MW Mobile Blog

For friends, family and the random search engine visitor. This blog started as an experiment in mobile blogging from my Palm TREO 600 700 Prē HTC Evo,Samsung 5. Now it serves as a simple repository of favorite activities. Expect bad golf, good fishing, great sailing, eating, drinking, adventure travel, occasional politics and anything else I find interesting along the way including, but not limited to, any of the labels listed here...

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

MW Ship's Log April 29 - The Bird is the Word


With Morpheus under sail again - two events were nominated for Most Interesting And/Or Surprising Event of the last 24 Hours.

A dramatic squall line formed off the port quarter and commanded the crew's attention in the morning hours. Low, dark, gray, with the well defined sculpted wedge formation characteristic of a cold front.


 It looked like we might finally be passing from the sunny and warm Caribbean-like clime we have enjoyed thus far to something cooler, cloudier, grayer, and more in keeping with our expectations of an Atlantic passage. We got the rain, we got the wind, and we even started to get a bit cold, but a few hours later it was again sunshine, blue skies, and sunscreen. After the squall line passed we tacked - and after four days on starboard tack, we are now getting accustomed to Morpheus leaning on a more liberal tack.

But - hands down - the unanimous winner of the day's MIAOSE24 - by a 4-0 vote was The Bird.



Five minutes before cocktail hour Bob was buzzed repeatedly by a small bird. As the crew assembled in the cockpit to discuss the day's events, the bird continued to circle and finally landed under the dodger.


Wren sized, bluish, with a split tail and burnt orange breast feathers, I'm guessing either a swallow or flycatcher. Definitely not a seabird. How he came to aboard the Morpheus 400 nm out to sea is a mystery. The bird was clearly in distress. It either had no fear of humans or was too exhausted to care.


 He hopped from dodger to knee to shoulder to head, made the rounds of each of the crew and even perched on my finger for a while.


 After a few more circles around the boat he settled in under the dodger and kept us company during cocktail hour. We tried to help it restore some energy with water and sunflower seeds. Jim shaped a towel into a protective nest under the dodger and put the bird in it for the night.


Alas - it did not survive the night and was buried at sea in the morning.

In other news - I am receiving a lot of unjustified and wholly inappropriate complaints about my coffee from the whiners aboard this boat. I'd just like to state for the record that in two previous 14 day passages, Debby never ever complained about my coffee.


Just sayin...

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Monday, April 29, 2013

CORRECTION TO MW April 28 Ships Log Post

In the 2nd paragraph change the comma after the line to a period.

In the 2nd paragraph in the 8th sentence insert the word "not" between the words "are" and "sure"

In the 2nd paragraph insert the following as the 8th sentence of the paragraph after the words "... and filleted it":

"Jim retreated below deck to avoid swooning from the sight of a fish being filleted on Morpheus' fan deck."

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MW Ship's Log April 28 - Of Fishing, Brats and Beer. But no beer.


We motored from Happy Hour on Saturday until midnight Sunday night. By the time I came on watch at 1AM this morning the motor was off and we were sailing again. The disadvantage of motoring is that it is kind of noisy and smelly and we don't carry enough fuel to do this for more than a couple of days. The advantage is that it's easy, we have a predictable consistent heading and speed, and consequently we can do things like grill brats.on the aft mounted gas grill, have a Happy Hour and fish.


By mid-morning we had two lines in the water. Chris' rod & reel with the ever popular cedar plug, and a hand-line with black feathery mimicking a squid.


 Late afternoon we caught our first fish on the hand line. It was a team effort. Bob selected the lure and deployed the line. Kim spotted the hooked fish on the hand line, I hauled it in and filleted it. It was not a big fish, and we are sure exactly what it was. About 16" in length, the olive gold fish was not much bigger than a keeper bass pulled from Big Shag Lake. Still got a couple of nice fillets out of it. We will update this post with pictures and an ID when we are again connected on the intertubes. As is our wont - the entire fish cycle was over documented for the ages. The fishing, the filleting, and the best part - the cooking and eating will all be presented here in good time.






Mere hours after swimming happily in the Atlantic, our fish was the centerpiece of another Comfort Classic for dinner - Thai Style Green Fish Curry over rice noodles.







