Like a Giant Bowl — Exploratorius Reblog

If you’ve been through the eastern sierra’s via a road trip you may have passed Mono Lake, but probably not from this perspective.  One of my favorite trips is up the eastern sierra’s as far as Bodie (best ghost town EVER).  Check out this story-

Mono Lake — as it exists today — is in the distance. But at one time it was so big and deep that the shore would have been close to where this photo was taken, rather than the 8.5 miles away that it is today. Hundreds of feet deeper, too. So what happened? It’s a […]

via Like a Giant Bowl — Exploratorius


Little Miss Brewing- A beer story!

Awesome Beer and Great Ambiance- Little Miss Brewing Company, Miramar.

Yep,,,,so it’s Saturday afternoon and we’re in the industrial back area of Miramar, Ca in San Diego,,,,checking out a company that makes mattresses for boats- San Diego Boat Mattress Company.   We’d met these guys at the San Diego Boat Show and they had offered us a chance to drop lots of money for new mattresses for the boat.  It’s very, very tempting,,,,but we went for the tour and had a good time.  We liked this place.  They know folks with kids are going to come in, so they have a room with a DVD player and TV and toys for the kids so the adults can shop.  It was a nice tour and then we left, intent on heading out for food then back to the boat.  But,,,,our crew is easily distracted, so we followed the cool signs for Little Miss Brewing Company.  By easily distracted,,,,I mean,,,,,a chick riding a bomb on a sign advertising a brewery,,,,,easily catches my attention.  Yes,,,,I’m easily distracted.  So we followed the signs around behind several buildings in this industrial area till we found the brewery,,,,and LOVED it.  Little Miss Brewing Company has all sorts of decor that brings to mind WWII propaganda and great beer too.  We had a sampler of our own choosing,,,,,delivered in a bomb housing with very nicely portioned tasting glasses that allowed for both of us to taste each beer without having to conserve it.  Again, we were both impressed because the tasting room had a specific area with big plush couches and lots of games for kids, videos and more decorations that kept me distracted.  After tasting four different samplings, the tiny hunger machines (kids) were on the verge of nuclear fucking meltdown,,,,so we had to promise to return and take off.  On the way out,,,,they took one of our stickers and you may be able to find it on the wall of stickers inside the brewery,,,,if you look really hard.

We’re working toward our goals……are you?

Stay with us,,,we love your questions, comments and concerns and want you to follow us for more adventures-

Perspective on the USS Midway

Here’s a unique perspective of the USS Midway that you can’t get from street level or her decks.  The only time you’ll see a view like this one is when it’s taken from another boat,,,on San Diego Bay.  The USS Midway is a special ship.  She’s currently a museum in the heart of the San Diego Waterfront and sits as a sentinel of freedom for everyone on the San Diego waterfront to take in.  I was married on her decks and I’ve been to a number of special events on her decks that I’ll never forget.  This photo was taken on the 2nd of July from Tulum IV.

USS Midway in perspective

I loved being back on the water again after months of working on the boat,,,more about that as we go on.  Take a look at the rest of our posts this week and I’ll post more on Saturday from the boat!

Rosie the Riveter Museum and Mountain Hardware Store

In April we attended the Pacific Sail and Power Boat Show in Richmond, Ca USA,,,,and found a few unexpected surprises that were awesome.

Right beside the historic former Ford Manufacturing Plant where the Pacific Sailboat and Power Boat Show was being held is the Rosie the Riveter museum, shown in the picture above.  Before lunch, we took a look inside the museum and were pretty surprised how informative and modern it was, but clearly able to tell the story.  In the dark days of WWII, most fighting age men from the United States were involved in the war effort; leaving heavy shipyards, manufacturing plants and other places without labor.  Into the void stepped not only women (hence Rosie the Riveter moniker), but also minorities who had not been allowed to work in these industries in the past.  This museum tells that story, very well.  The museum’s docents and special guests were women who WERE “Rosie the Riveter”, but they were at lunch while we were there.  Take a look at my photos below, it was an impressive museum telling the story of heavy manufacturing in Port Richmond, CA, using women and minorities to build both liberty ships and warships to support the WWII effort.

