Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Night Dive

How many of you have ever done a night dive? The ocean comes alive at night and many of the cool creatures come out at this time. Here is an excellent series of photos from a dive several years ago at Jim's Crack. Check it out.


One of the amazing things about snowboarding is the ability to move sideways over the mountain as well as change the position of your feet very quickly. Now if we could only translate that to a skateboard and create a snowboard feel on asphalt. Well now someone has! It's called Freeboard and it is about to turn the skateboard/snowboard community upside down. Checkout the vids here.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Walk on Water with Corn Starch

Carina Nebula

(A nebula is an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen gas and plasma. It is the first stage of a star's cycle). A jewel of the southern sky, the Great Carina Nebula, aka NGC 3372, spans over 300 light-years, one of our galaxy's largest star forming regions. Like the smaller, more northerly Orion Nebula, the Carina Nebula is easily visible to the naked eye, though at a distance of 7,500 light-years it is some 5 times farther away. This stunning telescopic view reveals remarkable details of the region's glowing filaments of interstellar gas and dark cosmic dust clouds. The Carina Nebula is home to young, extremely massive stars, including the still enigmatic variable Eta Carinae, a star with well over 100 times the mass of the Sun. Eta Carinae is the bright star left of the central dark notch in this field.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Liz Clark - Sailing Surfer Girl

An atoll is the remains of an ancient volcanic island that has sunk back in to the sea over millions of years, leaving only a rim of the crater and/or part of the coral reef exposed above the ocean's surface. The shocking beauty found 'above the waterline' in the Marquesas had not disappeared in this next island chain--it had only been transformed into the glorious biodiversity and color of coral forests 'below' the sea. I chose to visit the less popular atolls. I dissolved into their remoteness and delighted in realizing how much I can live without as my supplies dwindled to all-time lows. The generosity and warmth from the locals were shocking. They were eager share their culture and to show me how they live. I dove in their fish pens and they taught me to husk coconuts. The kids played marbles in the dusty dirt roads and wove palm fronds instead of playing video games. I wandered along palm-lined beaches and waded into the turquoise lagoons of my dreams. Hermit crabs shuffled by while I studied the amazingly adapted atoll flora.

Continue reading.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Space Jumping

Forget about bungee jumping and hang gliding. The next adrenaline pumping daredevil stunt will be hurtling back to Earth by "space diving," if entrepreneurs and extreme sports enthusiasts have their way.

They are preparing skydives from the edge of space to beat a record set by Captain Joe Kittinger of the US Air Force in 1960, who jumped from an altitude of 20 miles, reaching a speed of around 700 miles per hour in his 13 minute descent to the ground.

They aim to start with a jump from 22 miles to break Kittinger's record, then build up to 57 miles, which would be the first true space jump. If everything works as planned, paying customers might be able to start their fiery descent from space as early as 2009.

Instead of jumping from the gondola of a helium balloon, as Kittinger did, New Scientist reports today that they will be bailing out from the nose-cone of a rocket ship, one of half dozen or so being developed to loft paying passengers into the heavens for a few minutes of weightlessness and a spectacular view of the Earth.

Armadillo Aerospace of Mesquite, Texas, has been developing a computer controlled vertical take-off, vertical-landing spacecraft for the tourist trade, and the Space Diver team thinks the craft could offer the perfect jumping-off point.

The diver would trigger an airbag, springloaded seat, or a small parachute to move away from the spacecraft as fast as possible, so as to avoid a collision as he tumbled into the abyss. Then it would be up to the spacesuit to make sure the he copes with frigid temperatures and near vacuum to return safely.

At an altitude of 20 miles, the air is so thin that there will be no rushing of air and little impression of falling. Gradually, as the air becomes denser, pressure against the diver's body will increase and air friction will heat the suit, which will contain a circulating liquid cooling system.

One problem under study is how to prevent divers from going into a spin, which could leave them unconscious. The team is still debating whether a head-first posture or the traditional spreadeagled horizontal position is likely to work best. Once within a mile or so of the ground, the main parachute will deploy automatically.

The craft will be commanded from the ground, so after the diver has ejected it will return to Earth automatically. By early next year, Space Diver aims to begin low-altitude tests with dummies, then people, starting at a modest altitude of about two miles. "We need to show that we can leave the vehicle safely," Tumlinson tells New Scientist.

Ultimately, Tumlinson aims to develop technology to allow astronauts to bail out of orbiting craft and return safely to Earth, for instance in small inflatable "lifeboats".

Sunday Sail

Have you ever had one of those perfect days on the boat? It was an amazing day to be on the SF Bay on Sunday. We had a very nice 75 degrees (very unusual), delightful 12- 15 knot winds from the north and deep blue skies all around. I was out with my two best friends and we were drinking it all in. The Addiction (our 30' Newport) was basking in the glow of a special day as well. 6-7 knots on the speedo with one hour tacks between SF and Richmond. I don't think it gets any better than this!

This is Gonna Hurt!

Deer Found Swimming 1.5 Miles Offshore

The catching was slow and they looked back to check their lines. They saw what appeared to be a seal with its snout out of the water, but they didn't think any seals were around their fishing grounds and they kept watching.

Soon they realized it was a deer trying desperately to keep afloat — and obviously losing the battle. Fearing the whitetail would get snagged in their lines they cranked in their rigs. Then the deer headed straight for the boat possibly thinking it was a spit of land.

