Itinerary of HEIDI

This the last 14 years, condensed to one page. A lot of memories. It is very hard to write this.

We sailed Heidi from Sequim, WA around Vancouver Island and up to the Queen Charlottes.  And so on,

Sorry, but I goofed. I had posted that itinerary as a link off of

When I get time, we will make “…robn-puts-her-heidi-on-the-market/” much easier to read. But, I am rushing around just now.

The itinerary is correctly located at

Dave & Robn



It is with sadness that Robn puts her HEIDI on the market

Recent research has caused me to lower the price to



New blue info 5 paragraphs down added 25 Feb. Older edits near the bottom. This must drive you crazy, but I will be adding things frequently over the next few weeks. If you are at all interested, please check back. I will change the date to reflect my additions.

Here is a preliminary report from memory. Robn returns to the boat in a couple of weeks. Better info then. Contact us at svalegria AT hotmail dot com.

One puzzle that we are wondering about: People seemed to say that the boat should be empty when the new buyer sees it. Having lived aboard her since 1990, and voyaging since 2001 – from Sequim, WA down to Panama, across the Pacific, down to New Zealand three times, up into the N Pacific, across to Guam and the Philippines, down to Jakarta, across the Indian Ocean to South Africa, around the Cape of Good Hope, and on to the Caribbean with full itinerary and details available if interested. She has a lot of important spare parts and miscellaneous boat bits on board. It seems silly to dispose of these important items when any new owner that knows anything will want them. Any thoughts on that?

I (Robn) am very fortunate that in 1969 my parents took me and my two younger brothers on a 5+ year circumnavigation aboard a 52′  Rhodes Ketch. I was 20 at the beginning of that trip.

Some History added 25 Feb

While on that trip, I met Gerhard (a German) in Tahiti. He had also begun his circumnavigation, from Germany in 1969. We continued to sail west, finally getting married and living ashore, building our own home in Washington State. We then sold our house and bought HEIDI in 1990,  moved aboard her, and began to ready her for another circumnavigation. She has been my only home, since 1990. Sailing was/is in our blood.  In Sept 2001, we were finally able to retire and set sail from near Seattle, in the NW United States. We coast hopped to Panama. then zig zagged around the Pacific, including Guam and 3 trips to New Zealand. The condensed itinerary is available here:  

My husband passed away in December 2010 and I sailed HEIDI to the Caribbean and have been actively sailing HEIDI there since then. Often singlehanding.

I met David in 2014 and that is the only reason that I would part with HEIDI. We do not need two boats.

Heidi, a 1978 Hans Christian 34′, is presently in Trinidad, on the hard.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHeidi at Pago Pago  (Usually clicking on the photo makes it larger and detailed)


>Whats the price you have in mind?

A fair market price. We are studying comparable boats online. I had been thinking 70,000 USD because I see boats not nearly as seaworthy or in as good condition asking much more. However, recently, research has caused me to lower it to US$64,900.00. Offers considered.


The engine is a Beta “BV1505,” 37.5 HP Diesel, about 2000 hours, installed in 2000.
Two Racor filters w/bypass. Use one or both, can change one while running engine on the other.
Exhaust shut off valve for use in high seas
Dripless shaft seal new in 2011
Optima Starter Battery (Spiral Gel Cell
3 Optima House Batteries 65 AH each = 195 AH.  New in 2008. Previous set lasted 12 years and tested still good after replacement. Turned out the lost performance was probably due to a corroded connection on the solar panel reducing the input but not discovered till later.
100W solar power: 2 x 50 W panels by Siemens, installed 2001.
Shore power converter not used since 2001.

Sails: 2 Mains, 1 storm main, 1 cruising spinnaker (with sock), 1 genoa, 1 yankee, 1 storm jib, 2 staysails.

2 CQR type SS anchors
chain (90 meters?), rope, snubber.
spare anchor line.
Manual windlass
1 Fortress Aluminum Anchor
1 dinghy anchor
1 Anchor Buddi (lead weight to roll down chain to improve scope)
5 fenders, plenty of docking lines

Achilles Dinghy inflatable, with 8HP mercury outboard. Both new in  Dec 2008
Autohelm wind vane w/ auxiliary rudder.

4 man life raft new in 2011
EPIRB new in 2011
Drogue (cone type sea anchor) that is the size recommended for the boat.
2 Drogue lines 300 ft each.
3 bilge pumps. (1 automatic, 1 emergency, 1 hand gusher.)
Life jackets, harnesses (3), jack lines, spot light, 4 fire extinguishes, man overboard pole w/horseshoe buoy, horn, sledge hammer, radar reflector, bosun’s chair.  Flares – outdated but have been stored very well.  (even plugs for dorade vents if bedding down in a hurricane! Never used.)

AIS transmitter/receiver
Garmin GPS 128
handheld Garmin GPS 12
GPS antenna for computer
Acer laptop with Open CPN, CM93 world wide charts, other navigation software.
Handheld VHF
Kenwood 2005 SSB receive only
a 2nd SSB receive only
Hummingbird Fish finder/depth sounder
Speedometer – light not working
2nd compass

2 burner kerosene stove w/oven by Taylor

Sewing machine (household from 1977 but it has gone through 14 layers of Sunbrella! Possibly not included – not sure I want to part with it!)

Car deck w/ usb mp3 player (no CD).

Assorted hand tools including DeWalt 12 Volt drill and flashlight w/ 2 batteries and charger (2014).

H20 pressure pump and galley foot pump. Salt water galley pump.

Porta Potty – Thetford 135

Jerry Cans: 2 diesel 5 gal, 1 gasoline 5 gal, 3 water 5 gal, 2 kerosene 2.5 gal, dinghy gas tank 3 gal.

A lot of assorted spare parts and materials.



