The Daily Post: Pattern

For today’s prompt: pattern, this is what I came up with…

I see patterns everywhere. Natural and artificial, large and small, intricate and simple. The photo is from my last trip to Turkey. I was not able to buy any of the beautiful ceramics (or carpets) this time, but looking at the photos I took reminds me of the time the merchants took to explain the meanings of the patterns to me. I wish I had more time (and money) to spend with them. 🙂

My Wish

Sharing wishes with strangers makes a powerful emotional statement.

I agree. So for my contribution to the Daily Post’s photo challenge and discussion of the week, here is my photo and wish…

So many people argue that freedom is unworkable, impossible- but I think it’s really the thing that works best. It has been proven to be the best system for increasing the quality of life for the most people in every society that has tried it- (USA before we gave it away, Hong Kong, Singapore are just a couple of recent examples).

Like John Lennon sang, Imagine!

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need
PS- I took that gorgeous photo on a recent trip to Zanzibar, the scuba diving was fantastic!

Fishing: Istanbul

I saw this post come up in my Reader from the Daily Post, re: Fishing. I thought I should be able to come up with something. 😉

Here are a couple of photos from my recent trip to Turkey. The people around Istanbul love to go fishing all around the Bosphorus. I went one day to walk across the Galata Bridge, just to see what they were catching.

It was a beautiful day. I walked from my hotel near the Blue Mosque around Topkapi Palace and down to the waterfront. I watched the ferries come and go and the fishermen all along the quay. They were using bread as bait, and seemed to be doing pretty good.

I walked up to the bridge and crossed over on the lower level. It’s full of restaurants, famous for fish and seafood. I try to avoid seafood as much as possible, just because I’ve had to eat it day after day for months on end and never know when I might have to do that again. 😉

The waiters had no idea of my aversion, so they continued to call out. Trying to convince me to step up and try their specialty (looked like pretty much the same at all of them). I probably should have stopped to see what all the fuss was about. I’m sure a few must have wondered why I was hanging around if I didn’t like fish. I don’t like to eat them anymore, but I still do love to catch them (and I like to watch other people catch them too). 😉

On the way back, I crossed on the upper level. Between a gauntlet of fishermen casting their lines and masses of traffic- cars, trucks, busses, and pedestrians- crossing the bridge, it was an interesting experience. I was glad to get back down to land and away from the traffic.

I descended to a plaza, right next to the bridge. It was full of more fishermen lined up along the water and in between dozens of small barges, gaudily decorated in red and gold. All selling ‘belik-ekmek’ (fish sandwiches) and doing a brisk business.  Waiters dressed in ‘traditional’ Turkish costume, hustling with trays full of tiny cups full of coffee, tea and shalgam– the weird spicy sour drink thats specially for the fish.

I’m not sure what kind of fish they were catching (or selling), I didn’t actually eat any. Here’s a picture, does anybody know what kind they are?

Fishing: Zanzibar

I saw this post come up in my Reader from the Daily Post, re: Fishing. I thought I should be able to come up with something. 😉

Here are a couple of photos from my recent trip to Zanzibar. The fishing was fantastic there, even if they were using very old fashioned methods (hand lines and setting nets by hand).

However they managed, the results were fantastic!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Relax

Here’s my choice for the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Relax.

I took it my last night on Zanzibar, before I began the hectic process of returning to America and back to ‘real life’. Stress of airports and TSA BS pretty much negated the beautiful peaceful month I spent traveling overseas.

The Daily Post: Beach

I haven’t posted the last couple of days. I needed a break after finishing up the A to Z Challenge. I’m not used to posting every day and it was exhausting. It was fun and a great way to meet other bloggers, but I’m glad it’s over.

Today I’m back with a post for the Daily Post. The first one in a while I feel like I can respond to. I don’t really like what they’ve been doing lately with their ‘one word’ challenges. But I do know a lot about the beach. 😉

I’m from Florida. I spent a lot of time on the beach where I grew up, around Madeira Beach. It used to be so nice, quiet and peaceful. It was very relaxed and we were able to enjoy it pretty much every day.

