Captains log 201701.15
It's been a while since I last logged an entry. For the most part we've just been settling in, cleaning up and fixing things. The head was starting to smell foul so I investigated that and found that the prefilter for the water intake did it's job but could no longer cope. I cracked it open and almost hurled. Yep, found the source of the smell. A good flush and a soak in bleach cleaned it up well. It's a washable fine pore filter so washing it is not harmful and it means less spares we carry on board. The head no longer smells so everyone is happy about that.
New Years was a non affair. We all hoped to stay up and watch the fire works but we all crashed about 9pm. How awesome are we? I heard the fireworks go off but was too tired to go out to look. It's quite amazing how exhaustion and the need to sleep reduces your care factor to near zero.
Once we got settled in it was time to get the car, which involved booking a marina so the girls wouldn't be on the hook while I was gone (nor would I need to swim to the boat when I got back), get a cab to the airport, fly to Virginia, meet up with Steve who would drive me to Colonial Beach where the car was. After that a trip to storage as we had stuff in the car that needed to be put away and the long drive back. That was the plan. The plan failed when we picked a nice weekend for me to fly up based on the weather in Virginia. Needless to say, the "fore"cast was a failure. Initially it was meant to be fine weather. We booked the flight and as the day approached the "fore"cast changed to snow storms and very cold conditions. That turned out to be the least of our problems.
I was in the Fort Lauderdale Airport on Friday Jan 6th in terminal 3 from about 12:30 pm onwards. In case that doesn't sound familiar, that was the day and the time that some looney called Esteban Santiago came in on another flight and took his hand gun and ammunition out of his checked luggage and started shooting people. I can't comment for other people but I can describe things from my perspective.
I was in Terminal 3 E5 sitting down near the hallway accessing a power outlet and getting online with my laptop to let the wife know I was at the airport. A woman walked up to me and asked if I had the Internet and about the shooting in the baggage claim area. I looked it up and saw that the incident was over. The guy was apprehended. I let her know that. About 20-30 minutes after that an announcement came across the intercom that an incident in terminal 2 has happened and all services were suspended. No one really knew what that meant. About 5 minutes after that all hell broke loose. People running down the hallway screaming. It looked like a zombie apocalypse. Someone yelled out active shooter but no one really knew what the hell was going on other than the general air of hide as danger was imminent. I ducked behind the service counter and after a few seconds looked up at the guy who was running telling people to hide and asked what the hell was going on. He said he didn't know. At that point I got up and walked to the hallway to see if I could figure anything else out.
Still people running and screaming and then it appeared they let out passengers from an aircraft and they too were now running. Shortly afterwards I saw two members of the TSA running towards us arms waving and yelling at people to run and hide. They then ushered everyone outside onto the tarmac where we stayed for hours. We didn't see any armed police on the tarmac for hours then they came out with hands on their weapons armed with handguns and military style assault weapons. Fingers on the near the trigger on the ready. Not sure why as we'd been out there for a couple of hours without incident. If someone wanted to do a massacre they would have done it in the hours prior any police coming out onto the tarmac where all the unarmed passengers were herded.
They finally got us into the airport but communication from the top down was sorely lacking. We were directed to go left by some, right by others and when people went the way they said the other person would scream wrong way. One person telling us to go out, the people at the outside telling us to go in and the poor woman who looked like a highly trained FBI agent stuck in the middle had no clue what the hell to do anymore. Eventually she just said do what ever you want and things calmed down.
We waited outside for hours before they announced that anyone with cars can now leave. That made little impact in the number of people left. Then later they announced that they will be bringing buses for the rest of us. No idea where these buses were going to take us however. Eventually the buses came but they started loading people at the entrance instead of the exit. Imagine a train stopping at the start loading one cabin at a time and slowly moving forward. That's what it was like. Much like the train example, they should have got the first bus all the way to the exit of the loop so the rest of the buses could fit behind it and not cause a traffic nightmare of empty buses and full buses trying to cris cross past each other. When I finally boarded it took over an hour to go two miles to Port Everglades and we couldn't make it all the way there due to traffic. They were forced to let us out onto the street. Thankfully the traffic was stationary. I tried to get directions but the one police member there was highly busy directing traffic to be interested in all these people wanting to know where they were and which way to go. I'm to this day still not sure how he thought he could direct bumper to bumper stationary traffic and why it was so urgent but that's how it panned out. Finally we worked out where we were. For me that meant a 4 mile walk back to the Marina in sandals. We'd try again in the morning to get another flight. We got that but that becomes another story for the next log.
