Friday, July 24, 2015

Back.....With Reservations

OK...Gail talked me into blogging again and I went to the BlogSpot site and of course was met with a completely different sign in/page whatever...but I battled on and spent a couple of hours doing a blog which I published only to find out that I am now a different person with a different site and I have no idea where it was published. So...being a mature and patient adult I deleted that draft and now I think I might have found my way back to my old blog page. I'm just going to publish this whine and see if it appears on the  normal spot. If so ....I will be back . If not I will !#$@^%*&(+_#$@
                               I'm back... and I just love computers...and blogging...and Satan.
Righto....we got back from our Xmas in Oz and picked Jabiru up from Bruno's Zoo at Fort Lauderdale. She was very happy to see us and even happier to be on the move to her favourite anchorage at South Beach in Miami. Just so happened that the Art Deco Festival was on at (you guessed it) the Art Deco area of South Beach. There were bands and street entertainers and stalls and a bunch of beautiful old cars. Might have been a model T but these were the good ol' Yank Tanks . Chevys and Buicks and Chryslers etc,.The Firemen were out showing off their muscles....all for charity of course so I didn't want to embarrass them by removing my shirt.
South Beach is delightfully gay and there was a bevy of Shirley Temples on sight to look after us touristas.
South Beach is actually an island and over on the Miami (mainland )side is a light industrial area. Several blocks of small factories who happen to be next to an art college. The students ,and I presume any competent (really pretty fantastic )artists can paint this otherwise drab area of factories.
It's a whole day out . Quite amazing . Of course a piece of art the size of several blocks needs to be but here's a few samples.

The real reason we were back in this part of the world is in previous blog City of Angels Nov. 2014
Unfortunately that didn't work out (yet?).The USA ,like most countries, only grant residency or the good old green card to rich investors or refugees. We ain't gonna get rich unless we rob a bank ,and that isn't exactly approved of either ,and I don't think they'll believe some story that our lives would be in danger if we returned to Australia. I mean believe it or not there are people there that don't like me ....but.. Of course one can marry a US citizen but Gail doesn't think much of that...unless she gets to marry Johnny Depp.
Anyway...I ramble.....again.
All was not lost , however. I got to hang out and learn the ins and outs of making the worlds best mouthpiece and did some test piloting of them for Nick. Extra cool was meeting and hanging out for a couple of days with my hero/idol Dave Sanborn. He's a lovely bloke and it was great just sax yakking and having a laugh with him. He's also very funny. He got me to play his 'spare' mouthpiece which was cool but no better than my new one. There's no way any one plays (or even touches) his ol' faithful Dukoff that he's been playing for the last 30 years or so. That's what he's doing there, just trying to get a replacement. Sounded to me that every one that he played sounded great but he da man that started the contemporary alto sound so......
This is why he needs a new one soon.
Note the corner of the tip...bent over!
After that we went over to Eleuthera in the Bahamas, for a few weeks.I covered that and Alice Town and all our friends there in last years blog so......nothing to add.It's like yet another home for us
Did meet a couple of Aussies from Kempsy. Geoff and Jenny. Bought a huge motor cruiser ,89ft, and after doing the Great Loop (up  the Hudson and through the Great Lakes , down the Mississippi across the Gulf of Mexico ,round Florida and back up  to New York )they dropped the anchor at Eleuthera .....and I don't think they're going to leave! Also ,Mike and Lori on Cheshire (friends from Oriental )were passing through. That's all of us piled into Maurice's limo on the way to a gig.
Back to Miami and Hollywood (Florida) for a bit and then a swift ride on the Gulf Stream ,660 nautical miles in 3 1/2 days, up to North Carolina. Here we are in Oriental , yet again. We intended going all the way up north again but ya sorta get to Oriental ......and it's sorta home. The plan is to rent a car in a couple of weeks and drive ( so much quicker ) up to see Todd and Melody in Noo Joisey and Noo Yoik and then up to New Hampshire to Paul and Piper. We want to haul Jabiru in September, when it's a little cooler , and paint her bottom. Hasn't been done since Trinidad 3 years ago so she'll be happy about that, although I do clean her whenever we have nice clear water.
That's about it I s'pose. This blog is supposed to be about the travels of Gail and Peter and Jabiru but I don't think Gail's been getting much exposure.
Here she is in Fort beautiful as ever.
NO no no ....Gail not Fort Lauderdale

Friday, January 23, 2015

Play in' Around

So it seems I start writing and if I get past the photo maybe I can then carry on past the damn thing.
Nope.OK I'll try another photo. This is a Jabiru by the way. It's actually a Black Necked Stork. Apparently they only started calling them Jabirus after about the 1880's so it's not whatever the indigenous Australians called them in their dreamtime. The birdwatching society of Oz wants to start calling them the Satin Stork ......but I ramble. The boat's not changing her name.
What happened there? Okydoky.

