Capt. Bill Pike's blog

Fright Night

 

Illustration by Gil AdamsThere’s more to after-dark navigation than having high-falutin’ electronics onboard.

 
I was curious, really. I hadn’t done any hard-core, nighttime navigation in years. Sure, over the past couple of decades, I’d briefly piloted a few recreational vessels around in the dark, plying parts of rivers and bayous with little more than a chartplotter, a careful hand on the wheel, and a trusty spotlight. But frankly, in all that time I’d never shepherded a vessel through the darkness into a big, working seaport with radar as my primary navigational tool. Would I be as good as I used to be?

Is Frogtape Froggy Enough?

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.

Holidays Before the Holidays

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.

Dive Dive Dive

"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!

The Virtues of the Flying Bridge

Okay. I'm probably going to create a little controversy with this baby, but what the heck. Over the years, here and there, I've had the opportunity to operate any number of large watercraft, often at night, during bouts of rather snotty weather, and (with what seemed to me like) the highly inconvenient absence of a flying bridge.

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