Now Booking! Learn the Cruising Lifestyle from a "Real' God D#@! Captain

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Last week it occurred to me that I have rounded a bend in my career and life. In a room filled with professional mariners and  USCG Boatswain's Mates at an unholy hour of the morning, (some of the finest sailors I have ever met or known), I found myself standing at the front of the class lecturing the students about the finer points of the CFRs and navigation rules for professional captains. And it dawned on me then that I have attained a level in my career as a captain that I only hoped to ever achieve. I was teaching the USCG about boating and if you think that is any small thing, you would be wrong. 

These guys and gals know their stuff when it comes to boating because it is their job to hit the waves when all hell breaks loose on the sea and they've been doing it for 20 years. And I was tasked with the job of getting them past the USCG 100 ton exam, and I did- they all passed. 

But it wasn't just the fact that I was teaching the teachers about boating, it was that the stars have all lined up and I am now a "real" God damned captain. 

I have a boat that can go to sea, a license that says I can charge people to do it and a pile of knowledge I have acquired from decades of striving to be the best. And I think given what I was doing last week, I am pretty God damned good. 

And so this week, on Good Friday, my wife and I will be heading down to Florida to inspect and prepare the boat, a 2010 38' Leopard named The SV Southern Comfort,  to begin offering inshore and offshore lessons to those who wish to learn how to live the cruising lifestyle on a catamaran. We will bring it back up to Beaufort where we will host our first clients from Virginia. Later this season we will be hosting a couple from Panama and it is our hopes to bring people to Beaufort from all over the world to enjoy what I have termed "The Best Little Patch of Sand and Water I ever Saw"  Its what I have always wanted to do" be a real captain and share my love of the sea with others. And I can now do it, both legally and emotionally. 

I think the thing I learned last week is that for you to do anything like sailing, you gotta believe in  yourself. And last week in the middle of a class at USCG Base Fort Macon,  I started to believe in myself because I realized it has all come together to make it a reality. 

They say the toughest part of sailing around the world is getting off the dock. And they are right. A hundred things stand in the way to going to sea. Not least of which is you have to convince yourself that you can do it. And while I have wanted to go to sea for as long as I can remember, I am only now just realizing that I can do it.  All the parts have come together and the stars have aligned to allow me to do it.  

Its exciting but also a little scary- so I can only imagine what its going to be like for my students. To set sail with the only barrier remaining in your way is the horizon. Most times you have to stop at the next shore, but when you're on blue water, your next stop is either France or Africa. And that is a little daunting. But big adventures call for brave souls. 

So if you want to learn to sail the big water- and you want to do it with a "Real" God Damned Captain- Then given me a call- cause we're open for business. 

 

 

 

 

There's Life in the Old Girl Yet

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The Bones of this old lady are brittle in places, but her shape indicates beauty is still possible. 

The Bones of this old lady are brittle in places, but her shape indicates beauty is still possible. 

Tillie has had a few weeks of quiet stirring now that temps around here are moderating and the dandelions are blooming. In case you are new to this blog, we are restoring a 1969 Airstream International Land Yacht  we purchase last summer, named "Tillie". It has been sitting in our side yard for the last 8 months undergoing a full gut job. But with the new year and a new semester at Carteret Community College, Tillie has been moved to the main stage as we are ready to begin the rebuild. 

Truth is, I was a little burned out from the summer work. When you remove all the insulation from a 40 foot long Jiffy Pop in the Carolina summer sun, you become a sweating, scratching mad person and the mere thought of going back in had me twitching at the thought of fiberglass dust. But a winter of wind and rain has scoured the interior of much of the dust and last month I pulled the remnants of flooring and the water tanks so that I could see the frame up close and personal like. It wasn't as bad I thought, but it was worse than I hoped. 

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Say Cheese

(with a iron aftertaste)

The frame of a 1969 Airstream is a glorified erector set. The metal is as light weight as you can get, and still maintain structural integrity. And by leaving the old girl in the swamps of East Carolina for 40 years, the frame of our trailer has more in common with a stout swiss cheese in places than a road worthy testament to American ingenuity. The stringers were stamped on a mass production level during the Johnson Administration and no one to my knowledge makes them any more. Add in the work ethic of a Downeaster and getting strait answer as to how to fix this thing on the shores of East Carolina had me wishing for a good old Yankee price hike in the snows of New England.

