Thursday, March 31, 2011

And the hits just keep coming...

I heard from the claims adjuster from our insurance. He said they will be going after the dumas. He also told me that Texas is one of the few states that allows people to buy a one month insurance policy. Even worse: it is estimated that one out of three drivers in this part of the state do NOT have insurance, and that is not including (as he put it) "the international drivers." Scary.

On the bright side, the weather is beautiful. Izzy and I are hard at work on book orders, as you can see here...


I stopped at the local Chamber of Commerce to see if they would put up a flyer. I introduced myself to the nice lady at the counter (we've met her in the past, since she is in charge of the Lighted Boat Parade, but we've missed the last couple years); I barely got my name out and she said, "And you have a book signing coming up soon." Before my head could swell up, she said, "I just finished reading the e-mail from Griff (the bookstore owner) about your book signing. We'd be happy to put up a flyer."

Well, that was easy. smiley

We received another shipment of books yesterday, so there's more. When I sell this batch, I get a free decoder ring and an official "Book Buyer" certificate. Only 6 more book shipments and I may be back to the hundredaire status! Wink Are you sure this is how John Grisham started??

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Book signing...

I'll be doing my first ever public book signing at Paragraphs, the bookstore on South Padre Island, on April 9th. Here is the flyer they are sending out...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The saga continues...

The guy who ran into the van which then ran into us does NOT have insurance. Oh, his wife does, but there is a signed exclusion on her policy for him. Disgust Their insurance agency seemed to take a certain delight in giving me that fun news. We will get the truck checked out thoroughly, then decide what course to take. I really hope this idiot loses his license... but, that likely won't stop him from driving, since that whole insurance thing didn't seem to deter him.

That aside, we took Wild Blue out today, anchored her in some shallow water, and I cleaned her bottom. She has been in the water now for just over 2 months. The current bottom paint is wearing thin, so she'll need a couple coats this fall when we return. Still, it's doing the job - there was some slime and a few barnacles, but it all came off with a stiff brush and some elbow grease... certainly a lot easier than if there were no ablative paint.

It was a beautiful day: the temp pushed into the low 80s, hazy sky (no sun beating down), light wind, and the water temp was in the low 70s... right at my "I can take that, as long as I'm wearing a wet suit" limit.

Joan made us lunch onboard when I got out of the water. Ever notice how hungry you are after swimming (or bottom cleaning)? Chili-cheese dogs, open face with her special turkey chili. Very Happy Then, some cruising to see if we could feel the difference with the clean bottom. Sure... kinda, I think. Wink

Insurance buttheads aside, a great day.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Nearly made it home unscaythed...

After a long day on airplanes, my last flight landed nearly on time. Mostly uneventful, if you don't count being squished against the wall on one flight: this BIG fellow walked down the aisle of the plane, barely fitting... yep, he sat next to me, more than filling his seat. He asked, "Do we have to wear the seat belt on these things?"

"Oh, yeah. I thing you better ask the flight attendant for a seat belt extension. Is this the first time you've flown?"

"Last time was 1985. I was just a kid." He had a lot of questions, mostly about what to do to find ground transportation when we got to Houston. I got him going in the right direction, but I had to catch my next flight.

Waiting for my last flight, a young man in military camo asked if the seat next to me was available. "Absolutely. Have a seat, and thank you for your service." We visited for a bit, and I found out he was heading to the Valley, on a 15 day leave from Afghanistan. I asked if he had family picking him up at the airport and he said, "I hope so. I want to surprise my Dad, but I did tell my sister I was coming back. I didn't know what flight I'd be on, and the machine that sells phone cards ate my money." I gave him my cell phone so he could call his sister to coordinate a time to get picked up. She almost didn't answer the phone because she didn't recognize the number. Nice kid. He said that people have been very kind to him since he left Germany, enroute home. Less than 36 hours earlier, he had been in Afghanistan.

The last leg was on a small plane, and I had the single seat on the port side. I waited in the jetway for my carry-on bag; couldn't wait to see my Honey. Joan drove on the way home, and we decided to pass on stopping for something to eat - I told her I was bushed.

