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Showing posts from June, 2011

Lighting Strikes

If it was one of my favorite Lou Christie songs it might have been fun.  Unfortunately lightening struck something close to Reboot yesterday.  It was raining so hard that no one is exactly sure what got hit but all of the masthead instruments on Reboot stopped working as did the cable TV signal.

The good news is this morning after a reset the masthead stuff is back saving me about $400 for new instruments.  They are still trying to figure out if a particular boat got hit and debugging the cable TV.  Actually the cable TV has a Direct TV feed so it may be the antenna or decoder.  This could be a gift if the decoder is fried as it is about 10 years old and only gets a very few stations.  Maybe a new one would give us better coverage.

Trusting your chart plotter

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Three women were following the in car navigation system of their rental car when the route drove them down a boat ramp and into the water.  Confusing the issue further was the fact that the women were tourists from Mexico and didn't speak English.  You can read the story here.

This story is kind of funny, particularly since it appears that no one was hurt.  But it reminded me of my recent trip to Central America.  The charts for Mexico, Belize and Guatemala are very old and pretty much terrible.  Since the electronic charts just reflect the underlying data of the paper charts my chart plotter frequently had me on land when I was in fact in the water.  I remember in particular sitting out bad weather in Cayo Norte with the chart showing me a lighthouse off my bow that was in actually off my stern.

Coming back to the US I breathed a sigh of relief.  Now my chart plotter would reflect reality.  But does it?  This incident reminded me that traveling the ICW "following the purple …

Crash

Yesterday I was having a quiet lunch when I got a call to inform me that a boat coming into the marina had lost control and hit Reboot.  The New Bern Grand Marina, like many others, has some pretty bad currents at certain times and the transient boat coming in was unaware of just how strong the current was running.  In the end they hit 4 boats before getting safely tied up at the dock.  Fortunately it appears that Reboot was spared any damage.

A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones)

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When visiting Madison for Spencer's graduation I got hooked into the HBO Series Game of Thrones.  It is based on a very well loved and reviewed book by George R. R. Martin.  The first book is A Game of Thrones but the series (4 books published, the 5th due out in a couple of weeks) is known as A Song of Ice and Fire.  Thanks to modern technology and the sleep wake cycles of college students (including recent graduates) I actually got to watch the first few episodes twice.  I was absolutely captivated by the story and the quality of the production.  The HBO web page is here.

The down side of course was that I don't get HBO on Reboot.  When I returned to New Bern I started searching all the local bars to see if any of them got HBO.  I figured we could have Game of Throne beer parties.  But none of the locations I searched out had HBO.

As an aside - Every bar of course had ESPN.  I have always wondered why people will sit in a bar and watch the talking heads on ESPN Sports Center…

Gunfight at the OK Corral

Have you ever noticed that in pictures and video of the revolts in Southwest Asia (e.g. Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan) some guy or guys have a big gun that they are firing.  Now what makes this funny is that they are always standing up with no cover expending large quantities of ammunition.  Frequently they are expending the ammunition into the air.  Don't they understand the old saying "what goes up must come down?"  If on the other hand you see pictures of the US Military they are either not firing or they are taking shelter.  I can understand that 100 years ago or so the weapons were so inaccurate that you stood a chance of doing the Matt Dillon thing.  Also, I learned that there was so much smoke from the gunpowder used at the OK Corral it is likely that after the first couple of shots no one could see the opponents.  But I can't believe that the tactics shown would result in anything other than the death of the shooter in the first second or two.

Of course the…

"Fail"

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For those looking for a way to get a few laughs and waste a few hours (like me) I introduce you to http://failblog.org.

(Warning, there are some pretty raunchy "fails" so if you are easily offended you might hit the "G" rated button.

Getting Pinged

In the past few days the number of hits on my blog has increased quite a bit.  I would love to believe that it is because I am such a great writer full of interesting stuff but I have concluded that this is not true (alas.)  There are a number of services that "ping" your web site to generate traffic.  The concept is that the more "hits" you get the higher the search engines will place you in the results.  This is important since most people rarely go past the first page of the search results.  Of course this is old news.  The search engines are aware of the concept and have been written to take it into account when providing rankings.  One way to try and beat the AI in the search engines is to hit the original site and then link out to other sites.  The idea of course is that this looks more like real human behavior. Blogger provides analytic capabilities including a back trace that tells you where your traffic is coming from.  Almost all of the extra hits are fro…