My first project in class was to restore the starboard forward leveling jack. That was the start, now I am ready to resect a 9 foot chunk of her spine in a mission to bring her back to life. 

My first project in class was to restore the starboard forward leveling jack. That was the start, now I am ready to resect a 9 foot chunk of her spine in a mission to bring her back to life. 

My only option as it turned out was to spend $184.55 to learn to weld at the community college down the road.  Money well spent. My Instructor is a former Navy Corpman who decided to give up the finery of medicine in favor of the fierceness of fire. He walked in on day one with a tee shirt that said, "Welding is knitting with fire" and explained that he played the banjo in a throwback band.  I liked him immediately. I call him "Welding Steve"

I explained to him and my half dozen classmates that day (the number changes daily) that I hoped to get enough skill at welding to restore my girl Tillie, but had little intent on becoming a full fledged welder. I guess I wasn't completely alone in my tepid approach to the industrial arts as one guy was looking to restore a vintage car he bought when he retired and two other kids, one sporting bleach blond pubic hair on his chin and the other who cant seem to move his lips when he talks, worked full time as fry cooks at a couple of the local eateries that don't shut down in winter.  Needless to say, none of us had much experience with a plasma cutter or MIG welding on day one. 

Its not good, but I am learning. What a great resource- $180 in classes will save me thousands in repair jobs down the line. Why isn't everyone doing this? 

Its not good, but I am learning. What a great resource- $180 in classes will save me thousands in repair jobs down the line. Why isn't everyone doing this? 

But now that we are a month in, the feel of the room has changed and the smell of fear has been replaced by a calm confidence at the end of a flaming steel rod. And as my compatriots in Vocational excellence grow into the men Welding Steve aims to create, I notice a desire in me to dig in to the swiss cheese that is Tillie's Spine.  And so this week, thanks to the help of my Brother in Law and my First Mate, we (Jen and I) laid down the funds to get the first 9 foot length of steel that will replace the starboard main beam of the frame when we cut it out with our new Black and Decker angle grinder that we got on sale for $20 bucks on Sunday. This is the rebirth of Tillie. 

Over the next few days, we will begin to cut the frame down and replace the rotten stringers, outriggers and main frame parts that will no longer hold our trust. Then we will will see about restoring the axles and replacing the brakes, shocks, wheels and tires. We are also working on repairing the door frame and window screens all while visions of solar panels, composting toilets and one picture perfect Little Cod wood stove dances in our heads. 

The Head of a Marine Diesel- the verboten land once in my world, I now feel I can adequately screw up a motor and melt a 1/2 inch thick chunk of steel. Ah the wonders of Community College. 

The Head of a Marine Diesel- the verboten land once in my world, I now feel I can adequately screw up a motor and melt a 1/2 inch thick chunk of steel. Ah the wonders of Community College. 

This is also happening simultaneously as I edge closer to becoming a self-sustaining off-grid sailor who can weld a bow pulpit and change the rings on a Detroit Diesel (the other class I am taking this semester). And not to be over done, I still am teaching OUPV at the college, think I was just hired to run a tow boat for the local rescue squad, and to the aim that I actually run a marine consulting business too, think I have found a boat that will be the crowning jewel of our fleet. Stand by for that news as we will be booking lessons and charters any day now. 

So life begins anew this February morning. The phone is starting to ring and the boats are waiting to be launched. And so it begins. The cry of the Charted Life rings in the quickening steel and aluminum skin of Tille, The Airstream. Stay tuned.

Next up, getting the water side of this land and sea equation- a 38' Leopard located in Florida is in the offing- so stay tuned!

Next up, getting the water side of this land and sea equation- a 38' Leopard located in Florida is in the offing- so stay tuned!

 

 

Better Lucky than Good, when the Gods are smiling

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I used the phrase, "Bless Their Heart" yesterday when I described the incidents that took place on Feb 7th off John's Pass in the Florida Keys. A team of Millennials set sail in their 1969 Columbia sailing vessel two days earlier, with virtually no experience, no clue how to determine where they were, apparently rotten keel bolts and ran into as they claim, "an uncharted object" in 8 feet of water within sight of land. Their goal was to sail around the world but they had trouble making it more than a few feet off the dock, bless their heart. 

