Tanked!

mobile barge available for training purposes

Whew! I’m glad that’s over! I’m tanked! I’ve spent the last week teaching tankerman up at San Jacinto Maritime in La Porte. And a few days studying hard myself so that I could teach it (I haven’t worked on a tankship since 2002).

San Jacinto is about an hour and a half drive for me. I’ve been getting up at 0430 in the morning. Trying to get out of the house by 0530, so I can be sure to arrive by the time class starts at 0730.

I am NOT a morning person!

Getting by on less than 4 hours of sleep per night is not good for me (or anybody else).

So. I’m glad it’s over. I know there are lots of people who drive like that or even more every day for years. I don’t know how they manage and I’m SO thankful that I’ve never had to do it myself (until now).

The class went well and all my students passed with flying colors. I actually think I studied more than they did. 😉 They all got their course certificates they can turn in to the Coast Guard with their sea time letters. Hopefully, they will be able to get the promotions they were after.

SanJac doesn’t have me scheduled for any more classes (at the moment- that could change at any time). Maersk didn’t have anything last month at all. We’re waiting to see the schedule for July and hoping for at least 1-2 courses there. I still have no word of any real work coming up. It looks like I’ll have a chance to catch up on my sleep next week.

I should be able to post more often too. 🙂

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Court

Hey! I’m really glad so many of you responded to my post yesterday about going to court in support of raw milk and ‘food freedom’ in general. It’s great to know that people really do care about some of these issues and I’m not just beating my head against the wall. I’ll have to update this again later. Today’s court session was not exactly clear to me as to what was going on. 😦

It looked to me like the entire courtroom was packed with raw milk supporters. We all had little white stickers on our shirts to show our support.

A few minutes after the appointed time, they called out names. People were coming a going up to the front of the room where the ‘official people’ sat around behind desks and computers (the judge was not in the courtroom yet).

I didn’t know the name of the person charged or exactly what the charges were. Sorry to say, I still don’t. I did see the lady and the gist of what I heard of the charges against her was: ‘unsanitary conditions’ and something to do with not being ‘licensed’ as a food business.

OK. Here’s the story. Her friends asked her to go to a licensed dairy farm and pick up some milk for them. They gave her money to pay for it. As far as I could tell, they did not pay her anything for going to get it. So I’m still very confused as to what she did that was actually illegal or what possible reason could there be for making anything she did illegal?

It is legal to buy raw milk in Texas.

At this point, all I can say is that the lawyers seemed to think they got a good result today. There was a LOT of local support for the whole raw milk thing. People whole heartedly support the idea of “food freedom” and their rights to choose what they want to be able to eat, drink, grow, smoke, buy, sell, etc.

I’ll report more on this later. I’ve been promised more information from people who are more involved in this than I am. In the meantime, check out the links towards the end of yesterdays post.

I’ve got to get up early tomorrow to repeat my HUET course (again- for about the 5th time). It doesn’t actually expire, but almost all companies insist on repeating it every 3-4 years anyway. Are they really expecting their helicopters to crash that often? What is it that they think we forget in the class that we must repeat it so often? Is it really that hard to remember to open the window and climb out of the thing?????

I really, really wish the people who insist on forcing all this ‘training’ on us would get their shit together and figure out one acceptable class for all this crap! Instead, each company insists you take their class (which is pretty much exactly like the other guys class).

Companies that work in Europe don’t accept USA typical courses, nor do they have a ‘gap closing’ course, so if you want to be eligible to work anywhere outside of the USA, you are forced to pay again, for the exact same ‘training’ you’ve already paid for except for a grand total of 1 hour of something different.

I’m too tired tonight to get into it. I had a long day of running around Houston. I’ll write it up tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll still be ticked off enough to explain. 😉

Art, Architecture & Antiques in Galveston

My friend D called the other day and invited me on a trip up to Galveston for the day. We decided to leave around 1000 so we wouldn’t get there ‘too early’ or stay ‘too late’. Our friend B, the artist, wanted to check out a place she had heard about to show some of her art.

I was all for that. I have been working on some arty stuff myself lately. I found a couple of places to show some of my work a couple of months ago. I was curious to see if there had been any interest (at all) in my work.

