Monday, August 31, 2009

Bagan exits the Northwest Passage

Congratulations Bagan.


Attached is a snip of an email from Sprague Theobald, the leader of the Northwest Passage expedition, to Dan Streech of Nordhavn.  Dan was kind enough to forward it on.

Even as I heard the words come from my mouth I still couldn’t believe what I was hearing; we had indeed exited The Northwest Passage and the dream that I stated to bring to fruition several years ago has now been accomplished. This year we were the first American boat as well as the first, and only, power boat to transit The Passage and now the very first Nordhavn.  By the way, do know that I was told by two very knowledgeable people in Cambridge Bay that this has been the worst ice year in ten years. Suffice it to say that there’s still a hell of a long and potentially very bumpy road ahead but doing successfully what many before me have tried and not been able to accomplish is one of the more humbling acts of my life.  Franklin et al were supermen.  They didn’t have satellite navigation, washers and dryers, flat screens, iPods, or stabilizers.  When they left home… they left home!   They only had themselves, their books, the stars and in the case of the actual Franklin Expedition, not the best of luck.  I feel that to date our efforts have been bestowed with vast amounts of luck and otherworldly blessings. I think I read somewhere where success is the combination of luck and preparation.  If that’s so, perhaps a successful transit was in the cards as I don’t think we could have been any better prepared. We certainly had some very lucky moments.  As I’ve said to you so many times before, part of the preparation was having the very best boat for just such an attempt at such a high risk venture. Not a market slogan but the God’s honest truth; I wouldn’t have considered doing this trip on anything other than a Nordhavn.  If this trip failed it wouldn’t have been simply something that I wasn’t able to finish, failure in my case could have meant the boat being crushed and sunk or worse, lives lost. I would not have put my life nor the lives of my crew in the hands of any other manufacturer.  No two ways about it, when the pack ice closed in around us as it did, Bagan saved our hides.  The ice was starting to stack up around us to our west, a rockbound coastline sat not a mile and a half away to our east and a slow but relentless current was pushing us from the northwest.  As you know, a half a mile off the beach we had to make what I feel to be one of the most disturbing decisions of my life. If we’d waited for it all to play out we would have ended up on the rocks with the ice bearing down on top of us.  There was only one thing to do and that, in any other circumstance, was to ask the unthinkable from Bagan and try to get her to do the inconceivable; be a tug / icebreaker and fight her way out. A boat sixty miles north of us was in the same predicament and they ended up having to call in a Canadian icebreaker. For one who is always so careful about trying to have Bagan’s hull do anything more than gently kiss a dock for a landing (trying), I hated what I had to get her to do.  With all the crew looking for leads, calling the closing distances and armed with poles to fend off, I would slowly bring her bow up to a floe that was anywhere from a foot to four feet thick, make contact and then gently pour on the coals.  Most of the time the bulb would wedge itself under the ice, which would get hooked into the curve where the bulb meets the boat. I’d then build up the RPMs, pushing at times up to five large sheets of ice at a time, albeit at a snail’s pace, to create a lead.  Other times the bulb would ride up on a lower shelf of a floe, lift her bow one to three feet up and then she’d use her weight to crash through or shatter the floe ahead. We did this time and time again for the better part of two harrowing days.  Once the ordeal was over we sent our diver Greg over with the vid camera and apart from some expected dings in the bulb and some smudged bottom paint, I can tell you we suffered literally not a scratch anywhere. Wait until you see the HD video!



Friday, August 28, 2009

The Albury Brothers 23

At Sunset Bay Marina
Hence the name
As of July 23, 2010 

It turned out beautiful. The folks at Birdsall marine did an excellent job on the T-Top.
We have been very impressed by this boat. Very simple, solid, and seaworthy. 
A friend said, "It's a Thunderbird not a Corvette".
True... True... We like T-birds.
Nice clean lines, classic retro, and a time proven hull.
The first time I actually rode in an Albury, it was a 20. On a rough day in the Sea of Abaco it proved to be amazing. I have ridden in 26/27 footers that didn't take the seas as well as the Albury 20. Very dry and a soft ride.
The 23 is even better.

