A Perspective

Yesterday evening, the 5th of February 2015, as I gazed out the window watching the traffic flow along the quay of Waterford the realization struck me as to how much has changed in just one year.

Looking out the Salon Window onto the Quay of Waterford, Ireland
Looking out the Salon Window onto the Quay of Waterford, Ireland

Last year at this time, I had just returned from the Bahamas, had crossed the dreaded Gulf Stream, this time alone and was docked at my friend’s Paul house.

Now I had set up Paul and Chantal, my crewmate, as they seemed a very good match.  The problem was I lost a reliable crewmate and as it turned out, Paul got weirder and weirder and I still not understand what happened.

But Dauntless was in Miami to have a lot of work done in preparation of the upcoming Atlantic Passage coming up in July.  I had thought I had found a rigger and fabricator who would do the paravane stabilization system and I was waiting in very nervous anticipation for that work to start, as it was something that had to be done before our passage and they had given me a price I could afford, though I still had to manage my meager resources well.

So it’s early February, I had no help and all this work (buy, make, install) had to be done on the boat before we left and time was running out:

  1. Fabricate and install the paravanes,
  2. Replace current fridge and freezer with 12 volt system,
  3. Solar panels,
  4. Water maker,
  5. Replace the depth sounder,
  6. 12 v boat computer and 12v monitors,
  7. New navigation system and chart plotter,
  8. AIS transceiver,
  9. Replace one VHF antenna repair the other
  10. Get a life raft,
  11. Maretron system for environmental and navigation data,
  12. European, Canadian and Atlantic charts,
  13. Spare engine parts, alternator, injection pipes, water pump,
  14. 15 Lexan storm windows to make and install,
  15. Replace 112 bungs in the teak deck,
  16. Paint the cap rail, sand the rub rail,
  17. Get a bicycle,
  18. New Anchor
  19. Get my Captain’s license (handy in Europe)

 

Miami, behind Hopkins-Carter
Miami, behind Hopkins-Carter

And I knew even once all of this was done, we still had to cross 3,000 miles of the North Atlantic.

Now, I had been reading, reading and reading, asking folks stuff on Trawler Forum, but the hard part was actually deciding on this versus that.  Why that life raft and not this one.  As the time crunch got crunchier, it became easier only because it was time to shit or get off the pot, as my mother would say.

But even now, I look at that list in amazement and also proud that I, we, got it done.  It would not have happened without the help and support of some new friends.

In March, Richard (not me, another Richard), who I had met in the marina in Providence, came down from Rhode Island and spent a month with me doing a lot of different jobs.  I so appreciated his company and work and Dauntless still shows his efforts.  He also helped to get me focused and on track.

I had also moved the boat to a little pontoon just behind Park’s store, Hopkins-Carter Marine.  This also turned out to be a Godsend in that, when the paravanes were finally being built, I had a store one minute away that had all the extra things I needed every hour.

Finally the paravanes were done and I hightailed it to Ft. Pierce, where David spent two weeks installing the fridge, freezer, solar panels and water maker.

The rest of the work was done in the coming months as I returned to Providence, where in the last days before departure, Richard again came to the rescue and got my Lexan cut to size and then, finally, only three hours before departure, Julie and I finished installed the Lexan storm windows.

And the rest is history.

So, as I sit here in a warm cozy Kadey Krogen a year later, I’m in Europe, our goal of the last 7 years, the worst problem I seem to have is that in sorting and cataloging spare parts and reorganizing everything, I’ve discovered that I have 4 soldering irons.

Even though we have a few more oceans to cross and many miles to go; it’s all downhill from here.

Life is Good.

 

 

Rantings and Ravings

Another Sunrise on the Miami River April 1, 2014
Another Sunrise on the Miami River April 1, 2014

Yes, I am sitting here, still, on the Miami River, watching the sun rise and feeling miserable.  Why? You ask yourself, he is in this almost idyllic setting, yet feels miserable? Because he tells you, he is an impatient, spoiled American, whose patience was never very much in the first place.  And he adds, there is one of those noisy birds, I think of the magpie family, who sounds like a whole flock, but is just one plain noisy, and probably horny, bird.  Every few minutes, my idyllic setting and even noisy bird, is interrupted as a plane takes off from Miami International Airport.  Not good noise.  Unpurposeful.

I used to have a T-shirt which proclaimed, Jet Noise, the Sound of Freedom.  It was, but we were referring to a pair of F-4’s flying over your head at 300 feet. In the 80’s in Europe, it was, and the little left wing meteorologist that arrived in Italy in 1976 and had just voted for Jimmy Carter, saw that world as it really was, and it was not as depicted in the American press.  Europeans liked, loved the sound of freedom.  I learned to appreciate the goodness of the US, (though still annoyed at our bumbling sometimes) and have not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since!

