Friday, August 31, 2018

A glimpse into that final voyage - a free chapter

Care for a glimpse into Sailing to Purgatory, the story of the final voyage of this DoT professional yachtsman, and singlehanded Cape Horner?
The story tells what it is like to be out there in pleasant weather and in very grim storms. But the
story is not just about the elements. It is also tells the interesting characters met along the way.
My work area covered most of the oceans, and of course all of the really sizable seas, like the mighty globe-circling Southern Ocean which of course I knew well when I sailed round the world alone.
In this chapter - Chapter 9 - I have sailed into port on the gorgeous island of Margarita, in the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Venezuela.

More naughty than nautical

If you visited the island without knowing its reputation, you could take it for perhaps the most gorgeous island in that large and often very difficult sea.
It's reputation certainly is much more to do with flesh, much more naughty than nautical. I expected that women from socialist Venezuela boosting the reputation would seem like country girls on a rare trip into the city, behaving, or misbehaving, as they imagine city girls might.
Surprisingly - surprisingly to me - there is little sign of young women acting out of character.
These women, who almost all seem to have the most perfect skin, seem naturally playful, in spite of the austere politics of their homeland.
Here we talk of electricians and plumbers and the like moonlighting for tax-free cash.

Amateur enthusiasm

The term seems to fit these Caribbean beauties better. They perform for tax free money, yet with the amateur enthusiasm of their gender around the world.
The chapter isn't just about that side of shore - or sure - life. In chapter 9, I visit a notoriously naughty nightclub. Brits familiar with our rip-offs will be amazed at the economy from the ticket office to the drinks, to the, well, the end of the evening.
It's not what you might expect. The young women do what they do because they like what they do - or certainly act most convincingly ….
Continues on the blogs for my ocean travel book, Sailing to Purgatory, at

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The painful truth about our teeth

 On a long-distance singlehanded voyage towards Britain, life suddenly changed from a struggle with the elements to a far more concentrated battle with my own system thanks to a really painful toothache.
 It was an unusual experience for me and a week or two of regular pain encouraged considerable sympathy for our forefathers.
 How did they manage, I wondered, far from land in those heady days when Britannia ruled the waves?
How would they have coped on James Cook’s circumnavigations and for that matter, what about the teeth of the Vikings on their very risky voyages to our shores.
 Lucky me. Within a day of
sighting Land’s End, I had found a marina at Plymouth, was docked, and in a dental chair with a gum numbing from a local anaesthetic.

Blame modern diets

I learned today from the excellent daily@delanceyplace dot com newsletter that I didn’t need to worry about the forebear’s teeth, at least not of those back in hunter-gatherer times.
An excerpt from the book Evolving Ourselves by Juan Enriquez and Steve Gullans showed that it's we relative moderns who suffer from teeth problems - thanks to modern diets.
Scientists comparing dental plaque in ancient and modern human teeth found that early humans had healthy mouths that needed no dentistry.
Neanderthal teeth didn’t know cavities, and presumably toothache.
They found that Paleolithic and Mesolithic human skulls were all almost without cavities.
Our diet is to blame. ‘Hunter-gatherers from seven thousand years ago had far more microbial diversity in their mouths than did Stone Age agriculturalists.’
The authors say, ‘With the widespread use of processed sugars, the incidence of cavities exploded. We began to suffer chronic oral disease, something that became most bothersome, and sometimes even deadly, in the pre-antibiotic, pre-brushing, pre-dentist era.
These days we need to do things no self-respecting Neanderthal would have considered: brush our teeth three times a day, floss, drink fluoridated water, fill cavities, and use dentures.

Not for Neanderthals

'These days we need to do things no self-respecting Neanderthal would have considered: brush our teeth three times a day, floss, drink fluoridated water, fill cavities, and use dentures.
‘Average male height during the ninth to eleventh centuries was just below that of modern men,’ the book reveals.
‘Disease, wars, serfdom, and filthy cities changed the morphology of men; by the 1700s, the average Northern European was 2.5 inches shorter than before and did not recover until the twentieth century.’ Care for a chocolate, anyone?
Continues on the blogs for my ocean travel book, Sailing to Purgatory, at

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

All we need to know about file transfer magic

Talk about cart before the horse, I want to raise three cheers and more for the astonishing way we can send words and photos from one part of the globe to another without buying a stamp, without queuing at a post office, and without the person at the other end waiting for a week or two for it to arrive.
Only - and this is the horse and carriage part - I don't understand how it can possibly happen, and yet I want to shout from the treetops of my amazement that it does.
I'm talking about an internet miracle - one of them - that's called File Transfer Protocol, and frankly even if I found a description of it written specially for children, I doubt that I'd comprehend how it works, how it could possibly work.
Better to describe it as a miracle. And it is a miracle.

 Good on the eyes

I want to find an illustration for this article, this blog.
I haven't anything appropriate enough in my files, so I will go to the great photographers who offer their masterpieces at unsplash dot com which is based in Montreal, Canada.
I'll choose something appropriate - well, for this article, something that's simply good on the eyes. A few sweet toes, perhaps.
I click on the photo which is part of a collection in Montreal which Google tells me is 3,242 miles away.
 I don't wait for days for it, not even a number of hours, not even the time it takes a postman to climb the stairs at my address.

A split second

 It's with me in a split second. Or a second or two, to make an approximation. How could it be? Through File Transfer Protocol, FTP, whatever that might be.
I'll use a program to make it an appropriate size for the page. Then I'll send it back across the Atlantic to the web host in Chicago. How long will that take? A second or so.
 It doesn't make sense, does it? Let me, who has been FTPeeing for, well, around 20 years answer.
 No, it doesn't make sense. It isn't possible, and yet it happens, I see it happen, I don't understand it because I don't really believe in magic, and yet I know the spells are going on all around us.
 Wikipedia asked for a donation today and brilliant font of all knowledge that it is, I donated, of course. So let's ask the font of just about all knowledge about it. What is File Transfer?