Pound of Flesh

Ed spent a lifetime in the sun. If he was on a boat or on a ballfield, he never gave much thought to protecting his skin. One day he quit his job and moved on to a boat. His amount of exposure to the sun increased exponentially. He loved the beach. He loved fishing. He was happy to have a nice dark tan.

Ed would sometimes scoff at folks who protected themselves from the hot Florida sun. What’s the point of being on a beach if you’re going to sit in the shade? Look at that goober with the white zinc all over his face! It’s too hot to be wearing long sleeves.

As he aged, he gained new wrinkles around his eyes. He also gained something else. Ed has skin cancer.

Don’t be like Ed.

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That is my latest wound thanks to the dermatologist. It’s a good one, ain’t it?

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I also got this chunk hacked away at the same time. Both spots tested positive for Squamous Cell Carcinoma. This is a much milder form of cancer than melanoma. The doc says I have no reason to be concerned. If caught and treated early it won’t present a problem. The thing is, the big wound you see there didn’t present gradually. It virtually popped up overnight. If I wasn’t a regular visitor to the dermatologist, it could have been much worse. If you see a suspicious spot, have it checked. 

A few months ago I had a smaller spot removed:

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That doctor was a sloppy stitcher. I won’t go back to him. The new guy is great.

Below is what this newest wound looked like after the biopsy:

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It looks big, but the actual cancerous growth was much bigger, under the skin. Hence the pound of flesh.

Sometimes, I get the nitrogen treatment. The doc will zap anything suspicious looking, often called pre-cancers, with liquid nitrogen. It freezes the area and hopefully kills off any coming cancer before it can develop. It also leaves you blistered on every spot that the nitrogen touches.

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I’ve been going through these treatments too regularly for my liking. Just when I heal up from the last episode, I’m back to the nitrogen or under the knife. I have found a great dermatologist whom I like, though. I really have no choice but to stay on top of these things.

Most of this comes from damaged sustained a long time ago, but the ferocity of the Florida sun only exacerbates any latent pre-cancerous spots one might have. I’m trying to learn to avoid the sun more and to protect myself when I have no choice. Living on a boat isn’t conducive to avoiding the sun, especially in Florida. I can’t take back the ignorance of my youth either.

So that’s my personal PSA. Don’t be like Ed.

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The Beauty of Don Pedro Island

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Just north of Gasparilla Island and Boca Grande, is a jewel of a beach. It’s only accessible by boat. The state provides small boat dockage for 12 vessels only, so it’s never crowded.

There is a covered pavilion with picnic tables, restrooms, and even grills. The Gulf is a very short walk from the docks.

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The unspoiled stretch of beach is great for shelling, surf fishing, or just hanging out and soaking up the salt and the sun. IMG_0166

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We love out of the way hidden gems. Our favorite is Cayo Costa, but as we’re currently waiting on a new transmission for Leap of Faith, we can’t get there. Don Pedro is a short dinghy ride from our marina.

You can anchor nearby, in Kettle Cove. Take your dinghy under a low bridge into Rambler Hole and you’ll see the docks to your right. As you pass under that bridge, look to your right to find a Leap of Faith sticker on the concrete. It survived hurricane Irma!

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One of the great things about living on a boat is finding places like this. It’s nice to know that even in Florida, there are still some undeveloped places to enjoy.

 

Restless Breeze Now Available at Amazon

Breeze’s dreams are haunted by Bobbie Beard, as he tries to come to terms with what he’s done. Holly and Tommy have found their treasure, but need help to recover it. An old smuggler seeks out Breeze to help him get rid of his dope. A young Marine needs guidance.

Can our hero stay busy enough to keep his demons at bay? Can his relationship with Brody survive the chaos?

In the ninth installment of the Trawler Trash Series, the predicaments pile up faster than any normal man can handle, but Breeze is no normal man.

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Click this link to order:

http://amzn.to/2uMmTew

 

 

Hurricane Plan

In over six years living on a boat in Florida, we have not had the displeasure to experience a hurricane. Our plan was dependant upon where we were and where we could haul out or hole up. Our ground tackle wasn’t sufficient. We basically didn’t have much of a plan at all. We are changing that now.

The first step was to purchase a storm anchor. Our shiny new 73 pound Rocna arrived today, along with 200 feet of 3/8″ high-test chain. (33 is kilograms)

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We plan to use it in a tandem anchor rig, in the event of a hurricane.

tandem anchor rig is where two anchors are somehow connected in line with each other, on a single rode which is deployed from the boat. “Rig” refers to the entire system deployed in the water, i.e. anchors and rode, including shackles and/or swivels.

