Happy International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Arrrrggh Mateys! This is the day we’ve all been waiting for (or not). ;-)

It’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day! Enjoy watching the festivities from last year. Maybe you can find some around your location too. :-)

I know my sailing buddies at Sail La Vie in Houston are having a big dress like a pirate paaarrty and sail tomorrow. (I’m just still too beat from work, that looooong journey home with no sleep, and too much to do to justify a 3+ hour drive, even for a great party).

Instead, I’ll be heading to the Texas Navy Day Celebrations here locally at Surfside Beach. Maybe I’ll even get to shoot a cannon! Arrrrghh, that’s a piraty activity too. :-)

Check out the Talk Like A Pirate website, maybe you can find some nearby pirates to practice the lingo with over a good glass of grog. (It helps). Join in the fun! :-)

Anyone who wants to send me pirate pictures, feel free! :-)

Window: Aberdeen Pubs

This is an entry for the Word A Week Photograph Challenge: Window from Sue at A Word In Your Ear blog.

I took this one while I was on a trip to Aberdeen Scotland a couple of months ago. I was there to take a course in “Freefall Lifeboat Coxswain” for work. I got out of class early enough to wander around town most days. I was glad I always take my point and shoot camera with me. These are just a few of the interesting windows I saw there. :-)


The definition of the word Conundrum is: something that is puzzling or confusing.
Here are six Conundrums of life in the United States of America:
1. America is capitalist and greedy – yet half of the population is subsidized.
2. Half of the population is subsidized – yet they think they are victims.
3. They think they are victims – yet their representatives run the government.
4. Their representatives run the government – yet the poor keep getting poorer.
5. The poor keep getting poorer – yet they have things that people in other countries only dream about.
6. They have things that people in other countries only dream about – yet they want America to be more like those other countries.
Think about it! And that, my friends, pretty much sums up the USA in the 21st Century.
Makes you wonder who is doing the math.
I didn’t come up with the above, a friend sent it to me in an email. I thought it was worth putting it out there for a few thoughts from the rest of you out there. This part is all mine. :-)
How did we turn into such a socialist country from what was once the most free country on the planet? How did we turn from a country founded SOLELY to support and protect INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY into this mess we have now?
Any thoughts? Comments? Insults? Rants??

Writing 101: Try Again

OK. I’m going to try this “Writing 101″ thing again. I tried it before, but I was on the ship and could never find the time to do the assignments. I’m really glad the folks at WordPress decided to run this challenge again. I would like to improve my writing.

Today is the first day of the challenge. I got home late Friday after a couple of days traveling home from the ship. We were working offshore Angola (West Africa). I worked all night Wednesday and then started my voyage home Thursday morning.

I was basically up for about 60 hours straight, not counting the few minutes at a time I managed to doze off on the plane(s). I’ve had a couple of days to rest up and catch up on mail, etc so I hope I can find the time now to keep up with the assignments for this challenge. :-)

Today’s assignment is pretty easy. It’s to “JUST WRITE”. Just like talking, I can always find something to say, I can always find things to write. Who knows if anyone will listen to what I have to say either way I put my thoughts out there? It seems most of the time I am ignored. :-(

I think I have some good ideas and some good solutions to a lot of the things no one likes to see happening around the world. It’s all about FREEDOM. Too bad I’m not the dictator of the world. What a paradox. ;-)

I would SO love to see this world full of people where everyone is able to live their lives the way they choose. I would love to see everyone able to live to their fullest potential. I would love to see everyone have enough to eat and comfortable surroundings and work that they enjoy.

I used to have long arguments with my best friend J. about this kind of thing. I told her once I would love to buy an island. I would have to buy it so that it would be mine, as legitimately mine as it would be possible to be. (Not to get into the whole argument about is it really legitimate for people to own land at all). I just don’t want it to be claimed by any government, they would ALL be totally against everything I’m trying to do.

I would turn that island into my own country. Anyone could come there and do anything they wanted to do, as long as they didn’t hurt anyone else (no murder, rape, robbery, etc). That is my basic premise in life. That is the idea that I live by.

Of course the USA would probably bomb the hell of my island. There’s NO WAY they would allow the world to see that a place with REAL freedom could exist and prosper. It would prove to the entire world what a fraud (and a danger to the entire planet) the US has become.

