Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Helping Hand to Getting Your Ship's Licensing for SSB


Chart Origin AARL
There just seemed to be no direct and easy answer.  Every time I thought I had it, I would see some little side note somewhere that made me think that we needed to take a HAM radio course and get Technician and General licenses before we could legally use our SSB.  In the end… here is how it went for us.

First, let me advise that if you plan on cruising in international waters and using a DSC (digital select calling) enabled VHF radio along with SSB (single sideband)… do NOT apply for the free MMSI number from Boat US or any entity other than the FCC.  We were advised to obtain the free MMSI by multiple people when we got our VHF… and we are now packing it up and sending it to the factory to have our NEW MMSI number programmed into it in order to use the DSC capability with our new MMSI number.

We found several websites helpful in getting a straight answer about the process.  Here is a web document provided by Waypoints that I found simple and direct.   

For us, it went like this: 

  1.  Go to the FCC website and register for your FRN.  They require very basic information.  Your FRN is your personal identification number under which you will obtain all FCC licenses.  It is free of charge.
  2. Once you have your FRN, go to the License Manager page of the FCC website and log in using your FRN and password.
  3. You will then be able to apply for a new license by picking the appropriate one from a drop down box.  You will need a Ship Radio Station License  in order to operate your SSB radio internationally.  If your vessel is considered "voluntary" or recreational, you should choose license type "SA".  There is a listing of all of the available licenses with explanations for each on the FCC Wireless Services page.  During this process we applied for a "regular" license, a radio call sign and a new FCC MMSI number all at the same time.  Submit your application.  You will then be given the opportunity to pay the $160 fee online for this 10 year license.   
  4. Next, you will need to apply for your Restricted Radiotelephone Operator's Permit (RR).  You choose RR from the dropdown box in License Manager and answer a couple of simple questions.  Submit and pay.  The cost was $60 when I did mine.  This permit is for life with no expiration.  
The Ship's Radio Station License comes in a few days, as does the Restricted Radiotelephone Operator's permit. Once you receive them, you should update your VHF (if DSC enabled) and your EPIRB.  It's probably a good time to make sure that your information is current with NOAA as well.  They will need your Call Sign and your new MMSI number. 

You will need to cancel your FREE MMSI number obtained through any other entity as it will no longer be valid.  If you got it through Boat US you can cancel it here by logging in with your ID and password and a few clicks.  Complete the simple online form and submit. 

Now, about those TESTS!  It is a good idea to educate yourself about using the SSB.  This is especially true as you have just certified to the FCC that you will use the SSB radio according to their rules!  You should at least know what they are, right?  

We bought this cute little book Called The Sailor's Quickstart Guide to SSB.  You can get it from many sources, I think we got ours from EBAY.  Anyway, this book is a nice introduction and takes some of the mystery out of the SSB.  Next... we are taking HAM radio courses to get our Tecnician and General licenses.  We don't have to, but we're doing it anyway.  Our friends at BYC were kind enough to arrange for instructors to come to the club for study sessions.  When we finish those, they will give us the tests required to certify us.  The most important thing we are getting from them is information.  

These are just a few of the steps along the way to Cruising for us.  We're almost THERE!  Please comment if we missed something or if you have information to share.  We love hearing from you!

Update:  September 8, 2013  We have obtained our Technical and General Ham Licenses with many thanks to the BYC folks for hosting study sessions and providing a testing venue.  And an even bigger thanks to Jonathan Cooper and Albert DeMeulle, and the VECs from South Texas Amateur Radio Club for providing the study course and proctoring our tests.  You can easily prepare for all three test levels by signing up on QRZ's free website.  Under "resources" choose Practice Amateur Radio Exams" and take the random practice tests over and over until you can consistently pass.  You can also practice particular sections where help is especially needed.

There are marine bands that do not require any license to use.  However,  getting these operator licenses (which are renewed every 10 years) will give you a wealth of background information (though not all obtains to the SSB application) and will open up a broad spectrum of bands to you for communication.  Who knows... it may even become a new hobby!  GOOD LUCK!


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Right Across The Ferry

Exploring the area around us is one of our favorite things to do.  I become bored with the familiar and am always looking over the horizon for something new to discover.  Cruising will feed this passion but until we cut the docklines for good, we entertain ourselves by trying to find new places in our own back yard.

We took a time-out between (endless) boat projects and set out on our folding bikes to see what we could find on the other side of the Ship Channel.