While stopped at a stoplight on Highway 100 (the last road before getting home), without any warning, we got hit from the back! No screaching brakes, just that ugly sound of metal on metal. I looked at Joan, "Are you OK?"

"Yes." I got out of the truck to see what happened. I guy had hit the van behind us, which pushed the van into our truck. I went to the van to see if everyone was OK, three people in there looked dazed, one teenage girl was crying. Her grandfather said to me, "I'm sorry. I didn't do that. The guy behind me hit me, and I hit your truck."

I went to the car that caused it, and the guy was getting out of the driver's side. "Is anyone hurt?" he asked.

"We're OK, the people in the van are pretty shook up..."

"I think my wife is hurt," he said. I looked in the car, and she was holding her stomach. She couldn't seem to talk. I went back to the truck, told Joan to call 911 and get the police and an ambulance.

Back to the car, I asked the woman again if she could tell me what hurt. About that time, two guys who had been nearby on motorcycles came over. One was a nurse, and I stepped aside to let him take over. I told the two drivers that we better start exchanging license and insurance information.

The van that had been in the middle was pretty well crunched in the front and back. The car that caused the accident didn't look that damaged. Our truck looks like it has very little damage - the frame mounted hitch took most of the hit, and the van shape was such that it ran under that.

The guy that caused the accident said, "I'm sorry. That was my fault; I don't know what happened." There were no skid marks, so it didn't look like he even tried to stop.

In a few minutes, there was a state trooper, an ambulance and a fire truck on the scene. While talking to the trooper, I saw them taking three people out of the van on backboards. The driver of the van told me that he was bringing his granddaughter home from the hospital... and they were almost home. The guy driving the car started to get a little belligerent with the female state trooper. "Easy there, big fella," I said, "She's just doing her job." He was going to get a citation for failure to control speed. He seemed to think that it was "just an accident."

I went back to check the truck again... other than a bent electrical connector for the trailer connection, I couldn't see any damage. I will check it again in the daylight today. The van definitely got the worst of it, but it was still drivable. After all the paperwork and giving statements to the trooper, Joan suggested that we follow the van to his house to make sure it would get there. That man was very grateful. He was worried about his daughter and teenage grandkids and needed to get another vehicle so he could go to the hospital to check on them.

So, it turned out to be a long night. Before it was over, three ambulances took 4 people to the hospital - no one had any obvious external injuries. We have some aches this morning. As soon as it's light out, I'll check out Big Red closer. Joan said it well: "Sure glad we were in a big, solid truck."

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Well, more like waiting, then flying. Then waiting some more, then flying some more. Repeat. I said my good-byes and I'm in the first "waiting" sequence... get to the airport early enough to help the janitor, 'cause there isn't anyone else around. Get myself all psyched up for finding my way to the ONE gate.

Off we go, into the wild blue yonder...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The party...

Well, it all turned out fine. The snow that we awoke to yesterday morning melted, and there was only a bit of flurries for the big festivities today. Mom had quite a turnout for her 90th birthday party. My cousin's daughter is a caterer and put together a nice variety of items. I met some relatives that I didn't even know I had, enjoyed visiting with friends and family, and Mom had a wonderful time - and that was the whole point.

It was worth the long flights, the airport schlepping, and even the groping. And, except for the party, I get to do it all over again tomorrow.

And back to my Honey, little Izzy, and Wild Blue.

Friday, March 25, 2011

90th birthday...

No, not mine. It's the reason I'm in the frozen northland... and it was 32º when the plane landed late yesterday afternoon. 60% chance of snow today and tonight.

But, today is my Mother's 90th birthday. Tomorrow is the "big soiree"... it started out as a suggestion to have a small open house. Mom got onboard with that and things have expanded... I think I am in charge of the sky writing and ice sculptures. Yeah, I'm kidding... but only slightly. From the sounds of it, the caterer is planning for about 5 times more people than we originally discussed. We've rented a room to hold it in.

Considering that just 3 months ago, she was in a nursing home, rehabilitating from a broken pelvis, she's come a long way. She walks fine and is driving her car again. And that is certainly reason to celebrate.

