Who Am I?

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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

24 February 2007

Company Barbecue, Part I

We had a little company barbecue on last Saturday night. I'd been wanting to have some sort of company picnic or barbecue since before Christmas. But it was logistically too hard to put together. We have about forty workers. Half of them come from the Cay or its nearby neighbor town of Pelican; the other half come from a town on the other end of Guanaja called Savannah Bight. The job site is roughly equidistant from the two towns, but there is really nothing to do there (and I'm not crazy about having kids running around with all of the hazards a construction site contains). Getting everyone in the same place at the same time is tough enough on a normal work day.

The simplest solution was to have two parties! A little more expensive, but better for the guys and better overall.

The first one was planned for Saturday night on the Cay. A house was arranged. It seems that people are always willing to lend us their houses. Or should I say, the underneath of their houses. Most homes here are built up on stilts, leaving a big, open party area below. Conveniently, most houses even have a bathroom for this downstairs area.

I had some chorizo sausage flown up from La Ceiba. We grilled it up and served it with soft tortillas, chimol (pronounced "she-MOLE" and is what they call salsa here) and black beans. "Slap-yo-mama good" as they say in New Orleans! Which is an expression I've never quite understood. I mean, I lived/worked in south Louisiana for a long time, and I never actually heard anyone say in the first-person, after taking a bite of something, "Meh-yeah, cher! You know, this makes me want to slap my mama." But I digress. It was damn good chorizo.

Mmmm, chorizo!

Our worker Donovan Bodden brought his computer with its thousand-song music library and hooked it into a little stereo. Chorizo and beer and good friends and loud Soca music - that's about as good as it gets, man! (It is a simple life here, and for me that is one of the big attractions.) Lots of people pitched in and helped - like our tireless, always-smiling foreman Lalo Suazo and even former-employee and all-around great guy Negy Chiessa without both of whom there would not have been a party.

Not as many people showed up as I'd expected though, which is kind of puzzling. Free food? Free beer? My guys are usually not the type to turn such an opportunity down.

There weren't many girls that came. There never are, for some reason that eludes me. Banacca is a male-dominated place. I know for a fact that there are women on the Cay - I have personally seen them; they just don't show up for parties, evidently. At least, not the beer-drinkin', sausage-eatin', raucous parties that we end up having. Okay, there were some women who came, so it wasn't a total "sausage-fest." But really, not many came.

Negy did bring his beautiful wife Susane (just say "Suzy"). They'd been living together as a married couple for a long time. However, they finally made it official and had an actual ceremony on Valentine's Day. Heh-heh, smart guy, that Negy. You know that he will never forget his wedding anniversary...

Negy, Susane, and Kelcy

Kelcy is not as drunk as he looks in the picture. He'd been cooking the chorizos over the grill and smoke all night by this time. Well, okay, he is pretty drunk too.

There are always cute kids who want their picture taken.

A proverbial good time! One of our workers, Sargento, showed up and immediately started dancing. And boy, could he dance! People will surprise you sometimes, and Sargento surprised everyone. Funny thing about dancing: Guys don't like to do it. But if one starts, the others will join in. Suddenly there were a whole bunch of people dancing! Except for yours truly of course. First off, I have that old football/war injury to the knee (one or the other, I forget), but in addition I was drunk but not that drunk, thank you very much.

And speaking of drunks...

Kenny, Larry, Jose-Luis and Tingo (from left)

Kenny and Jose-Luis are our workers. Larry is a bartender up at Graham's Place, and Tingo works for Sosa Airlines. Good guys, good friends, and a good-looking bunch to boot, aren't they? Except for that chin-whisker thing that is so popular among single guys who mistakenly think it makes them look better. Still, you'd think women would be lining up for these guys. But nooooooo. (By the way, can you tell which one of the above guys is married?)

Ah yes, it's all fun and games until someone knocks over the grill. Thanks, Tingo! Have another beer!

The party broke up around midnight. Most of us meandered down to La Cueva, the local disco ("The Cave"). It was there that I found all of the women of Guanaja, hanging around and trying to get the drunk guys to buy them drinks. Silly girls - they just should have come to our party!

