fine memorable words of former President Dubya Bush, "Mission Accomplished"...

And 'dat there be my freebie dinghy anchor that I claimed as mine after its previous owner had discarded it and set it alongside of the trash dumpster at the Key West, Garrison Bight Dinghy Dock parking lot.

S/V Blondie-Dog. Marco Island.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Milestone of Sorts...

Well, well, well... whadaya know... my fully depreciated yet still serviceable car happened to hit a milestone of sorts 'de other day.

And nope... dat odometer ain't been tinkered wit whatsoevers and indeed dat odometer be reading a grand total of 250,000 miles!

And for those of you who ain't all dat smartz, I'll have ya know dat 250,000 miles be da same as a quarter of a million miles! And if ya don't believes me, den ya 'shor ain'ts smarter than a fifth-grader and I would advise ya to go back to skool and learns sumptin'.

In any event, my fully depreciated yet still serviceable '99 Chevrolet Lumina is still a puttin' out a mighty fine if ya mights know what I mean. And though she ain't evers been a chick magnet and mights best be described as a "slump buster" not dat I 'spects ya to know what I means... and though she do gots herself a scrape or two, she still runs a purty good and gits me off to wherevers I wants to go.

And now dat I be back on da grid and no longer livin' aboard a boat, I ain't gots no reason to use my car as a locker no more whiles I be ashore. For ya see, living aboard a boat can be a hassle of sorts when yor' boat be a good ways away from shore and ya needs 'sum place to store yor clothes and sh*t whedders  or not they be in dire need of 'sum detergent.

But besides my car serving as a convenient locker, it also made fer a cozy spot to jest turns on 'da radio and chill awhiles and evens takes me a nap in da middle of da day after feeding my face a can of Hormel Chile from straight out of 'da can.

And I'll also fess up dat on at least a couple of occasions after a night on 'da town whiles at anchor in Key West and afters indulging in a pitcher or two of inexpensive beer, dat I'd elect to lay out in da car and sleep for what was left of da night rather than attempt to dinghy on out to 'da boat in gale force winds and cold, choppy waters.

(C'mon man... evens I gots better sense 'dan dat.)

Yet havin' said all dat, my Lumina is still gonna have to keeps puttin' out fer a whiles longer 'cause it jest ain'ts in my budget to go on out and buys me a new set of wheels.

But I'll also have ya'll know dat my car now gots' herself a set of four new tires, a front-end alignment, a brandy-new windshield, and new set of brake pads along wit new Florida plates.

I is evens bonafide now and now also gots me sum liability insurance to boot too.

Yep... I do now thinks dat my car jest might be good 'fer another 250,000 miles.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Don't Get Yourself Caught Fishing for the Square Grouper...

My lady-friend for whatever compelling reason is somewhat fond of uttering random quotes when one least expects her to. And while some of these quotes do come across as rather sensible, others have the effect of leaving me scratching my head and wondering just what was so uproariously funny that made her suddenly burst out in uncontrolled laughter.

For instance, if the topic of hurricane season were to come about in conversation, then she'd most assuredly be the first to quote the lyrics to an 'ol Jimmy Buffet song and tell you that, "You just can't reason with hurricane season".

And I in turn would certainly be the first to chuckle if ever so slightly and tell you that what she had just quoted did indeed make perfect sense.

And if per chance one might perhaps be watching The Weather Channel as an errant hurricane ominously made its way towards landfall, then she'd also most certainly be the first to tell you that she'd rather be anywhere other than where Jim Cantore might happen to be.

All of which makes perfect sense to me yet again for if Jim Cantore is there, it is then a sure thing that he is in the mist of a weather related calamity while Mother Nature unleashes her pent up hostilities and furry.

Yet not all of my lady-friend's quotes happen to be weather related. For instance, if per chance she were to be quietly sipping on a glass of Chardonnay while seated in a quiet lounge only to then have some old f*rt gratuitously start hittin' on her, then she'll be quick to tell you that her response to that old geezer would be swift and to the point...

