Friday, November 30, 2012

Star Gazing

I'm not a star gazer.  All I see when I look up are a whole bunch of white dots.  Oh, I can find the big dipper, and so the little dipper and north star.  Sometimes I can even find the belt of Orion.

It's not that I'm not interested in the stars.  Like many cruisers, I like to sit on the deck on warm nights and star gaze.  I just have no idea what I'm seeing.  That's about to change.

I wrote about spending too much time online.  Since I retired, I have this new found need for knowledge.  I'll spend countless hours googling whatever pops into my head, or scanning my news feed in Facebook looking for a nugget of brilliance.  Yeah, I know.  It's pretty rare.

One of my Facebook friends posted a link about a free program called Stellarium that shows you the night sky and identifies stars and planets for you.  I downloaded it and configured it to my location in Brunswick, Georgia (with some difficulty).  Two nights ago, I got to see the stars even though it was overcast here and, looking out the window, I couldn't see squat.  Yesterday was partly cloudy, so I'd hoped to find the stars that were displayed on my laptop up in sky.

This was at 6 PM looking west.  Cool.  You can even see the twilight. Yes, it really looked like that, although the land scenery was a village in France or something.

Here is another shot, looking east at 7:22 PM last night.

That big bright thing is something called the "moon", with "Jupiter" above it at 1 o'clock.  I poked my head outside and there they were,

The other nice thing about Stellarium is that I can now star gaze without actually having to go outside.

If you'd like to download it, go to  And to save you an hour of trying to find where to set your location, just hit the F6 key.

And finally, I can't stop laughing about this one.

Yeah, I found it on Facebook. So what.  It's still funny.  C'mon, I know you're smiling.  Maybe even laughing out loud, like I did.

So you're asking "So Dave, are you ever going to do something productive?  Anything?  We regular followers are thinking of banding together for an intervention.".  Well, today I need to go get some blood work done for my every three years annual physical, and then go to the Walmarts to pick up some meds, and then we'll see.  It's perfect painting weather here in Georgia, but Pam has today off from work.  I think we should spend quality time together and go to the movies to see "Lincoln" rather than me painting all alone.  I'll let you know tomorrow what we actually did.

Please root for the movies.  I have plenty of time for painting.  Here's our forecast...

5-Day Forecast for Brunswick, Georgia

Today: Partly Cloudy, High: 74 F, Low: 55 F

Tomorrow: Partly Cloudy, High: 74 F, Low: 55 F

Sunday: Partly Cloudy, High: 75 F, Low: 56 F

Monday: Partly Cloudy, High: 78 F, Low: 55 F

Tuesday: Partly Cloudy, High: 79 F, Low: 54 F

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hash House Harriers

Each of us follow blogs for our own reasons.  Maybe you're bored in your cubicle and need an escape, or maybe you're living vicariously through the writing of others, or maybe you feel better about yourself when you read about some of the really stupid things other people do.  I follow blogs for all of the aforementioned reasons, but I also follow blogs to learn new things.

Now that I no longer work, I find I want to spend many hours of my day learning.  Whatever. Important things, political things, trivial things.  It doesn't matter.  It keeps my alleged brain working.  I read several message boards, I read CNN and my hometown newspaper online, I follow Facebook (way too much), I study photography websites, and I follow other blogs.  There is a list of the blogs I follow at the bottom of this page, on the right.

One of those blogs is "Zero to Cruising", a blog I just started following not too long ago.   This one was titled "Where to Spend Christmas".  OK, I need to know that, so I opened their blog.  This is the first paragraph.

Countless times we’ve posted on this blog about the fun that we have had hashing in Grenada. I honestly don’t think there is any better way to make friends and really get to know the islands than to get involved with the local hash groups. As such, we were very pleased to be able to join in with an equally fun group of hashers here in Trinidad this past Saturday.

?????   What is "hashing in Grenada"?  What is a hash group?  What is a hasher?  Isn't that illegal?