And here’s what Rosie the Riveter built, an existing version from the early 1940’s, the SS Red Oak Victory.

Take a look at the massive ship above, the SS Red Oak Victory.  Rosie the Riveter and hundreds of other hard-working women and minorities built this ship in the 1940’s for the war effort,,,and she survived.  What a sight to see at sunset in Richmond.  More about that next post.

We were also lucky enough to also discover the Mountain Hardware employee store in the historic Ford Building in Richmond,,,,,and I LOVE Mountain Hardware stuff.  After leaving my first real job after college due to a patent dispute, I worked at an outdoor store in Houston, Texas selling the Mountain Hardware branded equipment and other outdoor stuff,,,,and loved every minute of it.  I was pretty good at selling the stuff, cause I had used it and continue to use it to this day,,,,love the brand.  Well, we were able to get into the Mountain Hardware store and find some things we wanted,,,,without spending too much money.   I had to commit to NOT coming back to the store the next day we were at the boat show,,,,cause we would have spent lots more money.

Loved visiting family, the boat show, the museum and the store this first day,,,,but it wasn’t over yet.  After exiting the Mountain Hardware store, I was determined to go see the SS Red Oak Victory,,,,,but we got more than we bargained for when we found it,,,,and a pier side winery.  Keep following us for that story this weekend.

via Daily Prompt: Commit

San Diego International Boat Show- Fun before Fathers Day-

Although I miss my kids whenever they’re not with us, I was relieved at the same time to not drag them through the San Diego heat to hours of boat show.  Unlike the Richmond show, this one was all outdoors and the focus was the boats,,,not so much the professional booths.  Yes, some actual sailboat vendors were there and unlike other shows, some of the vendors were actually on the docks, but most vendors at this show were geared toward the well-heeled power boat user, not so much the poor sailor.   There was a good mix of powerboats and sailboats, not many used boats but that’s to be expected.  I also didn’t see a great variety of different sailboat companies, there was the usual few,,,,and a few catamarans, but not more than a handful of names.

Here’s the show in pics,,,,have fun here-

Started off with these new toilets on the docks,,,,with macerators inside them,,,,so no need for a separate macerator,,,,,salt and freshwater toilets, but they all require power-



$949,000,,,,,YES, that much-


Yep, that’s a jacuzzi on the back of this powercat, we went on board her both here and at the Newport show,,,,and she’s docked in our Marina! She’s a steal at $3.8mil

Cool Trimaran, we went onboard-

Next, we got to go on board an Ipanema 56,,,and she’s much more massive than any magazine could show you,,,,but my photos might help illustrate-

Yes, she’s more massive than in magazines

Next, Dennison Yachts let us we tour a grand beauty from the 80’s,,,,wait till you see her inside:

Yes, this is inside a sailboat!

And,,,,finally, on the way out,,,,Dennison hooked us with some great swag,,,and we decided to hit the Tiki Bar,,,but it was cramped and smaller than last year,,,,but we still had a great time:

Ok, look closely at this next picture,,,,as the people watching at boat shows is great,,,,

Look closely at this big Mikelson,,,,the perfect couple were paid to sit here all day and smile and make like a nice couple on a huge fishing boat,,,,and they did!

48.5 Island Packet,,,,only about $1 Million Dollars- But what a great boat,,,,wish we could afford it!

More Sailboats down the row.

Finally, one of the biggest reasons we go to boat shows is for new ideas for our own boat,,,like these shades that are bug nets and blackout shades,,,,we’re getting some!


Liked this idea too, the old foam over the metal paddle board holder,,,,we’re going to do this too!

Overall, this was a great show.  Better on-water show than at Richmond but more disappointing booth’s,,,,not so many focused on actual boat products.

