Headlines from the bitter end Weblog:

Last updated on Sun, 14 Oct 2007
Learn to Sail Video
San Juan blog bitterend, Sun, 14 Oct 2007
Thanks to Mr. Boat for the link. Ok - it's cheesy, but content this time of year is tough.
When in doubt, don't go out
San Juan blog bitterend, Sat, 13 Oct 2007
GRAYS HARBOR, Ore. - The mast of a sailboat being overcome by weather conditions rises above the waves like the arm of a swimmer in need of rescue during an autumn 2005 storm at sea. The boat was taken in tow across the Grays Harbor Bar by the Coast Guard at the beginning of the storm that produced 50 knot sustained winds and seas in excess of 20 feet. This storm system was well forecast by the National Weather Service as early as 5 days prior to this. When asked why the vessel made the transit, the operator responded that he was unaware of how bad the conditions would be. (Official Coast Guard Photo by Station Grays Harbor.) SEATTLE - Imagine you've been underway transiting your sailboat south from Puget Sound to a destination along the southern Washington Coast, or even the Oregon or California Coast. The weather has deteriorated, and you've been underway for about 18 hours. You and the passengers on your boat are fatigued, and all you want to do is pull in to the nearest port. You contact the Coast Guard station there, only to be told that due to hazardous conditions, you will not be permitted to cross the bar. The first questions that come to your mind may be, "What am I supposed to do now?", or "How did this happen?" This scenario is played out time and time again at bars up and down the Washington and Oregon Coasts. Most of the bars on the coast of Washington and Oregon are regulated bars. This means that the Coast Guard routinely restricts recreational and uninspected commercial passenger vessel traffic when rough bar conditions exist. The bar restrictions are put in place by the Coast Guard stations operating under a federal law that established regulated boating areas in the vicinity of nearly all of the navigable bars on the Washington and Oregon Coast. This law was passed after many recreational boaters lost their lives, or needed to be rescued by the Coast Guard because of rough bar conditions. More info on the Coast Guard District 13 PR site, here .
San Juan blog bitterend, Fri, 12 Oct 2007
USMA grad, Capt. Richard Sturgill, of Blaine, WA passed the following web site related to knots. It's good stuff - take a look. Grog's Boating Knots Index
Deep Water (Official Trailer)
San Juan blog bitterend, Fri, 12 Oct 2007
DEEP WATER is the stunning true story of the first solo, non-stop, round-the-world boat race, and the psychological toll it took on its competitors. Sponsored by the Sunday Times of London, the much-ballyhooed event attracted a field of nine, including amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst, who set out to circumnavigate the globe in late 1968. Battling treacherous seas and his own demons, Crowhurst almost immediately comes apart as he faces the isolation of nine months on the high seas. Part adventure yarn and part metaphysical mystery, DEEP WATER is an unforgettable journey into one man’s heart of darkness.
Rough waters ahead for the (Alaska) ferry system
San Juan blog bitterend, Thu, 11 Oct 2007
Citing the need to expand services and deal with a flat subsidy from the legislature, it looks like passengers will need to pick up the slack. Currently passenger fares cover about 37% of the cost. Read the Juneau Empire post here . Alaska Marine Highway website here .
Walruses on Alaska shore alarm scientists
San Juan blog bitterend, Thu, 11 Oct 2007
Immediate concern is danger caused by large stampedes DAN JOLING The Associated Press ANCHORAGE - Scientists and conservationists are expressing alarm at the appearance of thousands of walrus on Alaska's northwest coast, a dramatic demonstration of the effects of diminished Arctic sea ice brought on by global warming. Alaska's walruses, especially breeding females, in summer and fall are usually found on the Arctic ice pack. But the lowest summer ice cap on record put sea ice far north of the outer continental shelf, the shallow, biomass-rich shelf of ocean bottom in the Bering and Chukchi seas. You can find the complete Juneau Empire web post here .