It was a beautiful sunny day, not too hot yet when we left. We got stuck in some of the cruise ship traffic on the way in, but found our regular parking place near the Strand (only $10/day). There are a lot of interesting shops in that area of town so we checked out a few.

Lots of really touristy stuff right on the Strand, but wander off it a little and there are more small businesses with local people trying some cool projects. One of those is the place I have some of my paintings and photos- From the Heart Gallery. They show all different kinds of work from at least 20 different artists. They also play good music and have classes for kids. 🙂

While we were there, S told us about a new place -Metamorphosis- just opened across the street. We wandered over to take a look and had a nice conversation with Liz who is really excited about getting her shop up and running. Looks like both B and I will have another place to work with. 🙂

We were getting hungry and since we were right there, we decided to give the Star Drug Store a try. They had a really interesting window display with all the old ads, pills, and elixirs from way back when. It claims to be the oldest drug store in Texas. It feels like an old fashioned soda fountain inside. Looking over their menus, I can see why it’s so popular.

We showed up right at the end of lunch hour, but it was still packed. We sat at the bar since there were no open tables. D had already ordered and B wasn’t hungry. I ordered a cheeseburger (my favorite meal) with a chocolate float. 🙂 The cheeseburger would have been 10 times better if they had grilled the bun. Considering how long it took to get it, I didn’t want to ask them to take it back. I ate most of it anyway. 🙂

Their ice cream sundays, floats and cakes really got my stomach growling, but since I already had a chocolate shake I passed on dessert. Diets suck!

I love this sign!

After fortifying ourselves, we started making our way over to the place B wanted to see, on Broadway and 22nd St. D and me were taking pictures of everything. I especially like all the really cool architecture. Lots of different building styles, from classical to island bungalow.

Along the way, we stopped in to check out a few art and antique shops. Lots of really neat stuff! If I was rich…

But I’m broke. So. I had to adhere to my budget and not buy anything but ice cream. 🙂

B bought a cute little statue of a meerkat. D bought a couple of small mementos in one of the antique shops. My taste is too expensive, I would have bought a beautiful ruby ring (if I had still been working).

I think we were all kind of disappointed in how quiet it was. It just seemed dead. I know a lot of people haven’t returned to Galveston after the devastation of hurricane Ike, but it’s been almost 10 years now. I would’ve thought more people would have shown up by now. For a beautiful summer Sunday afternoon, the whole place seemed deserted.

these plaques all around the Strand refer to the 1900 Great Storm- not Ike

We’re planning to go back up there in a week or so. I need to change out some of my art at the From the Heart Gallery and maybe I’ll be able to put some across the street at Metamorphosis too. B is hoping to get a shot at making a sign for them too. 🙂

I was really hoping to hear some good news, that something of mine had sold. But nothing yet. The area around the Strand is becoming known as an arty kind of place. They have ‘art walks’ every 6 weeks. Those can bring in some crowds. We are going to try to make the next one.

T is for Travel- #AtoZChallenge

T” is for traveling. One of my all time favorite things! I love a good book, but I love it even more when I’m reading it in some new place, somewhere I’ve never been.

My last trip was a big one. I knew I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere for a while. I pretty much accept now that I won’t be able to go back to work for months, if not years. Until I start ‘earning a living’ again and have more than enough to just barely pay the bills by using up my savings, I won’t be going anywhere.

I did go to the big Travel Show in Dallas a couple of weeks ago. That was just to see what’s on the RADAR. Exploring what I can work on for my new travel writing and photography career.

I took a detour on the way home, stopped in Ennis and did the Bluebonnet Trail. The flowers were beautiful. Fields full of bluebonnets, indian paintbrush and other spring blooms.

I will be going to the TBEX in Huntsville AL next month. I’m really looking forward to that. I hope to make some contacts and improve my blogging. 🙂

In the meantime, here are some of my favorite travel quotes. I hope they inspire you, like they do me. Enjoy. 🙂

     

G is for Galveston- #AtoZChallenge

G” is for Galveston. It’s the closest city of any size to me. I consider the Houston/Galveston/Freeport area my stomping grounds now a days.

When I first moved to Texas (almost 40 years ago), I used to really enjoy just wandering around. I moved here to go to college, so I had a bunch of friends I met in class to hang out with. We were all in the Ocean Marine Technology program (except a couple of outlier art students). So we all had an interest in boats.

