Whaling City Seafood has SOLD! THIS IS NOW AN ARCHIVE SITE

10 x 10 x 8 Pace American Seafood Concession Trailer!!!

Trailer is in very good condition and is ready to go.  Available for local pickup only.

It was used to sell seafood, and English style fish and chips.

Ansul fire suppression and roof mounted air conditioning. Also available is a stock / supply van with some equipment. See details for list of features and equipment in van and trailer.

FEATURES:

10′ x 10′ Pace American trailer with dual wheels and removable tongue.

Unit has a roof top air-conditioner, commercial exhaust fan with Ansul fire suppression system and required fire extinguishers as well as a large freezer, insulated beverage cooler and 1 double Crathco Slush machine.

Stainless steel commercial kitchen equipment includes three compartment sink, separate hand-wash sink, 2 double basket 40-lb. fryers, and sandwich prep station with double-door  refrigerator.  Also included is a large freezer, 30 gallon fresh water tank with 12V DC pump, hot water on demand hot water heater, and 40 gallon waste water holding tank.  There are shelves all around, diamond plate aluminum flooring , stainless pots and pans and all utensils, plus many more items.

Trailer is currently licensed in Florida as a Mobile Food Dispensing Unit and passes fire inspections.  Trailer has 4 new tires.

Stock van available; comes with 2 freezers, one 8,000kw generator, and complete inventory of stock.  Van is a 1996 Chevy 30 commercial van, with a low 22,000 miles, that was originally used by the Tampa police for surveillance.

 

Trailer at Farmers Market

 

This is the setup we used at a local Farmers Market.

 

 

 

 

Pace American Trailer and Chevy Van

Trailer and Van ready to travel.

Cooking Area Interior

 

 

Interior view of Exhaust hood with Ansul Fire Suppression, two deep fryers, double door refrigerated sandwich station, shelves with stainless and plastic food bins.  All equipment is stainless steel, commercial kitchen equipment.

 

 

 

Refrigerated Sandwich Prep Station

 

 

Refrigerated sandwich station with prep board and double door refrigerator below.

 

 

 

 

Three compartment sink with counter.

 

 

Three compartment stainless sink with counter top that lifts up.

Shelves above and containers below.

 

 

 

Interior-Fryer, shelves and pans

 

 

View of fryer, shelves and pans.

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Dog Steamer and Hand Wash Sink

 

 

Hot Dog Steamer and Hand Wash Sink.

 

 

 

 

Inside of refrigerator.

Inside of  refrigerator and sandwich prep station.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Fryers

 

 

Two fryers for quick cooking.

 

 

 

 

Serving window shelf.

 

 

Serving window, stainless shelf,shelving below.

 

 

 

 

Crathco Dual Slush Machine

 

 

Crathco Grindmaster Slush/Granita Machine.

This machine has paid for itself many times over!

 

 

 

 

 

Triple sink, refrigerator, fryer

 

 

Triple sink with counter in open position, refrigerator and fryers.

 

 

 

 

Interior – Fryers, pans, and shelving.

 

 

 

View of fryers, pans, stainless serving shelf and storage shelves.

 

 

 

 

 

Interior of triple sink.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh water tank.

 

 

 

30 gallon fresh water tank.

 

 

 

 

 

Freezer and beverage cooler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Propane tanks and tow hitch.

 

 

Propane tanks, shut-off valve, removable tow-hitch.

Tahiti: Bruno and Rose – Our Tahitian Family

We had already been sailing for the last 18 days since we left the Galapagos Islands and judging from our plotter and GPS we were about 100 miles from Tahiti. The night was warm and the seas were calm, the last night of sailing before landfall always seems to drag on and on. I was on watch taking the 6 to 9 in the evening.  Pam had already made dinner of what else, but mahi mahi, a fish I really used to love. After having fish almost every other day, I was dreaming of a nice French Restaurant in Papeete. During the daylight hours there was not much to do except read and maybe put in a DVD and watch a movie that we had seen numerous times before, or fish.  Joel, who was an excellent fisherman having worked as a mate on a charter fishing catamaran in Papeete before joining us on our trip; would upon waking up walk the decks of our boat and pick up the flying fish that had been startled by our passing in the night and taken flight only to hit the sails or cabin sides and land on the deck to eventually die there and become bait for us in the morning. They were pretty hard when we got them, but we would put them in a pail of salt water and they would soften up, then Joel would rig them with a hook and leader and we were ready to troll for whatever the sea would deliver to us. Mostly we would catch mahi mahi, and occasionally we would get tuna, sometimes yellow fin other times albacore, tunny, or big eye; yellow fin being everyone’s favorite.  Caroline, Joel’s girlfriend, made the best poison cru with the mahi mahi. But tonight I was dreaming of a French restaurant, though I was soon to be disillusioned with the dining scene or lack of it in Papeete. During my watch I noticed the crew, Joel, Caroline, and Pam just kind of hung around not too anxious to hit their bunks along with our two passage makers.  Steve and Mike Mey, the sons of my fellow yacht club member that I used to crew for during the summer back in Winthrop Massachusetts; what seemed like a million years ago on this night, had  joined our boat in the Galapagos Islands where their Dad, George, and his wife Gail got off the boat. George and Gail had made the passage from Panama to Galapagos, two very dear friends and a wonderful family. Yes, I would say that everyone that night had the passage blues with the anticipation of a landfall in the morning.

