To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bryant Vann) Subject: Learning to LOVE sea nettles, Rio update, Cell-phone email, & Manatee info... Date: July 28, 1999 Sea Nettles -- learning to love same: One of the wonders of the summertime Chesapeake Bay is the charming and mysterious sea nettle, sometimes called jellyfish. The main body is a gelatinous blob from about one to several inches across with long streamers a foot or three long which emanate from undereath. Depending on the rainfall and goodness knows what else, they multiply at varying rates from year to year -- sometimes they get so thick you'd swear you could walk across the water on them (the water surface looks a little like the infamous blue dress) -- some years you never see a one. One thing is for sure, they can ruin an otherwise cooling swim on a hot summer day if you happen to come in contact with one. Their stings are especially upsetting for small children. For years we swore at them, dodged them as much as possible by posting a "nettle guard" to warn us when one approached (often by snealily surfacing silently from below), or retreating to favorite "haunts" which they seemed not to infest. Finally we realized that they provided a great benefit to those of us who love the solitude of the many creeks and coves of "our" Bay -- they keep the numbers of swimmers, bathers, the water-skiers, and the jet-skiers to minumum. Without the nettles, the shoreline of the Bay would probably look like Ocean City -- beaches and high rise hotels and condo buildings everywhere. Ah, but THIS year we finally learned how to swim WITH them without getting stung! The answer was a Boat Pool -- sometimes called a Nettle Net. Sure, we'd heard about these things before -- for maybe years, but we never really thought they would work -- surely the durn gooey things would stick to the outside and get all over you when you retrieved the net. Well, last summer we were over in the St. Michaels area and dropped by to visit Dave Dianich -- the charming fellow who developed the Follow-Me-TV we've talked about here often. As we were about to leave Dave asked if we'd be interested in one of his Boat Pools (this was Dave's very first boat-related "invention", which he SWORE worked very well -- no nettles inside, no nettles clinging outside either. In a moment of weakness, we bought one -- just couldn't resist since Dave said if we didn't like it after our first weekend of use, he'd refund our money. We got the 12-foot diameter size since we figured that was about as big as we could conveniently handle off our KK42, but since it was rather late in the season we didn't use it until this summer. Well, to say the least we are thrilled. Easy to launch and retrieve -- no nettles stuck to it at all -- plenty of room for 4 or more folks inside, plus a couple of mattress floats -- even better it keeps OTHER weird things out too -- little fish just LOVE to nibble on me (though they trouble not others), and I no longer have to fret about protecting my dangling parts (toes, fingers, whatever). The folks we had over for a nettle-free swim two weekends ago ALREADY have their own (Boat Pool) in hand and can't wait to use it the next time they go out. Rio update: Check the archives for background... Rio is our new "boat dog." The litter box deal is still going perfectly. He LOVES to go to the beach too and occasionally uses a tree or bush there as well. Our fears that he might not switch back and forth were groundless -- he's proven to be quite flexible. Still no accidents on the boat. I don't think I mentioned this before (for those who might be thinking that the idea of having a dog -- even a micro-sized one -- poop on their boat would produce something OTHER than the "sweet smell of success." Rio's breeder recommended we ONLY give him one certain type of dry dogfood and NEVER give him anything else. Well, of course, the "Admiral" gives him teeny little snacks anyway, but mostly it's this special stuff. Anyhow, it manages to keep "things" pretty solid and almost completely odor free -- even when "fresh." For other info on Chihuahuas -- on board boats or otherwise, check out David Long's Chihuahua FAQ. Like any good boat dog he LOVES "his" dinghy -- jumping in instantly whenever he even SUSPECTS anybody is thinking of going for a ride. Last weekend a lovely couple (translation: outrageous bikini) from a nearby anchored sailboat had let their dogs meet Rio as our dinghy passed by and came over for a visit (seems like everybody wants a tour of a KK42). As they were leaving, Rio jumped into their boat just as they started to pull away -- total strangers yet! I think he was as surprised as we were. Speaking of meeting other dogs... He's getting better about making friends -- or at LEAST having the good sense to keep quiet around the huge ones. However, much to our chagrin he has STILL not warmed up to the sweet, Benji-look-alike across the dock from us. Maybe someday... The Admiral has taught him to swim. Sure, ALL dogs know how to swim, right? But if your air intakes are only 1/8" above the waterline, that can be a problem even in small waves. If she walks out into the water he fearlessly charges in right after her -- then he swims over to me, circles around, and goes back to her. Our big game