We still had another barbecue to give for the workers in Savannah Bight. The only things I was going to make sure of was that: 1) Donovan came with his music; and 2) Sargento came and got there early. Chorizo and beer are one thing (two things, actually) but it's the music and dancing that make it a party!

21 February 2007

Many Happy Returns (Okay, Two)

I have done a lot of "medical flights" since the helicopter and I arrived here in August, 2006. Most if not all were true "life or death" situations in which the person's (or their unborn child's) life would have been in grave danger if they had not gotten off Guanaja pronto. As such, they are stressful events for all involved, including me. I hate seeing people in pain.

But of all of the people I've taken down to the mainland, I usually don't see them again. They get better, or not (sadly) but in any event we don't transport them back up to Guanaja by helicopter - except in the one case of the woman from here who had a heart attack in La Ceiba and who wanted to die in her own bed - we made an exception there.

Our foreman Devant has an older brother (about my age) who was in a bad car wreck in Miami a while back that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Once his injuries healed, he was shuffled off to a long-term care facility (read: nursing home) that was by all reports just a terrible place. He was not receiving the kind of care he needed. Devant's family decided to bring him to Guanaja. They fixed up a room in a house down on the Cay, and arranged transportation from Miami to the island of Roatan (since there is no direct service to Guanaja from anywhere but La Ceiba). Once he was in Roatan, we flew down in the helicopter yesterday to fetch him.

We weren't sure whether he would need a stretcher or if he could sit in one of the seats. Luckily, he was able to sit up. We loaded him in the ship, strapped him in and were gone from Roatan in record time. I took the long way home, flying low along the island, over all the little towns that dot the south shore. Devant's family was from Roatan, and in their youth, he and Lanier had spent a lot of time diving and boating the many coves, inlets and bays of the island. They shared a lot of memories on that flight. I really couldn't bring myself to rush it.

Up at Guanaja, we circled around the whole island - the big tour. I don't know how many more chances Lanier will have to get out and around; the facilities for handicapped people such as he are simply nonexistent. So I wanted to give him a good look - something to hold in his mind. I have a feeling that the only thing he's going to be seeing from now on are the four walls of his new room.
It was a truly great flight.

And then today I got another boost! I got to bring back up to Guanaja someone who was so seriously injured that many of us thought he was a goner: Marcos Ortega, the Belco (power company) employee who got electrocuted when the power pole he was climbing turned out to be, in fact, live. It happened back in early November. You may remember the story I wrote about Marcos when it happened.

Marcos' injuries were very, very bad. Electrical burns are awful; they cook you from the inside out. He ended up losing his entire left arm (the whole thing, gone), his entire right leg (same thing) and most of his left foot. If there were any other appendages damaged, I do not want to know about them. For more than a week afterward, it was still touch-and-go whether he would live. But live, he did! Gradually, his strength grew and the doctors released him to go home. Understandably, Marcos went through a period of depression. He did not want to return to Guanaja immediately. He did not want his family and friends seeing him in such a state. But the human spirit is a wonderful thing, and it healed faster than his physical wounds.

So this morning, Roger Wood (the head of Belco) and I flew down to La Ceiba. We had told Marcos to be ready for a nine a.m. departure; he was there way early. We met him, his wife Georgina and a whole entourage of people at the airport. Marcos seemed in surprisingly good spirits, smiling and eager to be on his way.

We gave him the front seat for the ride back. Again, I took the scenic route, a slight diversion over the Cayos Cuchinos (Hog Islands), a startlingly beautiful group of little cays surrounding two big islands. Nobody seems to know much about the Cayos. There are apparently places to stay there - rustic-looking "resorts." But huge, above-ground water tanks point to a lack of natural fresh water (why no ground-level cisterns?) and I'm not sure what the electrical power situation is. Still, they look like a wonderful, undiscovered vacation spot - if you happen to speak Spanish, which I'm sure is pretty much all they speak there.