Now I have a tough time not passing just a little judgement on them, as what I do for a living is to help boaters avoid this very thing. One Facebooker yesterday pressed me on how these two people affected my life in the slightest and after some back forth I had to admit, they did not specifically hurt me, but as anyone who has tried the liveaboard life will tell you, there is a cadre of government officials working to make the boating life harder and use examples like this to pass inane and pointless regulations aimed at making us little sheeple safer at sea and harder to live our lives. But as I said I wont curse the darkness, but will light a little candle- and I have offered them my services and my good wishes for their fortune. 

And fortune is exactly what they have found. 

Yesterday a young man with a southern Granddad recounted how his Grandfather would say of the situation, "you just bought yourself some experience".” And I think that is true- for the $5000 investment, they got a good basic sailing course, some advanced topics and even a survival at sea clinic- do you know what you would pay for that at a full fledged sailing school? 

The problem is they did it 200 yards from the dock and the USCG wants to hand them a bill to remove the boat from the water. (Truly ironic with the piles of boats and trash scattered across the keys from Irma that no one will remove, they selectively pick on a couple poor kids who pulled an Icarus and paid a price.) But when you fly that close to the heavens, the God's do see you- and they have smiled on these two when they needed it most. 

Their GO FUND ME PAGE at last check was at $14336 on a $10,000 goal. I'm not sure if they are Irish, but that is some luck indeed. Sink your boat, become the goat of the sailing world for a few days and America comes to the rescue in the form of $10s and $20s. Now they have enough to pull the boat, fix everything that got ruined and they are now so much more educated than they were before this all started. Bless their heart, but God be praised. 

I'm not sure which God helped them most. Certainly the God of Mercy, Generosity, Love and Neighborliness smiled bigly on these two wayward souls, but truthfully I think Poseidon had a hand in helping them as well.  One more Facebooker suggested yesterday that they were saved from sinking in big water by some benevolent force when the fates reached out and ripped the keel from their boat, ultimately allowing them to return to shore unscathed and ready to fight another day. In truth I don't think the boat would have made it to the Gulf Stream, but imagine the horror of this story if it did. Again Praise the Lord and pass the bailer. 

And so on this Mardis Gras and this season of lent upcoming. I think it wise to recognize when God smiles on us all and lets us see the goodness in people's hearts. We must recognize that we all make bad choices at Sea once in a while and most will never make the evening news with their faux pas. These two did and they have been blessed with a team of family and friends who have helped them, a pile of cash to bail them and their boat out, and a lesson they wont soon forget. Thank you to all who contributed to their Go Fund Me page. You have restored my faith in the people of this land and even when you shake your head and say, "Bless their heart" you open your hearts and offer to help. 

I do hope they call me and let me help them. I think they could use some good boating advice and It would be my honor. And given what you all have done, it would be my duty. 

A Case Study in What NOT to do When Embarking as a Live Aboard

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WE will never fully know what went through the mind of the skipper and his wife when they heard the thud and felt the boat come to a sudden violent stop earlier this month. Their 1969 Columbia, the ship they thought would take them everywhere, stripped of its keel and rolling over on its side, in the dark, without a clue of where they were and realizing they were about to lose the last bit of stuff they had left in the world. You can bet there was a certain amount of nausea and fear about, but thankfully their immediate thoughts were to grab their passports and dog and call for help. 

It couldn't have been too dangerous however because Seatow was the first responder after an hour when they were 200 yards off the dock and the USCG is now doing their dance on the bodies of dead by threatening them with fines if they don't move the hulk of their broken dream. You'd think the USCG would have been the first on the scene and worry more about life than the sunken boat because the Keys are littered with broken dreams and dead boats that the USCG wont do anything about, whats one more? But as anyone who has ever seen the aftermath of a boating accident knows, if the USCG turns a cold shoulder, it is for good reason as their inaction speaks volumes about the seaworthiness of the stricken boat and its crew. 

According to local reports the couple who hailed from Colorado of late, had no sailing experience save for a few day trips with Daddy and the boat will be ready for AARP in a few days and cost a whopping $5000.  If that doesn't say stay on the dock I don't know what does, but the fact that they sold everything and lost it all on their second day of the voyage forces me to overlook their ignorance and offer them nothing but pity. I believe the proper term for this situation in the south is "Bless their heart". 

