I shot the photo shown above while solo-cruising Betty Jane just this past weekend. I say solo-cruising because my wife BJ did not exactly declare that she wouldn't join me but somehow, at the last minute more or less, found an excuse for not going along. The reasoning behind her decision was an elemental one, I suspect, albeit quite common in the Sunny South this time of year.
"Do you have any idea how hot it's supposed to be today, Bill?" she queried in that tone of voice affected by wives who've dispensed with all youthful illusion thanks to a long and (for the most part) happy married life. "It was 104 degrees just this past Thursday?"
Logic and rational argument seldom influence my choices. And indeed, the mercury had arisen to something like 104 earlier in the week. But extreme meteorological and other conditions are the concern of less hardy souls, it often seems to me. And besides, I hadn't done a cruise of any significance in weeks. I needed one to generate a blog entry.
Of course, I deployed the bimini on the flying bridge before leaving the marina. Yet even within its pale shadow, the heat seemed to almost vibrate as I sat at the wheel, an impression that was reinforced by the shimmer coming off the prostrate waters in the distance. "Holy smokes," I gasped after making less than an hour's seven-knot progress. "It is hot!"
Which was about the time I noticed it. The black knob atop the shift lever of my Morse engine control, no doubt in part due to its full-blown exposure to the sun, was exhibiting a dicey little crack. Moreover, when I reached forward to doodle momentarily with it--my habit almost since birth has been to doodle momentarily with stuff that looks broken or otherwise messed up, sometimes to my great chagrin--the darn thing simply shattered in my hand. And what's more, I soon discovered that the black knob at the lower helm (shown in the photo below) did the same darn thing.
"Holy smokes," I gasped all over again, "It IS hot!
And this tragic little tale of hot woe might have ended right there had it not been for one thing.
Remember how recently in the pages of PMY (check out: Nav Tricks for the iPhone in the July issue) I so glibly and whole-heartedly extolled the virtues of the iPhone and its many apps and features and how some of them may undoubtedly presage the use of the iPhone for navigational backup?
I tried several times to use my iPhone to call BJ from the flying bridge to make sure she was fully updated on the level of hellish circumstance I was stout-heartedly enduring and each and every time a warning came flashing upon the dim (almost unreadable) screen, and I paraphrase here: Turn Me Off, You Fool...I Am Too Hot To Trot...I Am Frying Like A Hamburger I Will Soon Be Done. And I Do Mean Done, Buddy!
My Garmin plotter continued to function nicely while this sad business was dragging on, by the way. So much for iPhone nav, I'm afraid, at least when summertime prevails in the tropics.