Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Silly photo aside: Malaria is no laughing matter. There seem to be plenty of mosquitos available for transporting the disease from person to person. My take from the article is that this is not the most dangerous strain, the few reported cases are taken seriously by the government, the various agencies jump on the outbreak immediately and the affected area is quite remote from where we're apt to be.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Experimented with the spinnaker several days. X likes it. Pulls along nicely on these light South China Sea winds. Caught the edge of a squall once. Wind rotated 180 degrees and X hit some new, to me, high speeds. Fun and a little worrisome, plus the wrong direction. I flew the 1A on a Code Zero Furler (pictured). Interesting. The PO cut the kite a foot too tall and the furling line 6 feet too short. Sheesh!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Got the chili problem solved. All the bottled chili sauce in Malaysia has sugar as the first or second ingredient. That is like cooking with catsup (background). What one wants is just ground chili's with maybe a little vinegar, garlic or onions. Chili powder (left) is common, but has no zing. I had been flying in with asian chili paste from Monterey, crazy (middle). Now I know to ask for fresh ground chili paste, a produce item (in bags, foreground). Chili Boh, red, hot and plenty sweet without added sugar.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
The only downside to making many pizzas is the great amount of propane required to heat the oven. So I tried making a pizza in a pan on the stovetop. Saves gas. Free extra crust. (I thought I published this before, but I don't see it anywhere...)
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
Sail all day. Motor just a few minutes to tuck in close to a little island. Spent the entire day under a hot sun tacking against a strong current while slowly passing dozens of little islands. Here's a typical cockpit view. And here's a comment on your Spring Equinox. Up in the frozen north the Spring Equinox might be celebrated. Here it means the sun is directly overhead. The streets do not have a shady side. I cast nothing resembling a shadow. The decks get burning hot and the solar panels finally work as advertised. Clouds are wonderful shady things. I stop for a moment to test the swim ladder. Works perfect. Very refreshing.
Dinner turned out to be a rather yummy potatoes, greens and yellow curry.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
I'm not sure exactly when to use the Malay 'lah'. It's one of those funny almost meaningless words. Da kine, huh, yeah, eh. But I know when to Chop! We don't just sign official papers here, the boat signs too. For this she now has a cool self-inking rubber stamp. I've been stamping it on everything lately. Mine, mine, mine. So we stamp the official port papers and put our signature over the stamp. Very official and makes the event rather celebratory for the parties. Chop, chop, pretty document.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
1. Marks the spot on treasure maps.
2. Greek letter Chi.
3. Multiplication sign, also the vector cross product symbol.
4. As a mark, means either 'yes' or 'no'.
5. Signature of an illiterate person.
6. Marks clothing as both bigger and smaller: XXS or XXL.
7. Greek numeral for 600.
8. The Roman numeral for 10.
9. Mathematical symbol for unknown or changing concepts.
10. In astronomy, a comet of unknown orbit.
11. In electronics, reactance.
12. X-band: part of the microwave band of the electromagnetic spectrum.
13. Hobo sign: don't knock here.
14. X chromosome: having just one is good, two...watch out.
15. Planet X, a hypothesised planet in the outer solar system.
16. Conserved quantum number in particle physics.
17. Rating given to films suitable for an adult-only audience
18. Written symbol of a kiss.
19. Symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet for voiceless velar fricative.
20. Stock symbol for United States Steel Corporation.
21. Street names for the drug MDMA, ecstasy.
22. Symbol for a strike in bowling.
23. Straight edgers symbol to show committment to their lifestyle.
24. Embellishes online nicknames of girls who crave attention.
25. Abbreviation of extreme: X-Games.
26. Unnecessary letter, "z" and "cks" already exist.
27. Henry Miller's "mysterious element X" which makes creative people interesting.
28. Archnemesis of O in Tic-Tac-Toe.
29. Mark on a scholastic examination: "Wrong answer!"
30. Written across the hand of someone who is under drinking age in a bar.
31. Slang for "Christ": Xmas.
32. On a map: "You are here."
33. Anima mundi: the bands which form the soul of the world form an X.
34. One-third porn.
35. Used in the names of rock radio stations that repeat the same songs endlessly.
36. The last part of sex.
37. Along with the letter O, reads correctly upside down or backwards.
38. Slang for "cross": Santa Cruz translates to Holy Cross.
39. In chess transcription: takes piece.
40. In marketing: added to product names when actual improvements cost too much.
41. Egyptian hieroglyph it meant to damage, divide, count, or break into parts.
42. 24th letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet.