I was never into sun bathing. As a redhead, I get sun burned easily, so I try to avoid just roasting myself. I liked to go swimming and snorkeling, shell hunting, observing the plants and animals, and just walking along the water. Friends would start up a game of frisbee, touch football, or volleyball. Sometimes we would have a BBQ with a bonfire.

I remember going out to Egmont Key, just outside Tampa Bay. We would head out in the Island Girl and raft up with a bunch of other sailors. We would spend the weekend out there, playing with our friends (all ages- from babies to oldsters). We had some really great times.

When I moved to Texas, I used to spend a lot of time on the beach at Surfside and Bryan Beach. My class would go down there to practice taking sights for our celestial navigation. We would go camp out for the weekends, have a bonfire where we’d cook out, sing songs, tell sea stories and play music.

I still like to go to Surfside. I love to go in the Winter when it’s quiet. I like to sit and watch the water, listen to the wind and the waves, watch the birds, look for shells, and just enjoy the peace away from everybody.

I travel a lot and there’s usually a beach involved at some point there too. In Thailand, it’s Phuket. In Indonesia (Bali), it’s Kuta. In Mexico, it’s Cancun, but I have to say Puerto Vallarta is hard to beat. 😉

Do you have a favorite beach? Which one? Why?

Dance: Bali

Here’s another post for the Daily Post’s Weekly Photography Challenge (Dance).

I took this photo a couple of years ago in Ubud. I was on vacation in Bali (Indonesia) and spent a couple of weeks checking out the beautiful island. The people are so friendly and the island itself is gorgeous. It’s small, so easy to get around. There are volcanoes to hike, whitewater rivers to raft, perfect waves for surfing, great wrecks for SCUBA diving, and the art scene is fantastic!

I was told that it’s part of their religion there on Bali to make something more beautiful every day. I saw that they really took that to heart. Their temples are amazing, and the people practice music and dance to perform in the temple ceremonies. They have entire villages where the people just make one type of art: stone cutters, woodcarvers, painters, silversmiths, batik, etc. You could spend months there finding something new every day. 🙂

Dance

Here’s a photo for the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Dance. 

I took this photo one Friday night at the Fiesta Mexicana in Old Puerto Vallarta.

I was down there for a month getting certified to teach English as a foreign language (TEFL). Every Friday night there were dance shows downtown by the beach. I never got there early enough to get a good seat, it was always packed at least a half hour before the show started. It was a real challenge to get any decent pictures.

This is one of my favorites. The show started with Spanish dances. 🙂

Travel

Here’s another favorite quote of mine for the Daily Post’s prompt. This is also another post for the Just Jot it January challenge.

I LOVE to travel! I do every time I get the chance. I’ve been traveling ever since I was born (tho I had no choice about that!).

Until I was about 6 years old, we lived in a camper on the back of my dads truck. He would take contract jobs all over the country. When he finished one and found something interesting he liked, he would pack us all up and off we’d go. We lived in Boston, Syracuse, Minneapolis, Lake Tahoe, Phoenix, Anaheim, and others I don’t remember.

We settled down in Florida when I started school, but I still got to go places thanks to my grandmother. She lived in New York, so we (my brother and me) would fly up there for the summer. My grandmother would take us to Niagara Falls or Montauk, or we would go to day camp for the summer. I remember going skiing in Aspen, Colorado, tennis camp near Ashville, North Carolina, touring around the Western National Parks.

I was really lucky and got to go to high school on a square-rigger and sail around the world. I decided on that trip I wanted to be a ship captain and sail around the world (and get paid for it)!

I’ve been working toward that goal ever since.

I’ve never felt so engaged, so alive, so in the moment as when I’m traveling (and/or sailing). It can be totally absorbing. I love to explore, even in my home town. I used to ride my bike up and down every street in town, just to see where they went. I did the same thing when I first got a car here in Texas (before gas got too expensive for joyriding).