So I turned to Google for the answer.  The answer, in a nutshell, is that hashers are drinkers with a running problem.  Every couple of weeks, a bunch of folks gather to run (or walk) a course, and at the end drink.  Sounds like a lot of fun!  Except for the running part, this is my kind of group!

I never cease to wonder at the marvel of Al Gore's internets.  What a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Repairing the Floor in the Shower

Yesterday would have been a great day for painting, but I was bothered by the shower floor.  Some of the caulk was loose and I recaulked it the other day, but in so doing I found some spongy spots in the wood frame around the perimeter of the floor.  Since I've been putting off painting the outside of Drift Away for so long (too hot, too cold, too windy, don't want to), an extra couple of days wouldn't hurt, so I decided to tackle the shower.

The first step was to scrape off the loose paint and the caulk I put on the other day.

The wood frame was indeed wet.  I used my heat gun to dry it.  A heat gun is really useful when working on an old boat, good for anything from drying wet wood to unfreezing old seacocks to stripping paint to softening hoses to get them off barbed fittings. 

I've used Git Rot many times, on old boats and my 100 year old house.  It's not cheap, but it works.

I drilled 1/4" holes every couple of inches all around the frame.  I injected the Git Rot.   It soaks in through capillary action.  Unfortunately, it has to dry overnight, so we had to shower in the clubhouse the next morning.

The next day, I slapped on one coat of West Marine deck paint.  The stuff really stinks.  It's now waterproof but it needs one more coat.  I'm going to wait for a sunny day so I can leave all the windows open when I finish it.  I'll need to paint the shower walls too.   Might as well do it all at once.

That West Marine deck paint is really good stuff.  I'm very happy with it.  It applies easily and has a great non-skid texture. If you need to paint your decks, or want a non-skid surface on something around your house, consider it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Jekyll Is For The Birds

We go to Jekyll Island a lot, as you regular readers know.  Pam and I love it there, as do our dogs. There's plenty of room for them to run and lots of sticks to chew on.  Yesterday was especially good for bird pics.

Great Blue Heron.

This is the path to the beach.  Pam takes the dogs and I the backpack (water, dog bowl) and camera.


Pelican.  I love how close to the water they fly.

If  you enlarge this photo and look above the sun, you'll see three dots.  They're birds.  The water was so still you can see the birds (dots) in the water too.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Smoke Detector Went Off Yesterday

Pam and I were sitting on the aft deck enjoying gin and tonics and the warm Georgia sunshine.  Pam got up, saying she heard something.  She came back and said the smoke detector in the middle stateroom went off.  I went down there and sniffed around but didn't smell anything burning.  Pam had turned the detector off and it didn't go off again.

I went into the forward stateroom and thought I smelled the faint odor of an electrical burn.  I summoned Pam and she thought she smelled it too.  There's a smoke detector in the forward stateroom.   If there was a problem, why didn't it go off?  I pushed the test button and it works.

The only thing running was the small refrigerator in the forward stateroom.   I checked the middle and forward bilges and didn't smell anything there.

Maybe just a malfunctioning smoke detector?  Maybe the sun streaming in the port stirred up some air currents and dust?  I'm baffled.  Anyone have any ideas?

I took this photo of Olivia a couple of days ago.  I really like it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

One Funny Photo and two Videos

I took this of my friend's boat yesterday afternoon.

Why is it funny?  Here, let me zoom in for you.

See the plastic owl?

As for the video.  I hang out on a few message boards, one of which can get pretty political.  One poster (I'll call him "Karl") posted about Marco Rubio's wandering vague statement about the age of the earth, saying science is a theory and no one really knows.  He came under attack from the left.

Karl posted about this Obama statement that's making the rounds on right wing blogs and shows.

Obama's exchange with CNN's Campbell Brown at a forum on faith in politics:

Brown: Senator, if one of your daughters asked you -- and maybe they already have -- “Daddy, did God really create the world in 6 days?,” what would you say?

