Return to Huatulco

I could call this, Mexico Just Works, at least this part.

The Bahias of Huatulco

As international trips of 3,000+ miles go, this was by far one of the easiest ever! 13 hours after wake-up at oh-dark-thirty, I was being dropped off at my hotel in Huatulco. Hotel Balcon Gueela turned out to be a really nice, comfortable place to stay while Dauntless gets her bottom painted. The sense of relief was palpable. Which got me to thinking, why such angst? I’ve travelled 24 hours to get to and from Vietnam, but other than relief that the trip was finally over, I never experienced fear before.

I’ve crossed two and a half oceans by now. I’ve spent a few too many hours being miserable, but never afraid.

HUX – Huatulco Airport

So why now, why this underlying angst in traveling to Mexico?  I’d been in a dozen of airports and train stations this past year. Why the angst now? When I arrived at baggage claim in Mexico City from my New York flight, I had 3 hours for my connecting flight to Huatulco. I assumed I’d pick up my bag, go thru customs and immigration, then recheck it for Huatulco.

That’s the routine at most ports of entry. But not here. Here upon arrival at baggage claim, I was approached by a nice, uniformed lady, who asked my point of origin and when informed it was NY, she asked to see my boarding pass with claim stub and pointed out that my bag was checked through to Huatulco. Duh. I travelled 90,000 air miles last year.  One would think I would have thought to check at some stage of this process, especially at the onset, when the bag tag was affected to my bag. It’s always nice to make sure one’s bag is going on the same trip as you are!

Though at that moment of check-in, 05:00, I was distracted by the realization that my 07:00 flight was really at 08:00.  The 7 a.m. time must have been the time I told myself to be at the airport. But somewhere in my little mind, that got fixed at the departure time. I had stayed with friend’s in Brooklyn to be close to the airport. I hadn’t slept that well because I had bad toothache (needed a root canal) and I was just nervous about he whole trip. So, I ended up leaving the house at 04:00, and was checking in, an hour later, having returned the rental car full of gas and taken the JFK tram.

So, another rookie mistake, not even confirming my flight time.

Why was I so nervous? The toothache certainly didn’t help, but still.

While there was no customs inspection (NAFTA?), I did have to go through immigration. But even this routine, simple task, seemed beyond me. First, I did not have the right form. I had a customs form, which I didn’t need, but was never given the immigration form I did need. OK, no problem, says the immigration officer, “go to that desk and complete form and return here”.

Five minutes later, he looks at my just completed form and shows me the bottom half I had not filled out. This time, he directs me to a desk closer to him, as I clearly need supervision, though more likely, he was just trying to save me time and reduce my frustration/confusion.

Third time is the charm. I get my requisite stamps and I’m off to the lounge to wait two hours. Airline lounges are pretty much the same, but I was nervous beyond words; looking over my shoulder constantly. Now, those who know me, know I am the most trusting person on the planet, possibly in the entire solar system. And naïve too, as my stint in the Bronx was to prove.

A couple hours later, walking down the air stairs, looking around at the quaint, little Huatulco airport, I felt a large load was lifted off my shoulders. The walk from the plane to the terminal, took about 4 minutes. During this walk, I noticed the baggage train was going to beat us to the terminal. My bag was on the first pass of the carousel as I walked in. I grabbed it, noticed a nice lady standing at a podium with a big sign that said, official taxis, walked up and she gave me my options for the 20-minute ride to Huatulco and my hotel. I could have a private taxi for $25 or go in the group van for $9.  I took the cheaper route.

Outside the airport. Just go to the stall number on your receipt ti find the right taxi or van. Mexico Just Works

The whole process, the entire trip from the time I got up at 03:30, left JFK to arrival at my hotel in Huatulco, could not have been easier. Everything was simple and in Mexico, helpful people always appeared just when you had that first confused look on your face. Mexico just works.

It was at that point when it finally dawned on me the reason for my angst.  What was that load that was taken off my shoulders? It was simply that I hadn’t been killed during my travel in Mexico. No, I wasn’t taking a bus through the countryside in the middle of the night, but clearly, I had been afraid. Not until I was in the familiar Huatulco, did I feel safe.

This was totally irrational, I’ve been in a million places more dangerous than the Mexico City airport!

Where did this fear come from? I’ve been thinking about this for a week now.

My “news” information is purposely limited, as I have come to understand that “news” is not as objective as I once assumed. Remember, I did say I was naïve. I had a bad experience with the print media as a high school principal in the Bronx, NY. The Chief Editor of this newspaper, told my boss, that he was directed to print a story that was nothing more than character assassination, meant to embarrass and defame me. I knew who wrote it, as it was carefully written, as to not be accountable to her, but then she was crazy and had no problem saying the most outrageous things. She wrote this kind of stuff routinely.

