Coach Goes Midwest, Then West – 2021

September 17, 2021 – Riverside Campground, Hatch, UT

Well, my editor finally got around to his editing duties for this blog – although as you will see he is far from finished.  I told him to publish what he has available to date so if you are interested in the remainder of this year’s voyage please standby; you can’t rush fine wine (insert laughing emoji here).

August 3, 2021

Here we go again, if I look unhappy in this photo its because all the stuff they are packing for the trip is for the old man and Patty, no dog treats in sight.

Once again it’s time to escape the heat and humidity of Annapolis and head west. This year the trip will take us into the teeth of a severe drought and record-setting wild fires. I told my person that as long as he can afford his air-conditioning bill, I would be happy to stay put this summer rather than risk him driving us into a raging inferno or, just as likely, into a pack of ravenous grizzly bears looking for a four-legged snack. Fortunately, his new bride came to my rescue with her desire to attend her 50th high school reunion in Escanaba Michigan on the northern shore of Lake Michigan, better known as the UP, home of the Yoopers.

As usual, last names of persons  mentioned in this blog are withheld to protect the innocent, and to keep my person out of liability court.

Our very first stop is Shanksville, PA and the Flight 93 National Memorial. No other stop on this trip will be as impactful as this.

 August 3, 2021 – Bradford Woods, PA.  

We spent the night at Tom’s house in Bradford Woods.  In addition to having a free place to sleep and eat (always a priority with the old man) he was able to introduce his new bride, Patty, to Bill, Steve and Dick, his ATO frat brothers from his college days at Wittenberg University.  There are many stories to be told about these college days (I’m still not convinced he actually attended classes) and the ensuing lives of these good men, however, due to the litigious nature of our society these tales will appear exclusively on the dark web (along with the photos from this evening) in the X-rated version of this blog.

August 4, 2021 – Butler, PA.

First stop – Ellen’s 200 acre Pennsylvania Resort, Butler PA. It’s good to see my brother Chessie and all my nieces and nephews and other assorted Brittanys at Ellen’s place. As you can see I am checking out Chessie’s equipment to make sure I’m still bigger than him.
This is as close to deep water as I get; the old man never taught me to swim and I don’t trust him as a life guard at his age.
Butt sniffing, other than eating, it’s my favorite activity.
Ellen’s PA Resort, almost off the grid, a very nice place.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the numerous Great Lakes lighthouses shown on the map above.
“Feets Don’t Fail Me Now” – the old man doing what he does best.
Massive sandstone cliff covered by abundant midwestern vegetation – the old man can’t wait to get out west where the vegetation doesn’t befoul the scenery.
More crappy vegetation hiding the lakeshore geology. The old man was surprised to see Caribbean-like water this far north. Patty had to restrain him from jumping in with a cold Corona in his hand…after all the water temperature is cold enough to cause death after 10 minutes of emersion.

The southern shore of Lake Superior as seen from atop of the 275′ Grand Marais Sand Dunes.
Vegan Unfriendly restaurant near Munising.
I really wanted to meet this guy as he would probably be a welcome contrast to my sluggish master.
Music at the Barge Inn, Munising.

August 8, 2021 -American Inn parking lot, Marquette, MI

The old man was very excited to see this truck parked in our motel lot in Marquette, MI…I was appalled.
Southern shoreline of Lake Superior as seen from Sugarloaf Mtn just a few miles from Marquette MI. Again, note the Caribbean-like water…except for the 25 degree temperature differential.
The Great Lakes are cold, clean and drinkable – a welcome change from my home waters.
The old man shed a tear when he came upon this active demolition site of the Presque Isle coal-fired power plant just outside of Marquette. I believe it was a tear of joy as he and his partners sold their coal-focused consultancy 14 years ago in anticipation of this outcome. Thank you Woodmac.

August 10, 2012 – Escanaba MI. His bride’s hometown.

 

You’re welcome.
Escanaba’s own hero, Lemrod Lebonte (Lem), and now the old man’s new hero (right up there with Zach Wilson). Unlike Zach, Lem has established himself in the record books on a global scale, as in The Guinness Book of World Records! If you can guess which record he held (hint – it’s no longer an official category due to protests by PETA) send the old man some cash etc. and you will be notified if you win. His trophy appears in this photo.
This photo of Lem’s Uncles and Father was taken in 1960. These guys were Lem’s inspiration for his world record-setting accomplishment; Stephen, Napoleon, Kermit and Lemrod Sr.
Lem’s record setting form (look closely for a hint of what the record was about).When interviewed live on Marquette’s News Channel 6 the following day with the question “what were you thinking about when you were setting the record?” he replied “my girlfriend”! Needless to say the interview was immediately cut short. Editors note: Lem’s former girlfriend is now his lovely wife Wendy, and has been for many years.
What dogs do in Escanaba when their masters are out drinking beer with Patty’s high school classmates.

I hope he doesn’t fall off before I get fed today.
My people enjoying the Meehan lakeside cottage in Escanaba, MI. I love the lake because you can drink it and pee in it at the same time (as long as you face the current).
August 16 – Escanaba, MI – Hayward, WI

 

Which doesn’t belong and why?

CAN YOU IDENTIFY THE REAL BUFFALO? 

The old man intends to adapt this forecasting methodology for use on his next offshore adventure, probably not a good idea but that’s never stopped him before.
This is as close as the old man will get to catching a fish on this trip. Photo taken at the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, Hayward, WI.
Caption Contest: Send your clever caption suggestion along with some Maryland Lottery Tickets to “Fish Contest” PO Box 2, Annapolis, MD. Winners will be judged on the number of Lottery Tickets submitted.

 

Steve, Brett, Patty and Lori enjoying cheap beer at a lakeside bar near Hayward, WI. The old man was probably using the bathroom when this was taken.
We stopped to eat here as the old man was looking for a bargain meal.
Eat your heart out Chessie (Editors note – Chessie is Coach’e show-dog brother, if he had worn this hat while showing he’d be a Mega Champion by now.)

Coach Goes West – Season IV

July 17 – August 21, 2020

July 17, 2020 – On the road again, I’m looking forward to the sights and smells (especially the scent of dog pee) of every state between Maryland and Arizona on the first leg of our 2020 western adventures. Also, I’m very happy that Patty will be accompanying the old man on this voyage so there will be no repeats of the incident at the Saratoga Lake Campground, WY that occurred in Season I of this blog (see National Lampoon’s Family Vacation) – fortunately no lives were lost.
First night on the road, dinner at the Cracker Barrel, just a short walk from our Best Western outside of Stanton, VA. They brought me some leftover chicken and dumplings – the old man must have ordered two dinners for himself as he rarely brings home leftovers for me.
July 18 – Our second night on the road, he and Patty had dinner at a Knoxville, TN steakhouse with his good friend and former colleague Jim Thompson. Jim is smiling because he had recently decided to retire after a 30+ year career in journalism writing a daily newsletter focused on the coal industry. “I’m not waiting around for the Green New Deal to take me out, better to leave on my own terms” he said to no one in particular.
July 19, Russellville, AR – My person is making me spend the night here in order to be the first in line for the morning delivery. It’s not enough that he is old and bald, he wants to be fat too.
July, 20 – Paul Duro State Park – who knew – a mini Grand Canyon just 25 miles south of Amarilo, TX. Just like in national parks, as a dog, I am considered a threat to the natural order of things inside park boundaries. They therefore forced me to quarantine in our motel room and watch re-runs of Trump rallies on Fox News while they visited the geological wonders in the park.
If the old man had a tail it would be wagging as he examined these rocks.
Although nothing is moving in this photo, it depicts a textbook example of the erosional process. It won’t be long (in geological time) before the rocks on the top join the rocks at the base of the cliff; in turn, they will join the stream in the valley below as particles of sand and clay and will then be transported a short distance to the Red River, which is responsible for the existence of the canyon. They will eventually be transported to Lake Texoma, where they will be deposited behind the dam responsible for the creation of the lake. At some point in the future, the dam will fail and sediments will be transported to the Gulf of Mexica via the Red River, which becomes the Atchafalaya River in southern Louisiana. (Please note that I am not the author of this somewhat lengthy and boring caption.)
The old man did this for 21+ years…Woodrow’s favorite restaurant, Lewnes of Annapolis, specialized in high quality cuts from the body behind this face.
Fun stuff in Albuquerque, NM

