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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Nautical Adventure

What a day Saturday was!

First, I get up later than planned. As usual. I do not know why I even bother to set an alarm. I know I am not getting up. I know this when I set the alarm. But I set the alarm anyway.

Then after hitting the "shut the hell up" button on the phone (my cell phone serves as the alarm clock) about a dozen times, the phone rings. A friend of mine can not make the boat mission that was planned for the day. Oh well. Now there is really no need to get up.

But the I think why not go out anyway. Screw it. I wanted to run some gas out of the starboard tank anyway, so I could replace it with fresh fuel and stabilizer.

See the boat has two tanks of equal size. The port and starboard tanks. Each tank has a shut off valve. If both valves are open, then the engine can draw from both tanks. But one fuel line is shorter than the other, so the engine feeds off the port tank first. So what I did was turned the port tank off, forcing the engine to draw from the starboard side.

Speaking of valves - am I the only one that wants to reach into the TV and strangle idiots on Wheel Of Fortune who say "I would like to buy a valve"?

NO YOU ASSHOLE! You can not buy a valve! This is not the fucking Home Depot you ass munch! You instantly lose, get your ass off the set NOW! You should have paid more attention in the first grade when the teacher told you about VOWELS! VOWEL! Not valve! You are sofa king we todd ed.

That is what I would say if I were the host. This is probably why they will never let me be the host. It drives me crazy. VOWEL! It is not a hard word to say.

I suppose I could always say "yea, you can buy this valve right here for $50 CA$H out of your pocket" and then hold up some cheap ass plumbing valve fitting.

Anyway, what the hell was I talking about? Oh yea, the fuel system on the boat. Two tanks, one engine. Two shut off valves.

So I managed to burn off about 14.5 gallons. The tank holds 27.5 gallons, for a total capacity of 55 gallons. I do not do a whole lot of running, so the last few trips out only used a little gas. Like 4 - 7 gallons. Running at the best speed for fuel economy I can get at good 4 nautical miles out of a gallon. The only thing that beats that is a sailboat.

But today I found myself running a little faster. See by the time I got up, decided to go out, loaded up the gear I planned to use, got more frozen shrimp in case I wanted to fish, and arrived at the ramp it was close to 3 PM.

And of course, the dark storm clouds were visible. Everyone else who was smart was heading in and leaving when I arrived at the ramp. I was the only idiot putting in. I get the boat in the water, park the truck and trailer, prepare the boat to leave, and then the cold wind blows. So I think to myself, "if I am going to be dumb I have to be tough" - then head off.

The cold wind ALWAYS means rain. It feels good on a hot summer day, but this was not a hot summer day. It was a mild winter day. Not hot, not cold.

Now I know what must be done. The clouds were to the north and west of my position, moving towards me. So clearly, I had to make way to the SOUTH. Where the clear sky was.

But the ramp area is all some sort of slow speed no wake zone. And then there is the manatee zones. Really - if manatees are so darn endangered, then they need to be in ZOOS! As opposed to Biscayne Bay where they get in the way of boats and get run over, damaging valuable boat engines and propellers and stuff. I have never hit one, but I have seen a few that I avoided.

So anyway, I head south. And I start to get rained on. So I take the Bimini top out of the boot and quickly open it, thinking the light sprinkle is about to get worse.

But as it worked out, it was all OK. I cleared the slow zone in time to pick up speed and avoid the worst of the rain. It was cool really. I clear the Key Biscayne bridge, and South Biscayne Bay is open to me. The rain is behind me, creeping south at a good clip. I watch the high rise buildings of Downtown Miami vanish. Then I watch the Key Biscayne causeway vanish. Then I watch Coconut Grove vanish.

But I never got wet. I was running parallel to the rain. The rain pretty much stayed over land, and only the very outer fringe got to me.

The whole point in going out was to watch another boat with people I knew on board conduct some sort of training operation with a US Coast Guard "Dolphin" helicopter. That was pretty neat. The chopper hovers really low over the boat, drops a trail line, and attached to that trail line is whatever they want to attach. Could be a rescue basket, could be a hoist strap, or whatever. In this case it was not anything, as it was just training for the air crew and the boat crew.

I got to sit in my boat and watch. Close enough that I could feel the wind from the chopper blade downdraft, but not close enough that I was getting drenched by the mist kicked up from the downdraft. Also far enough away that everyone had plenty of space in which to do their thing.

Rule 1 - never get too close to anyone or anything when in the water. It is a big ocean, no need to get too close.

Still it was cool to watch. I was not the only one. Other boats that just happened to be in the area also hung out to watch the action. Why not. They may not have known what was going on, but they were following my rule 1 and 2. Do not get too close to anyone or anything.

Rule 2 is - AVOID drawing the attention of law enforcement while out on the water. Chances are you have beer on board. And chances are you may have been consuming said beer.

But of course, I forget the camera. Crap! Left it in the truck. So no photos. I am an idiot.

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Blogger Fuzz said...

The camera thing. It amazes me how often I wish I had brought it when I didn't.

Blogger Cheesemeister said...

Drinking beer and boating? Say it ain't so! ;-)
Sorry I haven't been around much. Personal stuff. My son ended up in the hospital on Friday. I had no idea what was going on with him--unlike me, he's very good at hiding stuff. He's been very depressed and I didn't even know it. I'm usually really good at reading other people but for some reason I couldn't read him. Luckily he seems to really click with his counselor so maybe he won't have to go through the years of hell that I did.
Reading your adventure makes me wish I lived in Florida and didn't have such a tendency to get seasick!
I was watching a show about tornadoes and they showed a tornado that approached Miami but went out into Biscayne bay, about 10 years ago. Sound familiar?

Anonymous krok98 said...

The Lazy,

Isn't boating wonderful? I got some nice fish this past weekend but released them all.

I kinda liked the rain and clounds because it meant no sunburn.

The only thing that can mess up my hair is a helicopter.

Blogger ponder this said...

nothin like a nice peaceful day out on the ocean, at one with nature, sipping a few beers......with a chopper hovering overhead.


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