Me, Georgina, and Marcos on the way home

Then we did the "tour around Guanaja." As we flew over the town of Savannah Bight I noticed a big crowd in a soccer field on the west side of town. Roger told us that they were all waiting for Marcos' arrival. I was, like, "Wh-wha-whaaaaat? I thought we were landing at the airport?" I guess it was one little detail they forgot to mention. Oh well, it was a big soccer field. My fear was that the helicopter would be swamped with people before I could get the rotors stopped. The tail rotor can be especially dangerous, because it is nearly invisible when it is spinning. And it will slice you up like a salami if you're not careful.

The crowd was excited...jubilant, even but very well-behaved. With their balloons and signs, they politely waited until we were completely shut down before mobbing us. Two ministers from the local Adventist church came and presided over a group prayer that not only welcomed Marcos home, but thanked God that he was even alive to come home! I don't know if you believe in miracles or not, but Marcos is a living, breathing testament to their existence. It was, I have to admit, a pretty emotional homecoming. Man, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. (We pilots wear dark sunglasses and baseball caps with the brim pulled down low so that we may maintain our "impassionate, coolly-detached" demeanor.)

Welcome Back!

Hey, Can't A Guy Get Some Room To Breath?

There are times when I am so very, very proud to be a pilot. Helicopters are a wonderful device, a terrific invention with many, varied uses. I've done a lot of things with helicopters over the years, from reporting on rush-hour traffic in New York City to flying roughnecks out in the Gulf of Mexico. I flew one for DHL Express that was painted up like one of their cargo vans and carried small packages and thing that had to be there faster than a van could do it. And I've slung all sorts of things underneath the helicopter when the cargo was so big it wouldn't fit inside. I've taken tourists to get an up-close-and-personal photograph of the face of the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor. And of course, I've flown people to the hospital when called upon. It's all been good. And when this marvelous, crazy contraption gets used in such a way as ours was over the last two days, it just makes me get all choked up.

Helicopters are just so damn cool!

19 February 2007

Nothing To Say But Saying It Anyway

Blogs can be...um, what's the word...boring! Yes, that's it. BO-RING! Which is why I don't subscribe to or read many of them. We all want each post to be scintillating, fascinating, and edge-of-your-seat riveting - but the (sad) fact is that most of us do not lead scintillating, fascinating, edge-of-your-seat riveting lives.

I was reading one guy's blog the other day. He was going on and on about being sick, about how he went out anyway to meet with a friend, a friend who was supposedly bringing Wendy's fast-food and how this guy was so expecting some Wendy's chili to help make him feel better...but the friend didn't bring the chili and you know if you want something done...

And I thought to myself, Oh dear Lord, will you just shut up!! I mean, really! Blogging about being sick? And then I went, Oh. Wait... I had done just that (see below). I went back to this guy's blog later and found that he'd posted about being sick for three days in a row! At least I didn't whine about it for that long.

Later on, he posted about "blogger's block." That is, having nothing to write about but feeling the self-imposed pressure to make a blog entry anyway, so you do. Then your blog becomes just one big snooze-fest. I try to avoid that, but even I sometimes think to myself, "Why am I writing this?" Like now.

15 February 2007

The Mayor and Me

I cannot win with this mayor. Can’t win! We got off on the wrong foot at the start and I have never been able to make it right. Let me explain...

When I first got here, some things became quickly evident. The Boss is an extremely generous man, and some people had learned to take full advantage of his generosity. Our own employees lied and stole from us (some still do, or try to), non-employees were always coming and begging for “loans” or just making outright demands for money, and some local suppliers jacked up their prices when they knew it was for our company. Oh, it was quite an education!

So I landed back on our cay after a medevac flight one day. On our boat dock was a group of about thirty elementary school-age kids, jumping into the water. I assumed – well, I don’t know what I assumed. All I knew was that I had not been informed that a group visit had been arranged, and I was supposed to be the Guy In Charge of Things Now.