Somewhere between Albuquerque and Pine Top, AZ
Reader question: Which way did the old man turn at this intersection? (If you answer incorrectly you probably don’t know him that well).
Model T – it runs!
When the old man saw this rainbow he immediately
wanted a quarter pounder with cheese.

 

The day before this photo was taken the old man had forked over $200 to have a bike rack receiver installed on the back of our trailer. While driving north through the Navajo Indian Reservation (The ‘res” for all you Sgt. Chee fans) the rack deployed and three of the four bike tires were dragged for the better part of four miles before he was altered by a passing car of the carnage taking place behind him. Because of the COVID, bicycle spare parts are in short supply. However a shop in Steamboat Springs, CO was able (for a small fee of $525) to secure and install replacement wheels and tires.
An erosional remnant, somewhere near the Four Corners region of New Mexico. Notice the red sandstone capping the softer tan rocks below. Also, notice the power lines in the foreground, indicating the old man was too lazy to get out of the car and walk across the highway to take a more charming photograph.

 

I hope these places are dog friendly as I fear it won’t be long before he is spending most of his time playing checkers and taking shuffel board lessons at a similar facility in Annapolis. By the way, the name of this place refers to the number
of times he gets up to pee at night.
One of our favorite National Forest camp sites, Snowy Range, Wyoming, elevation approximately 10,000′ (for the exact location please provide your name, address and Social Security and bank account numbers and I will email you a link).
More examples of glacial features – how many can you name? (mail your answers, along with a check for $100, made out to the editor of this blog, to: P.O. Box 1947, Annapolis, MD 20401, and you will be eligible for a big prize).
You will notice that I’m not wearing my life jacket; somebody please report the old man to the proper Wyoming water safety authorities as well as PETA, he’s becoming increasingly less responsible (if that possible) in his advancing age.
This wildfire was burning in northern Colorado, approximately 100 miles ESE from the Snowy Range, WY where this photo was shot with an iPhone 11 pro camera at 10,000′ elevation (the old man told me this).

 

Patty’s last night in Wyoming, spent at maybe the only wine bar in the state.
( They drank a bottle of wine the cost more than our room at the Gaslight, where I too slept on top of the bed.

 

 

 

We stored the trailer just across the street from the above mining park in Gilette, WY and headed back to Annapolis to enjoy the remainder of COVID TIME – 2020.

 

Photo of Starsplitter I Crew – 1979 (warning, scantily clad men appear in this post)

Photo by Lilly

Apparently the old man is getting desperate for blog ideas as is reduced to posting ancient photos of himself and Steve on a previous adventure.

This photo was taken a day after SSI’s arrival in the Dry Tortugas (see Ft Jefferson in the background) in early spring of 1979. Both the captain and Steve had hair and no flab at that time.

Additional Photos from the Islands


My person just arrived home, please don’t encourage him to abandon me again for some half-baked adventure (unless it’s with me). Also, he shouldn’t be taking photos while driviing, espically with only one good eye.
Lori, Brett and their daughter Emma having fun in Bequia after the crossing. The captain likes to post photos of good looking people to in order to neutralize the pics of him and Steve that occasionally make it into my blog.
Billy and Megan with another catch and release barracuda.

additional

Final Stage – St Lucia – Puerto Rico

   March 13, Arrival in Fajardo, Puerto Rico 

 

boy, do I need a haircut – this is how I look when abandoned by my person for the better part of eight months.

It looks like the old man finally got off his increasingly lazy rear end and has once again begun to perform his editing duties in support of my blog (the least he can do since I am writing so much about his travels).  As you must know by now, I’m a dog writing a blog and can’t be expected to execute menial human tasks such as spell check, grammar check and any other check that enables me to update this blog. I leave these very simple tasks to my person and he consistently fails to keep up with my ability to catalogue his activities, as he is too busy having all the fun.

My last post found the captain and crew of SS3 freshly arrived in St Lucia after enduring 21 days of eating, drinking (very limited drinking [well, this is what they say]) and laughing their way across the Atlantic Ocean.  As most of the laughing was at the expense of the captain, landfall in the new world could not come soon enough for him.

One of the most rewarding aspects of the voyage, according to the captain, was the lack of internet access; no news of the outside world (and what a wonderful, screwed-up world it is) was received during the course of the Atlantic crossing.  Imagine, 21 days without hearing or seeing the word “Trump” or “Bernie”; it was sheer bliss.

For all of you sports geeks who love statistics, here are some numbers pertaining to the voyage:

Duration (Days)……………………………………….…………………………………238

Sea miles………………………………………………………………………………..…5,958

Average speed of Starsplitter III……………….……………………………..…6.2 kt

Number of bad storms encountered……….………………………………………0

Highest wind speed encountered………………….42kt (short duration squall)

Number of countries and territories visited……………………….………………19

Number of crew serving the captain and doing most of the work………….24

Number of new friends…………………………………………………………………..…32

Number of islands visited………………………………………………………………………….16

Favorite islands……………………….…………Culebrita, Tobago Cays, Les Saintes

Least favorite port………………………………..Rabat (night arrival, complicated entrance and docking, sniffer dogs)

Number of beach bars visited………….> 36, but I lost count in Martinique

Number of times “Don’t Worry, be Happy” listened to at beach bars….> 95

Number of dance floors abused by the captan……. see beach bars and add 3

Number of good eyes belonging to the captain ……………………………….……1

Number of heroic livers belonging to the captain.…………………………………1

Number of happy feet belonging to the captain…………………………………….2

Following is a list of the people he encountered on and around SS3 during his eight-month voyage. As usual, first names only to protect the captain from adverse legal action. (crew/passengers designated by *):

Aden*, Anderia, Andy, Andy, Anina, Anne*, Ann, Bill, Billy*, Brett*, Charles, Clent*, Clyde*, Deb, Emily*, Fiona, Gary, Gene*, Glen, Harper, Isabelle*, Izzy, Jack*, Jameium*, James*, James, Jessica*, Jim*, Jim, Jonathan*, Joyce*, Julie, Kay, Keith, Kelly*, Laura, Linda, Lori*, Margaret, Marge*, Marina, Mark, Maury*, Megan*, Megan*, Miguel, Mike, Nadine, Patty*, Penny*, Shannon*, Shar, Steve*, Trevor, Tony, Warren* and Woody*.