We used to go up to Galveston all the time. For SCUBA class, for RADAR class, to the US Coast Guard office there. We always used to enjoy trying out new bars and restaurants on the way home.

I don’t get around anywhere near as much as I used to. Last time I went up to Galveston was with those 2 old artist friends from school. 🙂 We wanted to check out the art galleries and take a look around the Strand.

We found a couple of really neat artists, had a nice lunch, checked out all the interesting shops on the Strand, and avoided spending a fortune on some of the really cool nautical ‘junk’ I saw (or even more beautiful art- of which I already have a house full of).

Funny, but with all the changes around here, Galveston and especially the Strand still seems pretty much the same as it was when I first saw it.

Dallas Travel Show

Well it wasn’t quite what I expected, but it was interesting. The show was held in the Dallas Market Hall. The place was full of booths promoting travel and adventure all over the world. Also, for some reason, there were a few outliers offering home improvements: gutter systems, windows, roofing, etc and beauty systems.

The place was packed with all kinds of people looking for information on places to go, things to do, how to get there and where to stay when they did.

I talked to quite a few people yesterday (and will see more today). I was a little surprised by the huge differences in prices for pretty much the same thing. Transportation and a place to sleep at night.

I think one reason for the higher prices was a more individualized trip. I talked to a few different outfits that specialized in catering to your specific interests. Others that were all about ‘improvement’ in some way.

Like the trip I just took to Tanzania, they would have experts along to guide you and help you with your photography. There was a company at the show called “Art Treks” that would show you around Italy, Ireland or Croatia and help you better your skills at painting and/or photography. It sounds like a fantastic trip, but out of my price range at the moment. 😦

Another, more affordable option, still concentrating on the idea of ‘improvement’ is “Wander Themes“. Their theme is “go places, tell stories”. Sounds good to me! They have programs in Colombia, Panama, Mexico and Costa Rica but it looks like they have other options. According to their brochure, they “provide student travelers and their teachers with custom designed, impactful opportunities to enhance their academic programs…”.

I wouldn’t mind going on a trip with either of those companies (or any of the others I talked to yesterday). I only hope I’ll be able to get back to work soon, so I can afford to start traveling again!

Heading to Dallas

I’ll be getting up early in the morning to drive to Dallas. I’ll be going to the big Travel Show at the Dallas Market Hall.

I’m looking forward to it. I’ve only been to Dallas once in all the years I’ve lived in Texas. My old room mate took me up there once to pick up some dogs or furniture or something. Almost 40 years ago, it’s hard to remember much about the trip.

This should be a pretty big show and lots of interesting things to learn about. I’m going to spend the weekend poking around. I doubt I’ll get to see much of Dallas. Does anybody have any “must see” recommendations for me?

I’ll be driving straight up I-45 to get there, but I can take my time coming home. I might wander around some, on the lookout for the bluebonnets. I haven’t seen any around here, but the Paintbrush is out all up and down the Bluewater Highway between Surfside and Galveston.

I went up to Galveston a couple of times in the last week. I didn’t really have time to stop for photos and only had my iPod with me (which takes crummy pictures). Maybe they’ll still be blooming next week. I’ve only got 1 day of work scheduled so far.

Daily Walk

Guess what I saw on my daily walk?

I’ve been having a real hard time getting motivated to do much of anything lately. About all I have been able to do is to stick with my daily walks.

I started to walk every day when I was living in Austin. I was going to school at UT (chemical engineering) and I started on the Nutrisystem program. I figured since I had a fairly regular schedule for once, I could try it out and see if it would work for me. It did. I did pretty good sticking to their packaged food and actually managed to lose 40 lbs over the 8 months I was able to follow their rules.

As long as I was on a regular schedule and living on the beach full time, it did work. I started walking every day. It was a nice break from my stressful studies, and it got me outside to pay attention to what was going on in the neighborhood.

That was back around 1998. I gained back all the weight I lost (about 40 lbs) in my first hitch back offshore (no more packaged food), but I’ve kept up the daily walks. I still enjoy them for the same reasons I did back then.

I see all kinds of interesting things around the neighborhood. Not just who’s moving in or out, what the kids are up to, who’s into gardening or pets, but the natural world. Yes, even in the middle of town I still see nature all around.