I gave her the "first copy" of my book. She said it was the best present ever. I have a bit more than that planned, but she is delighted to have "a real book, not that electronic stuff."

I just opened the blinds this morning... oh, look - it's snowing. 30º Swell.

90 years... 90 winters. 90% chance of snow tomorrow.

This morning, Mom said, "I've never had a real birthday party before." Well, it's about time.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Heading to the Frozen Northland...

I said good-bye to my Honey and headed through security at the airport. Jackpot! I got the x-ray screening AND a patdown. There was probably a point to that, but it wasn't even a good first date. I guess I should be happy that there was no body cavity search.

After schlepping my stuff off the table, I re-dressed, put away my dangerous little bottle of shampoo, and went to sit for an hour in the boarding area. Which reminds me of a little saying from my pilot days: Time to spare? Go by air.

It is my dear ol' Mother's 90th birthday. She didn't want "any fuss." When I suggested we should do a small open house, she quickly agreed. Things began to expand. Hopefully my flights (yes, that's plural, 'cause you almost can't get from here to there) will be on time... I don't want to be late for the parade, fireworks, and sky-writing. On the bright side, even if I'm delayed due to the crappy weather even further north (yes, I will be flying north beyond her place by several hundred miles, then flying back south)... because that's part of the efficiency of going by air.

Remember when it used to be classy to fly commercial? No one treated you like you were being arrested, no being irradiated, no groping, and you got to leave your shoes on. A smiling flight attendant brought you a pillow and a blanket, and tucked you in... after bringing you a hot meal. Now, it's more like riding the "chicken bus" in a third world country. Everyone looks disheveled after undressing without the benefit of a place to sit, people dress more like they're headed to the gym, and once through security, some folks buy over-priced burritos and chips to eat while they wait and to bring aboard. And now that the airlines charge for a checked bag, people try to "get by" with steamer trunks that they say, "Well, this fit in the overhead of the last plane!" That little fund raiser by the airlines was the last straw - it takes even longer to get everyone boarded since the "personal carry-on" is the size of a great dane and weighs about as much.

If it wasn't for the occasion, and the fact that we will be going this way again in a month and it's too damn early to really go north, I would be traveling by RV or boat. Flying sucks... appropriate, since I'm heading to SUX.

Tomorrow's her birthday. Happy birthday, Mom.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sunrise, wind advisory, and more book stuff...

Last night, Joan said, "How 'bout you take me out for a sunrise cruise in the morning?"


I frequently go out to watch the sunrise - my favorite time of day; the Blonde doesn't often join me on those cruises. We left at o-dark:30. The wind was already blowing in the upper teens, with a wind advisory for gusts to 40 mph as the day progresses. The only concession we had to make to the wind was keeping the windows closed on the windward side of the boat.

I pointed out some unusual night navigating, like one area where two ship channels come together and you navigate between two reds, instead of the usual "between the red and green." As it got closer to the time for sunrise, we could see a line of clouds at the horizon in the Gulf... Joan said, "Looks like we might get skunked for a sunrise."

"Have some patience, my dear."

A few minutes after the scheduled time for sunrise, we just began to see some glints of light in the clouds. And then...

A unique sunrise, well worth getting out in the dark. I pointed out the pretty light and the sun reflecting on the glass of the buildings on South Padre Island... the silhouettes of fishermen on the jetties... the occasional slow swimming dolphins - seems like we all need to stretch a bit before we take on the day.

Coming back up the ship channel, we came across this bait shrimper sporting a fresh paint job...

And another in the same fleet; not as spruced up, but the birds don't seem to mind...

By this time, the wind was really kicking up. We made our way back in the Port Isabel Channel, dodged a couple small boats heading out and kicking huge wakes, then took a tour through the old shrimp boat basin before heading for home. This is more of what the bigger Gulf shrimp boats look like...

Sometimes it's fun to just wander around there and check out the boat names. Back in our canal, there wasn't much need for throttle - the tailwind was pushing us right along. We pulled up to our dock, tied off, and Joan went in to check book orders and get them ready to ship while I washed all the salt spray off the boat.