"I've got but just two questions for you... "How big are you, and how long are you good for"? All of which invariably leaves her laughing her scrawny booty off but yet again while I in turn quietly hope that I someday don't ever become yet another 'ol f*rt hoping to score a little pooty.

Nevertheless my lady-friend did have a good laugh at my expense the other day after quoting for the umpteenth time the headlines of a local newspaper in nearby Everglades City.

That particular newspaper story she quoted from described that "Every fisherman in Everglades City was now a guest of the county jail for fishing the square grouper" and that there wasn't "An abled-bodied man to be found in town" following the mass arrests.

Well I had indeed heard this story all before and not just on a few occasions either. Nor had I ever quite comprehended what it was that made this silly anecdote so darned amusing to her.

Yet it was only after my lady-friend quoted the story but yet again that I finally asked what it was that made this particular grouper so darned special that would warrant the arrest of every fisherman in town.

For you see, all along I had simply assumed that the so-called "Square Grouper" was on some endangered species list and was now zealously protected by Fish & Wildlife law enforcement officials.

My lady-friend did in any event proceed to enlighten me when describing the so-called "Square Grouper" but not before having a good laugh at my expense.

Yep feller sailors, dat indeed be the "Square Grouper"... a grouper species enthusiastically celebrated throughout the good 'ol USofA come April 20th and every afternoon at 4:20 PM...

Just don't get yourself caught fishing for the Square Grouper for if you do then you're sure to run afoul of any and all law enforcement officials throughout Southwest Florida and you just might then find yourself incarcerated in some remote and forsaken county jail.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Finding Time for a Little Boat Maintenance...

Me do thinks dat 'der are plenty of wanna-be sailor fellers outs 'der dat do needs to be enlightened sumwhats 'bout livin' aboard a boat and how it ain't all frivolous fun n' games all da time either.

For ya see, 'der be mundane boat chores and maintenance to be done all da times whedder's one wants to do 'dem or not. And doin' chores jest ain't sumptin' I particularly likes doing, especially if I mights has had indulged in a few pitchers of cold beer da prior evening.

But dat feller sailors is another story all togethers and one dat I'd jest as soon rather not talks about at dis very moment if ya knows what I means.

First of all ders always dat small matter of dirty dishes in da galley in dire need of a good wash. Den der always da hassel of remembering to buy more gasoline fer the dinghy. Den ones needs to remember to make sure dat ya mix da gasoline and motor oil in da right proportion for dat two stroke outboard motor for otherwise ya jest might burn it out.

And of course one always gots to remember to refill ones water cans whenever goin' ashore and dat too can be a hassle as well 'cause sumtimes ya gots to go a sneakin' around and a borrowin' somebody's water hose when dey ain't be a looking... especially if ya be at anchor up somewheres up in Key Largo.

Den ders dat small matter of havin' to remember to top off da marine battery wit sum distilled water of all things before da dang thing up and croaks on ya.

Yet nevertheless amongst' da least tolerable chores as far as I'd be concerned was a havin' to scrape barnacles and smutz off da hull of de boat.

Don't knows why, but jest da thought of gettin' in da water to scrape off barnacles seemed all too laborious of a chore fer me and was always a chore best left fer another day.

Anywho, I'd eventually come around to scrapin' Blondie's hull whedders' I wanted to or not. I'd slip on my mask and fins but not before a spittin' in my mask and swirlin' da spit around so dat my mask wouldn't fog up on me once in da water.

Presumably spit does has sum' magnetic properties or sumsuch dat keeps da mask from a foggin' up. What can I say other thans' it worked fer me everytime.

And I'd also be sure to wear some thick work gloves while diving on da hull and while zealously scraping away all dem frickin' little critters a clinging to da bottom of da boat wit an ordinary metal paint scraper.

'Cause if ya don'ts wears any gloves, den yor sure to wind up wit sum scraped up, bloody knuckles and dat ain't necessarily a good thing considering dat it be sumptin' dat could of been avoided in da first place. Jest trust me on dis one feller sailor, cause I do speaks from prior experience in dis matter.

And nope feller sailors... dat ain't a drop cloth wrapped around Blondie's boom with white paint spilled all overs it in case ya might has been a-wonderin'.... but rather insteads it be a sail cover wit bird poop splattered all overs it.