Still a mystery. Lost the title and the photos are the wrong way round.If this publishes's not my fault. By the way ,the laptop has died so hence this continued experiment. Then again...if it publishes without my actually doing it're joining me in my experiment..and confusion. OK ..the done button.Cool...that brought the title back..and the cancel button. Confidence rising. I won't cancel. Hey..this is fun...hang in there.
Alright..another pic.
Right. Twice before ,I started writing then hit return,like I did with the previous photo and the guinea pig disappeared.Nevertheless's here now. This is looking good. Maybe I won't have to buy another laptop yet. Cute little G pig eh ? Well....I'll try publishing it just to see if it comes out normalish.
Laura thinks it's funny anyway!

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Laptop's stopped working so I'm experimenting to see if it's possible to do a blog on the iPad. Won't bother trying to upload pics...havn't got any new ones anyway....but we're at anchor in Coconut Grove Miami....have hooked up with the Dukoff gang and looks like we'll be hanging around here a while. Of course,if this doesn't work you won't be reading it anyway just ignore it and I'll catch up when the lappy gets fixed.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

City of Angels

Here we are at LAX....that's Los Angeles airport for you people that aren't jetsetters.....passing a few hours waiting for our 14 hour flight to Brissie....Brisbane for you people not familiar with the Aussie vernacular. Obviously I've got plenty of time to write this blog ......for you people not familiar with sitting around on ya butt for hours waiting for something to happen. Anyway I've got some interesting news for you people that are sax players which I'm pretty sure is no one that reads this blog. So it's like this. To start the sound that eventually comes out of the end of a sax you blow through this thing called a mouthpiece,which is aptly named as it's the thing that you stick in your mouth. I'm here to tell you that it is the most important piece of equipment....a good sax is a good sax but it don't mean diddly if you've got a crap mouthpiece.
This here's Bobby Dukoff. Famous sax player with the old big bands of the likes of Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey and most of the big swing bands of that era. But he's famous for more than that. He started fiddling with mouthpieces and ended making the perfect 'pieces' that have been played by most of the greatest sax players of the last 50-60  years or so.
Unfortunately Bobby turned his toes up a couple of years ago ( he was well over 90 ) but before he did he turned the business over to his protégé Nick Hernandez . I phoned Nick a year or so ago ,when we were passing through Miami, but he was in the process of moving to Fort Lauderdale and we didn't connect. I rang him again this time as I really wanted to see the outfit and I also really needed a new m'piece as my 30 or so year old one was showing as much wear as it's owner. So..... the day I was supposed to go out there Nick was busy and we were doing this and that and it got late and when Bill.........
This Bill.....remember.
came round to pick us up and I said ...don't worry Bill's getting late and I can get a bus tomorrow or something....and Bill said " get your damn horn and get in the car ".....and we did.
So anyway, we got out there and there was Sebastian
And Fabian
The masked men of Dukoff.
Well they gave me a few mouthpieces to try and they were .....amazing. If I'd had them 20 years ago I'd have been famous by now ...well at least well known.
Anyway in comes Nick
He listens and personally tweaks the chosen m'piece 'til it's fantastic.
Playing's never been so easy.
There I am getting the same attention as he was giving Dave Sanborn last week and Kenny G and whoever.
Every one of these things is hand done by these guys.
So here's the news... After hanging out with these guys the next day as well .. Nick's said " Bring your tools back from Aus. man and we'll do some work together...
That's Fabian on the left some ol' sax player... Nick and Sebastian.
Looking forward to seeing everyone in Oz but.......
can't wait to get back to Fort Lauderdale.



