Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

compass-163722_1280“Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise.  Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before!”   This is the opening narration of the 1960’s television show Star Trek. From the beginning of time man has had the restless desire to explore.  He originally left his cave in search of food. Then he climbed the rugged terrain to see what was over the mountain.  He followed rivers to oceans.  He built big ships to navigate along coastlines. Eventually he (explorer and navigator Christopher Columbus) found the “New World” of the Americas while on an expedition. He proved that the earth was not flat, and you would not fall off the edge of the world. We now know that a “round world” was waiting to be discovered.

As kids, we ventured out of our backyards onto the next block.  Our parents’ told us not to leave the neighborhood, but we did!  For us kids, there was an adventure, a new world just waiting to be explored beyond the gate. As teenagers, a few friends and I knew the location of some old mines and decided to explore. I remember one cave in particular that we explored equipped with flashlights and a rope. About a mile into the cave we found a shaft that dropped straight down. Unable to see the bottom with our poorly lit K-Mart flashlights, we did what any curious teen would do. We tied one end of our 100′ rope to a “strong looking” 6×6 beam at the opening and dropped the other end into the deep shaft. The fact that this beam had been there for a 100 years never crossed our minds (dumb). I told my friend Ed that I would secure the rope and I was strong enough to pull him up in case the timber didn’t hold (dumber). And he trusted me? Long story short, 100 feet down and Ed was still unable to see the bottom. As he climbed up the shaft, the old timber began to crack. I yelled down to Ed to hurry as I pulled the rope releasing the pressure off the beam.  I dragged Ed to safety, untied the rope from the beam and gave it a kick! The beam broke in half and fell down into the shaft for what seemed like forever before hitting the bottom. We looked at each other and said at the same time,”that was stupid!” But what an adventure!

What is life, with no adventure?  It’s what makes us fill alive and vibrate. From the time of Columbus till now, men have climbed Every Mountain Peek, crossed every desert, explored the North and South Poles. Sailed the Seven Seas of the World. Now we are reaching out to the stars.

You may be saying to yourself that there is nothing left to explore. It has all been done. Do you realize that when Columbus found what the Europeans called the New World  that people already lived there and been there for thousands of years. This was not a new world to them, this was home. It was only a New World to those who had just found it. Your next adventure maybe a camping trip, riding horseback, backpacking on a wilderness trail, or just to find out whats around the next bend. Perhaps loading up the RV for “destination unknown” until you get there or sailing out to one of the Channel Islands off the coast of California. Adventure doesn’t have to be somewhere unknown, just someplace you’ve never been. I’ve sailed for over 30 years only on the West Coast, then 2 years ago my Wife-to-be and I sailed the Florida Keys around Key Largo. We stayed at the Key Lime Sailing Club, “Wow” what an adventure! We are planning to go back and explore more of the Florida Keys. (www.keylimesailingclub.com)

skeleton-72845_1280Did you know that 71% of the world is made up of water? And that the ocean water takes up 96.5 % of all the water on Earth? That tells me there is a lot to explore out there on this world of water. You and I may never have a “starship” to explore the new worlds of space (unless your a billionaire under the age of 30), but to have a boat and sail around the world is possible. There are thousands of uninhabited islands around the world just waiting to be explored. You may not be the first to step on its’ shore, but just getting there is the adventure.  Who knows, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to find buried PiratTreasure, arrrrrghh…

No matter where we find ourselves in life, we should always find time for adventure. Sometimes we just need to blow the cobwebs out, slow down, relax, take time to smell the roses and recharge our batteries. I used to hunt on the back side of Piute Mountain just above Kelso Valley (before the giant windmills). I couldn’t wait to get there knowing I wouldn’t have phone service. “Yes! No calls for days”! And did you know the world survived without me for a few days! Facebook and all its drama will still be there when you return to civilization. If you have a family, take them on an adventure. Especially if you have teenagers that think they know it all. Then again, you might want to leave them at home. LOL.

bottle-601566_1280Corona Beer has one of the best commercials on tv,Find your Beach!”  Where is your beach, your next adventure? Get out there, take some risks, find your Adventure and chase your Dreams. Turn off the tv, shut down the computer and find a place without phone service, if you can’t…turn the damn phone Off!

As my friend Bob Bitchen says, Don’t Dream Your Life, Live Your Dream!”

By Cowboy Captain

Leave me a comment, on any thing you like, or would like me to write about.

