1 LiveBloggin' the ICW: May 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Naked News No Longer on Top...

Ha! That got your attention, didn't it? For months now, my post on Naked News has been the most read post on this blog. What did I expect from a bunch of pirates, right?
According to the blog stats, Tahiti Teasing, the blog previous to this one, is now first in page views for the week, with Naked News coming in second. NN still has the number one spot for the month, but TT is in second and closing in, and fast!
Now, here's where it gets really interesting. I checked the all time figures and, naturally (he says with a broad grin), Naked News is in first place. Tahiti Teasing, as a newer post, is in fifth but that's only after a few days. I suspect it will rise to second place in short order and perhaps even take over the all time top spot.
But like the gag says, Who's on first, What's on second? Rather than tell you, here's the link. Why am I not surprised that that particular post would get big views from a group of sailors?
Nice to see everyone has their priorities in place! Naked, free and tropical sunsets...I'm proud of all of you!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tahiti Teasing....

I know, I know...I promised to tell you all about cruising in Tahiti. Then I got here to Annapolis, and caught up in the social whirl with my many good friends. Since it's about time to sober up - er, take a break, now seems a good time to tell you about Tahiti.
Simply put, everything you've ever heard about how beautiful Tahiti is - is true, but times 10. It's that spectacular. 
I was about to leave for South Africa in 2010 on an assignment for SAIL Magazine when I got an email from my editor: "Would you like to go to Tahiti?" What kind of a question is that? Of course I do. I've never typed 'yes' and hit 'send' as fast as I did then.
SAIL wanted me to cover the Pearl Regatta, which coincidentally has just finished this year. This regatta is one of the world's top regattas for cruising boats, with entries of nearly every conceivable type of boat.

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For example, in this video (click here), the yellow boat you see is a ferro cement boat that was one of the top performers, but there were even boats under 30 feet racing.

Here's another video of the event, taken when I was there...
I just went looking for photos of the event for you - found a blog from Tahiti - and darned if the article on the event they linked to wasn't my own, in SAIL - here's the link - SAIL article.
As you read in the SAIL article, one of my crew was a Japanese sailing writer - well, guess who ended up on the cover of Japan's national sailing magazine? Yup, you got it. Isn't that a hoot? The Japanese magazine cover is shown below in the photos.
Ok, that's it for today, more photos next post...enjoy!

Two of the crew...
This is what Tahiti is all about...
Bora Bora in the background, and look at the colour of the water...
The sailing was fabulous....
Can you believe it?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Coming soon....Tahiti...

Tahiti - yes, it's this beautiful...
...a couple of people have asked me to talk about my trip sailing in Tahiti...so just putting together some photos - Tahiti is so beautiful...you'll love it.
Early morning sunshine coming over Bora Bora, complete with thunderclouds

Monday, May 14, 2012

Annapolis is bad for your health...

...more accurately, you're liver's health, especially if you have friends like Mike, Dennis, Jeff, Joe, Cheryl, Michelle, Matt, Crystal...which is not to discount friends such as James, Joe, Pat, Susan, Troy and the Timinator® in St. Simons, GA, who are equally as dangerous!
I have managed, barely, to survive my first weekend back in Annapolis. Friday evening, Mike and I got together for a brew at the Boatyard. That led to Pussers (Kathy, you like that place don't you, or is it their Painkillers, lol?), then Middletons....you get the picture? Got to hear some good music at Middletons, which has always had good bands if you enjoy classic rock and roll and dancing. I do believe we also dropped into the Rockfish and a couple of other pubs...it must be age, my memory isn't quite what it used to be. Yeah, that's it - age!
Saturday, I felt it important to relax (read sleep in and recuperate) and work on the boat, then visit some friends at the nearby marina. Perhaps read up on memory enhancing techniques...
Sunday - oh oh, here we go again. Got a call from Dennis, everyone is meeting at Pussers...well, that took care of the afternoon and Aduana made all kinds of new friends while I reacquainted myself with some of my old ones. While shuffling - er, walking - back to the boat from Pussers, who do I run into but Joe and his lovely new ladyfriend Amy, and Joe's brother, at Davis' pub - so near to my boat and safety, but too late, too late. 
Sat down, chatted, then Joe suggests I check out his new place, we'll play some music (Joe's plays guitar and sings, I sing, badly) and perhaps have a Fat Tyre (type of beer) or three and some laughs. Well, a good time was had by all....Aduana got into what was left of the shrimp dip while no one was watching, and turned her nose up at her kibble later...spoiled pooch.
We won't discuss what time I got back, but I've never seen the streets of Annapolis so quiet. 
Thank God for Mondays...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Annapolis, storms and the dock goat...