You never know what you’ll find, who you’ll meet, what can happen. 🙂

I hate the thought of working in an office all day, doing work I’m really not interested in, for just barely enough money to pay the bills. That’s why I decided to go take the TEFL course in Mexico. At least I’ll be learning something new and useful, in a different place. Who knows what it might turn into, right!? Here’s a bonus quote and another one of my favorites…

I think it’s a real shame how many people all over the world are basically doing just that. I don’t know how to fix it, but I’m sure there’s GOT to be a better way! None of us are meant to just work our whole lives just so we can pay the bills!

A Ship in Harbour

The Daily Post came up with a prompt today, one I thought I could contribute something to the discussion with.

Do you have a favorite quote that you return to again and again? What is it, and why does it move you?

Actually, I have a few favorite quotes. It’s hard to choose just one. They all revolve around the same theme. FREEDOM to live life to the fullest. Here’s one…

I’m a sailor. I’ve spent my life on the water, so this one really does speak to me. It’s true too. Yep, that’s right. A ship is meant to be at sea. To sail away from all the tedious day to day bullshit on shore. To explore the unknown oceans. To do the job to the best of it’s ability. To see the world.

The crew works together as a team, with a common goal to focus on (the ship). They work hard and they play hard. Adventures at sea and in ports around the world. It’s about living life, taking each day at a time and being present in the moment. Aware of the ship, the sea and the sky, the weather and any changes. Alert to the birds, fish, whales, dolphins and all the other creatures of the sea. Doing your work every day that you know is only to help reach the goal.

Finish the voyage, prepare for the next. And off on another adventure. 🙂

And this is also an post for the Just Jot It January challenge.

Transitions:2

My response to the Daily Posts weekly photography challenge.

I took these at the Houston Museum of Natural Science a couple of weeks ago. A butterfly was just coming out of its cocoon. They have a beautiful butterfly center there. I thought it would fit this weeks theme of ‘transition’. 🙂

 

PS. Until I can figure out why this blog didn’t carry over to my new blog like it was SUPPOSED to, I’ll try to post here too (but it’s hard a lot of times even to post on the one site, so if you can- if you like this blog- please go to my new blog, it’s at http://www.captainjillsjourneys.com). THANKS!

 

Half And Half No. 3

The challenge from the Daily Post was Half and Half. I didn’t know what to post for that subject. Here’s a classic…

Glass half full, or half empty? 😉

Half And Half

The challenge from the Daily Post was Half and Half. I didn’t know what to post for that subject. I finally came up with these photos. They might not be politically correct, but I’ve never been known for being that!
I took these pictures a couple of years ago in Bangkok, Thailand. I really love Thailand. The people are so nice and friendly and there’s a really laid back atmosphere, even in the big cities. I usually stay a few days in Bangkok and then go off somewhere else. Maybe Phuket, or Chiang Mai.  I’d love to spend more time exploring more of Thailand. I haven’t really seen much of the country. I always do enjoy my time there.  I especially like the way they treat people there. They accept you as you are. There doesn’t seem to be the prejudice that there is in America. At least I don’t notice it as much.

I took these photos at the famous Calypso show. I had a great time. They really put on a great show. The performers (shown above) were all men (or transgender). I chose this for my post on half and half since these people are considered to be half men- half women, he-she’s, lady-boys.

I’ll come back later with a more standard shot. 😉

Symbol: Plimsoll Line

I decided to join in on the Daily Posts challenge: Symbol. I thought about the waterline one immediately. I think if you haven’t spent a lot of time around ships, you might not know what this one means, even if you see it around you all the time.

This symbol for the ships waterline is called the Plimsoll line, after Samuel Plimsoll. It’s also called the international load line since its function is to inform as to the maximum level a ship can be loaded safely. To put it simply, if it’s underwater, the ship is overloaded and therefore unsafe to sail!

If you look at a ship, you should see this symbol midships (about halfway between the bow and stern). All commercial ships should have this prominently marked on their hull. The ‘deck line’ marks where the main deck level is located. The ‘A’ and ‘B’ on either side of the circle refers to the ‘class society’. In this case the American Bureau of Shipping. It could say LR (Lloyds Register) or BV (Bureau Veritas) or otherwise classed. These are the people who actually figure out exactly where the marks should be placed.

