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Air Power - Mar 3

Crossing 3000 miles of ocean is measured in weeks, not days like you are driving across the U.S. When we first started out from the Galapagos Islands, there was no wind, and we considered we might have to measure in months. The currents would have gotten us there eventually, sans alcohol, but plenty of canned beans. You would think a journey of this duration would bring on fits of boredom. Are you bored of taking naps? A well hydrated body produces approximately 30 cc (1 oz) of urine an hour. Imagine that 1 oz sloshing around in your bladder while trying to take a nap. It feels more like a quart. You get the picture, even naps are not sacred.

When a new recruit first joins the US military, the first thing they learn, is to shine their boots. This keeps them busy before lights out in the barracks. When going through technical school as a USAF PJ, we would normally meet in the "day room" (communal room), of the dorm, and shine our boots before the following morning's inspection. Shining boots was more of a social occasion, (watching TV, having a beer), while keeping with a multi-tasking activity.

Shining shoes and brass was something I learned as a Sea Scout. We had lots of brass on the SSS Farallon. Twice a year we participated in regattas that involved intense rivalry and competition in the San Francisco Bay Area with 40 other SS boats. These were known as the "Old Salts" & "Ancient Mariner" regattas. The Ancient Mariner, was held on the USCG base Governor's Island, pinched between Alameda and Oakland, Ca. This regatta included the boat inspection. Having lots of brass and making it shine, sure drew an impression on the judges. The Farallon was a WW II Aviation Rescue (AVR) boat. We had lots of brass on board. Our skipper, (back in the mid 70's) was Gene Evans. He made darn sure the entire 30 person ship (crew), knew how to polish brass. We never lost a competition back in the 70's that I recall.

So, to keep busy, I decided it was time to polish brass on Air Power. During the manufacturing phase, we asked for brass or brass/gold colored trim, to give the boat a more nautical look. Somethings, like the bezels around the LED lights are gold colored, but you clean them with a soapy rag. Not so, with door hinges. We asked for lots of wardrobe cabinets as opposed to a more open cabin. Each cabinet door has 2 hinges. The Head doors have an additional part where the door closes. I haven't counted yet, but there are between a 120 and 150 hinges requiring brass polish. How I miss the camaraderie of a handful of folks shining away, having a beer and laughing at Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Dan Akroyd, etc from SNL before Monday's inspection. Jill pretty much leaves me to do the polishing while she works on her various knitting projects, and no TV or beer while under way--I guess this isn't that much like the military--but it is more fun!

Dave & Jill

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