Monday, February 25, 2013

Childhood Memories Started in Mobile

While we wait for the weather to clear just now having experienced 24 plus hours of thunder storms with down pours and lightning to go with it, we are anticipating LEAVING later this week.... if all the promised shipments show up. It is another "we'll see" moment but we remain hopeful.

As we wait and travel the Mobile area, we came across Henry Aaron Stadium along Highway 65.

Henry Aaron was one of Bob's childhood hero's when he played for the Milwaukee Braves. Having been born in Wisconsin and loving the game of baseball, it was a natural to be a Braves fan. The year that I remember the most was the 1957 season when the Milwaukee Braves won the National League pennant and the World Series.

Henry Aaron was born in Mobile and is a local icon as you may expect having played in Atlanta for a number of years when the Braves left Milwaukee in 1965. Recently the local minor league team, the Mobile Bay Bears, moved his family home to a site at the stadium. The home, which is extremely modest, was built by his parents on a piecemeal basis.

His father would collect wood and add on to the house when there was enough wood available.The two windows on the front porch are the only windows in the home.

It was a thrill to sit on the same front porch where the Aaron's lived and Hank learned to play the game of baseball. Despite the opportunity to do so his mother never moved away from the home.                                               

The 1957 season is memorable to me in that I spent a month or so visiting family in Wisconsin during the summer. I had a Great Uncle Dan who shared the love of the game. We would sit out on the porch in the evenings and listen to the games on the radio. He would keep a score book and taught me how to do that using all the symbols that are part of the game. He also would be smoking and chewing on a cigar all the time as he was not allowed to smoke inside the house. He did not teach me how to do that!

On April 8, 1974 Henry Aaron broke Babe Ruth's home run record in Atlanta's Fulton County stadium hitting number 715. He finished his career with 755. 

They have some of the seats from the old Fulton County stadium as part of their collection of Henry Aaron memories.

This was an unexpected and wonderful surprise to find this memorial to Henry Aaron.

Nautical Word For The Day: [from]


1. A pirate.

2. An 18' wood launch designed by Sam Rabi in 1926.

From Great Loop Jargon:

3. A cookie made for the boating community.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Stella Maris and Timely Thoughts

Upon leaving home we were the beneficiaries of a number of thoughtful gifts. These included much appreciated care packages of chips, snacks, nuts, sodas, candy, wine, cookies, etc. These did nourish us as we drove eastward to Mobile where we still wait for significant progress on our commissioning process in preparation to leave this marina. I guess the little bits and pieces of progress do add up but it seems ever so slow. We hope that tomorrow will bring us a big step forward... but we've been wrong before.

However, two of the non-edible and significant remembrances came from family members. Bob's brother Jim and his wife Mary gave us a Stella Maris medal pictured below.

According to Wikipedia the words "Star of the Sea" are a translation the Latin title Stella Maris. The title was used to emphasize Mary's role as a sign of hope and as a guiding star for Christians. This has led the devotion of Our Lady, Star of the Sea in many coastal and fishing villages.

It is kind of like a Saint Christopher's medal for those of us who hang out around the water and travel by boat. Thank you Jim and Mary! We don't want to leave any opportunity for safety and guidance pass us by.

While visiting Bob's Mom the day before we left, she had us read her daily positive "Thought For The Day" that she keeps on her coffee table. On that particular day it read  "We can not discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore". She thought that was pretty timely as did we. At 98 years of age she always has positive thoughts and well wishes for all and serves as a role model for all her kids. Thanks for that inspiration Mom!

Nautical Word For The Day: [from]                

Cabin Fever:                                                                      

1. A state of anxiety caused by long confinement below
deck in bad weather.                                              

From Great Loop Jargon:                                                  
2. Also noticeably noted when the commissioning of one's
drags on and on and on..........                                   

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mardi Gras In Mobile and Splash!