At about 530 in the morning we spotted in the false dawn, the Island of Tahiti. One of my earliest dreams was to come to this place in a magnificent sailboat as we were sailing now, a 96’ sloop, twin engine, just recently refit with the latest gear and equipment –  this vessel was a real eye-opener. The crew was all up on deck now and we still had another 6 hours left before we came into the breakwater in Papeete harbor. As we sailed along the coast of Tahiti we could see the island come to life with more and more traffic on the roads as the night turned to day and the lights on the streets and in the houses started turning off. What a good day to be alive, living a dream. We sailed into the harbor and we did turn a few heads as we pulled up to the quay in the middle of the harbor right in the center of Papeete. I wondered if Paul Gauguin felt the same as he was sailing into this harbor close to 100 years ago. After we tied up the boat, the crew started the normal duties of washing the boat and cleaning and polishing after an 18 days passage, our longest yet. I on the other hand, had my legal duties of clearing into customs and immigration, upon which I found that I had to post a $2000.00 bond on myself and all of my crew. This was because in the past so many people had jumped ship in this idealistic and beautiful place. My wife Pam had her duties as well; being the chef after an 18-day passage leaves the cupboards and reefers bare, she was out to buy up the grocery markets. Steve and Mike were ready to head back to Massachusetts and their family, I think that was the longest they had ever been at sea and they were ready to head to the airport to get their tickets and an early departure the next day after a whirlwind tour of the island. When everyone was done with their assignments for the day Pam asked everyone what they would like to do about dinner, it was unanimous everyone wanted off the boat; Joel and Caroline to visit with Caroline’s sister on the Island, Mike and Steve to the local watering hole. That left Pam and I for that nice French restaurant. But that was not to be. We walked up to some of the restaurants and saw the prices of the meals.  We really had sticker shock – steaks over $50. We must have had a sad face showing cause one of the local Polynesian girls came up to us and said in the most beautiful voice and smiling face, that these restaurants are for the wealthy tourist and we should try “Les Roulottes”, as she pointed toward a large parking lot along the water that had a bunch of what looked like trucks and vans in it.  So we walked toward the waterfront and what we saw really amazed us. These trucks were like children’s transformers, they had parts that slid out, folded down, folded up and were like instant rolling restaurants, each one serving a different type of and style of food, the most amazing thing I have ever seen! So much I thought for a romantic booth in a romantic restaurant, with a nice bottle of French wine, but fate does play tricks on the unsuspecting. We found one place that had a whole pig roasting on a spit over charcoal and the smell would drive any sailor fresh from 18 days at sea mad with desire, so we sat down to have a memorable meal! It became just that! Pam and I talking to each other were overheard by another couple sitting next to us. They turned to us and said “Are you Americans?”  I really did not know how to answer that. Surely we were American, but we had been warned that in some countries we were about to go to it might be better to say we were Canadian and eliminate all political ramifications. But we did answer yes to the American question and that’s how we met Rose and Bruno! They soon became part of our family and vice versa. Rose was French and Tahitian and Bruno was Tahitian and Chinese.  Rose said that she would like to show us her Island and also explained it would be good for her to practice her English.  Rose was a schoolteacher, but school had let out for 2 months and she had plenty of time to show us around. We were taken aback, we really didn’t know these people but we soon learned the generosity and kindness of the people from Polynesia.  It is no wonder the old whalers would land here for supplies and never get back on a ship again. So we made a date for the next day.  Rose was going to pick us up at the boat and show us her island.

Mike and Paul were fortunate to get an early evenings flight back to the US, landing at San Francisco, and then on to Boston.  Joel and Caroline were going to be busy with family and friends for the next three days so this left Pam and I free to explore this beautiful island of Tahiti. Rose was punctual and picked Pam and I up at the boat at 10:00 in the morning and took us to a museum on the south side of the island. I was amazed at the lush greenery and especially at the beaches with their black sand which was ground up lava from the dormant volcano that is the highest peak in the middle of the Island. Bruno’s family owned a small breakfast and lunch restaurant where Rose took us for lunch then showed us her modest apartment that they lived in with Roses’ son AriiNui. Rose and Bruno were not married and Bruno had an eight year old son named KanakaNui. At Bruno’s restaurant we met his mother who worked there. The restaurant was a thriving businessman’s luncheonette in the middle of Papeete.

Bruno told us about his getaway house on the island of Moorea, 6 miles away from Tahiti.  Rose and Bruno would leave every Friday afternoon on the local ferry to head to Moorea and come back on Monday morning.  After a couple of days with Rose and Bruno showing us around, they asked if we wanted to ride the ferry to Moorea with them. By this time the work, repairs and cleaning that we were doing on the boat were completed.  We said if the anchorage is good, we could all sail there, as I had heard from Caroline that Moorea was one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Most recently Moorea was the site for the filming of Mutiny on the Bounty with Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins (1984).  Absolut Freedom was not your run of the mill sailboat, she was a 98’ luxury sailboat and not many boats of this size are even seen in this part of French Polynesia. Rose and Bruno must have felt like they were living the life of the rich and famous.