Before I could shut the helicopter down, our caretaker Devant (who happened to be off the island) called about another matter. I asked him if he knew anything about the group. He did not. I went over, looking for a person-in-charge. There were a couple of women, none of whom spoke English, of course. But I managed to glean that Devant’s wife Elsie had invited the schoolkids. Okay…where was Elsie? No one knew, shrugs all around. Devant called back right then and said that she too was off the island.

So what we had was a large group of rowdy, basically unsupervised kids running all over the island and getting up on the decks of the unlocked cabins. Not good. What if one of them had gotten hurt? What if they damaged or stole something? I was not happy. But at that point at least I was there. I went into the main house to take care of some business. Not ten minutes later I came out of the office, looked out at the boat dock and saw...nobody! All gone! Just like that, they vanished like a UFO had sucked them up. I called Devant. “Uh, you sounded angry so I told them they better leave,” he explained.

Only later did I find out that one of the teacher/supervisors was the mayor’s wife. D’oh!

Okay, flash forward a couple of months. One evening I’m in up at Graham’s Place (a “resort” of sorts with a popular bar just two cays up from us) and who pops in but the mayor. I introduce myself and he politely says, “Ohhhh, so you’re Bob!” The expression on his face said, Ohhh, so you’re the asshole! I apologized profusely for the mix-up, explaining it as best I could. I got the feeling that it was doing no good.

Flash forward even further. One of our workers, Negy, is a trained accountant. For various reasons (that are logical in Honduras), he ended up working for us doing manual labor. But let’s face it, people need to be doing what they’re trained to do, and when an opening came up at the “Municipal” (city hall) he jumped on it. I was sorry to see him go, but you cannot hold someone back.

So last night I go up to Graham’s again. And again there’s the mayor. Big Valentine’s Day party for the whole Municipal staff. Started at three o’clock (so you know they were already all fired-up). I go over intending to make nice, all smiling and friendly and “how you doin’?” We’re making idle chit-chat like old friends now, and so I mention Negy and how much I hated losing him. “You stole a good man from us,” I said, jabbing at him.

Stone. Cold. Silence. If looks could kill, I’d be one dead gringo right about now.

You know, it was one of “those” moments, like on t.v. when someone in a crowd does or says something incredibly dumb, and the music stops, a glass breaks, all conversation stops and there’s this big awkward silence as everyone turns and looks? Just like that. And there’s me, tugging at my tie like Rodney friggin’ Dangerfield.

“I did not steal him,” the mayor said icily. “He came of his own volition.”

Oh Dear Mother of God. Jeez-Louise! Don’t these people have ANY sense of humor? Evidently the mayor does not like the word “steal” to be associated with him in any form, even a light-hearted joke.

“Richmond, it’s just a business expression,” I explained lamely. “I simply mean that I feel robbed of a good employee. I’d never hold Negy back, and I’m really, really happy for him and happy for you to have him! I’m not trying to say you stole him…”

But I got that feeling again, like anything I could say would be useless. So I cut my losses and went for a drink or maybe to shoot myself.

Negy joined me at the bar and we toasted his new job. “You’ve got to work on the mayor,” I said. “Tell him I’m not such a bad guy.” He promised he would. But the damage is already done. Once you take a disliking to someone, it’s hard to turn that around. At least it is for me. Luckily I’ve got a “man on the inside” who can vouch for me personally. But I believe it’s an uphill battle.

12 February 2007

Chasing Waterfalls

Matt and I are freaks for waterfalls. We discovered this mutual appreciation for them by accident, while hiking in northern Georgia. That whole area of the southeastern U.S. (where Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina all come together) is just chock-full of all sorts of waterfalls, making it a paradise for those who like that sort of thing. And who doesn't like waterfalls? Check out this site!

