Sunday, 26 October 2014

Gibraltar, Crosses and Crossing

You have probably heard of distasteful locations be described as the armpits of Europe/Africa/Gore ect. Gibraltar does not even rank in distasteful armpits. I would describe it as the discarded but fondly remembered toenail of the once powerful British empire.

Still, they are proud of it. Proud that it remains resolutely English in the face of Spain. Proud of its large and dizzying array of English comfort food. Food that ships stopping in Gibraltar must stock up on because Capitalism has not supplied unwholesome convenience food to every corner of the explored universe. It appears someone neglected to tell the English that their food is not in fact food. If you are English and reading this you now know.

We did leave Gibraltar for Bermuda in the end. Gods be damned. It has been a very peaceful crossing. We left Satellite television coverage after about 2 days. I take great pride in telling people I would rather watch a discarded toenail than Sky News. Sky News is Fox News with an English accent.

Recent changes in my neural pathways have left me finding the mainstream media about as palatable as English food. It has become clear that a narrow unhealthy narrative must be maintained how ever stupid it is. This commercially sensitive narrative is at odds with common sense.

Take Terrorism.

Personally I look at the almost monthly school shootings happening in America as acts of Terrorism and a far more real/quantifiable threat to America than ISIS.

A broad definition of Terrorism would say that these are not politically motivated.

I would then ask why are American politicians not politically motivated to sort out gun control?

When I got to spend time in Seattle. I got told about the history of gun control in America, bring your gun to work day and other quaint little oddities. These were all told to me by a perfectly sane American and it is all insane.

Guns are a constitutional right so the people can form Militia and do noble things. Where are these Militia? They were nowhere to be seen last month when this polar bear was put in jail for protesting against climate change.


Back at sea I have settled into the monotony that is an Atlantic crossing quite well. I have kept a healthy routine of meditation, exercise, crew mess and bridge banter. I have also performed many important technical tasks such as live streaming the Kiwis thumping Australia at the Rugby League into key areas where Australians are found.

We arrive in Bermuda on Wednesday. I will travel to New Zealand on the Thursday arriving on Saturday via America. I will not be struck down with Ebola. I will not be affected by Terrorism.

Create your own news.


I googled how to stop viewing a particular news site that I don't want to read but I always end up reading. It's like the KFC of news sites. Google took me to the particular website. Anyway like most things there is an app for doing this just self censorship.

Look up block site.

Please don't block me, that would be a most strange outcome and feedback loop.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Thor, Rage, Hurricanes and Horses

It became obvious last week that at some point I had angered the gods. Not the conventional gods but an ancient and fearsome pantheon of tyrants. In a continuing effort to get closer to my Swedish brethren I have been indulging in Vikings and watching Sweden play in the European football qualifiers.

The main protagonist in Vikings is a deliciously mischievous fellow named Ragnar. In between wanton pillaging, ruling and loving he takes a bit of time out to reflect with the earth tree Yggdrasil. Voyages to England are always fraught with Thor beating his hammer and raining lighting down upon his mast. Being that we have been in a shipyard you would think I would be well out of the way of Thor. It appears not.

I am currently working on a modestly sized Super Yacht. She is still quite large though as these photos attest. That is quite a big bulldozer pushing and hauling her into the water. Last Sunday we had a huge thunder storm roll through. This thunderstorm reminded me I am very much human.

I had an invertor fail on one of our UPS's.

I had the power supply on a B&O television die
I had a CCTV camera go to Valhalla.
I had a raid hard drive fall in battle.

I took this all in my stride. When we went back into the water I had a very fraught couple of hours as parts of the ships network decided to not network as we went back on power. Given that Thor looks after electricity he surely is the God that good ETO's should pay attention to.

On Thursday Loki visited and I entered a blood fuelled bezerking rage. One of our tenders has had some serious work done to it. The dash board was removed and I diligently removed all of the instruments so they could be reattached when the dashboard was returned with new leather. I did this in an upright and standing position generally a good place to work from. 

When the dashboard was returned the carpenters mounted it and and left the instruments upside down and back to front. This meant I had to work upside down and back to front. This was quite unnecessary and quite aggravating. A lot of blood surged to my head during this orientation. I have not felt such wanton desire for destruction and anger in a long time. I may have cursed so much that one of our deckhands was too scared to offer me help. After much bleeding, bleating and bashing I reassembled the dashboard and left the tender hoping it would spontaneously combust or sink, neither of them realistic but maybe Thor was watching.

It now appears Thor has been watching. Our trip across Atlantic has been stalled with hurricane season cutting a swathe through our intended paths. Every planned route is calculated and a new hurricane sprouts up to cause havoc. I take weather very seriously. The last patch of very bad weather I was in lead to a man over board. Vikings tended to leave men get washed out to sea but modern maritime convention takes a different approach and for that I am glad.

It is here I must wrap up. I have been noticing nice little events over the past little while. I like to call them synchronicities. My fear of horses is well documented. Earlier in the year I was quite aggravated with the year of the horse. It has thrown me off many a time. A month ago our neigbour offered to graze our land with a horse. Without even a blink I said sure. I got thinking a little while back that accepting a horse to coexist with me was the best demonstration of how far things have progressed. In the year of the horse I allowed a horse into my life and it and myself were glad.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Thoughts and thinking

I felt it was about time to share some moments from the past week. It has been a week of learning and reintegrating into my double life.

Long plane flights are great opportunities for meditation as are Airports. Add public and not so public places when you have twenty minutes up your sleeve. I will never be early for anything again. Just making good use of time.

It was always going to be a little bit jarring coming into Barcelona and my job again. Luckily the good work I did at home has come with me. As I said before it hard to sum up my time at home in a couple of sentences. I did make an earnest attempt in the crew mess with one of the Deckhands. His reply was unintentionally insightful.

"So you've got weirder Dan"

I love this. May we all become weirder. We need more weirdness.

Anna; I regret that my time at home did not include more careful attention to washing pots and pans. I do believe in some way the universe was relaxing and contracting around me causing matter to become attached firmly to curved surfaces. I am glad I installed the horse mower to take care of the abundance of grass that was sprouting around the house.

I once tried to describe Barcelona to a couple of residents. There is so much decay/renewal/change the place seems to be in the flux of over ripeness. It is exactly three years from when I lived here for 6 months. It remains mind blowing. Such a bustle.

I have made two worthwhile excursions out of the walls of the shipyard. The first was to shoot the breeze with a Carpenter named Tudor. One thing I love about my friends is an understated ability to converse on a diverse range of topics. It is funny what pops up sometimes. Recently I have been reading about the Mayans and Tudor showed me some photos of a Mayan temple themed coffee table he had made. What a conversation piece.

My second trip was to visit an Ex Captain. He has a Pug and a new baby. Of course I asked about the Pug first. His Pug believes he is his equal and when he goes out for a walk and stops for a pint the Dog has to get on a bar stool so he can be at the same level. Self leveling Pugs I know much of these things.

There was another Captain with us and the conversation veered towards real estate. Both Captains had experienced varying degrees of unrestrained feminine peculiarities searching for homes. How proud was I to say that my Wife made a ranked spreadsheet of properties and we purchased the one at the top of our list.

It is a little strange being in Barcelona without Sam and Nancy. The are still in season mode and I fear I will not see them this year but we will see.

I have had two notable I am getting old moments in the last year. The first was discovering a large and prominent grey hair sprouting from my arm. The second was on Monday when I got my shipyard security card updated. I kept my photo from three years ago.

I have had challenges this week and I have felt old memories stir, fade and disappear. I think this is healthy.

Be a bit weirder ;-).