The markings to the right of the circle refer to the type (fresh, brackish or salt) and temperature of the water the ship is floating in. The density of the water changes according to these variables and so the ship will float higher or lower in the water when she sails in different conditions. And so the ship can be loaded with more or less cargo.

The Plimsoll line has saved thousands of lives since Mr Plimsoll first started working to stop overloaded vessels from heading to sea (with subsequent losses of ships and sailors). Plimsoll fought hard to stop the ‘coffin ships’ from sailing and spent years trying to enact legislation to protect the people who worked at sea. Here’s a bit from A Cheer For Plimsoll written and sung by Fred Albert in 1876

So a cheer for Samuel Plimsoll and let your voices blend
In praise of one who surely has proved the sailors’ friend
Our tars upon the ocean he struggles to defend
Success to Samuel Plimsoll for he’s the sailors’ friend.

 

There was a time when greed and crime did cruelly prevail
and rotten ships were sent on trips to founder in the gale
When worthless cargoes well-insured would to the bottom go.
And sailors’ lives were sacrificed that men might wealthy grow.

 

For many a boat that scarce could float was sent to dar the wave
’til Plimsoll wrote his book of notes our seamen’s lives to save
His enemies then tried to prove that pictures false he drew
but with English pluck to his task he stuck, a task he deemed so true.

It wasn’t until the loss of the SS London in 1866, with the loss of over 200 lives, that Parliament started paying attention to Plimsolls’ simple solution. In 1876, the UK made the load line marking mandatory, but it took until 1930 for any international agreement to come about.

The Plimsoll line has made shipping much safer, at least for the ships that follow its direction. It’s a simple enough thing that anyone can take a look and see if the ship is overloaded or safe to sail. But it looks to me like greed (on the part of shippers) and fear for their jobs (on the part of the mariners) keeps overloaded and unsafe ships sailing the worlds oceans. I think from plenty of news items, (like this, this, and this, etc), that people around the world are still not taking advantage of this hard earned knowledge.

Snapshot

I thought I might do another post for the Daily Post’s prompt of the day. Today’s is called ‘Snapshot Stories‘ and here’s the challenge…

Open the first photo album you can find — real or virtual, your call — and stop at the first picture of yourself you see there . Tell us the story of that photo.

I don’t have many pictures of me. I don’t really like to have my picture taken. I just don’t feel like I look. I don’t like to be reminded of how I really do look. I feel bad about my weight and how I look. So, I usually avoid having my picture taken.

 

In the photo above, I was on a trip to Thailand and was spending a few days in Chang Mai. I took a day trip with a group of people to visit the Hill Tribes. I had my picture taken with some of the ‘Longnecks’ in their village. I think this was about the only picture of me for that whole trip. I spent 3-4 weeks over there that trip. Had a blast!

PS-the featured image is from the same day, later on, at another village.

Daily Prompt: Toy Story- Sea Snark

Daily Prompt:Toy Story– What was your favorite plaything as a child? Do you see any connection between your life now, and your favorite childhood toy?

I’m not sure if my sea snark qualifies as a toy but playing with it (sailing) was my favorite thing to do while I was growing up (other than reading).

I used to take my little sailboat our almost every day, usually after school. Sometimes, I would even sail it TO school 🙂

Made out of Styrofoam, it was indestructible. Unlike the Titanic, it was actually unsinkable 🙂 We DID test that quite regularly 😉

I had SO much fun with that little boat. 🙂 I would go by myself. I would take out my friends. My brother would run circles around me with his outboard powered dingy, but I didn’t care. I always loved just sailing. Letting the wind drive me where I wanted to go. It was so engaging, so peaceful, so enjoyable. I STILL love sailing and go out every chance I can.

As a kid, I never would have imagined that I would wind up ‘sailing’ for a living (that’s what we call shipping out- ‘sailing’). I was on track to be a doctor back then. My grandparents were both pharmacists. My fathers mother was one of the first female pharmacists in the state of NY 🙂 (I definitely take after her) 😉 I made straight A’s in school and I did love studying all my subjects in class, especially math and science.

What happened was: I got sick and tired of taking the same classes over and over again in school. For example, I had been taking algebra since at least 5th grade. I always made straight A’s. I just couldn’t see the point of taking it AGAIN in 9th grade.

