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

Friday, 5 December 2014

Diving in Cozumel

I managed to get in two dives during our brief stop in Cozumel. This place has some of the best coral and dayglow fish in the Americas. They take  us to very good spots but not the best available.

On the first dive I'm a little surprised to see a silent submarine glide past. It's the Atlantis, I think. They take tourists to see the reef and fish.

It rained all day yesterday in Costa Maya. No pictures. Finally saw some sunset pulling out of Cozumel and steaming back to Tampa this evening.

Some of the newer cruise ships displace more tons than the Titanic. They are really unsinkable unless you have a Greek crew watching the soccer games instead of the reefs.

The dive boat takes a funny list when one 200 pound diver switches sides to get water leaving four on my side and two on the other.

Mrs. Phred stays home and reads.

Goodbye Central America. Hello Tampa.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Belize Cave Tubing

We go ashore in boats (tenders) that drive out to pick up passengers. Belize used to be British Honduras until the name changed in 1983 and it became known as Belize.

Belize has the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world.

We're on the Norewgian Sun for a week.

 We decide to tube the Belize caves at the suggestion of friends.

 After an hour bus ride, we carry the tubes 30  minutes though a rain forest to the launch point.

 They give us headlamps and life jackets.

 It's an interesting excursion. We get chicken tamales wrapped in banana leaves for lunch.

 The Mayans thought that you had to go underground to eight levels of hell before rising though 30 levels of heave....that's what our guide said anyway...

 The tubes are tied together for the trip.

 In places, the water is only six inches have to keep all your parts high...

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Roatan Island, Honduras

First stop is Roatan. A laid-back tropical paradise. We meet our driver at the port and take some back roads to our snorkel boat. Al goes with us and points out eels, octopii (??), starfish, lion fish and other creatures.

The deck of the Norwegian Sun. We leave Tampa and return next week.

 Passing under the Skyway at sunset.

 Mrs. Phred.

 Roatan mangroves. The waves on the  barrier reef are just visible,

I got a deal on an hour of internet for $5 at the dock. Decided to slap together a fast blog.

Ed and Gail are feeding the cat back in Sarasota.

Barbara runs a great snorkle trip. Her company is Upachaya. She has cultivated many exotic fruit trees and runs a wellness B&B....After the swim she makes a great lunch and an ialand drink.

Reporting from the Coxen Hole Port of Roatan....Phred Firecloud, roving jounalist...

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Where the great giraffe is stored?

Sometimes what people hear is way better than the original lyrics. "He has trampled on the village where the great giraffe is stored" is certainly more evocative than the cryptic original, "He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored."

The Grapes of Wrath...where are they stored anyway? Are the people going to rise up against the bankers and politicos? The midterm elections are coming. We saw an old guy wearing a t-shirt with a peace symbol that said " seemed very dated and ironic in context.

They played the Battle Hymn of the Republic when President Bush spoke to the Nation after 9/11 and promised us a "Crusade"....I thought I'd choke ...maybe I can get it as a ring tone...
Revelation 14:19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great wine press of the wrath of God.
Revelation 14:20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
You might also like, "He's the champion out of Venice where the great surf master scored." (1600 furlongs = 321.8688 kilometers)....or "He is trampling through the vintage where the caves of rattlers snored".
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
"Glory Glory Hardly Knew Ya!"

Mrs. Phred want to improve her mind with math, puzzles and music. We are also looking for a xylophone that will fit well into the RV and fold easily for transport.

I can see us doing the karaoke circuit in Paris. I'll sing "Summertime" while she accompanies me on the xylophone.

"Suppertime, and the liver was greasy..".

'Scuse me, while I kiss this guy....

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Venice Blues Festival

There is a rhythm that you need to feel to put up a satisfying blog. At least I do. Without interesting pictures or something to say, the frequency of the posts drops way off. My muse has become shy lately about removing her diaphanous gown...probably a function of advancing years and decaying brain cells..

 We have been adopted by a black cat. It was a timid little kitten with golden eyes last month. His name is "Kitty". He has grown quickly and become an aggressive hunter-killer, going after squirrels and other small game. He is very affectionate...he shows this by purring and digging his claws and teeth into the parts of you that he can reach.

 We went to the Venice Blues Festival with Ken and Karen. Good lunch at the new Fin's Restaurant upstairs at Sharkey's on the beach, followed by a bike ride and a few hours of blues....

I've would like to  something about  the Veteran's Day just passed. I was advised in the early 70s by HR professionals to take the five years of Viet Nam experience off my resume and make something else up to account for the time spent. That and being lectured about the war by middle-aged co-worker ladies are my fondest memories of a fickle, mindless public. Sheep, easily manipulated by corporate big media.

The Florida Blues Brothers were the comic relief at the festival. This one must be Jake, judging by the girth. He saw Carol dancing to the sound way back in the crowd and came back to express his admiration.

 Got a shot of this bird drying its wings at the concert.

 Florida can produce a sunset now and then.

Friday, 31 October 2014

The Okeechobee Waterway

Bob and Ken's Excellent Adventure

Ken purchased a sailboat on the East coast of Florida. It was in dry dock in a Marina in Stuart, Florida. It's a 32 foot Catalina with radar and a lot of other sophisticated electronics.

Ken  invited me to help him move it about 250 miles to his slip in Bradenton on the West Coast. The trip will prove to last five days.

The Okeechobee Waterway is a combination of rivers, canals, locks, bays and Lake Okeechobee that cuts 150 miles across Florida running generally east to west. The lake is about 35 miles wide. It is  the second largest lake located entirely within the US.

The mosquitoes begin to swarm at twilight each night. We're on the edge of the Everglades as we motor four days along the waterway. One night we park in the intersection of a bunch of busy channels. The police come and politely suggest that we relocate.

We pass though five locks and get raised and lowered as much as 14 feet. My job is mostly to steer once in a while, move the fenders from port to starboard, wash dishes and help with the mooring lines.

Our first scare comes the 2nd day in the middle of lake Okeechobee. We've been motoring on the diesel for about 12 hours and the fuel gauge hasn't moved off full. We begin to suspect the the gauge is broken and wonder if we might be running dry.

We find a marina and refuel. It turns out that the diesel only burns half a gallon per hour at a cruising speed of six nautical miles per hour.  The gauge hasn't moved much because the boat hasn't burned a lot of fuel.

There are many nice homes along the canal in the middle of nowhere.

We swim in the canal and later in the Gulf of Mexico. Ken is scrubbing stains off the boat during his swim time..

The second day we discover that the boat was purchased with a full holding tank and a completely clogged sewage system. Fortunately,  Ken is very handy  at problem solving and he gets all the lines unclogged. We get pumped out at the City docks in Fort Myers.

We pump out again and refuel in Sarasota at Marina Jacks after spending the night in Venice and sailing with the jib and main sail along the West coast.

We arrive in Bradenton at low tide and run aground in the shallow canal leading to Ken's boat slip. We spend four hours waiting for the tide to come back enough to raise us off the bottom.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Fantasy Zone

Key West

The Fantasy Fest in Key West is held every year near Halloween. Some of the costumes (or lack thereof) are somewhat ribald. I've edited out the raunchiest of these, but there are some shots here that might not be suitable for viewing by those persons under 21 years of age.