42 meanings, what a remarkable coincidence.
Photo: X Tee Shirt Logo/Matt Seidenzahl, Silkscreen Express, email@example.com
So we motor toward Singapore. X and I. Very slowly. The route is down a long arm of the sea. The prop is completely encrusted with barnacles. Because we must arrive at the marina at high tide we traveling against the tide's current up the channel. So we hoist sail. Much faster. We arrive at the marina and quickly check-in with the border officials. Chop. Chop. X gets hoisted out and into the boatyard. Ugh, she's a mess from neglect.
So the workers clean. It rains. It continues like this for a week. Sand. Rain. Rain. Grind. Rain. Grind. Rain. Epoxy filler. Rain. Rain. More filler. Rain. Sand. Rain. Paint. Rain. Paint. Rain.
And today she's beautiful. Clean, smooth, red and looks fast. It rains.
That entire week I'm inside cleaning and organizing the lockers. I did this once before a month ago. I did it a week ago on Eupsychia. I don't want to do it again for at least two years. There are about 40 lockers and cubby-holes here.
Some lockers are inside other lockers. All of them have treasure. Some of the treasure might have value to somebody. Out goes a few hundred pounds of rusted, or bent, or unidentifiable treasure. The rest gets stowed where it belongs. All I have left is a small pile of "Do I need this and if I do where does it go?" Cleaned the bilge too. Just like when mom let me clean the fireplace at three. I now have a huge amount of room for food, beer and toys. Here's the beer selection so far: S'pore Tiger, Danish Carlsberg and Chinese Yan Jing. There's other brands available, but the tax is high and these are the smart-shopper ones. Actually some cruisers see these fancy beers and remark "Well over at Giant I got Olde Sheep Dip liters for..." But I just won't drink that stuff unless it's handed to me free and cold.
The manager says I'll sail on Monday. It's Thursday now.
All this time I'm eating curry rice dinners on the street instead of tacos on the street. Same spicy yummy cheap idea. Remarkably different asian flavor! Sometimes I cook for myself. Sometimes it's good. I'm also trying to eat through vast stores of Western food like canned tomato sauce and pasta that is cluttering up the lockers. And of course I can't miss the muelsi breakfast.
Photos: X on the hard/DA; Future bilge cleaning man/Mom; Singapore beer and salami/DA
Eupsychia is being watched by a young family of German Cockroaches. They've brought their own goods so I move everything off Eupsychia. The galley's food and gear goes back to the empty apartment. The sailing gear and toys to storage. I load two hundred pounds of the most interesting sailing gear into luggage bound for X. Eupsychia floats three inches higher. This good work accomplised in Monterey I fly, for the fifth time in two months, across the Pacific Ocean and China Sea to Malaysia. In my heavy gear bags are critical toilet parts for friends in Malaysia. This is the psyche of cruisers, "Oh, you're going to the States, can you bring back toilet parts?" X, the new-to-me Santa Cruz 50, is just how I left her: stuck a half meter in the mud, her bottom covered with barnacles and her deck soiled with the soot of industry.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Here we are freezing in Monterey again. I am mostly just standing around waiting to drive Chloe to her next event. School – homework - school – doctor – hair – school – mom's house - party – homework – school. I just stand here in the apartment looking out at the dreary grey uninviting Monterey Bay. I'm making an effort to see all the local friends while I'm here. While my general rule is that no plan is the best plan, I have made a tentative plan because airlines, boat sellers and such see business differently. I will dawdle here in Monterey for a few days. Then go to Mexico to take the old spoiled cheese out of her fridge, check the docklines, pickle the watermaker and have a few fun days with the friends there. I'll return to Mexico at the end of February to sail Eupsychia up to Monterey where she should have an easier time finding a buyer.