I wish they had called me instead of DIY-ing  themselves into wreck and ruin, as I certainly would have taught them to read a chart, cautioned them to know how to use a GPS and likely noticed what I expect was rotten keel bolts. But I am sure their thoughts were what's the worst that can happen in the tropics?  

The most ironic part of this is someone will buy that boat off of them for $10, float the keel off the bottom and bring that boat back to life one more time. Those old Columbia's are built to withstand a true cold war missile attack, so I am certain their is nothing wrong with the three inch thick fiberglass. Back when those boats were built oil was cheap and no one cared that fiberglass lasts forever. 

But why did it sink? Well it didn't really- it rolled and settled on the bottom and can be seen at low tide I think from the pier. The mistake they made was not grounding the boat- everyone does. The mistake they made was not running it out to deep water before it sank. If you couldn't see it from the docks like you can now, no one would have known their mistake and they wouldn't have a $10,000 cleanup on their hands. Also they didn't properly skulk away back to Colorado and played the pity card on Facebook. Now they will be compared to the the two ladies who were lost at sea (but not really) for six months in Hawaii- a fate I wouldn't wish for any sailor. 

But lets sum this up- (1) they had no insurance because no one will insure a dinosaur (2) they had no sailing experience and had no idea what they were doing because who really needs to know how to make something go 3 knots (3) they clearly had an hour to save the boat and didn't know how to and that's likely why they lost what little they had and (4) they have every reason to do it again- its their dream.  But here's the silver lining- they saved the $1500- pug named "Remi", they still have the love of their family and friends and they are in their mid-20's and have a whole life to remember and repeat this incident in their mind. 

I'd suggest they get sailing lessons, but it seems to me they cant afford to clean up this mess, let alone start another. But just the same, I will not curse the darkness but instead light a candle- Give me a call- I can help. 

I am a Man and NO, I don't know everything.

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Believe it or not, I am the only man alive in the world today who doesn't know everything. Don't get me wrong, I fail to lift the seat up sometimes, I never ask for directions and I only rarely can watch TV without stuffing my hand into the waste band of my pants. But that's where my Manliness ends because I freely and fully admit that when it comes to boats (and pretty much everything else) I am not the all knowing, all seeing, experience with everything guy that seems so prevalent in today's society. 

Case in point last evening- I am taking a class in marine diesel repair at Carteret Community College (the most affordable boating education resource on the planet).  I realized there is a boat load of stuff I don't know about diesels and most of the sailboats out there I play with have some form of a diesel on board. And if we are going to set out to sail the Atlantic, I was thinking I should know a bit more about how a modern marine diesel engine works. 

We were firing up a big old cummins diesel left over from the last century and it fell to me to attach the battery terminals. As I did so, the instructor, a man I call "Engine Bob"* (See Note) turned on the fuel. I noted that he turned on two handles and there were two lines coming from the fuel tank. And that looked new to me. I asked him if all diesels had two lines and he said yes explaining that diesels cannot burn all the fuel that is injected into them for combustion and that a return line is required back to the tanks so that the excess fuel might be collected. Gas engines don't have this as they combust all the fuel they use, hence their lack of fuel efficiency. And anyone that has ever used a diesel along side a 1976 Plymouth, knows diesels are WAY more fuel efficient than gas engines. Except for our Morgan. 

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You may have seen some of my videos and photos- I intend to restore a 1975 Morgan Sailboat with a 25 horse Westerbeake Diesel named "Kittiwah". She is a pig of a boat right now and the oil slick that follows her everywhere she goes is borderline criminal. We have her hauled this winter at Solomon's Island in Maryland where we managed to get her delivered in the waning days of last autumn despite gale force breezes and the stink of leaking diesel permeating every surface of the boat and our clothing. In truth we had no interest in stopping at Solomon's but the boat was making  lousy head way due to a questionable rig aloft that has been rotting at the dock for the last decade and a leaky fuel tank. Upon hauling her we also realized she had a folding prop that pushed the boat just faster than the speed of the fumes generated from our oil slick. And so we hauled her at Harbor Island Marina which I am told is nicknamed "HOBO Island Marina" by the locals because our boat fits in a little too well into the overstuffed parking lot filled with semi-dead boats and the remnants of last years 4rth of July festivities. 