I was polishing some chrome on the stern of the boat while we were tied up at the quay in Papeete, when I noticed my crew, Joel, the engineer and Caroline, the stewardess walking down the dock towards the boat. Joel had been on the boat as engineer for about 8 months now since I flew him up to Bermuda to make the passage with us to the US Virgin Islands, and on that trip he decided to stay on the boat as full-time engineer. When we left St Thomas to head to South America and Trinidad, I knew that the current stewardess was going to be leaving in Trinidad, so Joel suggested that his girlfriend Caroline be considered for the job. I had worked with Joel on the sister ship to the one that I was running now and he was good crew. I had picked him up in Trinidad after a refit then heading North on sailing charter boat Titan, When I left Titan Joel got a job sailing on a boat over to the Med and I lost track of him till I found out he was back in St Thomas. I got in touch with him and flew him up to Bermuda.

I could tell that there was something wrong with Caroline and Joel as they approached the boat, then they told me about Caroline needing a knee surgery. Her family convinced her to fly back to Paris where she would have all her medical bills taken care of and Joel was going to go with her as he was madly in love with her and could not possibly be without her. I was now crew-less in a foreign port where the prospects of getting a crew were not that good, or so I thought. I was wrong. Two days after Joel and Caroline left a young man came up to the boat and asked “Do you know where I can get some work?” That is how I met Nick Sherman.  Nick came from Huntington Beach California and he was your typical surfing nut. He lived to surf, and had traveled to Tahiti because he heard the surf was up. I explained what the job entailed and he agreed to work hard for the opportunity to travel with us. We were still 1 person short for a 4-person crew; Nick came through with a recommendation of a friend named Erik Anderson. When I met Erik I knew this was a person that could and would do anything asked of him so I hired him on the spot, but he had to leave Tahiti to head back home to San Diego for at least a month. That was OK because we would be there for 2 more months, with the owners of the boat coming down once, and the boat manager coming twice. We got the boat shipshape and sparkling and then we would do our weekly Friday to Monday in Moorea. Bruno and Rose and sometimes AriiNui, Roses son, would join us on the trip over to Moorea. We would get there around 6 at night and dingy our guests to Bruno’s place and make arrangements for Saturday, which always was a full day. Bruno’s place was right on the water and he would come over to the boat in his dingy. Nick, Bruno and I would go hunting on the reefs for food. We would get giant sea clams, spearfish, sea urchins and anything edible for a Saturday luau that would last till late in the night or early in the morning Sunday. I remember swimming alongside Bruno when I noticed 4 or 5 sharks swimming right alongside us. When I told him about the shark he would say, “Kick them out of the way. They are just like dogs and they want to play and eat what we miss.”. Some fun! After we had loads of seafood we would all go to Bruno’s house. Living at Bruno’s house was his Auntie Tati and his cousin Coco, a local schoolteacher on Moorea. I have learned that the Polynesian people love music. Coco would play a Ukulele and Bruno would play a type of Bongos, Rose and Tati would take 2 spoons and put them in a bottle and make a musical instrument out of that. Some of the best memories I have ever had. I soon realized that our Tahitian family had adopted Pam and I and Nick.

We kept on meeting with Rose and Bruno and were welcomed as being one of their family, getting invited to many social and family events, cookouts, dinners, parties, etc. We had heard from the owner of the yacht and he said he was going to make the trip to Tahiti, but this time he was going to be bringing someone new, his new wife. Whenever the owner traveled, he traveled with his personal assistant and her husband, the yacht manager.

So now the boss was going to be coming to Tahiti with someone very special to him and I wanted to plan some great things for them to do.  I mentioned this to Bruno, and he said (which he said many times) “We have no problems, we only have solutions” (I smile as I write this just remembering his Polynesian accents saying this!) Bruno told me about “Heiva” which is the biggest competition in Polynesia.  It happens once per year and all of the islands in the archipelago send their best dancers and singers to Papeete for this week-long competition.

Being born in Polynesia, a lot of the families travel throughout the various islands in search of work, wives and so on. It ends up that a Polynesian can travel to any island here and have relatives, and when they meet up, it is the cause for a celebration or party or as they call it a luau. Bruno and Rose had relatives throughout the islands and in some of the most prestigious occupations in and out of government.  I think you see where we are going with this! One of the main people in charge of Heiva was a cousin of Bruno and was more than happy to help out with front row seats sitting with all the dignitaries and notables of the Islands, for Pam and I, Rose and Bruno and our boss and his entourage.

This was one of the most memorable experiences of my life, watching the dancers male and female and the singing brought me back to when I was a child dreaming of the South Pacific,  (actually South Pacific was filmed in Opanohu Bay, Moorea, right where Bruno holiday house is) with the music, the unbelievable beauty of the Tahitian woman and the smells of the flowers that adorned their costumes.

The name of the beer that is served in Polynesia is called Hinano and was sitting right in front of Miss Hinano, who represented the beer in all their ads and had to be one of the gorgeous women ever.

Needless to say, the owner and his friends enjoyed the competition immensely. The owner’s schedule did not allow his staying on the boat much more than a long weekend, and that time flew by. It was soon time to take them to the airport, place shell necklaces around their neck and wish them a safe journey home. We would be seeing them when we reached Australia in 2 to 3 months.

New Bedford – The “Whaling City”

I grew up in New Bedford, Massachusetts; a place that was once known as the “Whaling Capital of the World” because of the many ships that would leave New Bedford for, typically, a 4 year trip to the Pacific hunting whales for oil. Whale oil was and still is, the main source for fine mechanical oil rendered from the fat of the whales and in lanterns as a fuel. Whalebone was used to put in woman’s corsets and the whalers used to spend days on end whittling the whalebone into art forms called scrimshaw. A part of the whale called ambergris, which came from the digestive system of the sperm whale, was the main component of some of the finest perfumes in the world. So to say that there is a nautical heritage in New Bedford is an understatement.