I know, I know, you all want to hear about the storm and the dock goat... well, here's a photo of the damn dock goat...

and this is a photo of the little bastard about to eat my furling line... welcome to Reedsville, VA!

Ok, now about the storm - there are no photos. It was dark, and I was too busy saving my life to take video. Ok, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but it WAS dark. Honest. Ok, it's a lot of an exaggeration, as in an Olympic gold medal whopper. However, just at sunset, about 20 miles outside of Annapolis, NOAA weather came on the radio with their 'Armaggedon' message. Basically, it's this - the weather is about to take a nasty poop, you had best bend over and kiss your butt goodbye because it's going to get nastier than you'll enjoy out there and why are you so stupid anyway?
So I looked up and yup - sure enough - there's a roll cloud coming out of the west. Picture a rolled carpet, with evil looking clouds behind it, lightning crackling every which way coming out of it, and moving towards you FAST.
Everything in front of it - i.e. the weather I HAD been enjoying, was a light grey. Everything behind it - the weather I was about to experience - was dark, broody, ugly, mean looking grey. You know, kind of like the look your ex-wife gives you when you suggest -well, when you suggest almost anything other than increasing her support.
The NOAA guy on the radio was telling those of us idiotic enough to be out on Chesapeake Bay at this time that 'winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour can be expected, with gusts to 40 mph'. He went on to describe 'cloud to ground lightning', thunderstorms ("winds and waves may be higher in thunderstorms"), gee, thanks for that bit of cheery news...and on and on. About the only thing that wasn't mentioned was fist sized hailstones. One must be grateful for whatever mercies the weather gods may choose, in their mercy, wisdom and kindness, to bestow. Do I sound cynical or what? Especially when they say 'Mariners should seek shelter'....right, and just where will I find shelter when I'm 10 or 20 miles from shore? According to Employment Stats, there are 80,000 comedians out of work. Where did they find this guy?
Ok - the truth? I wouldn't have even been there had I not gone to Reedsville (home of the damn dock goat), instead of carrying on to Solomon's Island, as was the plan. However, the dockside bar, Leadbelly's, has the world's best crab bisque ($7 for a big bowl) and it had been a couple of years since I'd feasted on it. The locals are friendly, if a bit - (HA!) - redneck and always good to chat with. (They must be redneck, they like goats...)
So, like a fool, I abandoned the 15 - 20 knot south winds that were blowing me cheerfully and quickly up the bay from Deltaville to head in to Reedsville, VA. Loved the soup, as good as ever. Tanya, the owner, told me she puts two pounds - yes, that's pounds - of crab in every pot to make this soup. You ever priced blue crab? Do you have any idea how much two pounds of picked crab meat costs? But it was oh so good. I didn't quite have the nerve to lick the bowl, but I'll admit to thinking about it.
Later, on my way back to the boat, I walked behind the restaurant, following Aduana on one of her wanders along the dock. Found a bunch of aquariums and probably three to four hundred blue crab in them. No wonder the soup tastes so good. They pick the crab meat right there. Anywhere else, this bowl of soup - were it even possible to get it like this - would cost closer to $20 and would be worth it at the price.
Next morning, got up at 6 am - yea yea, I know, those of you who know me don't believe that, but there are times I actually LIKE getting up that early, given a good enough reason - rowed Aduana to shore for a walk (not a good enough reason!), and headed out. Winds had abated from the 15 knots the day before, so with 80 miles to go, I fired up the diesel to help the emergency white things - you know, the sails. Most sailors only use them when their motors quit, hence the 'emergency white things' nickname...
Ok, NOW can we talk about Annapolis? Sheesh, the things I do to keep you guys happy!
Sailed into Annapolis at 12:30 am, 17 hours after leaving Reedsville - had it not been for the storm, I would have made it by 11, dry and comfortable, instead of wet and miserable. Had I gone with the winds of the day before, it would have been even sooner and I would have missed the storm entirely.
Put down the anchor, made sure it was backed down well, given how strong the winds were - and then rowed to shore to walk the pup. In the rain.  Do I know how to have fun or what? Meredith, one of my editors at SAIL, is now laughing at this - aren't you? Busted!
I love this place. Annapolis is my second home, the place I should have been born. I left Canada with people I knew thinking I was out of my mind, going to travel on a boat, explore the world, when I could stay home and shovel snow for six months of the year...(and just who is out of their minds here?). Basically, most people thought I wasn't normal. Most people still think that, come to think of it.
Got to Annapolis, and discovered....I was just another damn sailor. Walked the docks, met all kinds of people doing what I was doing, some in fancy boats, some in better boats, lots in similar boats and some in really rough boats, old, young and not so young, healthy and not so healthy, sober and - well, not so sober but by and large, all happy about being there - there being out there, doing it. Felt at home here ever since, and always feel like I'm coming home when I return. Only my liver shudders in fear....this town started the t-shirt that says 'A sailing town with a drinking problem'. Oh yes, indeed.
Ok, that's it for tonight. Oh, the storm? About ten minutes of strong winds, rained for a half hour, ruined the sailing and slowed me down a bunch, but that was about it. So much for NOAA and their ability to predict weather.
Time to walk the dog. It's still raining. Meredith, STOP laughing.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fair winds....

