Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Sunday, 26 December 2010

White Christmas

Raleigh, North Carolina

It's beautiful outside. The bare trees have a new suit of snow.

The TV talking heads say that there is an accumulation of 5 to 6 inches. We go to target and buy the basketball backboard that was out of stock electronically and save $100 on shipping.  The toboggan I refinished serves nicely to transport the backboard down the icy driveway.

The dog surprised one of the Guinea hens, who (which?) took to the trees minus a few tail feathers,

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Driving North

Sarasota, Florida

We are going to see the grandchildren for Christmas again. Maybe it will snow.

The day is spent in last minute preparations: filling the gas tank on the old Ford van, buying M&Ms, wrapping presents, hitting the storage unit to drop off the SCUBA gear, packing suitcases.

The van is now ten years old. It should hit 100,000 miles on this trip. If we can finish emptying the storage unit, I may sell it to cut our insurance and maintenance costs a little next year. 

I leave the van gas cap at the gas station and have to drive back. Then I get a call from the bank telling me that I left my checkbook on the counter. I go back there too.

Anyway, Merry Christmas (Christmas eve is our 44th anniversary) and a prosperous New Year....  Three more months and we're out of here and on a grand adventure...

Saturday, 18 December 2010

A Good Day for Parrot Fish

Cozumel, Mexico

The Mexican Divemaster asks how many dives I've done and I tell him probably over 1,000. He's about four feet tall and almost as wide. A few minutes later he catches me trying to put on my wet suit backwards and hoots and threatens to inspect my C-card. He's been diving two years and he tells me he has done about 80 dives. I started diving in 1964 (before air pressure and depth gauges or buoyancy vests).

It's getting harder as I approach 70. My age and extra weight, the strokes and the joint pains are all starting to add up. Strapping on 80 pounds of dive equipment and climbing back on the boat requires a lot more effort.

The first dive at 80 feet is on the Pallancar Caves. We swim in and out of caves formed by towering coral heads for forty minutes. Back on the boat we have a surface interval of an hour and then do a second drift dive along a lovely wall formation for another forty minutes at 40 to 60 feet. I see turtles and beautiful parrot fish and a grouper.

We were definitely bottom fishing on the Norwegian Dawn out of Miami. We got a 60% discount on the five day cruise. The cost per person was less than $50 a day before taxes, port fees, tips and drinks. The thing I liked the least was the ship's library which was only open three hours a day. I've had better food on other cruise lines. Notwithstanding, if I never dive again, this was a good way to end it.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Walking About

Sarasota, Florida

These are some of the things I see on the 5.2 mile walking route I take in the morning.

This is one of the pit bulls that runs up to the fence barking at me. His tail is not wagging.

Snapping turtle.

The gator is always sleeping in the same place. He has lots of ducks and waterbirds to eat.

The pink birds are actually Spoonbills, not Flamingos. Both of them are pink.

This big boy has his lunch.

You can see why they're called Spoonbills.