Sunday, February 26, 2012

Guess the price?

There are some advantages in doing a refit in Mexico.  One is the affordable and easy access to machine shops.  It feels like every neighborhood has one and they really feel like part of the neighborhood.  I imagine part of the reason is that no one throws things away when they break.  This past summer while in the San Francisco bay area, I paid a visit to the TechShop which is neat in concept but what if I have a really small and simple project?  Down here, it isn't a big deal to drop in with an old back stay chain plate, help them hunt around through their 1/4" thick stock of stainless for a piece a foot and a half long and several inches wide and have an identical one made on the spot.  The metal is similarly priced to what you would find online, but to have it cut, bent and the holes drilled is really low compared to other places (New Zealand, U.S.A.) I have had machine shop work done for the boat.  I even regret having purchased a few small parts for the Monitor windvane, including small washers, as the savings would have been considerable to have them made here. 

There is a norther coming this week and I might use it to test out the boat.  Some sailing sounds pretty good!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Heroic adventurer or immature opportunist?

...Music is still a fundamental part of life. Because of the long period of isolation, many of the indigenous songs, stories and dances have survived. Many of the songs date from the period before European contact, which occurred in the mid 19th century. The songs tell stories of voyages between the islands, while dance performances fill 20 or 30 hours a week.

I found this document online which is a compendium of some of the least visited islands in the South Pacific.  The photo and description above were taken from it.  The author writes, "I admit that I have some reservations about creating this compendium, as remote tropical islands that are as infrequently traveled as these are getting very difficult to find, as are the traditional cultures one finds here. I did not want to be responsible for causing the ruination of paradise."

I love how the word "paradise" is used here.  It is pretty much anywhere left that still remains outside the influence of the modern world...   We all know about these places.  They make those TV documentary specials about them.  It takes about an hour of listening to some science person before we can shut the TV off, recharged to yoke the burden of maturity needed to be civilized.  Don't worry, go back to work.  Be confident that the experts are out there taking care that paradise is being carefully documented and preserved.  No more ruination will take place.  We will put the last bit in a museum and make it free for the first Wednesday of every month.   God forbid if you actually want to visit the real paradise yourself.  Truth is most of it is gone anyways.  Most places have fallen in line and understood the power of uniforms and rubber stamps.  But if you insist, they will say to grow up and get over it.  And if you don't we will smother any last bit of remaining dream and then make an example out of you.   

Lets watch what they will do to Jarle Andhoy and the Wild Vikings.  In his own words he describes the Wild Vikings as "instead of being a part of the playstation-generation, in a 7 – 4 life with computers, electrical tinopeners and washingmachines, they seek adventures and exploration in the spirit of the ancient vikings. Simply equipped on a low budget ,The wild vikings turn the time back to the old days when men were men. Back to basics. Back to nature in harmony with its simple and real beauty to the worlds remote corners."  Last year he sailed down to Antarctica without obtaining permits or having insurance.  He defended his "unofficial" expedition saying that Antarctica is a "no man's land. "  That almost sounds like the word  "paradise."  The expedition ran into trouble and three of the Wild Vikings and his ship were lost.  Personally, I don't see how driving quad bikes through whiteout conditions in the South Pole is any kind of harmony with nature but anybody who single hands a 27 foot plastic boat to the high latitudes at the age of nineteen is an exceptional person.  You can get the latest updates on his current trip back to Antarctica here and the debate rages here.

Friday, February 3, 2012

From "The £200 Millionaire", A Story by Weston Martyr, 1932

'I've found one good way to live and be happy. There must be other ways, too, but I don't know 'em, so I mean to stick to my way till I come to the end of it. The secret seems to be, to do everything you can yourself: It's difficult to explain, but take an example. Take travel. Allow yourself to be carried about the world in Wagon-Lits and cabins-deluxe, and what do you get out of it? You get bored to death. Everything is done for you and you don't even have to think. All you have to do is to pay. You're carried about with the greatest care and wrapped up and fed and insulated from everything. You see about as much of life as a suckling in the arms of its nurse. No wonder you get bored! But get yourself about the world, on your own feet, or in your own boat, and you're bound, you're bound to fill your life with interest and charm and fun and beauty. You'll have your disagreeable and uncomfortable times, of course, but they merely serve to make the good times taste better. "Sleep after toyle, port after stormie seas." Old Spenser knew. He'd been through it. Sail all day in the wet and cold, then bring up in some quiet harbour and go below and toast your feet before the galley fire and you'll realise what bliss means. Travel in a steam-heated Pullman and then put up at the Ritz and see if you find any bliss there! You see what I mean? Stewart Edward White put it all much better than I can. He wrote, "I've often noted two things about trees: the stunted little twisted fellows have had a hard time, what with wind and snow and poor soil; and they grow farthest up on the big peaks."