Sarah Palin's image already appears on the newer nickels.

calendar   Thursday - September 10, 2009

Northeast Passage Open, Transited

Uh oh. Looks like that naughty Global Warming is to blame.

First through Northeast Passage

Simultaneously as climate scientists can see a near record low sea ice in the Arctic, two German merchant vessels are the first ever to make it through the formerly impenetrable Northeast Passage.

The German shipping company’s two vessels have reached their destination of Novy Port in the outlet of the Ob River after they sailed from Ulsan in South Korea in August. End of August and beginning of September is the time of the year with minimum ice along the northern coast of Siberia.

The last updated data from the National Snow and Ice Data Centre shows that the averaged sea ice extent in the Arctic over August 2009 was 6,26 million square kilometres. That is 1,41 million square kilometres below the 1979 to 2000 average.

The two German commercial vessels to be the first to sail the route all the way through the Arctic from east to west are now delivering their cargo, 44 modules with single weight of 200 tons or more, onto barges in the Ob River reports HeavyLift. Then the two ships will sail around the Yamal Peninsula, cross the Barents Sea to Murmansk and head on to Rotterdam with its remaining 3,500 freight tons, writes HeavyLift.

The vessels, belonging to the Beluga Group, are of ice class and this year’s voyage comes after long time planning and a delayed permission to sail the route from Russian authorities. The voyages were first intended to take place last year as reported by BarentsObserver.

Following the climate changes and rapidly decreasing sea ice in the Arctic, there is a growing interest in Arctic Shipping.


The MV Beluga Foresight

Ok, so two ships got through. Was it clear sailing all the way? Heck no - they had ice breakers clearing a path for them. Isn’t that sort of cheating?

>Mission accomplished – world premiere successful: Both multipurpose heavy lift project carriers MV “Beluga Fraternity” and MV “Beluga Foresight” have reached their destination in Siberia safely. On Monday, 7th of September 2009, within a few hours time the vessels which are loaded with heavy plant modules each dropped their anchors at Novyy Port / Yamburg in the delta of river Ob. Hence, Bremen-based project and heavy lift carrier Beluga Shipping GmbH has succeeded in sending two merchant vessels through the formerly impenetrable Northeast-Passage from Asia to Europe for the first time. MV “Beluga Fraternity” had cast off on 23rd of July, sister vessel MV “Beluga Foresight” five days later from Ulsan, South Korea, to enter the so called Northern Sea Route via the inspection point at Vladivostok in order to deliver their project cargo as far into the destination area as no other merchant vessel had previously been able to. Now, the in total 44 cargo modules with single weights of 200 tons and above are discharged offshore onto barges by the on-board crane gear and then will be transported further to Surgut. Subsequent to this operation both vessels via Murmansk are going to sail to Central Europe to safely deliver the remaining 3,500 freight tons of construction parts packed in wooden boxes each to Rotterdam.

“We are all very proud and delighted to be the first western shipping company which has successfully transited the legendary Northeast-Passage and delivered the sensitive cargo safely through this extraordinarily demanding sea area”, Niels Stolberg said, President and CEO of Beluga Shipping GmbH, after the masters Captain Aleksander Antonov and Captain Valeriy Durov had stated the droppings of the anchor at the port of destination. “To transit the Northeast-Passage so well and professionally without incidents on the premiere is the result of our extremely accurate preparation as well as the outstanding team work between our attentive captains, our reliable meteorologists and our engaged crew”, said Stolberg.

During the passed days which led through the East Siberian Sea, the Sannikov Strait and the Vilkizki Strait as northernmost part the Beluga vessels followed in a little convoy behind Russian Atomflot-ice breakers “50 let Pobedy” and “Rossia”. Small ice bergs, ice fields and ice blocks were safely passed nautically. After the successful premiere, Beluga Shipping announced further project journeys through the Northeast-Passage for 2010 – then probably with the new Super Heavy Lift vessels of the Beluga P-class already, which will be launched as from autumn this year onwards.