From my earliest days growing up I would hear of the travels of the whalers and of their exploration and colonizing of some of the most remote islands in the Pacific. The whaling ships, not know for their speed, for the most part took advantage of the winds and currents to sail with them. When a Whaler would leave New Bedford for the Pacific, they would not just sail south to go around the tip of south America, but they would sail Northeast towards England and take advantage of the prevailing winds from the Southeast and the Gulf stream also from that same direction, usually making landfall at a series of seven islands called the Azores.  The Azorean Islands are a territory of Portugal and an area that produced some of the finest and most knowledgeable seamen in the world.  From there they would sail down the coast of Africa before getting to the southern latitudes and then sailing southwest towards Brazil all the while having the currents and the winds behind them. This is one of the reasons Brazil has so many people of Portuguese descent living there.

In school in the sixth grade I remember sitting in class, looking out the window at the Acushnet River and seeing the modern day fishing draggers and scallopers coming and going, in and out of the river, to ply their trade. I would just daydream of those great sailing whale ships with crews that would not see their families for at least four years or for those coming back in to see families missed for 4 years, and for the Azorean crewmen eager to get ashore and get their share of the ships profits and send for their families back in the Azores. To this day there is an 80% population of Portuguese in New Bedford. Neighboring town Fall River, Mass. is known or called the 8th Azorean island.

Well getting back to my story, I would just start drawing those great ships on the paper while sitting at my desk in school, and wondering about those early explorers that traveled the world and longed to do the same. On weekends I would ride my Raleigh 3 speed bike down to the fishing docks to fish off  Homers Wharf which had the best variety of Bass and flounder, I guess due to the fact that further down the dock were the fish processing plants where fish were gutted and cleaned and a lot of their trimmings were washed out into the bay only to become food for the fish I was trying to catch.

My favorite spot on Homers wharf was next to an old sailing fishing schooner called the Ernestine which was built in 1894 at the Bart and Tarr shipyard in Essex Mass.  Famed Newfoundland Arctic explorer Captain Bob Bartlett purchased and refitted the ship in 1924, and she began her second life as an Arctic exploration vessel for scientists and students from institutions as diverse as the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic magazine. The schooner made 20 voyages to the Arctic and came to within 578 miles of the North Pole. No other sailing vessel has ever gotten that close.  After serving as a survey and supply ship for the U.S. Navy during World War II, the schooner entered a new career following Bartlett’s death in 1946. In December 1948, she was sold to Captain Henrique Mendes of Cape Verde, who renamed the vessel Ernestine, after his daughter. He sailed Ernestine as a packet, carrying immigrants and goods between the Cape Verde Islands and the United States until 1965. Ernestine was the last sailing ship, in regular service, to carry immigrants across the Atlantic to the United States. I saw this ship much later in the harbor of Charlotte Amalia on the Island of St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands in 1992 being used as a project outreach for troubled youth. I just could not believe my eyes when this old Gloucester fishing schooner came sailing into the harbor. At the time I was running a charter boat in the Virgin Islands and was in my dingy with my wife Pam.  Upon seeing Ernestine I was immediately drawn to that boat as a nail to a magnet.

I just loved being next to the fishing boats, smelling the air filled with tar and hemp and the somewhat odorous smells of fish never quite making it up to the fillet houses. I never knew what was to become of my life at that time but I knew then that the sea and the love of the challenge of sailing a great sailing ship would someday be mine to master.

New Bedford, MA

Whaling Museum, New Bedford, MA

Fiji Typhoon

We had been watching the weather patterns for the last week or so. We were getting ready to make a departure from Fiji with the next destination being Brisbane Australia, 1400 miles to our west. It was Friday and our plans were to leave Nadi (pronounced Nandy), western Fiji, on the following Wednesday. The temp here was a balmy 85 degrees with a gentle easterly breeze that brought the ambient temp to around 72. A perfect temperature and low humidity. I pulled up the latest satellite weather forecast and saw that 400 miles to my Northwest there was a developing typhoon that was heading east. At this time there was no danger to Fiji or my plans on leaving Wednesday. The crew started to make preparations for our departure, which involved provisioning for the anticipated passage as well as the prescribed maintenance and last minute repairs that would be noticed upon visually checking all systems on the boat. We had planned on going ashore that evening for dinner at the local restaurant and watering hole that was in our Marina. I had already made arrangements with the local police to deliver the weapons that we carried on board and were confiscated upon arrival (mandatory) and were to be delivered to us just prior to departure. This was to take place on Saturday.

Friday night was one of anticipation of our upcoming passage and arrival in Australia, a place we had all dreamed of visiting, and melancholy of leaving this beautiful and friendly group of islands and the friends and memories we had made here. We were in the restaurant, which had been our hangout over the last month we had been here because of the great happy hour every day that occurred here. The local specialty was the broiled fish, most restaurants in this part of the world served seafood, pork, and chicken, over beef which had to be imported.

