Capt. Bill Pike's blog
I don't think I'd ever seen anything quite like it before. There was a light rain falling at the time--as there often is in the Pacific Northwest--and I was walking down the long dock at Skyline Marina in Anacortes, Washington. And the vision ahead seemed like pure romance, or maybe pure cinematic romance is more like it. I swear. Had Humphrey Bogart himself swung open the watertight door of the buff-colored superstructure and stepped out into the chilly air to study the sky and pull up the collar of his pea coat, I wouldn't have been a bit surprised.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve become a tad cynical over the years. So when the Deepwater Horizon exploded catastrophically on April 20, 2010, killing 11 crewmen, I cynically watched developments on TV, day after day, feeling steadily more dismal over the resultant oil spill and what it was gonna do to the Gulf Coast and, more particularly (and selfishly perhaps), Panama City, Florida, the place where my wife and I were keeping our Grand Banks trawler Betty Jane. Having spent several of my youthful years working on oil-field boats in the Gulf, a job that put me cheek-by-jowl with big oil companies like BP, I figured I knew the score. Everybody was gonna lose … except BP!
A few weekends ago, I was elbow deep in Betty Jane's annual oil-change (a day-long extravaganza that usually entails, besides the oil deal, a total swap-out of coolant and filters) when I heard something strange and seemingly far off.
A bagpipe? Playing The Marine's Hymn?
There’s more to after-dark navigation than having high-falutin’ electronics onboard.
I'm not going to be unduly negative in the following little dittie I hope, just informative. If you're at all into onboard DIY these days, you've undoubtedly heard of Frogtape, a new product that purports to prevent tape-related bleed-through during painting projects, both big and small. My brother told me about the stuff and, at his behest, I used some on a home-improvement job I had going around the ol' ranchero.
Funny thing about sunsets, a naturally groovy phenomenon you tend to see a lot of while traveling onboard a boat like my relatively slow, leave-at-dawn-arrive-sometime-after-the-moon-comes-up trawler Betty Jane. On the one hand, there's a certain similarity amongst most of them I suppose, but on the other, most all have their unique characteristics, their foibles.
"So just climb in there, Bill," Marc Deppe of Triton Subs told me. "Yup. Yup. That's right. Operating this sub is about as intuitive as breathing."
After a second or two, there I was, seated at the helm of the Triton sub simulator in Vero Beach. With the surface of some computer-generated water dead ahead at about eye-level. And a few computer-generated fish cruising past. And then a shark. Yikes! A hammerhead!