Heidi has been traveling the world since 2001 while being carefully maintained since our lives depended on her.  She has been our (my) only home since 1990.
Major projects:

abt 1999 replaced Stb Samson post with purpleheart.
2000: new engine (replaced salt water cooled Volvo 34 with the Beta before heading to tropics)
2001: new rigging and solar panels
2002: water tank leak repairs.
2003: new VHF and antenna, new speedometer after lightning strike. No other damage sustained. Bottle brush added. Major paint work, New awning and sail covers.
2003: Auxiliary rudder repairs.
2005: New wiring for navigation lights (both masthead and pulpit), other work on mast including paint.
2006: Replaced port diesel tank (black iron) with epoxy/glass and re-plumbed fuel lines.
2007: Removed bowsprit for caulking access, discovered some rot and replaced the entire bowsprit with kauri. Re-glazed all port lights.
2008: New dinghy/outboard. 90M new chain – not much work done this year.
2009: replaced bow stem chain plates and inner fore stay after the former broke. Blister repair job (first sign of blisters after 1990 job) including one new layer of glass and lots of painting, – unfortunately not taken further up – there are blisters above the water line recently. Also a new awning.
2010: 2 way AIS added. New cushions, new fenders
2011: New life raft, new EPIRB, new docking lines, some new running rigging
2012: New wood for overhead in salon & galley, w/new LED lighting, interior paint and varnish, misc. wood work. New galley cabinet and stove surround. Replaced 2 chain plates (aft shrouds – one showed hairline crack). Re-bedding of forward haws holes.
2013: replaced upper shroud chain plates, new 90M chain. Forward chain plates (shrouds) still original.
2014: re-caulking and refastening teak deck. New engine damper plate. Port Sampson Post replaced with Ipé. New dinghy floor boards.

This list is from memory and is not all inclusive.  Lots of additional smaller jobs have been done over the years and items added or replaced.  Sails are mostly from my brother-in-law’s sail loft in Germany – Diekow Segel. They are now making sails for the German Tall Ship, Gorch Fock.

Actual repairs due to failure have been relatively few thanks to the pro active work. The only failures over the years that come to mind are the leaking diesel tanks (One was replaced in 2006, the other (black iron) is beginning to leak); the broken twin bow chain plates (as a result they were replaced in 2009); and the auxiliary rudder shaft was replaced in 2003 after it bent when a bolt came loose.

Current projects include refastening the deck. It has gradually gotten thinner over the years though it’s still a half inch thick, so I need to finish setting the teak plugs deeper. Restitch mainsail cover, new slip covers (for upholstery).

Future projects: Topside blisters and paint , replace stbd diesel tank.
Replace the last two old chain plates and perhaps the genoa tracks.


Someone asked if Heidi had a bridge deck. Yes. The cockpit seats go all of the way around. In the photo of Mieze the cat, supervising  the cook making dinner, the slightly open door you can see to the left of Mieze, opens to the back of the engine instruments which are at the front end of the cockpit just below the forward seat. I would guess that the seat is just slightly higher than the top of the sliding door.

All of the shrouds, including the lowers are attached to chain plates at the gunwales, not the cabin side. There are permanent shrouds that act as back stays for the staysail.

Inside, beginning near the bow, there is the anchor locker, followed by the V berth, then the head and hanging locker, and then the salon, with a U-shaped settee on the port side, for seating around the table. And if you lower the table it can be used as a double bunk. There is a straight settee on the starboard side.


Continuing aft on the starboard side, is a short closet, and aft of that is the Navigation station, and aft of that is the quarter berth. The galley is on the port side just aft of the salon.

You can access the engine by lifting up the steps and opening a hatch there, and/or by removing some of the four panels from the quarter berth, and/or by opening the hatch in the port cockpit seat, and climbing down in. If you’re going to be doing a lot of work on the engine, the large box between the companionway stairs and the bulkhead can be lifted out of the way, rather than just using the hatch in front of the box.  Beta is well designed for easy maintenance including a mounted oil removal hand pump.

In the photo with the cat, you can see the four galley drawers between Mieze and Gerhard’s blue jeans. This is the only Hans Christian that Robn has owned, so she does not know about other galley arrangements.

I found a little information on

I don’t know how accurate it is. The difference that we noticed is that Robn changed the Volvo for a Beta, 37.5 hp in 2000. And it has about 2000 hours on it now. The main boom was also shortened by about 6 ft, increasing the aspect ratio and reducing the chance of bumping into it with your head. When Robn gets back to the boat, she can take some better pictures. But here are a couple we found on the computer.

This photo shows a view from the stern (in Borneo) with the black outboard, shows the companionway and other details.


The original hatch on the forward end of the cabin, was a poor design, and leaked where the Plexiglas joined the wood. Robn and Gerhard redesigned it, with the Plexiglas going all the way to the edge, but covered with the teak trim. That stopped the leak.

But if I start listing all of the improvements that Robn and Gerhard made over the years, this letter would get pretty long.


Dave & Robn

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn passage past Cape Agulhas and Cape of Good Hope. 2011


I am back onboard. Here is the full list of my planned maintenance. I got behind on the cosmetics when my husband died in 2010 but have kept up on the essentials.  With this list I would be caught up on all systems. It is, of course, always possible that more stuff will be discovered during the work. That is the nature of boat maintenance.

 1. pulpit (to be installed this last week of Feb) and wiring bow nav lights which are on the pulpit.
 2. Chain Plates (at least one of the two remaining has a stress crack and since the others are already done. . .)
 3. Set  new, shorter, teak deck screws deeper, bung, and caulk. (Teak still 1/2″ thick). If you’d rather remove the teak for some reason, then there would not be any point in doing this – I happen to love the teak.
 4. Ceiling Trim –  not much work here as the trim is already varnished, just needs to be cut and drilled. Trim is not essential, of course, but these wood pieces are in the way until installed.
 5. Paint and Varnish. Teak can, of course, be left au natural, so again not necessary, but the fiberglass would sure look prettier with the job completed. All of the painted teak was varnished and in great condition BEFORE painting. Thus, we assumed that if we wanted to go back to varnished teak, that we could just remove the paint. The paint is NOT into the pores of the teak.
 6. Galley sink drain – didn’t have a chance to buy a new one in USA. They are not leaking but they are substandard materials (already starting to rust) installed last year by a “professional” and I want it re-done right.
 7. Stair tread re-glue – truly not needed yet but it’s bugging me. The old glue is liquifying and slowly seeping – making for a few sticky spots on the companionway.
 8. Engine heat exchanger clean. Reinstall water impeller.  Grease winches and seacocks. Bottom Paint. (All regular standard maintenance.)
 9. Replace mast head nav light (working fine but not LED so draws more power that an LED. While my LED anchor light is too dim – I’ve been putting this off waiting for LED nav light prices to come down.)
 10. A couple grease fittings on the steering system need to be cleaned. The last time I tried to add grease to the nipples (last spring) they weren’t accepting any. This will lead to problems at some point if not dealt with.
 11. Auxiliary rudder bearing and control lines. I replace the control lines (Kevlar) before every long passage and as needed in between. The bearings are developing some slop so I’d feel more comfortable with them replaced before too long.
 12. Re-caulk bolt: There is a small sometimes leak with one of the mast step bolts. A few drops twice in the past couple years.
 13. Replace dodger and possibly awning. Again not necessary, but I don’t like to wait until they are.