Yes, on my island you could drive without a license, without wearing seatbelts or helmets. You could drink or get high on whatever you wanted to (but you would be responsible for your actions whether high or not). There would be no spying allowed for any reason. There would be no universal ID such as social security has become (and therefore a magnet for identity theft). There would be no such things as ‘guilty property’ (asset forfeiture), money laundering laws, etc. Yes, there would be legal gambling and prostitution and there would be no such thing as a ‘victimless crime’. You could work at whatever you chose, for whoever you chose, for whatever wages and benefits you chose. There would be no government licensing of anything.

Since this island is based completely on voluntary action, I can see people working together to provide all the things we need and want without resorting to the use of force. If we need roads, schools, etc, people will come up with ways to provide them just like they did in colonial times in the USA. I can’t even think of anything we would need taxes for, so there probably wouldn’t even be any of those! :-)

I would base my laws on the US constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights and I would follow the letter and the INTENTION of those documents! That being to promote INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM! To keep the people in control of the government and NOT the other way around.

We would get into huge arguments about what exactly was meant by the word “hurt”. I told her, I think it would have to be defined as an ‘objective’ hurt. Something obvious to everyone else. Otherwise, anyone could just make anything up they wanted.

I think it would have to be something ‘proveable’. Something that you could prove actually happened to you and that it actually did hurt you. You should be able to prove real harm.

So, we got into all these arguments over ‘what if?’…

‘what if she moved in next door to my multi-million dollar mansion and built a junkyard?’, (who said I would have a multi-million dollar mansion? I just spent all my money to buy this island!

‘what if she came to my (multi-million dollar mansion) and shit on my floor?’ (multi-million dollar mansion??), if she shit on my floor on purpose, then I think I would throw her out of my house. If she was sick or something and couldn’t control herself, then I think I would send her to the hospital but still get her out of my house!

‘what if somebody’s feelings got hurt?’ see above point about being objective and proveable

‘what if somebody trashed your boat?’ unbelieveable! they would have to pay restitution for the damages and/or they would get deported!

After a while of this kind of thing, we both got sick of the argument. I decided I would not really want to be dictator after all. It’s too much work!

I really just want to be left alone to live my life in peace. I don’t want to BE alone, I just want to be LEFT alone. There’s a huge difference.

It seems very few people understand where I’m coming from. Almost everyone seems to think people are somehow better off with other people running their lives instead of themselves. I am totally in opposition to that idea.

This is why I am searching so hard to find some PLACE where I can live the rest of my life. It is no longer possible to have that in the USA. The country that was founded to allow people exactly that freedom.

My only hope now is to somehow get out of the US permanently and find some out of the way place where the people will just accept you for who you are. Where they are happy to live and let live. Where their government does not have the resources to constantly interfere. And if it does, where the people will force it to back off!!!

So, OK, I’ve rambled on now for over the 20 minutes the assignment called for. Hope some of you made it all the way to the end. ;-)

Any comments on this subject (or any other) is always appreciated. :-)



On Watch- Looking Out the Windows

This is an entry for the Word A Week Photograph Challenge: Window from Sue at A Word In Your Ear blog.

I had my watch partner take this one of me while I was looking out the windows at the FPSO (floating production storage offloading) flaring off.

This is what it looks like on the bridge of a drillship at night. We are working offshore Angola, about 85 nm SW of the Congo River.

I’m Beer!

This is an entry for the Word A Week Photograph Challenge: Window from Sue at A Word In Your Ear blog.

I took this one while I was on a trip to Korea a couple of months ago. I like the colors and neat graphics of this shot.

AND, I like beer! :-)

Window on the Sea

This is an entry for the Word A Week Photograph Challenge: Window from Sue at A Word In Your Ear blog.

I took this one while I was on a trip to Korea a couple of months ago. I really like how it turned out. I’d like to edit it to make it a little better, but I’m at work now and really haven’t had the time to do any of that kind of thing. All my photos lately have been straight from the camera and most have been from my little point and shoot I always keep with me.

2 More!

Finishing up here. I’m due off on Thursday. I only have 2 more watches to work! (I’ve been working the night watch from 1800-0600 since I got here).

It’s always such a nice feeling of anticipation. You start looking forward to getting off the ship and heading home.

Even tho it’ll be a (very) long trip home and I’ll be exhausted by the time I get there after being up for about 28 hours before I ever even get on the plane to depart Luanda.

It’s another 8 hours for the 1st flight to Paris with a 4 hour layover til the next flight leaves for Houston. That one is 10 1/2 hours long.