We noticed a group of our newly made friends standing in front of a TV in the bar and pointing towards the screen over the bar and watching the weather very intensely. I called one of our friends, another Captain who had sailed here from Hawaii, over to the table and asked him what the reason for the intensity of the viewers on that TV. He advised me that the Typhoon that was building to our Northwest had been upgraded to a class 2 and was starting to make a more southeasterly heading with a direction putting it at less than 100 miles off of the northern tip of the Fiji Islands. This I knew was not a good sign as the storms in this part of the Pacific as they head further south from the equator would turn south and then south west. I got up and started to follow the weather on another channel. It soon became apparent that it would be in my best interest to not wait till Wednesday but to make a departure on Sunday. If this typhoon did not dissipate it could possibly track down over the top of the Fijian Islands and being in port was not an option. We would be better off at sea to have more sea room to run and maneuver. We finished our meal but the concern of the approaching storm was evident in the concern of all of our crew. We no longer wanted to party on this Friday night but wanted to get back to the boat and start making preparations for an earlier departure if the weather report the following morning showed the storm making the change in course that I feared most.

I was up early on Saturday morning and sent a satellite message to our weatherman, Ken Campbell, at Commanders weather located in New Hampshire. He had already been following this typhoon. As he was our main source of accurate weather in this part of the world as we make passages, I would send him a satellite fax with our position and he would sat fax back a sat image of the weather in my area at the time. The Sat weather image I received was not very encouraging, the typhoon was building very fast with the warm moist waters of the area 12 degrees south latitude and was showing definite tracking south to make landfall on the western side of Fiji exactly where we were docked, on Wednesday.

I made the decision that we would leave Fiji the following morning, Sunday and hopefully run in the opposite direction of the typhoon. We received our weapons on Saturday afternoon and were all provisioned and fueled up. There was no partying that night, just an early night for the whole crew and we prepared for our departure at 0800 in the morning. Sunday arrived, it was a beautiful morning with not a cloud in the sky balmy breezes from the east bathed us with enough breeze to make the 88 degree temps feel more like 75 degree F. I had the watch list made out, I would be on the 6 – 9, morning and night, Pam on the 9 – 12, morning and night, Jack on the 12 – 3 afternoon and night and Betsy on the 3 – 6 night and afternoon. We had just picked up Betsy and Jack as crew members in Fiji replacing Nick Sherman and Erik Anderson who were making the passage west on another sailboat and would soon join us again in Australia as day workers. I was concerned about Betsy and Jack as I had not observed them under pressure and was not aware of their skills on a boat, only what I had read on their resume provided to me by the crew placement company I hired them through in Fort Lauderdale. Betsy ended up proving to be a good crew member, whereas Jack was let go soon after our arrival in Brisbane Australia.

As I steamed out of the Fijian Islands under motor and sail, we had a perfect morning with our bow breaking the water nicely, the bow wave scaring the small flying fish and sending them up and out of the water up to 100 to 200 feet on both side of the vessel. Once cleared of the reefs we started heading due west to our destination of Brisbane and just clearing New Caledonia by 200 miles on our closest point of approach 700 miles away. The wind picked up nicely coming from the NE about 12 knots and we were motor sailing with one engine on making 10 – 11 knots. It was a beautiful day, and the crew and I were just settling in to be in “passage mode” which means standing 2 three hours watch a day. The daylight hours were spent reading, fishing, watching movies, doing minor repairs and checks of the mechanical systems as needed, with Pam being relieved on her mid morning watch to make lunch and Betsy being relieved on the late afternoon watch to help with dinner. This schedule would go on day after day till we reached our next destination.

As we were just settling into our passage mode, the unmistakable sound of the satellite phone ringing into our computer wakened us up from our daydreaming watch. I immediately downloaded the latest satellite weather report of our area faxed in by Ken at Commander’s and it showed that the prognosis was not very good for us as the intended path of the Typhoon was to slowly make a westward turning and head directly toward us in our direction. We were now heading a course of 270 degree due west at 10 – 11 knots and the typhoon was scheduled at its turn to start making 15 knots forward speed therefore catching up to us. My only hope was for the typhoon to change course or start to stall out or slow down. This was not to happen.

As the next day broke we found that the sky was clear but the seas and the winds were increasing, thereby slowing our westward speed down to 8-10 knots westward with the typhoon gaining on us. I had Ken scheduled to send updated weather faxes every 8 hours now showing the location, direction, intensity and speed of the typhoon. The 12:00 weather fax was not too promising, we were 150 miles in front of the storm with it closing rapidly. We didn’t want to head more northerly as we would loose our wind ability to sail and motor, nor did we want to veer more to the south as the seas were more likely to be greater again slowing down our west ward gain. We could only hope for the Typhoon to slow or change course. The rest of the day went on as usual with the exception being the small talk that always occurs amongst the crew on passages always turned more and more to the typhoon and I could notice on the faces of the crew the doubt and apprehension of the vessel making it through a more confirmed class three typhoon.

As night fell this third day of our passage the winds were now directly behind us at 35 to 40 knots and the seas were 6 to 8 feet high. We put down our mainsail and Genoa as they would soon be getting overpowered by the winds, and we hoisted our storm jib, a short sail that was ¼ thick and made of extremely re-enforced Dacron material. With the building wind speed and heavier seas, changing down to our storm sail did not slow us down any, as we were making the best speed we could in this sea state, 9 to 10 knots. It was now night and sleeping was not an option. We had lee boards on our bunk which kept us from being thrown out of our bunks by the valiantly tossing boat, but no one could fall asleep, so we huddled in the dry pilot house and watched our 120 mile radar showing the massive feeder bands of the typhoon slowly catching up to us. We were now 50 miles in front of the typhoon with the boat lurching port and starboard violently and waves coming at us from behind and breaking over us. A smaller vessel would face the danger of broaching, but with our length of 98’ we could span the swell sufficiently enough to fore go that danger. Thoughts raced through our minds, what would we do if the boat were to be dis-masted or broach? We had a 6 man life raft and if we sank we knew the chances we could launch and all get into the life raft would be slim at best, but we trained for this scenario both in port and on previous calm passages and we maintained this vessel and with everything that was going on at this time we knew we were fairly safe in this boat. We had put the time into making sure every fitting, every line and all parts of this boat were up to the test being exerted on it now.