Thursday, November 13, 2014

Surfers Paradise Maxi-me

Well here we are in Fort Lauderdale , tied up at a dock (one of about 6 ) behind Bruno's house on a canal. It's called Bruno's Zoo. The canals here are enormous, hence the maxi-me in the blog title, and they are lined with Mega Yachts as they call them. We would generally call 'em ships. Albeit  small/private type ones. Ft Lauderdale is about 20 times at least, bigger than our little ' Surfers '. Not that that is necessarily a good thing but at least they have spaces between the beachfront towers .
We're on the corner of two canals.
                                                           Looking South
Looking East
OK so we would not normally spend much time here, in fact we've motored through 3 or 4 times in the last 7 years , but as we figured it would be a convenient place to fly from back to Oz for Chrissy , we decided to leave Jabiru here  in the comfort and security of someones house.
I see that the last blog ( apart from my whine at Vero Beach ) sort of finished at St Augustine (I did add a couple of things to that one....being as I'm calm and collected now......every thing's doing as it's told !! ) so here's how we got here. Really the only thing that happened besides anchoring for the night then ' up anchoring ' in the morning and sailing ( one marvelous day between Titusville and Melbourne ) or motoring was a lovely stop at Daytona to stay with Howard and Barbara for a couple of days.
Besides checking out the famous race track and a beautiful National Park area we checked out a couple of the original structures on the beach that were there when they actually started racing the cars in Daytona.......on the beach would you believe.
Uh oh...... have another lie down.
Howard's a bit of a speed freak (and he likes sailing!! ) so he took me for a spin in his Corvette.... me driving. Bearing in mind that I've been travelling at 5 to 6 mph for a while now in was pretty sensational......frightening maybe.......specially when he was urging me to greater speeds while hurtling round one of those long circling exits.I think he just liked seeing the sun glinting off my white knuckles.
After that it was a zip round on his 1750cc bike. First time I've ever hugged a man so tight.
                                             Gail hated it when it was her turn.
                                      Anyway we survived and took off for Titusville.
There we caught up with our good 'ol Pommy mates , Phil and Nikki of Ajaya . We ate , drank and 'ad a larf but of course took no photos of them , us or Titusville. Wait a minute..I did take one.
Local tobacco shop door.
 Next morning we cleaned half a ton of bird poo off the deck and had our lovely sail all the way to Melbourne ,picking Bill and Hale Kai up from Merrit Island on the way. That's one of the best places to watch rocket launches from Cape Canaveral , for those of you unfamiliar with the Florida ICW geography.  Bye for now.

Friday, November 7, 2014

I Wonder

I enjoy doing the blog thing but it's always a long and frustrating exercise because these stupid computer things do something different all the time. This added to the fact that it is usually difficult to find a decent signal ....meaning that things cut in and out at inopportune moments....for instance since writing these 3 lines a signal has come up saying that they (whoever the #$%&; THEY are )are unable to publish this blog due to an error. Interesting, considering that I haven't tried to publish anything anyway. Ho hum. Well here we are at Vero Beach marina/mooring field and Gail is doing laundry and I have been trying to get this started for about an hour. So...just as it seems to be getting started...Gail has finished the laundry and it's time to go shopping. I might as well publish this complaint to all you (5? 10? ) readers....just to see if it does actually go....and then see if the signal actually gets out to the boat tonight and I can carry on with the ideas that I had a couple of hours ago. I did try to send a complaint to BlogSpot (as requested ) but could find nowhere on their site that actually allowed me to do so....... Grrrrr
PS Hi Sharon thanks for your comments. We do keep up with the Nelson House adventures but comments are usually rejected......something about the code.....maybe??

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Down to Dixie

It's been so long I had too check what my last "riveting" news was.
So... out of Oriental and the 4 hour trip down Adams Creek to Beaufort (pronounced Bofut in North Carolina ) where one of our singer/guitarist mates, Jeb,  from Eleuthera is the dock master at the city marina in the summer months, that's him in the middle, and we had a couple of free days dockside to hang out and jam with some of his buddies round town. Just right while waiting for the perfect weather that was forecast to head south. As you know ,I'm not one to whinge...even though my (ex) friend Big John had the hide to call me a curmudgeon recently...where was I? Right...we jumped out for a perfect 10 to 15 NE down to Wrightsville Beach which arrived for the last half hour after a pleasant MOTOR on a lovely sunny and windless day. A couple of relaxing days there while a wet and windy cold front passed through and we  jumped out ,yet again, to catch the westerly that was going to clock round to NW by the afternoon and blow us down to Florida.....even though there were largish swells coming from Hurricane Gonzalo about 200 or so miles East.