 Things that a buyer might want that I don’t:

 Refinish topsides – there is a band of up to approximately 6″ of tiny cosmetic blisters (max dia less than 1 cm)  above the water line. Everything good below the water line (redone in 2009/10 at which time there was no hint of needing to go higher). I had planned to do this but I consider the other stuff higher priority. Heidi has been out of the water since Oct 2014, for my flight to Turkey. The blisters have disappeared, so I have 4 months of drying the hull already accomplished. There are people in Trinidad that are said to be very good at doing this sort of work. Before I launch would be a VERY good time to do it, but I will let the new owner decide, IF they buy before I want to launch!

 Refrigerator, speedometer, wind instruments, auto pilot, water maker, electric windlass, etc.. These are popular items these days but would require an upgrade in the power generation and more maintenance. I’m personally happy with a minimalist life style.



One of the jobs Robn has planned is to redo all of the exterior paint. She was planning to do it last summer, but got interrupted. If the new owner wanted to go back to varnish, or even wanted to have the paint a different color, or different kind, then it would save Robn a lot of work to not have to paint it before she sells it. It’s just that a freshly painted boat, looks so much nicer, and she has already purchased all the materials. She just needs to have time to get around to the various jobs.

As the saying goes, “Cruising is just doing boat maintenance in exotic places.” I will be going to help her in a couple of weeks. As soon as I can get my things done here in Turkey.

By the way, I don’t know if you’ve looked into the cost of flying to Trinidad, but when I was pricing flights between Turkey and Trinidad, flying through New York, Washington DC, Houston, or Miami, and then flying from there down to Trinidad, was a lot cheaper. At least from Turkey. Although I think there are some direct flights from Europe, etc., to the Caribbean in season.

We like using

However, some of the cheap flights like Pegasus, Atlas, Condor, Thomas Cook, and so on, do not always show up there. So, I find a website that tells what airlines serve Trinidad or wherever I am going, and then I look at the individual airline websites.

One site shows the following for “POS,” the airport you want:
United,    jetBlue , American Airlines, Caribbean Airlines, British Airways, US Airways, and Copa.
shows these:
Albatross Airlines
American Airlines
British Airways
Caribbean Airlines
Copa Airlines
Linea Turistica Aereotuy
Sunwing Airlines
Surinam Airways
United Airlines

In theory, the whole point of using,, etc. is that they check all the possible combinations. In practice that is absolutely not true. I think they wanted US$5,000.00 or some ridiculous amount for Robn to fly from Trinidad to Turkey and back. And it was not a fast or direct flight. Long layovers.

Fortunately I knew that Turkish Air, had a special going between Turkey and certain US cities, and I eventually found a combination, with relatively fast connections that totaled less than US$1,500.00 and routed her through Houston, which allowed her to do some other chores during her travels. But it was not easy. However the reason that I have been able to cruise for so many years, is by being willing to do a little extra work to save money.

Make certain that the site(s) you use tell you the TOTAL, FINAL, price. There are many ways that dishonest sites can sound like they’re giving you a real bargain, and then you find out that that does not include things like the tax, which is commonly one third of the cost of the ticket. Some airlines charge you for reserving a particular seat, and many charge for meals. Some airlines charge for any luggage over 5kg. I might have that much weight in my pockets. Robn has been on a site that quoted a good price. However, that price required that you get their special credit card for US$75.00/yr. So,  buyer beware. But, the sites I mentioned, tend to be honest, at least in the past.

If you have Frequent Flyer Miles, try that. My last Seattle to Antalya flight, I was able to fly First Class, with three 70 pound suitcases INCLUDED for a very nice price. Who would have thought that Dave would ever fly First Class?

As many boats discover each year, the hurricane season is like playing Russian roulette. There were a lot of tragedies last summer. It is my understanding that Trinidad has been very safe so far, which is the reason so many boats spend the hurricane season there.

Depending on where you live, you may find it very advantageous to keep your boat in Trinidad and commute back and forth for the sailing season(s). I have seen slightly better fares between New York and Trinidad, than New York and Tampa. And there is no comparison on the sailing choices.

Many people have figured that out.

I have some more photos that Robn sent that I need to add. I will do that soon.

Ginger and the White Death

Ever since I was little, I have had trouble with motion sickness. Mal de mer.

This has always been annoying, for everyone concerned. But, it became obvious that I needed to deal with the problem, when we left on our first long trip, in 1977. We were a month too late leaving that year, and we waited in Neah Bay, WA, for a weather window to go to San Francisco. But there weren’t any. It looked like we could be stuck there till Spring. So, we finally just left during the tail end of one nasty set of weather, with the weather guessers promise, that the next cataclysm would not arrive for a couple of days. At which time we would be further down the coast, and well offshore.

The Pacific Coast from San Francisco north to Canada, especially near Neah Bay, is a graveyard of sailing ships, that were too close to the coast, and could just not escape being blown ashore. So we went out about 100 miles at the furthest.

When the oncoming gale hit, I was worse than useless. I was a liability. I’m sure that the only reason that I was not thrown overboard after about a day of uselessness, was that I’m too heavy. And they could not get enough people around me, inside the cabin, to carry me out and toss me over. Being big is not all bad.

Happily, it did not occur to them to just dismember me into more manageable, easily carried pieces.

I became an expert on anti-nausea medication and even woo woo treatments.

On that subject I would say the two most important things that I learned, are that Stugeron 25 mg, is for almost everyone that uses it, a miracle drug. But, you should start taking it the night before if possible. Because if your digestive system shuts down, as it tends to do in the early stages of mal de mer, the Stugeron cannot get into your bloodstream, and does you no good whatsoever. You can however sometimes get relief while you are already at sea, if you appreciate that this situation looks like it’s developing into a Stugeron time, and take it as soon as you realize you’re going to need it. This will often work. AND, after two or three days at sea, you can usually stop taking it, because you now have your sea legs. All the other medication that I ever tried, prevented sea legs from forming. So as soon as you stopped taking it, you are puking again.

