Karl Guerra is CRAB’s program director, the guy that used to pick me up in the morning so we could go around and work on CRABs boats. Karl used to have a business that saved failing business. In other words he would take over a business figure out what?s wrong and fix the business before the business went under. I can?t even imagine the logistics involved. One day Karl had a stroke and lost his ability to speak. They told him he would never speak again and his insurance company wouldn’t help pay for his speech therapy. So Karl spent all his money – something like a half a million dollars – learning how to speak again. Then he had a heart attack and then rheumatoid arthritis. The only way to deal with it is by doing chemo-therapy every week, which makes him sick as a dog for 3-4 days. Then he got cancer from the chemo. I think Karl’s got the record for the person with the most physical ailments still walking around. Karl helped quite a bit with this trip. He spoke on behalf of CRAB at all my seminars when I was trying to raise money for the trip and he had the misfortune of being part of the last week extravaganza. The last week before you leave on a trip of this nature is total chaos and Karl was running all over Annapolis helping to get items so I could wrap up the boat. When I’m not worrying about Don’s health, I’m worrying about Karl. Working for CRAB has been a huge boost to Karl’s moral (productivity is the world’s greatest anti-depressant). I guess that that’s a big part of CRABs message, just because you’re disabled doesn’t mean you’re not capable anymore. So this trip is a fundraiser for CRAB. St. Brendan owned by CRAB and I’m trying to raise money on a per mile basis. A penny a mile, 10 cents a mile, a dollar a mile, act – or a general donation which can be done on CRABs web site. In the last month or so the checks have started coming in and we are starting to raise good money, so thank you to all who have already contributed. Your helping a good non-profit give sailing opportunities to people with mental and physical disabilities.
The general degradation of this vessel seems to come in waves. Nothing new has broken in the last week so I guess I’m in a trough. Things have been going well since the resupply for the most part. For the record I was originally trying to do this trip with no resupplies but after the water maker broke that became impossible. I wasn’t able to plug my leak below the water line. I used a whole bucket of the putty I received in the resupply, to no avail. Water would start coming out of one side of the putty and I would smooth it out, then water would come out the other side and I would smooth it out. It just kept finding new ways of getting through the putty until eventually the putty became hard and that was that. I was trying to fight the water pressure and the putty couldn’t do it. If I had swam under the boat with some putty I might have fixed it from that direction but I didn’t think about that until later. So whatever, I’ll live with it. Also there is very little room to try to hand start this engine. The crank hits things as I rotate it. I cut a chuck of wood out of the boat to make it easier but it gets so close to the fiberglass floor that I bust my knuckles on every rotation. So I haven’t started it yet, but I’ll keep at it, I have a few ideas. At least my new little solar panels are giving me power, which is making a big difference.
Man is it hot around here! I’m a sweaty mess all day; the night comes as a great relief.
Speaking of night. Two nights ago I get up around midnight to look for freighters, check my course, etc. I see this vessel on the horizon which I thought was a big boat far away, but its lights were arranged in a different manner then a freighter. I would see a red, then a green, then red and green. I’m thinking where is this boat going and what the heck is it doing? All of a sudden I realize that it’s not a big boat far away but a smaller boat up close. It was 50-60 feet made of wood and quite beat up looking. It kind of looked like a larger version of a crab fishing boat you would find in the Chesapeake Bay, except we were 120 miles from land. The boat passed close by so I turned on all my lights so it could seem me. As far as I could tell it was a fishing boat but no one was fishing. There was very little wind so I was only going 1.5kts and starting my engine wasn’t an option so I couldn’t really maneuver much. The boat passed by again even closer, maybe fifty feet away and I could hear them talking and laughing. I thought they are probably drunk. They started to circle my boat so I got out my new handheld VHF and yelled at them on channel 16. I?m sure they don?t understand English but they would surly understand yelling. They passed by again even closer than before. I wanted to go back to bed and I wasn’t in the mood to play games with drunken fishermen 120 offshore so I grabbed my 12 gauge and my last 20 shells. I thought, pass by one more time. They did and when they were 20 feet away I put two rounds in the air, there boat fell silent there engines RPM drastically increased and they took off. I watched them go over the horizon then I went to bed.
We can all help make a difference. If we all spent one hour a week volunteering for a local charity, one hour less stilling in front of the television watching some stupid TV show, imagine how much could be accomplished. There are many problems in this world we live in and no one person can fix everything, but everyone can do something.