By the way, those too young to know or too old that you already forgot, should read Robert Gate’s book, From the Shadows, a fascinating account of the White House politics and the world from the Nixon years thru George Bush one.  And surprise, surprise (actually I was) that the Russians, yes, the same peace loving, respectful people they are today, actually did promote and fund all of the anti-American protests of the 70’s and 80’s in Europe. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006L9B616/ref=kinw_myk_ro_title

OK, I’m really not miserable, slight (gross) exaggeration.  Just a bit bored and impatient, as the paravanes stabilizer project proceeds at a glacial pace.  I’ve actually been assured it will be finished in three days, but Felix, the guy I’m renting the dock from, thinks three weeks is more like it.  Also my back hurts, since the painting project almost three weeks ago and it’s hard to think of witty things to write when in pain.

Then, eerily, for just a few seconds, I hear one of those birds that is on the soundtrack of every Hollywood movie scene in a jungle.  Distinctive, loud, but quite short.

Did I mention the dolphins?  Yes, dolphins swim by.  Julie and I went kayaking Saturday morning and they swam right next to us.  Same one, (Who knows?) came by this morning.  I threw him a piece of salmon from my breakfast, but I don’t think they like it cooked (smoked, processed whatever). A less picky sea gull soon took care of that piece of offal.

What you think, kayaks?  Yes, as we wanted a way to get to shore, without having to use the humongous dingy (I’m also dealing with that issue).

Lastly, yesterday evening, I rode by bike to the cutest Dairy Queen, I’ve seen in a long time. Old time, with only ice cream.  Getting into a conversation with another patron, he told me he was coming here to this same DQ 50 years ago.

Dairy Queen - a Glimpse of the Past
Dairy Queen – a Glimpse of the Past

OK. John, the Rigger and Red, the Fabricator, should be by any day now, so I better get dressed.

 

John the Rigger
John the Rigger
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Dauntless Awaits
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New Deck Lights

A Few Thoughts & Comments

In the next weeks, I want to finish the Canadian Adventure,  The Jewell Island Fiasco was just the beginning. Suffice it to say, just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does.  Details to follow, but I assure you there will be midnight dives, midnight docking, 12 knot currents, flying trawlers, flying people, swinging booms, crushing dinghies, crashing seas, the bureaucracies of the world at their best, BoatUS on the edge, Canadian customs, the ever vigilant USCG, pilot ships, thunderstorms, rain, ships passing in the night, lobster pots, lobsters, big tides and of course fog, fog and more fog.

Before all the gory details, I have another issue.  I really try to write to my audience, those of you taking the time out of your busy day to read my writings.  I try not to just have a travelogue, as the trawler magazines, have that boring niche.

But I do like being responsive to my readers, therefore, please leave comments (if I don’t like them, I can always delete them!) or send me an email if you just want to keep your thoughts, ideas, private between us.

Hopefully, this will be my last week to ten days on the Miami River.  I will certainly miss the planes flying overhead as I am just east of Miami International Airport.  Reminds me of watching the Mets at Shea Stadium.  The planes were nosier back then,

I’ve finished the cap rail project.  It was just painting the cap rail and the hand rails.  I’ll post some pictures when were all cleaned up and the paravanes are done also.

John and Red have promised me a very nifty, elegant solution for the paravanes and although I had some initial trepidation, I am really looking forward to what they have come up with.

So stay tuned.  The bike with the freshly painted orange fenders is my new bike.  First new bike since Alaska.

Why orange fenders? I am going to be in Holland next year after all.cropped-wpid-storageextsdcarddcimcamera20140320_075305_nw-14th-st.jpg cropped-wpid-storageextsdcarddcimcamera20140318_071539_nw-20th-st1.jpg

Trash bag on the Maimi River
Trash bag on the Maimi River
Little Havana
Little Havana
It is the Best Middle Eastern Food Ever
It is the Best Middle Eastern Food Ever
The New Bike
The New Bike

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Sunrise on the Miami River

Sunrise on the Miami River
Sunrise on the Miami River

A fascinating place, the Miami River, full of real working boats and interesting people.

I promise to write about it more later, but have little time this morning, as this is the big day.

Richard and I have finished out painting project.  The cap rail, and forward hand rails have been painted!  We have also replaced 95 teak bungs and screws in our teak deck.

Next up, Dauntless is being fitted for her stabilizer paravanes (aka flopper stoppers) today.  Long planned and anticipated.  One way or another, I will write of the process and outcome (hopefully great).

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See more photos at

http://dauntless.smugmug.com/