Thursday, May 23, 2019


With all the talk about "1st language", at a recent USNI get together, the doctrine about  English is the "legal" International language of both Sea and Air arose . .

Actually, English is a ocean-going minority language due to the high number of at-sea (foreign) Commercial boats, port officers, boat crews, and with the  many major foreign ports making communications a serious and twisty problem at sea, on arrival, or in port.

 As a Merchant Seaman, Cruiser, Commercial fisherman, or blue-water sailor of any type, you are exposed to many different languages, customs, and protocols as you travel the global seas, whether you "work" the boats onboard, in shipyards, or port management.

Americans are by far the worst at International anything . . . our arrogance, manner and bluster do not mix well (anywhere), there is no place where presumptuous works, Americans always expect a pilot, tug master, dock master,  customs agent, repair crew or port manager to speak fluent English (when "they" can’t speak "their" language at all). 

All of the oceanic language chaos of two world wars, and the previous Centuries of mis-communication (and misinterpreted actions) supposedly went away in 1955 with the adoption of the NATO alphabet, the International code of flag signals, and Radio-Communications Standards, then later, in 1988, the United Nations agency IMO (International Marine Organization) made “Seaspeak” the international language of the sea. 

By the time I went to the water, most of the confusion was gone, but, the importance of learning non-verbal communication skills was paramount to navigating world ports, people and yards (as is known to anyone who has ever frequented foreign situations and events). 

Language barriers have long plagued safety at sea, accidents due to misunderstandings or miscommunications can become disasters when there is no common language among officers and crew or passengers, or between a Port and a boat, two boats, or for a ships master and harbor pilot speaking very different native languages.

Masters, pilots, tug Captains, Coast Guardsmen, and the boardings for customs and immigrations worldwide are full of tales of "near miss" (or not) serious accidents, open conflict, arguments and misunderstandings due to a language barrier.

BUT Seamanship and Experience are the "true" International language in Ports, Harbors, Tugs, Pilot boats, Customs and Port Captains boats, Coast Guard Vesels, and commercial boats of all types . . . on/in waterways of all sorts and at sea. As in many levels of authority and expertise, one professional will always recognize another simply by his actions and demeanor, the novice or inexperienced is quickly identified and dismissed.

You soon learn that your "familiarity" with the many processes of docking, piloting, assists, and even emergency are all shared by all of the worlds true seaman ... and, language is not needed, the established routines and rituals are "actions" requiring experience, and gestures, not necessarily words.
 The reality is that language barriers are "increasing" at sea rather than  decreasing, creating potentially unsafe situations between boats, but there is an older more powerful language of the sea. A universal language that often may transcend and mitigate debilitating barriers that international language is professionalism and experience. In depth knowledge and expertise demonstrated and executed;  called Prudent Seamanship.
Skippers, and all involved with navigation and berthing. How do you safely berth a vessel when the master, port and pilot are all having a difficult time communicating . . .  or not at all?

On the part of the skipper, by demonstrating and executing Prudent Seamanship when approaching and signaling the Pilot Station to his officers and crews well trained in on deck interfacing, respect, and seamanship.
The local tug captain coming alongside a vessel to put a line up, or offer a push knows immediately if the ship’s crew are seasoned professionals or week-enders, (without a word of contact between the ship and the tug). The tug captain knows by the demonstrated execution from the ship’s crew, no words need be spoken.

Likewise, the arriving pilot boat, and pilot boarding the ship’s bridge may only have to demonstrate with hand signals that his/her experience and prudent Seamanship  are Professional.  When you pull into a new harbor, and seek radio contact, or begin your docking line heaves, or lay to for instruction . . . you very quickly know about the level of this ports Prudent Seamanship, professionalism  and experience, starting with line handlers.

Is English the true international language at sea then?


Happy National Maritime Day! 