"Torrent" Shipwreck Found Off Alaskan Coast
San Juan blog bitterend, Wed, 10 Oct 2007
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A private dive team has discovered the wreckage of an American ship that sank off the south-central Alaska coast 139 years ago. The Torrent sank in Cook Inlet in 1868 after tidal currents rammed it into a reef south of the Kenai Peninsula. Documents from the period show that all 155 people on board survived. The U.S. had purchased Alaska from Russia less than a year earlier, and about 130 Army soldiers had come north on the Torrent to build the first U.S. military fort in south-central Alaska. See the full AP post here . Torrent shipwreck page here .
The not so deadly catch
San Juan blog bitterend, Wed, 10 Oct 2007
The reality apart from reality television? The catch has never been safer. In the 1990s, seven crabbers a year died in the Bering Sea. Between 2000 and 2005, nearly four a year did. But since 2005 -- the year "Deadliest Catch" first aired -- there have been no deaths. The Seattle PI has the full article here . Deadliest Catch site here .
Not a good day to be on the water
San Juan blog bitterend, Tue, 9 Oct 2007
PRESS RELEASE: The National Weather Service in Seattle has issued a gale warning for the San Juan Islands and surrounding waters. For Tuesday afternoon, winds are forecast to be in the 40-45mph range, with gusts up to 70mph. It is expected to stay gusty well into the day on Wednesday. Wednesday, October 10, 2007 update: The storm tracked south of here last night. I doubt if we had 15 kts of wind.
Killers Whales Demonstrate 'Cultural Learning'
San Juan blog bitterend, Tue, 9 Oct 2007
"Killer whales, which lure gulls by setting traps, are now among the animal species known to demonstrate “cultural learning,” a phenomenon in which animals of the same species learn from other members of their group. The new discovery was made by Canisius College professor of animal behavior, Michael Noonan, PhD, during a study that began five years ago at Marineland in Ontario, Canada. Noonan observed a four-year-old orca at Marineland luring gulls into his tank by spitting fish onto the water’s surface. The mammal then sank below the water and waited for a gull to come down for the bait. When it did, the orca lunged at the gull with open jaws. Noonan watched the same whale set the trap over and over again."
Rules of the Road Seminar - Sat, 10/13 in Everett
San Juan blog bitterend, Mon, 8 Oct 2007
Date: Saturday - October 13 , 2007 Time: 10:00 - 11: AM Location: Popeye's Marine Center, 814 13th St. Everett (in the Port) Be sure to stop by for a presentation and questions on the 72 ColRegs (Rules of the Road.) Even if you already have a good handle on the rules stop by and introduce yourself. Additinally I'll be answering questions about Coast Guard Licensing and the upcoming United States Maritime Academy 100 ton course that begins October 30, 2007 in Everett. View Larger Map
"It's not my fault, it's not my fault, oh my God,"..."I was (left) alone"
San Juan blog bitterend, Sun, 7 Oct 2007
Who was/wasn't on the bridge? Queen of the North plot thickens Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun Published: Thursday, October 04, 2007 As the doomed Queen of the North was evacuated in the early morning of March 22, 2005, two crew members swear they heard something that must have been as chilling as the north coast waters. "It's not my fault, it's not my fault, oh my God," the most junior member of the bridge crew was saying. "I was alone, I was alone." See the complete Vancouver Sun post here . More info on Widipedia here .
Rule 6 - Safe speed
San Juan blog bitterend, Sun, 7 Oct 2007
Every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed so that she can take proper and effective action to avoid collision and be stopped within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions. In determining a safe speed the following factors shall be among those taken into account: (a) By all vessels: The state of visibility; The traffic density including concentrations of fishing vessels or any other vessels; The manageability of the vessel with special reference to stopping distance and turning ability in the prevailing conditions; At night, the presence of background light such as from shore lights or from back scatter from her own lights; The state of wind, sea and current, and the proximity of navigational hazards; The draft in relation to the available depth of water. (b)Additionally, by vessels with operational radar: The characteristics, efficiency and limitations of the radar equipment; Any constraints imposed by the radar range scale in use; The effect on radar detection of the sea state, weather and other sources of interference; The possibility that small vessels, ice and other floating objects may not be detected by radar at an adequate range; The number, location and movement of vessels detected by radar; The more exact assessment of the visibility that may be possible when radar is used to determine the range of vessels or other objects in the vicinity.
