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Free Range Human, Sailor, Writer, Artist, Videographer  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

HideAway Prepares for Hurricane Isaac

National Hurricane Center Hurricane Isaac

No longer in the Cone of Uncertainty, the designated space where Hurricane Isaac's eye may pass, West Florida and the Tampa Bay area looks safe from the big storm and except for that pesky blue line denoting a Tropical Storm Warning, life is good.   The experienced sailor knows this concept contains less truth than the average political advertisement.

Isaac has a Beam of 200 Miles 

The very best time to prepare for the inevitable is when the sky is blue.  If you wait until the sky is black and you notice it is hard to walk against the wind and your exposed body parts sting from the rain, the need to prepare for the storm has passed.

Auger Tie Down Four Per Boat

Saturday found the capt at the Gulfport Florida City Marina tying up loose ends as it were. HideAway sits majestically on her trailer held to the ground by auger tie downs provided by the marina.  Preparations include making sure the trailer wheels were blocked and doubling the lines.  Below deck chores include buttoning down all ports and finding places to put on deck items- solar panels and such..

HideAway Waiting for Isaac

The Admiral insisted the capt make a photo record to show the insurance agent should a worst case scenario develop thus the video below documents our hurricane procedures.  Although you may find them helpful your results may vary. For that matter you may see a blank space where HideAway used to be in the next blog.  Stay tuned....


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Small Boat Air Conditioning the Natural Way

By the time July rolls around in Gulfport Florida the thought of cruising to a secluded gunkhole somewhere is not the first thing that comes to mind.

Sure, if you have a large boat equipped with an air conditioner you can waddle over to a marina, jump in the pool - northern folks call these things hot tubs I believe - to get wet and hope the sea breeze cools you off a bit before you call it a day and retreat to conditioned air.
HideAway's Natural Air Conditioner 
 If you're lucky you have a small  boat like HideAway, a Compac 23, with a Swing From the Hook Natural Air Conditioning System.  On a very hot day the wind scoop may not provide relief.
HideAway's Natural AC Set on HIGH
Fortunately, another method is readily available to the Florida Summer Sailor.  It requires little set up and is far more exciting than a dip in a hot pool.

Notice how calm and serene this scene is - Then have a look at the video below shot minutes later!


Monday, August 6, 2012

GOT CRABS? A Sea Pearl Story

In our Sea Pearl days too many years ago, our hands down favorite place to sail was the area north of Ft Desoto park at the mouth of Tampa Bay.   Often we'd let the boat sail itself from the boat ramp to the shallows across Bunces Pass until it ran aground among the myriad of Mangrove islands that populate the area.  One of my adult children reminisced  that the Capt's cure for running aground was to make crew members leave the boat one at a time until flotation was achieved.  This is not as bad as it sounds since the Magic Pearl drew all of eight inches or so.

One of our efforts to use the Magic Pearl for an over night cruise found us aground at sunset near a large barrier island near the Gulf Of Mexico.  We dropped an anchor over the bow and ran ashore, without benefit of a flashlight, to catch the last of the sunset .   Returning after dark on a moonless night had us wishing we'd at least lit the anchor light.

Our Magic Pearl had disappeared in the darkness.  So did everything else.  

As we walked bare foot along the shallows of a large beach we could hear what sounded like silverware clinking.  We could not place the direction of the sound, but it was very close.   We stopped and it stopped.  The two of us stood in the pitch black darkness completely befuddled.  Suddenly Linda, who is not known for this behavior,  let let out a shriek and ran in the general direction of where the boat might be.

I felt them a moment later.  Unseen  wild creatures with lots of legs were scampering over my bare feet. While I won't admit to a shriek, we eventually ran into the boat from which I grabbed a flashlight and returned to the scene.

At first I couldn't process why the ground seemed to be moving away from me.  In an instant I discovered the silverware symphony came from thousands upon thousands of Fiddler crabs snapping their huge claws as they tried to get out of my way.  If I stopped and especially if I had turned off the flashlight, they would return to crawl all over my still naked feet.

Fiddler Crabs On the Move!

Earlier this year found us encamped near the Lower Suwannee river hiking the many trails in the area.  After crossing a foot bridge to an island we found a wood bench near the seldom traveled back waters begging for company.  As we sat there awhile we realized the waters edge was literally crawling with Fiddler crabs.

At that my friends was the inspiration of the movie:

Wild Beach Camping or Why I Like My Compac 23 Cabin

Yes it's cheesy but it was a lot of fun in the making!   

Next time back to sailing "Weathering the Gunkhole Storm"