Each year, on May 22nd, the United States celebrates National Maritime Day, a holiday in observance of the contributions of the men and women of the U.S. merchant marine, as well as the U.S. maritime industry.
The day is significant because it marks the day in 1819 that the SS Savannah departed on the first successful voyage by a steam-powered ship across the Atlantic, sparking a new age of maritime travel and transport.
National Maritime Day was declared by Congress in 1933, but the holiday took on a special significance in World War II when members of United States Merchant Marine transported necessary supplies and services to troops abroad, all while suffering an extraordinarily high casualty rate.
During World War II more than 250,000 members of the American Merchant Marine served their country, with more than 6,700 giving their lives, hundreds were detained as prisoners of war and more than 800 U.S. merchant ships were sunk or damaged.”
President Donald Trump’s National Maritime Day 2019 proclamation is provided in part below: 
On National Maritime Day, we honor the men and women who, throughout our history, have served with professionalism, dedication, and patriotism in the United States Merchant Marine.  We recognize these seafaring merchant mariners for helping to fuel our economy, maintain our sea power, and support our national security.
Merchant mariners extend goodwill into all parts of the world, serving as a peaceful United States presence on international waterways.  Today, American mariners facilitate the import and export of billions of dollars of goods, including fuel, agricultural products, and raw materials through the Marine Transportation System.  They are also among the first to respond to help their fellow citizens in the wake of national disasters.
During times of war, merchant mariners courageously sail into combat zones to provide sealift for the Department of Defense, carrying weapons and supplies to America’s fighting forces.  In every conflict, United States citizen mariners have answered the call to duty and risked their lives.  Some have sadly made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Because the United States Merchant Marine plays a central role in bringing American goods to market and in bolstering our military readiness abroad, we must encourage more people to pursue career opportunities on America’s waterways and the oceans of the world.  For this reason, I recently signed an Executive Order to help veterans of the Armed Forces transition seamlessly into civilian careers in the United States Merchant Marine by allowing them to apply relevant military training and experience toward becoming credentialed merchant mariners.  This will help support a robust, well-equipped, and safe merchant fleet crewed by well-trained mariners.
(mostly reproduced from a membership page in:) 

Monday, May 20, 2019


Had long dock discussions with people from Alaska, Vancouver BC,  San Diego, and Roanoak ... the main topics were acidification, lack of fishing stock, and crabs plus deep ocean dumping, which we will visit (in part two).  Here are excerpts from my other web site.
In 2018 Overfishing, rising sea water temperature, and ocean acidification all caused huge losses to global
wild seafood populations, these three changes in ocean chemistry have a devastating impact on ocean
food fishes like Tuna, Salmon, Cod, and Herring, and the impacts can be fatal for the many shell-forming
invertebrate organisms, such as shrimp, crabs, corals that rely on dissolved minerals to build their shells
and exoskeletons of shell-forming planktonic organisms, including plants like coccolithophores and marine
snails called pteropods, which are an important food source for fish, especially tuna, salmon and whales.

Resultingly, this year 50% (½) of the worlds edible seafood will be farm-grown . . . “not” caught as wild.

Seafood is among the most commonly consumed food source in the world today.

Seafood provides some 1.5 billion people with about 20 percent of their intake of animal protein, and
another 3.0 billion people with “15 percent” of theirs). In 2018, the world’s fish farmers and fishing fleets
harvested 120 million tons of seafood, about five times the catch of 1960.

Although seafood consumption differs among countries, and even “within” a country, China (with 20%
of the world’s population), eats 1/3rd (40 million tons) of the worlds seafood catch, Myanmar, Vietnam
and Japan combine to eat another 6 million tons.

Today, world-wide seafood consumption has risen to 16.4 kg per person from 9.9 kg back in the 1960s;
U.S. consumption is now at around 7.0 kg per person, with beef, pork, chicken as basics,   (1 Kg = 2.2 pounds)

Acid levels are the real detriment, for all that we hear about pollution, and plastic, or about rising sea
temperature, and Co2 . . .  it all translates to simply creating acid.

Since 1900, the world's oceans and the marine ecosystem as a whole have been becoming steadily more
acidic as they soak up ever-increasing amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and pollution,
driven by the tripling of the world’s population numbers (and the industries needed to support the
civilization), and mankind intentionally ignoring pollution.

Scientists estimate that the surface pH of the ocean has dropped by 0.1 pH unit since 1920, CO2 levels at
the start of the Industrial Revolution was at around 270 parts per million (ppm) as compared to today's
410 ppm, this means that it’s dropped from 8.2 to 8.1 in just a hundred years.

Christopher Free, of the University of California, Santa Barbara, whose work is published in the
journal Science, examined fish population data in 38 regions, studying 235 fish populations made
up of 124 species, which represented about a third of the total global fishing catch observations over
an 80-year period (1930 to 2010).