The second thing is WHATEVER you decide to carry for protection, try it on land, when you are not unusually tired, or feeling funny in any way. Everything is wonderful in your life. Then take the normal doses for perhaps 36 hours and see if anything changes. Some useful medications practically give you narcolepsy. You just can’t keep your eyes open. So how are you going to stand a watch?

Back in the 70s NASA came out with a prescription combination of an upper and a downer, that the astronauts used. Naturally I got my doctor do give me some. Unfortunately, I discovered that I, and many other people, find that it MAKES them have vertigo on land! It makes you feel queasy.

The other man on board and I had taken it shortly before we left, and we didn’t throw up, but we felt really miserable until we got to the next port and stopped taking it. We were storm bound for a couple of days, and then the weather guesser said that we had a weather window, so we took our pills, and started getting the boat ready for sea.

But when we got up on the cabin top to take off the sail cover, we could see GIANT whitecaps, looking a lot like the Rocky Mountains, all down the saw tooth horizon. Not our favorite kind of weather especially when the wind is straight on the nose.

Happily the captain decided to wait another day, so we went for a walk. And both of us noticed that our pills made us feel VERY wobbly.

This was not the same as land sickness. That is when you have been at sea for several days and come back to shore. Living on the boat seems perfectly normal, but when you step on land, it feels like the sidewalk is going up and down.

This was different. Our heads were spinning.

I had a almost identical experience with scopolamine patches.

But, for me Stugeron 25 mg, works fantastic. It’s chewable, with a kind of neutral taste. No sleepiness. Just makes me immune to the motion. Do you want me to change the oil? Sure. Hand me the roll of paper towels.

But, the reason this all comes up was, that when we are in the states I buy a pound or two of crystallized ginger. This really helps settle my stomach, when I have the occasional small concern. So, I like to keep it around.

And, yes, I know about the little electric bands that are advertised to protect you from seasickness. I have some friends that used one when they were caught in almost a survival storm, in the Gulf of Mexico. She said that she had it turned up to the, “Grill a Buffalo” setting. Full military power. And then she lay in a fetal position on the cabin sole for about a day. Feeling absolutely miserable the whole time. Punctuated by every few seconds, she would get this profound electric shock, that would make her twitch all over. Electric chair time.

She said that it probably works for the seasickness. The main thing that was worrying her was the certain knowledge that she was about to die a horrible death. But she survived. And they still sail all over everywhere. Another learning experience.

The NSAID’s that I had to take for my dislocated rib, really messed with my digestive system. As soon as I stopped taking the proton pump inhibitor, my stomach began to bother me quite a bit. Since I REALLY wanted to stop taking the darn proton pump inhibitor, I would use occasional doses of crystallized ginger, to get through this transition period while my innards healed. Combined with frequent meals of carefully chosen foods, to give my system something to do other than dissolve itself.

That meant that I now was low on crystallized ginger, with no plans to return to the US just yet. So, I figured, they have ginger in the market here. How hard can it be to make my own? Actually it was not hard at all.

The fiddly part is peeling all the ginger. It does not grow in the shape of a smooth monolith, like a quart jar. And, of course, I want to ONLY remove the peel, so I tried to be very careful. Especially after I broke my only ceramic vegetable peeler.

I found several recipes online, each of which was quite different, but basically the same. So, I peeled and thinly sliced some ginger. 500 g, about a pound. And then I boiled it for about 40 minutes in water.

And then the idiots that wrote the recipe, said throw away the water! HELLO!! Haven’t you heard of ginger tea. That’s what that water is. In fact it’s like superstrong ginger tea. Atomic powered ginger tea! Even I have to dilute it. But I’m not about to throw it away. Put a little in the water that I use when I cook rice. But, keep it to use.

This resulted in me having about 350 g of boiled ginger to which they wanted me to add 350 g of sugar. Known in health food circles, as The White Death!

Being, at least mostly, a Good Boy, I have probably only eaten a gram or two of White Death in the last year and a half. But, this is for a good cause. I was creating medicine, and not a delivery system for White Death.

So I cooked it for about the time they said, but I noticed that the sugar syrup was getting much thicker than seemed like a good idea. I’m no brilliant chef, but I know that when you have boiling sugar water, that is starting to look quite thick, that when it cools, that you are going to have hard candy. And my previous crystallized ginger was leathery and chewy and tender.

So, I aborted the instructions, and they said to put it on a cooling rack, that you have sprayed with Pam or some similar nonstick spray. Naturally, I have neither one, but it seemed really simple. The crystallized ginger that I have always had is coated in crystals of sugar, White Death. So I just finished out some of the ginger. Encouraged it to drain as much as I could, and then dropped it in a bowl, with a thin layer of sugar in the bottom and kind of tossed it around to get it coated.

Then I would fish it out and put it on a plate to cool. Which brings me to the main reason I felt compelled to write about this interesting experience.

We have hundreds of wonderful, charming, interesting friends in America. And some of them, while we were homeless in the USA, trying to help Janet, wanted us to housesit for them. And some of those people had cats. And most of those people had litter boxes.

The similarity to fishing the pieces of ginger out of the sugar, and servicing the litter box, struck me as quite startling. Fortunately, I usually have pretty good control over what sort of memories I associate. Otherwise, that might’ve been the end of my crystallized ginger right there.

By the way, I tried some after it had completely cooled, and I pronounce it to be every bit as good, as the stuff from Whole Foods. Although, if I could buy some, I would rather buy it than make it. I’m a cheapskate, but ginger is expensive to begin with, so the price of the finished product from Whole Foods, did not seem a bad trade-off at all.

Be careful with crystallized ginger though, it is a very efficient White Death delivery system. You did today. Wear it tomorrow.

Sailing videos

Recently, I watched (with disgust) the movie “All Is Lost” with Robert Redford. It seems to entertain the masses, but the writer knows nearly nothing about sailboats at sea and how to not sink. Redford talks into to back of his radio microphone. Alzheimer’s? Alcohol abuse? He seems to be in a daze, during the whole film.

As one sailor said, “(Redford) is not the ‘King of Salty.’” Talk about understatement!

The best similarly preposterous example I can think of is in the typical Hollywood drama, where the villain is trying to run over the beautiful heroine, with his Buick.

