Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Whatever Floats Your Boat

Boats. We've got a gazillion of 'em down here. Here's a tour boat motoring past the Castillo de San Marcos - the fortress was built in the 1600's to protect the Spanish citizens from attack. Today they fire the cannons for the tourists. I didn't know that when we first arrived. One afternoon, we were riding along in front of the seawall when a cannon went off & we both hit the deck. I thought the engine on Laffin' Gaff blew up.

Mmmmmmm.... Shrimp. This is a picture of a shrimp boat taken last Sunday. They haul in millions of pounds of the sweetest white shrimp from these parts. Because it's local, it's also fresh & cheap. I've paid as little as $2 per pound for jumbos.

The shrimp boats usually travel in small fleets of 4 to 6. There were a few more in the cluster but couldn't get them in the picture. All were just off shore just past the breakers.

This is part of Matanzas bay - sometimes called the St Augustine Harbor. There are some dangerous spots in these waters - obstructions below the surface waiting to tear out a hull. Sandbars can be a problem as well. You have to pay close attention to the markers.

This is another tourist boat. It sails up & down the Matanzas. In the evenings they have 'ghost sails' - where the crew tells ghost stories while guests guzzle wine. The waterway & bay has a reputation for being very haunted (like the town itself). The word Matanzas actually means place of slaughters & they say, when there's a full moon, boaters have seen skulls bobbing to the surface & the water turns red like blood.

This is the ramp that we use to launch our boat &, specifically, a picture of Homeland Security getting set for exercises. There were 6 or 8 boats - all identical - & once in the water there was nothing anywhere nearby that could keep up with them.

Here's a pic of me doing something that I rarely have time to do - fishin'. I'm back to just the goatee now - which is turning gray minute by minute.

Our boat - Laffin' Gaff - sitting on the trailer behind the garage. Looks rather lonely. I left a switch on & both batteries are now dead. More money. B O A T , actually stands for Break Out Another Thousand. The name Laffin' Gaff comes from my sissy-like approach to going to the dentist - They have to use Laughing Gas (Nitrous) even for routine cleanings. I miss not having our boat slip - we had one at our beach house in Delaware so it was convenient. Show up, hop on & in the ocean in 8 minutes. (Sigh!) Nowadays we have to tow the boat, wait in line & & then launch it - so LG doesn't get the use that it should. Hopefully that changes soon.

My first book will be out real soon. Needless to say the story revolves around the haunted city, the beaches & BOATS. The title, 'BAD LATITUDE' is the name of the boat that the kids run around in. The follow up, hopefully finished by early spring, also draws its title from the name of the next boat - an 82' schooner called ___________. I think I'll post about that later, when the editing is finished.