Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Haunted By Buzzards

Those of you who have been reading this blog for years know that I have a history with buzzards.  They follow me, starting at the C&D Canal.   They must think death is imminent.  No one lives forever, but I certainly hope they're wrong.  Well, they're back.

Pamela, mother-in-law Judi, and I went to Salt Springs for a picnic on Memorial Day. They were swimming and I laid down in a lounge chair to take a nap. I was alerted by nearby people saying "Buzzard! You have a buzzard!" I opened my eyes and saw this guy about six feet away, eyeballing me. I guess I didn't move much.


Friday, May 27, 2016

Cruising the St. John's River

Well, not really cruising.  You don't cruise at 30 knots.

The last time we were on the St. John's, we traveled from Jacksonville to Green Cove Springs to have Drift Away hauled out.  It was the end of our voyage, and a most certainly bitter-sweet moment.  We did it.  I fulfilled a life long dream of cruising, and took along my soul mate to boot.  It was bitter because it was over.  Sweet because it happened, and we have memories to last our lifetime.

And here we were several years later, bouncing down the same river that we cruised at 8 knots doing 30+ knots in a 20 foot bowrider.  My my my, the strange twists life takes.

It was a wonderful day with good friends.  But now Pamela wants a boat again.  ~sigh~.




Back at the helm!


Believe it or not, this is a coal electric plant, not nuclear.

Check out the size of this boat house!



A live-aboard.  Boat blight.  

Notice the chick on the right.


Buzzards, no doubt looking for me.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Five Years Ago...

I just stumbled onto this video I made... Drift Away, five years ago.


It seems it was only four years ago... how time flies.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Cedar Key, Florida

Pam came to me the other day and said she wanted to go to a fine arts craft fair.  Guys, you know what I'm talking about here.  In a situation like this, it is perfectly allowable to whine, to cry like a little girl, or to feign a heart attack.  Nothing worked.  All I got was "the look".  I actually saw lightning bolts shoot from her eyeballs.

I checked out Cedar Key on Google Earth.  It was about an hour and a half from where we are in the Ocala area.  Not too bad of a drive, but our Kia was long overdue for an oil change, and seeing how I'm so busy saving the world on Facebook with my brilliant political insight, pithy comments, and squabbling over if Sasquatches can cloak and that's why one rarely sees one, I simply didn't have time.  Too busy.

I tried the mechanical ruse.  That might work.

"We can't go.  The Kia is overdue for an oil change," I stated flatly.

"We'll take my Miata."

"All that way?"

"We'll put the top down.  It will be fun."

"I won't have fun and you can't make me."

Nope not going.  I'm the man in this family and what I say goes.  I am the King of my Kingdom.

So the next day we're on our way to Cedar Key in Pamela's Miata with the top down.  It was a nice drive on a beautiful spring Florida day, but man that car is tiny.  Pamela was driving.  She promised not to drive like she usually does and to drive like a normal person.

As we approached Cedar Key, we could smell the salt air.  We miss salt air.  Then we saw water.  Salt water.  It looked shallow.  You know how, when you've been cruising long enough, you get a sense of water depth by the flatness of the shoreline?  That was it.  We swallowed the anchor, but we still remember stuff.

We pulled into the tiny town of Cedar Key.  It was a quaint old Florida Gulf town.  But it was crawling with tourists.  You'd think they'd all have something better to do than to go to some crummy fine arts craft fair.  Stupid tourists.  And look at all of the old people here.  Sheesh.  We had to park far away, but Pamela found a spot right on the water.  The first thing she did was to get salt water on her feet.   Here are the photos.


Here it is.  

Now this was pretty cool.  A guy cut down what I think may have been a live oak and then put all of those carvings in it.


They have friggin' pelicans here.

Lots of friggin' pelicans.



This light pole was pretty cool.  There are about 350 dolphins that reside here, although I didn't see them.  I took this from the balcony of a watering hole where Pam and I stopped for two craft beers.  The bartender opened the bottles and then told me the price.   $11.75.   If he hadn't opened them, I would have put them back.



Two women were walking their goats there.


I don't know what that thing is dangling off her butt, but I loved the tee-shirt. 


On the ride back home.  The Ocala area is the horse capital of the country.


Get a load of the size of this rig!  Holy crap.

I took a selfie in the reflection of the back of the big rig's trailer.

This would be a good cruising destination, so I looked it up on a nautical chart.

Nope, looks too shallow.  But many of you cruisers winter over in Florida, so it might be worth a road trip.  We're going to go back when they're not having a stupid fine arts craft fair to check it out.  And I wanna get a couple of more $11.75 beers.



Saturday, February 6, 2016

Do We Miss Drift Away? Yep. But ahhhh, the Memories!

Yes.

Pam and I both miss Drift Away and our adventures, and misadventures, cruising down the eastern seaboard.  We spent about three years on Drift Away, half of that spent getting the boat ready, and the other half cruising and exploring.

Regrets?  Well, we spent a pile of money, and right now that would look good in the bank.  But then again we wouldn't have had such a great adventure, nor met so many wonderful people, and so that is the upside.

There is nothing like the carefree lifestyle of living aboard.  If you're a dirt dweller, you seriously have no idea.  There is also nothing like cruising down a waterway, wondering what's around the next bend, and marveling at all of the wildlife along the way and the amazing diversity of the scenery.

We both remember our first palm tree, in North Carolina.

We vividly remember the pea soup fog of Beaufort, NC and being grateful for our amazing instruments that guided us.

We remember going straight when the ICW took a right.

We remember our wonderful liveaboard community at Isle of Hope and Brunswick, Georgia.

We'll never forget meeting up with old internet friends from California, Rod and Patti. who bought a boat on the eastern seaboard and were bring it home via the Panama Canal.