A YOUNG MANS DREAM IS FRAGILE

20150726_154921We were seated at a table for two at Rose’s Landing by the window over looking beautiful Morro Bay, CA. At the age of 20 I had not been too many fancy dining places. I was told that this was one of the best restaurants  for seafood on the bay. It was 1977 and the first time I had taken my (1st) wife to Morro Bay. Her parents were watching our baby girl, so we took off for the weekend.  My love for seafood landed us at Rose’s Landing, although I must admit the first time I had lobster I dipped it in ketchup! Yuk! Butter, I have now found to be a better choice. LOL. morro-bay-ca-649255_1280 I was feeling pretty proud of myself as we ate a Dining with a view fine dinner. We looked out the window watching the Sailing Yachts  moored in the bay, such a nice place. I spotted one sail boat all lit up with lights. People were having cocktails, BBQ’n on the aft of the boat and seemed to be really living the high life. I, at that time in my life was not even interested in sailing. But this looked like the life! I turned and said to my wife, “One day I will have a boat moored on this bay”.  She replied ” Not on $8.00 an hour”! Talk about deflating a mans pride! To this day, she doesn’t know how little that made me feel. I must have looked like dog with his tail tucked between his legs when I left the restaurant that night. Sometimes the ones you love can become the biggest Dream Crushers.

It was a few years later when I was invited to go out sailing with my cousin Ruben on his 25ft Catalina. Once again, I began to dream of having my own sail boat. Only this time I kept it to myself. I had started my own business in 1984, so a boat was out of the question for awhile,  It wasn’t long before I had bought a ski boat that was great for the family. Still, I wasn’t out on the ocean sailing ( I did buy my frist sail boat, a 25 ft Piver Trimaran a couple of years later. You can read that Story in my 2nd blog Cowboy To Sailor).

My cousin Ruben called me, and asked if I would like to go out sailing on his new CT 41 a William Garden traditional design sailing vessel. What a beautiful yacht! With beautiful lines! (He had up graded from his 25ft Catalina) Of course I said “yes”! That weekend we sailed out to Santa Cruz Island from Ventura. I knew then that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my days. Sailing! I began reading everything I could about sailing, I believe at one time I had 5 sail boat magazine subscriptions. I had stacks of boat mags, sailing books and every Yacht Sales Adds Magazine I could find.

Ruben called me on a Wednesday, an asked, “what do you have planned for this weekend?” I asked “why”? I may have found just the boat for you. It needs some work, but the price is right. He was right, she did need a lot of work! The owner just had her shipped out from the east coast. She had been commissioned in Oxford, Maine. Now back in the water, in Monterey Bay, her hull all re-fit and the top deck about 80% finished. Her two mast were laying in the boat yard waiting to be stepped with all new lines.

Two months later as we past the break water leaving Monterey Marina, I stood at the helm of my newly perch-est 40ft Mariner Ketch Sailing Yacht. She was a little old, but with her new refit, she was like new. As we left the harbor, this old wooden vessel was turning heads and I could feel her come alive under my feet. Heading south toward Morro Bay under full sail, her engine quiet, the sound of waves sliding past her hull, her sails full of wind and the spray of sea mist in my face, I could have not been more proud of myself. I said,turning to my Dad and cousin Ruben, “Dreams do Come True”!  It was 1990, 13 years after I had made the statement to have a boat moored in Morro Bay while eating dinner at Rose’s Landing. That weekend we BBQed and had a big party on my Sailing Yacht moored on Morro Bay!20150731_090919

So if you ever find yourself in Morro Bay, Ca. Go to Rose’s Landing, order a fine meal, with a local bottle of wine and look out over the bay, close your eyes and dream. Who knows, your Dream just may come true.

 

 

Tell Rose’s you heard about them here.

http://roseslanding.com/

Cowboy Captain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Flag, is it Really Important?

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Are Flags Really Important?

We all laugh or make some kind of a pirate jester ( Ahrrrrg Ahrrrg ) when we see the old Jolly Roger flying on a sail boat, or hanging in someones yard or garage. With the the movies making pirates like Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates Of The Caribbean a romantic funny hero, its no wonder people don’t take the flag serious.

But there was a time in the days of old, when men who sailed Merchant ships upon the high seas, would tremble and fear strike their hearts when this black flag was hoist and spotted at sea. This black flag brought no romance with it. What it brought was as true as its color and the skull and crossbones. Death! DSCF5627

Should the Pirates prevail, those who were not killed were made to sign on with the pirates, traded for ransom or sold into slavery no matter the color of their skin. All the goods the ship was carrying would now be the booty of the pirates. If the merchant ship survived the attack the pirates would commandeer it and make it there own. No, this Black Flag was not a Jolly Roger!