Nature-boys that we are, we had originally just gone up to Georgia to hike and camp and maybe canoe. We'd heard about some neat trails into gorges and rivers that sounded interesting. We're not extreme-outdoorsmen or anything, but he and I are always up for new adventures. It's great having someone who has the same passions and enthusiasm for things as you - especially someone with whom you get along so well. In spite of our age difference, or maybe because of it, Matt and I do get along very well on the road. We gel. We click. He's the Seinfeld to my Costanza, the Sundance Kid to my Butch Cassidy (check out these lines from that movie), the Barney Fife to my Sheriff Taylor. He spurs me on to do things my natural conservatism (and advanced years) might otherwise inhibit, and I act as a moderating influence on his boyish, impulsive craziness. In all of our years of hanging out and traveling together, I cannot remember one fight or even minor disagreement on the road or off. We always have fun.

Here on Guanaja we have many waterfalls. They are the source of our unique and abundant fresh water. It comes over in aquifers under the sea from mainland Honduras, goes up through the hills of Guanaja and spout out of the top in many places, flowing fresh water down like God's own irrigation system and producing this lush vegetation. It is why there can be such an island with as much brackish wetlands and mangrove swamps as Guanaja out in the middle of nowhere. It is said that as long as there is rain in Honduras, Guanaja will always have water.

Two of these waterfalls are on the north side of the island, accessible to the public...more or less. Matt and I knew that we had to hike them. As luck would have it, everyone else wanted to, too.

The "small" falls is actually the better of the two. A relatively easy climb up from Bo's bar, it drops into a small-but-swimmable pool. The hills go way on up, and we tried climbing above it, but given the roughness of the terrain, our inappropriate footwear and our limited time we had to abort.

Obligatory waterfall picture

(Hey, when did I get that old and gray...and fat!)

Okay, so it's not Niagara Falls. The waterfalls on Guanaja are more like very steep streams, flowing down from their outflow at the top of the mountain. Did we care? No! They were trails to be hiked because, in the words of Sir Edmund Hillary, they were there. And so were we, coincidentally.

We had chosen the first, smaller of the two because the entire group of, like, 16 people we were with decided to climb up to the "big" falls. Mind you, this was a group of middle-aged (and beyond) women lead by the boss's wife Martha and including Daniel our cook and our foreman Devant and his two kids. Not exactly your basic Everest expedition.

Having hung out at the small falls as long as we could, taking the obligatory pictures (see above), we finally start up to the big falls. Immediately we know something's up. This was no piece-of-cake hike up a trail. It was steep! And arduous. There were slippery, tricky areas where we had to do a lot of actual hand-over-hand rock-climbing. We kept thinking that we must have passed the group somewhere...that they must not have come this far (nearly all of them were all older than me!)...that they must have turned around and we somehow missed them. Could we have? We kept climbing and climbing, wondering what we had gotten ourselves into?

And then we met Martha's group on the way down, coming down from the top! She was smiling...laughing, even! Matt and I were, like, "What the...?" Martha had brought along a workout trainer, a younger-than-them, impossibly slim, grouchy taskmistress who cajoled them the whole time about eating right and exercising. She was the first one down the hill.

"How is it?" we asked her.

"Well, it's okay if you like waterfalls," she replied rather churlishly. Skinny people can be so bitchy.

Matt and I looked at each other and smiled. That, we did. And we had just met the first person who evidently does not like waterfalls.

Anyway, we let the group pass and then, slightly embarassed and chastened for thinking the trek was sooo hard, resumed our climb to the top. To be honest, it was - dare I say it - unimpressive. For one thing, it wasn't all that tall. Large rocks had fallen into what was once a nice, big pool (or so we are told). We tried to get some pictures, but just couldn't get anything that did it justice. Waterfalls are strange that way. If you shoot them without perspective, like from too close, you can't really tell anything about them other than...well yeah, that's some water there.

From the air (my lucky vantage point), we knew that there were even more falls on that stream - at least two more - further up the hill But again, time constraints and a lack of proper equipment stymied us that day. Matt's just going to have to come back when we don't have any guests here and we'll take the time to hike this place right!

09 February 2007

Being Sick In Paradise

I never get sick. I'm lucky that way, I guess. No colds, no flu. Plenty of hangovers, okay, but those are self-inflicted. And it's not that I'm an ironman or anything; I'm most definitely not. I just don't like being sick. When you're single and don't have someone to take care of you, being sick in bed is just not a attractive option.