I did eventually attempt to clean dat bird poop off the sail cover. I followed some advise dat I'd previously come across somewheres and tied dat thing off of  Blondie's transom.

One would have only thunk dat submerging dat sail cover in the water would have done da trick but it didn't. Dat bird poop steadfastly refused to dislodge itself until I took it ashore and put a pressure hose to it alongs wit a stiff brush and a good amount of elbow grease.

Oh... I's almost forgots to mention dat occasionally cleaning da bilge is also a part of da deal insofar as boat maintenance be concerned. And do remember dis feller sailor.... bleach is a good thing... the more 'da better... jest don't lets any marina nazis see ya using da stuff 'cause den ya will be sure to get an earful of some unsolicited environmental commentary.

Unfortunately howevers, evens though I now be off da boat, I stills ain't been able to completely avoids havin' to do sum occasional mundane chores around da house.

Yep, dat be me a scrubbing smutz off da sides of my lady-friends pool. So much for the so-called concept of "friends wit benefits" dang it. Der jest simply ain't no gettin' away from a havin' to do maintenance of one sort or another whedder' one be on a boat or otherwise.

Howevers I jest can'ts complains too much cause my lady-friend do has a Haitian feller come on over to da house every other week to mow da grass and dat certainly be a good thing as far as I be concerned.

Yep, when I ain'ts a workin' at da office, I be a cleanin' da pool. Well heck... I got's to earn my keep sumhows'.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Saying Hello to a Screeching Parrot in Salinas, Puerto Rico...

While casually strolling along a random boat dock some twenty years ago in Salinas, Puerto Rico, my daughter and I were unexpectedly greeted by a screeching parrot. And since it would have been most impolite to ignore that colorful bird's early morning greeting, we did the only sensible thing and that was but to pause a moment and say hello as well.

Well no sooner had we reciprocated that bird's greeting when a voice could be heard bellowing out from inside that boat's cabin while exclaiming, "I ought to charge a fee every time somebody stops by to talk to my bird" or words to that effect.

And with that unpleasant utterance, a hint was taken and we resumed our stroll.

Well fast forward some three years later or so and this very same screeching parrot can once again be heard but only this time from the comfort of my house in Las Croabas, Puerto Rico.

It turns out that this very same vessel along with the very same bird was now up on the hard in the boatyard located behind my house. Presumably the boat was getting its bottom repainted only that I didn't happen to see any work getting done not that it really mattered to me one way or the other.

In any event, the wife and I had some boater friends on over to the house one Saturday afternoon for some grilled burgers and a few cold ones when it occurred to me to extend an invitation to that fellow sailor with the parrot.

And later after knocking on the hull of that fellow's boat and after pointing out where my house was located, he eagerly accepted my invitation.

It later transpired that this same fellow had sailed in from Salinas where he had been tied off to a dock for an extended period of time. Unfortunately for him however, he had contracted Dengue Fever after arriving at the boatyard and had been ghastly ill the prior week having had very little to eat in the interim.

Well that fellow didn't have a lot to say while visiting yet was obviously content just taking in the scene while scarfing down a burger or two. And I also happen to recall that fellow emphatically declining any thought of imbibing a cold beer all of which tells me that he had indeed been quite ill.

Think about it... when is the last time you happened to come across a liveaboard sailor declining a cold beer?

Yet even more importantly it seemed to me, was that the poor fellow appeared to be most delighted to be back among the living. And I should know the feeling for I too was once stricken with Dengue Fever while residing in Puerto Rico.

That Dengue Fever experience was most gawd-awful and had me thinking at one point that I just might not last through the night to see another day. That was the night when a certain accepting calmness had overcome me while I shivered uncontrollably all through the night.

Incidentally I never did tell that fellow that I had previously "met" his acquaintance years earlier while strolling along a boat dock in the coastal town of Salinas.

View of the boatyard from my house with Isla de Vieques visible on the distant horizon.

Image of house prior to purchase.

Postcard image of Bahia de los Pescadores. A boat lift can be seen somewhere in there.