We walked our bikes onto the ferry with only a few cars as company.    Bruce had noticed a dirt road that led off to our left just after leaving the ferry landing area.  We wanted to take it and see if it would get us to one of the white sand beaches alongside the Ship Channel.

We found it easily and took off down the sand trail!  It was very quiet out there on the salt flats.

Roseate Spoonbill aka Texas Flamingo!














Nothing but the sound of the animals going about their business. I love seeing the birds and other critters in their natural habitat.  I could even hear a swarm of bees off the road at one point, but I never actually saw them as we sped hastily away...

There had been no recent rain, but the flats were still muddy from the last downpour in spots.  We had to pick our way through the swamp-bottom mud.  I'm pretty sure I didn't wear the right shoes for this!

It seemed like we had been traveling for a LONG time and we still saw no sign of our intended destination, the elusive white sand beach...  Bruce went up to get a better view but saw nothing but bushes for miles...  No worries, we were having an adventure!

We came across an unexpected camp site.  Unusual... I didn't take any pictures out of respect but it looked like this wasn't a weekend thing.

He's red, white, and BLUE!














We continued on and came across a snake, and a cute little patriotic crab.  He skittered across my path and dove into the bushes before I could get the camera ready to snap. (I've never seen a crab like this before and would love to know what kind his is so please leave a comment if you know.)

We began to think that we were on the wrong trail for the beach and it was getting WARM!  We left the boat before having breakfast and I was STARVING!  Never fear!  Bruce is here... with some snack bars and water!  Yay!

We had our meager breakfast and went over one more rise before we called it a day.

We turned and semi-backtracked through the mire.  We made one big mistake in riding through the cute little tree tunnel we found...  As it turns out... ALL of the mosquitos we had been missing were hiding in there!  I think I woke them up as they buzzed around us until we were well away from there.  Lesson learned.










Dolphin feeding along the bulkhead
We made our way back across the ferry with tired and aching muscles but a new attitude!  I can feel my body getting stronger as we do these little jaunts on our bikes.  Each time, it's easier to do and I love it!  We had our little fun for the day and, after a short pause to watch the dolphin, it was time to return to...

you guessed it!  MORE BOAT PROJECTS!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Next Big Step...

I guess it was a good indication that we were REALLY going cruising when I retired from my job a month ago.  So why am I finding this next step to be such a challenge?

WE'RE SELLING OUR CARS!!!

FOR SALE:  2001 BMW 325IT (Touring)

BMW performance with space to take your toys with you!!!  We are selling our BEST car first!  This car has been perfect for us as it has the ride of a sedan but has room with the fold down rear seats to take us everywhere we want to go.

Price:      $7,500.00
Year:        2001
Mileage:  135,000

The car is currently located in Port Aransas but has been garage kept in Corpus Christi for most of the time we've owned her.  We would be happy to show you everything we love about this car by appointment.  If you are looking for a clean, well maintained, NICE car... this is IT!






Sporty front seats

Open Moon Roof

Sporty Leather seats fully electric

Spacious leather back seats



One or both seats fold down for extra cargo room
Window Hatch open

Cargo Hatch open


Seats down cargo space

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hey Baby... Ya Wanna Race A Sailboat?

It takes fierce concentration to be good rail meat
We got a phone call from a fellow sailor friend extending an invitation to join he and his wife, Teresa for a BYC Club race.  Now in the old days... I might not have accepted, but now that I no longer work and I have time to work on the boat AND play, I said YES!











Teresa at the helm
We have always admired Neil's boat, Waypoint.  It's an Ericson 38 and he and Teresa keep her in pristine condition.  What a treat to sail on a boat with no "STUFF" flying around.

Bruce and I met while sailing on Corpus Christi Bay.  There were many years that we mostly raced and I know that Bruce misses it a lot.  Today he got his chance to trim sails and strategize.  He's a born foredeck man... always popular as crew.

Neil is a knowledgeable and patient teacher















We met a new member of the Club, a young one!  It is great to see young people, and especially young ladies, showing interest in sailing.  Corpus Christi Bay has a long history of Club sailing, but there has been a marked decline in activity in recent years.  I don't know why EVERYbody isn't out sailing on our beautiful Bay.



Nearing the weather mark








Since we had ample crew for the demands of this race, I, became rail meat.

I will do my part if needed, but I would MUCH rather sit the rail and see if I can get that elusive special pic.

The benign conditions and easy course made for an enjoyable race.

