Monday, September 15, 2008

More on SPOT

I hope everyone got the test message from SPOT earlier today.
Here's a little more info on the system.
SPOT is a handheld device that allows 3 simple messages to be sent via satellite to the SPOT home office. Depending on which message was sent an "OK" will be sent to my list (you guys) or a "HELP" message will be sent to those I designate or "911" which will activate the Coast Guard and tell them my position.
For more details on how SPOT works, see

Find Me SPOT

A test message

If you are a subscriber, you should have received a test message from the SPOT system.
The first line of the message is a personal note from us, and it will probably be the same every time. The message will also include the Lat & Long of our position, the time (in GMT, so you will have to calculate the local time) and a link to Google Maps. Click the link to see exactly where we are.
The test message was sent from the deck of the boat as she's tied up at Tim and Julie's house so it shows us a few feet out in the canal behind their house.

OK ESN:0-7359581

This is Mike and Bev just letting you know that we're OK.
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:09/15/2008 22:42:08 (GMT),-82.7422&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

A new feature.

Within the next day or so we will be installing a new feature on the blog. It's called SPOT. Whenever we are traveling, you will receive an email from us (if you are a subscriber) that will tell you we are OK and include a link to Google maps. Click the link and you will see exactly where we are!
The SPOT system is also an emergency notification/locator system so if we should ever get in trouble, SPOT will notify the Coast Guard of our exact location.
Watch for the test message today or tomorrow.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

It's official!

The bird's name is Capt. Morgan.
The final vote was Capt Morgan-6 votes, Hemingway-3, Capt Sparrow-2, Charlie-3. So...
the tiny little bird will be stuck with the official moniker "Captain Charlie Hemingway Morgan." For short, he will be "Morgan," "Captain," or maybe "Skipper." He's coming along quite nicely. He did a very clear wolf whistle today, and is on his way to learning to say "Hello" & "Good morning." He's a lot of fun to watch and listen to. I think we will enjoy having him as part of our crew.
Thank you, Julie and Tim.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

2 seconds of fame!

Today, we are watching the "Rally for the Republic," (C-SPAN2) the kickoff meeting for the "Campaign for Liberty. It is an organization started by former Presidential candidate Ron Paul.
At one point during the broadcast they showed a clip of Ron speaking in St. Petersburg and there...right in the front row of the audience...guess who: Bev and I! I guess we have used up 2 seconds of our 15 minutes.
To learn more about the "Campaign for Liberty" see the link on the main page of the blog.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Gustav & Chandra

Chandra has gone home. We put her on a plane for Sacramento yesterday and we miss her already. She is really a neat kid.
On Saturday, we took Julie and Tim out for a sail. They are officers in the Sail and Power Squadron in Clearwater and the Squadron had planned a rendezvous for 1:00 PM. The designated coordinates were about 19 miles from here so it took all morning to get there. As always, we checked the weather forecast and it looked fine. It was a great morning on the water, but by afternoon we were starting to see some T-storms on the radar. By the time we anchored at the designated spot we could see a storm approaching from the east. We sat out the brief storm at anchor, but then we could see that it was followed by a whole line of storms. We decided to head back immediately.
Along the way home, one more storm passed over us. There was wind, rain and few close-by lightning strikes, but the boat handled the conditions well. Chandra and Julie stayed warm and dry in the cabin while Bev and Tim and I stayed on deck. The storm passed by quickly and the rest of the trip home went without incident. We made it back safe and sound, right on schedule. In hindsight (always 20-20) it wasn't a good day to have been out, but I learned a little something about the boat and my ability to handle her in less than ideal conditions. I was nervous, but never worried. Now we all have a good sailing tale to tell.
When we got back to the house and checked the weather on TV it turned out that the storms we experienced were part of the leading edge of Gustav. It seems that Gustav picked up speed during the day and spread out a bit to produce the line of storms that hit us. So much for the "calm before the storm" stuff.