Over the years I’ve gone to training courses I was offered including winter, desert and jungle survival. Some of them sucked worse than others. Also, over the years I became what is known today as “a Prepper”.
A Prepper is someone many people look down upon because they collect food, water, learn survival techniques, and “prepare” for a somewhat sketchy future in the “Not-Too-Distant-Future”. Whether they call it a Zombie Apocalypse, “The End of the World as We Know it” (teotwawki) or “The Stuff has Hit the Fan” (shtf) is not really relevant.
All preppers have some inner belief that something can go critically wrong in a moment of time which in turn will bring the end of Civilization.
The truth is, such a thing may never happen. Or it might and we may never know it happened.
For example, an errant asteroid might strike the Earth, without us first discovering it (or being informed of it’s presence). It could cause local damage or world wide damage. Surely it will cause world wide panic when or if it is discovered.
A smaller, local scale disaster might befall us. For instance in the United States we have “Yellowstone”, a wonderful Nation Park, which is known in the past to have been a very, very dangerous place more than once. At least four geological events have occurred there causing major destruction. Fortunately, the last one was about 640,000 years ago, long before humans are known to have roamed the Earth.
Yellowstone is past due for another event. It could literally destroy the United States as an entity. Ash and debris covering half the planet could bring about a massive temperature drop, causing a small “ice age”. It could gum up the works across the country or around the world. We just don’t know the extent of the damage that might be caused.
The human race might self-destruct and start a nuclear war, from which few of us would be insulated.
As a boat owner, extended cruiser and live-aboard, I have considered these things and tried to “prepare” for the worst. Before we lived on the ship, we lived in Colorado, in the midst of five US military installations within “nuclear blast range”. We figured if we were hit by the Russians, we’d have an extremely low chance of survival because we worked at separate installations with 40 statute miles between us. So my wife and I had set up our home as a survival place.
Even though we were pretty sure the house wouldn’t survive a multi-megaton blast on NORAD (in visual range of the house, where we lived on a hill, with nothing between us and NORAD) we hoped at least the basement would survive. We kept a pantry when the children were growing up, food for months and months. We installed a Hot Tub for fun and water supply. We set up shelving in the basement that could double as sleeping cots and had plans to put in “fall out insulation” (which would have been in the form of dirt in sand bags to help prevent radiation from penetrating to the basement level). We never finished that job of course and eventually sold the home.
Today, someone asked the question:
Any doomsday sea preppers out there? With the civilization seemingly inching closer to collapse, nuclear apocalypse and what have you, has anyone offered any thought as to how this will effect us sea people? Cruisers are inherently self sufficient, but we do in the end rely on mother earth and functioning societies to provide us with shelter, food, medicine, tools, parts, communication etc. This is a non political post btw, and feel free to delete if it doesn’t meet the groups standards. ⛵🌅
Now, me being me… I decided to respond and posted a couple of items. But then I checked and found no such group, at least not a public group I could see. There might be one, there might not, but there certainly is NOW.
I created the group called “Sailing and Cruising: Preppers” because there is a perceived need for such a group.
I added a few friends, and notified most of them of the addition, but interestingly enough, only a couple others have joined at this point, even after I posted the link. I expected with all the experts there, they would flock in. 🙂
In any case, IF you’re reading this now, and might be interested, and of course are on Facebook, the group is there now and you’re welcome to join.
See ya there!
Just a really quick update here.
I started the water pump and found the water was flowing from the front of the boat. It had to be coming from hoses going to the front head.
Our front head is… a closet. While it functions perfectly, it has a brand new Jabsco pump toilet and everything except MOST of the electricity works up there, the important stuff like water, toilet and bilge pump wiring functions.
This means I have removed a LOT of bulky items from the “closet”. Coats, my wet suit, canes (JoAnne and both have used them for walking in the past, and I keep them around “just in case”, lol. Three times breaking my right ankle taught me the hard way), there is a big bag of “dirt” used for the composting toilet sitting in there, some tools, and stacks of TP in the bags as well as paper towels, tarp and we store the unused heaters in there as well.
After I removed everything I crawled into the bathroom upside down and looked into the “undersink” area and immediately found the problem.
This is a Chinese built production vessel. The Chinese are pretty good at building things, stealing designs and making knock offs, and pretty good at plumbing. This boat is built with copper pipes, fore to aft plumbing the sinks and fresh water. Fortunately, it doesn’t get exposed to sea water. The water tanks are plumbed with plastic hoses, plastic connectors and various adapters connecting everything together. Some of it is haphazardly thrown together appearing as afterthoughts”.