on the beach is for her to stand on the opposite end and encourage Rio to run back and forth between us. After about ten minutes of this, he's ready for an afternoon nap. I remain concerned about whether he could recover from a "fall-in" from any significant height, though. His PFD (Pooch Floatation Device) has most of the flotation on his back, so it doesn't keep his head out of the water much more than nothing at all. At least it makes him easy to spot. The Admiral put a great deal of thought into selecting this little guy. One point I don't think she considered though was the advantages of a dirt-colored dog. We see folks with all-white dogs that have to be bathed rather frequently. Rio is a short-hair, so he only needs bathing when he's managed to roll in a pile of dead fish on the shore -- something he DEARLY loves to do. Oh yes, the Admiral thinks he's gifted. Who am I to argue? Cell-phone email: Check the archives for the configuration I reported setting up for the boat this summer. So far it's working well. We're still in our cell phone provider's home area (which covers the entire Bay plus some), but it's working perfectly -- at anchor or underway -- typically with signal strength of 4 to 6 bars out of a maximum of 6 (analog bag phone and high gain antenna). Rates of 4800 are common with a few 9600s and a couple of 19200s which surprised the heck out of me. No disconnects, but occasionally I've seen some "balkiness" which I can't correlate with anything so far. The extension phones have been very convenient around the boat (just pick up the handset and dial normally -- no need to have a "SEND" button to make it go), and the answering machine has worked well also. Mantee? Remote parent parenting? Some Internet friends no longer on the list are thinking about selling their Krogen Manatee (one of the newer ones) -- aging parent problems changing their cruising plans. Perhaps that would make a good topic for the list someday -- dealing with parenting parents from a cruising trawler... Anyway, I'll help anyone interested make contact. As protocol demands, I continue to have no financial interest in swimming with nettles, eliminating in a litter box, cell-phone email, or selling old boats. - Bryant Vann M/V Salty Lady, KK42 Galesville, MD --> on the Chesapeake Bay PS. Our latest added "toy" (or so I thought) is a Furuno 1832 radar (although I believe most, if not all, the functions below are available on most current radars). (Forgive me if I've reported some this before.) My sailboat friends said it was a waste of money -- something I'd seldom, if ever, use. I now suspect the reason is that most sailboats have the display mounted below where the helmsperson can't see it. However, we trawler trash can mount them right by the compass and nav computer where we can use it all the time. That's important of course, because interpreting radar targets properly takes some practice (and having some understanding of physics helps too). Running it all the time in daylight and good visibility lets you compare the radar display with what your eyes tell you -- that'll help interpretation when the visibility drops. Frankly, I've ben amazed at the ability of this thing to "see" all kinds of targets -- even rowboats, windsurfers, uncharted fishtraps and derelict docks, and the little DNR buoys marking float-free channels. Often it "sees" things before I do. It's esepecially handy on our KK42 as a "rear-view mirror," since visibility aft from the pilot house is somewhat limited -- especially when the dinghy is aboard. The "trail" function is something I keep on all the time because it lets me judge at a glance whether a target is stationary, approaching from behind or from the side, and even for an initial warning of a potential collision (trail points directly AT you). It helps identify NEW targets also. It ALSO warns of fast-approaching sportfishermen who revel in overtaking at flank speed with max. wake some 10 yards off your beam with no horn signals or other proper warnings. I've interfaced it with the nav computer so it shows the waypoint I'm headed toward as a "lollipop." Since my waypoints are frequently near daymarks ot buoys, that helps me sort out buoys from boats as I approach. Even better, if we're still too far away from the lollipop "circle" to see it on the display, the lolliop "stick" shows on the display to indicate the direction to the waypoint. If this doesn't line up with the heading line, you are either off course, crabbing into the wind or current, or suffering from a GPS "jump." The ability to see rainstorms several hours away has been useful too -- for dodging them or just planning dinghy trips before the rain hits or estimating when the storm will pass. The only time it has failed to see stuff around me was during a real gully washer that reduced visibilty to nothing but the bow pulpit. The rain clutter (which usually isn't much of a problem) obliterated everything so the only solution was to stop until it passed. I had wanted an open array but settled for the radome-enclosed unit to ease the installation. I'm glad I chose the radome -- the additional resolution wouldn't have made much difference to me since I really don't care to separate distant targets as much as to have a warning that something is "there."