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Cruising Life through the Eyes of Tom Neale

Phone calls in the islands: goats, pigs and ‘foxes’

Can you hear me now? Making a routine business call used to present some interesting challenges.Standing in the island’s only telephone booth back in the day and making an overseas call didn’t present the greatest atmosphere for conducting business. However, I was lucky to be in there because usually there was a line of frantic “cruisers” outside trying to find out why their credit cards were no longer working or what to do with their latest stock deal turned sour or “Whaddaya mean, alimony?”

Once your turn came, you winced when the guy before you closed the door as he exited.

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My fascination with shipwrecks

The New Orleans survived a perilous maiden voyage in 1811, only to sink in an accident later.Shipwrecks make good stories about bad things. And they don’t just happen to others. They can happen to any of us. With most shipwrecks there’s a lesson to be learned. In some, the only lesson is that the sea is master or that stuff happens no matter how hard you try to keep it from happening. With others, it’s that there are too many people on the water that shouldn’t be there. And then there are plenty in between.

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5200 and my tight bond with boat work

Tom has a love-hate relationship with 3M 5200 adhesive.The day Mel got 3M 5200 in her hair wasn’t a good day. Bad hair day, yes, but I’m not talking about bad hair days. I’m talking about bad boating days, the kind that have nothing to do with the weather or even paying the boat bills. They’re what almost always happens when you take on any boat job to make things “better.”

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Some pirates get headlines; others spoil the anchorage

The pirates prowling off Somalia are well known, but piracy can come in many forms anywhere in the world.I have always loved living on a boat because my “castle” is surrounded by a “moat.” But rats can swim.

It’s not unusual to be talking with someone at a social gathering and have them ask, with wide eyes, “But aren’t you afraid of pirates?”

Usually this happens after someone has pointed to me, whispering something like “that’s that weird guy who’s lived on his boat most of his life.”

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Fire on board! Here’s what to do

A fire at the dock can be as dangerous as one at sea if there is no means of egress for anyone trapped aboard.On March 31, 2008, about 4:52 a.m., a serious fire was reported aboard a large yacht at Miami Beach Marina. The vessel was said to have cost $5 million when it was new.

Seven people were aboard. Five made it out with injuries. Two were trapped in their stateroom. Luxurious by most of our standards, the stateroom had no escape hatch.

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