The copper pipes going to the sink are held in place by a pressure fitting, with a rubber washer that presses the pipe into place as you tighten the nut. The apparent constant pounding on the front of the boat in the waves yesterday forced the pipe from it’s connection, which in turn released the pressure at the front of the boat, telling the pump to engage and it complied by forcing all the fresh water in the main tank out, into the under-sink area, down into the bilge, and the bilge pump simply did it’s job keeping sloshing water out of the bilge and outside the boat where it actually belongs.
The repair was simple. Remove the washer and nut and the metal washer, inspect everything, clean the connection and put it all back together, retorque the nut into place with the washer (I’d have put in a new one, but this was was not worn and appears to have been recently replaced since just before we bought the boat). The other side, I re-tightened. Turned on the pump and viola! Water pressure again. I really need to look at a foot pump though. haha Took about two hours of work removing things and repairs, and another week putting it all back together (all that stuff has to go somewhere!)
So, other than losing 60 gallons of fresh water through a failed plumbing connection and about 8 pounds of water from our bodies through other means best left undescribed, I’ll say we’re “none the worse for wear”. JoAnne is a bit dehydrated today which isn’t good for her. I’m “over” that for now, but am still constantly hungry dispite a half price burger and full priced pint of beer yesterday evening…. I’ll get some more food in me and look at the wiring up front.
We’re going to stay here at least once more week. Need to wait on our new credit card, I want to do some digging through things we have and see if we can’t eliminate a few things. Lighten the load so to speak.
We haven’t made a decision to stick with it, but we have been receiving a lot of encouragement from friends who’ve been through (and are actually going through now) similar issues.
I have learned that we’re both more “fair weather sailors” than we are old salts or hardcore-round-the-Horn people. I have ALWAYS known that the ocean demands respect, and I do. But, when it comes to rotten weather predictions by using the collected data I feel like I should have known better than to go out yesterday. JoAnne did. And I went back to bed for two hours, dozed off and awakened thinking I was going to “call it a day” before we went out.
But, I didn’t do that. I’ve ALWAYS trusted by instincts and the few times I didn’t turned out badly for me.
That kind of mistake, taken in small doses is usually just dumb. Downright dangerous though, when combined with the Sea, Weather and second guessing oneself.
Unlike the giant ships that disappear at sea, we came home.
No matter what we do from here on out, I’ll not venture down a coast in the wrong conditions again.
Fair Winds, Friends!
In 1962 a movie was made about Cape Fear. Saw it as a kid. Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen, Telly Savalas were in the movie. It was a thriller type movie. Criminal, murder, stuff like that.
Yesterday we could have starred in our own thriller movie. Or horror movie. Or just a documentary about puking.
We left the docks at 0900 on the way out the Cape Fear inlet. We were supposed to leave at 0700 and JoAnne listened to the NOAA weather, and said “Not going out in 9 foot seas” and she was right. Completely, totally right to trust her instincts on departure. After discussing it with Judy and Stephen for a few minutes, we all agree a couple more hours sleep might be prudent.
We pulled out on time, at 0900, and headed back to the inlet. Tide was just starting to come back in and we slogged a bit through it in places. Bentana had little trouble with a newly repowered boat, brand new engine. We, on the other hand couldn’t make more than about 4 knots maximum most of the time and that was pushing the engine. I almost turned back and said “Nope”. But I didn’t.
We got out to the channel and dodged a ship. He called me and asked if I’d be polite enough to step out side the markers for him, to which I replied that he could have the entire ocean should he desire it. We moved outside the channel in 40′ of water and his bow bulb was as big as my whole boat. After he passed, I called him and “thanked him for the slow pass” and I think I made his day, he laughed and said “Good travels”.
No more incidents for a bit. Then the shoals came into view. And the water turned into a rocking wash tub. I almost turned back…. but I didn’t.
We called Bentana who was now gaining ground and moving at a quick pace out to sea. Judy said that they were going past marker 6 I think it was and then turning to 180 degrees to catch the wind, get out to sea and then would tack back later. I followed her lead.
We didn’t make it to the mark she turned out at. We were taking a pounding by then and the wind was wrong, and so were the waves. Making a decision to stop taking a pounding, I checked depths, and objects in front of me and turned to 180, raised sail and steadied the boat considerably. I consulted with JoAnne about turning around. She said “I want to go to Charleston. We’re already out here.” She had a point. I could have turned around… but I didn’t.