Natural volcanic seeps, where the escaping CO2 gas dissolves into the seawater and Industry are
releasing around 1 million tons of air-borne carbon dioxide per hour into the Earth's atmosphere, about
25% of which reacts  with seawater and is absorbed to form a weak carbonic acid (H2CO3) causing
the surface ocean pH to go lower by around 0.002 units every year.

Add in the toxic chemicals released from the breakdown of plastic, and pollution like septage, chemicals
from natural runoffs also raises the acid level, in addition to Co2.
Degrading Polystyrene (like one-way store bags) degrade very rapidly at tropical water temperatures of
86 degrees F, releasing  compounds such as styrene trimer, a polystyrene by-product, and Bisphenol A,
a chemical used in hard plastics like reusable water bottles and as linings of aluminum cans,
Bisphenol A (BPA) has been shown to interfere with the reproductive systems of fish, sea life, shellfish,
and humans,  while styrene monomer is a carcinogen. (remember we banned it in baby bottle
manufacture). crustaceans such as shrimp, lobsters, and crab have shells that are a composite of chitin,
proteins, and carbonate minerals that the acid weakens. (shellfish are important sources of seafood,
as about half the total income for marine fisheries in the US comes from mollusks and crustaceans).
We tested shell hardness here for awhile with my Brinell tester (now sold), and compared ours to other regions, we "are" seeing softer shells here!

Coming up in Part Two...  How this ocean pollution all started . . . and, a partial fix not involving fossil fuels.....

Friday, May 17, 2019


Just been overwhelmed with "things" . . . windy cloudy, chilly wet weather on top of it all.

Insanely busy .... in returning email comments, I see where  I really complicated the understanding of radio waves in my attempt to "un" complicate them... sorry,    

My intent was to simply show that our "useable" TV, WiFi and Cell Phones frequencies all fall within a very small segment of the big radio wave spectrum, and being important to us all, which is why large Corporations see money-making opportunity by controlling your use, access, and the amount of signal you may use.

I will revisit this again as we dig deeper into wifi usage.


NOTE TO BRIEN MILL: "WHEREZ' SUSIE?" (see addendum below)

After posting this, I realized that Brien only lets Susie out of her Sea-cave on the Fourth of July Celebration (not Rhody Fest), so all of my concerns for her and Brien's status are for naught.

Be sure to visit her on the Fourth !

Monday, May 13, 2019


GREY, grey, grey weather coolish 50 degree, same as Rhody week last year, the semi-trailers with rides are moving in (around the parked cars... just like the last two years) the rides open Friday at noon.  WOW!

Had a lot of face-to-face and email input on the Marauder Incident, and had to go back and revise my entry from yesterday... (for clarity), so, please take a reread.
Marauder left here this AM (0745) for a Winchester return,  we wish her well.

I will not share your private inputs or email comments but would encourage that you pass along to the Coast Guard, and the Port of Siuslaw your many very valid opinions and comments for their consideration.

The best single point made (that I "will" pass along), was:

"Why tow a in-trouble boat obviously requiring immediate haul-out into a foreign harbor without any marine facilities, services or supplies at all, and NOT tow it back to it's licensed-registered Winchester Bay Home port berthing (which has complete haul/repair facilities) and where the boat owner lives?"

Sunday, May 12, 2019




Last night, I heard it evolve over hours, then watched it come under the bridge, and witnessed the ½
hour long siamesed tango ? out in the turning basin, and was there when Jason tied it up . . .  watched
diver Brien Mill do the underwater inspection and re-experienced a process that I have been through
many times before, rekindling memories of the “save an in-trouble boat” Chinese fire drill  . . . but now,
after a 20-year gap, and with new youthful players having a different mindset.

Later today I will visit the boat, take a photo, and hear the scuttlebutt about “what really happened”,
but, like many things old men recall from 40 years ago, last night was (for me), not impressive, nor

“ALMOST” all floodings and sinkings at sea (even at the dock), are almost always a “first-time”

experience for any Skipper to endure. . . just like your first divorce, your first tax audit, your first truck
roll-over, you're first major house fire, hence, there is no memory bank recall of “what to do” , it is a
new-learning experience.