She is seen running for hundreds of yards, straight down the middle of the paved road, trying to get away, when just turning 90 degrees and running up the hill side, or through the trees, or over the rocks, or between the cars of the parking lot, would immediately stop the Buick.

Or, the good guy burns up 60 seconds of film being strangled, while pulling in vain at the bad guys muscular hands. Even though the bad guy’s eyeballs, ears, windpipe, nose and lips and of course his Family Jewels are just waiting to be gouged or ripped off. And, there is a simple way to break his grip.

I guess Darwin was right. We need to eliminate the dumb from the gene pool.

But, I have recently seen the two films taken aboard the 40ft sailboat Northern Light, by Deborah Shapiro, & Rolf Bjelke. (Which is all in Swedish, but you will get a lot out of it.

and this one by them in English. It is older, probably no longer available
Time on Ice: Overwinter Voyage to Antarctica

Your library may be able to get them. They show good video about life at sea.

And, for nearly all sailors, we work hard to NOT have dangerous or uncomfortable experiences and 99% of the time, we achieve that goal.

But, non-sailors and Hollywood want to do drama. Don’t assume that all sailing is heroic drama. It should NOT be. It is very boring and safe if you have any idea what you are doing.

But, there is a LOT to learn, so do your homework before buying a boat.


More about the joys of sailing and travel

I also thought the following might be of general interest.

Today I got an email from a friend from high school who paid me a very nice complement on my writing skills. I responded withthe following. Which was written to answer HIS email to me, so sounds a bit odder than my usualy ramblings. But, hopefully you will understand. His part begins with >

>First he complimented me for my writing…

Many thanks for the kind words on my writing skills. I appreciate the praise and I’m very glad you enjoyed it. Actually, I had a terrible time in English class. And the computer does my spell check for me. Otherwise, it would probably be beyond humorous, spelling wise. It would be getting into the stage of, “What word do you suppose he was trying to spell here?”

I assume that in high school they were trying to improve our reading skills with the reading assignments they gave us. However, it seemed to me that most of the books were very difficult reading. I still remember, “Heart of Darkness.” Very, “negative reinforcement” for me at that time in my life. I didn’t really discover how much I enjoyed recreational reading, until long after I got out of school.

Even then, since I’d had such a bad introduction, it was slow to get started. I had actually been reading with my newly discovered interest for a couple of years before someone innocently asked, “What authors are your favorites?”

It took me a moment to understand that, he was trying to gently point out that, if I like to particular author’s book, then there was a good probability that I would like other books by the same author.

What a great idea!

So, you see how naïve I was.

But, back to sailing.

There are lots of exceptions to the following rule, but, it seems to me, that most people that are cruising, are pretty egalitarian. We all have in common our love of cruising. And, so quickly become friends. Regardless of financial or social status.

There are, of course, other yardsticks to measure status in this community. Where you’ve been cruising. How long you’ve been cruising. Have you circumnavigated? Sailed the Northwest passage? Stuff like that.

But, over the years, we have met and become good friends with people that barely had to nickels to rub together, but were certainly not dead-beats. And friends that had three million-dollar yachts, with a LOT of money left over to enjoy life with.

Certainly, not everyone out here cruising is friendly or nice or anyone that I would really want to meet. But, the vast majority are.

>Even though I’ve rarely sailed, I certainly understand the “bug”. I’m also beginning to understand the downside(s).

>But to me, a MAJOR part of the enjoyment is the learning process. For example, physics, chemistry, math, languages, etc.

Thank you very much for reminding me of the pleasures of the learning process. I forgot to mention that in my letter. And it is such an important part of the joy I get from cruising, that I will go edit my blog post, as soon as I finish with this. I completely agree! I certainly am not interested in every single thing in the universe. But I have very wide tastes in what does interest me.

I frequently wish that I had one of my friends that is expert in a particular subject with me. I might be sailing past a rock cliff, that has a very peculiar geological formation displayed. Since the cliff is a cross-section of the land behind it. I would like to ask my geologist friend, “What the hell made that?” Because I’m sure that there is an interesting and fascinating story there. If I just knew how to understand it.

Or when I see an interesting tree, or bush, or plant, or insect, I wish I knew more about it. And usually, I am again reminded that, “I bet that there’s a whole galaxy of information here that goes right over my head. Edible or medicinal plants. How this insect interacts with the other animal and plant life in the area. And so on. I wish I knew more.”

And, I have questions about the dark side, such as, “Which of these plants are poison ivy??” I have figured out that cone shells (a particular class of seashells) have a deadly stinger, so don’t just go frolicking along like you thought you were still in ‘Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.’ And the ‘stone fish and ‘lion fish’ and which sharks are dangerous in this location.

Earth is such a fascinating place to live. It certainly a good thing that it is so big. Otherwise we would’ve totally ruined it much faster. I sure hope some adult supervision shows up that can teach us to be better occupants.

I always liked the joke, which is now, perhaps 40 years old. It was an eviction notice from God. She didn’t like what the present tenants were doing with the earth. She wanted to evict us. She had some better tenants.

>I have acquired a habit recently: I wonder if I have missed something! So I’ll scan a map (or my world atlas) that I have looked at hundreds of times in the past, looking for something I may have missed. Or I’ll walk every shelf in my small branch library, looking for new subjects that I would like to learn about. Etc. “Irrational”, but fun.

I also troll through libraries, stores, groceries, hardware stores, looking for things that I have missed. Eating my way around the world has been a lot of fun. Janet and I used to really enjoy seeing how new places prepared their food. They often had totally new and alien ingredients, but they also often combined old ingredients in new, and amazing ways.

For example, here in Turkey, they have a whole class of food, that I believe is correctly called pekmez. Basically, they take fruit juice and boil it down to something very much like molasses.

That is a double edged sword. In that it becomes far more similar to molasses than you would think. So, the many different kinds of pekmez all have relatively similar flavors. Even though they are made from pomegranate juice, grape juice, etc.

I am told that carob pekmez is quite good. But I have not recognized it in the store, because the Turkish name is unrecognizable to me. I need to print out the various Turkish names and search more carefully.

As more examples of different ways of doing things: the Turks often eat pekmez and tahini (finely ground sesame seeds. Really sesame seed peanut butter.) for breakfast. Or, they will have just a hearty lentil soup as their breakfast, accompanied by what is the Turkish equivalent of ‘French’ bread. A third, extremely common breakfast, is, one hard-boiled egg, a large tomato sliced, a large cucumber sliced, some ‘Farmer’s cheese,’ a variety of fantastic cured olives, some kind of jam or marmalade, and some more Turkish ‘French’ bread.