When the purchase of Red Sky is completed, and there is nothing simple about international business, I will fly to Malaysia. The current owners are leaving immediately for an extended stay ashore in Thailand. I will take the boat a few hundred miles north to the island of Langkawi. Chloe and I visited there during the Christmas holiday and found Langkawi is a popular yachting center. While there I will haul the '50 out of the water to freshen up the bottom paint. I am planing on having time for a short cruise before I need to fly back to Monterey and Mexico.
This Santa Cruz 50 is presently named Red Sky. She's been cruised by Steve and Carol Easterbrook to Southeast Asia over the past few years after an extensive refit in San Francisco. Prior to that she was sailed in the San Francisco area by Bartz and Bernadette Schneider as Entropy. The records become sketchy, but apparently she was at times sailed as Cara, Clark Kent and Six Belles by various owners perhaps in Florida and on the East Coast. She's hull number 23, built in 1982. Standard size rig plus an inner headstay. Standard keel but a newer carbon elliptical rudder. Her interior is typical. She's encumbered by a good bit of the necessary cruising gear but I believe I can cruise lighter than most people so hope to unload a few hundred pounds to refloat her on her lines.
Of all the things that a boat's name is, from the philosophical to a clever play on words, for a busy cruising boat the name needs to read well over the radio. Eupsychia is a cool word with its new age ring of sweet soul, but it is frustrating on the radio. Some know it but cannot read it - others can hear it but not repeat it - port captains cannot write it even when spelled echo-uniform-papa-sierra-yankee-charlie-hotel-india-alpha in the phonetic alphabet. The pen refuses to form the letters. So I am considering a simple name. Very simple. Something like X. I have several other choices too. Whatever I choose I will explain my own whackiness in this blog. I've got the science to back up my choices.
The Ha-Ha starts from San Diego. I choose to make the 3 day sail south from Monterey singlehanded. I had a great trip that was however not without its challenges. In a pretty good evening blow while very close to Santa Cruz Island approaching an anchorage – Bang -all the boat's power went out. No autopilot, compass lights, navigation equipment – nothing - very dark. Windy and bumpy enough that I really couldn't leave the helm to investigate. Fortunately nearby was my new geeky iPhone. The iPhone has a compass, a GPS, and I'd recently loaded a program that has all the California nautical charts. Pretty cool and it sure made the evening safer and easier. Sitting there in complete darkness I pondered just what might cause the power to go out with a bang and what I might do to restore it. Evantually I was able to restore power by simply flipping a nearby switch to a new position. After anchoring I discovered that the liferaft had become unstowed down below and fallen onto the main battery shutoff switch. Swithing it to off, of course.
The next evening, becalmed behind Santa Catalina Island, I start to motor. Bang - the boat becomes a shaking blur. Something bad has happened with the propeller. Forced to motor for 30 minutes because yet again I'm closer to land that I really should be – this time with no wind with which to maneuver. I take a look at the engine. Its just a blur of vibration. But I figure it's maybe not enough shaking to actually damage anything. I very slowly motor out to where the feeble current and breeze will drift me all night away from the island into open water. At morning light I jump in with the mask for a look. Sure enough one of the propeller blades is completely missing. As nice as it is to have a simple and certain diagnosis the prospect is dim for replacing the propeller in the few days remaining before the Ha-Ha start. But I get on the phone to my always supportive sister Sue. Sue gets on the phone and locates a propeller at a San Diego shop. They recommend a diver who can replace it. Christine finds a boatyard to accept us. It all works out great. As an added bonus I get an extra two days at sea sailing very slowly to San Diego. Can I brag here about docking at the unfamiliar boatyard singlehanded under sail? Should I recommend that everyone practice such things as often I have?