For that very reason, it was always “unthinkable” to ever go on a tow, ferry, cargo or fishing departure
single-handed (you always use the buddy system) of two men aboard, or two tandem vessels
line-of-sight (3 miles), Secondly, you never leave the dock unprepared and un-outfitted (tool and
equipment-wise) for sea (under any circumstance), the Third guide-rule was always “have the
knowledge or stay home”, especially about Damage Control methodology, onboard parts, weather,
and engine repair.

This old timer would like to think that over the past 20 years of new technology, training, and applying
the lessons learned 40 years ago (and for the previous 3,000 years), would all have made events like
yesterday almost hard to ever occur, much less be prepared for in the fashion they were last night.

Boats have been popping plates, busting boards, ramming into things, losing power, and having
unthinkable failures and fires for Centuries, Skippers and Captains have been having heart attacks,
tying themselves up in nets, falling overboard, and chopping off limbs for time immemorial.  In 2019,
Admiralty law and the US Coast Guard have created as good a sea rules SafeNet as possible,

The internet training and exposure to the stories of others is accessible and free for Skippers and fish
Captains to review, Ports and Harbors response teams are as urgently important as the Coast Guard
itself, Insurance and surveys offer prep and guidelines, and Dock-side emergency  personnel training
is all enhanced nowadays, which all should result in a common sense (almost rehearsed) efficient
response to a vessel in trouble coming home (in any condition) in 2019 (especially when ”announced”
ahead of arrival time).

After visiting the vessel, the problem apparently began when a sea cock snapped off flush with the bilge
hull (inboard starboard side), the Coast Guard response was great!, and, the  twin Volvo 40 engines
appear to not have gone under water, but, “other” flood damage has not been ascertained. Diver Brien
Mill fabricated a tapered plug cinch device and installed it today, making the vessel ready for a
limp-to-the-drydock trip, and a full Conditional Survey, I’m sure.

Ports well need to remember that a vessel with unidentified problems arriving under Coast Guard tow
is like an Ambulance delivering a patient to the Emergency room for handoff . . . they deliver the patient
to where told . . . and leave.

That receiving area and on-dock crash cart needs equipment for any/all possible “what if” scenarios

(fuel/oil containment, a tidal grounding and "leaning" area, quick tool and support gear access) and
needs to be waiting like an Emergency room for action on arrival. Not fully realizing your limitations of docking point, crew and equipment, or, not being aware of the consequences that could occur as a result of these limitations. is problematic undersight for me.

What do “you” have aboard your boat as DC (damage control) paraphernalia?
(clamps, DC plugs, pumps, emergency lighting, tools, caulk and seal rope, plywood and aluminum
patch pieces, wire, twin radios, an isolated battery, a spare fuel source, filters, hoses, pipe fittings,
float-off raft, and all the endless, etc. needed .for an emergency.) You “never” have what you need, but
being even partially prepared is a priority.

“I” am happy to not be writing the Port Engineers Incident Investigation Resolve Report on this episode.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

11 MAY, 2019 - M/V SO...FEA DECK LOG - SUMMER ?

Thursday: 84 degrees! Broke the record,  WAS 74 degrees set  in 1931, had two boats leave the harbor before 0600, it has started.

Friday:  65 degrees (back to normal), another 2 boats left before 0600,

Saturday:  foggy 54 degree AM, 7 boats left before 0600 (noisely and fast),

Spring 2018 West Basin, click to enlarge, the Frank F and So...fea are top left, booms still up

Wednesday, May 8, 2019


Still stuck in this 55-degree, sunny day, foggy morning, blue skies, Spring weather with Northerly winds.... 
Sounds scary, huh?   Radiofrequency (RF) radiation, which includes radio waves and microwaves, is at the low-energy end of the very big (wide) electromagnetic spectrum., at the high end of that spectrum lies the high-energy radiation like x-ray, gamma-ray, and UV, down at the low end are "ELF" sub-radio used for submarines and underwater communications.  Here is a chart of the frequencies:

The "red" bar area shown is our Cell phone TV and WiFi dominant use range for every-day communications modes (remember, we spoke earlier about G.I. razor blade radios and SSB Marine Inter-Continental radios), that "red" wavy line is a clip-art that indicates "CPS" or "cycles per second" .... the  term was changed to Hertz....in honor of Dr. Heinrich Hertz....  and began the secretive meanings and lingo only the scientists are privy to . . . Hertz is used to measure wave frequencies, such as sound waves, light waves, and radio waves, next they added in Latin abbreviations : "K" represents Kilo (thousand), "M" represents Mega (million), and "G" represents Giga (thousand million), so, you will nowadays see "CPS" talked about as Khz, Mhz, and Ghz.... with one Khz meaning one thousand CPS (cycles per second). 

