Monthly Archives: March 2008

Dead Presidents

 
The last two days have been spent in the water, working.
 
quite a new phenomenon for me but sure as hell does beat the crap out ouf any office you have ever worked in.  I have spent  the last two days surrounded by schoales of fish while i twirl my spanners in silent happiness.
 
of course there is no ‘ window ‘ to look out of as such, more so, everywhere i do look, is a whole new world.  Anyway, what started out as a pre atlantic inspection, turned into a frantic scamble to fix an urgent problem.
 
While cleaning the underneath of the boat and all of its bits…i noticed that a square plate was missing from the hull-  at just over half a metre square, it is quite a sizeable chunk and serious enough to warrant immediate remedy.  So, for the last two days i have been submersed in the water, wih spanners, nuts, bolts and aluminium plates, trying to make something fit.
 
working underwater, has a whole new set of skills.  Obviously there is bouyancy, and then the physics of mass over force but the hardest thing i have found is the refraction index of water.  No, i didnt swallow a physics manual but i do remember it from school.  this is the thing that makes objects appear larger in water than they actually are.  For example,  a bolt that i thought was M10 (3/8 in old money), was infact an M8 (5/16) and a nut that i could have sworn was 17mm (11/16) turned out to be just 13mm (1/2).
 
Anyway, after 2 days i am still struggling to get this bow thruster plate made and fixed back on.  hopefully tomorrow, will be complete and then we can leave.
 
Next stop is the rather exotic British Virgin Islands, where the captain assures me there is a very cool wreck to dive on – not that i havent spent enough time in the water this week already bit a quick wreck dive before crossing the atlantic would be rather cool.
 
Sadly, this means that i will surely miss Jake’s 18th birthday ( yes i agree – how time flies) and David’s 70th birthday and all i can do is offer an appology too all.  I came to the caribbean with the agreement of returning to europe in January but sadly it never materialised.
 
Thats the way life is i guess – nothing , or very little is gauranteed – take what you can , when you can get it.
 
Good luck to Rob Gurnsey, who has just landed a new job with the UN in Cambodia!!
 
 

Atlantic Crossing

 
The time has come – finally.
 
It looks good for a late night departure on friday 28th – saturday 29th.  Bad luck to leave port on a friday night so we have to wait until after midnight.  Heading north slightly before turning eastward and heading to the Açores where we will be in grave need of more fuel.  After the fuel stop, we turn south and head to palma, sailing past Cape St Vincente, my home in Portugal for the second time in 9 months.
 
It is a soothing sight and always makes me very very homesick, especially this time as i have now been away from home since september last year, which was also the last time i sailed past on the return trip from Norway to Palma.
 
All being well, we should hit the açores within 10 days but of course, we are at the complete mercy of mother nature.
 
I must admit, i was very aprehensive about sailing the atlantic.  be honest, you could be 6 days from land at any one time, not a good formula should the shit hit the fan.  Now, i am a little more relaxed about it but i am still holding the atlantic in the highest respect.  I have faith in the guys i am sailing with and also the delivery crew that are joining us this week.  There will eb a crew of 9 all told and 7 of them i have sailed with before.
 
I have good knowledge of this old ketch and i am sure she will take us all safely to our destination.
 
so my day tomorrow will start with another dive.  I have to clean the propellor, propellor shaft, rudder, depth sounder, speed measuring gear and check the anchor doors.  After that little lot, the hull has to be cleaned, all to reduce drag, improve speed and keep fuel consumption to a minimum.  And today there was a fish swimming around, the size of a russian nuclear submarine.  I will be sure to keep an eye open for that tomorrow.
 
here’s looking forward to a productive week and dare i say it   ‘FAIR WINDS ‘ for the weekend

dream woman is here !!!!!!

 
 
Finaly, at last, photos of the new board.  custom built nose rider, built to my own spec, including colour and shapers signature.  She is a beauty……big love to Davey the Dingman down in Kernow for his second giving to the naked surfer!  this boy certainly knows his thing.
 
A toes on the nose longboard – a pukka mal !  the way all surfboards should be – none of this short board crap that i see too much of.
 
i love my new board
 
look to the right for the photo gallery
 

white dog poo

 

yeah yeah yeah

 

i know, i havent seen it in years – just like you , but today while walking in Fort de France, Martiniques capital (1970`s forgoten town) i saw some white dog poo.

 

now, i seem to remember the last time i saw this was way back when we lived at 7 Ryder Way in lutterworth (2114 who’s speaking please?) and i always imagined that it came from white poodles but i never stalked any to find out if that were true. Anyway, by chance, i had my camera with me so i took a photo.  I am sure it will be a source of quaint nostalgia for all those readers above the age of thirty.  White dog poo seriously rocks!!!!

click on the photo above (it used to be below but i guess microsoft have improved everything by moving it above) to take it to full screen to really get the full benefits

 

authors footnote – yes! i am pissed.


Stock, Aitken & Waterman

 
Preparations have begun for the summer of love!
 
Plans are afoot for three visits to england this year.  More than i have ever done before but one of them will be a sneak in – sneak out jobbie.
 
A couple of birthdays in April, flights booked but need to be in palma to take them.  that could be a problem if we don’t get out of martinique soon. A super quick in and out mid june when i finish with the boat.  super quick because i will fly in one day, and the next, fly out again, wiht my new 10’2” planted securely under my arm.  My last visit is planned for late July when Mr Richer will be getting married.
 
After that, the summer is mine.  August will be the month for working on the house, purely and simply because there will be tourists everywhere.  Early september i might just pop back to palma to do some training but from then on, it will be surf surf surf until the end of the year and my eventual return in december to palma once more.
 