Another fun part of doing this together: when I go out to photograph sunrises on my own, I take a breakfast bar and a bottle of water. Today, we had fresh fruit cut into bite size, pastries, mini-donuts, coffee, and hot chocolate... like a catered sunrise cruise, thanks to Joan.

We made a run to the Post Office to ship book orders, then stopped at the newspaper office to drop off a copy of the book for the editor, Maggie. She was one of the first to read the book and told me that she'd print a review in an upcoming column. At Maggie's suggestion, I stopped at the bookstore on the island, Paragraphs, to see if they would be interested in carrying the book. I barely got an introduction out, and the owner said, "We love to showcase local authors. Of course we'll take some."

I had to go home to get more books, and when I got back, he asked me, "How did Chelsea take the news that Molly picked you?" They had been reading the book. He put some copies on the featured table and said, "We have a whole pet section. How would you like to be by Dewey on the shelf?" What nice people! He asked if I'd be willing to do a book signing after the review, and invited me to participate in an authors' roundtable next week. I am looking forward to it.

A great day from start to finish.

Monday, March 21, 2011

That was fast!

Book orders that went out Saturday morning have been delivered to both coasts and all over in between. Pretty amazing delivery time. I'd like to take all the credit for that, but that's between Joan and the USPS. We are sending everything Priority, and Joan is doing shipping labels through the PO's on-line site; no idea if that makes it go through their system any faster, but I'm delighted with it.

One of my friends said, "The early bird gets the book." And I think we can all agree that it is more fun to read a book than a worm. Even for a bookworm. In this circumstance, even the late bird can get the book. Joan has been quite busy with invoicing, packaging, and shipping... she hasn't had time to give me any "honey-do" projects! So, keep those orders coming - I can do my part from the boat!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Boat bath...

After a great day on the water yesterday, Wild Blue was in dire need of a bath. She gets a fresh water rinse and the motor flushed after each outing, but overnight the birds used her for target practice. And now that it is "officially" spring, it's time for the camperback to come off. With daytime temps in the upper 70s to low 80s most days this time of year, it gets a bit warm in the cockpit, even with the screen windows open. Before it can go into its storage bag, it needed to be cleaned, too.

So, while I went all over the boat with soap and a scrub brush, Joan took each piece of canvas and cleaned it. She did a great job - it looks like new! besides scrubbing all the canvas with Dawn, she cleaned all the waterspots off the eisenglass. I put silicone lubricant on all the zippers and snaps, and we draped the canvas over the railings on the deck to let the sun and breeze dry it all.

The camperback covers the entire cockpit. It's great when we're cruising, since it is like having an enclosed "porch" on the back of the boat. We're still leaving the bimini on; that provides shade to the cockpit without enclosing the sides.

When you keep a boat in the saltwater, it's important to keep it clean and flushed with fresh water. Wild Blue is all shined up and looking good.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


All the paid orders to this point are on their way. Joan used "Click and Ship" to get the postage done, with delivery confirmation; very efficient. Here she is taking the first armload out this morning...

Hey, I'm a gentleman - I got the door for her. ;-) The lady at the counter at the Post Office gave us "that look" as we came to the counter with our arms full... and then was delighted that all the work was already done on all the packages; she didn't have to do a thing besides accept them.

It's a good day - I'm always 8th in line, no matter what time I show up at the Post Office. We were there early today, before they even opened. We were second in line... and they actually unlocked the doors a couple minutes early! I may go buy a lottery ticket.

Another absolutely gorgeous day shaping up; now we're headed out on the boat for some relaxation.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Book signing...

My first "book signing" and Joan and Izzy were the only ones there. Roll Eyes The book shipment came in today, and we went right to work on getting them on their way to their new owners. I signed, Joan packaged, Izzy supervised.

Here's a look while in the middle of the process...

Joan did a great job packaging, wrapping each book in plastic, double checking all the shipping information. She is very organized... just like back in the studio days: I get to be the artsy one, she is the business/production manager.

Oh, and little Izzy had to see what was going on. Here she is, helping sign books...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Molly Mug...

Along with Cat On A Leash (now available in paperback), son-in-law Dan and I have completed a children's book about Molly. It is Dan's illustrations that make the book...