So, I started skipping those classes that I’d already taken. I was still making good grades. I could still keep up with the work. After all, I HAD already taken those classes (more than once). I’ll never understand why parents put up with the school systems dumbing down their kids so much!

Eventually, my family got tired of hearing about my transgressions from the school district. My grandmother decided I needed to go to a boarding school, to keep me from skipping 😉 Well, I give her credit. She tried. She really did.

Along with my Aunt Helen, my grandmother and I went on a road trip from Freeport NY, up through Niagara Falls (loved the Maid of the Mist) into Canada. We came back down through the Detroit area (went to a concert there- grandma wore earplugs 🙂 ). Visited family friends near Chicago. Stopped at a dozen fancy schools before we made it back to NY.

I have to admit, I was a total BITCH the entire trip. I didn’t want to go to any fancy-schmantzy rich kid boarding school! I would never fit in. I liked my life the way it was. I loved my town where I grew up and I could spend my days hanging out with my friends on the beach. Sailing, swimming, fishing, even sometimes jumping off the bridge to let the current carry me out to the Gulf so I could swim back in 😉

Yeah, I was also hanging out at the amusement parlor and the pool halls, sometimes the bars 😉 I was drinking and other things I wasn’t supposed to be doing.

It was really a lucky stroke of fate what happened when my grandmother got me back to her place in Freeport. She was so fed up with me after that search for an acceptable school for both me and her, she took me to the library and threw the book at me. Literally! She told me that it was a book listing ALL the accredited schools in the country and if I could find one in there that I liked, I could go there.

The book landed on a table in front of me. Opened to a page with a picture of a square-rigged ship in full sail. I was hooked! I grabbed that book and started reading that thing like my life depended on it (turned out it really did in a way).

The book gave details: the Oceanics School (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1310&dat=19720827&id=nN1VAAAAIBAJ&sjid=5eADAAAAIBAJ&pg=6581,6541976). Based in New York City, the school would charter these large traditional sailing ships for months long cruises with their students aboard. The ship sailed around the world and the students learned to operate the ship. They held classes on navigation, seamanship, oceanography, cultural studies and languages of all the countries the ship visited.

I was so excited. I told my grandmother “that’s it!”. That’s the one I want to go to!! She was aghast!! She told me “no way”. “No way are you going to ruin your life with those damn boats like your father did!!” Up til he bought his dream boat, the “Island Girl”, my father was an engineer. A ‘respectable’ professional career man. My grandmother would never forgive the Island Girl for my fathers decision to quit the corporate world.

When I got home and told my dad about the Oceanics school, he was almost as happy about it as I was. He said “you’re going”, and “while we’re at it, we’ll send your brother too”! “You can’t skip school when you’re on a boat in the middle of the ocean” 😉 So, soon enough my brother and I were off to sail around the world. We had some absolutely fantastic adventures sailing the 3- masted schooner Ariadne from Athens to Martinique!

That trip changed my life. I returned without my brother to sail the Ariadne again from Martinique back across the Atlantic. I had some incredible experiences with some wonderful people. It DID change my life.

I will be forever grateful to the Gallaghers (especially Stephanie) who took a chance on me and then helped me SO much. Even after I graduated from the Oceanics, Stephanie was instrumental in getting me set up in the Ocean Marine Technology program in Texas that got me started on the way to earning my license.

Because of the chance to go to the Oceanics, I am STILL sailing. Almost 35 years later.  🙂 I recently upgraded to Master Any Gross Tons and can sail pretty much any ship on the ocean. I still love the traditional sailing ships best but there just aren’t enough of them around to make a living on. Too bad 😦

So, yeah, you could say my favorite plaything when I was young is still my favorite plaything now. 🙂

Here are a couple of great links. The first one is by Tim Harris of the ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl which he sailed on as a cadet with the Oceanics in the early 70s. The next one is of the same ship in a storm. The last is a link to the ship itself, in case you’re interested in sailing her 😉

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=iokDVlHybtE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_YWgRBmVtY

www.lehmkuhl.no

PS- the featured photo is one I took at the Maritime Day celebration in Galveston last month. The ship in the background is one of the ones I sailed as captain on (Ensco 8500 series). I started with the sea snarks and worked my way up to those!