There’s a ditch down my street. It has different wildflowers all the time. I see frogs, toads, tadpoles, and raccoon tracks. Sometimes I see the actual critters: raccoons, possums, squirrels and armadillos. 🙂

There’s another ditch further up the block, a big turtle lives there, but it hides a lot. I see lots of different birds (I’m not a birder so can only identify a few). This is what I saw today.

I wish I could have gotten a better picture, but this is the best I could do. I think it’s a yellow-crowned night heron. It has a few babies in that nest, but I’m not sure how many (2+ for sure). I called the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory since I’d just read an article about how they had a program where they were into banding local birds. They pretty much confirmed my ID over the phone tho they didn’t seem interested in coming out to band the birds. They apparently just do that at their facility. It sounds like it might be interesting to go check it out one day.

I also saw (and heard) this guy. He was way up high and so hard to see exactly what kind of bird he was, except he was for sure some kind of woodpecker with a red head. I think it might be a red-bellied woodpecker.

I like to try and keep up with what’s going on around me. I prefer keeping up with this kind of stuff, instead of what’s on TV. Seems that kind of news is unavoidable, no matter how much I try. 😦

Happy World Sea Turtle Day! 

Today is World Sea Turtle Day. Somehow I didn’t know anything about that until I got an email early this morning from Earthwatch (thanks).

Maybe if I had known, we could have had a real party here. 😉

I was lucky enough to get a chance to see the Houston Zoo release a bunch of sea turtles on the beach at Galveston a couple of weeks ago. That was so cool to see. It was nice to see that so many people took the time and effort to take care of those turtles and nurse them back to health.

It was also great to see so many regular people turn out to see them released. It was frustrating as hell, trying to get a decent photo, but encouraging that so many people cared enough to make a special effort to be there in person (even with such crappy weather).

We’ve been lucky so far this year in Texas. Updated stats say we’ve found 173 Kemp’s Ridley nests (plus 2 Loggerhead’s). We’ve even found 4 right here locally (3 at Surfside and 1 at Quintana)!

Remember: If you see a sea turtle, tracks or hatchlings on the beach immediately call 1-866-TURTLE-5 (1-866-877-8535).

Source: Happy World Sea Turtle Day! [VIDEO]

See Sea Turtles on Thursday

I just got this email from the Houston Zoo (I’m a member). They’ve been helping to save sea turtles with other organizations around the world. This Thursday (May 26th), they’re turning some loose on the beach in Galveston. 🙂

If you’re anywhere around the area, it would be a real treat to come out and watch. Here’s the announcement I got…

Watch Sea Turtles Return to Wild 

Thanks to a rewarding partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), nine injured sea turtles have been rehabilitated and are ready to be returned to the wild. The release will take place Thursday, May 26 promptly at 2:00 p.m. at Stewart Beach Park, 201 Seawall Blvd. The public is invited to come out and witness this exciting release.
 I’m going to put it on my calendar and take another drive up to Galveston. That is, IF the weather is better than the last time I was up there! 😉
I went to see the turtles when I was in Nicaragua too, but it was too dark to see much. I hope the weather holds and I can really see them this time.

A Word A Week: Arid

I saw this challenge from Sue over at her ‘A Word in Your Ear’ blog. The word of the week is: arid. I don’t have many photos that would fit this weeks word, since I spend most of my time at sea. But I did happen to have a couple on my computer.

I took these last summer, we hadn’t had any rain for a while and everything was drying up. I was on the way back home from Galveston. I always like to drive the beach road, especially when I’m not in a hurry. It’s a nice drive, right along the beach with some pretty scenery and some good places to stop and enjoy the day. 🙂

Photography 101: Rodeo Moments

I haven’t been able to get out to get many new pictures lately, so I’m looking through some old ones for the Photography 101 Challenge: Moment.

The idea is to ‘”capture a fleeting moment and experiment with blur and movement”.

I did try this last time they ran this challenge, but I found some different pictures this time. I took these at the Brazoria County Fair a couple of years ago. I don’t think these turned out as good as the earlier ones I just posted. It was SO hard to get a good shot of the cowboys once they came out of the gate on those bulls!