The captain and Joyce are busy organizing and packing all the boat stuff so that it will be ready for the next adventure.  They return home this weekend where battery of doctor visits awaits the captain.  I too am looking forward to seeing my person as he has promised to take me out west again this year for more mountain adventures.

March 20, 2019 (the Spring Solstice), Annapolis, MD

The captain’s retina surgeon had good news and bad news for him today; his retina is looking good and she will take the oil out on April 10; the bad news – after three surgeries he has developed cataracts and another surgery is require for their removal. If all goes well he will be operating with two good eyes by mid-May.

I will be updating this blog with additional details and photos of SS3’s island adventures over the next week.  Please remember –  for all your pet supply needs shop at Pet Smart and be sure to tell them Coach sent you (I get free treats for every referral).

Stone Crabs in Tobago Cays, courtesy of Capt. Neil (lower left)

Steve, Woody Jack and Marge (Woody’s second mother) enjoying a cool one with my person – once again I am nowhere to be found in the photo

Woody and Marge enjoying a healthy beverage (she looks pretty good for an elderly woman)

Seen in a store window in St. Barts where pretty much everyone has a bigger boat than my person

Terminal 2, San Juan Airport – the captain mistakenly tried to checkin at this bar, thinking it was a new airline he was not familiar with but would take him somewhere fun.

Steve trying to coax the barracuda off the hook. Catch and release for all fish with sharp teeth.

Very cool square rigger – somewhere in the Caribbean

The captain, doing what he does best.

River bank in Dominica

Kelly, Patty, Jameium and Gene enjoying a rest in a tree, Dominica

There are three types of renewable energy shown in this photo, can you name them? Send your answers to jwatgeo@yahoo.com along with a $10 entry fee for a chance to win a big prize(include front and back pic of your credit card).

The same Hurricane (Maria) that sunk the captain’s previous boat, Batubara, also was responsible for extensive damage in Dominica. (notice the captain’s fingers in the photo). SS3 delivered relief supplies purchased in Martinique for the relief effort.

Celebrating the Atlantic crossing with new friends in St Lucia (the lady on his left joined the photo only after Steve promised to pick up her bar tab and not ask for her number).

Steve and the captain found a bar showing the super bowl in Martinique (not an easy task as the French are not big football fans). The game was broadcast entirely in French with very enthusiastic announcers but no commercials were shown (the commercials were the best part of the game).

Another photo designed to make the reader envious of the old man (he’s such an idiot sometimes).

New friends Trevor and Deb from cold, snowy Michigan – sailing their fast cat from the islands to Florida, lots of laughs with them (they knew the captain as “Mr. Fabulous” – it’s a long story…)

Pretty flowers and plants

Another beautiful sailing ship

House Band in a Bequia assisted living facility – the captain put his name on the waiting list.

Joyce (my new favorite person) at Annapolis Maritime Museum Sock burning Party – it looks cold and it was cold!

Active volcano just outside of Soufriere, St. Lucia – my person gets very excited to see geology in action.

 

Mr Fabulous eating his giant lobster – twice the size of all other lobsters consumed that night on Tobago Cay and he didn’t share (just ask Deb and Trevor).

 

Noah and Lilly on a beach in Hawaii, Christmas 2005. You can see the love they had for each other in this photo…they continue to inspire my person to live a full life, they will live with him always, may they rest in peace.

If you have enjoyed reading my blog please consider a small donation to The Parent Project for Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) as several new drugs are in human trial stages that could lead to a cure of this terrible disease.

www.parentprojectmd.org/goto/noah.watkins

Crossing the Atlantic Ocean

November 24 – Las Palmas, Grand Canaria

 

Once agin I’m stuck here on Back Creek scanning for waterfowl while the old man enjoys himself somewhere where the trade winds blow.

The latest video cam observations show the old man and his crack crew making last minute preparations for the 2,700-mile westward voyage to the New World.  Water, fuel, food and wine are all topped off and the fishing gear is ready for action.  The final ARC happy hour party was attended; fortunately, everyone was limited to two small beers so the fleet stands a good chance of departing on time tomorrow.

However, I still languish here in cold, rainy and dreary Annapolis, abandoned by my person once again while he continues to abuse his internal organs by eating and drinking his way along the Atlantic coast of France, Spain and Portugal and onto the Canaries.

My cockpit cam has exposed several dramatic moments (none that involve the crew of SS3) on the family pontoon (no one is exactly sure why SS3 was assigned to the family pontoon however, the adolescent behavior exhibited by the captain and his crew is the most likely reason).

A US-flagged Lagoon 40 owned by a family of four had to dismiss a crew member for non-disclosure of a medical condition just two days before departure.  They successfully landed a substitute crew from the numerous contingent of hopeful people seeking passage on an ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers)boat.   The old man is constantly combing the docks for a crew upgrade however he has yet to find anyone that can replace his current compliment (they respectfully laugh at all his lame jokes in order to give him the illusion of being in command).

Many potential crew can be found wandering the docks in Las Palmas. The captain sometimes regrets having pre-committed his compliment.

 

Fireworks prior the the start on November 25. photo by Lori

 

 

The captain proudly carries the MRE (Maritime Republic of Eastport) flag in the ARC parade. photo by Lori

November 25 – Las Palmas Marina – Day of Departure for St. Lucia

The captain attended the pre-departure skippers briefing. He had no idea what the squiggly icons meant on the weather charts but was too embarrassed to ask.

Contents of the life raft – hopefully never to be needed but nice to know they are packed and ready for use.

Another confusing weather forecast for the captain to digest – he figured this one out; green is good, red is bad.

 

As I viewed the live video stream from SS3’s cockpit I could tell something was up; the old man and his crew appeared to be somewhat organized and relaxed and not scrambling about like headless chickens buying, schlepping and stowing all kinds of boat gear; food; water; beer; wine etc. in preparation for departure.

As mentioned above, for some unexplained reason, the ARC organizes placed SS3 on the family pontoon, containing numerous kids ranging in age from 2 – 17 (the two-year old was not making the voyage, just getting her last daddy-time for a while).

The kids were fun to be around and made it easy to meet their parents who were also fun.  Since the average age of the SS3 crew is north of 60 (the Captain doing his part to keep the average high with his team-leading 71 years) the ARC organizers figured the kids needed some grandparental figures to assure them that their parents weren’t being irresponsible by exposing them to the whims of Neptune for the 2,700-mile crossing.  The thinking being that if six old geezers with absolutely zero ocean-crossing experience can pull this off it must be a fairly benign undertaking (they are correct of course, but don’t tell that to the old man as he thinks this is a big deal).

After the grand send-off, with bands playing along the marina entrance and SS3’s crew looking very dapper in their matching navy-blue polo’s with Starsplitter III above the pocket (my take on this marine fashion statement: “in the eyes of the captain, uniforms don’t make the man ((or woman)), they are judged how loud and convincingly they laugh at his attempts at humor).

Leaving the dock at Las Palmas Marina, bound for St. Lucia.

The captain and Brett, notice the official looking crew shirts. photo by Lori

Lori, Chief Chef, has the second most important job on SS3 after Clyde, who is in charge of repairing the heads in case of emergency breakdowns.