I loved going to the show and will go again every year we’re around.  If you liked my show review,,,,stick around as I have not finished Richmond or the Newport show reviews yet.  Stick with us or follow us,,,,we’re trying to grow! 

via Daily Prompt: Relieved

2017 Pacific Sail and Power Boat Show at Craneway Pavilion

So we rolled up to San Francisco in early April to see my brother and family and visit the Pacific Sail and Power Boat Show,,,,here’s the first of three posts about the trip.  The Pacific Sail and Power Boat Show was held at Craneway Pavilion and Marina Bay Yacht Harbor in Richmond California from April 6th to the 9th 2017 and LF2SF was there.  I’ll be writing three different posts about our two days there, because it seemed to be very different experiences depending on what portion of the event we were at.

Yep, we were up there for only two days but there were very different portions of the same event that stuck out.  First,  there was the indoor “booth” portion of the show at Craneway Pavilion that was the largest one I’ve ever been to because of the venue.  Thankfully, we were indoors for most of the two days, because it was gray, overcast and raining throughout the two days.  The night before we arrived, there had been a big blow through Marina Bay Yacht Harbor,,,,which folks were talking about when we arrived at the show.  Several boats had been damaged (one holed) and at least one of the temporary docks had come loose and sailed away.  There was still residual wind, rain and overcast skies.

Looking toward San Francisco from Richmond Craneway Pavilion.

Craneway Pavilion is a massive conference center (several city blocks long and one city block wide) that used to be the largest Ford Manufacturing Plants on the West Coast of the United States.  Although on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s been repurposed to support businesses that include Mountain Hardware, various other tenants and the outstanding Assemble Restaurant. The “booth” portion of the boat show was held in the very western end of the building, taking up the entire north south space of the building and allowing room for multiple larger areas and booths.

Holy Huge Building

This was an impressive show, the largest collection of Marine related products and services I’ve ever been to and impressive in itself.  This portion of the show wasn’t just about selling to customers like me, it was obvious that certain portions of the marine industry had shown up in force and were there to see and be seen and show off their wares.  In addition to the on-water show and the booth show, there were multiple expert sessions and seminars on the second floor you could sign up for and sit through,,,,but our kids never would have made it so we had to skip those.  Every evening, there were multiple industry cocktail hours, bands and various parties,,,but since we were visiting relatives in the area, we skipped those too.  And, the kids never would have made it through the entire day at the boat show then an evening out.  Would have been nice, but time with family is better.

Massive Building, Big Show

While walking around the show, we decided to look the first day and buy the second, but only found a few things we wanted.  First, I wanted a great knife I could use on the boat that won’t affect my compass headings and already knew I wanted to look at the Boye Knives brand.  I was pretty impressed.  The knife blades are made of cobalt, which doesn’t affect your compass at all.  The owner of the Company was there in person and made sure I looked at a couple of the “seconds” they brought (which means they were less expensive), I was still impressed because they were basically perfect.  Second, while walking around we could not walk away from the consummate showman at the ATN booth, who just wanted us to watch him climb ropes.  He turned out to be Etienne Giroire himself,,,,the owner of ATN, Inc-

Mr. Etienne Giroire of ATN, Inc demonstrating one of his systems. We ended up buying the hardware portions of the Mast Climber set, since I have plenty of my own harnesses.


Other things of note that stood out as we walked around the show are below:

I thought we would see all types of anchors, anchor manufacturers and distributors but we only found two of note:  Mantus and Ultra Anchors.  I was bummed that I didn’t find my own anchor represented or find other anchor folks there, but I think it’s because they are mostly sold by distributors, not direct to customers.  Sooo, we had a great time at the Ultra Anchor sand pits, testing mini-anchors.  Anytime we find that sand pit at any boat show, me and the girls are entranced.  Check out the pics below:

The anchor buried in the Sand Won,,,,it’s a mini Manson Supreme, same anchor Tulum IV has. Nickname: Shiny Michelle. This DOES NOT simulate actual conditions.

Testing Mini-Anchors at the Ultra Marine Booth. Girls and I love this part of the booths.

I also found a larger retailer of metal and fiberglass portholes (including some that fit Hunter 460’s) Newfound Metals.