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Before my First Mate Matt and I set sail in Annapolis last fall, we realized the tank leaked badly and so my buddy John came up with the idea that we use a Yellow Gerry Can with a modified cap to feed the the fuel to the engine so that we might get it south for the winter. We cleaned the bilge and installed some temporary decking over the rotted floor boards and installed a new battery. And before we knew it, we were underway and heading South in the Chesapeake for Hampton Roads, engine running fine with clean fuel feeding nicely from our MacGyver-esque solution. We should have made the ditch easily if not for the the head wind that blew strait up the Bay and the folding prop that kept us going, but only just a bit faster than swimming. But the biggest problem we discovered just off the shore of Chesapeake Beach was were running through fuel faster than we were making way, and the smell of diesel was sickening. 

Two days of puking diesel fumes while white knuckling a beat southward left my crew and I nauseous, tired and reeking of dead dinosaur flesh. We called it at Solomon's and there is where she has sat since November. 

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Thinking the problem was the folding prop, I called everyone I could think of to ask if that could be the cause of our slow performance and poor fuel efficiency. Most of the guys I spoke to said it had to be and for $1500 the boat would fly through the waves and have the fuel efficiency of a Prius. The Westbeake People said I should check the compression and when I looked at how to do that, I decided that the prop was a a much easier solution to try first and so I went to Bull's prop shop in Beaufort, NC where I found the perfect prop custom machined for the Morgan for a budget $400. Every guy I spoke to, including my buddy John and my First Mate Matt said that was the ticket to glory. 

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Installing the new prop was an entirely different set of male failures, as I asked the manager at Hobo Island to pull off the folding prop and he quoted me a $1000 bill just to take it off, and that didn't include getting a new one on. And so I drove up to remove the folding prop myself while the manager supervised my work and made recommendation of how he thought it might come off.  After smashing it for two hours with a ball peen hammer and heating it to firey red glow, my wife-to-be made the observation that there were threads visible behind what looked to be a 1/2 inch driver bit hole at the end of the prop shaft. With the right tool and a little female observation, we managed to prove that neither the yard manager nor I had any idea what we were doing. 

And thus that brings our story to last nights epiphany. When Engine Bob explained to me the need for a return valve on a diesel tank, I realized that my comedy of errors has taken a full turn. I probably did need a new prop, but not because the old one was in any way fuel inefficient. The fuel inefficiency came from the the fact that our MacGyver fix only FED fuel to the motor, oops engine. The return was still plumbed to the leaky tank and every minute we ran it, it siphoned fuel back into the bad tank out of the clean gerry tank and leaked into our bilge to be absorbed by a limitless supply of oil cleanup pads and fill our noses and clothes with a stench that even the most aggressive of cleaning methods could not remove.  (Just a note- Listerine does an adequate job of killing diesel fumes and cat litter clogs the bilge pump) 

Now I could blame this story on my buddy John and my First Mate Matt, both of whom said they knew stuff about Diesels and due to my lack of confidence and knowledge I believed them.  Or I could blame the manager at Hobo Island, or the folks at Westerbeake or even Bull at Bull's prop shop, because they are the pros and they should have known or so I thought. But the blame here belongs squarely on the fact that while I know how to teach someone to sail a boat better than most, I am still learning new stuff every day about boats and engines. There is a ton I don't know and the more I learn, the more I know I don't know. And I will not pretend I know everything, even if I have to return my man card if I openly admit that sometimes I am just over my head. Thank God that I have a wife now that helps me out when I get too deep and can let me know that I need to turn left at the Walmart when I always turn right, because well that's what I want to do and I am still a man- even if I do stupid things and don't know stuff too good sometimes. 

Note* That's a play on the racial slur as he has no Native American roots from what i can tell, but corrected me very adroitly when I referred to a marine propulsion machine as a motor, by saying that they are all Engines, not motors, motors are electric. Refusing to argue the point with examples like the Ford Motor Company, British Motor Works and the Bavarian Motor Works, I let the point lapse and began to call him Engine Bob. 