The MV Beluga Felicity

Both these ships are relatively small, 138 meters long by 21 meters wide. Details on both ships here. The two Russian nuclear powered icebreakers are each 160 meters long and 30 meters wide, much larger than the cargo ships. The first ship in this class, the Arktika broke ice all the way to the North Pole, back in 1977, when we all still believed in Global Cooling. So far it is the only surface ship to ever sail (crunch?) it’s way to the Pole.

Novy Port on the Ob River is about halfway across Russia on the north coast. A bit south and east of that giant peninsula thingy called Novaya Zemlya, about 2/3 the way into the big bay.

So while it is impressive that this has been done, it isn’t that stupendous a deal, nor is it indicative that all the polar bears are gonna die now. It’s a stunt. All it really proves is that Russia’s giant icebreaker ships are still running just fine. But by next week the ice up there will be too thick and growing too fast for another cargo ship to get through.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/10/2009 at 09:00 PM   
Filed Under: • AdventureClimate-Weather •  
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calendar   Saturday - August 15, 2009

Just Monkee-ing around…

I grew up in 1968.

I know this because that year I didn’t get the usual Disney/Superman/Aquaman story vinyl albums for either my birthday or for Christmas.

No, that year, for my 8th birthday, I received the Monkee’s Greatest Hits. My first rock album.

It’s been all downhill from there!


Oh yes, I found part of the rest:


Okay, found parts 3 and 5. Had no luck finding the missing parts. Probably could be found in a barrel full of MonKees!

I just know I’m going to Hades for this one…


Posted by Christopher   United States  on 08/15/2009 at 08:04 PM   
Filed Under: • AdventureCelebritiesFun-StuffPersonal •  
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calendar   Monday - July 27, 2009

American Tyler Bradt set a new world record by plunging 186 feet over a waterfall.  MUST SEE!

I keep getting further away from the things I planned to to post as I keep finding other things.

Weather EXTREMELY bad at the moment.  Hopefully I’ll remain on line. 

No warming to report though.  Should I report that to Al Bore?

Kayaker in world record waterfall plunge
American kayaker Tyler Bradt has set a new world record by plunging 186 feet over a waterfall in Washington State.


Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 07/27/2009 at 07:14 AM   
Filed Under: • AdventureHealth and SafetyScary Stuff •  
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calendar   Monday - July 13, 2009


Wait a minute. Wouldn’t flying that low lose him lift? OK maybe not but this is hard to believe. It isn’t April 1st tho.
Gee ... talk about a very high wow factor.

Thing is, that guy on the balcony watching.  He just looks so casual like it’s an every day event. And what about being that close to a jet engine?
How about the walls and windows in the apt. complex?  Wouldn’t they suffer some damage?
I’m just trying to figure out if it’s a hoax. It was published a short time ago (an hour ago) in the Mail.

Now that’s what I call a fly-past: US Navy F18 streaks past apartment block

By Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 1:27 PM on 13th July 2009

This is the moment a a US Navy pilot gave a shocked resident a very close look at his F18.

The fighter/bomber streaked past an apartment block on the banks of the Detroit River at the weekend.

It was part of a tactical demonstration fly-past to open a speedboat race in the North American city.

Officials waived rules to allow the Navy flyers to swoop under 100ft along the waterway.


One resident said: ‘I couldn’t believe how low they flew and how close they came to our building - I’m sure the pilot waved at me.’

The jets had flown in from the Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia to put on a spectacular show for thousands of spectators.

The Chrysler Jeep Superstores APBA Gold Cup race was won by speedboat ace Dave Villcock.

‘We danced with the devil at every turn,’ said Villwock, 55, who demolished the field on his way to his seventh Gold Cup win.

‘We were either going to win it big or lose it big.’

He couldn’t match the F15s for speed, although his average of 141mph for the five-lap final remained impressive.



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 07/13/2009 at 08:15 AM   
Filed Under: • AdventureArt-Photography •  
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calendar   Tuesday - April 21, 2009

Welcome to the NEW USS Truxtun!

I served for four years (1982-1986) aboard the last USS Truxtun CGN-35. She was decommissioned in 1994, and scrapped in 1996. Thank you Bill Clinton…

Anyway, the previous incarnation of the ‘Tommy T’ was a nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser. I was a reactor operator (RC-div). Yes, one of those ‘nuke ETs’. NavVets will know what I’m talking about. I operated the nuclear power plants that made the ship go.