This is actually rather hard to believe - I'm heading out of Deltaville tomorrow, going north - and the winds, for once, will not only be strong enough to sail with, they'll be from the right direction. That is so rare, ask any cruising sailor with a destination. So should be a great day on the water tomorrow - wind, sunny and mild. Life is good.
The goal is to make Annapolis, MD, which is about 85 nm from here. I don't expect to do it all in one jump - I'd be looking at about a 15 hour day and I don't need to push that hard tomorrow. So I'll split the trip into two days and probably anchor out at Solomon's tomorrow evening. That's about 55 miles - still a long day, but doable in daylight, provided I don't oversleep.
You can see by the lines on the chart what my route will be tomorrow. Red in, and blue out. Probably won't have internet access tomorrow, but you never know, so be prepared! I may just surprise you...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Red Neck Yacht Club Party...

Deltaville's premiere marina is Regatta Point, and that's where I am now. This weekend, the Virginia Yacht Club is partying here - big powerboats everywhere you look, bedecked with flags and bunting. Friday evening when I pulled in, there were close to 100 people on the deck, men in white pants and blue jackets with ties, women all dolled up, everyone with fancy drinks in hand - and on the docks were the sailors - scruffy t's, shorts, beers in coozies, every one of them looking a bit bemused at the ostentatious display of spiffery up on the deck.
Of course, I headed to my natural environment, after donning a good shirt and tie and polishing up my black oxfords - ok, ok - stop laughing so hard people. Some of you are going to hurt yourselves. But I do have a nice shirt, tie and good shoes on board, and a jacket. You never know when some hottie might want to go out dancing someplace hoity toity!  Mind you, you could fly a small plane using the lapels of that jacket as wings, but I digress here...
What really happened is that a couple of the sailors from the next boat over grabbed my lines and I joined them for some beer and laughs. Someone suggested the next evening we have our own 'redneck yacht club' party at the barbecue pit - and as fast as that, it was decided.
So last night, there we were in our scruffiest outfits - and where sailors are concerned, that's SERIOUSLY scruffy, hokey hats, beers in hand, cooking dead animals on the grill, going 'hyuck hyuck, y'all havin' fun now?' Had to laugh when a couple of the yachties wandered over from their dinner party to chat - seems they weren't all as hidebound as they looked. A couple of the guys looked as if they wanted to hang with us, but with wives pulling on their arms like a terrier on a leash, off they went.
Five of us ended up the evening helping the marina 'social directors' prep for the marina breakfast some seven hours hence, slicing potatoes and fruit, setting out tables and chairs. Raiding the fridge, we found a huge piece of smoked salmon, cream cheese and crackers left over by the hoity toitys. Well, since we were busy prepping and working, it only seemed right that we have a nibble...I mean, no point in wasting good smoked salmon is there? I'm sure you would have agreed. 
So there we were, noshing on smoked salmon and cream cheese, sipping 18 year old rum that one of the guys had - an incongruous end to the Red Neck Yacht Club party when you think about it.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fog, and other things...

