Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ruined photos

This is not a typical post. Please don't judge the entire blog by this one. I have been doing short, thoughtless posts about matters of no consequence whatsoevers lately, and this is another one. Actually, I have been doing that since the first, come to think of it. Anyhow, on that cautionary note:

Last night we got talked into staying over on Pine Cay for another day. It seems that our teenaged guests are enjoying this little island immensely. We enjoy it, too, so it was not a very hard sell. Being able to get away from construction issues for a few days has been something that we were sorely missing for the past six months.

Since we were going to be here loafing around the island anyway I decided to scrub the bottom of the boat. We leave it in the water year round, and marine growth builds up on the bottom. Slows the boat down, uses more fuel, and, well, it looks ugly.

This is a photo I took of one of our trim tabs. I took it over a week ago when we were out snorkelling.

Seeing this from under the boat was what prompted me to jump in the water today with a scrub brush for three hours. I cleaned all this up. I need to haul the boat and refresh the bottom paint (which is toxic and keeps this stuff from growing for about a year) but until I do, I will be scrubbing it every month or so. This growth happened in about six weeks since the last time I scrubbed it.

So, today I took my backup underwater camera with me. This is one of the SeaLife brand "Land and Sea" cameras. Basically a no-name digital in an underwater housing. I had taken the above photo with it, but then noticed water inside the housing and I quit using it until I could check it out. This week I cleaned the o-rings and grooves, etc. Re-greased them. Couldn't find any obvious housing damage. It should have been waterproof. It wasn't.

I had it in the water for only ten minutes when I saw the inside of the lens glass fogged up. Whoops. I snapped a few photos anyhow, and when I looked at them tonight I thought they were just strange enough to be kind of interesting. In their own way. It's all due to the distortions caused by the fogged lens and the fact that in underwater mode this camera goes macro. But it seems to focus to there were some bizarre results when I shot photos in air with it.

I had reset the anchor and intended this just to be a photo of where I parked the boat to clean the hull. It was going to be a 'poor me, having to slave away in 85 degree water under these horrible conditions' photo:

That was before the lens fogged up. So you can see the camera is a bit off already, as the water here is actually very blue. This el-cheapo camera seems to make blue things turn green.

LaGringa swam out to check on Dooley the Distressed Dog, because he was whining about some piddly little approaching squall line. I think it was the distant thunder that got to him. She was trying to entice him to jump into the water and swim ashore. He was already panting and in panic mode.

He wouldn't do it. He insisted that one of us lift him out of the boat and into the water. This is a dog that has bailed out of this same boat two miles offshore in 3-5 foot seas. Without a second thought. Or even a first thought. Just in pursuit of a barracuda we threw back. We have had to haul him back on board at least a dozen times. But throw thunder into the equation and he's suddenly spineless. Pitiful. A waste of carbon. If we just whisper "thunder" on a perfectly sunny day....his heart rate races and he goes all shifty eyed with his ears laid back. Pavlov got salivating dogs. We get that too, but on top of full blown anxiety attacks..

So we tried swimming away from the boat, toward the shore. We were thinking that him seeing the both of us headed to the beach would push him over the edge, so to speak.
But nope. He just went in some manic dysfunctional mode. Running around the boat looking for the exit.

This is a distorted image of an animal deeply in the throes of some serious decision making processes while under extreme duress:

He's begun to realize at this point that he is a lot higher off the water at the bow than he would have been back at the stern. But that is no longer an option in his mind. I believe that for just a second there, his hairy little brain might have even considered leaping onto me as a smart move. It would not have been.
You can get an idea of the squall that was coming behind us. Maybe not so piddly after all, when you see it up close. Of course all Dooley has to hear is thunder. He loses all of whatever passes for canine logic at that very instant.

So here's the normally decisive dog as the humans head for the beach without him.. and the thunder closes in from the rear:

( "jump or stay? jump or stay? jump or stay??? SOMEbody help me!!!")

LaGringa headed on to the beach while I circled back to the boat to keep scrubbing...

His eyes never left LaGringa, as she headed for safety leaving him stranded and helpless..

And of course about five minutes after I gave up and threw the fogged up camera back on the boat and got back to scrubbing moss...there was a flash of lightning a couple miles away. Before the thunder even got there, Dooley the Desperate made his decision. He launched himself off the boat, sailed completely over my head and hit on the other side of me with a splash. He went a couple feet underwater and surfaced in full-time four-wheel drive. All four of those stubby little legs were kicking up rooster tails. It looked like he was sculling with his tail as well. If he could have used his ears for propulsion he would have done so. This dog went from indecisive to totally committed in only about a thousand heartbeats. Which all took place in the half second after that lightning flash.

I think he was doing about six knots when he hit the beach. The marines would have been proud of that dog.

If there had been another lightning bolt right when his rear feet hit the sand, he might have overshot the island entirely.

Strange photos, aren't they? But it looks like we are running out of waterproof camera options at the moment.


Anonymous said...

Damn Gringo- that was a funny discription of Dooley making the leap and high tailing it to shore.
Enjoyed the read,

Anonymous said...

The dog in this clip made me think of Dooley

Good to see you back posting regular too.

Anonymous said...

at this point I am ready to send you a canon and a housing...
post one more like this and I think I have enough info to fed ex on to you!
2 megapixal had better be enough!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe we have been through three underwater photo setups in three years. The first camera we took diving is a Sony,and the camera still works but the housing broke and it's been long obsoleted.

The second to go was the Olympus 770, after only six months, and now this Sealife "Reefmaster" is starting to leak.

SOMEwhere out there must be a rugged, reliable underwater digital.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU!!!! I have tears in my eyes from laughing so hard and the people in the ofc next to me think I'm crazy! Oh man....keep up the litte short posts, they are great.


Brent said...

Every time I scrolled down I laughed harder.. Silly me - I have bred the old fox terriers in another life. Each one has a specific character, not all neurotic. But that thread in their genes is part of the animal.

I feared my meds would let me down!

Keep him away from pigs, his genetic inheritance may cause you some embarrassment.

These little dogs are quite capable of and keen to hold a boar by the goulies... Really!!

Regards, BrentH

Anonymous said...

Here is your Gemini. Close to you I think.


Anonymous said...

Hello Jeff.
I took a look at your link, and yep, that's exactly the model sailboat we think is right for us. It's the right size, and that 14 foot beam means it will fit in 'normal' size marina slips. Most catamarans these days have a beam about half their length. Limits where you can tie them up. Of course we also love the eighteen inch draft. That means we could go a whole lot of places with skinny water. That's a well equipped one, and it's only 470 miles from us...can you imagine the blog post photos we could get out of THAT trip?? Island hopping down the Bahamas..

Alas, a 2006 is a bit on the "new" side for us financially. We will probably end up looking for something about half that price, a few years older. It's always been a part of the dream, though. We don't give up easily.

Anonymous said...

I have a dream too and have been researching cats for several years.

There are many who poo-poo the Gemini but after all it is a boat/compromise.

I dream on and am happy to have your site to visit.

Thank you!!


Anonymous said...

I, too, have been researching multihulls for a number of years. I don't know what someone would say against the Gemini, other than it is not a 'proper blue-water' boat. But there have been a thousand of the Gemini's built. They have crossed every ocean.

If I were looking for a boat to live on full time, or wanting to sail high latitudes, I would not look at a Gemini. But that's not what I want to do. And for what I want, the Gemini is just about as good as they get.