The Story...
The Albury family has been building boats in Man O’War Cay, Abaco, for many generations, including their famous smacks, sloops and schooners. Since 1952, Willard Albury, first with his father and brother, now with his sons Don and Jamie, have produced sea kindly outboard runabouts & skiffs. They build these boats one at a time, for those customers who appreciate a special boat when they see one.

 Dave's Albury 20
The inside liner and the T-Top liner coordinate.
Traditional Bahama Blue
We were very fortunate to have found a used 23 for sale. Not many used Alburys around.
We loaded her up with a nice Raymarine chartplotter and fish finder and a good Icom VHF.  Not much else needed except an autopilot but that can wait for a while.
Took it out yesterday, the late afternoon breeze made it a bit choppy on the south fork of the St Lucie river but she smoothed them out nicely. The 225HP 4 stroke Yamaha ran quiet and smooth at 4000 RPM, winding effortlessly around the bends in the river at an easy 28 MPH.
Gonna be a great boat.

The hull is called Sea Mist... a light shade of greenish blue.  Kinda like the color of Tilloo bank at mid tide.
We will post some more pics when we find some nice light for a good profile shot.
So until later,



Thursday, August 27, 2009

Things that go splat in the night

As we were kickin' back, reading our books on a nice rainy afternoon, tranquility was being enjoyed.  Ahhh... We love days like this.
Then, out of the blue, Radar broke the peace and quiet and proceeded to lose his little mind. It was  quite disturbing at first as he was barking insanely at the wall for no apparent reason. We thought the boy had gone over the edge. Boat fever.

But after investigating we found this little fellow stuck to the bulkhead of the Pilot house. (Not sure what Radar would have done if he could have caught it.)
So being the friends of honest and harmless creatures that we are, we removed him and carefully set him free outside on the aft deck of the boat. Surely -we thought-  he will find his way off the boat and catch a few of bugs in the meantime.

So... a couple of nights ago as we were sleeping soundly, Radar struck again. 3:00 AM he started growling and woke us up. Then, barking, he lunged at Melonie in the darkness of our stateroom; which was very alarming.
In a very sleepy and confused state, I took him up to the salon to see if he was sick and may need to go outside. He was still upset about something and continued to growl but wouldn't go out.
That's when I heard Melonie say in a very grave and ominous voice, "Oh my God... Something is in the bed!".
I ran down stairs with Radar on my heals, still growling like I've never heard him before, and turned on the lights. Melonie was out of the bed, appearing to be totally freaked out, saying something about, "it crawled across my face". I pulled back the cover expecting to see a snake when something hurled itself out of the bed. This scared the crap out of us, especially with Radar barking like a banshee, which alone is enough to raise the hair on the back of your neck.
And there it was... The scary, creepy-crawling thing; the creature in the night...
Our little frog friend had come back to see us and thought our cool dark stateroom was as good a place as any to hop around in. Unfortunately it hopped on Radar, then walked across Mel's face.

I took it outside and -this time- put it on the dock then closed the gate hoping it would find another playground.
After the adrenaline dissipated; Mel and I went back to sleep; Radar stayed on guard for the rest of the night.

Oh, the perils we face while braving this adventurous life we lead.



Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Another good boat dog

Pretty cool footage of an Iceberg collapsing offshore of Labrador. The dog seems to be enjoying his day at sea. Watch his tail wag.

Is it me or does this guy really sound like Kermit the Frog?

A personal observation:  Here we are in sunny Florida and I keep posting about boats in the ice. Weird.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Not exactly a pleasure cruise.

Since we're not doing much here in Stuart other than passively enjoying ourselves and about the only adventure we've had recently was last night's dinner at a bad Tex-Mex restaurant; we'll point you in another direction for a little excitement.

The crew on Bagan are having one intense boat ride.

Cut from Bagan's blog:
The next morning we awoke to find that we had, of all things, drifted our way south 7 miles. With renewed energy and refreshed determination we once again set about using this good ship as an ice breaker. By three that afternoon we had broken our way clear into thinner and less dense ice packs. Simply put, I would not have tried any of this if I had not been on a Nordhavn. Her strength and integrity is unsurpassed and it’s no exaggeration when I say she, and she alone, got us out of a situation that was in a lifetime of boating worse than anything I’ve experienced to date. No qualms about saying that at times I’d never been more terrified or more despondent. I think that at one point or another we all were and the amazing thing about this crew is that we pressed on regardless and did our best to keep these feelings of abject horror to ourselves. I’m very, very thankful to be posting this as I am and in the last few days have learned more about myself than all my combined fifty-eight years have taught me. Hands down, the best crew, for the best boat on the best trip.

incredible testament to the build of the 57 Nordhavn.

