Directions

Our latest entry always comes up first...

Click this link if you want to start at the beginning of our trip from
South Carolina (where we bought the boat) to Lake Ontario Click this link:

If you want to see the story of our 2 1/2 year project getting
Blowin' Bubbles ready for our life on board click here:
FIRST "REFIT" BLOG ENTRY - March 2011

If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP - July 2014
2015, 2016, 2017

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Busy Week, Crazy Weather!

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This week the island experienced another Norte (north wind) and cold temperatures (mid 70's) that caused the port to be closed for a day, On Monday it re-opened with caution where 2 boats (not ours or Papa Hogs) sunk.  One was a snorkeling boat and the other was an open transom dive boat. I am not sure what happened to the snorkeling boat, but the dive boat was apparently stern to wind picking up divers when big wave pooped the deck and sunk the boat in about 40 feet of water....  It has since been recovered and no one was hurt in either incident...

All that said, conditions here in Cozumel have been a little different this week.

On Saturday, before the wind picked up, we moved Blowin' Bubbles into the Caleta (marina).  The officials simply require us to seek permission, in writing, for safe harbor during the bad weather and we do not have to pay anything.  It is sad that they have this BRAND NEW, state of the art marina with no one in it...  We think there is some argument over who is to profit from it, so while they sort that out, the marina is closed and NO ONE uses it unless there is bad weather.


On Sunday, while the port was closed and Shelley and I helped my friend Troy do a little work on his own personal fishing boat called "Myassis Dragon"  I love the name!






He was having some trouble with the sonar, some wiring and a pump...  2 out of the three I was able to fix...  He needs to order a new pump.  The last job was to add some cup holders to his fishing rod holders...  This took both our efforts, but in the end, what a great idea....  It turns out every time he got a bite someone was spilling their drink...  Problem solved....




Shelley is also taking some time to better her Spanish using an online app that teaches all kinds of languages...

This week Shelley saw this t-shirt... she really wants one:


Lastly, our friend, Sabas takes really awesome photos and last week before we put the boat away for the Norte, took a great picture that includes our boat:




Monday, January 19, 2015

It Looks Like We Will Be Here For a While....

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And so it is.....  High season is officially here in Cozumel, Mexico.  As many as 7 cruise ships show up in a single day.  Each of them deposit a few thousand people on to the island every day except Sunday...  What a crazy place...

The dive shop office is on one side of the road and the bodega and dock is on the other....  The joke here at Papa Hogs is "The most dangerous part of your dive is crossing this road!"

Shelley and I are really enjoying our time with our friends here in Cozumel. We have appreciated all the people who have come by to visit. At this time it looks like we will be staying here until around the middle of March.

Last night was the most difficult night yet on the boat.  For the last few days we were faced with a 12-17 knot wind out of the west and north west.  This left us on a lee shore and made the boat very vulnerable if the mooring ever let go...  

Yesterday morning, I put on a tank and went out to check the mooring after the boats left and found the 3 of the 4, 1" lines that was making up the mooring were chafed COMPLETELY THROUGH. the remaining line was about an hour away from also letting go.  I spent the next 212 minutes underwater replacing all the lines that made up the mooring.

What a terrifying few hours...  Last night I stayed on the boat and dove the mooring at midnight to check it and found everything ok.  However, the sea was crazy rough and the aft cable that holds the dinghy in the davit broke and dropped the dinghy half into the ocean.  that caused the oars to disappear into the night.!  At first light I swam to shore and found the oars.... thank goodness...  In the end, I ended up with about 2 hours sleep, but know the boat is safe...  Lesson learned....

Unfortunately, this system kinda snuck up on us and we should have put our boat in the Caleta (marina),  It looks like another may be here in a few days... This time I will be ready....

Here are some random pictures from the last week or so....
Dillan after playing at the beach....
 One of our favorite things to do in our spare time is to drive around the island...  there is no electricity on the east side of the island, but that doesn't stop a few enterprising locals from running some great beach bars...
At "Coconuts" with a "new" friend...
At "Coconuts" with some great "old" friends...
Our friend Betty Anne
Watching TV with the "kids"
Margaret and Shelley - This was a TOUGH puzzle...
Another hard day at the office....
Our view from the shop....
Margarita time....
The calm AFTER the storm....
We may be the most blessed people in the world....  More soon...

Cheers!





Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Lionfish Holder....