The Best Little Patch of Sand and Water I Ever Saw

I don't usually wax poetic about  any other body of water on this blog, other than my beloved Long island Sound.  It was the harbor of my birth and my lifeblood for far too long for me to betray my love affair with  any of the other lovelies like the Chesapeake Bay or the Gulf of Mexico. But of late I have found myself wandering a new path and discovered a strange fact, my heart betrays me. I have fallen in love with Pamlico Sound and I feel just as guilty as a wayward lapdog getting scratches from some other lap owner. Oh what pitiful stuff, the shame I feel.

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But hear me out. There is an argument to be made that the Pamlico Sound is one of the best training grounds on the Earth for sailing and boating. A fact that the Military and Kite Boarders alike have been keeping under their hats for far too long and likely the reason why we all know about Annapolis and Key West, Newport and Charleston, but only a select few have ever heard of Bath, New Bern, Ocracoke and Oriental.

Sir Walter Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh

Why is it that Sir Walter Raleigh himself, wandered between the shifting sandbars in the 1600's and it gave birth to household names like Blackbeard and the Wright Brothers, yet so few people know about this shallow little ditch of water perched so precariously on the Atlantic Shelf? As early as the 1700's the US Government saw economic value to the Sound and saw fit to transform the little inlets and rivers that feed the Sound into the most prominent man-made cut of the ICW. And certainly both the Union and Confederate forces saw strategic value in the Sound or why else would they fortify the bejeasus out of it in 1860 and continue to do so up until today. Between the planes, the bases and the bombing ranges one only need but to listen intently to hear evidence of Freedom being effected anywhere from Charlotte to Richmond to Wilmington these days.

 

The Wright Brothers

The Wright Brothers

Edward "Blackbeard" Teach

Edward "Blackbeard" Teach

THE USCG

THE USCG

Cape Hatteras Light

Cape Hatteras Light

And then there are the old tales and stories bandied about in History. Virginia Dare and the Lost Colony, the founding of the Navy Seals at Ocracoke and the German Subs that litter the Grave Yard of the Atlantic Ocean off Hatteras. There's the Navy Test Flights that took place at New Bern and of course the advent of the Light House Service and the the US Coast Guard on the Outerbanks.  Can all of this history and learning have taken place in such proximity of a body of water if it weren't something very special in the first place? Well that's the Pamlico Sound.

 

I can tell you from my own experience, the Pamlico Sound boasts a strange mix of fresh and salty, inland and offshore, Urban and Backwoods. The salinity and nutrients mix together in the Sound so as to create a bounty of flora and fauna unmatched in the Western World. Perhaps its the proximity to the Gulf Stream that has blown evolution in the Sounds favor. Tropical species like Palm Trees and Sea Oats, dolphins and Pelican make this seem like an Island Paradise with a much smaller latitude at times than it actually has, while Albatrosses and Oaks, Blue Crab and Bunker make this place look much more like Long Island or Boston Harbor at times. Anybody that has had the misfortune to plant tomatoes in February around here knows that March can and will show that irony in the most unwelcome way when its 80 degrees on Valentines Day and Snowing for the Ides of March. 

 

She's a fickle body of water to be sure. One day she is as calm and lovely as a lagoon set in the Emerald Sea and the next boasting waves and winds reminiscent of the mighty North Atlantic in Winter. It is the fickleness of weather that makes her teachable moments the most valuable I think. More than one student has received their offshore experience while caught in a surprise waterspout or some micro-burst on an otherwise pristine afternoon in the Sound. But it is this wild weather in such close proximity to safe harbor that makes this body of water such a great place to learn. You can mess up in blue water conditions in the Sound, without paying the ultimate price of a mess up in real blue water. There are perks to being locked in by a barrier Island.

 

But when the time comes, as we all hope it will for our little fledgling sailors, to fly into the open world, that world is just a few short miles from multiple launching pads in North Carolina, including my favorite, Beaufort, NC. The little town with the big piratitude sits at the mouth of one the most underused yet primed for greatness inlets on the North American coast at the end of the ICW where it makes its turn south on your way to Florida. Her sister City, Morehead, is the larger and flashier of the two, but it is Beaufort that boasts the history of Piracy and is the namesake of the Inlet and that is where I call home and and plan to marry my lovely fiance later this year.