Greetings to all from Mobile as we continue to get cruise ready. While we made into the water yesterday... hooray!...
we think that it may be short-lived. Our dinghy davit system does not line up properly with the transom of the dinghy itself.  There will need to be some reconfiguring of the brackets that support the dinghy when it is in the upright position. This will mean that we will be in and out of the water several more times. We are not happy about this as this was all to have been completed before the boat was shipped..... but wasn't.

This event though was not without celebration though. Our new friends from Denmark have been on the hard all this time as well. Their sailboat was repaired and put in the water just after us. So a bottle of Prosecco was found, uncorked, and toasts made. They have to get their mast stepped and do a few other things before they depart. They will probably leave on Monday or Tuesday depending on the weather. Their next destination is Cuba.

On the lighter side we have spent some fun time together and enjoyed going to Mardi Gras parades a few times. Mardi Gras in Mobile has a longer history than that in New Orleans dating back to 1703. The celebration of "mystic societies" discontinued during the Civil War but resumed again in 1867. These societies continue today. The parade that we went to on Saturday night was put on by the "Mystics of Time".

The first time we attended we pulled off the freeway and asked a police officer where was the best place to park? We explained that we were both from out out the area. He said that we should park right behind his car in the freeway median. So we did. When we came back the next time we did the same. We like free parking with an armed guard close by.

As we walked to the downtown area

we passed many celebrations in action in hotel parking lots

where local walk around bands played jazz

and high school bands warmed up before the parade started. Of course there were street vendors everywhere selling all kinds of Mardi Gras memorabilia.

Along the way were entertained by street musicians and you can imagine the people watching opportunities at an event like this.

After dinner at an historic inn...

 we proceeded to the parade route up the street. We managed to get a spot where the police observation post was set up after we arrived. That made us wonder if what we might be in for but there was nothing to be worried about while there.

The parade itself was made up of large paper mache floats..

marching bands and groups of all ages...

And look who came home with all the beads. How do you think she got those?

Nautical Word For The Day: [from]         


1. The distance over which the wind can blow unobstructed by land before reaching the observer.                         

2. The distance which the effect of seas can travel               unobstructed by land before reaching the observer.    

From Great Loop Jargon:                                            

3. A southern term indicating that someone is going to get something. Example: I'm fixing to fetch some grits... "wansum"?


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Johnny Cash Sang.....

... as he remembered hearing... "How high's the water, mama? And the answer eventually got to... "Five feet high and rising." Last week and again yesterday we were beginning to ask the same question.

There was quite a storm a week ago to the point where the marina was  closing the doors on all the out buildings which they had never done before during our time here. Loose items were picked up and some things tied down a little better as a storm was brewing. There was a low pressure area over us with a full moon and a big southern rainstorm headed our way. The winds peaked out at about 35 mph with gusts to 40.

The parking lot was not set to grade to let the water run off so some deep pools formed for a while. Because the tide was high [for them] at +2 feet, the water did not drain away very fast.

We were not concerned during this time though. What the heck... we were on a boat!

But it was a totally different story in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina came through. All those of us away from that storm heard about was the devastation around New Orleans. These guys caught the brunt of the storm as well. The picture below shows a glimpse of the waterway in the marina to the west of the bridge that is in the backgound.

There used to be a restaurant on the east side of that bridge but it is there no more. The water surge pushed that building under the bridge and through the marina wiping out boats, covered moorages, and docks. The pictures below show some of those that have been replaced.

These folks have rebounded really well but it makes us think that it is not so bad for us to put up with an occassional earthquake now and then.

Now... if Johnny Cash were singing that same song and asked during the middle of Katrina... "How high is the water, mama?"... he would have heard... "Fourteen feet high and rising"! The horizontal blue marks on either side of the doorway in the picture below were placed there after the storm to indicate the height of the water during the surge. It is amazing to us that they are still here and still in business!

Nautical Word For The Day: [from]


1. To clear water out of a boat by dipping it up with a container and throwing it overboard.

2. To pump water out of a boat.

From Great Loop Jargon:

3. The money required to secure one's  release from jail after a particularly fun night out with other folks doing the Loop.