sailing the NorSea


WEEK 14 2013

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Saturday 6 April 2013
Saturday - OTR, in San Diego. We spent most of the morning doing some small tasks, and then several hours just cleaning up the garage, which had become a bit of a death trap.

In the afternoon T came by, and with his expert help we were able to finally pinpoint the cause for the lack of electrical power to the pool cover, fix that, un freeze the motor, and get a temporary shear pin installed, so that the pool cleaner can now do his job.

Then we all went out to dinner at Felipe's, pizza and (at least for me) beer....

Book #14 was Darkship Thieves, by Sarah Hoyt. Not a great book, kind of a bodice-ripper-in-space (seriously - the heroine spends the first quarter of the book running around in a negligee torn down the middle!), with a large splash of libertarianism (which makes it more palatable).

Friday 5 April 2013
Friday - I spent the morning doing various errands - mowing, etc, buying groceries and special cat food and medicine, picking up some used patio furniture I'd bought, and cleaning about the house. In the mid afternoon my friends R&S picked me up and we headed down to SD for the weekend.

I'd gone to Home Depot the other day, and there was an interesting cloud formation I noticed in the parking lot - at first glance it looked like the shock wave from a huge hypersonic vehicle, but I think it was just a chance arrangement of separate contrails, un-remarkable in themselves:

Probably not Aurora.

Thursday 4 April 2013

Thursday - OTR. We had another visit to the demolition sites with the contractor and pretty much all of the involved parties. It was practically a convoy going up and down the hills, but it went well.  Then in early afternoon I headed home from Thousand Oaks. the five or ten miles of the 405 took longer than 45 minutes, so I'm glad I left when I did rather than eating lunch first. When I talked to T later in the evening he mentioned that he'd spent at least an hour parked on the freeway going the other way...

I did realize in the evening that there were a couple of books down on the boat that I haven't mentioned, stuff I'd read, and started to read, and forgot about.

Book #13 was Prey, by Michael Crichton. Not bad, not great. It's about some nanotechnology getting loose (actually set free deliberately) and the various shenanigan's that ensue. The author actually wrote a pretty good book, the nanotechnology isn't too advanced, and has more than one Achille's heel, allowing our plucky hero to overcome it.

Wednesday3 April 2013

Wednesday  - OTR. Down to Ventura in the morning, for the final meeting, and to drop off the deliverables to the county. I gave a brief recap of the work done, and people seemed to think it was a good job. There was even talk of a follow on task, money permitting...

Then I went over to the boat and pretty much collapsed. Napped until about 6pm. Boats are very relaxing I guess. I had planned to run the new halyards, but it'll have to wait.

It was cool and I slept reasonably well. I did get up and tie off the halyards in the boat next to me. I seem to be cursed with slapping halyards.

Tuesday  2 April 2013
Tuesday - More yard work. It's really warming up, I was perspiring by noon. The cat is delighted that I'm out in the yard, less happy about the various noises the tools make, and extremely wary of me picking up the hose. I'm not sure why, I've never squirted him, even by accident, but cat's really don't like water.

Book #12 was The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, by James Hornfischer. I'd read his Neptune's Inferno a while back, and it was excellent. This was very good as well - a more in depth look at what happened when Halsey got decoyed away from the amphibious assault force he was supposed to be protecting, the Battle off Samar during the invasion of the Phillipines.

Standing between a surprised half dozen unarmored "jeep carriers" (and the transports at the beaches beyond) and Japanese force of four battleships, eight cruisers and eleven destroyers was just the US screen of six, three destroyers and three destroyer escorts. All they could do was fight for time, time for the aircraft from the carriers to be re-armed with anti ship ordnance and for (hopefully) rescue by their own battleship's and cruisers.

"This will be a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival cannot be expected. We will do all the damage we can."  Lieutenant Commander Robert W. Copeland.

And so they charged the Japanese battleships and cruisers - which included the biggest battleship in the world, the Yamato. Ridiculously outgunned and outnumbered, they fought so hard that the enemy commander was convinced that he was fighting heavy cruisers. At some points they were so close to the enemy battleships and cruisers that the heavy guns of their enemy were having trouble aiming low enough to hit them. The odds were against them and at the end of the day five of the six had been sunk, but the Japanese commander, confused and unnerved, retreated.

And the airplanes did their part. Armed originally with only ground attack weapons and a few torpedoes they attacked continuously. When a plane ran out of ammo they continued to attack, acting as decoys for the few planes that actually had ordnance. For torpedo bombers this meant flying slow, straight and level at the enemy hoping that the plane next to them wasn't out of ammo as well. Quite extraordinary behavior like this was commonplace. Heading back to the recently captured island airfield they commandeered - literally at gunpoint - fuel and munitions from the army there, and returned to the fight.

Two of the escort carriers, the Gambier Bay and the St. Lo were eventually sunk as well. I actually know someone whose father survived the sinking of the Gambier Bay.

I imagine that if one was to write fictional naval warfare the editor would send this back, telling the author that it was too unbelievable and over-the-top.

Monday  1 April 2012
Monday - My friends took a brief trip up to Lemoore on Sunday, to visit relatives, so I stopped by their house. Brought the newspapers in, rubbed the cats behind their ears, fed the dogs. Everything seemed copacetic there. Didn't think to feed the fish, but they'll be back in the evening.

It's my youngest sister's birthday. In her 50's now I guess, and has kids and grandkids. We don't stay in close touch, she's up in Washington state somewhere these days.

Looks like I'll be down to Thousand Oaks on Thursday. I'll probably go down earlier on Wednesday to Ventura, to drop off that GIS stuff, and stay on the boat overnight.

Sunday  31  March 2012
Sunday - Another OK day.

I did yard work, it's a growing time of year. Not much else to say about that. I did pick up some more stakes for the tomato cages & some ground cloth to keep so many weeds from coming up. I need to fix the rail on the southern planter, it pulled off and it seems the screws I'd used were only about 1/4" into the underlying post.

Good Friday was when Mom passed away in 1998. But it was April 10th, then, and that's one of those dates you don't forget. Fifteen years now. The pain is gone, but there is sadness, and mostly you still miss your parents, you want to talk to them over a morning cup of coffee, and sit there and watch Jeopardy on TV with them, and have their input into what's happening in your own life. Ah well.

Next year it'll be 40 years since high school graduation. Hard to believe.

Picture of the Week
Peach Blossoms, March 2013, Antelope Valley 
Photo Notes:Rain showers and Windmills, Tehachapi, 2003.

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