Dinner tonight was fresh lentil stew full of veggies and potatoes.  Crepes for breakfast with real Canadian maple syrup.

Lori in food prep mode.

With the help of an IT consultant from PETA, I was able to  hack into the navigation system to see for myself how SS3 was being sailed (as Joyce will tell you, the captain routinely exaggerates his sailing skills and most of his crew do as well, so I wanted to chart their progress myself).  They logged a decent 127 miles on their first day, which if maintained, will put them in St. Lucia on December 21, standby for updates.

The big news of the day was the viewing of a “green flash” at sunset, a very rare happening and a very good omen for the captain and crew (This is only the 2nd green flash seen by any of Starsplitter III”s crew).

November 26, 19:00 – 86 miles west of the western Saharan desert. C.O.G. = 210 degrees, S.O.G. = 6.2kn.  

A fellow ARC boat off the coast of Grand Canaria.

It looks like a moonless, cloud-free sky on my video feed, so star gazing should provide the evening’s entertainment.  No green flash tonight but Lori’s homemade lasagna pared with a fine Spanish red made the old man smile.

November 27, 06:30 – C.O.G. = 270 degrees, S.O.G. = 5.5 kt

 I see the captain fumbling on his laptop keyboard attempting to capture the night’s activities on his computer. The sun is about to rise and for my readers that are paying attention, you have noticed that a course change occurred sometime last night.  SS3 is now pointed due west, directly toward Cuba.  There is a good reason for this (for a change it is not the captain’s lack of navigational skills) rather the boat’s inability to sail directly downwind toward St. Lucia (consult your google machine or the Alexa lady for a more in-depth explanation).

November 29, 15:05 – Sailing under full main and jib on a direct course to St. Lucia at 7.5 kt.

It’s a bit sad that on such a wonderful day for sailing (18-20kt winds off the stern quarter, 8-10’ swells to the stern) I must report that SS3 is almost bringing up the rear in his class (Class B, cruising catamarans under 46’).  He is currently in 16th place out of 20 boats; let’s hope he and his crew get their act together and coax some boat speed out of Starsplitter III.

My video and audio feeds confirm my previous observations about the old man’s ability to adapt to life at sea (see my entry after the Bay of Biscay crossing); when the boat is going well and the sailing conditions are right there is no finer way to spend time.  To quote Steve’s Norwegian sailing friend “ It’s nice when you run out of things to think about”.  So far things have gone well for SS3 and her crew; however, as we know bad stuff can happen at any time, so standby for some potential drama later in this voyage (and don’t forget; for all your pet’s needs, shop at Pet Smart and be sure and tell them Coach sent you).

I’m so cute, how could he abandon me for some stupid sailing trip? photo by Joyce

November 30, At Sea, C.O.G. 265 degrees, S.O.G 6.5 kt

SS3 had her best day over the past 24 hr. making 160 nm almost directly on the St. Lucia heading.  She is no longer bringing up the rear of the fleet so crew members with tight schedules are happier today (the captain doesn’t really care as long as the boat is sailing well, and nothing is breaking down).

The following conversation is a verbatim (well, almost) transcription from my audio and video feeds this morning:

Clyde: (seeing that the captain is struggling to adjust his lifejacket strap): “Jeff, why don’t you ask Brett to help with that, he’s really understands how these life jackets are put together”

Captain: “Thanks Clyde, but I need to figure this out for myself, I am smarter than these French life jackets, and besides, Brett won’t always be here to help me.”

20 minutes later, Clyde: (seeing the captain continue to struggle with his life jacket straps): “Jeff, if you don’t ask Brett for help you may miss breakfast.”

Captain: “No worries Clyde, I just about have this figured out, I know I’m smarter than this life jacket, after all, I have a master’s degree in science.” (author’s note – as my most intelligent readers well know, geology is not really science)

20 minutes later, Captain: “Brett, can you help me adjust these life jacket straps, I’m getting hungry?”

December 1,  At Sea – Reefed main, full jib, making 7 kt toward St. Lucia

Sailing a southerly course for much of the past day has cost SS3 a few places in the overall fleet standings however the boat is sailing fast, and well and daily runs are due to increase because of the westerly heading.

The captain has done nothing to embarrass himself today so there is not much of interest to report on, although I did pick up some babbling from his cabin which seemed to indicate he may be interested in sailing on to the south Pacific sometime in the future.  As you can imagine, this would really piss me off (excuse my language) and I would be sure to report him to the Annapolis Animal Welfare Agency, the ASPCA, PETA, Robert Mueller, Bernie Sanders as well as the Trump Administration, if he so much as thinks about leaving me for the “islands of the half-naked women”.

Authors note: (For my readers who have known the old man for over 35 years, you will know the genesis of this desire. For younger readers, check out a copy of the front-page article in the October 22, 1979 (approximate date) edition of the Marietta (Ohio) Times.   It describes my person’s plans to launch Starsplitter I and motor 1,500 miles down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans and then to set sail to the “islands of the half-naked women” in his partially home-built Southern Cross 31 (the paper actually printed that quote from the captain given to the reporter assigned to cover the launching).

December 2, At Sea – Port Tack, heading 220 degrees under full main and jib, making 6.5 kt

Clyde and Brett discussing the finer points of navigation (are we still heading west?).

 One week at sea in the books and Steve’s chart plots show SS3 900 nm from Las Palmas with 1,800 nm to go.  Everyone on board appears to be happy and healthy while I’m freezing my furry ass off here in wintery Annapolis (my person is evil).

December 3, At Sea, on a direct heading to St. Lucia, 1,725nm to the WSW.  S.O.G. averaging 6.5 kt under Code 0 and full main

The cockpit video cam reveals the following activities:

  1. The one-eyed captain is banging on his laptop keyboard busy editing my last several blog entries. As you know there are not may keyboards that can accommodate typing by paws, so the old man has his work cut out for him and since spelling and grammar were never his strong suites in grade school (where he excelled in gym, recess and lunch room behavior), the editing process may take some time.
  2. Steve is playing some nice music on his guitar.  Earlier in the day, he tried to figure out how to operate his sextant that would become their only means of navigation in the event of a GPS and/or power failure.  Although this navigational skill should have been mastered before leaving the dock the captain and crew figured that under the worst case scenario they will keep heading west until they encounter land and then proceed to the nearest beach bar. Steve is also is reeling in his fishing line, with, hopefully, tonight’s dinner on the other end (no dinner, but a nice lunch-size Mahi).
  3. Clyde is on the helm, keeping us on course and properly trimmed, a very easy task as the auto helm is set to steer 30 degrees off the wind regardless of direction. This keeps SS3 moving along at maximum attainable speed for the wind strength. When the crew attempts to steer by hand the boat can be seen spinning is multiple directions, none of which are the correct course to St Lucia.
  4. Lori, the Food and Beverage Director and Chief Galley Organizer, can be seen prepping the next meal. She puts all of her substantial energy into the task of feeding and cleaning up after five high-calorie eaters who all appreciate the top-notch meals she serves on a 3×7 basis (i.e. 3 squares a day).  Curries, pasta dishes, Mexican dishes, French toast with real Canadian Maple Syrup are just a few of the culinary delights routinely enjoyed by the five lay-abouts pretending to be busy steering the boat west.