Now the American Flag today is not the symbol it once was to the people of the world. It has been desecrated, burned, spat upon and even pissed on. This once Great symbol of freedom and justice for all who came under her colors, now is disrespected not only around the world but here at home in the good old USA.

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What happened? Why is there no respect for this once great flag? Is it because we as a people have become less great then the generations before us?

Patrick Henry stood on the aft of his ship during a battle of the revolutionary war. The odds were against them. He recited part of a speech he had made from his pew in a Richmond church, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! — I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” With the flag flying high up the mast of the ship the men rallied to the call and victory was won!

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War of 1812

By the early 1810s, the United States had entered into conflict with Britain over the kidnapping of U.S. Seamen and the disruption of trade with France. The ensuing hostilities would come to be known as the War of 1812. Though opposed to the war due to his religious beliefs and believing that the disagreement could be settled without armed conflict, Francis Scott Key nonetheless served in the Georgetown Light Field Artillery.

British forces captured Washington, D.C., in 1814. Taken prisoner was a Dr. William Beanes, who also happened to be a colleague of Key. Due to his work as an attorney, Key was asked to help in the negotiation of Beanes’ release and in the process traveled to Baltimore where British naval forces were located along Chesapeake Bay. He, along with Colonel John Skinner, was able to secure Beanes’ freedom, though they were not allowed to return to land until the British completed their bombardment of Fort McHenry.

On September 13, the three at sea watched what would become a day-long assault. After continual bombing, to Key’s surprise, the British weren’t able to destroy the fort.  Key noted upon the dawning of the next morning a large U.S. flag being flown, (It had in fact been sewn by Mary Young Pickersgill at the request of the fort commander).

The British ceased their attack and left the area. Key immediately wrote down the words for a poem that he would continue composing at an inn the next day. The work, which relied heavily on visualizations of what he witnessed would come to be known as the “Defense of Fort McHenry” and was printed in handbills and newspapers, including the Baltimore Patriot. The poem was later set to the tune of a drinking song by John Stafford Smith, “To Anacreon in Heaven,” and came to be called “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

Decades later, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson declared “The Star-Spangled Banner” should be played at official events. On March 3, 1931, President Herbert Hoover along with Congress had the song declared the U.S. National Anthem.

Practical Purposes of Civil War Battle Flags

The regimental flags were critical in Civil War battles. They marked the position of the regiment on the battlefield, which was often a very confused place. With the noise and smoke of battle, the regiments would become scattered, vocal commands and even bugle calls would not be heard.

So a visual rallying point was essential, and soldiers were trained to follow the flag.

A popular song of the Civil War, “The Battle Cry of Freedom,” made mention of how “we’ll rally ’round the flag, boys”. The reference to the flag, while ostensibly a patriotic boast, does actually play upon the practical use of flags as rallying points on the battlefield.

Because the regimental flags had genuine strategic importance in battle, designated teams of soldiers known as the color guard carried them. A typical regimental color guard would consist of two color bearers, one carrying the national flag (the U.S. flag or a Confederate flag) and one carrying the regimental flag. Often two other soldiers were assigned to guard the color bearers.

Being a color bearer was considered a mark of great distinction and it required a soldier of extraordinary bravery. The job was to carry the flag where the regimental officers directed, while unarmed and under fire. Most importantly, color bearers had to face the enemy and never break and run in retreat, or the entire regiment might follow.

As the regimental flags were so conspicuous in battle, they were often used as a target for rifle and artillery fire. And, of course, the mortality rate of color bearers was high.

Heed The Call

Wherever she had been called upon, the Beaches of Normandy, the island of Iwo Jima, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, she went. She has rallied her solders to victory. She has covered the fallen and been given to grieving mothers. Yes she is just a symbol, a flag made up of stars and strips, the old red, white and blue. But she stands for so much more, she stands for our freedom, for all the battles fought to keep our freedom. But most importantly for the souls she covered and laid to rest in defense of this great gift called Freedom!

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Once again I ask, “What has happen to this generation?”

We have taken God out of our schools, we no longer discipline, we no longer “Pledge Allegiance to The Flag” and we have removed the Ten Commandments from schools and our court rooms.

Today’s generation has no discipline, no respect for others, no honor, no value for life and nothing to believe in. All of which they would have learned in school had these principles not been removed.  The rest of the world no longer respects us, because we we no longer respect ourselves. So why are we so shocked when a young person takes so many innocent lives in a mass shooting?

America! America! Is your greatness lost! Will we find it again? 