America is getting much better about olives. I remember when the only olives I had ever known were green olives with pimento in the middle instead of the seed, and black olives that had virtually all of the flavor and the seed removed.

I was quite pleased to get to Europe, where it would be common to walk into a store and find, perhaps 40 to 80 kinds of bulk cured olives in open vats, and who knows how many more that were packaged in jars, cans or special plastic packaging.

The Turks have a whole class of foods, called meze, that would be vaguely similar to appetizers in America. The Spanish have a whole class of foods, called tapas, that are even more similar to American appetizers. Or what the British call ‘starters.’

The mezes are usually vegetarian. The tapas often are, but be more careful. One I particular remember, was that they would take some mild Padron peppers, that were physically like a jalapeno pepper, but usually very, very mild. Like perhaps in Anaheim pepper.

They would sauté these, whole, in olive oil, just a bit. Not till they were soft and squishy, but not for only five seconds either. They would then sprinkle coarse salt over them, and put them on the table.

It was kind of like Russian roulette. Spanish roulette? The Spanish obviously have a sense of humor. You would eat these things, and they had a very nice flavor especially prepared in this matter. But, there were two or three very hot ones, somewhere on the plate. It was never any secret when someone found one. There would be a lot of careful, but forceful breathing, perhaps wiping your eyes, and the prayer that that was the last hot one in the batch.

Google >spanish tapas peppers salt<

I’ve been an ovo-lacto vegetarian since about 1972. And Janet preferred that diet, but, wanting to be polite, when we were invited somewhere, she would eat whatever was put in front of her. Up until about 1995, when she decided that she, also, was going to limit herself to ovo-lacto vegetarianism.

So, we used to spend hours walking through ethnic supermarkets, buying strange and mysterious things, that did not contain meat, and taking them home and trying them out. Of course, this did not work out very well because we usually had no idea how to wisely use the product. But it was fun nonetheless.

I still do things like that, but it was a LOT more fun with Janet.



Wikipedia can help you understand all of the above. And of course, the Google search engine is is still pretty fantastic. However, I feel like it is gotten a lobotomy. It seems to me to be just a faint shadow of what it was only a few years ago. It used to be FAR more useful. Now, at least in my universe, it usually brings up a huge amount of junk that I have no interest in, and definitely has nothing to do with what I searched for. Many of the words that I am searching for are nowhere to be found on the webpage I’m sent to.

So, on several levels, I am incredibly lucky to have been born when I was. The biggest thing was that I got to know Janet, of course. But, I was born at a time that I was old enough when it became much easier to sail around, here and there, and a sailboat. But before humans had totally trashed the planet.

“Paved paradise and put in a parking lot.” Is peanuts compared to the poisoning of the oceans and other nightmares that have occurred during my lifetime. So, I would say, “Get out there and do it now! We are definitely on the downhill part of the Bell curve.”


‘Interlude Update’ from friends of Alegria

I am trying to preserve the format of the email they sent me and I hope I can. I liked it a lot. Frank & Linda are American friends that we first met in Rome and spent several Winters with, in Marmaris and Finike. Let’s see if this works.   David  on ALEGRIA
Spain to The Canary Islands Dear Family and Friends,Dear Family and Friends,We have arrived in the Canary Islands, our jumping off point to cross the Atlantic Ocean on our way to the Caribbean. Many sailors refer to the Atlantic as “The Pond” but, for us the 3,000 mile crossing will take about 24 days and that is one heck of a pond. Our last newsletter was sent from Valencia, Spain, and we would like to comment on some places we visited between Valencia and The Canaries. Americans can only get 90 day visas when they arrive in the EU and then they need to leave for a country outside of the EU if they want to stay longer. After a bit of research we decided to go to the principality of Andorra which is in Europe but not in the EU, and therefore does not follow the Shengen visa regulations. We rented a car and drove the 3 hours to the compact, alpine “country” of Andorra. In the winter it is a skiing paradise while all year it is a destination for buying duty free. There was a happy Disneyland atmosphere about Andorra which swept us along in a river of people from one shop to the next. The entry stamp in our passports took up a whole page with the words, “Andorra, The country in the Pyrenees Mountains”. Above those words is a caricature of a lipstick imprint. After seeing that comical stamp in my passport I was feeling certain that we would not be legally allowed back into the EU. Or at the very least we would be fined by immigration police at our next port. However upon our exit at the Andorran/French border we luckily were met by 5 friendly immigration police, who after much deliberation, agreed to give us a new entry stamp into the EU. After becoming legal again we sailed from Valencia along the Spanish coast to Gibraltar and visited several small seaside towns along the way. We took our time and savored some beautiful weather and great sailing. In Cartagena, Spain, a week long festival captured our attention and we stayed to see many hundreds of men, women and children parade through the city in Roman and Carthaginian dress. Mock battles were fought, plays were put on, bands played, and as thousands watched, hundreds in period dress put on a great show. Food and drink was plentiful; we drank our share and ate pork ribs as if it were to be our last. Also while in Cartagena we met two young Frenchmen who were kayaking from Gibraltar to Istanbul. They are following the coastlines of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and by their calculations it will be a 10,000 mile trip. During this very challenging trip they will be taking water samples of sea water to document a new algae that has taken root in the Mediterranean Sea and is causing havoc with some sea life. We heard about their adventures when they joined us for dinner one night. Their web site if you would like to view their adventure is

As we sailed westward along the Spanish coast we eventually reached Gibraltar and became familiar with its unique geography, history, and present day ongoing squabble with Spain over ownership rights. Our boat slip at the marina was a hundred yards from the airport runway. We had front row seats for take offs and landings. As a matter of fact we had front row seats to everything. Gibraltar is so small in area that no place is far to walk to. The “rock” still has the Barbary apes. Although they are now so well protected from humans that a person caught feeding a peanut to an ape can be fined $1,500 dollars. To escape the confines of Gibraltar, we rented a car and went to visit Spain’s Alcazar and Cathedral in Seville. Our little rental car zipped us, and our friends Bob and Nancy, there in a couple of hours through countryside that looked like rolling hills in Southern California. Along the way we had just enough rain to nicely wash away the dirt on the windshield. Once we arrived in Seville we parked the car in an underground parking lot where we emerged in front of a McDonalds at the exact time we thought of lunch. While we rarely eat at McDonalds, the food is predictable even abroad and sometimes that is what our American bodies need.

