Saturday, January 22, 2011

After the Electro-Shock Therapy, He Escaped...

The 1st Mate and I have a favorite soap: Dr. Bronner's All-One liquid and bar soap. We buy it at Trader Joe's when we're in Errorzona, the US of A(nxiety). We've been using it for years (I discovered in the 60s) and, this morning, as I unwrapped a new bar of soap, decided to Google Dr. Bronner and see what there is about him online.
Wikipedia says, "Emanuel Heilbronner (who was never really a "doctor") was born in Heilbronn, Germany in 1908."

He migrated to the United States in 1929, dropping "Heil" from his name. As his father was Jewish, he pleaded with his parents to emigrate with him for fear of the then-ascendant Nazis, but they refused. His last contact with his parents was in the form of a postcard saying, "You were right. —Your loving father."

Bronner was the subject of a documentary film,"Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox." From the producers website:

"Dr. Emanuel Bronner was a master soapmaker, self-proclaimed rabbi, and, allegedly, Albert Einstein’s nephew.

In 1947, after escaping from a mental institution, he invented the formula for “Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap,” a peppermint-infused, all-natural, multi-purpose liquid that can be found today in every American health food store. On each bottle of his soap, he printed an ever-evolving set of teachings he called “The Moral ABC,” designed, in his words, “TO UNITE ALL MANKIND FREE!”

A human story about a socially responsible company, “Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox” documents the complicated family legacy behind the counterculture’s favorite cleaning product — Bronner’s son, 68-year-old Ralph, endured over 15 orphanages and foster homes as a child, but despite difficult memories, is his father’s most ardent fan…"

From YouTube, the trailer for the documentary...

The film is available for rent on iTunes...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Procrastination: A Labor Saving Device

Today I decided to remove the remaining 16 foot section of portside deck on the FLASH, and unlike the starboard, I did it without cutting up fiberglass and creating clouds of dangerous dust. It occurred to me that I could just use a hydraulic jack and some jackstands from the car to force the deck off the boat.

And it worked.
If I had done this job in the distant past, I would have continued with saws and drills and all manner of dust generating devices, but I procrastinated. And this way was a lot easier and cleaner. As I dug into the boat, though, I discovered a layer of black mold between two pieces of plywood that had been bolted together.

Since I had removed the decks from the other side, I had fought battles with mold after two major floods, and discovering the other boat, BLISS, covered in mold in Barra de Navidad. My research then had taught me that this stuff was not to be messed with... and that white vinegar was my friend, so I fired up the compressor and fitted my engine cleaning wand with a gallon of vinagre blanco. A few minutes of spraying with the face mask on, and I could leave the mold to die overnight.

So, by putting off the work, I gained knowledge from intervening projects to make the day's work go easier and safer.
By the way, it was a warm and sunny 75 degrees in the ranchitos today. Eatcher heart out!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Danger on the Low Seas

Our Morgan 33 OI series sailboat BLISS is currently moored in San Carlos Bay with a bunch of other boats, and as is normal this time of year, we get "northers." When high pressure builds over the 4 corners area of the US, that pressure is relieved by blowing down into the Sea of Cortez, usually for days at a time. The winds are normally about 25 knots, but gusts to 50 are not uncommon. It makes the Sea a lively place to be and unsheltered anchorages a place to avoid. In the Bay of San Carlos it looks like this:

Note the boat in front of BLISS... it's a Hunter sloop of recent vintage named MYSTIQUE and lies directly upwind of our Morgan. Today I took a tour around MYSTIQUE's mooring ball and discovered the chafing around the thimble (the teardrop shaped metal piece in the picture) had almost cut that line.

Then I noticed the other line holding this boat had chafed and had just two weak strands between the mooring ball and total disaster for the Hunter. And possibly BLISS as well, since it's likely the rope would part in a strong northerly gust and send MYSTIQUE barreling down into BLISS. That's 10-15 tons of sailboat crashing into our Morgan. Not good.

So, I motored back to BLISS and found a heavy 3/4' dock line that could hold up when both of the Hunter's ropes failed and looped it through the hardware and tied it off on the deck.

I checked at the marina office when I got back to shore only to find they had no record of the owner. Later today, I'll jump on the internet and see if I can find a link to someone responsible for this boat... but in the meantime, we'll both be safe for awhile.

ADDENDUM: After an hour of searching the web I found out the boat belonged to a local resident and he's been notified.