I received an official invite to the commissioning ceremony of the NEW USS Truxtun DDG-103. It sounds like a pretty powerful ship. I really wanted to attend, but couldn’t convince the wife to go. So I won’t be there this weekend. Damn!

Thought I’d leave you with this, though.

How To Simulate The Life Of A Sailor

* Buy a steel dumpster, paint it gray inside and out, and live in it for six months.
* Run all the pipes and wires in your house exposed on the walls.
* Repaint your entire house every month.
* Renovate your bathroom. Build a wall across the middle of the bathtub and move the showerhead to chest level. When you take showers, make sure you turn off the water while you soap down.
* Raise the thresholds and lower the headers of your front and back doors so that you either trip or bang your head everytime you pass through them.
* Disassemble and inspect your lawn mower every week.
* On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, turn your water heater temperature up to 200 degrees. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, turne the waer heater off. On Saturdays and Sundays tell your family they use too much water during the week, so not bathing will be allowed.
* Raise your bed to within 6 inches of the ceiling, so you can’t turn over without getting out and then getting back into bed.
* Sleep on the shelf in your closet. Replace the closet door with a curtain. Have your spouse whip open the curtain about 3 hours after you go to sleep, shine a flashlight in your eyes, and say “Sorry, wrong rack.”
* Make your family qualify to operate each appliance in your house - dishwasher, blender, mixer, etc.
* Have your neighbor come over each day at 5 AM, blow a whistle loudly, and shout “Reveille, all hands heave out and trice up.”
* Have your mother-in-law write down everything she’s going to do the following day, then have her make you stand in your back yard at 6 AM while she reads it to you.
* Submit a request chit to your father-in-law requesting permission to leave your house before 3 PM.
* Empty all the garbage bins in your house and sweep the driveway three times a day, whether it needs it or not.
* Have your neighbor collect all your mail for a month, read your magazines, and randomly lose every 5th item before delivering it to you.
* Watch no TV except for movies played in the middle of the night. Have your family vote on which movie to watch then show a different one.
* Make your family menu a week ahead of time without consulting the pantry or refrigerator.
* Post a menu on the kitchen door informing your family that they are having steak for dinner. Then make them wait in line for an hour. When they finally get to the kitchen, tell them you are out of steak, but they can have dried ham or hot dogs. Repeat daily until they ignore the menu and just ask for hot dogs.
* Bake a cake. Prop up on side of the pan so the cake bakes unevenly. Spread icing really thick to level it off.
* Get up every night around midnight and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on stale bread. (Midrats)
* Set your alarm clock to go off at random tmes during the night. At the alarm, jump up and dress as fast as you can, making sure to button the top button of your shirt and tuck your pants into your socks. Run out into the backyard and uncoil the garden hose. Stand there for an hour. Then re-roll the hose and go back to bed.
* Every week or so, throw your dog in the pool and shout, “Man overboard port side!” Rate your family members on how fast they respond.
* Put the headphones from your stereo on your head, but don’t plug them in. Hang a paper cup around your neck on a string. Stand in front of the stove, and speak into the paper cup “Stove manned and ready.” After an hour or so, speak into the cup again, “Stove secured.” Roll up the headphones and paper cup and stow them in a shoebox.
* Place a podium at the end of your driveway. Have your family stand watches at the podium, rotating at 4 hour intervals. This is done for three days, once a month.
* When there is a thunderstorm in your area, get a wobbly rocking chair, sit in it, and rock as hard as you can until you become nauseous. Make sure to have a supply of stale crackers to eat in your shirt pocket.
* Make coffee using eighteen scoops of budget priced coffee grounds per pot, and allow the pot to simmer for 5 hours before drinking.
* Have someone under the age of ten give you a haircut with sheep shears.
* Sew the back pockets of your jeans on the front.
* Lock yourself and your family in the house for six weeks. Tell them that at the end of the 6th week you are going to take them to Disney World for “liberty.” At the end of the 6th week, inform them the trip to Disney World has been canceled because they need to get ready for an inspection, and it will be another week before they can leave the house.