I remember my childhood in New Bedford, dreaming of making a world circumnavigation and reading of the mariners before me, the storms they went through, the pitfalls and dangers they faced, and I knew that with experience and levelheadedness and not panicking we could make it through this storm. About 0300 in the morning we were still all huddled in the pilothouse and we could feel a slight vibration running though the boat and knew that something was not quite right, but at that time the fax signal rang again and I knew Ken was sending another fax. I read the fax and to our relief, it showed the typhoon making a slightly southward movement and starting to stall and this was verified by what we saw on our radar. The typhoon was indeed moving southward. We would only have another 8 hours of this slowly easing of this pounding of our lifeline, our boat; before we would again have calm seas and following winds.

Daylight brought us joy, as we could now see the seas and the sun was rising and it looked to turn into a beautiful day. Somehow this brought all of our spirits up and we all knew that we had experienced an event that would forever change us in the way we thought, the confidence we had in ourselves, and indeed we all grew up to another level. Jack and I put on our safety harnesses, and clipped onto our jack-stays, (these are flat Dacron lines that run fore and aft of the boat on both the port and starboard side of the boat that once secured to by a carabiner attached to our life vest eliminates the possibility and danger of one being washed overboard) and inspected the boat for damage. What we found amazed us! The track that runs across the bow, port to starboard and secured by bolts ½” every 12” and contained 12 of these bolts, had all but 3 busted and pulled out of the deck. I don’t know how the rest held, but this was the source of the vibration we could feel 4 hours prior. We knew that this was something we had to get repaired, as it would not hold up to another storm in the condition it was in now. I checked our present position and found that the closest point of land was New Caledonia, and that is where we could affect repairs, and possibly find another adventure. We changed course and headed for Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia, 30 hours away.

The Night of The Animals (Pattaya, Thailand)

My friend Tony, his brother-in-law Kim and I walked down the middle of the street in the warm humid almost balmy evening.  You could smell the sweet aroma of the fragrant flowers that open up at night and fill the night air with their wonderful smell, and the local sidewalk food vendors and their barbecues that contained wooden spits of marinated pork and beef.  The background noise was of people laughing, over 100 open front bars with music playing anywhere from Beatles oldies to the top forty songs of the day.  Occasionally you could hear the particular music that was played at all of the Muay Thai bars. This music was mainly that of a flute such as would be heard at a cobra snake charmers demonstration. These were bars with seats straddling the sidewalk and with a few tables, but most notably,  just inside the bar a complete boxing ring that would feature the Nationally famous Muay Thai kickboxing fighters. It was to one of these that we were heading for.

We were in a town called Pattaya along the waterfront and the center of the famous Pattaya red light district.  As we passed the different establishments, the local bar girls would try to entice us into entering the bars that they were working in, yelling to us ; “come here, buy me a drink”.   We were “Falangs”, Falang meaning white tourists. These girls were all nicely dressed, in their late teens to early twenties, most coming from the poor countryside villages where the most that they could earn would be 100 to 300 Baht or 3 to 5 US dollars.  Here in the bars they could earn 10 to 20 times that amount selling drinks and sometimes themselves.

We found a Muay Thai bar with a sign on top of the building saying in both Thai and English, “We feature Muay Thai Here” that had a few Falangs in it, and decided to go in.  It was 8:30 and the sign hanging over the ring said in both Thai and English that the competitions would start at 9:00.  We sat at one end of the bar with our back to the street so that we could have an unobstructed view of the competitions. Kim called the Bartender over; a beautiful Thai girl with long, fine black hair down to her shoulders and an engaging smile, but with eyes that confessed to her hard lifestyle.  We all ordered Heineken, as we had learned that this was the only beer in the world that never changed its flavor or taste no matter where  it was brewed.

As I sat in the middle between Tony and Kim I noticed an older Thai lady come in off  the street and take a seat at the end of the bar; perhaps to rest her weary feet or perhaps she  had a son who would soon be entering the ring. I noticed that she had something out of the normal around her neck.  Upon further inspection I saw that it looked like one of those dolls that were popular a few years back, the ones that looked like a primate or Orangutan with Velcro palms that once placed around the neck would just hang there.  I thought this was strange to see but then again, in this part of the world and in this red light area of town, strange is anything but strange.  As she sat down she lifted this doll looking piece of auburn fur with long long arms locked together off  her neck and placed it on the bar in front and alongside of her. I looked over to my left at Kim and said “I had bought one of those for one of my daughters when they were younger”. I couldn’t help but notice that this bar was filling up with both Thai and Falangs, and the street behind us was packed with tourists and locals slowly making their way past us down the road. I then turned to my right to talk to Tony and noticed the older lady with the doll drinking a bottle of water and then it happened, one of the arms of this seemingly lifeless doll moved! I said to Tony did you see that and pointed? Both Kim and Tony looked at me with a sly grin and then at my Heineken, which was only half full and started to laugh and say, “it looks like you are shut off”!  We all looked at the Lady again and the lifeless doll on the bar and indeed thought we were all seeing things when all of a sudden one of the long arms lifted straight up and towards its head, began to scratch one of its ears. The three of us burst simultaneously into hysterical laughter.  This was a LIVE! baby orangutan that had probably lost its mother to some animal trappers that made an illegal living supplying these creatures to zoos all over the world.

