Monday, June 1, 2009

Waiting out the rain

We have started spending time outside again. This is a really good thing for us, one of the reasons we like living where we have chosen to live. We have been pretty busy since the last post here.

When we first got back from our trip to Texas it was raining. It rained and rained. I think we had two decent days out of nine, if you count sunny as decent.

The view from the front porch at the horizon where we usually look for sunsets, was rain:

The vehicles certainly needed a good freshwater washdown, but seven days in a row?

We were getting a little stir crazy, staying in the house a lot. But of course there is just about always some positive aspect to this part of the year. The plants are going to start their annual growth spurt. Oh, and on a more practical note, the cisterns are level full:

Let's see here, some 20,000 gallons at around six cents a gallon....yeah that's a bright side! Also, rain water is a lot softer than the RO (Reverse Osmosis) water we buy from our water delivery man Lincoln ("Sky Juice, Inc.") We would rather have the rain water. It all gets mixed together of course, and run through the filter system.

We did get the random sunny day in late May. The first nice day we saw, we decided to go have lunch at the Tiki Hut on Turtle Cove. Just to get out of the house and see what was going on if anything.

As you can see, there are plenty of empty boat slips this time of year, right at the beginning of hurricane season.

Well what we found out is that not much was going on. We basically had the Tiki Hut to ourselves. Along with the usual cast of ne'er-do-wells and beggars wandering amongst the tables looking for a handout:

After lunch we strolled around the marina, testing my new knee and looking at boats. There are some serious sportfishermen showing up this time of year for the billfish season:

The mate on this boat was getting all of their fishing equipment tuned up and ready. I suspect that two of these rod and reel setups are worth more than all the fishing equipment we have in total:

Nice chair. Some people take their fishing WAAAAAYYYY seriously.

We stopped and had a look at one of the TCI government's new coastal fishing patrol boats - a TwinVee.

We also saw a full time boat here, the trimaran "Minx" which was built by some local friends of ours. They keep their boat here full time.

We spotted a small catamaran that looked to be just about the size we dream about for ourselves. It was sitting in shallow water, and fit into a standard size boat slip. Those are important to us:

We had to go all the way around the marina to see it, and this is the first one of this particular model boat we have seen here.

That boat is a "Victory 35". I got onto the internet to learn about it, and found out that while it's a great boat, they did not make many of them, unfortunately, so it is unlikely we will ever run across a used one that we can afford. Our best bet is still going to be a Gemini 105 I think.

We also ran into another Land Rover while here. The Customs and Immigration people were down at the marina to clear in another sailing cruiser who had come in on a Sunday. I managed to get this photo as they were leaving, with our raggedy Defender 90 in the background, parked at the Tiki Hut.

We took a lot more boat photos, but I am not going to bore you with them here. I think I tend to get a bit more 'into' boats than is normal.

After this one sunny Sunday, the rain started again for most of the following week.

While waiting out the rainy weather we did have some inside projects to keep us busy. In my case, I had bought an electric violin (fiddle) while I was in the USA.

It's a very inexpensive little made-in-China thing, but it has a pre-amp in it. This means I can just wail away at it, and practice silently while listening through a pair of headphones. Good thing when one is staying in a hotel room in Texas. You cannot just assume the people in the rooms on either side of you want to hear fiddle music. The chances that they do like fiddle music are probably slightly higher in Texas than in some places I could name, but that is also a place where it usually pays to be considerate. Actually, isn't that usually the case, anyhow?

So, the bridge for this thing is pretty crummy, being a cheap knockoff of the Yamaha fiddle, and doesnt' have enough clearance for the E string. SO, first I tried to glue a couple little pieces of wood to the feet of the bridge, but that didn't work out well. Sounded dead. I am sure it is the glue joint, and different density wood layers. (As all us subsea acoustic people know, anytime a sound wave passes through an interface between two transfer mediums of different velocities, some energy is reflected.) So I decided to just cut a couple of new bridges out of wood here to see how they would work.

Good project for a rainy afternoon:

The one on the left is the one that came with the fiddle, with my trial feet glued on. The other one is the roughed in first effort, out of Casurina wood. Still some whittling to go there.

After a little trial and error, I found out that one I made from red oak seems to work just fine:

"Work just fine" is a relative term. If you are interested in electric fiddles, my advice is to spend the extra money and buy the Yamaha. This one DOES make a nice raspy, metallic bluesy sound, which works for me.

Finally, after another solid week of rainy days the weather cleared up. We managed to get the Contender out away from the dock for the first time in six weeks. I have some photos of that trip, with some more Dooley the Deranged photos, and will post those in a short while. Then we should be caught up to current goings-on.

And we are seeing all the way to the horizon again. During this sunset, the wind dropped to just a gentle breeze and was ruffling the water on the salina except where it was protected by clumps of bushes and mangroves. In those areas the water was glassy and picking up the reflections of the sunset. That's the bright areas in the water:

We were really glad to see blue skies again, and are chomping at the bit to get back into the ocean. More on that later...


LizLondon said...

What a cool fiddle! Rob got caught in the rain while he was there too. His first rental car broke down in a storm and then he had to run a mile to the phone and back. Then they gave him a jeep which handled the water much better. Glad you guys are getting outside again. I sent you an email about Robs trip. Hopefully you got it.

heinz said...

loved the photos as always!

Anonymous said...

Hi, great blog, love the pictures, the boats, and the Land Rovers!

When you say "anytime a sound wave passes through an interface between two transfer mediums of different velocities, some energy is reflected"

You mean "density" when you wrote "velocity", right?


Gringo said...

yes, I tend to use the term 'velocity' instead of density when talking about sound propagation. I guess it's a habit I picked up from countless hours discussing such things as attenuation and spreading losses, time of transmission, direct arrival, multipath, etc.

But you are right. When I write about a material's 'velocity' I am really referring to it's density, which is the major characteristic affecting the speed at which sound travels through it.

What we are actually interested in is the weighted average of the velocity when we are not talking about a homogenous mix. The ocean, for example. The average speed of sound ( or 'velocity') of the ocean is around 1500 meters/second. But that is affected by a number of factors, that change depending upon the path of the sound wave. IF you think of it, liquid such as sea water doesn't compress. So how could the density change enough to affect the velocity? Well, because the velocity is affected by factors other than just the density of sea water, including temperature, depth, and salinity. Over short distances, not enough to matter. But when you are trying to get an exact position of the origin of a sound wave tens of thousands of meters away, it becomes very important.

FlamingoHarp said...

You play the fiddle too?? BADASS!!!!!!!!!