Tag Archives: Fun Stuff

Blue Whales And Me

I was talking to my good friend, Stefan, the other night on Skype. He lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He’s not at all supportive about me building a boat to live on down here. “Why don’t you come back up here and we’ll find you a sailboat you can live on,” he said. “They’ve changed the rules about living aboard at special anchorages, and people are doing it all over.”

Well, the only problem is that land dwellers have been battling people living at anchor in Florida for as long as I can remember, and I first lived in Florida back in 1961! It will never end. Here’s a recent (July 30, 2014) article about local politicians trying to come up with creative ways to prohibit people from enjoying life on the water without paying through the nose to do so for the privilege. As if owning a boat isn’t paying through the nose enough already. http://www.waterwayguide.com/waterway-updates/news/GEN/4103/Get-ready-for-new-anchoring-regulations-in-Florida

One of my favorite lines in the story is from Senator Christopher Smith of Broward County who supports outlawing anyone from anchoring closer than 100 yards of a land residence, and in fact contends that even THAT is too close, said: “There are boats sitting outside of people’s houses…boats within 100 yards, looking into people’s houses, discharging waste, doing all kinds of things in that city’s water.”

Boaters have long been hammered that they are polluting the pristine waters of the United States. In Fort Lauderdale this has been decried for years, especially around what are known as the Las Olas Isles where there are a lot of liveaboards, albeit at docks in the area. For the past few decades the area’s water has always had a high coliform bacteria count and it has been blamed on boaters pooping in their boats and releasing it into the wild. But there is incontrovertible evidence that the coliform count is high because of deteriorated sewage infrastructure of the land dwellings sitting on man-made “islands” that were created from dredged material nearly a century ago (1917).

Decades ago it was mandated that boats with toilet facilities install “holding tanks” or other devices that would keep brown floaters from being discharged into the water. “Pump out facilities” were built so that boats could pull up, pay a fee, and have their noxious effluvia whisked away. I know that around Fort Lauderdale there is at least one floating “honey wagon” that cruises around providing a similar service dock-side. Boat owners who wish to dump their stuff over the side CAN if they sail five or so miles offshore and do it there.

One thing Florida is famous for is its beaches and tourists flock to them from all over the world. But several times every year people are prohibited from swimming in the ocean in southeast Florida because pipes that pump coastal city’s waste offshore rupture spilling millions of gallons of untreated and semi-treated human waste into the water.

What I have always found foolish is trying to blame a handful of boaters for what is, like in the Las Olas Isles area, a land-based problem, but since there are more land-dwellers than live-aboard boaters the boaters become an easy target.

My response to this is to link myself with blue whales and dolphins (porpoise). The blue whale is the largest creature on the face of the earth and it lives in the ocean. It is so big that a young child could swim through its arteries…

blue whale heart

Now, it’s an incontrovertible fact that blue whales eat. And anything that eats, shits. And how huge do you think a single blue whale’s turd might be? I have no idea, either, but I can tell you this, almost without fear of contradiction, so far in my 72 years I have not pooped enough to equal a single blue whale’s turd! And there are thousands of blue whales around the world and each one of them is taking a daily dump in the ocean as are the tens of thousands of dolphins everywhere. And lets not forget about seals and walruses, either. They’re dumping their doo in the water constantly and then people get all bent out of shape because of my single, insignificant contribution? There’s something terribly wrong with that whole way of thinking as far as I’m concerned.





Filed under Uncategorized

The 12 Yats of Christmas

Okay, so it’s a day or so late, but so what. This was sent to my by my cyber friend, Linda, who hosts The Task as Hand.

People who have followed my blog since its inception, or who have rummaged around in its archives, know that I grew up in the small Cape Cod town of Orleans, and though I lived for more than a third of my life in Broward County, Florida in and around Fort Lauderdale, my spiritual home is, and always will be New Orleans where I lived for nearly 10 years.

New Orleanians are often referred to as “Yats.” Most specifically those who come from the Gentilly area out by the Fairgrounds race track and home of one of the greatest musical events in the world, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and the people who live in the uptown area around Magazine Street known as the “Irish Channel.” They have a unique accent. It’s much like a Brooklyn, New York accent, and probably because the immigrant mix of Irish and Italians to New Orleans is similar to that of Brooklyn.

The reason they’re called “Yats” comes from the manner in which they greet each other. They don’t say, “Hello,” “Good Morning,” or anything like that. They say, “Where y’at?” The response to which is, “Fine,” “Okay,” etc.

Linda sent me the following video in the comments section of this blog, but I’ve put it “Up Front,” so to speak to share it with all my readers.

Looking at the YouTube comments some of the things mentioned no longer exist in New Orleans. The K&B pharmacies, Schwegmann’s supermarkets, and of course the Lower Ninth Ward which still hasn’t been rebuilt. I will never return to New Orleans. Katrina destroyed it. Much of it is still in ruins, and it would break my heart to see the place so near and dear to my heart in such distress.

Comments Off

Filed under New Orleans, New Orleans Music

The Ultimate Slacker’s Boat!!!