It was now time for the show to come on.  An announcer jumps into the ring and speaking into his microphone, first in Thai, then in very good English; announced that the first bout was to begin.  The music suddenly got louder and we noticed from up and down the street the same type of music getting louder and louder and knew that 9:00 was the start of these types of bouts in the whole area.

The boxers came out of the back of this rather large bar with the ring in the middle and jumped into the ring. Walking counter clockwise around the inside of the ring waving at the fans and relatives, they knelt on the mat facing their corner and bowed down. Getting up they repeated this ritual, each opponent facing the other, seeming to be saying some sort of prayer.  The opponents sat on small stools in their respective corners waiting for the bell to ring to start the exhibition of their skills.

The match begins with a ringing of a gong that looked to be ancient and just reverberated through you when it was struck.  The fighters warily approach each other gazing into each others eyes looking for any sign of an impending strike or attack, and then they both exploded into  swings and kicks.  This went on for the next 2 minutes until the gong struck again allowing them to return to their respective corners. This was truly one of the most action packed fights I have ever seen. These fighters were true warriors in their own right.  This same scene repeated itself for 3 rounds of the gong before the fighter on the left side of the ring was pronounced the winner.

It was time for another Heineken for all of us. I noticed behind me on the street a flurry of commotion and just caught a glimpse of a young man trotting into the bar across the narrow street behind me, but what was following him was hard to believe.  A young 5’ high baby elephant was following this young Mahout right into the bar and causing somewhat of a stir by the Falangs there, but not of the locals who are used to seeing the baby, and even mature elephants walking the streets with their Mahouts. The person that has bonded with a baby elephant and will train them and work with them is called a Mahout.  The elephants are trained to work primarily in the forests and farms to be used as we would on our farms by mules and oxen, as tractors.

The Thai people have a close working relationship with elephants and even use monkeys to help them harvest coconut. A monkey will be trained to climb the coconut tree and hold onto the branch with its arms and then use their feet to grab the coconut and twist and twist them till the coconut falls to the ground.  Only then will they climb back down the tree to receive a reward of a piece of food.

Pam and I, a few days earlier, were walking from a restaurant towards our car parked a couple of blocks away. We were on the side walk which are made of concrete slabs 5’ x 5’ and cover a ditch 3’ to 4’ deep that runs alongside both sides of  the paved street.  Some of these slabs have spaces that one can easily trip over or catch a foot in, so it is necessary to continually look down at where you are stepping. On this one night as we headed to the car looking down, we didn’t see what was approaching us on the sidewalk –  a mature elephant standing 10’ tall coming towards us with his Mahout.  It was only at the last minute that we looked up and saw this vision that I grabbed Pam. We both jumped to the street at the merriment of the Mahout who was bending over laughing at our astonishment at seeing an elephant approach us on the sidewalk.

Day Sail Dreaming

Gwei-Lo under sail in the Virgin Islands

Gwei-Lo under sail in the Virgin Islands

Drifting in and out of sleep, I notice the night sky is getting lighter as I look up through the hatch in our forward cabin berth on board our 47’ ketch Gwei-lo. It is warm but a gentle breeze blows in from the hatch. I could just lie here forever. I turn and look at Pam who is sleeping in what appears to be a deep and restful sleep and as I wake up more and more I start to wonder what the day will bring forth.

I remember that on this day, Thursday there are 4 cruise ships coming into Charlotte Amalie harbor and I know Pam and I will be called upon to make at least one or two day trips today out to an island 6 miles south of St Thomas called Buck Island. We usually get 6 guests in the morning, picking them up at the cruise ship dock at 9:00 in our dingy. When we get them aboard we drop our mooring ball and start heading out of the harbor.

I started to remember back about our home Gwei-lo; we had bought Gwei-lo when Pam and I were living up north in the Boston area. I had been looking for a change in my life and it occurred first when I met Pam and shortly thereafter we decided to get a boat and follow my dream of living and working on a beautiful yacht. One of my best friends, Bob, had done the same thing two years prior and had invited us down to his boat for a week in St Thomas. When Pam and I were flying back to Boston in February and facing the icy chill of a New England winter we remembered fondly the gentle warm trade winds of the Caribbean and that’s when we decided our destiny was in the warmer climates of the Caribbean.

We found a boat that would suit our needs comfortably in Branford Connecticut. It had been hauled out of the water for the last two years and needed some minor cosmetic repairs. This boat was called Gwei-Lo, a 47’ Cheoy Lee Ketch built in Kowloon just outside of Hong Kong. It was built for an American living and working in Hong Kong for one of the oil companies, Occidental Oil. He had been accustomed to the people of the orient calling him a Gwei-Lo which means White Ghost or Foreign Devil, a name most suitable for the sailing vessel we were about to buy.

I had owned a refrigeration company in the Boston area and Pam worked for the phone company as a computer programmer. Both of us were ready for a new and exciting venture.