The end result is that I stopped reading the New York newspapers. So now, I only read the Wall Street Journal, Science News and sometimes the Guardian from England.

I certainly don’t read anything that purports to be “news” on the internet. In fact, once I discovered that there are numerous pictures of big ships in tremendous waves online that are photoshopped, I realized you can’t even trust what you see online.

Even though I avoid sensationalism, it was still in my mind that Mexico was this dangerous place that made me afraid, in a totally irrational manner.  So even a seasoned traveler like myself can get caught up in the hype with no sense of reality.  This was made all the more “unreal” to me in that my interactions with any Mexicans, in New York, the USA or even in Mexico! have been outstanding.  I’ve never had a bad experience. Ever. Can’t say that about almost any other place, even Canada (they can’t get it out of their heads that not every American has an arsenal of guns!).

And I never watch those weather shows with their drumbeat of death and destruction. Gimme a break. Get a life.

 

 

PassageMaker versus Aviation Week

Should be a no brainer.  AW was my old life; PM my new one.  I love reading about boats, cruising in boats, living on boats and of course, crossing oceans on small boats.

From the Deceember 4th, issue
From the Deceember 4th, issue

Now, this article in PM about another Kadey Krogen 42 is a great story.

http://www.passagemaker.com/articles/cruiser-reviews/refit/moveable-feast-a-restored-kadey-krogen-with-a-culinary-core/

This boat, in the above article, was the boat built just before Dauntless and they have made many of the same modifications that we have done on Dauntless.  Hopefully in two years, we will be able to spend some time with them cruising the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia.

But the problem has been that while this is a great article, I find myself spending less and less time reading PM. Why, simply put, the magazine seems not as interesting to me as before.

Now whether that is a function of me having increased my knowledge base over the last few years or the magazine is simply not as interesting remains to be seen.  Though I suspect it is the latter.  PM seems to have more fluff pieces, with positivity, but with no real critical questions or thinking. I think in the past year; I have not spent more than 30 minutes reading any particular issue.

Aviation Week on the other hand, after all these years, still seems the place to get news viewed with a critical eye. I can spend an hour or two on a whole range of things from commercial or military production to airlines and load factors.

Look at all these luscious headlines in the current issue:

http://aviationweek.com/aviation-week-space-technology/2015-12-07

Who wouldn’t want to read about: New Space Pioneers, new turbofan engine technology, new aircraft accident information, Russian deployment of anti-aircraft system to Syria, etc.

A cornucopia of interesting things.  I think I will subscribe to print version also.  I like leafing thru the pages, looking at the pictures, the headlines and sub headers at a glance.

But for me, Science News is still number one.  Always interesting, a thin 25-page issue still captivates me for hours.  It used to be a weekly, but is now every other week.  Always a treat that covers the broad topic of science and scientific studies ranging from nutrition to plate tectonics and everything in between and out of this world.

https://www.sciencenews.org/

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/pregnancy-hormone-could-keep-multiple-sclerosis-bay

And Lastly, hot off the press, from the 28 Nov Issue:

  • “Anti-protons behave just like protons and can be strongly binded together by the strong nuclear force”
  • “A rare reptile holds clue to penis evolution- even though it doesn’t have one”

Now, this is actually news you can use.

 

 

 

The Power of Persistence

Yes, while it certainly takes persistence to cross an ocean, I’m referring to a difference type of persistence, persistence as it relates to weather forecast skill.
Reading this article this morning from the April 17, 2015 edition of Science News, I thought it would illustrate the impact persistence has on a weather forecast.

Onshore hurricanes in a slump

Record-breaking nine years have elapsed since last Category 3 or stronger hurricane made landfall in the United States.

BY
12:36PM, APRIL 17, 2015

No major hurricanes have slammed into the coast of the United States since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. The gap in these hurricanes making landfall is the longest in recorded history and is incredibly rare, researchers report.

Many hurricanes in recent years have reached Category 3 or above while out to sea, but they’ve all fizzled into weaker storms before coming ashore. The landfall drought is probably a temporary run of good luck rather than a climate shift. The researchers estimate that there’s a 61 percent chance the drought will continue through this year.

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/onshore-hurricanes-slump

I have promised to publish a post about weather and weather forecasting.  That post will be titled, Weather or Not, but this is not that.

This is more a little teaser, an appetizer.  The above quote was taken from the most recent on-line edition of Science News, an absolutely wonderful magazine that now comes out every other week, as the on-line portion has gotten bigger.

Having read SN for more than 20 years, I’ve always looked forward to what juicy bits it would contain each week.