We sailing relatively well at that point going up and down the waves, and not getting slammed now, things somewhat smoothed out. But JoAnne kept getting sick. At some point I had to go below to check on something. What it was, I don’t even remember now. That’s when I started getting sick. First time ever being “seasick”. When we took a steep wave and most of the ocean washed over the foredeck and back to the cockpit coaming, it was at that point I thought “We should turn back…”. But I didn’t.
I called Bentana to check in at 1230 as we’d planned. They were “doing ok” and we all exchanged encouraging words.
By 1300, JoAnne was doing all she could to keep from throwing up, and I wasn’t. It was my turn. I got so sick I threw up for five solid minutes. I think I nearly passed out from it. I had heart surgery last year in May. I still have pain in my ribs and back from where they cracked open my chest. All my ribs crack like knuckles. I think they all popped yesterday. It was right about that moment in time I realized just how stupid this was. I stopped and considered the situation carefully. We could go on and we didn’t know the sea state would settle for sure, or we could go back, reverse course back through the washing machine, tides, current and winds all from different directions, we could heave too (we were about 8 miles out perhaps by then) and hope things settled.
At that moment, I made the “prudent” decision to turn around. Finally. All DAY I had not listened to my inner voice telling me “Today is not the day!” Please note I called it a “Purdent Decision”. It truly wasn’t a prudent decision. It was a mistake to go out when I had thought it wasn’t a good day. And to be clear I DO know weather conditions pretty well, and I wasn’t sure I was comfortable, but we were tired of being here, ready to go, ready to roll, get going, go somewhere else. All the way around “prudence” was jumping up and down trying to be noticed and I was ignoring “her”.
I called Bentana and told JoAnne, Judy and Stephen at the same time we were headed back in. I can’t bear to see JoAnne sick like that, and if something had happened to me she’d have been helpless at that point to do anything about it other than call for evacuation. That wasn’t going to happen.
We rode the waves back in, partially under sail, trying to keep the winds right and give us some speed. We made 4-5 knots back in, until the channel, where the waves were crossing us, and hitting the side of the boat. Not that we had a LOT of choice in which way to go. Shoals were coming up and waves were big, ships were headed out, and winds were still only 20 knots maybe. Not enough to bother the boat. It was the wave action that was sucking bad.
We passed three more, outgoing ships, I gave them wide berth and even used their wash to get into smoother waters for a bit. That helped. I had long since stopped being sick. Nothing left. JoAnne was settling down too I think by then. I occupied her with helping watch for markers and ships. (Hard to miss a ship, though, you really want to miss them….)
We hit the junction of Cape Fear River out going current, the incoming tide, let a giant cargo ship pass, and a tug pulling a barge, and I made it to the ICW cut headed back in with little difficultly.
The engine was still running so that was a good thing.
After we docked with help from Norm from the Marina, who was kind enough to stay on the dock until we arrived, Jay from Knot Working and the folks from the power yacht Chrysalis, I discovered the water pump running down below. I killed the breaker assuming the worst. A bit later, I discovered all the water in our main tank was pumped out (probably to sea) and the pump was running for awhile I guess. I’m surprised it didn’t burn out.
This morning I heard Judy and Stephen got beat up pretty badly as well, Judy was also, apparently ill as well. They made it as far as Georgetown. Far short of Charleston. I believe they said (JoAnne reported) they are on anchor now and resting, well and safe.
I have work to do on the water tank. I’m going to extend our visit here at least a week. I have work to do on the ship, repairs to make and I’m going to have a little chat with a few local business establishments around here…. because I came back to a message about my credit card being compromised (AGAIN) and five transactions for 17-28 bucks occurred yesterday in Raleigh, a good distance from here… but there are three suspects who could have used my number (having all three taken my card out of my sight to take a payment, or getting the number some other way). The rest of the places I used it, the card was never out of my sight and they swiped it into a machine so they couldn’t have easily gained the information from the card). I’m NOT happy about that happening either and if I discover for a fact who did it, there’s going to be consequences. I HATE thieves and I won’t hesitate to take whatever action is required to prevent them from stealing again (legal or otherwise given the right circumstances).
Today, JoAnne gets to relax her back and rest, I’m tearing things apart, making coffee and preparing for the cold weather coming. We are discussing giving up and quitting, selling the boat, getting an RV, going back to Colorado defeated, going on down the ICW, or choosing better sailing days on the outside.
Stay tuned. We will let you know what’s next.
The front I’d hoped would be pushing Matthew along has become a part of the storm system now.