Lasagna and meatballs! photo by Lori

December 4, sailing at 7 kt direct course to SL, under Code 0 and full mainsail

 SS3’s sister ship, Glory, reported a Code 0 halyard failure that caused the sail to pitch forward into the water thus damaging the bow sprit when it caught under the keel.  Glen, the owner, had to dive under the boat to free the sail which led to its recovery by the crew.  As best Glen can tell, the block attaching the head to the halyard failed causing the sail to fall forward.  The SS3 crew immediately doused their Code 0 and examined all of the Code rigging.  It looked good, so the Code is flying downwind again. For my non-nautical readers, most of the dogs and many of the humans, Code 0 is a fancy name, no doubt dreamed up by sail manufactures, that refers to a big headsail deployed on its own halyard just forward of the jib.

December 6 – passed the halfway mark at 06:00 today

Proof that SS3 is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean (see lat and lon readings).

1,350 nm under their keel and 1,350 nm to go.  Ten days for the first half of the voyage, the captain is hoping to better that mark on the 2nd half…standby for the results.

It appears that SS3’s merry crew has adapted well to life at sea, a typical day’d activities include: 1) watching the deep blue ocean go racing by (the most fun), 2) keeping watch (the second most fun), 3) catching fish and actually landing them (3rd on the fun-o-meter), 4) eating, 5) happy half-hour and,  6) sleeping (tied for 4th most fun).  That’s about it, except for reading, guitar playing (Steve only) and blog editing (the old man only). I almost forgot Lori’s cooking, which is the best thing they have going for them.

An email was received by the crew alerting SS3 to a whale situation that occurred fairly close to their position.  A west bound sailboat was hit by a whale and suffered damage to their rudder and they were taking on water.  Another boat was in sight of the damaged vessel and was standing by to assist if required.  No further reports were received about this incident, so they assume everything turned out ok.

The captain and crew are now keeping a sharper lookout for whale sightings although there have been none on this passage.  Penny and the captain had spotted a whale blowing just 25’ from SS3’s stern off the coast of Portugal in early November.

December 8 – At Sea, 1000 nm to St. Lucia

My cleverly installed video cam (the old man and his crew still have no idea that I’m monitoring their every move) has SS3 sailing SW at a robust clip of 7.5 kt with easterly winds of 20 kt pulling and pushing them nicely toward their Caribbean destination.

Although the boat and crew are generally performing at a high level (no pun intended) SS3 experienced a gear failure yesterday afternoon when the clevis pin on the jib sheet block failed and the block separated from the jib clew.  The block took a nose dive into Clyde’s open hatch and almost bonked him on the head while interrupting his pre-watch nap.  Because the jib is cut at a high angle to the deck they couldn’t reach it to re-install the block, which was intact minus the failed clevis pin.

Major credit to Clyde for devising a clever method to get the jib under control and the block and sheet re-attached to clew.  It involved a fishing pole, a small sinker and a messenger line.  Brett adroitly inserted the sinker through the clew thimble while the boat was bounding on 10’ swells and the wind blowing at 18 kt.  An hour later SS3 was again sailing under reefed main and jib direct to SL.

It should be noted the Steve and Clent also participated in the re-attachment procedure while the captain stayed safely at the helm pretending to look in control of the situation and occasionally shout an order to the crew on the bow (most of which they ignored).

December 10 – At Sea, 750 miles from St. Lucia

The captain recently finished reading A Voyage for Madmen by Peter Nichols, the cover caption reads: “Nine men set out to race each other around the world. Only one made it back.”  It is the story of the nine participants in the London Sunday Times– sponsored solo, non-stop, around the world race in 1969.  Please do not confuse SS3’s transatlantic walk in the park with the heroic and insane voyage undertaken by these nine crazy men.  The loan finisher, Robin Knox-Johnston, is a national hero and Britain’s pre-eminent sailor.  Others did not fare as well; Donald Crowhurst committed suicide during the race while “hiding” in the southern Atlantic Ocean and filing false position reports.  Another competitor, Nigel Tetley hung himself from a tree several years after the race, despondent over numerous rejection letters from sponsors for his latest offshore adventure.

The captain’s favorite participant was a Frenchman, Bernard Moitessier, who, upon rounding Cape Horn for the home-stretch to Britain (with a good chance to win the race), decided to keep sailing east around the Cape of Good Hope for a 2nd time and make for Tahiti.  According to numerous accounts, he thoroughly enjoyed these islands of the half-naked women where he remained for the better part of the rest of his life.

December 11, At Sea – 600 miles to St. Lucia

Today finds the captain and his crack crew sailing briskly towards the Windward Islands of the southern Caribbean.  To date, the voyage has been fairly routine and uneventful, much to the delight of all on board.  Drama is nice in books and the movies (and of course in the White House and on CNN), but NO DRAMA is what you are looking for in the middle of the ocean.  So far so good.

With all deck hands eating the captain must be manning the helm (for a change). photo by Lori

December 12, At Sea – 436 miles from St. Lucia

A glance at my cockpit cam shows typical activities aboard SS3 today.  Early morning (02:00) saw Clyde and the captain putting in a second reef in the mainsail as a dry squall came up from nowhere to blanket the boat in 34-38 kt winds.  These were the highest winds experienced by the crew to date and all hands were awake and on call in case of increased drama. However, things quickly settled down and SS3 continued on until dawn with double reefed main and the jib.

Daybreak brought decreasing winds thus slowing the progress to St. Lucia.  By late afternoon the winds had stabilized between 12-15 kt resulting in an average boat speed of around 5kt for the day.  St. Lucia is still feasible by Saturday afternoon however the winds need to increase to avoid the ignominy of motoring to the finish line.

Author’s note: I feel obligated to inform my female followers of the visual sufferings endured by Lori, the lone female crew member and master chef and organizer.  Once SS3 entered the tropical trade wind belt last week , the “flab four” (the captain, Clent, Steve and Clyde) decided to prance around shirtless during daylight hours.  Sailing a boat equipped with electric winches and push-button flush toilets, combined with Lori’s tasty meals, the boys are actually adding additional layers of flab on a daily basis.  Lori’s husband, Brett, is the exception to the flab four (being a stone mason by profession, he has the prototypical body of his profession – i.e. he is buff).  Being stoic, Lori has refused to so much as drop a hint to the flab four that her visual space is under assault every time one appears shirtless on deck.

Editor’s note: In our defense, Coach, pretty much all you do at home is lay around all day except when you have your wet nose in the food bowl, although I will admit you are very energetic while on your walks around town.

Coach’s typical posture when not outside the house.

You would not attempt this wine trick on a monohull.

 

December 14, At Sea – 205 miles from St. Lucia

After 19 mostly pleasant days at sea, the skipper and crew of SS3 are beginning to anticipate the delights offered by landfall in St. Lucia.  Visions of exotic fruit-laden rum drinks accompanied by the pulsating rhythms of steel drum bands are coursing through the flab four’s reptilian brains (I’m guessing Brett and Lori are just looking forward to a nice dinner alone).