The Ha-Ha was great of course. Christine proved she can both cook well and lean on the instrument switches every time she comes on deck. Evan proved he has all the optimistic energy of youth. There was some rather rough weather for a few days. We broke some minor things when sailing went haywire. Some of the watch standing was pathetic. We all learned a lot. The parties were in the tradition of Ha-Ha fun. And the weather got warmer and warmer each day. I was really missing having Heather along like we were the past two years.
Despite my constant ribbing and mild abuse of the crew they decided to stay on for the several day trip from Cabo San Lucas south-east to Bandaras Bay. We spent several fine days in the beach side village of Chacala before dwaddling into La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, my favorite place to idle. But idleness does not happen. Life here is busy and fun. We sail, we race, we party, we wreck kayaks on the beach, we tease women and they tease us. Sometimes we eat bad food other times the alcohol eats us.
Throughout this time I am calling and emailing regarding buying a Santa Cruz 50. On paper Red Sky, the '50 out cruising in Southeast Asia, is by far the best deal. She's all set up for cruising, has a new rig, good rudder, apparently well cared for, and since she's busy cruising must be mostly functional and seaworthy. However her being in Malaysia makes communication, inspection and buying a formidable project. I get serious. Chloe and I decide to take a Christmas break holiday to Malaysia. Wow, I have forgotten just how dreadfully uncomfortable a long flight is. This discomfort becomes a small consideration in moving my cruising venue from nearby Mexico to distant Southeast Asia. I'm thinking an infinity asea is better than 20 hours aloft. On inspection the boat look good. A bit worn, like Eupsychia, from her 3 years and thousands of miles of cruising. But all-in-all in fine shape. She will do just fine. I agree to buy her.
Photo of Red Sky: Yachtdomain, Bundaberg, Australia
Photo of Eupsychia: Richard, Latitude38
Daughter Chloe and I went to New York. Cool music and hanging out in Washington park. Shopping in Soho and seeing the Hair musical. Viewed the Bodies exhibit. Real bodies stripped of the flesh. Very interesting and somehow not as upsetting as I had expected. Perfect weather, Central park, subways, great pizza, all good.
Worked on the cabin in Big Sur where we are not really keeping up with the decay, bugs and rodents. The worst invasive pests are the fellow humans pretending to be friends and neighbors. But it is a nice place. Maybe someday I'll retire there from cruising. Fortunately, like the sea around my boat, the redwoods, rocks and waterfalls are best left to maintaining themselves.
Pulled the cantankerous engine out of Eupsychia. That greasy relationship was blogged above. The little beast powered us all the way up from Mexico last Spring without a single complaint. But I'd left a redundant bolt out of a part deep inside her. On taking the engine apart to simply replace the bolt I discovered more internal damage. A pile of metal chips. Something not understood was causing havoc. That was a Thursday morning. A couple of phone calls, the checkbook, and Friday saw me up in Sausalito picking up a new engine. On Monday Eupsychia was humming with her new bright red engine.
On the subject of broken: All summer I dragged my broken heart around. Parting with “the world's best girlfriend” so she might pursue her own dreams as I do mine was more painful than I expected. We sure had a good time, as the earlier blogs attest.
While in La Paz last spring Bay Wolf, a Santa Cruz 50 sloop, was out of the water for painting. There's some earlier blogging about the fine sailing family that sails her. At some point I made a now widely reported remark that a Santa Cruz 50 is the only other sailboat I would consider owning. Well that comment echoed around all summer. I spent a good deal of time looking into buying a such a boat while considering if it was a reasonable and sane thing to do. I came around to the idea that neither reasonable or sane was necessary. But buying such a boat proved harder than one might expect. Of the few that were available one has been modified so much as to become useless to probably anyone. Another was maybe for sale and maybe not but either way at an uncompetitive price. The most desirable boat was 8000 miles away actively cruising in Southeast Asia. Nothing came of this all summer.