There were four marks to round, upwind, broad reach, and downwind, then the finish. The race took about three hours.  We saw some ominous looking clouds and pouring rain in the distance but, luckily,  it slid right past us.

All too soon, it was over and we were once again on that last stretch towards the finish.  The good news is we got Third Place... the bad news is only three boats finished.

So what if we were last across the line.  Bruce and I had such a great time reliving our glory days on the Bay.  It is nice to keep those memories of our early days together alive and fresh.  Thanks to Neil and Teresa for the great day on the Bay!

Stacking Marbles (A Rant)

Photo Credit
That's kind of how life is now.  I feel like I'm trying to stack marbles and they keep rolling away.

I've been retired for just over a month now.  The first couple of weeks were spent traveling and then we spent a week out on the boat.  We had a great time in Florida and totally enjoyed our time on the boat exploring Matagorda Island.  We had a vacation from our vacation to (hopefully) give me a ramp down off the merry-go-round.

Now that we're settled in I just can't seem to get my act together!  Where are my lists?  Where are my organizational skills?  Where is my agenda?  I just can't seem to get organized in a meaningful way and it's got me fretting...

On one hand, we've got three months to get "ready" when, essentially, we could leave today and be just fine.  So where's the stress in that?  But then, there's that compulsive part of me that needs to be doing something constructive all the time!  There's the "me" that needs to see all those "t's" crossed before we can be "ready".  If I don't get "X" amount of things accomplished each day, I feel guilty.

I seem to be OK with foregoing the boat projects for recreation, as long as there is a particular named event.  There must be something I can recount:  We went sailing today, or we went racing today, or we had dinner with friends today.  We sat on our backsides and read a book today?  Nope, I'm having a hard time doin' it.  What is WRONG with me?!?!

We love being on the boat.  We are having NO regrets about our choice.  I just need to get my list maker jump started.  I think if I had a great list that I could mark things off of, I would be OK.  But I can't seem to do it!  So maybe I need to kick the list maker to the curb and just go with the flow...  Sounds easy right?  Can't do it!

I knew there would be adjustments once I retired and I just need to settle down and let them happen.  It's OK if we don't finish a job today.  No, I don't have to have a documented reason that no jobs were finished today.  No, I won't be fired if no jobs get finished today.  Yes, I can still do the job tomorrow or the next day.  Maybe I'll do some other job in between or maybe I'll just go float off the transom for a while...  It's OK!

But I'm Impatient.  I'm impatient that my mind and body have not responded as quickly as I would like.  I've spent so many years working at a desk, that now, when I'm more physically active, there has been a certain amount of rebelling going on.  I'm TIRED!  I want to SLEEP!  It's not just the mind numbing kind of tired... real physical tired!  And it's been, what a month?  Surely I should be superwoman by now!

I find my words coming back to bite me in the butt.  Words about how joyously I would embrace the opportunity to learn new things from doing boat projects.  Words about how Bruce and I would revel in our uninterrupted time together.  Words about how lovely life would be...

Now, don't get me wrong... all of those things are still there, but they're morphing into reality.  I had my first "laugh-until-you-cry" moment when we were stuck in the endless mire of a project-gone-wrong.  A simple thing that didn't even NEED to be done, should have taken half an hour tops, that took us all day and part of another.  I just wanted to SCREAM!  "Why didn't we just leave it like it was!???!!!".

Bruce and I have had our first real fight!  The kind of fight in which someone says "If you say another word, I'm going to turn this van around and we're going back to the boat!"!  It was such a communication breakthrough for us!  We have grown and learned from it, but at the time, it wasn't so great.

So why am I blathering about all of this?  Because it's my Blog and I can cry if I want to!  Because I have always felt that if I can get things out of my head, they will stop bothering me.  Because if there are other people out there who read this and can empathize, maybe shed some words of wisdom or send some encouragement my way... it will hasten my recovery from this madness!

Yeah, whaa whaa, poor me.  Quit my job and living the dream.  Bla Bla Bla....Yes it's true and I count myself lucky every day when I get up and get to decide what we will do.  I feel my soul yawning and stretching every time I get to change my mind about what we will do today when a better offer comes our way.  I feel the endless possibilities roll out in a thing as simple as doing my laundry on a Wednesday instead of waiting for the weekend.