The goal now is to arrive just before sunset on Saturday in order to avoid any last mile miss-steps by the captain as he navigates the entrance to Rodney Bay (He and his long-time mate on Starsplitter I, Steve, diligently planned their numerous landfalls between Biloxi, Mississippi and Key West (including Panama City, Tampa, The Dry Tortugas, and Key West) to occur in daylight hours. This was very important back in the 70’s as their only navigational aids were a radio direction finder and a hand-bearing compass – they failed to achieve this important safety goal for all of the above ports of call, entering everyone well after dark).

To ensure a stress-free arrival in Rodney Bay, my boat cam indicates the captain has fired up his twin Yanmar 57’s and is motor sailing with the main down and jib out for directional stability.  This is the first time he has used the engines to advance his position in the fleet (SS3 is near the back of the pack anyway so there is no reason to hold back now – full speed ahead for the rum drinks).

December 15, At Sea – 12 miles from Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

I see that the captain is getting antsy for a rum drink thus has fired up the motors for the final day’s voyage to Rodney Bay (he also would like to enter the harbor in daylight, so motor-sailing is required).

SS3 weathered the most severe squall encountered on the 2,700-mile voyage, not very severe with top winds at 38 kt off the stern.  The squall was exciting for about 45 minutes and there is no drama to report.  Final preparations are now underway to cross the finish line and enter the marina in Rodney Bay.

My boat cam recorded a strong finish by SS3, sailing over the line at 17:23:29 on December 15, 2018. They were greeted by the ARC staff as well as Charlie and Anina (sailing friends from Annapolis and NY) in their dingy.  The old man looked very happy and relieved to have delivered the entire geezer crew safe and sound to the islands.  As you can imagine there was a considerable amount of celebrating taking place on the dock once SS3 was secure in her slip.

Finish line photo opportunity – they made it in 20 days!

 

This really makes me angry – stupid cat.

Steve in a reflective moment in St. lucia. What to drink next, rum or beer?

City dock in Anse La Rate, St. Lucia.

Marigot Bay , SS3 is on a mooring ball in this bay  for Christmas and New Years – the captain will be home to see Joyce, Woody and Me!

Local color

 

Canary Islands – Final Prep for Crossing

October 25 – November 7, Rabat, Morocco – Canary Islands

Author’s note: My readers may have noticed a dramatic decline in the frequency of these blog postings.  When the blog first launched in 2016 the old man and I were bound at the hip for the better part of the spring and summer and I was able to give him my musings on a daily basis for final editing, photo enhancement, uploading and posting.  The summer of 2017 saw the posts, which initially were updated every few days, decline in frequency to maybe 2-3 per month while this year we are lucky to get an update once every two months. This is entirely due to the old man’s proclivity to procrastinate (a very human characteristic, he notes) although I fear that he is reverting to his natural position in nature; that of a world class slacker.

It was artwork like this that produced the first vegans in Portugal.

I read him the riot act yesterday, telling him I need more frequent posts as I’m trying to monetize this blog and I’m in the middle of negotiating a sponsorship deal with the American Kennel Club and Pet Smart.  In return for advertising, they will provide me with a free lifetime supply of doggie massages and stylish groomings.  Hopefully he will do the right thing and post more often (not likely).

November 6 finds the captain and crew sailing along the northeast coast of the two western-most Canary Islands, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, on their way to Las Palmas on Grand Canaria (beam reach, 10-15kn wind speed, Code Zero flying off the bowsprit and making 6-7 kn over-ground…for all you boat types).  They intend to pick up Joyce (aka the Admiral) at the marina when she arrives from Annapolis on November 8.

The captain wanted to outfit his crew in these uniforms, once again his wishes were ignored.

Joyce and Penny with SS3 at anchor, away from the maddening crowds.

Starsplitter III

November 8 and Joyce has joined SS3 and her crew here in Las Palmas after a three-flight air voyage from Baltimore.  She powered through the afternoon and they topped off the day with a fine seafood meal served by Janet from Cuba (when Brett asked for her last name however she respectfully declined to provide it).

November 9 – My cockpit video cam shows Steve, Brett and Lori loading their bags into the dingy for a ride to shore, they plan to take a bus to the ferry bound for the neighboring island of Tenerife for some “off the boat time”.  Meanwhile, it appears that the arrival of Joyce has greatly improved the old man’s spirits, so life is all good on SS3 (not that his spirits were all that bad to begin with).

His bucolic mood, however, was impinged upon by an email form a fellow L42 owner drawing his attention to a service bulletin from Yanmar altering him to a re-call on a faulty gear on the salt water pumps.  The local Yanmar dealer has the part in stock (the good news) but cannot carry out the repair until November 16 (the bad news, only because the pumps could fail if the engines are run excessively).   The captain and crew decided to sail to the island of Fuerteventura, 55 miles due east, for some beach time on the six-mile strand at Morro Jable.  SS3 spent three nights at anchor just off the beach; morning beach walks and swims were followed by long afternoon lunches and mandatory siestas back onboard SS3.

 November 16 – Las Palmas Marina, Gran CanariaSS3 has taken her slip for her final preparations for the November 25 ARC departure.  The initial safety inspection triggered another round of purchases at the local chandlery.

The old man proudly carrying the MRE flag in the ARC parade (notice his face is hidden which makes everyone happy), Steve Korte with the US flag and the Finnish girls close behind.

Steve and Lori after the big parade.

November 21 – Las Palmas Marina, Safety inspection is now complete and my person and crew are taking on supplies for the 2,700 mile crossing to St. Lucia (water, food and somewhat minor amounts of beer, rum and wine).

He told me that if I download the YB Races app on my doggie I phone I will be able to track his progress across the ocean.  The event is the 2018 ARC and the boat’s name is Starsplitter III (he will likely be easy to spot as his track will be more wobbly that the other 199 boats in the fleet).  He promised a final blog update prior to Sunday’s departure; don’t hold your breath.

Return to Starsplitter III

October 1, Annapolis, MD

You may, or may not, be wondering what has occupied my person’s time during the past month, therefore what follows is a brief synopsis of his activities during his planned 10 day stay in Annapolis which commenced on September 11. (Note  – I was the only one home to greet him upon his arrival from Portugal the evening of Sept 11; both Joyce and Woody were out at separate parties leaving me alone to make feel welcome home – he said I was very excited to see him after two months away but I really needed to pee and was just glad someone was home to let me out). His activities included, but were not limited to, the following:

  1. scheduling an MRI for his prostrate (nothing serious)
  2. Scheduling a routine colonoscopy
  3. Scheduling an eye exam for post retina surgery vision (surgery was in May, 2018)
  4. Attending followup appointment with retina surgeon
  5. Having 2nd retina surgery as first one didn’t do the job
  6. Attending followup appointment with retina surgeon to discover a 3rd surgery was necessary
  7. Having 3rd surgery which employed different technique said to result in better outcome
  8. Waiting for clearance from surgeon to travel back to Portugal and get on with his voyage

Other than these minor speed bumps my person is in high spirits and eager to get back to SS3 in Cascais where crew member Steve Korte is keeping watch in his absence. In keeping with the captain’s MO Steve hosted a party on board SS3 last evening and a good time was had by all. The old man hopes to return as soon as possible as Korte is capable of setting sail any day  for the islands.