If you're not, we strongly suggest you follow this blog. It's really getting good.

I can't wait to see this documentary.



How to make a Hurricane.

The eye of Hurricane Bill

3 Minute clip that explains it all... We need to find this little girl and tell her to stop doing that.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

No blows for now.

We were very happy to see the storms, Ana and Bill, turn in to non-threats... for us anyway. But tis the season so a watchful eye will always be out. The weather prognosticators are all watching something off of Africa. Some are predicting Ana will reform in the Gulf of Mexico and threaten those to the west of us. Time will tell.

Wonder how that anchor holds?
Probably sleepless nights.

Meanwhile, the crew of Bagan are way up north and breaking ice to make way. Not much worry of tropical storms up there but...

Cut from Bagan's blog:
After reading ice charts and making our way fairly smoothly down Peel Sound for the past few weeks, three days ago Mother Nature decided to shake things up a bit. Not only did we have to push, plow, and break our way through ice, we also had fog and zero breeze (which didn’t help move the ice). Our radar was one big green blob, and we could only find leads heading the opposite direction we wanted to go!

Read more here...

Push, Plow, and Break Through Ice

For us here in Stuart? life remains good.



Monday, August 17, 2009

R.I.P. Jim Dickinson

Jim Dickinson
I'm just dead, I'm not gone.

Famed musician/producer Jim Dickinson died on Saturday at the age of 67.

Cut from

One of the pioneers who helped define the Memphis sound—a mixture of rock, country, R&B and soul—and the father of Luther and Cody Dickinson, two-thirds of the Grammy-nominated North Mississippi Allstars, Dickinson’s career highlights are numerous and span over four decades: he recorded the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” in Muscle Shoals, Alabama; formed the Atlantic Records house band The Dixie Flyers to record with Aretha Franklin and other R&B legends; inspired a legion of indie rock bands through his work with Big Star; collaborated with Ry Cooder on a number of movie scores, including Paris, Texas; and played with Bob Dylan on his Grammy-winning return to prominence, Time Out of Mind. He recorded with and produced greats like Aretha Franklin, Lucero, Mudhoney, The Replacements, T Model Ford and Sam & Dave. Dickinson released his final album, Dinosaurs Run in Circles, in May.

Cut from the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

What Dickinson understood was both the impermanence of his own life and the enduring power of the music he made. It’s a sentiment reflected in the epitaph he chose for himself: I’m just dead, I’m not gone.


Pretty much every Memphis musician who ever worked around Jim Dickinson has a few Dickinson stories.

Mine goes...

The band I was working with, circa mid 70's, was splitting a gig with Jim; Mudboy and the Neutrons I believe, down on Beale Street before it's rebirth. On our break we all snuck out back to relax in my luxurious 1970 Plymouth van. I remember feeling honored to have the infamous Jim Dickinson hanging out with us.
I had just returned to Memphis after a long stint in New Orleans and was lucky enough to be playing with one of the world's most famous unknown Memphis blues guitar players, Glenn Cammack, along with the funky Phil Durham on drums, and singer/songwriter/piano playin' George Parks.
Dickinson was holding court to a pile of us there in the back end of that van, telling stories about songwriters and other artists when he smiled and said (of course I paraphrase), "Man, I like your band. It's like New Orleans funk covered in Memphis blues guitar, that's crazy! Kinda like Barbecue Oysters." We all cracked up, put it out, then went back to finish the gig.
Actually, he said a lot more but we won't go into all that here.

I wasn't around Jim much after that and had filed my little memory of Jim Dickinson under -funny old musician stuff- until I heard news of his death. in hindsight I have to say, he was right, we were like Barbecue Oysters. Interesting, pretty good, but not for everyone.
The man had a way with words that was a bit acerbic, but with sweet, and damn funny undertones. Like the real Memphis music. The kind you don't hear anymore.