Today is the day we should all vow to repeat a few important words from a speech by President John F. Kennedy, “ask not what my country can do for me, but rather ask, what can I do for my country?”

Is Our Flag Really Important?

I will Leave you with this poem.

GOD SAVE THE FLAG

Washed in the blood of the brave and the blooming,
snatched from the alters of insolent foes,
Burning with stars-fires, but never consuming,
flash its broad ribbons of lily and rose,
God Bless the flag and its loyal defenders,
while its broad folds o’er the battle-field wave,
till the dim star-wreath rekindle its splendors,
washed from its stains in the blood of the brave.

By

Oliver Wendell Holmes

One mans opinion,

Cowboy Captain

The Third Day Syndrome/ By Bob Bitchen

Attitude Wisdom If Your Thinking of Cruising, By a Good Friend

There is this phenomenon in sailing that happens on just about your third day of an ocean crossing.  The evening of day two you will usually be sitting, looking back at where land used to be, wondering just what the heck you were thinking when you decided to come out here in the first place.  The boat’s rocking has become annoying, the meals are hard to fix, and the weather is cold and windy.  You really start to have doubts about your sanity!

And then comes day three!

It is in about the third day when you enter “Cruise Mode.”

Cruise Mode is a state of mind not dissimilar to hibernation.  All of a sudden everything kinda goes into its own time zone.  The days actually seem to get a lot shorter.  It is about here in a voyage where you start to adapt to the time schedule of a cruising vessel.  You know, watch schedules, meals, stuff like that.  It all starts to go into automation.

On the dawn of the third day you are usually thinking “What the heck was I thinking?  It’s only been two days and we got another two weeks until we get back to land!  Am I nuts?”

Then you awaken on day four.  Magic has occurred!  You sit up on your bunk, and all of a sudden the annoying rocking and rolling has turned into a comforting sway.  You don’t even notice how your body adjusts to the swells and the heel of the boat.  It seems natural.

You grab a cup out of the cupboard and pour a cup of coffee.  The day before you spilled it because the %^$%$#!! boat wouldn’t stop moving!  Now you just swing the cup to match the motion.  You don’t even notice you are doing it.

As you leave the cabin and walk topside you hear a cheerful voice, “Good morning, sleep well?”  The person on watch is glad to see you, because now they have someone to talk to after a few hours alone with their thoughts, enjoying the dawn.

After awhile you grab your book and stuff a beanbag chair against the mast, making a comfortable nest, and drop your body into it. Soon you are lost in the world of literature.  Occasionally you’ll look over the top of your book, and just stare out across the blue water, letting your mind drift to a hundred pasts and a hundred planned futures.

Your reverie will then be broken by someone shouting at you to see if you’re hungry.  It’ll take a few seconds for you to figure if it is supposed to be breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Remembering it’s breakfast, you walk back to the cockpit, and enjoy the company of your crewmates, and some easy to prepare meal.

Soon, you’ll find yourself back in the beanbag, probably checking your eyelids for holes (sleeping!) when it’s time for your watch.  After awhile you start looking forward to watch.  Little rivalries develop, like seeing who will cover the most water during their watch, or what wildlife will be spotted.  Whales, dolphins or sea birds, and of course, the real prize, when a fish is caught!

The days start to run together.  Trying to remember when something happened on a crossing becomes a real game.  Actually, trying to remember what day it is becomes tough.  You know you are lost in Cruising Mode when you can’t remember what month it is.  Then you have entered Nirvana, a true cruising paradise.

By the end of a crossing you can’t recall over half the days behind you.  They just seem to run together.  On this crossing to Hawaii (see story, page 38), as we entered Hawaiian waters we didn’t want to stop.  We kept sailing for another 120 miles, past The Big Island, past the beautiful island of Maui and its old whaling capitol, Lahaina, and on into the channel between Maui and Molokai.

We sailed past the old wreck on the coast of the Island of Lanai, and felt the pull of the trades as we entered the Molokai channel.

Sailing on a downwind broad reach, we watched huge humpback whales jumping out of the water with what only can be pure joy of living. We wanted to do the same.

The truth of the matter is, you have to experience a little bit of hell to truly enjoy the bountiful gift of heaven.  The trials and tribulations of a long voyage are directly balanced on the end of that voyage by the feeling of accomplishment that fills you.

You put the last sail tie on, pull the sail covers in place, and pull into the harbor that signifies the completion of your voyage.  It is here that you will understand why sailors, for thousands of years, have left safe harbors,and challenged the sea!

By Bob Bitchen

Read More Of Bob’s writing on Attitude & Sailing in his new magazine Cruising Out Post Magazine.

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