We had guests down this past week. One by one, they were felled by a mysterious and nasty virus or something - a 36-hour bug of some sort that's been going around all of Guanaja. Both of my foremen were hit, as well as the toddler child of one of our housekeeping staff, who had to go to a doctor on the mainland. As our guests succumbed, it had them confined to their rooms where they could be close to a bathroom. I watched with a sort of detached smugness. Heh, *I* wasn't going to get sick, oh no.

Oh yes.

He is human after all, folks. It hit me like a ton of bricks Thursday afternoon. Whoa, not fun. Friday dawned picture-perfect, a Chamber-of-Commerce day, maybe one of the prettiest days Guanaja has ever had. Ever. But between the puking and the...well, I'll spare you the details but it was pretty gross, I barely noticed. I couldn't drag myself out of bed until nearly midday, which is simply unheard of for me. But Friday is payday for the guys, and they don't care that I'm sick, or even dead - they want their money! I thought about going over to the worksite in my unshaven, unshowered, smelly state, but the guys would just think I was trying to be more like them. (OW! I did *not* say that.)

So it's Friday night and I'm finally feeling better. But food and drink are the farthest things from my mind, so I must still be at least a little sick. And it sucks, because when you're sick in Guanaja, you can't enjoy paradise.

06 February 2007

Broken Speedboat

In the interest of honesty and self-disclosure I must make the following admission: I crashed the boat. Not bad, but bad enough. People told me it would happen sooner or later; I had just kinda hoped it would be later. I bring this up, not out of some misguided sense of guilt or a neurotic need to incriminate myself. I mention it because there is a story. In Honduras, there is always a story...

Ours starts out a couple of weeks ago, when we had all those women visiting. On Tuesday, January 23rd they wanted to go hiking up the waterfalls and snorkeling at Michael's Rock. We loaded up into two boats and headed for Bo's, which would be our central rendezvous point. Devant took some of the women in his speedboat; I took the rest in the boss's boat. He had to stop for gas - I went on ahead (first and biggest mistake).

The island of Guanaja is ringed with coral. It can be tricky to navigate through. I had been to Bo's all of twice, and thought I knew the safe way (second mistake). After coming out of the canal that allows passage from one side of Guanaj to the other, I turned eastbound, directly for Michael's Rock. Shortly, we hit something, hard. Not a log or a piece of driftwood, this felt bad. Martha, the boss's wife was sitting in the back of the boat facing rearward. "A prop blade just flew off!" she reported. "Are we somewhere we shouldn't be?" Yes, even she knew. The boat continued to run, so we pressed on.

At Bo's I surveyed the damage. There is what they call a "lower unit" on the outboard. It is a bullet-shaped metal piece in which are set the gears that change the vertical drive of the shaft coming down from the engine to the horizontal drive of the prop. Also, it holds the bearing that the propshaft rides in. A huge chunk of this lower unit was missing. I could see the propshaft bearing. It was like looking at an ugly, horrible wound. The boat still ran, barely, and did actually get us home. But it was clearly not happy and there's no telling how long it would have continued to run in that condition (best bet: not long).

Okay, needless to say there's not a lower unit for a 115 h.p. Yamaha four-stroke outboard anywhere in Honduras. I didn't expect anything different. So on Wedneday, January 24th I called our trusty friend Al, who works in our Florida office. I gave him every bit of information I could glean from the powerplant and asked him to find me a new lower unit. Oh, and please do it before the airplane comes back down this week?

Turns out that this particular outboard is not an American engine. Evidently Yamaha expected four-stroke outboards to take off in popularity. This did not happen, and the engine was not marketed in the United States. How we ended up with it here in Honduras is anybody's guess. Operator's Manual? Service Manual? Parts Manual? Nope, nothing, nada. But Al is nothing if not incredibly resourceful. Miracle of miracles, he was able to source a new lower unit - in Jamaica! He got it shipped to Florida and, unbelievably, it made it in time to get on the plane by the February 3rd departure. The airplane arrived here in Guanaja on Saturday as scheduled, and I was relieved to see the new lower unit. It's tough having a boat out of commission for any length of time, and it had already been nearly two weeks.