I’m thinking of going to the Houston Rodeo tomorrow tho, so maybe I’ll be able to get some better ones this time. I really love going to the rodeo. I’m lucky to be home for this one. I’m in Houston tonight anyway, so might as well do something here in the morning before I go home. It’ll be either the rodeo or the zoo. 🙂

Watch: Flowers Bloom

Spring is coming! I’m looking forward to seeing the flowers in bloom while I’m at home this time. My garden is not the greatest, I don’t have many flowers (except on the weeds). I can’t really take care of it when I’m gone so much. But I do enjoy messing around out there in the yard, especially this time of year when the weather can be just gorgeous. 🙂

Here’re a few (googled) pictures of what Texas looks like in the Spring. People like to go leaf-peeping up north in the Fall. We like to go checking out the bluebonnets in the Spring down here. 🙂

Thanks to Ladybird Johnson for her efforts to promote Texas wildflowers. We’re all able to enjoy the beautiful scenery even more now. 🙂

I might be fired from my job because of the low price of oil, but at least the gas is cheap enough again now to go drive around looking for the best show in the fields. Maybe bring a couple of friends and have a picnic. It’s a great way to spend the day.

Silhouette: While Sailing

 

Here\s another one to illustrate the Weekly Photo Challenge from the Daily Post. This week the subject is “silhouette”.

I took the photo a while ago when I was out sailing Galveston Bay with the Sail-La-Vie meetup group. We were coming in to Kemah after a great day out in the bay and everyone was relaxed and just chillin’ out.

I really liked how this photo turned out. 🙂

Getting Moody

I’ve only been home a few days so far. I’ve been really busy trying to catch up with everything that’s been needing to get done while I was at work over the last few weeks. Especially my TAXES (UGH)!! 😦

I decided I needed a break. I got free tickets to “SHARKS After Hours” at Moody Gardens. I’m going. 🙂

Moody Gardens is in Galveston and the show is from 7-10 pm. I know I’m not going to feel like driving all the way home at that hour, so I got a hotel for the night. I figure I can hang out for a while before I head home and then stop and see my friends at Surfside on the way home.

I hope to get some more decent pictures while I’m up there, (these are from last time I went).

Moody Gardens has a bunch of cool stuff to see. They have a ‘rain forest pyramid’, an ‘aquarium pyramid’, another one that has special exhibits (last time I went it was about pirates), a water park with nice white sandy beach, zip lines, a paddle boat, etc.

I don’t have any kids but apparently it’s a great place to take them. I always see lots of families. They all look like they’re having a good time. 🙂

green sea anemone

green sea anemone

underbelly of a sea star

underbelly of a sea star

sea dragon

sea dragon

pot bellied sea horse

pot bellied sea horse

puffer fish

puffer fish

sea turtle

sea turtle

chameleon

chameleon

penguins

penguins

orchids DSC04855

Capt Jills Journey into History: Houston Maritime Museum

It’s already time to go back to work. It seems like I just got off!

Yes, I did have a couple of weeks at home. Tomorrow would have been 3 weeks. WOW! It sure flew by. 🙂

I have been pretty busy this time home. I went up to Houston a couple of times. I went to the Houston Rodeo (yeehaw!). Only my 2nd time in all the years I’ve been here. It was fun, I watched the barrel racing and the mutton busting. I tried the fried Snickers ice cream sundae (yummy). Took TONS of pictures. 🙂

I was hoping to meet a friend who was volunteering at the Wine Garden. I did actually meet her, but she was pretty busy by that time and I was on my way out. I was on the way to a meeting with the Sail La Vie sailing club I belong to (check out my post on last Saturdays sail).

That was an interesting meeting. 😉

I spent the night up there in Houston. I had planned to go to the zoo in the morning since the weather looked nice. Apparently everybody else in town had the same idea. I couldn’t get into a parking lot anywhere within a half mile.

I decided to try something else instead. I decided to check out the Houston Maritime Museum. It was actually pretty close to where I spent the night and the Zoo but I drove around for a while looking for it.

I finally found it and was glad I did. Of course, yes, I am always interested in a good maritime museum. 😉

This one didn’t look like much from outside, or even when you first walked in. But the more you wandered around, the more it opened up. There was something interesting to see around every corner.

