Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Salts and Saltines

Marathon, Florida
24 42.40 081 N 05.68 W

Yesterday I attended a seminar on Celestial Navigation.  It was very interesting.  Not because of the celistial stuff (which I've heard before), but rather because the captain who presented was a genuine old salt.  Sorry, I did not catch his name.

As he spoke, ostensibly about things celestial, he revealed much about the life nautical in the merchant marine.   He found it intuitively simple to use different navigation techniques in the Tropics, as compared to the North Sea near Norway.   He discussed ways to find pawn shops in port cities where mariners hock their sextants.   He talked about being a third mate being tutored by a more experienced captain.  He talked about equipment and methods of navigation adapted to WWII life rafts and WWII submarines.  He described how some of the navigation methods were discovered superstitiously by past navigators and captains.   In other words, he knew the life nautical in depth.  Total immersion. No matter what subject was being discussed, he couldn't help revealing the mariner's perspective.

I enjoyed it thoroughly.  It is one of the pleasures of cruising to be able to rub shoulders with such original characters.

In parallel with that, Libby restarted her pine needle basket lessons to ladies from the harbor she's made friends with.  Libby really loved doing that last year, and I'm glad she started again.

If the navigation man and I are old salts, what should we call Libby and her friends; old saltines?   No no, I would never do that.  They are a lovely, lively, sexy gang of girls.

We also make two runs to Big Pine Key this week with help from friends Sandra and Bob who have a car here.   She picked up seven paper bags full of high quality needles.  That's a good thing because a massive pine needle project she's working on had depleted her supply (I'll blog about that when she's ready.)

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