I’ve quoted the above portion because it highlights something that I will talk about extensively in my post, the power of persistence.   So as the article above talks about how rare it is for the U.S. not to have a Cat 3, or greater, hurricane landfall; we have already gone 9 seasons without one.

These researchers still prognosticate that there is still an above even chance, 61%, that we will not have a landfall this upcoming season also.

I’m sure that’s predicated on the power of persistence.  So even though this is far out of the ordinary, (no landfall), persistence is still hard to beat when it comes to forecasting.

In my upcoming post, Weather or Not, I will discuss the impact of persistence on a forecast, how to evaluate the quality of a weather forecast, how a forecaster can be right 95% of the time; but still not make good forecasts! and most of all, how you, the cruiser, should or should not use said forecast.

Stay tuned.

Science News & the Miami Boat Show

How are they related?science news cover

https://www.sciencenews.org/

Julie recently sent the following email to her science teachers:

Hi science team, 

I just spent 45 minute reading new discoveries about the following: 

  • How sleep “flushes” out the brain
  • New research in progenia, a disease that prematurely ages children 
  • How molecules in 1% of our exhaled breath can diagnose certain diseases
  • A pink fairy armadillo that is almost impossible to find
  • Earth might not be inhabitable in 1.75 billion years
  • The primordial comet ISON 
  • New “robot” limbs for paraplegics that are controlled by human thoughts

I could go on– there was more and it was all in Science News.  I truly enjoyed it, and I remembered Richard telling me many times that he thinks all science teachers should read this magazine.  He has subscribed for years, and as an earth science and physics teacher, he said that the background knowledge he gained from it allowed him to teach a range of content he otherwise could not have handled if he had only relied on his meteorology degree.  

To you– a group of young, inspired teachers at the beginning of your careers– I passionately recommend that you personally subscribe to Science News.  It’s very important that nourish your sense of wonder and fascination and discovery that will not get fed unless you intentionally feed it.  Start nourishing your passion early and don’t for wait a fictional future when you think you’ll have more time, or teaching will get easier.  Think of this year not as a hump to get over, but as the beginning of an ever-expanding possibility to have fun, feel fulfilled, and learn with your students.  Now is when you need to be reading and having fun.  Set the precedent now to be a science teacher who loves science.  

Why Science News?  Because it is truly a “digest”– it engagingly summarizes articles from hundreds of science journals.  It is a blast to read.  

And if this inspires you to go even further and subscribe to more magazines, and seek more professional development and events about science, including those closer to your subject area, wonderful.  Gorge yourself on reading fun things about science, math, history– it’s all related.  You have inspired me to write this to you, and I will call out similarly to other departments.  

Ciao, enjoy this break!

Yes, I still love reading Science News, even though now it is a bi-weekly. Maybe once I get my tablet, I will get over the loss of my weekly treat.

So, I spent a full day at the Miami Boat Show. As opposed to boat shows I have attended in the past, this one was business for me as I have a number of upgrades and changes that I want to get accomplished this spring before our Atlantic Passage in July.

Among the changes I am thinking about, planning or getting done:

  • Paravanes (flopper stoppers), being fabricated now in Miami
  • Wallas DT40 Diesel heater
  • Bicycle for me to use in my travels
  • Isolation transformer to convert 220V to 110 V
  • K-30 Pentax Camera + zoom to be able to take better pictures and restart that old hobby
  • High capacity alternator, so I also have a spare
  • SSB HF radio
  • Coastal Explorer great looking navigation software
  • AIS Transponder, so you guys can track me and hopefully big ass ships will see me and not run us over
  • AIS and VHF Ant, old VHF Ant is broken in any case
  • Captain’s license , can’t hurt and I will learn something I probably need to know
  • Fridge and Freezer, it’s between two Italian companies, Isotherm and Vitrifrigo, which will cut my daily power consumption my two thirds, making life on the hook better without the generator.  Also will be adding
  • Solar Panels on top of Pilot House
  • Rogue Wi-Fi.  So I have more choices for internet connectivity
  • Village Water Watermaker
  • Samsung Tablet will become third backup (actually my fourth, but who’s counting) and let me bring it with me wherever to monitor boat functions and its movements.

So, as you can see, I have my work cut out for me.  Luckily, I have a lot of help in some really good friends, Paul, here in Miami, Richard from Providence (no, not me, another Richard) and Dave in Ft. Pierce, who is a true master of electrical and boat systems.

So, how are Science News & the Miami Boat Show related?  For both Julie and I, it has always been about learning and putting systems in place that lead to better teacher teams for Julie and increased efficiently for Dauntless and I.

Also, feel free to email me at DauntlessNY@gmail.com should you have any comments or questions.

Some pictures of the last few days, mostly of the Miami River taken yesterday and the Coconut Grove area can be found at:

Winter in Miami