Amphibious Sailing Craft
San Juan blog bitterend, Sun, 7 Oct 2007
Via Mr. Boat Bolg
Law of the Sea Treaty
San Juan blog bitterend, Sat, 6 Oct 2007
The Law of the Sea Treaty will be the topic tonight on "Coast to Coast AM." This late night talk show schedule can be found here . The show begins at 10:00 PM PDT. The White House is pushing the Senate to ratify a long-spurned high seas treaty that has gained new relevance with the melting of the polar ice cap and anticipated competition for the oil that lies below. President Bush says U.S. approval of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, concluded in 1982 and in force since 1994, would give the United States "a seat at the table" when rights over natural resources are debated and interpreted. "The United States needs to join the Law of the Sea Convention, and join it now," Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England told senators recently. He stressed that it would give legal clarity to U.S. naval operations. Opponents site information here . The United Nations information is here . Wikipedia info on the Law of the Sea Treaty is here. Sunday October 7, 2007 update : In the first hour of Coast of Coast AM, Capt. Kelly Sweeney commented on the Law of the Sea Treaty, which he called "the single most important worldwide maritime legistlation ever." Sweeney expressed his support for the Treaty, noting that it establishes rights over territorial waters, as well as keeps the use of the high seas open to all nations. He also spoke briefly about piracy, magnetic anomalies and the Bermuda triangle.
Cool Tool
San Juan blog bitterend, Sat, 6 Oct 2007
The new Weems & Plath ParaLock Plotter is a Tres Cool Tool. I first sighted it over on Ben Ellison's Panbo blog and knew it must be mine. If fact I ordered two pair; one for the boat and one for the USMA master's courses I teach. Grabbing a lat/long is a breeze. This bad boy is a little over 7", and is perfect for the chart books I use. While I'm on my third boat, none has had chart table large enough to use traditional tools and charts on. "Diligence" is a 36' steel hull, yet you couldn't lay out a regular chart to save your life. You can find out more about the ParaLock Plotter here . Internet pricing via Froogle is here .
Last vestige of the season
San Juan blog bitterend, Fri, 5 Oct 2007
Fall is here. We had 37 degrees last night. I took this photo of the Port of Friday Harbor yesterday. There is a definite nip in the air.
Free Passage
San Juan blog bitterend, Fri, 5 Oct 2007
Orcas sprint along a channel which has opened in the ice. They are headed deep into McMurdo Sound (Antarctica,) where they hope to find food. They must hurry, however, for wind conditions can cause the channel to freeze again, cutting off the whales' access to air.
New Zealand Mayday Call
San Juan blog bitterend, Thu, 4 Oct 2007
( Ed. note: The text from the video is below. The boat was salvaged, but there is no amplifying information. ) T his is a documentary I have made of the M.V Elusive sinking. I have used the stills from a camera and have included the audio of the ... all » actual distress call supplied from the coastguard. I have posted these files for training purposes and hope that someday this will help someone who also gets caught in a similar situation. These events happened in just fewer than 3 mins. Aaron. for more information or if you want a copy on the hi-res version you can e-mail me at: thefletch@orcon.net.nz Thanks to Mr. Boat Blog for the link.
New WIGs in the Offing
San Juan blog bitterend, Thu, 4 Oct 2007
A WIG boat is especially designed to take advantage of the benefits of ground effect. Therefore it will always fly close to the surface. Although it is called ground effect, most WIG vehicles only operate over water, but some are amphibious. Some WIG vehicles have the ability to fly without ground effect as well, but inefficiently as compared to aircraft. Some aircraft are designed to use the ground effect only for take off, such as the VVA-14 . The 72 ColRegs (Rules of the Road) classifies WIG's as vessels. (m) The term "Wing-In-Ground (WIG) craft" means a multimodal craft which, in its main operational mode, flies in close proximity to the surface by utilizing surface-effect action. The Korean government decided to step up development of a WIG ship, or Wing in Ground ship, at a ministers' conference on science and technology on Thursday. The WIG ship, dubbed a flying boat, is essentially an airplane that flies just above the surface of the sea. The 20-seat WIG ship proposed by the government would be 77 m long, 65 m wide and weigh 300 tons. It would travel at speeds of 250 to 300 km/h, similar to the KTX train, and carry a loads of around 100 tons, as much as Boeing 747 can carry. The Korean government plans to spend W170 billion to develop the ship over five years, aiming for test runs in 2011 and commercial operations from 2012. The vessel would be used as a passenger ship, freighter or military craft. Traveling three or four times faster than normal ships, a WIG ship exploits aerodynamic forces to skim just one to five meters above the water.