October 22, On board Starsplitter III, 25 miles north of Cabo de Sao Vicente, Portugal

Waiting for Joyce or Woody to show up, the old man has abandoned me once again

As you can see by the heading above the old man finally gained clearance from his eye doc to return to SS3 and continue his voyage south to the Canary Islands and then on to St. Lucia.  Permission to leave came none too soon as his long-time friend and crewmate, Steve Korte, had been living on board keeping an eye on things while his eye was being abused by the surgeons (unlike others, Steve doesn’t mind if his last name is used in this blog as his reputation can only be enhanced by being associated with the old man; i.e. it is already in the toilet). My adoring readers may remember Steve and his dog Sky from our adventures together in Utah and Colorado during the summer of 2016.

While the old man is recovering from eye surgery, Hurricane Leslie is bearing down on Portugal.

 

A year ago Hurricane Maria destroyed his previous boat, Batubara, in Puerto Rico, this is the current track of Hurricane Leslie heading straight for Starsplitter III in Portugal…warning to all boaters, stay away from his boats!

Lucky for SS3 Leslie made landfall 40 miles north of Cascais

While in Cascais the old man and Steve were able to meet many wonderful and fun people of various nationalities (mostly American and British with a smattering of Australians, Kiwis, Romanians, Dutch, Belgians and Russians) who had discovered this gem of a town on the Atlantic coast 20 miles west of Lisbon. Many parties where attended by Steve and my person – in bars, at local homes and on SS3 during her two-month layover (most of the boat parties were hosted by Steve and many of his new friends thought he was the captain and owner; it was definitely time for the old man to return).

Steve shown here partying on SS3 while my person recovers from eye surgery…what a friend

After is triumphant return to Cascais, the old man celebrates his 71st birthday with his new friends in Portugal (don’t worry Joyce, all these women had husbands at this party – he had to buy them all a drink before they would let their wives pose for this photo)

I addition to Steve, the current crew now includes Clyde and Penny (Australia) and Brett and Lori (Colorado).  Joyce and Clent will be joining the boat in the Canary Islands in early and mid-November, assuming favorable treatment of the vessel by King Neptune.

Scenic Cascais

Selfies

You will notice that since our adventures in Wyoming last summer there are no selfies to be seen of the old man on The Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp or Tinder.  Apparently a study conducted by a reputable Wall Street brokerage house (Dewy, Cheatem & How) analyzed the relationship between  the hourly stock price of these firms vs the posting of the old man’s selfies. The study found a 90% correlation between the time of his selfie posts and a decline in the share value of these firms. These social media sites have now blocked his ability to upload selfies unless, of course, I am included. Apparently my cute and lovable  face is able to neutralize his aging puss. The old man isn’t taking this lying down as he recently petitioned the Trump Administration and Congress to overturn this blatant form of censorship “Putin can still post selfies, Congress needs to look into this” says he.

October 23, Lagos, Portugal

Brett and Lori enjoying life as sea

Penny enjoying life at sea

Remnants of the first tuna caught on SS3

After an uneventful 11-hour sail from Sines averaging 4-5 kn with light and variable winds they were seen rounding Capo De Sao Vicente at 15:35 under power as the winds came into the nose after the rounding.  The plan was to anchor in a bay protected in three directions but exposed to the southeast.  It was a good plan as the winds were very light out of the east and there was little to no swell.  Things got exciting as the captain rounded the western terminus of the bay and came upon a light marking a fish contraption.  He incorrectly assumed that the contraption ran from the lighted buoy to the nearest shoreline, of course he was wrong, and the night was saved when Clyde yelled as loud has he could “STOP, STOP”.  Although the old guy is visually challenged, his hearing remains substantially unchanged since childhood so he immediately rammed the boat into reverse and skidded to a stop less than one meter from the fish net stretched out before SS3.  All crew breathed a sigh of relief, happy to have avoided disaster, or at best two fouled props.

The celebration was short-lived however, as the captain asked Steve if the fishing line was still deployed – of course it was because the captain failed to have it secured before anchoring, resulting in the line being wound around either the port prop or rudder.  They all hoped it was fouled on the rudder as that would not be a big problem.  Because SS3 has two engines they decided to continue to another anchorage running only on the starboard engine in case the prop was fouled by the line.  Steve went for a swim in the 65 degree water the next day and found that the prop was clean; the voyage continued without further mishap.

 

SS3’s good luck charm…a very necessary option considering the competence level of the captain

October 24, Lagos Portugal

It appears they have hoisted anchor and are motoring-sailing due east along the southern coast of Portugal bound for Lagos, known for its limestone cliffs peppered with arches, sea caves and pocket beaches – not to mention the numerous bars and restaurants that are continuously and relentlessly depleting Woody’s inheritance.

October 26, Leaving Lagos for Rabat, Morocco 

Due to visa issues the captain and crew abandoned plans to sail to Maderia and are now heading south to the Atlantic coast of Morocco where they will stay for at least five days at the King’s Marina in Rabat.  US citizens cannot remain in the EU for longer than 90 days during a six month period; after he did the math the captain decided that Morocco would be an interesting place to spend some time while waiting out his exile period.

High density shipping lanes between Spain and Morocco, AIS is the bomb

Offshore, 100 miles west of the Straight of Gibraltar

October 27, Rabat, Morocco

Dapper Clyde in Rabat

October 28, In Route to Marrakesh via train

Door in Marrakesh

Quiet street in Marrakesh

 Although the captain and his crew (minus Clyde, who decided to stay on the boat) are taking a three-day trip to Marrakesh and are out of video coverage, I still have the audio feed from the old man’s eye phone that will allow me to follow their adventures.  Before I get into their inland activities I should let you know that last night Penny reclaimed her title as the queen of catamaran pole dancers as she was writhing to the tune of “Living in America” by James Brown, a title she first won five years ago while anchored off the west coast of Culebra, PR on Batubara.  Although the pole on SS3 is square and located inside the salon area it didn’t show Penny down.  As luck would have it, her husband Clyde had just retired to his cabin for the evening and was not able to witness Penny’s frenzied pole routine.  The fact that Clyde was not present seemed to spur Penny on to new heights on the pole (unfortunately the video feed for this event did not record so I am not able to share with my readers).

Their hotel lobby in Marrakesh

I’m pleased to report that my person and his crew (less Clyde) are enjoying the exotic charms of Marrakesh.  Brett and Lorie purchased a beautiful Berber rug this morning while Steve, Penny and the old man looked on from the comfort of a cushy sofa in a nearby carpet emporium.  They bargained well and put only a moderate dent in their kid’s inheritance; they are not looking forward to their next red wine party.

 

 

 

 

 

La Rochelle – Cascais

Introduction

Editors note: As mentioned earlier in this blog the Captain is responsible for correcting Coach’s spelling and grammar mistakes.  As I can’t spell my way out of a paper bag please don’t waste your time pointing out any mistakes to Coach, he doesn’t care. 

I’ve got the boat cam up and running so the following reports are based on the unvarnished truth as told by the camera’s eye.

Hurricane Irma spared the old man’s previous boat, Batubara, in Porto Rico. However, a week later Maria hit his slip dead center resulting in his current adventure on Starsplitter III.

July 24

Well it’s been two weeks since the old man landed in Paris so it’s about time to update his progress with preparing Starsplitter III (SS3) for his up-coming voyage to the new world (although there have been reports from La Rochelle that he is finding enjoyment in the old world and may delay his departure indefinitely).