Summing up, it appears the USA 15 years after 911 has got their priorities mixed up based on this one incident. The response to an attack seems to be all about the firefight. There were hundreds of armed troops there. I'm pretty sure they called in everyone on or off duty. There were many departments there. All armed. All ready for a serious gun fight dressed in many cases like military even though many were just police or from the Sheriffs office. Now I can't fault the men and women on the front line. They got their asses in and were ready for anything gun fight wise and that is what they are trained for. My concern is that those up top seemed to have missed the human logistics of such an incident. Thousands of civilians with no advance preparation on dealing with them. That part was a major failure. Crowd control is a very real and serious aspect to these kind of situations. There appears to have been little if any effort done to prepare the ground troops for that aspect and that rests completely on those in charge. If crowd control is not planned for, it is a disaster waiting to happen and no one wants that. It's not just about the gun fight.
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Captains log 201612.20
Forecast for today: less than 1 foot swell from the North, light winds 5-9mph.
The part of Florida South of Palm Beach has about 35 bridges to our destination, Hollywood. Most are North of Boca Raton. That's why I checked the forecast. I checked multiple sources. It seems though that they all get their information from the one source so what we got was the same forecast slightly reworded by different sites.
We exited at West Palm beach and the next available inlet was Boca Raton. We got, 3-6 foot waves from the South, so we were headed right into them and wind was Easterly at about 1 mph so we couldn't even put the sails up and dampen any of it. When I say 3-6 footers, I'm talking over the cabin top high. There is no way they can be less than 1 foot in anyone's language.
The biggest problem was when we got got there it was about 2 foot. After about two hours it increased. We kept going as it's a long way back. Then we got hit with two nearby squalls that generated the 6 footers. Short period nasty stuff. The forecast when we left was cloudy, light winds and near calm water. We got thunderstorms out in the distance, one with a largish funnel, no wind and the crazy waves. All the waves were coming from 180 degree's to the forecast direction. I suspect someone at the bureau saw 6' waves and had dyslexia so read it as 6" waves and wrote in the forecast, "waves less than a foot". Needless to say, the mil was a complete mess again. The wife is now a veteran at this stuff so just takes it in her stride. As for me, I was just pissed off that I believed the forecast and subjected them to it all.
While we were in the middle of the 6 footers I decided to check the radio weather again. They amended the forecast to an SCA (small craft advisory). No shit, we were in it. A forecast however is meant to tell you in advance not in hindsight. That's what the "fore" in it means.
I saw a guy in a Gemin 3200 (catamaran) sail boat try to sail, he pulled his sails in soon after. His boat was bouncing bow to stern into the water. He had a bigger boat than ours but it sure didn't handle the conditions as good. We only had one wave go over the top and get us a little wet but he was in the drink over and over. Glad I wasn't on that boat!
We pulled into Boca Raton over an hour ago and I just checked passage weather (usually the most accurate) and it is still saying under .5m (less than 1.5 foot) waves. W.T.F.
*Stardate 201612.24 update*
We are currently in Hollywood Florida. The weather is hot and muggy. We're doing a massive boat clean up as it was hard to do good cleaning in the conditions we dealt with for so long. I'll be draining and cleaning the bilges to keep the humidity down. Not that they have much but completely dry is better than sloshing around. We cleaned all the laundry yesterday, including stuff that was just in the storage, simply because this boat has been so humid that much of our gear started to get that moldy smell to it. That's what you get when there's so much rain and condensation for so long. Then we hit warmer weather and boom, a mold/mildew bloom! It wasn't as bad as the time I forgot to open the windows while at the marina and in the heat the whole boat got a fine coat of mold that took a day to clean up. This time it's not really visible but the damp smell was bugging us.