Obama: I'm trying to remember if we've had this conversation. You know, what I've said to them is that I believe that God created the universe and that the six days in the Bible may not be six days as we understand it, it may not be 24-hour days, and that's what I believe. I know there's always a debate between those who read the Bible literally and those who don't, and that I think it's a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I'm a part. My belief is that the story that the Bible tells about God creating this magnificent Earth on which we live -- that is essentially true, that is fundamentally true. Now, whether it happened exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible. That, I don't presume to know.

Karl wanted to know why Obama didn't state that the world is 4.5 billion years old.  I responded "because he wasn't asked that question."  Either Karl is thick, or he was messing with me real good.  I made this video which is only a bit of an exaggeration.

These Xtranormal videos are a lot of fun.  It might be even funnier to copy and paste the actual postings.

I also did one about Ruby and Chevy...

It doesn't take much to amuse me.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Funny Photos

Those of you who read this blog regularly probably understand that I sometimes have an odd sense of humor.  You also might recall that I've said that photography has made me look at things differently.  Sometimes the two mix and I see humor everywhere.

Here are a few examples from yesterday.

Camouflage to go fishing?  I dunno, I just found it funny.

Olivia was going nuts and needed to run, so I took the dogs to the beach.  You can see, literally.   She's nuts.

Port and Starboard.  They should switch sides though.

Nope.  No idea.  Maybe he's afraid of pit bulls?

I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving.  Pam and I missed being with family, but we enjoyed the spread put on by Brunswick Landing Marina and our fellow cruisers.  Man, there was a lot of food!  And a lot of people.  Luckily, it was a beautiful day, sunny and 70 degrees, so we could use the outdoor picnic tables.  We all never would have fit in the club house.

Thanks Sherri!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Internet Access On A Boat

When we moved aboard Drift Away two and a half years ago, I bought a Verizon 3G Hotspot for internet access.  It's like a cell phone because it uses cell signals for internet access, but you can't use it like a phone.  It's also like a wireless router because several devices can connect to it at the same time.

It worked fine, but it wasn't the fastest thing.  Sometimes I'd switch between it and the marina wifi to see which was faster.   For my non-boating friends, marinas are notorious for slow internet connections, probably because the bandwidth is shared by so many people.

I was on the Verizon website checking my data usage when I noticed a link that said "upgrade your device".   I clicked on it and compared the 4G devices.  Hmmmm...  They had a sale going on.  If I signed up for a two year contract, I'd get the $250 Verizon 4G LTE Jetpack for $30.  I like Verizon, have no plans to leave, and for $30 I could get the 4G gizmo and go ten times faster!  I placed the order.

It arrived today, and I was as excited as Miley Cyrus at a medical marijuana store.  I took it out of the box, inserted the SIM card and battery, called Verizon and got it activated.

Isn't she beautiful?  And fast!  This thing isn't ten times faster than the old one, it's fifty times faster.

The 3G would have taken about two minutes to upload these two photos.  The 4G did it in about four seconds.

In other news, if you scroll way down, you'll see a list of blogs that I follow.  One of those is World Tour Stories.  It's a young couple cruising on a sailboat, one a pretty young model and the other a photojournalist.  They announced today that Tommy Hilfiger has become a sponsor of their cruise.  That's HUGE.  Can you imagine setting off on a world cruise, and then getting someone to pay you for it?

I wonder who I can get to sponsor Drift Away?  Rogaine?  Bayer Aspirin?   Can I get Dos Equis to sponsor my victory beers?  Band Aid for my multiple head abrasions?  Jenny Craig to work off Pam's cooking?

Today is Thanksgiving.  I encourage all of you to contemplate on what you have to be thankful for.  Hopefully it's not stuff.  Anyone can have stuff.  Hopefully, it's more than that.

Love is all you need.  Well, love and scotch.  That's all you need.  Love, scotch, and victory beers.  That's it.  Oh, and Cheetos.  That's all you need.  And pizza.  That's it.  And Facebook...

Man, the Beatles were out of touch.