All of these "radio" wave types are all around us, invading our bodies from every angle, every, and all day . . . they are silent, invisible, free, and quite possibly dangerous, some people believe they cause mental illness, brain deformity-cancer,  modify our DNA and create violence, etc. (enter the tin foil hats or Faraday caged rooms).

Additionally, man-made versions of RF radiation are used for many different things, such as Broadcasting radio and television signals, transmitting signals from cordless telephones, cell phones and cell phone towers, satellite phones, and 2-way radios, Radar, WiFi and Bluetooth, cooking food (in a microwave oven), heating body tissues to destroy them in medical procedures, in “welding” using certain machines,and in millimeter wave scanners (full-body scanners used for security).

Like anything that cannot be "seen" (germs, viruses, sound, electrical current, food additives, smells, and things that go clink in the darkness of night), the folk tales and rumors turn into beliefs.  Modern man, however, has instrumentation as a friend (plus science and logic), so we can "see" the invisible radio wave, measure it, control it, and make intelligent decision . . . WiFi, TV, Cell Phone and Radio signals included.

The obscurity (being non-visual and the public knowledge lack) about radio signals by the masses of world population, makes them a huge money maker for those who know about, sell, and control them . . . especially by intentionally creating an overly technical (highly secret) in-house language of terminology to ensure that "they" are the "experts".

Technical jargon, industry mumbo-jumbo, and secrecy . . . maintains their isolation above the "every day person (or customer) ever possibly understanding their realm . . .  (very much in the same manner as the medical, legal,  taxation, real estate, and insurance industries do), "They Corporate expert . . . you customer", (er, "paying" customer).
No wonder the big corporations seized upon this area as a sacred cow for their income source. And why they hate cable-cutters or hobbyists who undo their "expert status" and or, no longer need their services.

Our Internet of 2019 has replaced Encyclopedias, Libraries, ink-on-paper of all types books, newspapers, magazines, records and bookkeeping, long distance and inter-continental land-lines, and the postal letter, making our WiFi the most urgent and relied on mode of communications today.

Debunking and simplifying the voodoo arts of radio waves starts by learning, ironically . . . the very fact that 
Radio signals spread the word make them the very means of exposing and removing the cloak of secrecy all of those entities enjoy, from time to time we will post more here and over on our PortHoleRadio.com show about "radio"  WiFi . . . TV and us as consumers, stay tuned.

Thursday, May 2, 2019


This is a "fun" posting for me... since May 1st, we have had a small number (4 or 5)  May Flies (Canadian Soldiers) appear here on So...fea, they needed this warm 65-degree weather to hatch this early. Locals here in Oregon mistake them for mosquitos. Some call them Midges, or Shad Flies, or other, but they are most prevalent around the Great Lakes (with Lake Erie being the Canadian Soldier Capital) where the swarms are so expansive and intense that they show up on the local weather radar.
They start as an egg in fresh water, turn into larvae, then emerge from the water as fully mature adults to reproduce, by laying at least 400 eggs (for next years invasion), and they do it all in less than two days, they are the shortest life-span creature on earth. As larvae they eat algae, but, they have such a short lifespan that the adult (shown above) has no need for a mouth.

The non-biting harmless bugs come ashore on the North Coast along Lake Erie by the trillions, they cover the streets and blind traffic lights, darken the city, shut down International Airports, short circuit electrical transformers  causing brownouts", choke air conditioner and  auto/truck air filter intakes, clog storm drains and block out windows, they smell fishy when they die and can pile up two or three feet deep in your yard, crunchy underfoot, and covering "everything"!. 

The birds and fish gorge on the one day attack, the invasions are unique to the North coast, but Mayflies are all over the Canadian Lakes East-to-West, they are much smaller in Vancouver B.C. and in the Northwest (about 1/3rd the size) than they are in Ontario Canada. Here is a Gallery of images to view.

turn on the  porch light to check the car

Street sweepers, leaf blowers, fire hoses, and front end loaders usually help clean up the mess. I never knew Oregon had Mayflies, but I later found this Douglas County Oregon website and learned of the many varieties Oregon actually has...