End of story? Hah. I wish. This past Sunday, the local boat mechanic agreed to put our speedboat back together. In the afternoon we got the call with the bad news.

Did you know that boat propellors can turn in different directions? I didn't. It stands to reason though. For boats that have more than one engine, you'd want the props to counter-rotate for a number of sound, logical reasons. So the manufacturers make the lower units in such a way that the props can turn clockwise or counter-clockwise. The one that had been on our speedboat turned clockwise. The new lower unit turned the prop counter-clockwise. But it had not come with a prop. Aw, shit!

I hear your question already: "What's the problem? Why not just find a prop that turns counter-clockwise and bolt it on?" That's what I asked! Well for one thing, so-called "left-hand" props are almost unheard of here in Honduras. Nobody uses them and nobody stocks them. Plus, we already have two "right-hand" props which would be instantly turned to the status of...well, junk.

Now, this is not a Honduras problem, strictly speaking. Except that because of our remoteness, we can't exactly put the lower unit in the back of the pickup truck and take it back to where we bought it. Oh no. It's got to go back on the airplane, then back to Florida, then back to Jamaica. Hopefully, we'll be able to find the proper lower unit...someplace...and get it to Florida in time for the airplane's next departure - as of right now, that date is Friday, February 23rd.

So our boat, like our front-end loader before, will be "down" for at least a month. I'm getting a strong sense of deja vu all over again*. The boss is pissed, of course and who could blame him? On the other hand, while we have the boat out of service we can use the opportunity to do some much-needed other maintenance. So I guess there's a good side to this. But a happy ending? We'll have to wait and see about that. There will be a "Part 2" to this - I'm just not sure when it will be.

*Yogi Berra was a famous and eminently quotable baseball player and manager (New York Yankees and Mets) who was given to malapropism. Examples: "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded," and "It ain't over till it's over." He is generally credited with that "...deja vu all over again," line.

04 February 2007

Looking Out My Back Door

Guanaja At Night

Now that’s odd, really odd. There’s been a full moon out lately. Bright. I got up early one morning (4:30-ish) and it looked like it was already daylight. The moon was hanging low over Guanaja, lighting up the island like the sun. I grabbed my camera and headed out onto the deck, wondering if any pictures would come out.

One great thing about digital cameras is that you can see the results of your handiwork immediately, unlike conventional cameras in which you have to wait until you get the film back from the developer. In the same way computer word processors have revolutionized writing and made typewriters obsolete, so digital cameras have revolutionized photography. You snap away, making adjustments on the fly, then download the pics into your computer and see which one came out best. Almost instant gratification. The result is what you see above. It doesn't really capture how light it was out, but it's a neat picture. (Digital cameras are cool, but they are limited in the range of adjustments. I wish I could have gotten the lens to stay open longer. Oh, well.)

So I was going to write a short post about it. I toyed with the idea of calling it “Bad Moon Rising,” in reference to the old Creedence Clearwater Revival song. But it wasn’t rising, it was setting. And it certainly wasn’t a bad moon, it was a great moon! So any cleverness at using somebody else’s title would be lost.

Anyway, I’m in my room writing this post. Outside on the deck, Matt Hewatt, one of our favorite “regular” guests had set up his iPod in a way-cool docking station that allows you to play your songs through speaker. Sounds great! It’s on, loud, and I can hear it clearly in my room. Matt’s got a great collection of songs on his iPod, from the requisite Jimmy Buffet to Tracy Bird to Cyndi Lauper to B.B. King. As I listen, Credence’s “Bad Moon Rising” comes on! I said to myself, “Self, now that there is one big co-inky-dink!”

A couple of other Credence songs were played (obviously Matt’s iPod wasn’t in “shuffle” mode). In the end I decided not to call this post, “Bad Moon Rising.” Using a song title is just dumb.

But it was a great moon.