The Moorish Palace of Alcazar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is considered a must see as is the famed Alhambra in Granada, Spain. The Moorish architecture is something to marvel at with all its graceful arches and intricate stucco detail. The gardens are laid out in a relaxed, balanced manner that invites a sense of serenity. Geometric patterns are the hallmark of Muslim art. The perfection of this thought can be found in mosques. All mosques have no paintings or mosaics of living things so as not to distract the worshiper from prayer.

Another UNESCO site in Seville is the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, the largest cathedral in Spain and the third largest in the world. It is magnificent in size, ornateness, and graceful interior design. The walls are filled with paintings, statues, mosaics and all sorts of embellishments in silver and gold. The cathedral that is seen today was built hundreds of years ago within a mosque that was built by the previous Moorish rulers. What an interesting dichotomy of worshiping God. One religion tries its best to create visions of the unknowable, and another religion believes the unknowable is too perfect to humanly recreate. The huge tomb of the historical celebrity, Christopher Columbus, has a prominent spot upon entering the Cathedral. Amusingly, the Dominican Republic does not accept these claims by the Spanish for they say that they have the remains of Columbus in their city of Santo Domingo.

After a few days stay we left Gibraltar and sailed to Rabat, Morocco. During our one month eye opening stay in Morocco we had the good fortune to talk to Moroccans about their culture. One Moroccan family invited us to their home for the Celebration of Eid al-Adha, a three day feast. The feast day commemorates God’s test of Abraham. In the Muslim world, on the first day of the feast a ram is sacrificed and the liver and heart are removed, barbecued, and eaten. On the following day the carcass is butchered and divided 1/3 for the family, 1/3 given to friends, and 1/3 given to the poor. The family that invited us sacrificed 3 rams because of their wealth and status.

Our travels in Morocco took us to the celebrated cities of Casablanca, Marrakech, Meknes and Rabat, the capital. The trains were fast, clean and well organized; and they were inexpensive. All the major cities of Morocco are similar in that they have an ancient walled city (a medina) within the modern city. These medina have their various sections, e.g. metal shops, leather works, ceramics, clothing, etc. which are called souks. Sometimes the walkways of the souks are so crowded that one is constantly in contact with someone else. My first experience with this mass human contact gave me feelings of apprehension. But soon, we learned to flow in that sea of humanity. Bargaining is the name of the game in these souks and tourists are at a definite disadvantage. Such give and take on the price is a game that is skillfully played by those merchants. The talent is in their blood, their genes, their culture.

In Rabat, we took a Disneyland like tram from our marina to the Kasbah. We walked along the impeccably clean, maze-like walkways admiring the unique entry doorways. The doors are so beautifully designed and maintained that one can’t help but go on a picture taking tour. In Marrakech we watched the cobra snake charmers in the main square. The snakes would rise up, spread their hoods about their heads and look exceedingly nasty. We kept our distance. Nearby were men with monkeys that onlookers were invited to have on their shoulders for picture taking. Another picture taking opportunity was the possibility of climbing up on an absolutely perfectly groomed and gorgeously dressed Arabian stallion.

Having a coffee in a sidewalk cafe or tea and pastries and watching life parade by was a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours. Or even better was enjoying lunch in a lush garden served by three smiling waiters who genuinely looked pleased to make us feel welcome. Also in Marrakech we spent a couple nights in a riade which would be the equivalent of an Italian pensione or B&B. Dinner was served on a landscaped rooftop with minarets doting the skyline. The squab dinner was sinfully good and the cook blushed when we complimented her talents. Another night we tasted her lamb tagine with herbs and spices, a specialty to North Africa. It was another memorable meal.

In Casablanca we walked the shaded avenues, viewed the largest mosque in Morocco, and got lost looking for the famed Rick’s Cafe as portrayed in the movie “Casablanca”.

We send our love,
Frank and Linda



We had our first Sunday barbecue in a long time. There were perhaps a couple of them during the summer, but from now on until spring, there will probably be one every weekend. The Marina provides a fairly large charcoal fired barbecue, and I think they provide the charcoal. But I’ve never organized it, so I’m not certain. Most people bring some sort of side dish that they share, and then they cook something or other on the barbecue.

In the Saturday market there is at least one big tank truck, full of live fish, that are farmed somewhere nearby. Those are very popular. As are all the other usual pieces of flesh.

And the usual examples of people not paying attention and burning the fool out of whatever it was that they were trying to cook. It’s all taken in good humor. And people help each other a lot.

There is usually a lineup at the barbecue, waiting for a little space to cook their piece of whatever. So, I’ve never used the BBQ. It seems to me to be so much simpler if I just bring some sort of vegetarian offering. Which I hope will be well received, and usually is. And then I partake of the other shared offerings that are vegetarian. Generally there are quite a few.

Some of the pillars of the local long-term Marina community are usually selling beer, wine, cakes and desserts. This raises money for the Marina clubhouse or the, “help the stray animals of Finike” project.

Quite a few of the people make cakes and desserts and donate them to this cause to sell. So, you never know, what they will have. It is always good. And frequently make she sort of weak in the knees to taste it. There are some really good cooks out there.

I was told that it a couple of letters ago there were several French boats in the Marina that tried to out cook each other each Sunday. Since their divine creations were usually shared with the BBQ crowd. Most people thought they died and gone to heaven.

But the main attraction for me, is to visit with people that, are in the Marina, but I don’t get to see very often, because it’s a big Marina, and they are busy with their own chores.

Quite a few boats prefer to keep to themselves. And some people that come to the barbecue, prefer to do the same thing. Not sharing their special dish with the whole group, but just with their subset. The people at their table. That seems perfectly fine to me. Why not embrace having everyone do what they want to do?

And sometimes, a language group, will have their own barbecue, or picnic, at another location on Sunday. Or use the communal barbecue area on a different day of the week or different time of day. This might be all the German speakers, or a group of boats that have known each other a long time. Or whatever.

As the Marina manager in Portugal said they used to think of marinas as a parking lot for boats. And then they realize that no, it is more like a hotel. But, as they gradually got more observant and had more experience, and learn more things, they realize that they were wrong. That the best Marina, is a community. And if they encourage that and facilitate that, they have a lot more customers, and the customers have a lot more fun, and come back year after year, or encourage their friends to come.