I’m one of those unlucky people who just can’t sleep unless I’m lying down. I might nod off for a few minutes now and then if I’m completely wiped out, but I’ve never slept more than an hour at a time on a plane (excepting when I was lucky enough to get bumped up to business class).

I should arrive into Houston Friday afternoon. Then I have to pick up the rental car and drive home for another 1 1/2 hours. I just hope I can get out of Houston before the rush hour starts.

So, looking forward to getting home and SLEEPING for about 2 days straight. :-)


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Does anyone else have a blog on Bloglovin? Does anyone here follow blogs there?

We’re Running Out of Whiskey?

We’re Drinking Whiskey Faster Than Distillers Can Make More | Smart News | Smithsonian.

I saw this article and I had to check it out. The headline had me worried. I’m not much of a whisky drinker anymore, but I still do like a good shot every once in a while. :-)

Rusty But Still Trusty?

Here’s another entry for this weeks word a week photograph challenge (rust).

I took these while on  the same vacation in Indonesia a couple of years ago. I went to the island of Sulawesi looking for a traditional style sailboat for sale.

This rusty old tub was parked right next to my hotel in Makassar. One of the best hotels in town. I didn’t mind waking up to this view out the back, I almost took a hike over there to see what was going on. Those guys looked like they were having a lot of fun. ;-)

I wish I knew how to speak Indonesian. My trip would have been so much more productive and enjoyable. I did have a wonderful vacation (I had to use an interpreter to help me ask about the boats I was looking for).

Wood Gets Rusty Too

Here’s my entry for this weeks word a week photograph challenge (rust)

I took this one while on vacation in Indonesia a couple of years ago. I went to the harbor looking for a traditional style sailboat for sale. These old ones caught my eye.

They’re wooden hulled, but still rusty.

Luggage Located

I heard from the captain yesterday that my luggage has been found! :-)
I have no idea where it was or where it went or when it showed up in Luanda.
But we have been informed that it IS at the agents office in Luanda.
Now I only have to wait until they can deliver it to the ship.
Will it come on a helicopter in tomorrows crew change? Or will it come in a boat in a few days or a week? Or will I just be able to pick it up at the agents when I leave here to go home?

Song of the Sea: Baltimore Whores

Here’s a rolickin’ old sea song for your Sunday morning. It’s sung by Gavin Friday and seems like a good example of the idea of the old style traditional sailors songs. Enjoy! :-)

Baltimore Whores

There were four old whores of Baltimore
Drinking the blood red wine.
And all their conversation was
“Yours is smaller than mine.’

Timy, roly, poly, tickle my hole-y,
Smell of my slimy slough.
Then drag your nuts across my guts,
I’m one of the whorey crew.

“You’re a liar”, said the first whore,
“Mine’s as big as the air.
The birds fly in, the birds fly out,
And never touch a hair.”

Timy, roly, poly, tickle my hole-y,
Smell of my slimy slough.
Then drag your nuts across my guts,
I’m one of the whorey crew.

“You’re a liar”, said the second,
“Mine’s as big as the sea.
The ship sails in, the ship sails out,
Never troubles me.”

Timy, roly, poly, tickle my hole-y,
Smell of my slimy slough.
Then drag your nuts across my guts,
I’m one of the whorey crew.

“You’re a liar”, said the third one,
“Mine’s as big as the moon.
The men jump in, the men jump out,
And never touch the womb.”

Timy, roly, poly, tickle my hole-y,
Smell of my slimy slough.
Then drag your nuts across my guts,
I’m one of the whorey crew.

Swab your decks, me hearties
Slice them up with pride
You sons of whores
Yours is smaller than mine

“You’re a liar”, said the last whore,
“Mine’s the biggest of all.
A fleet sailed in on the first of June,
And didn’t come back till fall.”

Timy, roly, poly, tickle my hole-y,
Smell of my slimy slough.
Then drag your nuts across my guts,
I’m one of the whorey crew.

Raspberry-Lemon Pie Recipe

Raspberry-Lemon Pie Recipe – Kraft Recipes.

This is one I will DEFINITELY have to try asap! I am not due to get off this rig for another 2 weeks. :-(

I wish I could teach the cooks on here how to cook some real American style food. They do OK with some local style stuff. Basic chicken and fish type things. But they sure as hell don’t know how to do dessert!

