La Riposte

Published Works

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Importance of Eccentricities

When a fellow adopts the life piratical or has notched up a sufficient accumulation of years, it’s quite proper to adopt a few eccentricities – not doing so is, one supposes, a rather outré breach of noblesse oblige, and one is further obliged to note that merely rambling on in the third person is probably not enough to satisfy the expectations of polite society.

Thus, I am resolved, for the nonce, to pay my accounts in gold coins, which those clever souls at the US Mint have decided to stamp out in mass quantities, and to increase my consumption of dark rums…

A small start, I reckon, but the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Before you know it, I’ll be spouting witty aphorisms a’la Captain Jack.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Electric Boat Project, Part I

Gypsy's "Little Sister"
 Those of you who have followed my progress through “A Round of Words in 80 Days” over on Read-Write-Listen (my author’s blog) have heard of my plan to reduce my carbon footprint between now and December.

One of my ideas for doing this was to start commuting to work from my floating home at Lady’s Island Marina to work using a little solar-powered electric boat. I’d originally imagined a kayak, using a small electric motor combined with the sweat of my brow to get the job down.  I couldn’t find the kayak I wanted (although I’m still looking) but in the meantime found a cute little 8-foot dinghy, that came with oars and a sail.

 I picked it up, sent off to Amazon for a trolling motor, and bought a deep-cycle Marine battery from Walmart. Put all the pieces together yesterday, and took her for a test run up the Beaufort River…

An excuse to use power tools!
She made about 3 knots of speed, and after a trip of 2.3 nautical miles, the battery had only dropped down to 89 percent. That means there’s plenty of juice for a trip all the way to the pier at the Marine Corps Air Station where I work, which is 4.14 nautical miles from my home port. My little boat handled the waves generated by passing large boats, although not without a little trepidation on the part of her Captain, so the only problem is the speed / distance.

At these speeds, it would take 1.5 hours to get to work, and another 1.5 to get back. I could probably speed that up somewhat by rowing or paddling, or I could commit to using that time to read, write, practice language, possibly write or record spoken notes for transcription, eat breakfast, shave with an electric razor, etc…

Navigation? There's an app for that!
So, will give it some more thought, and probably do a full test-run sometime this week. Stay tuned for the next chapter in this little story! If nothing else, though, I now have the perfect little boat for fishing, sightseeing around Factory Creek, (where I am docked) and even running over to the city of Beaufort for dinner or a drink.

More adventures to follow!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Wind from the North...

A hot bowl of curry is just
 the thing on a cold night!
Ahhh, Winter is here!

 A stiff wind from the North, 25 miles an hour with gusts to 35 whistles through the tall masts of the sailing vessels that surround my little ship in her snug harbor...

All my lines are tight, my little dinghy is secured to the stern, and I'm enjoying the rocking of the waves and the sound of the wind.

 Inside, I'm snug as a bug, sitting on a Persian rug, with a pot of Thai green curry filled with chicken, onions, mushrooms and garlic simmering away...

Presently I'll toss a handful of thinly-sliced vegetables and noodles in, let them soften just enough, and then enjoy a healthy and delicious feast before bedtime...

Just a very short post tonight, I hope this finds all of you safe and sound and surrounded by loved ones, friends, good books, good wine, or some combination thereof.

À bientôt,

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Small Is Beautiful

So, I feel a little like I’m behind on my Gypsy Danger posts, which is probably because I am… Work has been crazy-busy lately, and between that, my other writing projects, dipping a toe back in the waters of the dating pool, and assorted other little projects, I hardly ever spend any time aboard my boat which doesn’t involve sleeping.

But perhaps you’re thinking that’s just as well, for isn’t a boat a very small space in which to live?

Perhaps, but you must understand a couple of things – I’ve just come from spending six months living in a tiny little room in Afghanistan, and before that, in a little carriage house over the garage of a larger property which I own in Beaufort.

Floorplan and Lines
The accompanying picture shows Gyspy Danger’s floorplan – she has a vee-shaped forward cabin, which is basically one big bed, with a little closet and a plethora of nooks and cupboard for storing things; a compact but fully-functional kitchen, a bathroom complete with a sink, shower, and toilet, and a pair of little wooden steps that lead up into the salon, which is the equivalent of a living room / dining room.

I currently have it outfitted with tatami mats and a Persian rug and pillow set; still working out the final floor-covering plan, but this should do for a start…

The Salon
From the salon, you can go down a narrow set of stairs to the aft cabin, which features a pair of twin-sized beds and another bathroom, or you can go up the stairs and out to the aft deck, which is quite big enough to lounge around and sunbathe on, or set up a grill, a small patio table, etc. From there, you can mount another set of stairs to the cockpit – currently exposed, but which I could enclose in the fashion of a sun deck to have another spot for entertaining small parties.
The Kitchen

Down and around on the front of the boat, there’s plenty more room for laying out, doing yoga, or just sitting and pondering life’s mysteries…

All-in all, though, there’s only about 200 square feet of inside space, and another 150 square feet of outside space – not a terribly great deal of real estate, but absolutely perfect for me.

Well, I believe that’s enough for the nonce – but hopefully I've succeeded in giving you a little taste of what my cozy little ship looks like, and I shall now turn my pen to other writing tasks.

Ciao for now!