Ahhh, see!  I'm feeling better already.  Today we will play and tomorrow we will get back on track.  Tomorrow I will resume picking up the marbles.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Old Woman Who Lives For Shoes

If you want to make a woman blush... ask her how many SHOES she has!  Someone asked me once upon a time and I thought about it, then answered 50 pair.  I went home and counted and found that it was a bit over that.  There was hardly a month that went by in my previous life that I didn't hit a sale rack for shoes and buy everything in my size... So moving onto a boat posed quite a problem.

Eight months ago, I had to make some big decisions.  (In shoe speak) I had already done away with multiple pairs in the two yard sales we've had.  It was time to get real.  We had been planning to move aboard forEVER.  To this end, I had previously purchased several pair of shoes that have interchangeable parts.

Beach Bandals
This is a perfect idea for boat dwellers in that you can have one base with many small decorative parts.  I have found Bandals (one pair) and Switch Flops (three pair) to my liking.

Kitten Heel Switch Flops
The Switch Flops are my favorite as they seem better made and offer lots of great choices.  I have flat flops, tall flops and a cute little kitten-heel pump, perfect for going ashore in a dress.  I have some basic colors for both and have seldom found myself lacking the perfect color match for any outfit.

My shoe closet is very small.  There was a bit of a problem during the winter when I found that many of my shoes were covered in mildew!  I don't know WHY the stuff loves the shoes!  I've gone to war with the tea tree oil and so far, it's good.  I finally got the mildew off of the shoes and they're back in business.

So, what other shoes did I bring along?  Well, I had my work shoes, which have now been discarded, I've got a pair of tennis shoes for hiking, one pair of open back tennis for bike riding, I've got two pair of Tevas (well one is Dr. Scholls and is much more comfortable, but the same style), I've got one pair of wedge heels leather shoes, several water shoes, one pair of regular flip flops, one Crocks ballet flats (indestructible) and four pair mentioned above.  Still a lot of shoes but I've found that the ones I'm wearing are going downhill fast.

There are still a few pair back at the townhouse, but I don't miss them and they'll be going to the GoodWill.  All of the other lovely shoes in my past life are a distant memory.  I won't need them, I don't have room for them.  They are dead to me....  And you know what?  It's OK.

Shoes are just one of the "things" that are unimportant to this lifestyle.  I could probably ditch most of the ones I currently have onboard and never miss them... (but I'm not going to).  Shoes, like cars, are a thing of my past life.  I'm still an old woman... but I no longer live for shoes!

P.S.  How many shoes does Bruce have aboard?  He says six pair.  I don't notice their number because he has them cleverly disbursed all over the boat so that I only see one pair at a time.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I Live To Eat


Let's face it, I live from meal to meal….  I have a love/hate relationship with food.  I'm a fat girl.  I want to eat every meal like it's my last meal.  I must know what I'll be eating for the next week or I get nervous.  A lot of my Cruising Angst has been about FOOD!

I have always been a stockpiler of food.  My pantry was full of ingredients that I may or may not EVER use.  Once in a while, I would go through and get rid of all of the expired stuff… leaving room for NEW stuff!  And… tossing a whole lot of money into the trash!  I've been working on this one for some time, and while not cured… I'm better.  Now here we are living on a sailboat and contemplating "provisioning".  Dun dun dun duuuun…  What?  I get to stockpile again!?  COOL!

But wait!  I'm getting conflicting advice.  Yes, stockpile… you'll be glad you did, you can just keep on going without having to stop and figure out where to get provisions…  No, don't do it.  Use that space for spares.  There is food everywhere…  

I am sure that most new Cruisers struggle with this issue.  How much to take along when we head East...  Food is a very personal choice and for each person, it is different.  For myself, I feel that I need to have a basic stock aboard to feel "safe".  Nutty I know but it is what it is.  But here's the thing…  The Texas Gulf coast is really not a "Cruiser Mecca".  There are few cruising guides and the ones out there are out of date.  I'll let you know if Active Captain is any help.  So… the first part of our journey will perhaps be the most difficult.  There won't be scads of other Cruisers around and there may not be plentiful facilities close by with Cruiser friendly perks.  We may well appreciate the food we have aboard, even if we DO get tired of eating what we brought.

Origin
My food preferences have changed as I've grown older.  I don't mean the "dying tastebuds which allow me to now eat broccoli" kind of change… I mean that my horizons have widened.  Its a funny thing.  I'm still a bit skittish about some things.  I would rather not eat venison and I'll NEVER eat CAT!  But traveling has opened my mind to the fact that other cultures eat things that "we" don't.  Anyone who has traveled at all will know what I mean.  But in traveling, I've found many lovely foods that I would otherwise have missed.