The Houston Maritime Museum was founded by James L. Manzolillo (merchant mariner and cruise ship lecturer), and opened to the public in 2000. Since then, it’s worked to educate the public about maritime history and the continued importance of the maritime industry to Houston and the State of Texas.

I enjoyed exploring rooms full of models recreating everything from aircraft carriers (including tiny little airplanes on deck) to Liberty ships to semi submersible drilling rigs to the USS Constitution and famous ships of the age of exploration.

The museum counts Master Modeler and restoration expert Lorena Alvarez as a valued member of the team. Her expertise shows! The time and effort that goes into building even one of those models is just unbelievable and they had dozens of models!

They had an excellent collection of navigation equipment: sextants, astrolabes, starfinders, compasses, barometers and barographs, etc.

They had a nice display of ships (and other things) in bottles. I still don’t really know how they get all that done, but it looks like a good project to work on if you don’t have a blog or another hobby to keep you busy at sea. 🙂

They had a mock up of a ships conning station with the ships wheel, compass and engine order telegraph.

They had a room covering war ships and it had a pretty good exhibit on how the merchant marine functioned during war time. Convoys and Liberty ships, sinkings, explosions and other disasters, navy escorts, etc.

They had a room with memorabilia from the old cargo liners and another display of things relating to the passenger liners “Titanic”, “Olympic”, “Britannia” and the SS United States (still one of the fastest ships ever!).

They had a room to tell the history of the Port of Houston. It did a pretty good job of explaining how important the Port was and still is to Houston. How the founders built up Buffalo Bayou and brought cotton and sugar to/from Allens Landing and all up and down the Bayou. Those old photos were really fascinating!

There was another room full of really interesting stuff from the oilfield. There was a painting and write up on Howard Hughes’ (spy ship) Glomar Explorer. There were models of drillships, floating production facilities and semi submersibles. There was a nice little section on whaling (not much of that going on in Houston). 😉

They even had a room just for the kids to learn about maritime stuff. The day I was there, it was still a work in progress. They had costumes for the kids to dress up in and have fun pretending to be ships captains, pirates, mermaids, engineers, etc. 🙂

One of the staff was working on installing a cushion for the floor in the kids room and I started talking to her about the museum. Turns out she was the Director of Operations so I got a really good person to talk to and answer all of my questions.

My biggest one was: why in the world was the Maritime Museum located in such an out of the way place and not nearer to the Ship Channel where people would expect it to be? Turns out, they are in the process of building a new place right over there and it will be opening in 2014 for the 100th Anniversary of the opening of the Houston Ship Channel.

That will be a good move for the Museum, for the Port of Houston and for the general public. It should be easier to find and they will have a partnership with the M/V Sam Houston (which gives free tours of the ship channel), that should help both parties.

That tour is a very interesting thing to do too, especially if the weather is nice. Free boat ride! Woot Woot!!

It really is amazing all the things that go on in our own backyards and most people have no idea. The maritime industry is one of those things that I think more people would be interested in if they only knew about it. I think the Houston Maritime Museum will be a good place to go to learn more about it and I hope more people will take advantage of the opportunity. 🙂

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Sail La Vie

I went out sailing this Saturday with the Sail La Vie meetup group (FINALLY!!). It’s been way too long since I’ve been out sailing. I always have a good time with them and this trip was no exception.

My only issue with them is that they are up in the Houston area. They usually sail out of Kemah and it is so far away, I have to get up around 0800 (on a WEEKEND) to get everything done and drive all the way up there. 😦

I did my usual morning rush around to get out of the house before I’m too late to make the departure time. They don’t leave until noon, but they ask people to be there by 1130 to get settled and then go over the safety briefing.

I had to stop for some snacks. I got some honey BBQ chicken, cheese (smoked gouda and muenster), and some surprisingly good store made brownies. And beer (of course).

Everybody always brings so much good food, we never wind up eating it all. This time we had a full boat and we still had plenty of food, beer, wine, etc. People brought brie cheese and crackers to start with, sandwiches, calzones, chips, olives, etc.

We took the Paradise out for this trip. She’s a (1994) Hunter 42. There were 10 of us and I think she can take 12.