 
 
 
 
authors footnote – we are now less than 1000 visitors away from that free BMW that has been on offer for almost 6 months now.  keep stopping by and be sure to leave a comment on any blog posting to qualify

Let me tell you a story

 
I guess i have been a bit lazy of late………that and really not having much to write about, so let me bore you with some waffle.
 
I finished my PADI advanced course this week, without drama or incident.  I was hoing to have a dive this morning too but when i got to the dive shop, the boat was out of action for service so will have to wait until next week some time.
 
Have started working on the boat in preparation for what i believe is now a good possibility of sailing back to Palma.  The longer we have to wait here, i firmly believe the less chance we have of being taken home on a ship.  The thought of crossing the atlantic is not something i take on lightly.  I promise that i will be wearing my EPIRB 24 hours a day and never venture onto deck without my lifejacket firmly attached.
 
A trip like that would take around three weeks in total, maybe around 14 days to the Açores and another 7 from there to Palma.  By the time we make it back to palma, we will have very little time to prepare the boat for departure to Greece, hopefully Corfu and the summer season.
 
All being well, by june , i will be finished and heading home for the rest of the year off, which leads me nicely into a little rant!!
 
dont be fooled by these cheap airline tossers.  I checked this morning with the likes of easyjet, BMIbaby, Thomsonfly, all were quoting a return flight at the end of july for around 400€. I looked at FLYTAP – portugals national airline which i have used and recommend several times, their fare for the same time??? a smidge under 150€, and they have leather seats and of course hot latina stewies………..so if i do decide to fly in for brother Richers wedding, it will be with TAP
 
Anyway, whichever way you look at it, i should be home in portugal from june until mid december, with nothing to do but surf and perv over the local hotties on the beach.  my new longboard will be with me ……which leads me to another rant!!!!
 
Alex Clifton – please take your finger out of your arse and send me some pictures…..
 
i hope to spend the summer on the beaches where i belong

WTF !!!

 
 
if i hadn’t read it on the BBC i would have said you were pulling my leg
 
 
 
 
 

Call it what you will

 
Call me gay , girlie, soft, mushy, or whatever you will
 
but today while scuba diving i swam with two sea horses
 
and i think that was just too cool!!!

The Trials of Life

 

It is getting very boring now. I am sure you wont appreciate just what that means so I will try to explain.

 

I have been out in the Caribbean now since the beginning of December last year, it is now march and I still don’t know when or how I am getting home.

 

Ok, initially, being out here wouldn’t be a bind if I knew when I was going to get free time and how much so that I could plan to do things but it just doesn’t work like that.

 

We have now been here for almost three weeks and are none the wiser as to our onward plans but now I do have some time to take an advanced diver course.  It becomes a place to sit and wait, without explanation, without knowing how much work I can do here for fear of being told at the drop of a hat that we are moving. Do I take something apart if it is going to make the boat immobile or make the living conditions of those aboard difficult or uncomfortable.

 

On Thursday last week, the captain gave the go-ahead to begin more serious works on the boat.  On Friday, I started shopping for spares so that I could start servicing all three engines on board.  It took me all day to find oil filters, oil, gasket sealant, impellors, vinyl gloves (yes Russ, I still use them), empty 25 litre drums for draining old engine oil, a gas cylinder and valve and a set of feeler gauges to check valve clearances.  Imagine, you speak no French, how do you ask for a set of feeler gauges?  It took me all day.

 

The situation is really like this, when you have lots of work, you get stuck in, the work gets done and the time passes so quickly.  When things are slow, time drags, you struggle to find things to do and then when there is something to do, it is hard to get motivated.

 

On top of that, I am beginning to find it hard sharing with other people.  Problem is, I find them inconsiderate. I try very hard to make sure I only leave my things on my bunk or wash my cup and dry it after a cup of tea or clearing away all of my breakfast things but every morning when I surface, I can see full ashtrays, tobacco, empty coffee cups and beer cans and even sometimes used teabags sitting on top of the oven or in the sink.

 

Today, I was so hacked off with it that I checked out air france and KLM to see if I could get out..  I even checked recruitment agents to see if there was work elsewhere in the islands.

 

In the last week, an unattended cigarette has fallen into my engine room and landed on a bath towel I use to protect the wooden floors while I am working.  The towel had smouldered away until less than half of it was left before I found it.  Less than a week later, a cigarette burn appears in the cockpit table cover and still smoking is allowed on the boat.  I just don’t get the level of respect that some people have.

 

As an engineer, I set the boat up so that everything runs at its optimum, yet some people will happily mess with what I do and ignore my requests to leave things alone because it doesn’t suit their own personal requirements.

 

It is driving me mad.  There is only one reason why I am tolerating it as best I can. I did give my word to the new captain before his promotion that I would not leave him in the shit , without an engineer after he has taken over the boat.  I like to be true to my word each day I find it increasingly more difficult.

 

So I try to calm myself.  I have had a weekend on watch.  I offered to watch the boat all weekend while the captain was away and also so that I could have time off to complete a dive course.  The list of things I must do to achieve my next level of qualification gets increasingly longer and more expensive and in the back of my mind I still remember paddy Whitelaw’s comments on how boring the blog has become.

 

When I first met paddy, I think he was a little jealous of my footloose and fancy free outlook on life and how I lived.  Recently he suggested that it had now changed and I have to say, he isn’t wrong.

 

I have fallen off that carefree, stressless beach and back onto the treadmill that you all call normal life and I have to say, it fucking stinks!

 

It is full of shallow people that say what they think needs to be heard instead of what they really want to say – you know the type, the phrase I would use is ´corporate cock suckers´.

 

I would much rather be with friends that say ´you look like a twat in that` or `that tastes like shit` rather than be surrounded by `its so beautiful’  or ‘I love this cheese’

 

It is time to get back to the real world


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