Although it looks a bit weird and I’m not sure about the durability of the product in direct sunlight on a sailboat or with a Great Dane in it, we spend some time looking carefully at the Porta-Bote, getting a complete demonstration from the energetic sales manager, Mr Greg Marlow.  Plus, the boats are made right here in California, USA and I would have gotten a hell of a deal if I had purchased at the show,,,,but sadly funds would not allow such a thing.

Porta-Bote Demo

Satisfying my own curiosity and a request from one of the readers of this blog (and a good friend who was one of my first followers), I spent quite a bit of time looking at, into and through the portable fresh water Rainman System.  One of the actual owners or managers of the company has sometimes come up on Cruisers Forum and I was so interested in the system I was temped to contact him but refrained.  I like the system because it’s portable and doesn’t involve holes in my boat.  My boat currently has a water maker which I don’t trust because of the engineering on it and the various low quality fittings I’ve found.  Using a Rainman system would allow me to close up one through-hull and be able to watch water go into my tanks, instead of hoping that the current system is clean and water’s going in the tanks instead of leaking into the bilge.  I could also take the Rainman system off the boat if we sold it,,,,,or sell it with the boat,,,,but at least I would have an option.

Rainman Kits, took a lot of time looking at these-

As a Boy Scout in my youth and having been in the outdoors environments most of my life, so I’ve a big fan of having some kind of planned backup systems for most everything, (even if it’s just knowing the plan).  Like every other Hunter 460,  Tulum IV has a Spade Rudder.  This kind of rudder on a sailboat has plenty of detractors and myths and legends about it, but the truth is it’s still a large rudder sticking off the end of your sailboat with no skeg or other method to protect it, so I prefer to have a backup of some kind if something were to go wrong.  While I could rig a warp or some other ad hoc method to deal with an emergency, I prefer to just have an emergency rudder on the boat for peace of mind and insurance.  So, Tulum IV has a large enough “SOS Rudder” from Scanmar International to handle the boat if something bad happens to the primary rudder.  This gives me peace of mind and it’s a very nice piece of gear to have on the boat,,,and fairly expensive too.  Scanmar was at the boat show with a full booth and I was able to let them know ahead of time I was coming, what boat I had and that I was interested in talking to them about the possibility of purchasing a Windvane for my boat, which they have installed on other Hunter 460’s in the past.  Their website has the pictures to prove it and I was interested in discussing which product would be right for Tulum IV.  I was pretty impressed when we walked up with two small children interested in everything else but wind vanes and one of the gentlemen broke away from an obvious industry conversation to ask me if he could assist.  On introduction, he knew right away who I was and that I owned a Hunter 460.  He already had the specs from installs on other Hunters and suggested a servo-pendulum mounted Monitor Windvane on a SwingGate system so we could still use the back swim ladder on Tulum. How impressed was I, especially since the gentlemen took 15-20 minutes to discuss the Monitor with us and understood when the kids became too rowdy for us to stay longer.  More impressive was when he gave me his card and told me to call and discuss with one of his managers when I was ready for installation.  The gentlemen who broke away from his conversation and talked with me and my wife was Mr. Mike Scheck, President and CEO of Scanmar International, based in San Leandro, California, USA.

We spent the rest of the first day walking throughout various clothing booths, sail manufacturers and distributors and any other sort of sailing or power boating parts you could probably think of.  Check out the pics below:

Mr. Bob Bitchin of Cruising Outpost,,,in the flesh.

Mantus Emergency or Mini Tank- We looked hard at these mini-tanks, easy to store, light and easy to fill.

Ummm, shiny Maxwell’s

A couple of locals channeling their inner Pirate.

Yes, the larger units are pretty expensive, but so are regular water makers.

Rounding out the day,,,,Mountain Hardware Store, SS Red Oak Victory and Riggers Loft Wine Company,,,,,next Post.

This is our review of the Pacific Sail and Powerboat Show.  We’re also working on our post about the Newport Boat Show and we’re going to the San Diego International Boat Show next weekend for Father’s Day.