 Ingredients included (but were not limited to): garlic, ginger, tomato, corn, coconut milk, cumin, and other spices. It was every bit as good as it sounds.

For the Sunday Happy Hour - we again had a split vote on the most exciting / interesting thing that happened in the previous 24 hours. The very popular decision to reinstate Happy Hour with Dark & Stormys was an early favorite for the voting, but surprisingly did not garner a vote today. The final tally for today's secret ballot was:

* One vote for First Fish caught
* One vote for the incredible Vista of Stars before moonrise during night watch.
* Two votes for Jim's lunch preparation - Grilled Brats.


The grilled brats were particularly significant because this was the first time Morpheus' new gas grill was used to prepare a meal on a passage. Plus the brats were really really good. After that meal I will never again bring up the whole sorry episode of Jim cooking hot dog with Kraft macaroni and cheese on a previous passage.

Beer would, of course, have been appropriate with the brats, but instead a Rose' was selected as the Happy Hour libation of choice over my objection. I will, however, grudgingly admit the 2011 La Croix du Pin Cinsault was an excellent pairing for the fish curry.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Captain warns about pending fish story.

Mike just caught a little fish. Very small. Bait really.

But soon, he will be sitting here telling you a very long story about his epic battle with a giant fish from the deep!!

You have been warned!!

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MW Ships Log April 27 - Of the Atlantic Ocean and "The Perfect Bathtub"


I can't add much to the Captain Jim's pithy update to yesterday's events (see Morpheus Sailing blog or if I can get him to cross-post - the last post here) . The wind started slow but then ground to a complete halt. As I write this Sunday morning we've been motoring on a straight line to the Azores since yesterday afternoon. The Atlantic Ocean is doing a very good imitation of the world's largest bathtub.


My 1-3 AM watch was otherworldly. No real waves except in our motor driven wake. Just a smooth, undulating inky black surface highlighted with reflected silvery moonlight


[Editor's Note: Credit where it's due - all of the beautiful ocean pics in this post were shot by Kim, who did a much better job than me capturing the Atlantic's peaceful mood this day ].




 I've seen an ocean behave like this twice before, both times aboard Morpheus - in the doldrums during the Tahiti to Hawaii passage, and in the Pacific gyre during the Hawaii to EssEff delivery. It just doesn't seem like an ocean should or could look this way - particularly the fearsome Atlantic.

We've instituted a a new a tradition aboard - a daily vote on the most exciting / interesting thing that happened in the last 24 hours. Yesterday the close encounter with Firefly won by a 3-1 vote in a secret ballot over Kim's angel hair pasta with chicken & portobello sausage. Today's nominees will likely include fishing lines in the water, movie night with Django Unchained, and the Captain's declared Happy Hour serving Dark & Stormy as our only alcoholic sip since setting sail three days before. Nominations are still open. Stay tuned... - mw

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Captain's Status Report - April 27 /28 - Trans Atlantic Update

No wind
No waves
Big Moon
Lots of Stars
No traffic
Engine is running
Water tanks are full
Batteries are full
Fridge/Freezer very cold
Coffee is hot!
Captain declared cocktail hour at 5pm yesterday afternoon
Movie Night below was "Django in Chains"
Fishing yesterday afternoon resulted in the normal "no fish"
Sunrise is coming soon - Jim

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Addendum to MW April 26 Ships Log - Regarding the Reavers reference



 When I finished that last blog post at 4:00 AM this morning I said this:

"I realized there was a high probability that Reavers had taken the ship and eaten the crew's brains. I kept Morpheus on a course that increased the distance between us to over 3 nautical miles. You don't want to mess with Reavers."

This morning, in the cold light of day - I am informed by my shipmates that no one understands that reference. Since I am cross-posting to Jim's blog as well as my own, I feel compelled to explain this cultural reference to the readers of Jim's blog, as I am confident the readers of my blog will understand it.

You see - there was an excellent but short-lived science fiction TV series entitled "Firefly" that recounted the space faring adventures of a crew of smugglers. In addition to dodging the totalitarian government forces, they also periodically had to deal with the "Reavers" an unfortunate humanoid byproduct of a failed government experiment to genetically improve the race. As always happens with this sort of experimentation, they instead created a race of zombies with a taste for human brains. Only in the show, the zombies are super strong and also fly spaceships.


