Large fire close to the marina!

Well, we certainly had some excitement nearby about an 5PM Thursday. I was working at the computer and engrossed in what I was doing. I heard a large helicopter flying nearby, but did not go outside to have a look.

A short time later I heard a similar sound. In a short time after that. I don’t really know how many times I heard it. But, then I got a notice to look at my Facebook page. I seldom look at Facebook, but I clicked on the notice and found that there had been a large brush fire, very close to the Marina. Go to

36.29192, 30.14398 on Google Maps

It is perhaps a kilometer or less by road and only a couple of hundred meters, ‘As the Helicopter flies.’ It was in the Valley just west of the Marina, where many of us from the Marina often walk. It was Janet’s favorite walk in the area, because once you get to the top of the hill you can go many different directions. The fire was near the beginning of the walk.

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Barbaros is the Turkish man that is usually at the desk when you go in the office. He is very friendly and helpful and has made my stay much more enjoyable. Anyway, he posted some photographs on his Facebook page, that I think are taken from a cell phone, of the fire and the helicopter, that was getting buckets of water from the ocean, right next to the Marina, to go up and drop on the fire. In some of the photos you can also see the water truck from the municipality of Finike. They haul water around for various purposes during the year, including bringing additional water to fight fires.

Barbarous has kindly allowed me to also post the pictures on my blog. It appears that they got the fire out by the time it covered about the area of a soccer field. Barbaros said that no one was hurt and that there was no property damage other than a lot of small trees that did not fare well.

Next time I will be much more curious about strange noises that I hear outside. It is embarrassing to have a large fire a few hundred yards away from the boat and only learn about it when I see it posted on the Internet.

Years ago, we had a good chuckle about the state of technology in the anchorages. In the olden days, if you wanted to talk to someone on a nearby boat, you got into your dinghy and you rode over or used your outboard and you went over there to talk to them. When it became common to just send them an email and not even get off your lazy butt, there were all sorts of sarcastic jokes about what is the world coming to. Right this minute they hit pretty close to home for me. I see from the clock it is time for me to get off my LB and go feed the cats.

One of the other people in the Marina said that dropping water on fires is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. The strong air currents above large fires, probably even fires of this size, make it very hazardous. Also, when he said that, I instantly remembered the video, similar to

Where the wings come off of a large airplane that is trying to fight a fire. The particular video that I gave in the link may be confusing. It was for me. There is an edited–in piece at the end of the clip that is the footage that I recall seeing. If the photographer seems a little insensitive, I think what might be happening is he is excited about seeing the 1st part where a plane flies by normally. And it takes him a moment to realize what he has seen and captured.

I certainly hope that no one is making light of several people on an airplane dying right before your eyes while trying to save the forest and people’s property, and perhaps people’s lives.

Anyway, I also remember seeing a video of a very large helicopter similar to the one that fought the fire and how dangerous it is to use them to pick up logs when they are doing logging in remote areas.

It seems simple enough if you don’t know anything about it. Like me. You’ve got a big helicopter and a big log in you just fly in with the cable hanging below and attach it to the log and flyaway.

I’m sure I don’t understand the whole picture but in the TV program that I watched, they pointed out that the whole reason the helicopter is flying is because it’s moving a huge quantity of air from up high to down low. That phenomena is relatively ignorable as long as the helicopter is flying the way they usually fly. With significant forward motion. It also can be relatively ignorable if the helicopter is coming in and hovering and landing. As I understood it, where they get into a life-threatening emergency, is when the helicopter is hovering at a relatively high altitude, like 200 feet, and it gets a large column of air moving down. In other words, it makes its own profound downdraft. It then moves to one side a little bit and gets into some clean air so has quite a bit of lift. But then if the pilot maneuvers back down into this giant invisible column of air that is already descending very quickly, he suddenly has very little if any lift. AND, the helicopter is now attached by a big heavy cable to a monstrously heavy log and can’t get away. This is where people can die in a couple of seconds, with nothing that can be done to stop it. As in the expression, ‘Like watching a train wreck.’

In the TV program that I saw, they had footage of training a new pilot. He was a very experienced helicopter pilot, but he had never lifted logs before. He had to come in between tall trees and mountainsides and even though everyone had carefully explained the known dangers of the situation, the poop hit the fan and even when the instructor took over he said there was about 20 seconds there were he thought there were going to die.

And, in watching the footage that they had, it makes it seem reasonable that they should require that the pilots wear adult diapers. I’m sure the pucker factor got extremely high there. And I don’t mean high-altitude.

So, I take those memories and attach them to all the additional confusion of a fire with the updrafts in turbulent winds and perhaps poor visibility, and I have no trouble imagining that those guys are paid far too little.

But everyone sure does thank them for their services. It would certainly be a very helpless feeling watching a giant fire coming your way. Destroying what you had spent a lifetime accumulating.

On the what is Dave up to front, when I got the engine running properly, I discovered that I had growth around the propeller shaft again. I’ve only met a few people who seem to have this problem. I really cannot understand why everyone does not have the problem.

