Thursday, January 19, 2017

Inauguration Day - 1829


Now you might think that inauguration day, at least this one, is really special. Some might think it is the beginning of a disaster. But take a look at some of things said about President Andrew Jackson --- and remember we did survive his presidency.

“Americans tend to forget that Andrew Jackson was the first westerner elected president. Tall, lanky, with the rawboned look of a true backwoodsman, he wore the harsh life of the frontier on his face and literally carried a bullet next to his heart. Ferocious in his resentments, driven to wreak revenge against his enemies, he often acted without deliberation and justified his behavior as a law unto himself.”

“…president, he supported the forced removal of the Cherokees from the southeastern states and willfully ignored the opinion of the Supreme Court. Taking and clearing the land, using violent means if necessary, and acting without legal authority, Jackson was arguably the political heir of the cracker and squatter.”

“Democrat Andrew Jackson’s stormy relationship with Crockett was replicated again and again with any number of contemporaries over the course of a career that was built on sheer will and utter impulse. Most of his loyal supporters eventually ended up on the opposition side of the partisan divide”

“Because Jackson had relatively little experience holding political offices, his run for the presidency drew even more than the normal amount of attention to his personal character.”

“Whether supporters portrayed him as the conquering hero or his enemies labeled him King Andrew I, all focused on his volatile emotions. He certainly lacked the education and polite breeding of his presidential predecessors.”

“Jackson did not look or act like a conventional politician, which was a fundamental part of his appeal.”

His fiery temper and lack of scholarly deportment permanently marked him. A sworn enemy put it best: “Boisterous in ordinary conversation, he makes up in oaths what he lacks in arguments.” Not known for his subtle reasoning, Jackson was blunt in his opinions and quick to resent any who disagreed with him.”

So how will it turn out? I’m unfortunately betting on the image above.


Quotes from: Isenberg, Nancy. White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America (Kindle Locations 2365-2367). Penguin Publishing Group. 


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Gannet Spotting and Great Mercury Island


Gannet watching is one of the treats to being on the water in New Zealand. These birds seem perpetually hungry. They get up to altitude, spot a snack in the water then do a torpedo dive. The impact is clearly heard inside our boat. Sometimes they hunt alone, but usually they are in packs – or is it flocks – of dozens of them.


Going in! They can tuck their over 5 ft wingspan into a pretty narrow package for entry like a spinning iceskater.


And create a small enough splash for a high score in the dive competition.


They are even reasonably graceful on their exit after slurping down some small fish.


After spending some very windy days at Cook’s Bay in Whitiangi we headed out to Great Mercury Island. The island is privately owned by two of the wealthiest people in New Zealand, Michael Fay and David Richwhite.


Just to emphasize the wealthy part, here’s the black helicopter about to land. While the island is private the rules for visitors are very liberal. You can walk anywhere you want on the roads, trails or farmland. You aren’t supposed to go into the forest area.


And you can’t bring on any varmints. These are rat, stote and possum traps-- just in case there are any unwanted hitchhikers in the dinghy. The island has been de-ratted and de-possumed, making a good habitat for the ground-nesting birds.


The farmland is immaculately kept with lots of happy sheep, all named Shaun (as in Shaun the Sheep).


Shaun roams the roads. This is one of the best sites on the island – a clear view of the giant microwave tower between the boulders onthe hillside.


This is one of the shepherds moving her flock.


And the working dogs coming home after a hard day on the job. I assume the senior dog is the one riding on the Quad behind the driver.


Gt Merc has cows too. Not sure what variety, but they look fat and happy.


There’s some nice sandy beaches that rate a walk.


Boathouse apartments


No shortage of giant trees on the island—this is a pohutukawa, also known by the Kiwis as the ‘Christmas tree’ because they are covered with red flowers in December.


Shaunette letting me know I was too close to her grazing grounds.



And boss Shaun telling us it was time to go.

I’ve decided to rigorously follow the US Coast Guard Regulations concerning sailing blogs and limit my political commentary to once a month. That should be all that is needed once the swamp is drained.


Saturday, December 31, 2016

A New Years Wish – Let’s Make the World Great Again


It seems like such a nice thought for 2017 on this billboard in Moscow! All the worlds nations improving their economies, growing democracy and safety blossoming, turning swords into plow shares, health care for all and peace among men (and women). I wonder if the Russian version translates the same?


We had a good Xmas dinner on our Scottish friends Colin and Izzy’s boat Endorphin. That’s Colin on the right and Izzy on the left. Filling out the table were their daughter Rachel and partner Jack, friend Cara and Chris and me. Izzy put together a meal to remember!


Lots of beach to do some long beach walks on.



We spent New Year’s day in the anchorage at Tauranga – technically in the beach town Mount Manganui next to Tauranga. We aren’t the only people enjoying this beach town. The Ovation of the Seas tied up right behind us for a visit. The ship is pretty new, built in Hamburg and going into service April, 2016. Its 1,142 feet long (348m) and carries between 4,000 and 4,900 passengers. It’ll push its 18 decks through the water at 22kts.


Tauranga likes to put forth its ‘family friendly’ face for locals and tourists. They have a set of fireworks on News Years Eve that they set off at 9:30pm. I think that is pretty cruiser friendly too. The pic above is proof that Chris and I stayed up late enough for the first round of fireworks. After a few hours of sleep we caught a glimpse of the midnight round, too.


shaunIMG_6097 Shaun the Sheep would like to wish you all a wooly 2017!