This post may not be for everyone, but as a scuba instructor, I spend many hours underwater and have seen throughout the Caribbean the terrible outcome of the proliferation of LIONFISH.  A species NOT indigenous to this part of the world and a species who have, until recently, had no predator species to control their population. They, themselves are voracious eaters and can wipe out the juvenile fish population of a reef in very little time.


While, there are reports of eel's and a few others beginning to feed on them, it looks like it may be too little, too late.  They are not only predator fish, but their defense is a series of barbed fins that emit a highly toxic venom, that can kill even humans....


Here in Cozumel, officials have taken a proactive stance when it comes to Lionfish.  For the last few years they have not only permitted, but encouraged divemasters and instructors to dispatch any Lionfish they see....  The added bonus it turns out, is that they are VERY TASTY!

There is of course, the obvious downside.  Once you have speared a Lionfish (even after it's dead) the venomous spines are still dangerous.  My great friend Troy, who is an exceptional fisherman, dive instructor, and all round nice guy has been spearfishing and diving with me for years, came up with a variation on a commercially available holder for these little devils after they have been speared.

The ZOOKEEPER tm. is made by a company in Florida and is an awesome Lionfish holder if your dive is all about hunting Lionfish, but for folks like Troy and I, who so often have other divers to work with, their unit is too large and creates too much drag.  

After a few beers, Troy came up with a semi-genius idea to use off the shelf plumbing parts to create our own, smaller unit... After an internet search of the Home Depot site, we came up with a list of off the shelf plumbing parts that we could use...

For you convenience, they are listed here:
4" ABS Pipe - 12-15" (depending on your preference)
4" ABS male plug (SKU 1000116113)
4" ABS female adapter hub x FIPT (SKU 1000116156)
4" ABS coupling hub (SKU 1000116137)

The other parts are a $1 funnel from the dollar store, and a handle I had laying around the boat, 1 or 2 6" hose clamps, and 2 stainless steel clips...

Here is the outcome of our efforts:

Removable end cap

The finished unit

The one way door... (OK funnel)

End cap removed


Enough room for one or two fish...
The end caps are kept in place with 4 (2 at each end) 1/2" stainless steel self tapping screws.  I also used a stainless padeye and clip at one end instead of the hose clamp and find that it makes it easier to attach and detach from my "D" rings on my BCD..

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Few Jobs... DONE!

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Today was a little weird...  there was nothing for me to do, but Shelley was sent on a fishing trip to the mainland....  So at 5 am this morning we got the Winning Ticket off the dock, and on its way to pick up the fishing charter and I was left with nothing to do.

I enlisted the help of Mike Costello and I was able to repair our masthead tri-light and our masthead anchor light...  Those jobs required a trip up the mast in the boson's chair....

With Mike's help all went well and we now have everything working...  
A LONG Way Down!


A GREAT View!

Another GREAT View!


Mike Costello...  Keeping an eye on me... NOT!

We also fixed our wind direction system that has been pointing in the wrong direction for way too long....

We are having a great day anticipating some horrible weather in the morning.  It looks like there is a Norte (North Wind) heading our way....

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year! Feliz Ano Nuevo !

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What a crazy busy time for us....  Since the week before Christmas, Shelley and I have been helping out our friends, Mike & Margaret... We had an intimate Christmas day with my sister and 40 of our closest friends, both old an new....  Mike & Margaret opened their home and their hearts to all of us as we ate, drank and enjoyed the incredible joy of this season...  





The only way it might have been better would have been if more of our children could have been with us....  Thank goodness for skype and text messaging....

Anyway, we have been doing a ton of scuba diving, helping folks come to love the activity that makes our lives so full... we even put Kelly to work before she left on a snorkel/fishing trip on Mike & Margaret's personal boat, "Winning Ticket".  Together with Pancho and Cheleche, they went to Peurto Aventura for the day and had 6 dolphins follow their wake all the way across....  We would have had pictures, but they were both too busy watching the action...
Kelly at the helm...

Captain Pancho

Kelly and "Winning Ticket"

Its a LONG way up to the fishing flybridge!

Cheleche doing what he does BEST!

I'm surprised that I let her out of my sight!
Sadly, the time came for Kelly to return to Canada....  She was seen off by our wonderful friends, Mayte and Maria Jose...




This week, our brother in law, Denis and his brother and wife (Paul & Fran) arrived for a week in the sun... Shelley took some time with Mike & Margaret to visit the other side of the island...
Paul, Fran & Denis 
Dillan

Mike & Margaret

Andrea & Mike