Matthew’s eye has buckled for the most part from what I can see of the satellite photos but still has over 100 mph winds along the coast. It is still moving northward along the coast.
I was all but certain it would have turned by now, and apparently so were weather forecasters at the NHC because I heard a bit ago “the Easterly hard right turn didn’t happen”. Ack.
I put our dodger and most of the enclosure back up yesterday to help keep rain out of the cockpit, off the instrumentation and off my head. IF I have to take it all down again, it won’t be as difficult this time. I’ve become practiced in the past few days. I did leave the head sail off though because it’s a pain to take up and down if there’s even a tiny breeze. It’s a light, but big sail (about a 130% sail) and it moves us along pretty quickly when it’s up, the wind is to our back or quarter and I let it all out.
Currently there are two hurricanes, Matthew which has been downgraded to a category 1 hurricane, and Nicole. Nicole has been meandering around with no clear path or direction yet. But at this moment in time it may follow Matthew into the Bahamas in the north. However, it is almost certain this won’t happen and Bermuda will get the brunt of that hurricane about next Wednesday or Thursday.
Charleston is suffering from heavy rain, major flooding in streets.
Strong winds from Matthew’s eyewall also slammed into downtown Savannah early Saturday, downing trees and sending street signs flying. As the sun began to rise over the 283-year-old city, floodwaters inched steadily higher. Police reported numerous downed trees and washed out roads. (USA Today)
Here’s the latest National Hurricane Center path prediction:
I still don’t see it doing a complete circle. Another front is moving through, look at the first map I posted and you can see it. It will push off tomorrow sometime, from the coast and the hurricane should beat feet to the right. As to curving south again, it’s already high enough into westerlies that I don’t think that is going to happen. Of course, that’s just me.
Finally, this is what Monday should look like:
When we made the name of this blog originally, it was “Winds of Change”. Then our first boat became Winds of Change. It’s a line from a Jimmy Buffet Song. And Winds of Time is another line from the same song.
This boat was supposed to be called Winds of Time. But she because Adventure. Her lines, and beauty spoke to us, and told us about the Adventures we’d have by calling up on her magic.
She has indeed turned out to be a magical Adventure ride for the past year.
Adventures, though, are rarely perfect examples of a perfect life, with perfect views, perfect weather, perfect mountain climbs or perfect ocean crossings. In fact, a true adventure is one that places the adventurer out there in the forefront of exposure to weather, wild savages, raging rivers, earthquakes or ocean storms.
And our Sailing Ketch Adventure has been nothing less for us. We’ve only lived aboard for a year, with a break because of a break. JoAnne broke her back, so we had to leave. When we returned, Adventure had “calmed down”. She took to sailing like a champ, and I remembered some techniques I had forgotten.
For the past few days we’ve watch a massive hurricane grow in the south Caribbean Sea and build up to a Cat 5, then back to a Cat 4. It started a meandering path northward and crossed the tip of a Colombian peninsula, the western tip of Haiti, passed with in 80 nm of Gitmo in Cuba (RIGHT where I said it would go, my exact words on Facebook was 90 nm East of Gitmo) and has proceeded to cross into the Bahamas and turn slightly towards Florida.
I have been using a combination of the Euro model and US weather forecast maps, along with a bit other data and a little bit of guestimation based on my years of storm chasing. This is like storm chasing on a giant scale though. It’s not as precise as I’d like to be, but so far it’s working. I started tracking and doing my own work on hurricanes a few years ago because I knew one day I’d be sailing a ship. I want to be SURE.
Now… I’m going to say something that might make people mad, so be warned.
The National Hurricane Center is great at what they do, but they’ve been WRONG since Katrina. Katrina was a terrible disaster. And they mispredicted it, didn’t warn people properly and later George W. Bush was “blamed” for the hurricane’s damages. Kind of stupid if the forecasters didn’t do it right. And rightly, people who SHOULD KNOW and didn’t give warnings shouldn’t be working in the NHC any more.
Today we watch as Matthe is being projected to turn east shortly and head south and east. Back to the Bahamas unfortunately, but, out to sea eventually.
Right now, if you take a close look you will see a front moving offshore. It’s been there all along, it’s been moving across the country all along. If they aren’t plugging that data in, they aren’t doing it right. I can’t say what they are doing with the data they are using or how they entered it. But I suspect the NHC isn’t using the right data at all.
Why has the EURO model been consistently right, and the NHC has been consistently wrong, and going to extremes to scare the public into being “prepared”? I mean, I agree they should warn the coast, they should tell people to prepare and that’s what FEMA is there to do.