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Boatshow Dreams

The San Diego International Boatshow is coming to San Diego, Ca from the 16th to the 18th of June (a great Father’s Day Activity) and LiveFree2SailFast will be there to observe and blog about it,,,,,can’t wait.

Open the link and check out the awesome Youtube Video all about the boat show, it’s pretty awesome- Boatshow video Link

Lest we forget,,,,we also owe you trip reports from the Pacific Sail and Powerboat Show  in Richmond, Ca and the Newport In-Water Boat Show in Newport Beach, Ca that we’ve been too in the last couple of months.

The San Diego International Boatshow might be the last one of the season for the LF2SF Crew,,,,as wife is getting a bit tired of boat show weekends and we can only pawn the children off on the grandparents soooo many times.  But,,,,for this coming Fathers Day Weekend, the San Diego International Boatshow has a Tiki-Bar on the boat docks that offers spectacular people watching and great lunch,,,,it’s something like a MUST DO boat show for fun Southern California types like,,,,me and hotwife!


Projects to finish- Stay Tuned

Good Morning:

I will admit I’m feeling a bit unmoored or guilty about all the different blogging projects my little mind has put together, but mind and fingers have just not been coordinated enough to sit down and get them all into the blogosphere.  Not sure if any of you ever have this problem; it’s totally quite the opposite of writers block,,,,it’s just that there are too many story ideas and unless I take the time to properly think them through and write them,,,,they may not be explained as well as I would like.  And since I know they’re things I want to post, I feel a bit guilty about not having the time to sit down and just knock them out.  I read stories coming out of your blogs with delicate poetry, incredible photographs and total diversity,,,and I want to get there too, someday.  For now, I’m going to publicly fixate on planned projects coming to my blog and decided where to go, because I have story ideas and lots of pictures, just have to plan those things out.

  • I want to finish my series on the sinking of the RMS Rhone with the full color picture maps I have stored.  I purposely went the opposite direction from where most go with this project, cause I should have let people see these maps first to get a good orientation to the dive and wreck, but that was too easy.- I finished this series with Sunday’s post.
  • I have lots of good pictures-  and want to break the stories of the on-water and vendor fair during the Pacific Sail and Power Boat Show into two different posts, because they were really two different events on the same weekend.  But, this was back in early April and I have still not gotten around to writing these pieces,,,,but I will.  Soon.
  • During the same show mentioned above, we happened into the Rosie the Riverter Museum (which is now in the National Park System) and the Mountain Hardware Employee Store; and with lots of great pictures, this will need to turn into its own post.  I’m a HUGE Mountain Hardware Fan,,,so the visit to the store was one of the highlights of the weekend.
  • During the same weekend at the Pacific Sail and Powerboat Show,,(we love distractions) we went over to see the Victory Ship (built in the Richmond Ca, Shipyards), the SS Red Oak Victory.   (I’m a huge history fan). But, since it was closing time, all we got were some great photos,,,but while we were there we found an actual winery on the pier beside it,,,,and had to go explore and try the winery, Riggers Loft Wine Company.  This place was awesome.  It’s a cooperative of 4 different wine makers and their brands, is very kid friendly and had great wine.  We went back twice.  This will be a separate post and story because I have some great pics.
  • Lastly, we also went to the Newport Boat Show here in Southern California to check out the difference in boat shows, later in April.  Much different than San Francisco but worth it.

Ok, enough of my guilty ramblings, I’m going to work on these posts but since most of them will be longer and include multiple photos.

via Daily Prompt: Unmoored

Last of the RMS Rhone Series

Very likely, this should have been the first post in the series, but since I’m a bit unmoored in my writing style and I wanted you to truly get the feel for what it would have been like; to have been on that ill-fated ship, then dive her.  I’m ending the series by showing you what the whole wreck looks like today,,,,from mapping pictures,,,,then giving you the links to the rest of the series if you want to go back and read them,,,,and see the photos.  Here we go:

The whole wreck, looking toward Salt Island (land).