There he is.
Well we got over the Frying Pan Shoals and the wind stayed west so we thought we'd head straight for Charleston as we were pointing sort of at the Bahamas and the chop was getting annoying. By nightfall it was the same so I/we said *&#! this we'll overnight to Winyah Bay and get inside and stay there. So after bashing into it all  night we arrived on a cold but sunny morning ,committed to the comfort of the ICW. Charleston the next morning. Lovely old town.
Lots of elegant old homes, thanks to the sweat of slaves of course, and great art galleries and
And Pirates firing their (weenie ) cannons at anyone game to walk across the park.

Another bouncy night at anchor as the Canadians through down another cold front at us.
Nothing personal I'm sure.
Some of our goodest friends are Canadian.
A calm and sunny chug down the ICW and anchored in a piece of river that looked like we were in the middle of a huge lake. We checked the chart later and found out it was called Moonlight Bay..
As we were showering in the cockpit a bunch of dolphins came swimming round the boat......perverts. They kept hanging around so I got the ol' penny whistle out and gave 'em a bit of a hornpipe.

and four of them definitely popped their heads up for a look.......honest.
Next morning ....down to Beaufort South Carolina (pronounced Bewfort ) where we had lunch with our old mates from Oriental Joe and Cherie.

Shame the waitress told Joe he had to pay the bill if she took a photo of us!
They took a photo of the graceful  Jabiru coming through the bridge when we arrived.

Still haven't figured why vertical photos come out on their side.
Have a lie down for a moment.
Anyway y'all know when you're in the south when Halloween's coming up.
And Beaufort is a nice ol' southern town too. Old plantation owners houses Spanish moss dripping from the ol' Oak trees.... but it's on  to Savannah Georgia ,where we'd never had time to stop before. We stayed at a marina past the Savannah River and caught the local bus the 10 miles or so to old downtown area. Once again ,a beautiful old city full of antebellum houses built around a whole lot of squares. They only got to be surviving buildings because Jackson (I think )decided to present the town to Pres. Lincoln as a present after he routed the rebels.
We toured the town (because of limited time ) like genuine old pensioners......on the tourist trolley. Unlike most of our fellow passengers though we were so enthralled we......forgot to get the camera out. Never mind. If you want a look I'm sure there's plenty of sites to Google
There was the Peanut shop with a line of ol' gals stuffing their faces with the samples!

And the Pohlice station with the yellow cab rear end.
Cab sir? Ha....gotcha.
Anyway,the weather was still glorious and St Augustine ,Florida was only an overnight sail away,so we cancelled our commitment to the inside and popped out for an easy cruise and we are in this fascinating place. The oldest continuously occupied European settlement in North America .Lots of old buildings going way back but not as far back when Ponce de Leone found the place back in 1513ish. Chris Columbus ,of course , only found the Caribbean islands and thought he was off India  Ponce found the mainland or at least Florida. He was quite exited about finding the Fountain of Youth which we sampled of course.
Didn't work.

 Maybe it was Amerigo Vespucci that found the rest. This is all from memory of course . I don't have access to my notes at present. All the same , St Augustine is an amazing town with a very interesting history from "Indians " to Spanish to French to English and back to Spanish then to the United States and so on . there's even pirates still around........on genuine 17th century segue's

. Anyway Howard and Barbara drove up from Daytona for a visit and we caught an imitation Aussie Didgeridooing with a genuine pirate dawg.
Speaking of pirates ( there's a lot round here ) we witnessed a small pirate boat attacking a large one just off our mooring. There was a lot of cannon fire and then a lot of yelling.....then a boarding and by this time we had the binoculars out and witnessed a flogging  .......and .....evrythang.
                       Gondola ! What Gondola ? They don't have Gondolas in St. Augustine.
Just happened to be strolling around and there was a couple of 'ol mates of ours ,Jim and Bentley off Salty Paws , doing their Sea Shanty thing outside the Starving Artist gallery and restaurant.
                                             What could I do but whip out me whistle.

 Bill (Raynor) in Hale Kai caught up and a couple of days later Bill and Gail drove up from St Petersburg and then it was time to get going south. That just happened to be the coldest day on record for this time of year and we wore 3 layers of everything and 2 pairs of gloves as we battled through 25 to 35 knots of cold front. We'd been wearing T's and shorts the day before. I can feel the sympathy through the ether........ Well we made it to Daytona beach and pulled up for a couple of days visiting with Howard and Barbara ,but that's going to have to be next time cos I'm running out of time ......and patience.....and I've got to sort photos out so ................