Saturday, October 13, 2012

For the Birds.....

Last week a group of cruisers went for an overnight trip to the Aca Wright Nature Center for a couple of days of birdwatching.  It was incredible !!  Left is the entrance to the main 'house' at AWNC.  The following pictures are for the birds....

Humingbird comes in for a landing at the bird feeder...


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"The Pardey Philosophy"

It was three years ago on September 17th that Persephone's dock lines were cut in Westbrook, Connecticut and this trek began.  This morning, Persephone and I are docked in Trinidad; at the bottom of the Eastern Caribbean, (only 12 miles from South America),  Persephone is in a marina located 2000 miles south of where it all began.  Since cutting the dock lines, I have never looked back. 

" I have never looked back " is a pretty strong sentiment.  Three years of full time cruising has provided me with a prospective on why this life style has been successful for me.  The simple answer is, I am a cruiser and not a camper.  Lin and Larry Pardey are arguably the most famous cruisers of all time.  They started cruising in the late seventies and have over 185,000 sea miles.  The "Pardey Philosophy" may be summed up with the phrase they coined: "Go simple, Go small".  Their idea of 'simple' is sailing without an engine, no electronics for navigation (a sextant is fine) no running or hot water, no refrigeration, (and of course no freezer), no lighting (kerosene lights instead) and no creature comforts i.e. never stay at a marina, no stereo, DVDs,  flushable toilet and God forbid, no air conditioning.  For the past 35 years,  the Pardeys have preached their philosophy to every wanna be voyager in a series of  'how to' books which have become the anointed  'bibles of cruising'.  It is amazing how their philosophy has been elevated to gospel which is still spread by their loyal followers today.

The missionaries of the 'Pardey Philosophy' always start the conversation with "Well, REAL cruisers don't have/need ___________________".  (Fill in the blank with any of the items listed above). The Pardey Preacher delivers 'The Gospel' in a condescending tone, less some unwashed heathen dares to be sacrilegious and disagree. Anyone who questions the doctrine is branded with the scarlet letters "NRC"....'Not a Real Cruiser' and is banished from the congregation.

A couple of months ago when I mentioned installing air conditioning aboard Persephone; I thought the face of one of the Preachers was going to melt off and his skull explode !!  (Recall the closing scenes of "Raiders of the Lost Ark").  This generated a whole new round of what is proper equipment (more accurately what is not proper equipment)  for REAL cruisers on Facebook, and Blogs.   

For me, successful cruising is not camping.  I don't want to live a monastic life of sack cloth and warm beer.   Persephone is my home...I want the same comforts aboard as I would have if I were living ashore. Persephone has evolved into a comfortable, safe place to live aboard and travel.   The Pardey Philosophy may have worked decades ago;  but camping is not conducive to long term cruising. If you are sailing only part of the year (snow chickens), plan on voyaging for a short period of time, or on a very tight budget, boat camping may work.  But, if cruising is going to be your lifestyle, creature comforts are essential for long term success. 

Just finished a hot shower, got a cold beer going,  frozen meatballs in the freezer for tonight's dinner, stereo is playing Jimmy Buffett and Fox News is on the TV, all while tied to a dock at a marina....

BOOM !!!    Think I just heard a head explode !!!!




Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Hey,, September 19th is "International Talk Like a Pirate Day".  Avast, some of you landlubbers may have difficulty talking like a pirate.  But, there is a solution:  An English to Pirate translator.

(Left photo) "Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate", Captain Jack Sparrow 

"The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can’t do. For instance, you can accept that your father was a pirate and a good man or you can’t."  Captain Jack Sparrow

"Me? I’m dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It’s the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they’re going to do something incredibly… stupid."  Captain Jack Sparrow

And my favorite quote:

"Not just the Spanish Main, love. The entire ocean. The entire wo'ld. Wherever we want to go, we'll go. That's what a ship is, you know. It's not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails, that's what a ship needs but what a ship is... what the Black Pearl really is... is freedom." Captain Jack Sparrow.