"Night Storm" - Aviation Survival Training

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Proving that chatting up other people in bars has a positive payoff I was invited by two Marine Harrier pilots to "come and watch them drown" during their Aviation Survival Training at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.  I went down with Claudia and Ed.  We had a great time.  The Aviation Survival Training Center is a big swimming pool.  The pilots, in full flight gear start by swimming around the pool.  This is designed to get them tired out so that the rest of the exercises are even more fun.  We watched:
1.  Pilots simulating being dragged by a parachute across the pool (while simulating that they had a broken arm.)  They dropped off a 30 foot high tower while the straps simulating the parachute dragged them across the pool until they got unhooked.  Oh by the way they were blindfolded.
2.  Being dropped in the pool again off the platform, dragged, and then required to get into the life raft that deployed from the bottom of their ejection seat.
3.  Being strapped into …

Ocrafolk Festival

Door into Summer and Reboot made a long hot boring transit back from Ocracoke Island yesterday.  Once again there was no wind so we motored the entire way.  Just before we reached New Bern the marine warning alarm went off on the Garmin chart plotter. A nasty late afternoon thunderstorm had popped up just north of Pamlico Sound and was headed our way.  Fortunately we got the boats back into their slips before the storm.  Then, as they sometimes do, the storm veered South and missed us completely.  Ed and I took advantage of the pool at the Hilton to cool off and then repaired to Door into Summer where Claudia had made us a very nice dinner.

The Ocrafolk Festival was a lot of fun.  We met our Bomba Shack friends (Leigh and David) and spent most of the weekend visiting the various entertainment stages with them.  They had rented a cottage as Bomba Shack is being repaired but had brought down a 21 foot runabout that they tied up next to Door into Summer.  Ed had expressed an interest in …

"By the deep", "by the mark"

If you are a fan of the Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels as I am you may wonder what the depth sounding calls "by the deep" and "by the mark" signify as the depth is always express in fathoms (standardized as 6 feet, originally the hand span of the person on board with the largest span from fingertips of one arm to the other.)

The excellent web site at http://www.navyandmarine.org/planspatterns/soundingline.htm not only explains the meaning but explains how to construct your own lead line.  The page is from the site of the Navy and Marine Corps Living History Association.

The Navy and Marine Living History Association, Inc. (NMLHA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation dedicated to the promotion of an awareness of America's nautical history and to the support of our living history member units who portray the sailors and marines of the many countries that played a role in the formation of our country in the period 1750-1900.

There is a lot of fu…

Ocracoke Island

Door into Summer and Reboot arrived last night at Ocracoke Island.  The trip down the Neuse River and into Pamlico Sound was uneventful.  What little true wind we had was always just close enough to the bow to make sailing impossible.  I have hoisted a temporary jib and hoped that with the jib and main I would be able to make some progress close hauled.  However the furler is not working properly so I could not get the jib deployed.

The beginning of the trip from Oriental followed the Intracostal Waterway route.  The rest of the trip was in water about 12 to 14 feet deep.  This is deep enough that I don't feel I need to keep my eyes glued to the depth gauge the entire way.  There is a bar across the sound so we did experience some depths of 5 to 6 feet under the keel.

The entrance to Ocracoke Island is, alas, like many long and skinny.  Since there is hourly ferry service to the island the channel is kept in much better shape than many, but it is still tiresome to have to hand ste…

Ocracoke Festival and why I still love Garmin

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We are in Oriental getting ready to run down to Ocracoke (about 40 NM) for the Ocracoke Festival.  For the web page on the festival click here.  This is an annual event.  It looks like it is going to be a great weekend of fun with Door into Summer and Bamba Shack.  I expect to run into other boats that we know once we get there.  This will be my first visit by sailboat to the outer banks, I drove to Cape Hatteras many years ago and camped out for a weekend.  I am looking forward to it.

On the Garmin note, I am so delighted that they continue to provide free software updates for their marine hardware.  I am even more delighted that the software updates usually have new feature goodies included.  Way to go Garmin.

Fair winds and following seas.

Back in Oriental, NC

Ed and Claudia (Door in Summer) and I left New Bern this morning on our way to Ocracoke for the music festival.  We motored the entire way as there was very little wind.  It was Hot Hot Hot but other than that an OK day.  We are now in the Oriental Marina for the night.  We have both refueled and are ready to depart tomorrow morning for Ocracoke