 

 

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The Anchorage Inn at Ocracoke

So my love for Long Island Sound is not gone. I still hold her dear in my memories of youth and she is where I gained most of my seatime. But its time for me to open my heart to another and quite frankly she is quite a few notches up the scale of places to learn. Long Island Sound still bristles right now with snow and ice. She is deep and treacherous and most unforgiving. Her waters that once teamed with lobster and fish, now crawl with odd shaped slimy things that no one wants to eat. And not just that, she is elitist and expensive and not very welcoming.

 

Pamlico Sound is alive with spring right now, teaming with Oyster, crabs and fish from all over the Atlantic. In a few short weeks summer will arrive here and the dolphins and pelican will be so thick

 you'll have to watch yourself as you sail past the bombing range at Brant's Shoal. The Marines will still be rattling the windows and the sound of Freedom will blow in as the Harriers cross overhead. The skies will light up with Lightning and Ocracoke will come alive with bikes and ice cream cones. And all too many shop owners in Oriental, Beaufort, New Bern and Manteo will toss you a line and help you tie up, hoping for a chance sale and a few more tourisim dollars. As for Jen and I,  we will be settling down to a plate of steamed seafood that is as fresh and local as you hope to get anywhere in the modern Sea. Such is life in Eastern Carolina, on the shores of the best little patch of sand and water I ever saw, Pamlico Sound.  Hope to see Y'all soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Calling all Sailing and RV People with a Camera and Perspective!

January 24, 2018

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I have been called more than a few nasty things in the last few months. For my article where I didn't castigate the two ladies who were "lost" at sea for six months, I was called a "moron". For my piece on leasing boats from owners who let them sit and rot for 8-10 months every year to the tune of $10,000, called The Upside of a "Bad Idea",  I was called "ridiculous". But the piece that took the cake was my article last week where I chose not to crucify the old man who ran over the three fishing people in the bass boat on Youtube, called 360 Degrees At ALL Times. For that one I was banned from Facebook. 

 

Yes Mr. and Mrs. America, in this Upside Down world of Reverse Christianity, you can be banned from Facebook for using the old Golden Rule, "Do unto other as you would have them do unto you." 

In truth I posted that last one to Brietbart News, who reported that Hillary Clinton was responsible for the boat collision in Oregon last week, so I guess I can't be mad at them, you can't argue with an asshole. But I am quite sickened by the fact that Facebook is so out of control that without provocation or truth, one might be silenced by the nameless, faceless, Mark Zuckerburgers behind the social network.  And its a more common occurrence than you might think. 

But I am choosing to use this as a message from above to rid myself of my Facebook dependence. And it seems its happening at the exact same time that Youtube has decided to take their money off the table with Youtubers who have less than 10,000 followers.  I am guessing the people that brought you the Tide Pod Challenge and The Blue Whale, have decided maybe they shouldn't pay people to be stupid and instead let them fund it with their own resources. Unfortunately, the 18,962 sailors out there who have Youtube Channels and who thought they could fund themselves by filming themselves brushing their teeth 1000 miles off shore wont be making their 6 cents every month. 

Facebook or Youtube, or Reddit, Linkedin or Twitter, or any of the other self-promotion devices on the old Interweb, whatever you use to make yourself known to the world, odds are you're not making all that much money from your efforts, but it does provide you with a sense of celebrity when the trolls of Facebook give you holy hell for not taking the low road on a particular news item of the day. That why I do it anyway. 

But what if there was another way. Maybe the ideas I been espousing are not bad, its the venues and the manner in which I am promoting those ideas that is ineffective. When your trying to hit the big time, and make your brand or yourself "Ubiquitous" you can't hitch your star to one vehicle. Your brand must go in all directions, simultaneously and reach new eyes every day, internationally.  

How to do that? I wish I had an answer. But it seems to be happening, despite my Facebook black out or the fact that I will likely never be a Youtube Hero. ( Key the music for JukeBox Hero, whomever comes up with the Parody for that song with Youtubers and can work Tidepod Challenge into the lyrics, please tag me in the post, "He's Gonna Be a YOUTUBE Hero, got stars in his eyes, A Youtube Hero, His Mouth full of Tide) 

I think the name of the game is not getting more shares on Facebook or working the angles to get more Subscribers- they key is to work smarter not harder. And its not about what I have to say, its about what you have to say. 