Fortunately many marinas are figuring this out. And, they are not certainly not all equally good at it. But Finike Marina does a great job.

Since this was the first barbecue of the season, and probably only about half of the people are here right now. We didn’t expect a huge turnout, but it was difficult to find a place to sit. It pays to get there early. And some people even brought their own folding chairs and their own folding tables. But I think everybody had a great time. And we look forward to next weekend.


Terrible Boat Accidents

The very nice man at the front desk of the marina posted this video on his Facebook page. He is the same one that had the photos of the fire, on the hill above the marina.

Keep in mind that most of these boats are actually dying before your eyes. It is not a roadrunner cartoon. It is a collection of people’s worst nightmares. And a very good reason to choose haul out facilities, boat yards, and yacht transporters VERY carefully.

Even the opening shot, probably causes MAJOR damage to the props, shafts and perhaps the keel and hull. And people can loose arms, legs, hands, feet, etc. in a blink.
The title of the video is Tekne İndirme Kazaları = Boat Accidents While Lowering (or Setting Down). Does that mean that there is a ‘Boat Accidents While Raising’ video?

We have always been super worried when Alegria is out of the water. From lift to blocking to splash. Even a small mistake can be fatal.



I continue to do very well, all things considered. The marina is starting to fill up again as people return for the Fall. Many of those people are leaving to go home. Some are arriving to spend their biannual visit, a few months in the Fall and a few months in the Spring. And, hopefully many to spend the Winter and make life more interesting for me. Speaking of making life more interesting for me:

An Israeli boat came in a few days ago and tied up next to me. For the first several minutes it appeared that there were only three gorgeous women on board. It perked me right up!

It turns out there was a guy on board, and he certainly has excellent taste. As I got to meet them and talk to them, it turns out that two of the women and the guy all have Capt.’s licenses and do deliveries. That’s what they were doing this time. Delivering an Israeli boat back to Turkey. The owner had sailed it out here somewhere, for several months during the summer, but the owner had flown back to Israel and was having a delivery crew bring the boat back.

The woman who was not a licensed delivery skipper, turned out to be a doctor and longtime good friends with the others. In fact, one was her sister. They were all very nice and very interesting to talk to. As people with boats often are

They were all roughly 30 years old. Or, I think so. We left on, ‘The First Trip’ (to Tahiti) when Janet was that age. A very pleasant age from my viewpoint. So, they could all have been my grandchildren, I guess. But, I still feel in that ageless age. Where the calendar is just a number and I want to know how interesting you are, not your age, occupation, nationality, color, or so on.

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain

Like Janet said, “We are just getting started.”

They were very nice to have as neighbors. For me, that was because they were so interesting, not just because they were very easy on the eyes. The, “I’m Hot Stuff” was totally absent with them. Part of the charm. They were just four friendly folks that left far too soon.

I had stopped swimming because, the cold freshwater was just too annoying. What a wimp. But, I might give it one more try. I was talking with a lady from another boat last evening, who has been feeding octopi by the swim area. As I recall she said that she met the first one in the Spring of this year and it has doubled in size and has become extremely friendly to her. It is my understanding that octopi are considered to be extremely intelligent. This one recognizes her and comes out from hiding and now will even attach itself to her arm. She said that, if it’d done that the first day, she would’ve been terrified.

As I understand it, when it is on her hand, it’s tentacles reach to her shoulder. She also said that one day she saw six octopi but yesterday she could only find five. And, often fewer. The others were all smaller. I guess they must of been discussing her and decided that she was worth the risk.

Most humans in the Mediterranean enjoy eating octopi. So, it is very a good idea for them to stay hidden when they see us coming by. In Greece, you would often see dozens of small octopi, hanging from ropes around a restaurant. I assume that they were drying them. But, I have no idea. It seems to me like they might spoil quite quickly. But humans have dried seafood for thousands of years. I certainly hope they were not wasted. Personally, I would rather they not be eaten or bothered in any way. But, I understand that few humans feel that way. It would just be a shame to have them killed for nothing.

I have watched for them as I swim over there, in the marina swimming area, but I have not seen anything at all. They are extremely good at camouflage and crawling into improbable spaces. The same friend of mine has also often seen squid swimming over there. Squid are quite amazing to watch. Janet and I saw some while we were diving in Belize, but only one time in all the years I’ve been diving. About 20 years ago, I saw a really interesting video, about them. I should Google around and see what’s on the web now days. The author of the video felt that they communicate by manipulating their colors. Not just turning red or green, like a traffic light, but creating very complicated multicolored patterns on their skin all over their body. Kind of like the sign on the side of the Goodyear blimp.

In the video, it was absolutely like modern computer-generated special effects. The author was trying to work out what the different patterns meant. And, that was a long time ago. So, hopefully the humans have gotten smarter in the interim. Although, clearly many humans have not.

I believe I fixed my freshwater pump a few days ago. It was a real battle. I’ll spare you the long and complicated details. But, when I rebuilt it a few weeks ago, I thought I had fixed it then also. Because it worked perfectly for perhaps a week. So, I know that I will not know whether I really have solved the problem for a month or maybe several months. But, in any case, it is certainly nice to have it working when it works. I spent quite a few days filling up water bottles at the marina in order to have drinking water on the boat, since the pump, at first during this time, was hard to use. And then I disconnected it completely while I tried testing the system. Keep your fingers crossed.

During this period of unreliable freshwater, I was having a conversation with an experienced cruiser from another boat, who agreed that pressure water systems and many of the complex accessories that are so common on boats today, like water makers and air-conditioning and gigantic refrigeration systems, create a fertile ground for failures in constant and expensive maintenance.

I totally agree.

But, then he said that, the manual systems never break, and I had to give him the bad news. But, I certainly believe that they are far more reliable in general. Yet, it would be fair to say that most technology has gotten much more reliable in the last 20 years. Automobiles go far longer, and so on.

Keep having fun,


DAN (Divers Alert Network) Insurance

FYI: The OCC newsletter says:

DAN (Divers Alert Network) Insurance
For those of you that have this insurance, there have been some reports that the non-diving insurance terms may have changed. If you have this insurance, it is recommended that you verify your terms of insurance coverage

Do you have it? It is designed for divers, but I am told that many other people buy it because it is (was?) very affordable and medivac can be extremely expensive.