Whether aboard the 'Black Peal' or 'Persephone'... it's all about freedom....yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum !!  


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rumfestival 2012

Mark ('Liahona') and I holding up some of the 80,000 barrels !
Yesterday a large group of cruisers got distracted from working on our boats to attend the Angostura 2012 Rumfestival.  Angostura is world renowned for its bitters...but it also makes a great selection of rums at its distillary in we were off to check them out...Below is a Rum Cone cart ! 

Ed (sv Skylark) and Willie (sv Liahona) enjoying Rumfestival '12

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Manly pursuits....

When "manly" cruisers get together for a sundowners, engines often become a prime topic.  The main diesel on 'Persephone'  (Westerbeke brand) has a serpentine timing belt.  I mentioned to Mark (s/v Liahona) that the specs require replacing the belt every 1000 hours; and asked if this was critical.  Mark (a mechanic by trade) asked how many hours were on the engine....I replied nearly 1500.  Mark merely mentioned that if the belt fails, the valves and pistons would crash into each other ruining the engine (ie...why they call it a TIMING belt !).  The Choice:  replace a $125.00 belt, or risk a $20,000 engine.  OK, the belt needs replacement !!  BUT, the belt is inside the engine housing, and keeping the engine aligned and 'in time' while removing/replacing the belt is crucial.

'Liahona' was in need of new curtains in the forward cabin...'Persephone' was in need of a new timing belt.  Barter Time:  Mark would deal with the timing belt, and I would make curtains for 'Liahona'.  So, Mark gathered up big wrenches, screwdrivers, and of course a hammer.  I got out my sewing machine...Mark worked on tensioning the belt, I worked on tensioning the thread....
Work in progress

Timing belt can be seen winding around the gears of the engine

New curtains on 'Liahona'



Thursday, August 30, 2012

Splashed !!

Persephone Hanging Out

'Persephone' is just finishing her third year of  full time cruising in the Caribbean.  So, it was time to get her "handsomed up".  So, for the past ten days, 'Persephone' has been out of the water and "on the hard" at Peakes Yacht Yard in Chaguaramas, Trinidad.  While on the hard, her sides were professionally washed, compounded and waxed restoring the luster of her gelcoat.  The shine is so bright, you need sunglasses to look at her.
In addition, her bottom was pressure washed (everyone likes a girl with a clean bottom !!) and recoated with Sea Hawk 44 bottom paint.  In the spring, I did the bottom while in the British Virgin Islands,  using Micron 66 bottom paint.  This product totally failed again in only 5 months. At over $300 US per gallon (4 gallons are used),   one would think it would repeal barnacles for longer than a couple of months...simply, it is worthless.  So, it was time for a change; and Trini is the cost effective place to do it.  Peakes did all the labor, while I sipped a mint iced tea and watched !  The results were awesome !!


Above, Bruce ('Wild Matilda') inspects the bottom job.  Right, Persephone is getting ready to launch....




Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac

At the risk of sounding like an owl kissing, tree hugging, oatmeal cookie eating, granola crunching, Birkenstock wearing,  liberal environmentalist; the more I sail, the more I realize that olanet earth is a pretty small rock, and cyclonic storms are very large in comparison.   It is simply amazing the geographic impact named storms have on a region. 

This morning, Tropical Storm Isaac is nearly 300 miles north and west of Trinidad.  But, the impact is being felt here.  We are experiencing monsoonal rains, a swell entering the harbor which is rolling boats in their slips,  thunder storms, road floodings/closings, mud-slides, and business closing.  The cruising community is located on a pensula, all roads to the main part of Trini are flooded and closed.  It is amazing that a storm hundreds of miles away is having such a local impact.  Persephone was supposed to be waxed today and get 'handsomed up'....but the contractors can't get to the marina.  Good day to go back to bed.....