PPS- I forgot to add that I posted this to Terri Webster Schrandt’s Leisure Link the other day. She has a cool blog, this is the first time I’ve seen the leisure link. I’ve seen these blog ‘parties’ before but still not sure I’ve got the hang of it. Check it out over there and join in. 🙂

All About Me

Todays prompt from the Daily Post is to write a post explaining “why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you”.

I chose to call my blog “Captain Jills Journeys” for a couple of reasons.

I wanted to write a travel blog, since I love to travel and I’ve gone to a lot of interesting places (and hope to go to a lot more). So I tried to come up with words relating to that. I picked the work ‘journey’ because it sounded good with my name (Jill). I was also remembering how I used to write in my journal every day for years as I sailed around on the school ships. Journey- journal… which one? I wanted it to be about more than writing, so- ‘journey’ it is! 😉

So why call it Captain Jills Journeys (rather than just Jills Journeys)? I’ve spent most of my life on the water and worked my way up the hawsepipe to earn a captains license (finally managed an unlimited masters license a few years ago). I figured I would wind up blogging about boats and working on the water along with the travel. After all, one of the main reasons I started working at sea was the opportunity to see the world (and get paid for it!).

I also liked the alliteration and the sounds of the J’s together. It makes a short sentence and sounds cool. 🙂

I added on the tag line “she sails the seven seas in search of FREEDOM” to explain more fully what my blog (and me) are all about. My passions flow together in that sentence. I love to sail. I love to travel. And I am very intensely concerned with the issue of freedom.

Liberty and justice for all. Human rights. Individual liberty. However you want to say it. I very fervently believe that every person deserves to live the best life possible, that they should be able to chose to live the way they think is best for themselves. I do not think people should have to bow down to ANYONE.

We should all be equal under the law and any and all governments should obey the principles the US government was founded on (and no longer has any respect for). To PROTECT the “god-given” (or NATURAL) rights of the people. I just do not understand why so many people seem to feel that others have some sort of right to rule over them. I just don’t get it.

I am looking for some place in this world I can live free. I hope one day to find a place to settle down with other like minded people. A place where everyone is content to just “live and let live”. Most people think that’s some kind of fantasy, that it could never happen. So they won’t even TRY. I will at least keep on trying.

Dear Leader

If your government (local or national) accomplishes one thing this year, what would you like that to be?

That is the topic of the day from the Daily Post.

Oh boy, that is a good one for me! I had to think about it for awhile since there are SO many things I would like the government to do, or really NOT to do.

Here are just a few of the things I would LOVE to see them do: end the drug war, repeal the (misnamed) Patriot act, repeal the NDAA, abolish the TSA, abolish the NSA, bring our military back to the states and stop using them to interfere with other sovereign nations, stop the government from giving special favors Continue reading

Mural- Dixie Friend Gay

I made an earlier post about this mural. I just LOVE it and all of her work that I’ve seen. I thought it was another good one for the Daily Post’s Photo Challenge “Intricate”.

My photo doesn’t do it justice. This mural is just STUNNING. I took this a couple of years ago when I was at the Maritime Education and Training conference at Texas A&M University in Galveston (Texas). There is more to it than just the part I could get in this picture. It’s HUGE.

It’s actually a mosaic, made of millions of little ceramic tiles. The artist Dixie Friend Gay made it. I’m not sure how long it took. There’s a better picture of how it all looks in this link. And another one to more about her art.

I think her mosaics are just incredible. I wonder that her work isn’t more well known. I think it deserves to be. What do you think?

Intricate

Here’s a picture for the Daily Posts’ Photo Challenge.

Balinese dances are very intricate. If you’ve never seen one, you ought to check it out. They’re really acting out a story in the dance. Every little movement means something, even the way they move their eyes, or their little fingers.

The stories are sometimes pretty involved, but even tho I had no idea of any of it beforehand, I could gather the main idea. They really put on a fantastic show. I’m always fascinated (and wish I had a better seat for photographs).