US & Canada developing joint PFD standards
San Juan blog bitterend, Wed, 3 Oct 2007
U.S. Coast Guard and Transport Canada hold talks on development of lifejacket standards According to the PFD Manufacturers Association (PFDMA), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and Transport Canada (TC), representatives who attended the September 6, 2007 meeting to explore the possibility of developing joint Canadian and U.S. standards for personal floatation devices (PFDs) reported discussions went well. Organized by the PFDMA and held in conjunction with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) annual conference in Burlington, VT, the meeting brought together representatives of the regulatory agencies from Canada and the U.S., as well as a delegation from the PFDMA. You can find the complete BYM Marine & Maritime News post here . (Ed. Note: Mustang Survival is a Canadian company with a major presence in the US.)
Seafarers and Mental Health
San Juan blog bitterend, Wed, 3 Oct 2007
One in three seafarers repatriated with a medical escort suffer diseases related to psychological disorders, according to a report cited by the London P&I Club in its latest Stoploss Bulletin . The report says that the Club “views with concern the large numbers of seafarers now being repatriated early suffering from a range of psychological difficulties”. In extreme cases the sufferer can be a danger to other seafarers or may present the possibility of suicide. The ‘robust’ shipboard shipboard environment and culture is often not conducive to early recognition and sympathic treatment of the problem. Adding to the problem is that too many medical lockers, which may have drugs that can help, are not stocked according to the requirements of the flag state. The WHO publishes a medical guide for ships. Also helpful is the Centro Internazionale Radio Medico, CIRM See the original post on Bob Couttie's Maritime Accident Casebook here . ( Ed. note: My wife Trish is deeply involved in Mental Health issues leading several local support groups and she facilitates a 12 week Family to Family Education Program . You can find out more about the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill here . Trish's Mental Illness blog is here . )
Rescue Tug Returns to Washington Coast
San Juan blog bitterend, Tue, 2 Oct 2007
The rescue tug Gladiator will return to the Northwest's northwesternmost tip Monday for an abbreviated season of protecting the state's Pacific coast and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Unlike past years when tugs remained on station into early May, the Gladiator will depart Neah Bay in mid-March. That's because the state Legislature, although it increased the per-day payments for the tug, did not pay for the 136-foot, 7,200-horsepower tug's fuel. After that, nothing guarantees that a winter tug - much less a year-round rescue vessel - will reappear. Since 1999, Gladiator and its predecessors went to the aid of 34 ships in distress off Cape Flattery or in the Strait during the winter storm seasons. The 34th mission came last May 3 - the tug's last day at Neah Bay. Environmentalists and politicians from Washington's marine counties long have called for a year-round tug. The complete Peninsula Daily News article is here .
First orca ordinance violator cited
San Juan blog bitterend, Mon, 1 Oct 2007
The San Juan Islander is reporting that a Monroe WA resident has been the first to receive a $750 fine for coming to close to Orcas on the west side of San Juan Island. You can find the complete article here . (Ed. note: Interestingly the article mentions that the Sheriff's boat was displaying flashing blue lights. The use of inland rules in local 72 Colregs waters continues to confound me.)
Prison Ships Could Make a Come Back in Britian
San Juan blog bitterend, Mon, 1 Oct 2007
The British government is considering operating prison ships in an attempt to solve the prison overcrowding problem, reports said on Saturday. A Justice Ministry spokesperson said in London on Saturday said that all options were being looked at including prison ships. Britain currently has a prison population of 81 133 people, which is 1 000 below prison capacity. See the complete IOL post here . Thanks to gCaptain for the link. Wikipedia info on prison ships here .