When we left the dock it was pretty dreary. We got out past our marina and the fog really started moving in. It was only about 1/2 to 3/4 mile visibility for a while. Some people were concerned about heading out into that. We passed quite a few boats already returning to their docks.

We continued on out, figuring that we could just go check it out and see if the fog would burn off as it warmed up. It did. Once we got out on the bay, the visibility got better. It turned into a BEAUTIFUL day for sailing. 🙂

The fog did come back for a bit later on and we got out the foghorn (hold your ears!!). Anyone who wanted to practice got plenty of time on the helm.

We did a few tacks around the bay, going nowhere in particular. We got up close to Bayport and took a look at one of the cruise ships at the dock. We talked for a while about setting up a cruise for the Sail La Vie club which I would love to be able to go on! 🙂

We headed back to our marina in time for the sunset. The Kemah Boardwalk was full of people and the docks at “Outriggers” were packed with boats.

We got everything secured at the dock by about 1830, then hung around “Paradise” for a while to BS and eat/drink the rest of our supplies while we tried to decide if we wanted to continue on.

There was some talk earlier about heading over to the Kemah Crawfish Festival, but I think most of us weren’t really up for that. We called to get a table at the ‘Swamp Shack” but they had a 1-2 hour wait and we weren’t sure if they reserved one for us or not (and nobody wanted to take a chance on possibly having to wait around so long).

A couple of people had to get on home since it was getting dark. I figured I had better just go on home too. I still had to drive over an hour to get home. I’m not too thrilled about driving at night anymore.

It’s a good thing I didn’t stay later. The fog came back on the drive home and it’s not one of my favorite things to deal with (65 mph speed limit on a 2 lane highway in thick fog).

I made it home OK and wishing I didn’t live so far from all the action! I’m already ready to go sailing again but I’m heading back to work soon and still don’t have any kind of regular schedule.

I just have to hope I’ll be home long enough next time to take another cruise with Sail La Vie (or at least make it to one of their great parties!). 😉

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These photos are a combo of this Saturdays sail and the last one I was on (Jan 26, 2013).

Surfside Beach St Patricks Day Parade

I stuck around as long as I could stand it. At least I got to see a lot of old friends and catch up on the news down at the beach. Too bad the weather just SUCKED!

I hate it when the rain gets all over my glasses and I can’t see!

People down there work and plan all year to make this event a success and the cold and rainy weather put a damper on it once more. 😦

I think only the regulars showed up down there to start with, and only the real die hards stuck around til the parade started.

I wound up leaving right before they started the parade. For some strange reason, I didn’t really feel like hanging around drinking all day (the bars were PACKED with people trying to dry off).

At least I got a few decent pictures. I got to try out my new Olympus Tough camera. It’s waterproof! 🙂

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Preview: Surfside St Patricks Day Parade

Sorry I haven’t had time to do a whole lot of posting here this week. I hope I can catch up some in the next few days.

I’ve been enjoying my time home and busy doing some fun stuff for a change. I went to the Houston Rodeo, the Houston Maritime Museum, the Sail La Vie meeting, the Campaign for Liberty meeting, and this morning I went to the St Patricks Day Parade at the beach.

I haven’t had time yet to get my pictures together, but here’s a preview. I’ll get them up tomorrow! 🙂

This Video Will Make You Want to Become a Houston Harbor Pilot

gCaptain Maritime & Offshore News | This Video Will Make You Want to Become a Houston Harbor Pilot.

 

I agree! It’s a good video, a good advertisement for the Houston Pilots.

I almost don’t even think about it any more; what a pilot does, what it takes to become one, what it’s like to be one, how much we depend on them.

I’ve sailed on dozens of ships when we’ve used pilots. I’ve been on the helm entering Cape Hinchinbrook going to Valdez, AK. I’ve been on the helm entering San Francisco Bay heading up to Benicia. I’ve been on the helm passing through New York Harbor. I’ve been on the helm transiting the Houston Ship Channel.

I’ve always admired the skill, experience and local knowledge the pilots have. They’re a fantastic aid to any ship passing through an unfamiliar port.

I’ve never really wanted to be a pilot myself, tho it is definitely a challenging job. I still like traveling and HOPE to be able to go somewhere interesting again one of these days. Pilots are experts on their port and they stay in one place.

It seems the pilots job is one most captains hope for one day but not me. 😉