The other day I went into a convenience store while Bruce gassed up the car.  I needed a snack.  I found JAMAICAN PATTIES for sale there!  I was taken immediately back to the trip the girls and I took one summer when Bruce went to Kansas.  Not to be left home doing nothing… we jetted off for a fun filled week, just my daughters and I.  We found Jamaica to be just a little scary for unescorted females, but managed to have a blast in spite of it.  We fell in love with one of their "fast food" spots, Mother's Patties.  We LOVED them and ate there several times before we left.  I have even made them a couple of times at home and let me tell you, they're a lot of work!  I think I feel another batch of Patties comin' on…  Ahhhh Jamaica!

Every trip we've taken has brought me a fond new food memory.  BVI's Cane Garden Bay will be forever associated with the scrumptious Curried Calamari smothered in the most delicious green curry sauce and crowded with sautéed onions… mmmmm!  Bahamas is Conch Fritters!  We ate them everywhere and they were all a little different.  Maybe some day I'll make my own!  Hawaii brought us fish tacos.  Fish of every kind.  Oh, and the Mai Tai challenge!  Everywhere I went I ordered a Mai Tai and never got the same drink twice!

Flying Fish Origin
Then there was Grenada, who holds the title of "most strange" food.  We were there with a group of four couples and visited the restaurant at True Blue Bay Marina for breakfast.  Myself and one other in our group decided to throw caution to the winds and order…. wait for it…  FLYING FISH!  For BREAKFAST!!! Yes, I have eaten Flying Fish for breakfast.  They were very salty and crunchy…  Glad I can say "I've done it" so I don't have to do it AGAIN!  But it is a memory I'll hold dear forever.  

I can't wait to try the many new and strange foods we'll encounter along our way.  Eating is a necessity, but it is also a universal pleasure that no human can forego.  We have to eat!  It might as well be fun!  Maybe we will be one of those cruising couples throwing out a bunch of nasty looking tin cans in a year or two.  Maybe we'll be glad we had all that stuff and eat every last bit of what we have socked away in the bowels of the boat.  But for sure, there will be many more food memories to punctuate our travels and I can't WAIT for the next new thing!

Click on the monkey's fist to read others bloggers on this topic.
The Monkey's Fist

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Boat Projects - AC Raw Water Cooling System - CHECK!

We bought Dos Libras over a year ago and have had one AC unit replaced.  Both units work off a single water pump which draws water in via a through hull and pumps it to the units to cool the compressors.  The water then exits through two through hulls just above the waterline.

Bruce has been plagued by the fact that one hole seems to gush water, while the other barely trickles.  He has investigated all the hoses and used air to blow through each to make sure that they aren't plugged but still, it just trickles.  This is one of the many projects that were put off until after my retirement so that I could be here to help out.  Today, we plunged in!

The problem seemed to be this "T" fitting where the water comes from the pump and is distributed to each AC unit.  It is situated behind the engine and underneath the aft shower floor.  We think that there may be gunk caught in the fitting and since the water is forced through a 90° turn, it might be less efficient than we would like.








This is our problem...
We ordered a "Y" fitting, finding only one in the world for 5/8" hose.  With much grunting, sweating and letting of blood, Bruce and I tackled the fitting from both sides.  I loosened the clamps while he held the hoses steady.  Then I pulled from one side while he pulled and twisted from the other.

We finally were able to get the fitting off the hoses and found our culprit.  I can't believe any water at all was able to get through this fitting.

Upon further investigation, we found the hose going from this to the aft AC was pretty clogged as well.  Bruce tried using the air compressor to blow it out, but we decided to just replace the hose with a new one.  Luckily, we had some on hand.

We used a straight splice fitting inside the ends of both the old and the new hose to secure them.  Then we used duct tape wrapped around the outside to make sure they wouldn't part when we pulled the hose through.  It was no sweat pulling the new hose through and luckily we had exactly the right length.


I think he's going to kill me for snapping pics instead of helping





Next, we reconnect it all.  Bruce crawled into the hole and connected all three hoses with clamps to the new fitting.  The new fitting had us running one hose from the opposite direction from which it originally came.  Luck again would have it that there was enough hose there to allow a gentle curve and it went right on.

Tight space with limited line of sight.