Dan also put together a neat graphic of "illustrated Molly" that can be put on t-shirts, aprons, carrying bags, mugs, etc...

Love that "sweeping M" Dan put behind Molly in her slicker.

Here's link to the book:

And the "stuff":

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Goodness! Who knew there were so many folks who wanted a "real" copy of Cat On A Leash? The book shipment should be in next week; I will get books signed and shipped out right away. To make sure we have paper back-up for the orders, we were hard at work in our "office" today...

Yes, that's onboard Wild Blue. No, Izzy isn't driving; we were at anchor.

It is spring break here in the Tropical Tip, and the excursion boats around us were packed - fishing, dolphin watching, and partying...

That's a lot of bodies dancing on the bow of that boat!

Monday, March 14, 2011

CAT ON A LEASH is now available in paperback!!

Do you suffer from flat feet, thinning hair, and that over-all tired feeling? When you're in social situations, do you have little to add to the conversation? Well, cheer up, Bucky, ‘cause we have what you need to put that ZING back in your life! From the people who brought you "The Cruising Adventures of Wild Blue and Crew" and "Life In the Love Shack," it's the true life travel adventures of Molly the cat and her family in the exciting book, Cat On A Leash! Read this book and people will find you more interesting and intelligent ("Why, yes, I did read a book."), the opposite sex will find you more attractive ("Oh, you look so hot holding that copy of Cat On A Leash!), and you will be more successful ("I just won the World Series of Solitaire! I was going to go to Disneyland, but instead, I'm going to buy and read Cat On A Leash!").

Until now, Cat On A Leash was only available at fine websites everywhere as an eBook - but, now you can get a beautiful signed paperback copy at a special “early bird” price!

While doing the formatting for a POD (Print On Demand) book, I discovered that the retailers and bookstores get the biggest portion of the price of that book - more than the publisher, and certainly more than the struggling author. One of those on-line book sellers would have required that the price of the book be nearly $20 (plus shipping). That’s right - the same price that would allow you to buy 5 gallons of fuel... well, if you buy it right away... wait a week and you might only get a couple gallons for that price!

But, if you are willing to buy direct, the price of the book will only be $10.50, plus $6.00 for Priority shipping. That’s right - only $16.50, delivered to your door.

You can pay by PayPal or credit card via the secure PayPal site; if you contact me via e-mail at:

with your name, shipping address, and how you would like the book signed, we can get things going.

If you would prefer to buy the book through the Lulu Marketplace, it will be $11.99 plus shipping (shipping price will vary):

At this time, those are the only outlets where you can buy your own copy of Cat On A Leash. My supplies are limited, but Lulu will make as many as you want.

As usual, the various e-versions will still be available on Smashwords ( and also on the Lulu site.

My thanks for your support and encouragement on this project. There is sailing/boating/RVing travel content in the book, as well as the story of Molly... THE cat on a leash.

Cat On A Leash - highly recommended by the author! Be the first on your block to own a copy or twelve!

Best wishes,
Jim Bathurst

Sunday, March 13, 2011


We went out on Wild Blue today. Wind was 25, gusting to 36. While Wild Blue keeps us dry, even when the spray is flying, it wasn't much fun today because there was so much sand and dirt blowing. There is some building development happening on the far side of our island - upwind from our village... it's been dry, so when the wind kicks up like the past couple days, the dirt flies. I washed the truck and boat two days ago, but you'd never know it.

Still beats shoveling snow. ;-)

It gave me time to work on the final proofing and distribution for the printed version of Cat On A Leash. Getting close.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Border Patrol Boats...

While at the fuel dock, I saw a group of boats in the distance, backlit.

Turns out it was 5 Border Patrol boats, all heading for the same fuel dock we are at. One pulled in close in front of us... close, as in: their engines were nearly touching our anchor. I said to one of the officers as he got out of their boat, “Don’t hit that good looking boat behind you!”

He smiled and said, “I love those C-Dorys - that IS a good looking boat.”

I congratulated him on his impeccable taste and thanked them for the work they do. We pulled away from the dock as the other 4 Border Patrol boats swarmed nearby like gnats. We picked our way through them, and within a minute or so, they were all at the dock, two rafted up to the inside boats. Pretty obvious they have done this group maneuver before.