Rhone Bow Sections, which allow you to enter the hull and dive through

Mid-Section and Stern, usually the second portion dived, in shallower water.

Stern Portion of the RMS Rhone

RMS Rhone, in the background.

Here’s the stories with dive photos I’ve published previously in this series:

Me and my wife have dove this wreck twice and our crack LF2SF reporter went out and dove the wreck in January.  All the times we’ve been on the wreck visibility was good, but the giant grouper you see in some of the videos on YouTube died some years back, a real bummer.  There are still large groupers and barracuda on the wreck, the lucky porthole is there and the Captain’s spoon is all still there for divers to see.  If you get the chance, this wreck is awesome and the BVI’s are a great place to go sail.  And, this post finally finishes my 3-part series on diving the RMS Rhone in the BVI

If you think you like to read about adventure travel, sailing and cruising, stay with us by following us!

via Daily Prompt: Unmoored

Travel in the 1860’s- Part 2

You’ve decided to go all in after a life of factory work,,,,and purchase a third class bunk the day they go on sale on board one of the famed flying mail carriers,,,,the same ship that Emperor Pedro the II had stepped aboard in 1865,,,,the Royal Mail Ship, Rhone.

In October of 1867, she’s been to Brazil and back, now taking on coal in the British Virgin Islands because the closest coaling station is closed due to another threat of yellow fever.  A smaller and slower ship pulls alongside as the “unsinkable” Rhone sits at anchor in Great Harbor,,,British Virgin Islands.  (Have you ever heard the term,,,”unsinkable ” applied to a large, new ship before???Hmmmm like Titanic?). Some say that Captain Wooley was a very experienced Captain, but his scotch selection may have run out.  The Captain of the other ship, the Conway, may have had a palatable stash for the older Captain on his last Command.  Both ships made it unscathed through the first part of the storm, which they now made out to be a probable late season Hurricane.  As the eye wall passed through, the passengers from the Conway were crowded into every possible space on the Rhone.  The decision was made that the  Conway would run for Rhode Harbor just less than 10 miles away,,,and Rhone would as make for open sea.  This was a sound strategy as open sea gave sea room and Rhone could likely survive a smaller storm this way,,,,as Rhode Harbor is not well protected and would not be suitable for a larger ship of Rhone’s size.  Upon retrieving their anchor,,,the Rhone caught it on a bommie around 33 feet down, and the order was given to cut the anchor chain.  (The chain and anchor can still be found at the bottom of Great Harbor to this day).

Rhone’s Anchor, where she left it.

As Rhone and Conway steamed out of Great Harbor, their fate was sealed.  Rhone was truly in the eye of the hurricane as she steamed around the small outlying island called Dead Chest (of Pirate fame) and attempted to get through the smallish passage between Peter, Dead Chest and Salt Island.  It was during this lull that all the passengers were tied to their beds or into their hammocks (in third class), as was normal practice to keep you from hurting yourself.  Upon getting clear of Dead Chest Island and turning into the true channel between Peter and Salt Island,,,,the full fury of the hurricane unleashed itself,,,,as the eye wall of the hurricane was done passing over, calm was gone.  As the winds erupted and exploded through the narrow pass between islands,,,,Captain Wooley was just getting served a cup of English tea by his purser,,,and legend says it’s his teaspoon indented into one of the masts that’s still there to this day.   The great ship heeled to the side and a boiler took water into it, causing a horrific explosion.  The ship ripped itself in half and lost steerage room, coming in close to Salt Island, where it rests today.

I’ve been to the wreck twice and and am still amazed by the photos and videos every time I see them.  On assignment from,,,,we sent our own crack underwater photographer (Explorer Emi) to the BVI’s in January to take the following photo essay for you,,,,have fun with the pics:

Lucky Porthole, with break in glass from natural coral growth from the inside.

Wait for Friday.  I’ll show you an overall view of the wreck and orientation.

Thank you for visiting us.  If you like us,,,,please follow us!