I have to say, I’ve never been on a rig with worse food. I don’t know if it’s because we’re working off Africa and they can’t get a lot of things here, or because their grocery budget is too low and they’re forced to buy things in Luanda where it costs $10 for a cup of coffee…

Usually the food on a rig is excellent. The companies figure it’s a cheap price to pay for good morale. We eat like kings out here. Not this time. :-(

This recipe (just click the link above the photo) looks very simple and delicious but they don’t have the ingredients to make anything like that here. :-(

I’ll have to wait until I get home to taste it. I wonder if its better then my usual raspberry whipped cream pie?

Long Time Lost (Luggage)

In case you’re wondering, this is not a repeat of my earlier post(s) about my lost luggage. :-(

This trip to work was also totally screwed up. It started in Houston. The original flight was so late getting to London that I missed all my connections. I had tried to make arrangements while still in Houston to make the rest of the trip go smoothly but that effort did not bear fruit.

You can read more about that disastrous trip to get here in an earlier post here.

I arrived in Luanda early in the morning of August 14. I was promised that my luggage would arrive on the next Air France flight into Luanda and the latest would be Tuesday the 19th. I have had a claim out since I arrived. I have been checking online every day for a week now and STILL no trace of my bag!

It’s been missing for a total of 2 weeks now. I really would like to see it again before I have to leave here to go home again in 2 more weeks.

I have been trying for the last couple of days to find a phone number to call so I can talk to a real person (rather than file a form on the computer that refuses to accept the information I need to input).

I finally succeeded in finding a phone number last night and tried to call but the first time there was an estimated waiting period of 20 minutes. The second time the waiting period was 30 minutes. Since I am at work on the ship, I really can not sit on the phone and WAIT for 20+ minutes.

Tonight the wait was ‘only’ estimated at 13 minutes so I took a chance and hung on the line. After listening to the same insipid elevator music repeat for 18 minutes a real live person finally came on the line. :-)

Unfortunately, since my luggage has now been missing for almost 2 weeks, she could not help me at all since it didn’t show up in her system any more. :-(

All I could get out of her was that my luggage was ‘scheduled’ to go on a Lufthansa flight on August 14th. WHY Lufthansa? It was supposed to follow me on the next Air France flight!

She couldn’t even tell me where that Lufthansa flight was going to, or where my luggage was supposed to go after it got there, or if it was eventually going to go to Luanda, or even if they had put a new baggage tag on it so I could trace it or if everyone was looking for a no longer in existence baggage tag?

So, what do I do now?

Wild Wednesday: Mola-Mola

I’ve spent a lot of time at sea in my life. I grew up around the water and on boats. My father had a boat that he used for commercial fishing for a while. I used to go out commercial fishing before I got into working in the offshore sector. I even went deep sea for a while.

In all those years, I’ve never seen a mola mola (ocean sunfish) in the ocean until recently. I had heard about them and seen them in pictures and on TV and they fascinated me.

They just look so weird.

It looks like a shark or something chomped off half their body but they still manage quite well.

I finally did see a wild one recently. I was on watch on the bridge on my last ship and one was floating around. It must have been a pretty big one for us to be able to see it at all from the bridge.

I couldn’t leave the bridge to get a good look at it. I could only see it from the bridge wing which is about 75 ft above the water and about 200 ft forward of where it was. We were able to pick it up in the camera but not very well.

I hope to see some more of them around here. So far this hitch we have not seen much wildlife, but this evening there was a school of dolphins just off the bow. That’s always a good sign. :-)

PS- it is Wednesday here.

Into the Fray: Fishing For Tuna From the Pacific Breeze

Synonyms for fray

noun fight, battle

meleefracasdisturbanceriot, ruckusscuffleaffray,

contestrumpusbroilbrouhaha, conflict


I took a look at a few of the entries for this weeks Weekly Photo Challenge from the Daily Post (FRAY). Most of the ones I’ve seen so far seemed to flow from the use of the word as wear, erode, unravel, etc.

I already put up a post using the word ‘fray’ like that, but it also seemed like a good word to use to describe some of my experiences on the Pacific Breeze while tuna fishing. Sometimes, it really does feel like you’re ‘rushing into the fray’.

My photos don’t really do it justice. I only had a cheap point & shoot camera with me and most of the action took place a long way from where I was. I hope you can get the gist of the story from the few photos I’ll post here.