Arlo nails it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Being Thankful

I participate in's weekly photo contest.   I've been doing so for about six months now, competing against both other amateurs and professionals.  I've only finished in the money once, coming in first with this photo.

The topic changes for each contest.  These are our instructions for this week's competition...

As the holiday season starts for most of us and we are entering a very busy season, take a few moments to be"Thankful". Because we are so busy, there are not too many restrictions on this assignment, but it is more of an emotional one, so you want to try and get that through to your viewers.

Pam and I aren't going home for Thanksgiving.  We're spending it here at the marina.  We'll be attending the marina's Thanksgiving dinner with the other cruisers and liveaboards here.  Will I be able to get any good shots of turkeys and stuffing?  Probably not.  Rats.  What  am I going to do for this assignment?

Last night was a beautiful night here in Brunswick, Georgia.  It was 70 degrees, no breeze.  We retired to the aft deck to enjoy a glass of wine and to watch the sunset.  What a great life.  I love living on a boat.  I'm really... thankful...  THAT'S IT!  Grab the camera!

I've been dreaming about doing exactly this for decades.  Cruising, living aboard, being a gypsy.  OK OK, I originally dreamed of doing this on a sailboat, not a trawler, but I've come around.  Trawlers are great liveaboard vessels.  Especially with dogs.  And the view from the stern is exactly the same.  Hey, I have an ice maker.

I'm thankful that I'm living my dream.

I'm thankful for having the light of my life, Pamela, sitting right here next to me, living her new found dream.

I'm thankful that my daughter, Becky, is marrying a great guy in two and a half weeks.

I'm thankful for Ruby and Chevy the pit bulls, and Gertie the cat for adding much to our lives.   OK, and for Olivia my granddog.  She can be cool sometimes too.  Animals help put life in perspective.  Life isn't about getting ahead, or what make of car you drive.  It's all about that stick over there and whether it can be dug up.  Good dog.

I'm thankful for serendipity, being in the right place at the right time to buy Drift Away.   I'm thankful I went back aboard a second time for a second look.  Otherwise, we'd still be in our little apartment in Stamford.  And wo-wo-wo-wo-working.

I'm thankful for beautiful sunsets, evening after evening, here in Brunswick Georgia.

I'm thankful for Georgia's beautiful Golden Isles, and especially Jekyll Island's driftwood beach.   What a cool place to be.  Do folks who grew up here appreciate what they have?

I'm thankful for all my friends, especially the ones I've managed to stay in contact with over the decades.  I'm thankful for the friends I've reconnected with.  I'm thankful for my cousins from Ohio that I've never met, but found through google.  I'm thankful for many new friends that I've met cruising.  I'm even thankful for the many friends I've never met in person, but only know through the wonder of Al Gore's internets and this blog.

I'm thankful for my parents, and my genes, that have made me totally and completely non-materialistic.  Simply stated, I don't care about stuff.  Stuff isn't important.  I don't give a hoot about stuff.  Except my '56 Thunderbird.  That was my Dad's.  I care about that.

I'm thankful that I'm living my life on my terms and not someone else's.  This may be the biggest one.  How many people can say that?  How many folks are shackled to their jobs in order to pay their mortgages?  It's not a nice position to be in, in life.  I was there about thirty years ago.  Not fun.  If you're there, I understand, and I feel for you.  Work towards liberating yourself.  Pay that mortgage off.  Be free.

I hope that those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday have time to reflect on what you're thankful for.  I got a head start.

This isn't a great photo and it won't win the competition, but it is meaningful to me.   I'm thankful for that sunset.  And that glass of wine.  No, it's not a wine glass.  I live on a boat.   Thankfully.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Are Cruisers With Big Dogs Crazy?

Not all, but it helps.   I know, old joke.

Yesterday was a brisk 57 degrees, cloudy, and breezy.   The dogs needed to run, though, so off we  went to our favorite beach on Jekyll Island.

You can see how chilly it was by how Pam was dressed.