I'll also try to fit a water filter to our tank water. Oddly, we have two filters on the intake for the head but none on our water cooking water supply. Sounds weird. It probably is. What it did for us however is put clean filtered water into the head when flushing which really reduced the smells. Typically little sea bacteria get in and die there causing a foul stench. There is always silt as well. Since putting in the pre-filters we got none of that. I just ran out of time to fit the tank water filters as that is a more complicated job. It's time is due now however.
Our LED lighting that worked kind of well for the trip other than the 3M backing tape not sticking, failed in an interesting way last night. Part of the lights were white, further along the strip they turned crimson. Halfway through the strip they turned red. These LED's were meant to be quality and got good reviews. Possibly by people that used them twice. They are useless for a longer term use situation. I have to find a more suitable solution but for now I'll replace what I have with some more length of the strip since I didn't use all of it.
As it's Christmas Eve we'll also be planning a nice dinner. Not sure what yet.
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Captains log 201612.14
It's been a while since I made an entry, mainly because there's little to enter. We left the Cocoa Beach area without seeing Jeanie or Mjr Nelson. We sailed quite a long way in semi rough conditions. The wind was about 10-20 knots from the NE gusting occasionally to 25 or so and we were headed South so we were taking it on the rear port quarter. The waves were choppy but because we were were surrounded by shallow water they were not large, two foot max. We had full sail up and were moving along pretty quickly. Much of the time the wind was in the lower speeds but every now and then it piped up and accelerated the boat to over 6 knots. We averaged about 5.5 knots most of the time. As we got in between the little islands that the Indian river had sprinkled through it the wind would drop down to near nothing.
When we first started the sail in the morning another Catamaran pulled out in front of us with full sail. For about 3 hours we got closer then he pulled away then we got closer then he pulled away over and over. He had a lighter sail plan and and was pulling away most of the time as it was only about 10 knots, but when the heavier winds kicked in we made a up lot of ground/water. At one point it looked like we would pass him but the wind dropped down to near nothing as we left the more open waters and reached the areas where were were ducking in and out of islands most of the time.
Shortly before we reached the islands however, our reel started screeching. The wife took the helm and I grabbed the rod (we call it Ross's rod as he sent it to us). It took a while and I thought I caught a small fish but it turned out to be a nice sized Spanish Mackerel. We we so excited to get it in and get the line out again we completely forgot to take a picture! It was a good 25 inches or so long but I'm not sure how much it weighed. It was more than enough to feed the three of us. We also caught a lizzard fish later and cooked that up too. That was not so good because of the bones but the Mackerel was great.
While out here we were working out where we could set up base so I could fly back to Colonial Beach and bring back the car. Many marina's here can't take a 14 foot wide boat. At least that's what they claim. So finding a place has been a pain. Currently we think we've found one but they require us to go there and get to know us in case we are "undesirables". This should be interesting. The place is in Titusville which means heading back North but it is close to Orlando according to the girls. So who know's, I might just bump into him when I go shopping or something. If I do, I'll take a selfie on my non existent phone. lol
While we've been here in Sebastian, we've been eaten alive by the bugs from hell called noseeum's. They are really sandflies and are just the nastiest little things around. The wife looks like she has the measles. We have found that iodine on the bite takes away a lot of the itch making it bearable. It's no real solution (pardon the pun) but it makes it more manageable. We got some other sprays to coat our bedding, clothes and carpet which repel and kill the things but we'll see how that works out. Yesterday we dropped anchor on a little island and I swung the stern around so we could get onto the island by only going through about a foot and a half of water. While we were walking around we got attacked by the damned bugs so bad we were all running around scratching. Not impressed.
Speaking of not impressed, we wanted to get a recreational vessel fishing license for Florida. We had one in Virginia and it was about $50. I looked up the cost of the Florida license. Not much more, it's ONLY $2001.50 annually. That's not a typo. It's over two thousand dollars per year for a recreational vessel salt water fishing license. An annual license per person is about $17 for resident. Now far be it for me to point out stupidity, but wtf Florida! Two thousand dollars per year for a salt water fishing license? While I'm at it, which moron added the $1.50 processing fee to a $2000 license? Are you people completely bat shit crazy? Wow. That's all I have to say. I'm sure that one boat that has the annual licence did so because it's cheaper than taking over 100 people annually on that particular boat who don't have a $17 fishing license each. Just wow.