We had the boat launched in Connecticut and on a Friday, first week of March, Pam, myself, a friend of mine from my Yacht club Jim and his friend, we called him the Polock, at least that is what Jim called him, sometimes with a prefix of dumb, were driven down to where the boat was in Branford, Connecticut. We got out of the car and as we walked down to the dock, there she was, Gwei-Lo our new home and the source of future new adventures. She looked magnificent, a fiberglass hull 47’ with two wooden masts and sleek sailing lines. We had the forethought of purchasing an alcohol heater as we knew the trip back up to Boston and to our Yacht Club in Winthrop was sure to be a cold one. We all got aboard and surveyed our home that was to be for the next three days it would take us to get north to our berth at our club. We started the engine and the Perkins diesel just fired right up. It was a sunny day but the air temperature was in the 30’s, pretty cold when you are in or near the water, and when you account for the sailing, add another 10 degrees drop in temperature due to the chill factor.

As soon as we cleared the harbor we hoisted the sails and with a sudden shudder we felt the boat accelerate. What a magnificent feeling. We shut down the diesel and started making way east 5 miles off the shore. We stopped later that night in New London and tied up at the town pier. With the kerosene lantern lit, giving the interior a warm gentle glow, we all fell asleep, our sleeping bags keeping us warm and snug.

Morning came and another bright sunny, but cold day. We motored up the channel till we got to the open sea and then hoisted up the sails again. I still get a rush remembering the power of the wind captured by the sails. Off the coast of Point Judith, Rhode Island, we saw another vessel approaching us from our bow. Upon closer view we saw it was the US Coast Guard! As they approached us, our VHF radio crackled with a voice of authority. It was the Coast Guard “Sailing vessel off of my port bow, heave to and prepare to be boarded”. What was this all about? I thought. I pulled down the sails and we drifted until a zodiac with five coasties aboard came up alongside of us. They asked who the Captain was; I said I was – what a thrill to be hailed as a Captain. He asked everyone on board Gwei-Lo to stay up on deck and allowed me, the Captain, to go down below with one of the ranking coasties to gathers up my paperwork. Once done we were assured everything was in order and the Coasties then left. As we were the only boat out on the cold ocean, it was thought that we might be running drugs.

We continued up to our next port, my hometown of New Bedford, Massachusetts. As I sailed into the harbor along the Acushnet River, I could see the house that I grew up in and the jetty where I almost lost my life getting fishing rigs. A million thoughts raced through my mind as we sailed in the dusk into New Bedford. The temperature started dropping, and as we got closer to the inner harbor I could see a few snowflakes falling. It was now dark and the only light was the back light of the building and streetlights.

We saw a sign sticking up out of the water close to where we were going to anchor, so I asked Jim to go up on the bow and see if he could read what the sign said. Jim said “Get closer, I can’t read it from here!”, so we motor a little closer. At the same time as I felt the unmistakable lift one gets when a boat is run aground, Jim yells back “Stop! It says Danger – Cable Crossing”. The snow was falling pretty thick by now, and we were aground. I then got my anchor and rode (line attached to the anchor) and put it in the dingy that was stored on the deck and Jim had put in the water for me. I rowed some distance back from the shoal we were grounded on, came back to Gwei-Lo after setting the anchor securely in the mud and took the end of the line and wrapped it around the winch. We pulled the boat off of the shoal by a method called “kedging”. Once we anchored Gwei-Lo, getting into the warm cabin heated by the alcohol heater was such a welcome relief. None of us could feel our fingers due to the cold water and air on them. Again we snuggled into our sleeping bags and immediately fell asleep.

The following morning proved to be the best day yet. The weather had warmed up to 50 F and the seas were calm with light winds as we sailed out of New Bedford. We headed through the Cape Cod Canal, saving us an overnight trip around the dangerous outer cape, the graveyard of many lost ships. With an stop-over in Plymouth, Mass. (we had followed the same route as the early pilgrims into Plymouth), we continued into Boston harbor and on to the Winthrop Yacht Club, the new home for Gwei-lo until we brought her down to the island of St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.

I heard a dingy motor right outside the hull and heard a familiar voice say to me, “Hey Gene, you’ve got an early sail this morning from the Carnival Cruise Line, Celebration. Wake up so you can be at the dock at 0830”. I lifted my head and saw it was my friend Carl, who was the group leader of the daysail boats. Pam stirred as she heard Carl as well and we started our day. The coming weekend our friends from up North were going to be coming to St Thomas to visit with us and sail with us to St John. Charley and Maria (Pam’s friend and hairdresser) would fly in Saturday morning and the game plan was that Maria was going to show Pam how to become my own personal barber and cut my hair whenever I needed it. It was then I vowed never to get my hair cut twice under the same coconut palm tree, but to sail into and explore all the bays and harbors and look for the perfect coconut palm tree in each place.

Welcome Aboard!

Mobile Seafood Concession

Mobile Seafood Concession

Captain Gene and Pam have a new venture – Whaling City Seafood.

We have purchased a mobile food vending trailer to share Captain Gene’s Seafood favorites with our friends – old and new.

From friends in Florida who are looking to satisfy their seafood cravings from summers in New England to former Charter friends who remember Gene’s Fish Stew and his famous Conch Fritters from the Caribbean.

There will be new menu items available bringing the best of New England and Caribbean Seafood favorites to you.

We plan on continuing our travels, by land now.  You will soon be able to find us at your favorite fair.

Stay tuned for our progress in this next adventure of our lives.   Retirement??  Nah, no such word in our vocabulary!

We look forward to sharing the progress of setting up the business with you and welcome your suggestions.