But as it got closer and saw the two fishermen aboard, it had second thoughts. With its nose barely out of the water, it appeared to have been swimming all night, said Campbell. "Since the fish weren't biting, we thought we'd give it a hand. Bo grew up around cows, was really handy with a bow line and lasooed the deer on the first attempt."

They got it close, Bo grabbed the neck, Chad got a good hold on a flank and "we barreled over backwards to the deck -- and before we knew it, Bo was on top of the buck in velvet and had him hog tied like a calf."

Chad, said they feared the deer was going to "kick the hell out of us in a 22-foot center console boat," but they were lucky, it was too exhausted to resist, "We hit the gas and ran him to the closest beach, Kent Point, where I beached the boat and we carefully unloaded our catch on the sand. We untied him and jumped back.

"Too weak to stand, he just sat there quivering. We picked him up again and put his feet underneath him, but he still couldn't walk or stand. We left him sitting there looking at us. Before we left, I looked him in the eye and said 'See you on opening day; payback time.'

Winged Base Jump

Here is a very neat clip from a recent Warren Miller ski flick. Jumping out of a chopper and hurtling 100 miles an hour just off the surface of the snow and rock is not my idea of fun. But it sure makes for some compelling footage. Check it here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tania Aebi Sets Sail Once Again

If you have never heard of her, you should read her best selling book "Maiden Voyage." Tania Aebi was an eighteen-year-old dropout, a bicycle messenger in New York City by day, a Lower East Side barfly at night. In short, she was going nowhere - until her father offered her a challenge: Tania could choose either a college education or a twenty-six-foot sloop. The only catch was that if she chose the sailboat, she'd have to sail around the world - alone. She chose the boat, and for the next two and a half years and 27,000 miles, it was her home. With only her cat as companion, she discovered the wondrous beauties of the Great Barrier Reef and the death-dealing horrors of the Red Sea. She suffered through a terrifying collision with a tanker in the Mediterranean and a lightning storm off the coast of Gibraltar. And, ultimately, what began with the sheer desire for adventure turned into a spiritual quest as Tania came to terms with her troubled family life, fell in love for the first time, and - most of all - confronted her own needs, desires, dreams, and goals. She ended up a hero to many and her book is a must read.

Now after many years of raising a family, she is out on the water again with her kids aboard Shangri La, a Devilliers 36 steel cutter. Read about her ongoing adventures as she gets ready to embark on her next

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Top 10 Coast Guard Rescues

Simply Sailing

I was first introduced into the sailing world on Lake Mead near Las Vegas during college. My French friend Phillippe had rented a windsurfer and was teaching us how to sail it. Fun! I moved to Palo Alto in 81' and then got my first board in 84'. Sailed like crazy on the SF bay and delta for the next 16 years and loved it. We purchased our 30' Newport in 2000 and man am I hooked! Now I am dreaming of sailing to New Zealand in the future after my son heads of to college and I retire. Here is my favorite sailing quote and it really sums up the way I feel about sailing, "Something about sailing a boat brings so many senses and sensations into play that it's very difficult to pinpoint what it is specifically that makes me like it so much: the sight of sails and sheets overhanging the water; the foam and spray flying as the bow cuts the water; the motion of the boat; the physical and mental ballet necessary to handle the boat correctly. A sailboat might just be the most beautiful, sensuous and intelligent blend of man/machine/and elements that exists in the world today. The relationship between the three is the most harmonious I have experienced so far. Besides, you can have a beer while you do it". --anonymous

Here's a video compilation that will help get you thru your day. Let's go sailing!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pic of the Day!

A doggone great pic. Click to see a larger view.

Worrell 1000

This amazing Catamaran race is no more, but when it did take place a few years back, it was a grueling marathon up the east coast. From Miami to Virginia Beach, the cats raced up the coast running 60-90 miles a day. Charging thru the surf sometimes caused great harm to the competitors as well as the boats on this 12 day journey. Follow one team's trials and tribulations as they slam their way up the coast. Read their account here.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Very Cool Free Music Streaming Site

I discovered this neat site that all you music lovers will really enjoy! You know who you are. I am currently listening to the full album by Phil Collin's from 1981 called "Face Value". The site is called Soundpedia. Type in you favorite artist and for example, there are 20 Phil Collins albums available for your listening pleasure. Go ahead, indulge! My trick is to use an Airport from Apple and then I use a little app called Airfoil to send it to the Airport which is connected to the home stereo. Lovin' it!

Pics of the Day!

Click the pic!

Not Good!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Flashback - 1984

The most talked about, successful, cool commercial ever seen. And it was shown only once on the 1984 Super Bowl broadcast.

"Big Brother" (IBM?): "Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology, where each worker may bloom, secure from the pests purveying contradictory thoughts. Our Unification of Thought is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!"

Big Seas for an Ocean Going Tug

Marejada Ocean Tug

Boat Crashes, Mishaps and Blunders

Pic of the Day

Bonehead Move

Click the pic for larger view.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Great Trip to the Bahamas

We just spent a week in Abaco near Marsh Harbor. We had a beautiful beach all to ourselves. It is the end of hurricane season and so we enjoyed the solitude. We stayed in a lovely home between the beach and a golf course. I sailed on a Hobie three times and the last day it was howling. Flying the hull in the turquoise waters where the air temp and the sea temp are 84, was a dream. The day we went diving the seas were up and the good places were to dangerous. We ended up doing a nice dive in about 25' of water with lots of fish. There were 16 of us in two houses so everynight was a great feast and party. Very relaxing and very fun.