Gosh, how I miss being a sailor! (sarcasm)

Actually, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I learned to live ‘lite’, ie, had very few possessions to weigh me down. Got to travel, meet interesting people, without killing them (though that was always an option in the event of war…)

Then, there was a spiritual side to Navy service.

You are on a ship observing ‘darkness’ rules (no lights, don’t want the Soviets to see us easily…), it’s midnight, you’ve just gotten off the 8-12 watch, You and a couple of shipmates are out on the flight deck, doing some amateur astronomy. Why? Because you’re from the USA, and you’ll never get another chance to stargaze in the South Pacific, thousands of miles from any city lights. There, above you, is the grand beauty of God’s creation. Stars, like dust, shining with colors! You can’t make out the colors from home, but they stand out in the darkness of the South Pacific.

Add in the fact that Halley’s Comet was visible to the naked eye in ‘86 if you were in the Southern Hemisphere…

Actually, if I weren’t married, I’d go back to being a sailor.


Posted by Christopher   United States  on 04/21/2009 at 04:53 AM   
Filed Under: • AdventureDaily LifeEditorialsFun-StuffPersonal •  
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calendar   Tuesday - February 03, 2009

Just In Time Auto Repairs

I was having a bit of a problem with my car’s exhaust system a couple months ago. The Check Engine light kept coming on when I hit rough roads, and the engine code that caused that to happen implied there was something wrong with the oxygen sensors in the exhaust system. Since the sensors and everything, even the muffler, are factory original and the car is 13 years old, I figured I’d have to get a whole new exhaust system. I looked up what I could on the Internet, joined a couple Saturn forums, and nosed around as much as I could, and it looked like the sensors ought to be replaced once every 5 years. It also looked like I might have to find a shady mechanic, since my New Jersey registered car was actually built as a California emissions compliant vehicle ... and California changed it’s emissions laws, retroactively of course, just last month, so a lot of the aftermarket repair parts that were California legal in December are no longer certified now that it’s February. And my car has this big DO NOT sticker under the hood: DO NOT EVER put any parts on this car that aren’t California Air Research Board (CARB) certified. Even if the car has never been further west than Harrisburg PA.

I got my car inspected last week and it failed. Not for emissions, but because they said there was an exhaust leak. Which was no real surprise, since I’ve had the muffler hanging from metal straps and bailing wire for the past few years. So I went down a the local garage which I happened to know was a bit, um, flexible; I figured it was going to be a big $$$ hit. I’d already worked out a parts list from Walker (largest exhaust parts company in the country) and found a source for every last part of the exhaust system. If I had to, I could have cut off the old pipes, put on a new catalytic with new sensors and a new downpipe, then gone back to the shop with a “uh, my muffler fell off, hur hur hur” and they’d be ... flexible ... and finish the job while not noticing that I had a 49 state legal cat under the car. This turned out to be unnecessary. While my muffler was shot, I only had a leak in the downpipe. My catalytic converter was fine. But how can you tell? The inspection guys didn’t use that tailpipe sniffer thing, so how do I know that the emissions levels are Ok? According to Slippery Jim, my mechanic, the OBDC-II sensors built into my car are more sensitive than the old tailpipe sniffer system. I guess that’s why NJ automatically fails any car that shows up for inspection with the Check Engine light on. And not just on! They told me that the OBDC-II system has a bit of memory, and that it can tell you if the codes were recently cleared. So you can’t just use your own OBDC tool ($50, I own one) to turn off the engine codes. The thing remembers that they were recently on, and that memory will also get you an automatic FAIL. But since my Check Engine light wasn’t on, ipso facto my emissions system was fine, thus my catalytic converter was fine. I had the shop put in a new muffler, and I had them weld on a new flexible section to the downpipe. Good to go.