Morning workout...

Beautiful days this time of year. One could hit the gym for an upper body workout, or get out on the water...

Later, we took Wild Blue out, with the plan to anchor in a protected place and clean the bottom. Mother Nature had other plans... the weather weasels were wrong with their forecast for a calm wind day... and the water temp was still a bit colder than anticipated, even with a wetsuit (about 67º). I did as much scrubbing from the cockpit as I could reach, deciding against getting IN the water.

And, because she's so darn cute (I have no grandkids, so I show off my cute cat), here's little Izzy sitting on the couch, watching TV. Put her in boxer shorts and give her the remote, and we would look like twins. Well, my legs aren't quite as hairy.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Nothing to do with boats, RVs, or books... we regularly eat at Carino's Italian, and I had the Italian nachos for the first time today. Unbelievably good! They must put something addictive in them, 'cause I'm ready to go back for more.

Hopefully, I'll work it off tomorrow (anything that tastes that good has to be bad for you) - Wild Blue is due to have her bottom scrubbed. I'm hoping the water is warm enough; I really prefer to have a boat between me and the water most of the time.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Liveaboard Sleep Center...

On the C-Brats, there was a thread about one of the participants living on his 16' boat for the summer to save commuting costs. That brought up suggestions of how best to comfortably stay on a small boat. It got me thinking...


OK, it took a while, but my new design is ready, I just need some financial backing to bring it to market... introducing the Liveaboard Sleep Center! Designed for those moving from a boat to a land-based dwelling, or those who have always wanted to experience the romance of living on a boat.

The Liveaboard Sleep Center features the following:
* An irregular shaped bed! Designs available in V-shape, parallelogram, short (for those who like their feet to hang off the end of the berth), and extra narrow (for those who feel the need to grip the mattress in their sleep). Cushion foam is available in: thin, extra thin, firm, way too firm, saggy, feel-the-seams! (Memory foam in the exact sizes is not available, but can be purchased at Sam's Club or Costco and cut to nearly fit.)
* Custom designed sound soother! Features: clanging halyards, squeeky fenders, rolling dock carts, barking dogs, drunk partiers (including thumping bass music, "Everybody say 'Yeaaaaaaa-aaaaa!' ", and shouting obscenities), bilge pump sounds, fan motor, and dock neighbor practicing harmonica.
* Movement! Enjoy being "rocked" to sleep. Special hydraulic motors simulate movement at the dock (from no movement to sharp pulling of lines and rebounding off the fenders) to hanging on the hook (no movement adjustable to 6 foot chop simulation - yeehawwww!).
* Your Turn At Watch feature! Every two hours, lights will come on, a voice will say, "Damn, it's ugly out there! Get Up - it's your watch!" and spray you with a shot of cold water to simulate the shaking off of foulies. Fun and stimulating!
* Condensation! Each LSC comes with a plastic rain-fly type enclosure to hold in the condensation. Imagine the thrill of waking up to drips on your head!!

Order yours today! Operators are standing by!

* Leecloths, ill-fitting sheets, and exhaust smells (diesel or gasoline) are extra cost options. Price does not include shipping and handling. To further simulate marina living, there will be a recurring monthly fee and you will be required to host at least one potluck meal each month.


From the makers of Liveaboard Sleep Centers, we also proudly present: The MATE! Anatomically correct, non-moving "mate" to share your berth. The male MATE comes with razor stubble on the face and emits gas during the night. The female MATE comes with razor stubble on the legs and steals covers during the night. Both models snore and talk in their sleep. "The Change" female MATE can be programmed to raise temperature to 140º and simulate night sweats. "The Never Change" male MATE can be ordered with a hairy back and sharp toenails. Order yours today! The perfect companion to go with the Liveaboard Sleep Center!

Mr. Green

Send financial offers to:

Jim B. Liveaboard Fund

Sunday, March 6, 2011

They aren't all sunny...

With the annual meeting for the owners association on our island scheduled yesterday, I went out on the boat early... no sense letting politics mess up the whole day. Calm wind conditions and low clouds...