Left Hampton today, and started up the Chesapeake to Deltaville. Not a very long run, about 33 miles, but the wind never picked up and so I motorsailed (motor and sails up) for most of the trip. 
There was some fog early on - that always makes for some nervousness. Funny thing about sailing in fog - it's a bit like life in its way.  You can see just far enough for your next step, but have no idea what might be hiding behind that grey veil. It's a matter of proceeding cautiously, knowing where you want to be, while hoping there is nothing unseen out there that can cause you harm or damage. There's always that risk, in sailing and in life, but you don't get the joy out of either one if you don't accept at least some risk.

Some people however would rather play it safe, not risk the fog and the uncertainty of life, and they miss out on some of life's truly great adventures. Yet as you travel through life, there will be fog at times - it's unavoidable - and staying tied to the dock gets you nowhere. You miss out on some truly amazing adventures when you do that.
Today, the fog cleared off and the day was sunny, warm and beautiful, and the trip was fabulous - beautifully scenic. I'm so glad I didn't stay at the dock and miss all that. But before I could experience the beauty of this day, I had to take the risk and travel through that fog. It was certainly worth it.

Just got a text from one of the crew about her pirate name - we can welcome Dirty Mary Flint aboard....now, how about everyone else? What is YOUR pirate name? Check it out at Ye Olde Pirate Store... and let us know who you really are!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lights, Camera, ACTION!

So there we were, Aduana and I, sitting at the coffee shop by the marina when a young woman comes over to tell me that the guy with a gun shooting the two policemen is all faked - a movie shoot. How entertaining. So we walked over to watch 'the show'. 
Let's see - anyone famous? Nope, in fact, it's quite likely that I was the best known person there, based on my own media exposure, but no one asked for my autograph...got to work on that.
The show they were shooting is for the Discovery Channel, one of their crime features. The action involved some clean cut young guy walking along, when a white van pulls up, two policemen leap out and tackle the young guy. They struggle, then the young guy falls to the ground, pulls a gun from his waistband and shoots the policemen. That's it.
Interestingly enough, there was no gunfire - no sounds, no flashes. That's all added in during post production I was told. Made the entire scene very surreal, it would be interesting to see what the final cut looks like. I would think it will appear quite different from what I saw. 


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pirate Names....

Had a great evening tonight, the marina staff invited me to a party locally. Met a great bunch of people, had a really good time. Even met a fine old pirate, and he's got a message for everyone.

This be Bloody Roger Reid here speakin' to ya. I just be discoverin' that not all of ye has yer very own pirate name - arggghhhh, and what's that about lads and lasses? If ye be good pirates (where's Doc - oh yes, he's out plundering on his chum's Sabre 42), ye need to be havin' yer own piratical name.
So, hurry yerself on down to Ye Olde Pirate Store and be orderin' up yer very own Pirate Name. Just be clickin' on that there link, then be ye mailin' us and tellin' yer pirate name for everyone to be knowin' just who ye are!
ARRRGGGGG! That's right mateys - I be hearin' from all 40 and more of ye!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Shark vs. Octopus....an amazing video

This is an astounding video, you're going to have a hard time believing what you're about to see...