While I was there I also had them check the brakes. The old Saturn hasn’t been stopping too well lately. It still stops, but the brakes just didn’t seem to work as good as the ones in my wife’s SPEC-V. The guy pulled off the front rim and started laughing. All the other guys in the shop had to come over and see, so they could have a laugh too. I had about 124,000 miles on this set of brakes. My pads were so worn that the bearing surface was barely as thick as a fingernail, and the rotors were worn almost right down to the central vents. There was literally almost nothing left of them. Paper thin. They told me I had maybe another 50 or 100 stops left, maybe a lot less than that, at which point the rotors would have caved in and probably torn the front wheels off the car. Phew!

So I wound up spending the same amount that I had figured I’d spend in new exhaust parts, but I came away with brand new brakes and rotors. Plus the car is quiet again and will pass inspection. Not bad.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/03/2009 at 04:03 PM   
Filed Under: • AdventureDaily Life •  
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calendar   Monday - January 12, 2009


Only have time to post this find from this morning’s paper.

“Nice Job If You Can Get It, (and you can get it if you try)”

Recession hit unemployed offered £1k an hour ‘Australian desert island caretaker’ job
Australian tourism chiefs are offering Brits the chance to bag the “best job in the world” as the caretaker of a desert island - with a salary of nearly £1,000 per hour.

By Daily Telegraph Reporter


The position requires “minimum effort” and involves “relaxed” duties such as feeding turtles, watching whales, and picking up the island’s post.

Applicants require no academic qualifications, but must possess good swimming skills and a love of snorkelling, scuba diving and other water sports.

A passion for the great outdoors and the ability to speak English was also said to be an advantage.

Candidates will also have to demonstrate an “adventurous attitude” and a “willingness to try new things”.

The successful applicant will live rent-free in the lap of luxury on Hamilton Island, dubbed the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Whitsunday Islands off the Queensland coast.

They will receive a three-bedroom house with “unbeatable” views of a crystal-clear lagoon lined with palm trees and ringed by white sandy beaches.

The six-month contract comes with a salary package of AUD 150,000 (£70,000), including free return flights, transfers, expenses and transport around the island.

It equates to £972 per hour based on a ‘flexi-time’ schedule of a 12-hour working month.

The offer might sound too good to be true, but the Queensland Tourist Board insists there is no catch.

It says the role is an ideal opportunity for Brits to swap the ‘rat race’ and the cold winter for a more relaxed life Down Under.

Jonathan Sloan, who works on behalf of Tourism Queensland in the UK, said: “This is the best job in the world, there’s no question about it.

“It has everything most people dream of - white sandy beaches, blue skies, warm seas and friendly people.

“It also boasts a very generous salary package and requires only a few hours of relaxed work with minimum effort per week.”

Advertised as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”, the role of “Island Caretaker” is now being advertised in 18 countries across the world.

Beginning on July 1, the successful applicant will have few responsibilities and can decide how best to fill their days.

But they will be required to produce a weekly online blog, photo diary and video updates of their time on the island.

They will also have to give regular media interviews and send reports via email to chiefs at Tourism Queensland at the organisation’s headquarters in Brisbane.

Requirements for candidates include: “Excellent communication skills, good written and verbal English skills, an adventurous attitude, willingness to try new things, a passion for the outdoors, and good swimming skills and enthusiasm for snorkelling and/or diving.”

Anthony Hayes, the chief executive of Tourism Queensland, said the offer was being made to promote the island to a “global market”.

He said: “The cooperative marketing campaign aims to highlight the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef and showcase Australia’s own unique Island experience, to the global market.”

Interested parties can apply by submitting a 60-second video outlining the reasons they deserve to be picked. Applications are now open and close on February 22.

Tourism Queensland will select 11 potential candidates who will be whisked away to Hamilton Island for a selection process. The lucky applicant will be named on May 6.

More information can be found at


Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 01/12/2009 at 04:10 AM   
Filed Under: • Adventure •  
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calendar   Tuesday - September 09, 2008

Gordon Ramsay Saves the UK from Invasion

An invasion of King Crabs that is. And he’s doing it one crab at a time. With butter, and a bit of tarragon.

Um, this guy swears an awful lot. But just conversationally. But lookit all them crabbses! Dayum.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/09/2008 at 09:43 PM   
Filed Under: • Adventure •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.


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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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