The last thing we needed to do was to secure the hoses to the fitting with clamps.  This took Bruce coming from one side with his left hand to hold and position the piece, and myself coming at it from the other side with my right hand and the ratchet to tighten the nuts.  Not an easy task when you can only see what you're doing with one eye at a time!

But, somehow we were able to get it all hooked up again.  We turned the pump back on and there were no leaks at either worksite.  YAY!  A quick look over the side and we found water gushing happily from both exit holes!

YAY again!  I LOVE it when a plan comes together!  We did all of this with the AC OFF and finished two hours from the start at 1:30 pm!  It's HOT in here!  I'm pretty sure I've never sweat this much in my life.  But... we accomplished something and we're happy!  One more thing checked off the to-do list!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Nothin' To It...


Bruce and I were on such a high.  We had successfully managed to "discover" a new place and had partaken of all Army Hole had to offer for the past three days.  We were enjoying the feel of our boat bouncing on the chop towards home.  We were feeling "as one" with our fellow followers of the ICW.  The cats were not hurling body fluids around down below.  Life was good, except for one thing….

We had been motoring, or motor-sailing the whole week.  Bruce and I were longing for the quiet swish of water alongside our hull without the monotonous drone of the diesel.  The winds had finally come around to our beam and had strengthened enough so that we could make good time by wind power alone.  What went wrong?

Sails were raised and trimmed.  Between the favorable current, the ample wind and the engine boost, we were doing 7+ knots.  We were ready to turn the engine off and SAIL!  

We have a feathering Max Prop on Dos Libras, but for some reason, it doesn't always feather when we shut the engine down.  This causes the prop to continue rotating and we can feel an annoying vibration. We always turn it off in gear going less than 3 knots, which was the correct procedure on our last boat.  Now, sometimes it works, sometimes it requires some manual assistance in the form of Bruce putting on a glove and manually stopping the prop shaft from spinning once I shut off the engine. 

So, to that end, Bruce took his position down below while I worked down to the leeward side of the channel so that I could come upwind to slow the boat to under 3 knots.  This has ALWAYS worked before!!!  Unfortunately, this time… the boat slingshotted to the windward side of the channel failing to reduce speed sufficiently before I was quite over the line and out of the channel in a spot with zero tolerance for such behavior.  

My mind processed all of the incoming information in slow motion.  I saw our speed resist slowing, then gradually begin to drop as we neared the green side.  I saw the depth gauge drop alarmingly.  I was so close, just a little bit more… there!  Under three knots!  I shut the engine down as I spun the wheel to Starboard mentally willing the wind to blow our nose off and back into safer depths.  We made it!

But nooooo… we didn't!  The boat came to a mushy stop so gradually I had to look for a stationary object ashore to be sure.  Nope.  Aground!  I did it!  

Bruce came up and we assessed our situation.  We tried powering forward but were reluctant to power in reverse fearing that we would damage our rudder.  Nothing... but a giant cloud of mud which attracted a pod of dolphin.  We tried easing the sails and powering… nothing.  We tried trimming the sails and powering… nothing.  We tried dropping the sails and powering… nothing.  We waited for a passing barge to float us off and powering… nothing.  

We sat there and blinked at one another for a while, as one by one…, the barges we had passed earlier made up the time and left us in their wake.  Where's the LOVE people?!!  

We devised a plan. We'll splash the dinghy and use it to push our nose around.  We set to work loading in the gas tank and dropping the dink into the water.  Bruce hopped aboard and started to buzz off, but WAIT!  Don't we need to talk about what will happen once we're free?  So, we talked out our plan and off he went.  

You wouldn't believe the power a little 8 hp motor on a 10 ft inflatable can have against a 45 ft., 25,000 lb. + sailboat.  First he tried pushing us into the channel the easy way… it didn't work.  Ok, lets go back the way we came.  He went over to the Starboard side and pushed the bow in a 3/4 circle and back out into the channel with the help of the diesel.  I was only mildly afraid that we would pop free and I would run over him.  Can't think about that now…  Finally we were moving freely as I waved my arm and shouted for Bruce to get clear.  

I turned into the channel and held course steady at 1.5 knots while Bruce "Ramboed" up to the Port side, climbed aboard and moved the dinghy to the stern where he tied it securely for the remainder of our trip.  He came back to the cockpit and stated simply "Nothin' to it".

I got a short video of the dolphin pod cruising our med cloud while Bruce settles back in...