Dickinson always had an opinion if you liked it or not. Most times I didn't understand what the hell he was about. But... He was and will always be authentic. He was a one of the ones that put the Memphis in Memphis Music.
He will be missed by many, in many ways.

Worth reading.

The Gibson Interview



Saturday, August 15, 2009

Not what we were hoping for...

But you play the cards you're dealt.

We were playing down this first storm, now called Ana, then out of the blue comes Bill right behind her. Bill is being predicted to become a full blow Hurricane in the next couple of days. Not sure yet how we're going to react to this new situation but we are a bit pensive to say the least. Working on Plan A, B, and C right now. We will all know more tomorrow.

In the meantime, we have been enjoying Stuart. Had drinks and dinner last night aboard Sand Pebble. She's an interesting boat, a steel trawler built in China. Nice company that we will go into more about later.

Not much to do about the storm thing.
So... guess it's time to drink a bit.



Wednesday, August 12, 2009

GSSR Update: Shelby gets out of jail

We are very happy to read that the whole crew of Sans Souci is able to go freely about their way in the beautiful country of Japan. If you read Ken's post here... It seems they may have been doing an occasional jail break--as needed.



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Silas Rui Taylor

So.... This is our new grandson. Silas Rui Taylor. A handsome little guy. Born July 31. A Leo, like his dad.
Rui is an interesting name. Not sure, but betting it's after the Portuguese football (soccer) star, Rui Costa.

Then there is this little guy. Don't know his name but click here to see a lot of water dogs pics. If you're a dog lover, you will love this.

We are still enjoying life here in Stuart. The 3 of us went out to Wahoo's last night for crab legs. The staff there is very dog friendly and Radar was fussed over. Took the little boat and had a very nice ride.

The weather, though hot, has been good here. We are keeping a wary eye out for the dreaded "h" word. Hurricanes. So far, so good. But there is the possibility of somethings coming together next week. We have our fingers crossed and our eye on the forecaster websites.

That's all for now.



Sunday, August 9, 2009

Great Siberian Sushi Run update

Well... That adventurous group of Nordhavn's has made it to Japan. What a sense of accomplishment they must be enjoying.

But sadly, when Sans Souci was checking in they ran afoul of Customs. Some problem with paperwork and their dog Shelby. This would be very upsetting to put it mildly.
Cut and pasted from Sans Souci's blog: ARGH! He brought out a steel cable, attached it to Shelby, affixed it to a barstool in the boat’s salon, and said she would have to stay chained until we could get an original form, from Olympia Washington, properly filled in and stamped.

Hopefully this problem has been resolved by now and Shelby is free to be with her peeps in Japan.

Our congratulations to the folks of the Great Siberian Sushi Run. Salute!



Friday, August 7, 2009

Having fun in Stuart

Radar checkin his facebook page.
He's hoping Sissy sends him a cupcake

Life has been good here in Stuart. We did put the Albury in the water and have gone out in it every afternoon after the thunderstorms dissipate. It does cool off then and the sunsets have been nice. Took the little boat over to Manatee pocket late yesterday afternoon and had a quick dinner at Shrimpers. It was a nice ride to and fro but when we got back, the railroad bridge was closed and we had to hover for almost an hour. Not complaining...
We have made friends here at some of the restaurants that allow dogs. So Radar is becoming well known. Tonight we are meeting friends at Pelicans. Radar is also invited.

The baby deer from Rocky Point

I finally found my camera cable and was able to download pics; these are our babies from Rocky Point. They're probably getting big by now.

And this one is just a few starfish Mel found in the Exumas and stacked them up. I just thought it would make a nice picture.

So, all in all... we are enjoying ourselves here. Stuart is definitely a "boaty" town and seems to be a nice bunch of folks.



Saturday, August 1, 2009

Bagan Update

Interesting footage shot from the 57 Nordhavn "Bagan".
Ice field in Canada's Northwest Passage.

Mean while, we are in sunny Stuart, Fl. It seems more inviting here now compared to the last time we passed through. Probably the weather. Anyway we will stick around here for a while and become acquainted with Stuart.
The Albury will be splashed on Monday and there is plenty to explore around here. Should be fun.

PS... Congratulations to Mason and Lindsey on the arrival of their new Son and our new Grandson.
Happy Birthday, Silas Taylor.