Out through the swingbridge and into the Laguna... calm and relaxing. When it was time to head back, the vis improved, but conditions remained calm. Here's a view coming back in our canal...

The water looks like a mirror.

The owners meeting wasn't so calm. Owners intentionally didn't register to vote for this meeting so there wouldn't be a quorum... no vote, no change in the board of directors. That should send a message to those running for the board who have an agenda that doesn't match up with the majority of the owners. Probably won't. Ain't politics fun?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

But wait, there's more...

Sound like an infomercial? ;-)

I am participating with our on-line book distributor, Smashwords, in the 3rd annual Read An E-Book Week, March 6th through the 12th. During that time only, Cat On A Leash will be available for 50% off, to introduce more people to the eBook experience.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Izzy, the dolphin cat...

One of the excursion boats here has "dolphin dogs" - cute little k-9s who bark when they see dolphins. They have nothing on little Izzy... well, except the barking. She keeps an eye out for dolphins.

Of course, cats also need their rest, even when onboard the boat...

You know she's content when the paws are tucked under. One has to keep an eye to the sky, too, for the pelicans and ospreys.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Seat Is Skanky...

No, it’s not what you’re thinking - the upholstery in the boat on the helm seat and both dinette seats was looking a bit cruddy after 5 years of use. There is a hole worn in the upholstery on the front dinette seat. We started with that one: out of the boat and into the house, we removed all the staples holding the Sunbrella fabric in place. That looked relatively easy before we started... it never works out that way. Under the bazillion staples in the vinyl cover, there were a gazillion staples holding the Sunbrella on. Oh, and two wood pieces screwed to the bottom.

We rotated the cushion, Joan patched the hole and reinforced all the corners, then cleaned the fabric - it looks like new. Joan knelt on the cushion while I stapled - it took some compression of the cushion to make the fabric fit snug.

With that one done, I removed the aft dinette seat bottom... grubby, but no real wear. Joan cleaned that one and it looks just as good as the first. Then on to the helm seat; it gets more wear than anything else in the interior. The Sunbrella material is made for outdoor use; with some scrubbing, that, too, looks great. It made a real difference in how the whole interior looks.


The Tropical Tip earned that moniker yesterday, with one of the prettiest days we've experienced since we've been back. We started our day with a nice long walk on the beach... in nearly calm wind conditions (unusual here). Not a lot of spring breakers in sight, but it was early in the day... OK, and early in the spring break season. I feel bad for the kids whose schools' breaks don't coincide with Texas Week - they don't really get the whole spring break experience, with pounding music, thousands of kids dancing on the beach, and the never ending quest for the best "guess what I did on spring break" antic. ;-) At this time, the Winter Texans still outnumber the kids on the beach by at least 10:1... that will soon reverse. The huge pipes on the beach are mostly gone as the dredging operation wraps up that portion of their work... the beach is getting back to normal.

After some good BBQ, it was back to the boat. The murky water from all the wind we've had the past couple weeks cleared to the beautiful turquoise-blue that moves in from the Gulf. Here's a look at the greenery on the rocks in the jetties on the way out...

Out in the Gulf, a freighter on the horizon...

We had the beautiful waters to ourselves - amazing how the hustle and bustle of the island disappears when you clear the jetties. Great visibility in the water; we saw a big sea turtle and plenty of dolphins. The motion of the boat was relaxing, with swells of about a foot and a half and little wind ripples. Joan relaxed in the v-berth while I kept an eye on the helm. Coming back in, this was the view of the highrises on SPI...

At anchor, the dolphins played around the boat, fishing boats came anchored nearby, then left, and an occasional banner plane flew over.

A little sunburn, but feels good after some aloe... sure beats the frostbite memories from my last trip north. A toast at sunset. Nice.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Our favorite local anchorage...

Gorgeous day today - light breeze, sunny, high in the 70s. The water temp has risen 20º in the past couple weeks, now around 68º... another 15º or so and it will be warm enough to get in the water. ;-)

Here's a screen capture from the iPad with the Navionics chart app...

Look for the red arrow just below the center of the image - that's Wild Blue and crew, anchored in about 6 feet of water just out of the Brazos-Santiago Channel.