Murray Stevens instantly became my hero when he designed and built this —

Once again, another fine find from reading:



Filed under adventure, Boat building, boats, Floating Homes, Houseboat, Living off the grid, Living Small, Microcruising, Minimalist Cruising, Shanty boat, Shantyboat Living, Small boat cruising, Tiny Homes, tiny houses

Coolest Boat Ever!

I ripped this off while “Tag Surfing” the WordPress site. It was on http://thealterrealist.wordpress.com/ who found it at:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/GoodbyeForeverFatty which is an awesome site and definitely deserves your attention.

Comments Off

Filed under boats, sailboats

It’s GOOD To Be The Captain

“Walk the plank,” says Pirate Jim.

“But Capt. Jim, I cannot swim.”

“Then you must steer us through the gale.”

“But Capt. Jim, I cannot sail.”

“Then down with the galley slaves you go.”

“But Capt. Jim, I cannot row.”

“Then you must be the pirate’s clerk.”

“But Capt. Jim I cannot work.”

“Then a pirate captain you must be.”

“Thank you, Jim,” says Capt. me.

Shel Silverstein

But it SUCKS to be the crew!

1 Comment

Filed under boats, Classic Boats, Minimalist Cruising

Another Perspective On The Rain In Potrerillos Arriba, Panama

When it’s said that an “inch” of rain has fallen it’s considered that an acre of land (.4 hectares) would be covered with one inch of water.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey that’s 27,154 GALLONS! (102,789 liters for you mathematically challenged people stuck in the metric system. Don’t get me started on THAT rant.)

Here it is the 22nd day of July and it’s raining right now. Twenty two consecutive days of it this month. In June we had 43 inches of rain OR, 3.58 FEET, OR 1,167,622 GALLONS. And that’s just over ONE acre of surface area. I can’t begin to calculate the entire area of Potrerillos Arriba.

So now, in July as of the 19th we’ve received 39.5 inches of rain…3.29 FEET…1,072,583 GALLONS.

There are about 600,000 gallons of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool, so from the first of June the water that has fallen on each acre of land here on the mountain would have filled 3.73 Olympic pools!

No, I don’t think I’m getting a little stir-crazy shut in the house because of the rain, do you?

Comments Off

Filed under Potrerillos Arriba, Rainy Season, Retire in Panama, Retirement Abroad, Uncategorized

Señor Richard’s Excellent Adventure

The other day I met Jim “Jet” Nielson, holder of four world land speed records and getting ready to try for a fifth here in David on June 6th  hoping to set a fifth at 500 mph. I’ll be writing more about him in coming days. Jim is a longtime friend of my friend Frank Hilson who, himself, was an up and coming race car driver in the Sterling Moss era until a horrible, fiery crash ended his career. Frank was the one who pointed me in Jim’s direction.

Jim is also a sailor. He grew up in Hawaii and at the age of 19 was delivering boats that participated in the TransPac races back to the States. He said he had a trimaran in the Port of Pedrigal only a short drive from David. I was down there on my last trip and decided, yesterday, to go scope out Jim’s boat.

Before leaving the States I bought a chip for my GPS with Panama maps. For some reason it wouldn’t accept Pedregal as a destination. So I went to Google earth, got the Lat/Long coordinates and entered those and received routing. The instructions told me to go to the end of the street where the hostel is located and hang a left. It directed me through a few city streets and within 15 minutes I was at the marina. During the drive I spotted several decent looking restaurants and thought I’d go have supper there. Now, I love eating at the tiny restaurant across from the hostel but their menu is extremely limited. A whole fried fish ($5), a fillet of fish ($3), and the best sopa de mariscos (seafood soup) ($2.25) I’ve had in all of Panama to date. But my mouth was telling me it wanted to taste some shrimp that evening.

Dinner time arrived and when I turned on the GPS I went to the “coordinates” and hit “Go” without verifying them. I figured they had to be the same, right? Wrong.

When I got to the end off the street this time it told me to turn right instead of left. Okay, a different route. I drove and drove through city streets I’d never been on, but who knows, right? Wrong. No more street lights and the road narrows every kilometer. Eventually the pavement ends. Now I’m on a dirt road but the checkered flag indicating the destination is visible up in the upper left corner of the screen. The dirt road kept deteriorating with huge rocks and pot holes filled with rain water. Even a four wheel drive would have been going along at the five kilometer per hour pace. The map indicated that the road would be making a couple of switch backs on itself and then I came to a huge iron gate with a massive chain and padlock. Nothing to do but turn around and go back the way I came.

When I finally made it back to the paved road I pulled over, plugged in for the destination for the airport. The road to Pedregal is right along side the runway. In under five minutes I knew where I was. I stopped at the “Mar y Mariscos” (Sea and Seafood) restaurant where I had Camarones Criolla (Creole shrimp) which was delicious. The waiter gave me the 25% Jubilado discount without my asking for it, too. I love Panama.


Filed under adventure, Living Abroad, panama, Pedrigal, Uncategorized