Many years ago, we noticed that if we did not use the engine and cause the propeller to turn, for example in a marina or an anchorage, after 2 or 3 weeks, there would be what I assume is a calcium buildup on the propeller shaft. The way the boat used to be set up before the haul out in Texas, it was only quite annoying to release the propeller shaft and slide it back about 7 inches. Now, it is almost impossible to do that, with the dripless packing that we have. The dripless packing is so nice that I’m not whining about it. I think it is a good compromise. But, it certainly is a compromise.

Something like coral grows on the propeller shaft and turns it into sandpaper. I don’t think it’s barnacles, because, they are tiny and there are thousands of them. Just like sandpaper.

If it is not too bad, for some reason that I cannot understand, you can run the engine in forward and everything sounds normal. But if you run the engine in reverse, it sounds like there is gravel in the transmission. It is really, really rough sounding. Frightening sounding. Expensive sounding.

The first time it took us a while to figure out what was wrong, but I discovered that if I would slide the propeller shaft back the maximum amount and then take the back edge, of a stainless table knife. That is, not a sharp edge, but a slightly rounded edge. I then burnish off the ‘sandpaper.’ You just rub the edge of the knife on the shaft with a medium to light amount of pressure and the coral or whatever it is flakes off.

Sort of like eating an ear of corn, you slowly rotate the shaft, until the whole shaft feel smooth and like new. Because you’re only burnishing, which I believe means applying a significant amount of pressure, but not enough to cut into the surface you are burnishing, you do no damage whatsoever to the shaft. It does not even leave a mark. It just removes the sandpaper.

Now days, the way I deal with it, is I close the openings around the Cutlass bearing. For those of you who don’t have a boat, have a look at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stave_bearing

http://www.deepblueyachtsupply.com/marine-bearings/nonmetallic-inch-cutless-bearings/ModelNumber/DORIS

The 1st one we had was ‘rubber’ inside of a bronze tube, and it fits in a bronze casting. The problem was that after a few years of sailing around the ocean, the bronze tube became very tight in the bronze casting due to a slight bit of corrosion, and was a nightmare to get out. We had to remove the propeller shaft and figure out a way to very carefully saw down through the bronze tube, from the inside towards the outside, over the full length of the long bearing but not to saw the bronze casting. We were hoping to keep that part. Once we had done that, we were able to collapse the tube slightly and get it out.

There were a lot of jokes around the boat yard of Dave performing gynecological surgery on Alegría. And believe me, there were not many giggles from Dave and Janet. It was a lot of hard work, but it finally had a happy ending. After an eternity.

Then some new genius, pointed out that they also make it in a nonmetallic tube, and that’s what we’ve used ever since. Naturally, we grease everything up, but not the ‘rubber’ part, just where the outside of the nonmetallic tube interfaces with the inside of the bronze casting, with the best possible waterproof grease, and so far, when they do wear out, you can remove it quite easily.

The rubber part is lubricated by water flowing through. In normal use, without the coral, the propeller shaft does not touch the rubber, but floats on a film of water. Sort of a beneficial use for hydroplaning that you might do if you’re having a really bad day while driving in the rain. I think hydroplaning was invented by Darwin to speed up genetic selection.

Someday, I will post a bunch of my favorite sayings, somewhere in the blog. But, the one that comes to mind right now, is attributed to many people, and each version is slightly different. The way I heard it, was, “Life is hard. But it is harder when you’re dumb.”

I mutter that to myself much too often.

The other project that I just finished was getting the mooring lines ready for winter. This included adding an extra stern line to the boat. When we were in Rome, the very nice man next to us, who had been there for several years, said to be sure to put on a 2nd slime line. Because every year, somewhere in the Marina at least one gets cut by some idiot in a powerboat getting too close to the boats and hitting the rope with his propeller.

And that should never be misunderstood to imply that there are more idiots with powerboats than there are in sailboats. Both groups have more than enough. What I’m saying is that most sailboats are shaped in such a way that it would be pretty much impossible to do that. However it is quite easy to do in a powerboat if you’re willing to get way, way, too close to the boats along the side of the fairway.

Not that the Capt. meant to do that, but if the wind catches them, or someone chooses to go in or out at the same time they are going the opposite direction, it may be almost impossible to not do it.

Normally there is only one slime line holding you away from the pier. If that suddenly vanishes, you now have a major problem which involves banging one end of your boat into a concrete pier. And the odds are that you are somewhere else entirely and not even on board to save your baby. It is a frightening situation, because there’s probably a 50-50 chance that there’s a significant wind blowing your baby up against the concrete pier. Not a happy time.

The only good news might be that, the concrete pier is hardly ever damaged very much.

I also significantly improved the lines that go to shore. I changed the newer rope. They are now much stronger than they have been. I’m getting ready for winter and the occasional storms that we get. Especially important if I’m off tourist-ing around somewhere.

Well, back to my computer project,

Dave

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