When the fish are showing, it can get like the Wild, Wild West out there at sea. There can be flashing schools of tuna as far as the eye can see and dozens of boats from a half a dozen countries all fighting for the chance to set their nets on the biggest schools of the best fish.

You better believe it is a SERIOUS business! It can get REALLY crazy!

It’s a real challenge. The fish are not as dumb as you might think. It’s not really that easy to catch them. They manage to escape before the net is set more times than not. Then we have to wait a couple of hours to get the net back onboard and everything readied before we can try again.

Yes, it is a real riot, the boats are definitely in a contest and sometimes engage in a scuffle. The fish are showing in a disturbance of the surface of the ocean and they broil at the surface. That is how we find them (along with the birds to lead the way).

The way it works with ‘school fish’ is that first we have to spot the school. The lookouts are up in the crows nest and report the sighting to the Fishmaster. He will decide if we are going to go any closer to check out the school.

We can spot the fish on the RADAR by their disturbance of the surface of the water. The large flocks of feeding seabirds also show up on the screen and help lead us to the fish.

Once we get closer, we can use our SONAR to look beneath the surface and get a better idea of what we’re looking at. The Fishmaster can get a lot of information on what kinds of fish are there, how many of them there are, the depth they’re at, etc. Then he will decide if it’s worth it for us to set the net.

If we do, the entire crew springs into action. A couple of guys will jump in the skiff boat. The Radio Officer will assist on the SONAR and RADAR. The engineers will be standing by in the engine room to make sure everything is OK with the power. A couple of guys will get ready to help keep the fish contained from the boat (they throw dye markers and pound on the boat to make noise-both of those the fish will avoid).

When the Fishmaster thinks the time is right, he will yell: “skiff booooooaaaaat……… LET GO!” and the skiff boat will drop off the stern of the boat with the end of the net attached. We will drive around the school of fish dropping the net as fast as we can while the guys throw out the dye markers and pound those hammers. It gets really exciting. :-)

While we are rushing as fast as we can (not actually all that fast- maybe 10 knots tops), the speed boat and the net boat (and helicopter if the boat has one) will be doing all they can to keep the fish contained inside the area where we are setting the net around them. We need to get the net run around the whole school and then haul in the bottom of the net to close it before the fish get wise to the game and swim underneath it.

It’s such a great feeling. It gets really intense. Your adrenaline starts pumping, your concentration goes up. The challenge, the anticipation, the not-knowing, the feeling that you’re doing everything you can but it might all be for nothing. It can hook you along with the fish you’re trying to catch. I do love it! :-)

Then it takes a couple of hours to haul in the net. We never really know what we’ve caught in there until we pull it up close enough to the boat to start ‘brailing’ it out. Usually, if we’re lucky it’s full of nice big amberjack tuna. And yes, they broil in the net! It’s always a thrill to count over 10 scoops (each one holds between 3-5 tons of fish). Lots of times it’s empty, the fish got away.

This is what a net full looks like when we’re brailing them out. If I remember right, this was a pretty good catch. :-)


Just to clarify, the skiff boat is the one in the last photo holding open the net so we can brail it out. The speed boat is the little yellow one in the 3rd and 5th photo. The net boat is the one towards the bottom of the 5th photo, we use it to help hold the net open which makes it easier to haul it in.


Drills Today

Wondering if we’ll have fire and boat drills today?
Is it worth trying to go to sleep? Or would it be better to try to stay awake so that you can get some good rest after it’s all over?

Weekly (at minimum) drills are a necessity on most vessels, but boy do they get old fast.

It’s already so hard to get enough sleep out here and then we have to do these drills every week (as well as safety meetings). It’s really amazing but almost every time, we’ll have at least 1 person who doesn’t know where their muster station is, how to get there, or what they’re supposed to do when they do get there.

It’s not like that on ships that have a crew full of professional mariners. They are trained and will almost always do the right thing, even go and check out their gear when they come aboard.

On vessels that have ‘crew’ other than mariners (construction, cruise, fishing, drilling, etc), most of these people are NOT mariners and don’t come from a seafaring background. Even though the STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) mandates that every mariner has to take a basic safety course before going offshore, I’ve noticed that all these other people do NOT have to take that course (or others).

THEY are the people who actually NEED that course (at a bare minimum), but of course the IMO and others who make the rules really have NO idea what they are doing when they come up with this stuff.

I’m falling asleep whether I want to or not. Here’s hoping the drills go fast today.