So needless to say, we'll be getting the $17 license once we become residents here. Since the mil doesn't like fishing at all, that's a grand total of $34 per year. Had they had a vessel license for about $50 I would rather get that so on the possible occasion that someone does go fishing with us and hasn't got a fishing license they would be covered. If the price was about $50 per year I'd imagine a lot of people would do that. But no. Lets make it $2000 per year, and lets not forget the $1.50 processing fee because they are a bunch of retarded government pencil pushers who have their heads so far up their asses they no longer need oxygen because they have evolved to be methane breathers instead. Maybe that's why they don't accept global warming. They are terra forming the Earth to be friendlier to retarded methane based life forms.
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Captains Log 201612.9
Two nights ago we were anchored in the Indian River near the JFK Space Center. Nearly 11 years ago when the wife and I got married we went for our honeymoon around the East Coast of the USA visiting people and sight seeing. One of the things we did was go to the JFK Space Center and did the ATX program. You get a guided tour of the facilities, the training center and the launch pads. There was meant to be a launch the day we went but it was postponed so we missed it. One of the things we were shown was yachts anchored in the Banana Lagoon right near the launch facilities. They go there to watch the rocket launches by the water. We both thought that was just something really cool do do at the time. We had no idea that just over a decade later we'd be on the water waiting for a launch.
It took us a while to find the best spot on the Indian river. We decided to skip the Banana Lagoon as it involved going through a Bascule bridge (draw bridge), the distance to it was about 10 miles and in the end we'd be no closer to the actual rocket itself. As it was we were about 10 miles from the launch site. After finding out which launch pad it was at and moving the boat to the nearest place, which is easy with a catamaran that draws about 2 feet of water, I started cooking our dinner. Aussie burgers with the lot. For the record, it's pronounced Auzzie. There is no "s" sound when saying it.
We opened a bottle of wine, I got the camera and we moved to the front of the boat as we were pointing right at the launch site. We couldn't actually see the rocket on the launch pad. It was about 7pm and this time of year the Sun sets about 5:20pm so we were looking at night. There were some trees blocking the view but there was the glow of some lights around so we were discussing where exactly we should be looking when the ground lit up a bright yellow. The launch was happening. I started taking pictures. It kept going p and got brighter for a while before dimming down to darkness. Then it lit up again as the second stage fired up. Not as bright as the first stage but still very bright. The noise came to us when the rocket was about a 30 degree angle from the horizon. So it took quite a while before we hear anything. I was expecting to hear the rockets fire up before we saw the launch as they fire up and hold the rocket down to confirm thrust for a few seconds. That just wasn't the case. It wasn't a loud roar either. We were 10 miles from the site so it was more like a hiss from a distant plane. The second stage burned for a while then it too stopped. A short pause later we saw a dim light again. Since there is no third stage (I checked) we're not sure what it was.
The rocket left a smoke trail in the sky that was visible for hours as the wind was very calm. We sat around chatting for a while and called it a night. The wind however wasn't happy being calm so it whipped up again giving us a very bouncy night. The next morning we found a public boat ramp close to a supermarket and we docked there. The girls went to do shopping while I kept the boat away from the dock. Getting into the spot was slow going. The water depth was about 2 feet in some spots and we have a 2 foot draft. At the dock the wind waves bounced us on the bottom and I kept pushing the boat out into deeper water as much as I could. The mil came back with the shopping in our little trolley but the wife stayed back as there was too much to carry. Due to a miscommunication I was told to look for her in the wrong part of the shopping center and couldn't find her. So I walked back to the boat and she wasn't there. So off I went again to look for her but she saw me walking away too late and was too far to call me. So she started walking back carrying the heavy loads of water with her.
After all that we realised we hadn't got everything so we went back again. Things are so much easier in a car. We've done a lot of walking since getting on the boat. We're all getting fitter and losing weight. Once that trip was done we had to find an anchorage and I plotted the course to it but we'd be getting there just after Sunset. We still got here in daylight but not much of it. The wind picked up to over 20 knots last night and even though we were in a small fetch area we still got bounced around a bit more than we wanted. Had we been at the spot where we were last night I'm sure we would have had a midnight sail to better areas.
Dinner before the launch.
Pretty sure everyone knows what this is.
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