We'll never forget losing both engines in the Ambrose Channel only to find that Seatow, who sent me emails every other day to sell me something, couldn't be bothered to send one telling me my towing insurance was going to expire.

We won't forget spending a month at Atlantic Highlands Marina while I bullet proofed our fuel system so we wouldn't lose an engine again.

We'll always remember waking up when the cat jumped off the bed into a foot of water.  That's never good.

We will never forget dolphins.  Nor will our dogs.  To this day, several years since we moved off Drift Away, I can say "Where's the dolphins!" and Chevy the male pit bull will go nuts.

And pelicans?  There's always another friggin' pelican.

Victory beers?  Yes, I still have them, but it is not the same.  Pounding some nails or cutting boards has nowhere near the satisfaction of cleaning a radiator in an old generator.

So we could have traded all that, plus much, much more, for money in the bank.

I'll take all that.  Doctors and hospitals can take away my money, but nothing can take away my memories.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Living Among Sasquatch: a Primer is Published

Living Among Sasquatch:  a Primer is published.  Not on purpose, but those of you who know me, know me.

In Bleecker in the summer, we live among Sasquatch.   Yep.  They're all around, and no one is more amazed and baffled as I am.  So, last year, I decided to document our findings in a book, primarily using entries in this blog, and adding to it as time passed.  Time did pass, and a book was the result.

I looked around for a publisher, not expecting much.  First time authors are impossible to publish, but I found a publisher in the UK who was considering it.  In the meantime, I started working through self publishing on Lulu.com.  I'd go to it every few days, work on it a bit, and hit the button marked "save and continue".  Fine.

Yesterday morning, while working through the web pages, I got to "save and finish".  OK.  I hit it, and the screen said something to the effect of "Congratulations!  Your book is published!".   What?  Published?  Why didn't the button say "Save and publish"!

So I am an author.  I posted a link to my book on Lulu.com and sold one.  So now I am a professional author.

I am actually pretty proud of this book.  It is all truthful, and quite honestly, to me, pretty amazing.  How would you feel if you found that leprechauns were real?  Or unicorns?  That's how I feel about Sasquatch.

Oh well, besides two blogs (this one and Bleecker Mountain Life) and a handful of magazine articles, I am now an author of books.  I'd have a victory beer, but it is 4:15 AM here.  Probably not a good idea.

 Living Among Sasquatch: a Primer

The book is available on Lulu.com now.  Click the link below.  This is a collector's edition because I haven't read the proof yet, so things like the copyright page are missing.  Someday, it will be worth millions, no doubt.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/dave-gibson/living-among-sasquatch-a-primer/paperback/product-22501693.html

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The St. John's River, in Photos

I used to love my "day in photos" blog posts.  Nothing tells a story quite like photos.  Yesterday, the folks who Pam works for, who have become friends, invited us to go for a ride on the St. John's River on their pontoon "boat".  We haven't been on the water much since selling Drift Away, and so leapt at the chance.


Captain John.

Lots of fishermen on the St. Johns.  He's wearing a life jacket for a reason.


This is the reason.  People who don't understand wakes.

Another friggin' pelican.

A no wake Manatee zone.  No wake.  As in sloooooow dooooown.

More fishermen.  Imagine a wake hitting them?

More friggin' pelicans.


Sloooow dooooown.

A 73 footer.


I love palm trees.  They feel so... tropical, and not anything like snow and freezing rain.

Slow down!!!

My honey back at the helm.


Turkey vulture.

Nope.  No idea.  Apparently, this Austin-Healy Sprite was turned into the helm station of a pontoon boat.

I just love friggin' pelicans...

and turtles...

and big ol' alligators.

And then this imbecile came roaring around the bend in the river, throwing up a monster wake.  Pam tried quartering it, but the huge vertical wall of water crashed against the bow of the "boat" and rammed the bow's door open, and we had a three foot wall of water pouring into the boat.  The bow dove under water!  We were going  down, and going quickly!  "Quick!  Everyone to the stern!" I hollered, while wondering if I had time to swap out my 300mm zoom lens for my kit lens to take photos.   Nope.  I watched as my camera bag floated to the top of the bow rail, ready to go overboard.  We were about 20 feet from that alligator.  Should we jump ship?  Nope.

The bow slowly rose above the waterline, and the hundreds of gallons of water rolled back towards the stern.

"Everyone, to the middle of the boat!".

Pam started bailing with an ice chest after dumping out our Bud Lites without so much of a does-anyone-want-a-beer-before-I-dump-these-out?

Since when do boats not have scuppers to discharge green water?  Since when do pontoon boats exclude themselves from needing scuppers?   

Well, I took this pic after all the excitement was over, with my zoom lens.  My kit lens was soaking wet after almost floating off the "boat".


No one died, and the only casualty was possibly my kit lens, which is sitting in a bowl of rice to absorb all the moisture.  But if it is history, I have this jerk's registration number.


I swear to Gawd, I have NEVER seen so many people without a clue of what they're doing on the water.  They go flying through no wake Manatee zones, past docks and other boats throwing up gigantic wakes, completely oblivious to the damage and destruction they cause.  And you all know me.  If my kit lens is history, I will be like a pitbull on this guy.  I will find out who he is, and he will be buying me a new one.

Cripe, we could have all been swimming with that alligator.  Without my kit lens to photograph him slipping off that log and coming our way, I'd have been very angry.

But it was a wonderful few hours back on the water.  A bitter sweet day.  For all of my cruising friends, you might consider taking a right off the ICW at the St. John's River by Jacksonville and heading up towards old Florida.  It is truly beautiful up here, and fresh water!  No barnacles to scrape off your hull!