I started with the artsy fartsy photos, tough because of the overcast day.  It wasn't working.

Chevy is a good sized dog, but Olivia the 8 month old puppy is taller.

The dogs are fascinated with sticks.  This one is attached.  



"Maybe I can dig it out!"  (sorry for the butt shot).

Ruby and Olivia decided to try something new and played in the marsh above the beach.

Chevy joined in.

And Olivia challenged them both to try to catch her.

Ruby knows she can't, but Chevy accepts!

Olivia was moving so fast she was a blur.

Time to go, but not before Ruby found a horseshoe crab shell to play with.

The dogs were sufficiently tired out that they snoozed all night.  Success!

The weather is looking good for the next few days.  Good for painting maybe?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Baked Potatoes

Yeah yeah yeah.  I know.  You're thinking "Really Dave?  You're writing about cooking potatoes?  Shouldn't you be writing about all the painting you did today?"

All I have to say about that is... uh...

I noticed this tree in the marsh across from the boat was full of storks.  I took this pic.

This is zoomed all the way in at 300 mm.

This is the same photo cropped.  It looks like both mature and immature storks.  But look at the bird (I think it's a bird) on the bottom left.  It has a fat head.  Could it be an owl?

Pamela is a wonderful cook.  I am not.  I can get by if I have a cookbook and follow the instructions carefully, but that's about it.

Yesterday, I decided to get a head start on dinner while waiting for Pam to get home from work.  But what to make?  I found a package of some kind of meat called briskets in the fridge.  I can microwave that.  What goes with whatever a brisket is?   I stood in the galley looking around and saw potatoes sitting on the counter.  I could make baked potatoes.  Potatoes go with anything.  I had googled how to make baked potatoes a few days earlier and it seemed pretty easy.  But bland.

Pam makes twice baked potatoes.  I love those.  I could google how to do that, but I had an idea.  I decided to do something different.

I cut a slice out of each potato and packed in diced onions.  Eat the slice cut out.  Raw potato is good.

Roll the potato in vegetable oil with Mrs. Dash's mixed in.  Pack some Mrs. Dash's and oil in with the onion.

Place the potatoes right on your oven rack.  These will drip oil so you might want to put foil underneath.

Finished.  Potatoes, briskets, and brussel sprouts.  

The dogs got a piece of brisket each.  Chevy was begging for brussel sprouts as well, so Pam gave him one.

If Chevy got one, Olivia had to have one.

Did she like it?  Yep.

I've also made these potatoes with garlic instead of onion.  I may try adding cheese as well.  When you don't know how to cook, cooking can be fun.  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What's That? Ewwww!

Pam had to wo-wo-wo-work yesterday.  I dropped her off and took the truck to a doctor's appointment, and after lunch took the dogs to the beach.  High tide was at 10:34, and if you get to the beach two hours after, there's plenty of beach for the dogs to play on.


I took this pic coming down the Sydney Lanier Bridge.  All that water is covering the marshes.  It's 12:30.  What the heck?

I knew I was in trouble when I had to wade down the path to the beach.  The dogs barely had room to... what is Chevy digging up?

Nope, no beach down there...

so I played around taking pics.

What is that?  Why is Olivia rolling on it?  Is that a lawnchair buried in the sand?

Whatever it was, Chevy wanted to dig it up.

Back to taking pics.

Chevy had it mostly dug up.  Man, does that stink!  Fish?

And then I saw the paw print.  That's a halo over it.  A doggie body bag.  I guess beach erosion uncovered the sand over it so the dogs could smell it.  What to do now?  Nothing.  I didn't have a shovel to rebury it.

Going up the Sydney Lanier Bridge on our way back to Brunswick.  It has 185 feet of clearance so ships can get under it.  It makes for a steep grade.  Thankfully, no worries about ice and snow here.

Back at the boat, I looked up the phone number for the Jekyll Island Authority so they can deal with the body bag, but the office is closed on weekends.  The poor doggie will have to sit there until I can call tomorrow.  Stay.  Good boy.