But, honestly, they are scaring people across the US Coastline with hurricanes and then at the last minute they are turning off the shore and mostly missing. I don’t get it.
I spent yesterday removing all the canvas on the boat. People are screaming to have their boats removed from the water. Panic, chaos, confusion…. No need.
So today, and through the weekend I’ll watch more instead of preparing to head south and wait and see. Because the NHC has cried wolf so many times now.
Do I trust my own predictions? No, I’m an amateur, but at least my last dozen or so storms I’ve tracked have turned out exactly like I thought. Whether that is lack of confidence in my own work, or the lack of confidence in the NHC now, I’m no longer sure.
A prudent sailor won’t head out into a storm like that. And luck is not “found”, it’s created. You don’t put yourself in a position to get your self killed. So, I’ll wait.
With apologies to Bill Shakespeare…
To see or not to see, that is the question.
Cataracts are nothing to sneeze at, though, you can sneeze with them and I’m not sure about sneezing after eye surgery. I’m afraid I’ll blow the new lens out of my left eye now. Of course, I was pretty certain that’s what was happening after my open heart surgery last year when I sneezed too. In fact, that STILL hurts when I sneeze.
My chest, not my eye.
Yesterday afternoon, I underwent surgery on my left eye to remove the bad lens that ha cataracts in it. I was pretty terrified. But my left eye was pretty bad. Worse than I even knew. I couldn’t even get it corrected to 20:50. It was more like 20:100.
This morning for the test, I was at 20:25. That’s as GOOD as my right eye, corrected with glasses and my right eye is my “shooting eye”. I can still hit targets at 100 yards in the center of mass (that’s all that’s required at that distance, I’m no sniper, lol) and mostly read.
Today, however, I can see 1000% better than I could yesterday with the left eye. And just as bad as before with my right.
The “terrified” part was due to a severe phobia I have about my eyes, and things, people, fingers, knives, needles, sharp things being around them. Most of us have that issue with our eyes, except those who stick things in their eyes, like contact lenses. Nope, NOT ME. I don’t even put eye drops in.
Until a few days ago.
Now I can, and do. It took me a few days of putting drops in pre-operative to be able to do it without flinching. And yesterday, before the surgery, they put in about a dozen drops into my eye, and the last few were this gel gunk. Gross. Gross. Gross.
Fortunately, they gave me some kind of drugs that let me get through without killing any one. That was cool. I did get yelled at perhaps three times by the Doctor. Not supposed to lift my feet, or move, or pee on myself, or something. Not sure I remember it all, but he looked a little sheepish when I mentioned it this morning. haha
So, why the title?
Because of fear of surgery. Fear of anesthesia. Because fear of needles in my eyes. Because I am, or was, mostly blind yesterday and was more than willing to stay that way because of the previous things.
Today, with my left eye opened and my right eye covered, I looked into JoAnne’s eyes (with my one good one) and could accurately see the color of her eyes again. Beautiful, deep and green. I was moved to tears.
I know I’ve missed seeing a lot of things over the last few years, and my work was becoming increasingly difficult to do, color codes on wires, close work soldering, and a few weeks ago I completely failed my grandson on attempting a repair on his tablet (that he’d broken the charging connector on) when I could have easily repaired it in earlier years.
I couldn’t see well enough to do the soldering. My work at my job was increasingly difficult and stressful, not because I couldn’t do it, but rather I KNEW I couldn’t see it well enough to do it right. So, it took me twice as long to do things. My partner couldn’t do most of the physical stuff either due to his injury. When we hired someone to take my place, we chose someone young because we knew he could keep up. The rest would come to him in time. I know he will eventually do the things I was doing (and if he doesn’t well, this IS a throw away society, isn’t it? They will simply replace those things that those guys can’t repair because they can’t or don’t know how…. such is life in the 21st Century).
What this will do for me now though is allow me to see charts (using glasses on the close up stuff) and at a distance through slightly less than 20:20 vision to see numbers on buoys, names on ships, lights at night so I can night sail now again, and actually ENJOY what’s left of my life, to see those things I was missing before.
What I will have next Wednesday night, after the second surgery, is good eye sight in both eyes. I’ll still need glasses for close work. But, I’ll really be able to wear sun glasses without any special lenses in them.
And I’ll be able to see only one moon now, instead of seven or eight of them. And no halos, glare or just nothing at all.
And… I will be able to see the stars at night again.
But above all, I can gaze into my wife’s beautiful eyes again.