My scheme to have video cameras and live Wi-Fi (or wee-fee as they say in France) installed on SS3 by the Lagoon commissioning team (being a Brittany, I have a French Connection) has allowed me to keep an eye on the captain during his time aboard.  However, because he escapades ashore are often more entertaining due to his somewhat juvenile behavior I have succeeded in getting Joyce to program his new eye phone to transmit a live audio feed whenever the phone is on (we tried video but the only thing we saw besides the inside of his pants pocket were his obsessive google searches for news on the 2018 Jets draft class – he’s such a looser).

July 26

Today finds our captain and his crack crew of Joyce, Maury and Jim (last names withheld at the request of the crew) located half way between La Rochelle, France and A Coruna, Spain, steaming at 9kn for an arrival time of noon tomorrow.  The wind is non-existent today but is forecast to pick up later this evening.  They left LR yesterday at 12:29 and have motor-sailed the entire trip to date.

Crew member Jim Truman with is newly designed man overboard retrieval apparatus- no complicated hoisting system needed, just pull him up by the head handle.

Intended track to A Coruna, Spain. Completed in about 55 hours.

Based on my boat-cam observations, the Captain was born for life at sea.  He stays busy with the following activities: eating; sleeping; keeping a watch (when he can’t talk someone into taking over for him); staring at the stars (thus the boat name); jumping into the icy waters of the Bay of Biscay while SS III was stopped for oil level inspection; and more sleeping. He’s living the life while I’m taking care of his house and Woody, and that’s a handful of responsibility.

August 4

The captain and Joyce completed another successful passage from Vigo, Spain to Viana do Castelo, Portugal.  43 miles under motor for 85% of the voyage due to lack of wind.  Spain and Portugal are experiencing a stultifying heat wave with temps well over 100 degrees F in Lisbon extending north well into Spain.  The AC units on SS III are cranking out the cool breezes so the old man will stave off heat stroke as long as his generator works.  He and Joyce had no problem handling the boat for this passage.

 

The world’s oldest operating lighthouse, first constructed by the Romans 2,000 YBP. As you can see my person can’t orient the photo properly (he claims the little turning buttons in the edit mode were not functioning – another lame excuse for his lack of IT savvy).

My life in Annapolis is still pretty good considering I’ve been abandoned by my master for most of a six-month period.  Woody and a cadre of dog walkers (hats off to Hanna) have kept me fed and happy and I even snagged a bird the other day when Mark from “Time to Pet” was walking me in Eastport.  All I manage to catch when my person walks me are discarded chicken bones from the Royal Farms chicken outlet just a block from my house (what a great location; eight great places to eat and drink plus a fried chicken outlet within three blocks of our house) – life is good, if not short.

Back in Portugal, I see the old man working on our blog while Joyce is shopping in the old town.  According to Wikipedia, they sailed past the town where C. Columbus first made landfall upon his return from the Caribbean – so that must be true.

August 16

This cove is 200 meters from SS3’s slip.

 As you know my last entry was almost two weeks ago, clearly my person is way too busy to share his daily activities with my fans (he apparently turned off the boat cam) although I really don’t know why anybody would waste their time reading about some senior citizen’s daily activities which include going to the bathroom 18 times and monitoring his position on the waitlist for the “Golden Years” assisted living facility in Key West.

This is what the old man will look like if he remains in Portugal for another month.

He and Joyce, with the great help of Ann and Warren, successfully navigated the coasts of Spain and Portugal from A Coruna to Cascais, just 20 miles from Lisbon.  This voyage included a passage around Spain’s infamous Cabo Finisterre (aka “The Cape of Death” due to the many ship wrecks off its headland).  He made Joyce keep watch for the rounding as he was huddled in his cabin making sure he had plenty of rest for the remainder of the voyage.

 

With a menu like this who needs vegetables?

I see that he just deposited his last crew members (Ann and Warren) at the fuel dock at the Cascais Marina and he is now alone on SS3 with absolutely no excuse for not updating his activities.  Joyce extended her stay an extra week at the request of the captain as well as Ann and Warren –  they all realized life on board without Joyce would be rather chaotic and unpredictable.  Worth a mention – Warren ordered sardines for dinner one night and had the entire wait-staff laughing at his poorly executed de-boning technique (sorry Warren, Ann reported this to me and promised to buy me a fresh chicken breast if I included it in my blog).

Cascais is unlike most seaside towns in Portugal, 20 miles from Lisbon, it incorporates the best elements of Monte Carlo, Palm Beach and Key West without the attitude of superiority characteristic of their citizens.  The architecture, beaches, great seafood restaurants and low-cost, high-end wine have combined to cause the old man to book a slip at the marina for the next 35 days. Visitors are welcome!

August 18

 Day three (or is it four) alone, and at anchor; I can hear the old man mumbling about how much he enjoys the solitude of life on the hook with no one around to point out his many missteps (it’s a good thing he is still not aware of the boat cam’s all-telling eye).

I saw him attempt some exercise activity yesterday as he donned his bathing suit (he thought about skinny dipping but there were too many women and children on the nearby beach and he wanted to avoid another incarceration – see last year’s Canada blog post). There is no gulf stream flowing off the Portuguese coast, so the Atlantic’s temperature here makes Ocean City water seem like the tropics.  His intention was to swim three laps around the boat and then drink some wine…he missed the swiming mark by 2.95 laps although he still drank the wine.  Swimming in ice water was how he described the experience.

As there are no public dingy docks in the area he is forced to pay the marina $10 for six hours of dingy-docking-time, including the use of the showers and laundry, although since his crew left I don’t think he has used either of these amenities. This may explain why, when dining on shore, his table for one always seems to in a breezy location.

August 19

Bill and Kay from Annapolis arrived in Lisbon yesterday and my person took the train into Lisbon to have dinner with them and check out their very spacious hotel digs.  As you know I only have audio capabilities when he is ashore so my reporting on his trip will not be the whole truth; because he mumbles to himself with increasing frequency it’s difficult for me to discern whether he is having a genuine human interaction or merely talking to himself.

I do know this, because he is alone at anchor he is required to remain fairly sober while ashore in order to successfully execute the following late night tasks: 1) find, board and untie the dingy, 2) start the motor, 3) identify SS3’s anchor light, 4) navigate to SS3 without hitting another boat or sea buoy, 5) secure the dingy to the retrieval system on SS3 and finally, 6) remember where he hid the door key.  Believe me, these may seem like simple tasks to most people but the old man is no spring chicken, so he feels a real sense of accomplishment when he is safely on board.

I remember when he told me about his good friend Andy (last names again withheld to protect the innocent) – who has a ton of boating experience and know-how – once boarded the wrong catamaran in a BVI mooring field after returning from a shore-side gig which included free drinks…“all cats look alike in the dark” was his excuse.

Photos from Cascais, Portugal

This restaurant reminded him of Wyoming.

His crack crew on shore leave. Joyce, Ann and Warren (the sardine slayer).

Fresh OJ every day (almost).

MRE and ARC flags flying high over Cascais on SS3.

The old man knows how to de-bone a fish!

Tall ship at his marina.

My person joined this group in Cascais, there is not enough beer to get the job done.

Great sandstone cliffs just outside of his marina.