Did you hear about this new phone app called HQ?  1.1 Million people tuned in last night and messaged each other like wildfire at the start of the Trivia. The Host, I didn't even get his name, mentioned a few of the people by name and they went wild because he did it- their name got out in front of 1.1 Million people. And that's all they wanted.  They wanted to see themselves and make perhaps make a few bucks if they could. Most people didn't make a dime, but they got to see their own name on the screen with 1.1 Million other people for just a second. 

My idea, a channel devoted to all the people who sail boats, live in RVs and make the world their home.  We can certainly publish it on Youtube and Facebook and everywhere else, but what I want to do is get it in front of the newest growth market- streaming video. Its cheap, its immediate and its everywhere. 

What I need is two things- content and advertisers. With one comes the other. If you have a knack for making good mobile lifestyle content on your boat or in your RV, I want to hear from you. I need your videos to upload to our channel and I will push your content to the world. The idea being once the world sees yours, his, hers and our content in one place streaming 24 hours a day on demand, then we will have a reason to ask for advertising dollars. The Boating Channel is the way of the future  so get on board. 

Facebook is The Anti-Christ

Three days ago, someone at Breitbart reported my profile as Spam to Facebook. It I suspect was over a post about the old guy who crashed his boat into a boat load of fisherman in Oregon and somehow, the entire neo-con universe decided it was Hillary Clinton's fault. And because my post focused on that news story, I was reported as spam, my website was banned from Facebook, my privileges to share anything were revoked and anyone that tried to share my work was also blocked on Facebook- all because I decided not to crucify and old disabled man who made a really bad mistake by not keeping a proper watch while underway. 

Mea culpa, I have sinned. I broke the newly coined rule of the social world, kill or be killed. Tar and feather the weak and stupid. And above all- be the first to cast a stone even if you have committed the same mistake a million times before. In short, Facebook is the Anti-Christ. 

Its not that I have an objection to people sharing cat videos and pimple popping. And by all means please tell me what you ate for breakfast and where you are going after you finish brushing your teeth- I want to know that stuff. But when did getting all up in people bidness, turn into public shaming and witch hunts? When did social networking become a license to stalk, berate, insult, degrade and otherwise promote hate in all forms? 

Facebook is a dark place. It is a platform for people to cast off their humanity and don which ever swastika, white hood or burning cross they can heft. Its a place for them to be mean and say and do what ever they want- without regard for whom they offend as the more people you piss off the better your post performs. 

There is a breed of facebooker who will make every effort to be hated as much as possible and they will take great pride in the derision they promote. There is a facebooker who will post the most vile soft core porn they can get away with per the "community standards" set by some nameless faceless computer nerd tucked in a hole somewhere in Silicon Valley. And worst of all, there is a Facebooker who champions all that is so dark and evil in this current political maelstrom in which we now find ourselves who show contempt and hate for his fellow man, while singing the praises of a God he will never meet in a Heaven he will never be welcomed into. This is what Facebook has become and it is why I will not be sharing this post on Facebook. 

My sharing privileges were turned back on this afternoon and I think I have worked my way around the the Crystal Coast Marine Consulting black out. I took this last hiatus from FB as a message that I needed to look elsewhere to promote my voice and my efforts.  The news that Youtube is now not paying for low subscribed content and that Podcasts were being shut down on some boating network I have never heard of, told me that there must be other ways than the cheap feels you get from a 1000 likes on a Facebook post. They are likes but they are not sales. 

I will not be buying any more ads from Facebook, nor using any of their features to promote my work. I will have a page because I have to and it is expected by my clients. But I will give up Facebook as a rule. In fact, I think I will enact a Facebook abstinence for lent as I think it was a divine message that led me to understand my addiction to Facebook. So I will listen to which ever power shut me down so unfairly and un-democratically.  And I will certainly stop complaining about them in future blogs. This will be my last. From here on it, it will be back to sailing, boating, RVing and promoting the Mobile Life for The Charted Life.  But for now one last time, Facebook sucks and Mark Zuckerberg take his social network and shove it where the sun don't shine.