Hence the reference to the "Firefly" crew we passed in the night. Which, BTW, Kim is convinced was a spaceship - as she was on watch and did not see them until they initiated evasive action to avoid the collision course we were on - OR - were in the process of initiating a boarding maneuver in the hope of eating our brains.

I hope this clears things up for the readers of Jim's blog. - mw

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

MW Ships Log April 26 - Reavers in the Night


Until the night watch, the most exciting event of the day was Kim's dinner creation - Angel hair pasta with chicken portobella sausage in a garlic, onion, oregano, cumin sauce with fresh grated parmesan. Yum. We'll come back to that night watch in a minute.


We sailed in similar conditions to yesterday. Fair winds and a north north easterly course.


Hot and sunny much the day with some clouds forming in the afternoon. Over the course of the day the jib was in and out and in again as we skirted some squalls. Captain says we covered exactly 161 miles in our first 24 hours under sail, and exactly 161 miles in our second 24 hours under sail. That is precision sailing.

During Kim's 9-11 watch, the "Firefly" closed to within a 1/4 mile off our port beam.


Easy visual distance - even at night . By the time I relieved Bob at 1:00 AM, she was 1 1/4 miles away shadowing our track and speed. I realized there was a high probability that Reavers* had taken the Firefly and eaten the crew's brains. I kept Morpheus on a course that increased the distance between us to over 3 miles. You don't want to mess with Reavers.


*Explanation of this cultural reference in an addendum linked here.
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Friday, April 26, 2013

MW Ship's Log April 25 - Comfort Food


Our first full day under sail. 200 or so miles in - 2000 or so to go. Winds reasonably consistent in a 12-17 knot range. The jib was unfurled and furled a few times.


We dodged a squall or two but mostly pretty easy and comfortable on a starboard tack.


Breakfast was a scrambled egg wrap seasoned with a cumin and pepper curry.  Lunch a ham and cheese wrap with spicy aioli garnish. Dinner was Greek Chicken pasta - a white wine garlic, olive and caper butter sauce and fresh grated parmesan.


the crew agreed to share cooking responsibilities but Kim has yet to relinquish the galley - to the gastronomical delight of everyone on board. No one is looking forward to Jim's specialty - sliced hot dogs with Kraft macaroni and cheese. 

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

MW Ship's Log April 24 - Departure

Official Morpheus Transatlantic Crew Departure Portrait
From this point forward on our Atlantic Passage we are outside the range of conventional internet access and blog posts will be via "sailmail". I understand this to be a service where we connect to the internet via sideband radio one or two times per day to collect and send e-mail. It's limited bandwidth so text only - no formatting or pictures. Those of a certain age may think back to a 1200 baud modem. Yeah. It's like that. I don't have the skills to do ASCII graphics, so will be losing those who only check in for the pics.

Jim apparently had second thoughts after leaving me behind at the Saint Martin Yacht Club to photograph the departure (see prior post).  For better or worse, he returned on the dinghy to bring me back to Morpheus.


Or... perhaps he returned for beer and happened to pick me up also.

Buh Bye - to the brilliant blue waters of the Caribbean
We anchored off of Mary's Boon to clean and stow the dinghy, review safety procedures, and go through a final checklist. By 4:45 we were under sail.

Kim takes us out
Anguilla Isle was our last sight of land.


After a lasagna dinner the formal watch cycle began. We are working a continuous 2 hours on - 6 hours off cycle. I have the 1:00 AM, 9:00 AM, and 5:00 PM watches.

The term "smooth sailing" was invented to describe our first night underway. Full moon, clear skies, steady 15 knot breeze, no meaningful wind shifts, comfortable temps. The moon lit up the ocean like it was daylight. I was going to hang around for the pre-dawn watch in the hopes of catching the Lyrid meteor shower. As it turns out, we are past the prime viewing time. The moon did not set before sunrise. So... it was not a problem that I slept through it.

If any of my relations who read the blog are interested in reposting these logs on my FB page, it would be appreciated.

Well I've used up enough sailmail bandwidth for one post. We are underway. There is a big Ocean in front of us. Out.

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