There is no standard for this, but for this article the terms will be defined as follows. The primary anchor is the aft-most anchor, i.e. that closest to the boat. The tandem anchor is the forward most, i.e. that out in front of the primary.

The rode is split into two sections, the primary rode and the tandem rode. The tandem rode is either attached to the front of the primary anchor or is simply an extension of the primary rode. We’ll use our primary anchor as the tandom anchor in this setup. It’s a 44 pound Bruce, which will give us a total of 117 pounds of anchor down there. For more on the tandem rig see this link:

http://www.petersmith.net.nz/boat-anchors/tandem-anchoring.php

 

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Our new chain is larger, heavier and stronger than our old chain. Almost half of the old chain was rusted so bad it was no longer useful.
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We cut away over 75 feet of rusted links and saved the good section.
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We then stretched out the new chain in order to mark it every 25 feet.
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I purchased load-rated shackles to tie everything together. (supposedly the best money can buy)
We’ve identified a likely cove to anchor in if a hurricane comes our way. I can’t tell you where it is, as I don’t want everyone else getting in there and ruining it for us! Kim and I took a handheld depth finder and sounded the anchorage in our dinghy. It has ample depth and enough swinging room for our use. It could support one more boat if both cooperated.
We actually hope that we never have to execute our hurricane plan, but if it happens, we’re now much better prepared. Both of us feel better about the situation now. There are more steps to take to prepare a boat for a big storm, but there’s plenty of info out there from experienced owners and captains. Here’s a helpful link to The Boat Galley’s advice:
Are you ready for a storm?

The Legend of Captain Sonny

My wife’s birth father was named Sonny. She never knew him very well, as he left when she was very young. She can barely remember him, but she’s searched for his legacy throughout her life.

Sonny was a fisherman and boat captain. Early on, he ran an offshore boat out of Ocean City Maryland. Kim would spend her vacations at the beach trolling the marinas and fishermen bars looking for him, or someone that knew him. She never picked up his trail.

Then one day when she was twenty, she got a call from law enforcement in North Carolina. Sonny was dead. Could she come to identify his body? She didn’t know what he might look like at this point, but she went. She saw him there in the morgue and collected his meager belongings.

The picture below was in his stuff. The identity of the woman is unknown.

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Two years ago, we decided to look further into the life of a man neither of us knew. We knew that he had fished out of Bud & Mary’s Marina in Islamorada. We traveled to the Keys aboard out boat and began our research. At Bud & Mary’s we learned the names of a few guys that had fished with him years ago. One of them was still fishing. He was based out of the LoreLei these days and lived on Plantation Key. We tracked him down.

John Kipp was good friends with Sonny back in the 70’s and early 80’s. He knew a lot about Kim’s father. We also found another friend, Bert Rogers. Sonny worked on Bert’s father’s boat for ten years. The two became good friends and stayed in touch over the years. The two of them provided us with a picture of the man.

He wasn’t cut out for marriage, and obviously shirked his duties as a father. Though he did keep a worn picture of Kim in his wallet. He was a fishermen and boat captain. That was his life. He could find the fish. He could run any kind of boat. He won the very first White Marlin Open in Ocean City.

He’s on the right:

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Even after he moved to the Keys, he returned each year to fish the White Marlin Open, which is now the richest billfish tournament in the world.

For a while, he made it work. He paid his slip rent on time at Bud & Mary’s and put up with the tourists. Finally, hard living caught up with him. He suffered a massive heart attack while commercial fishing for tuna out of Oregon Inlet. The boat was loaded with yellowfin. He was in his young forties.

His friends hinted at drug use and maybe a few stints at smuggling. Every story highlighted his ability to catch fish and handle a boat. That’s what he did. That who he was.

On one occasion, Sonny and John Kipp were hanging out with some “ladies” who invited them to a party on a sailboat in Coconut Grove. They arrived to find that the boat’s owner was David Crosby of Crosby, Stills and Nash fame. Crosby brought a young friend who played guitar and sang some songs. No one had ever heard of him at the time, but his name was Jimmy Buffett.

Sail on, Captain Sonny.

Jolly Holly and Another Adventure

In my Trawler Trash series of books, Holly is a character. Guess what? She’s a real person. Cool rasta hippie chick sailor girl. She’s about to set off to cruise the world on her sailboat. Bahamas, Caribbean, Panama Canal, Pacific Ocean, Australia and who knows!

This is her trailer from her new Youtube channel. It’s awesome. You really need to watch this: