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How Does A Diesel Engine Work?

You just bought that beautiful used 1987 Vista sundeck trawler and she is everything you wanted in a boat.  The good sundeck, the master stateroom and the big flybridge are just right.  She also has twin Lehman diesel engines and a Onan genset also.  But you’ve been thinking, how do diesel engines function?  These are the first diesels you have owned.

On paper, diesel engines and gas motors are quite alike. Both are internal combustion engines fashioned to change the chemical energy available in fuel into mechanical energy. This mechanized energy pushes pistons up and down inside cylinders. The pistons are connected to a crankshaft, and the rythmic motion of the pistons, known as linear motion, produces the rotary motion required to rotate the prop on your used trawler or motor yacht.

In today's world, where fuel prices are increasing as a consequence of spiraling demand and diminishing supply, we must select a cost efficient fuel to meet our needs. After the invention of the diesel engine in 1892 by Rudolph Diesel in Augsburg Germany, the diesel engine has proved to be exceedingly efficient and cost effective.  In1894 Rudolph Diesel was almost killed when his engine blew up.  But that explosion established that fuel can be ignited without a spark.

A diesel engine is truly a bio-fuel engine.  Diesel’s first engine ran on peanut oil.  In practice, a diesel engine can function on peanut oil, vegetable oils, synthetic oils, and even hydraulic fluids.  Rudolf Diesel even experimented running earlier diesel engines with gun powder.  But the handling of the fuel posed a significant problem and that fuel source was abandoned.

After oil was found to be a readily obtainable resource, a product we now call diesel fuel was refined to power diesel engines.  Diesel fuel is priced somewhat higher than gasoline but diesel has a greater energy density, i.e. more energy can be withdrawn from diesel as compared with the same amount of gasoline. Therefore, diesel engines provide greater power, making it an obvious choice for large used trawlers and motor yachts. Diesel is heavier and oilier compared with gasoline.  Its flash point is higher than that of gasoline making it very safe to have aboard a boat.

The easiest way to think of how a diesel engine works is by memorizing the phrase "suck, squeeze, bang, and blow". This refers to a cycle of 4 strokes known as the OTTO cycle.

First of all, air is drawn into the piston chamber (suck). The air is then constricted by the movement of the piston, and fuel is injected as a vapor just before the piston reaches the top of the cylinder (squeeze). This compression raises the temperature of the air; which causes the diesel fuel to combust (bang). Finally, the burned gases are blown out of  the cylinder (blow) and into the exhaust stream.

A diesel engine injection pump is responsible for injecting fuel into the firing cylinders of diesel engines. It is important to remember that, unlike gasoline-powered engines, spark plugs are not used to ignite the fuel. Diesel engines rely completely on the compressing of the fuel in the cylinder to result in combustion. As a result, diesel injection pumps are exceedingly important and are bult rugged to create the compression values of up to 15,000 psi necessary for the engine's operation.

Naturally aspirated engines pill in air without mechanical help (suck) to begin the combustion cycle.  These diesels produce less power than their turbocharged cousins.  Turbocharging is the mechanical pushing of air into the engine allowing it to produce more power.

Turbocharged diesels mean any diesel engine with a turbocharger. Turbo charging is the norm rather than the exception in larger and faster motor yachts. As with any turbocharged engine, turbo diesels can offer higher power outputs, lower emissions levels, improved efficiency than their naturally aspirated counterparts.

Hi power engines requires stronger and heavier internal components such as the pistons and crankshaft to withstand the constant lumbering from the diesel engine's operating cycle. Thusly, the design of a diesel engine is built to take hundreds of hours of sustained use under load.  I am told by the Westerbeke representative of one engine, still in use today that has thirty thousand hours on her and she is still operating fine.

Diesels can be damaged as a result of misapplication or misuse – pricipally internal glazing and carbon buildup. This is a common problem in generator sets caused by failure to run the engines not under a load – ideally diesels should run at least about 75% of their maximum rated load and Revolutions Per Minute. Short periods of low load running are permissible providing the diesel engine is brought up to full load, or close to full load on a regular basis.

In another article, we’ll examine the principle problem with diesel engines – the quality of the fuel.

Source by Mike Dickens

Used Trawler Maintenance Made Easy

You have been imagining quite a long time about locating a nice used trawler or motor yacht to sail the intracoastal waterway and perhaps the Bahamas; it's been your lifelong aspiration.  Only you are brand new to big boats and imagine you want to get a better idea of what it will take to maintain her before proceeding.

Loosen Up, we have all had to begin from where you are.  Beore the Internet was born it was a learn-as-you-go affair; seldom was there some one about to ask.  to assist those of you still contemplating the move, this article is intended to make the process a bit simpler.

In this publication I will answer this question, "What does the maintenance of a used trawler or motor yacht consist of".  I own a 40 foot trawler, therefore, i am going to explain the details as it relates to my boating background.

For starters, bear in mind that maintenance on a trawler will usually be greater the less time you use her.  Boat systems need to be worked.  This list of course does not include items that fail without notice.

Engines

Engine oil/filter exchanges every 100 hours or according to manufacturer    
Change transmission oils after 500 hours
Engine zinc replacement annually or as needed
Engine raw water system cleaning/flushing every 3 years or as needed
Install new raw water impellors every two years
Change fuel filters every year
New engine belts as needed
Clean raw water strainers monthly or as needed
Replace hoses and clamps as needed
Touch up engine paint as needed
Add fuel biocide when taking on diesel
Polish fuel when needed

Electrical

Check bilge/sump pumps monthly or as required
Check and exchange automatic switches when needed
Turn on electronics monthly and permit to heat up
Replace batteries about every 6 years

Waste

Service/clean ElectroScan waste system electrodes monthly
Service/clean salt water flush systems with muriatic acid monthly

Underwater

Clean boat bottom and running gear monthly
Inspect zincs monthly, replace as needed
Apply new bottom paint out of water biannually
Inspect bottom for hydrolysis out of water biannually
Service rudder posts at haul out
Inspect props and propellors at haul out
Check stuffing boxes monthly or install dripless packing
Exercise thru hull sea cocks annually

Decks

Apply new varnish to bright work annually
Remove and reapply varnish to bright work every 5 years
Repair fiberglass gel coat as needed
Apply new deck paint as needed
Polish stainless as necessary
Clean and polish canvas and glass as needed
Evaluate replacing canvas every 5-6 years
Wash and wax as needed
Inspect and replace dock lines and fenders monthly

Heating/Air Conditioning

Clean strainers monthly
Clean/replace intake hoses biannually or as needed
Charge system as needed

So there you have it.  It looks like a lot but it really is not.  I check most of the details automatically as I'm going about the boat everyday.

Source by Mike Dickens

Alaska Adventure Cruise- Things You Need to Know

Are you tired of your usual air travel vacation? Taking a cruise vacation is one of the best options if you want to experience something new. Alaska adventure cruise is one popular vacation cruise that you should not miss. This is an experience that you will never forget. Here are some things that you should know in planning a cruise vacation.

If you are considering a cruise vacation you should know the best time to take the cruise. The best time for Alaska adventure cruise is from May to September. The peak season is June to August of each year and the best time to enjoy and see the wildlife. If you do not want to experience the big crowd and you want a quiet vacation then it is best for you to get the off-peak season adventure tour during May and September of each year. If you want to enjoy whale watching the best time is the summer between June to July.

There are a lot of adventure activities that you can enjoy during your Alaska adventure cruise. Whether it is water, mountain or shore adventure, you will definitely enjoy this cruise and will find your trip relaxing.

Some of the water adventures that you can enjoy are kayaking, skiff rides, fishing, you will also get impressed with the beautiful waterfalls, you will enjoy the view of astonishing glaciers and you can also take advantage of hot springs.  Alaska adventure cruise on the shore includes hiking and you will have a closer look of Alaska's amazing wildlife.

Of course you need a careful planning to get the most out of your Alaska adventure cruise. You can save hundreds of dollars if you know how and where to get the best deals. If you want to find out a proven insider methods on how to save on your cruise and be treated like a VIP visit Your World Travel Guide.

To travel on a budget visit Travel Secrets

Source by Gerry Restrivera

Cruising Tips – Bob Brightside

First thing to note down is the identification that you need when boarding as different companies have different requirements.

You may have special dietary requirements, some agents will ask this when booking but if they do not then be sure to ring up and inform them straight away. Some will ask for 60 days notice for such requirements so double check that you tell them in time.  It is a good idea to leave a copy of your passport, tickets and any credit cards or travellers cheques you are taking with you so if anything happened you have copies as a back-up.

If you are travelling far then you may need injections and immunisations to travel. Consult your booking agent for advice on this and get your appointments booked as soon as possible. With the uncertainty that can surround holidays it is always a good idea to phone up 24 hours before to make sure that everything is running on time as you do not want to have to wait around for hours and hours.

When you receive your cruise documents take time to go through them and check all the details. One of the most common mistakes made is misspelling a surname that could end up costing you a lot of money.

Leave the ships information and contact details with friends or family in case of emergency and you need to be contacted. This information will normally come with the tickets but if not they will be on the companies website. One thing people worry about is if you book and air/sea package and you miss the ship because of a delayed or cancelled flight, if this happens don’t worry as the cruise line will get you to the next port.

Make sure you get to the embarkation point at least 2 hours before you are due to set sail. There will be security methods to go through so give yourself plenty of time.  If you can complete embarkation procedures online then do so as this will save you a lot of time.  Wherever you are travelling to enjoy your cruise and take care onboard and enjoy all the activities that go on there.

Source by Bob Brightside

Halong Bay

Halong Bay is situated about 165 Km from the capital Hanoi and it is one of the world's most natural wonders containing limestone karsts and islands dotting the bay with a coastline of 120 Kilometers in length. There are totally around 3000 islands in this area. The waters in the bay are absolutely sparkling and clear with thousands of mountains made of limestone which can be found dotting its entire seascape. The best time to visit Halong Bay would be when the waters in the bay are clear and that's in spring and early summer. At other times due to the heavy rains experienced in these parts the waters in the bay area turn extremely muddy. The islands in the Bay are in various shapes and sizes and you can find grottos and alcoves with sandy beaches which make ideal spots to go swimming. Halong Bay is one tourist destination in Vietnam which no tourist must miss as the view is simply breathtaking and no matter how many times you happen to visit this wonderful place you will find that it presents an entirely new picture and experience.

The name of the beach in Halong city is called Bai Chai or scorched beach because of the beach sands being dark. There are many tourist agencies in Halong which are conducting regular cruises or tours to the Bay. Asiana travel Mate offers All Halong bay cruises and Halong bay boats which are very popular in the entire region. Halong bay travel can be a day's or 2 or even a 3 day trip.

When you take a one day sightseeing tour of the bay you get to go only on a small boat where as if it last for more than two days you get bigger boats and even get to sleep in one of the islands in the bay. From Hanoi you can reach Halong Bay by bus or even a taxi. Make sure you take a ride from the many available Halong Junks present there. These small, light and beautifully colored boats can offer a thrilling and fun experience for the entire family! For those who are more indulgent, there are the Halong Luxury Junks – perfect for honeymooners and couples!

When you visit the many grottos found in some of the islands in the bay, you will find that they present a magical experience and picture as you will find plenty of stalagmites and stalactites which have plenty of resemblance to animals and plants. Kids would just love these places as they will have plenty to explore.

There is plenty to do in Halong City and Bay where you can enjoy the pleasure of sailing in boats and enjoying the calm sea air and the crystal clear waters. The sea waters are very rich in fish and sea food and you can visit fresh water swamp forests, off shore coral reefs, sandy beaches, and fresh water lakes while you are here.

Source by Martin

What Happens When Tourists Cruise to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico?

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico has become one of the most popular tourist resort destinations in the world. Because Vallarta is located along the Mexican Riviera on the Pacific Ocean, a substantial portion of these tourists arrive by boat; the majority in large cruise ships, however many come in their private yachts.

Ten years ago, a cruise ship would arrive in Vallarta every other day. At certain times during the "high season" of November through May when the average temperature is 73°F with virtually no chance of rain, cruise ships would arrive two days in a row.

Five years ago, the popularity of cruising and specifically cruising to the Mexican Riviera, reached a point where you could find a cruise liner at the Puerto Vallarta Marine Terminal almost every day, and sometimes, a second cruise liner anchored in Banderas Bay. Passengers from the anchored ship were then shuttled to shore by small tenders.

Two years ago, you could count on at least one cruise ship every day in Vallarta and often find another one or two ships anchored in the bay. The traffic was so heavy at the Marine Terminal that the authorities in Vallarta started construction on the new Maritime Terminal.

Construction of the new Maritime Terminal in Puerto Vallarta was completed in early 2007, thus tripling the cruise passenger capacity. Today, you'll usually see at least two cruise ships docked at the Maritime Terminal and frequently three. Cruising to Vallarta has become so popular that there are times during the "high season" when a fourth ship has to anchor in the bay! With an average of close to 2,000 passengers per ship, this results in anywhere from 4,000 to 8,000 tourists arriving daily by cruise ship.

(As a side note of interest, the Puerto Vallarta International Airport was recently quadrupled in size in order to accommodate the flights that are arriving and departing all day, everyday.)

Now that we have a feel for the volume of cruising tourists arriving daily in Vallarta by commercial cruise liners, let's consider those arriving by private yachts.

Ten years ago, Puerto Vallarta was the home to a beautiful 400 slip Marina for private yachts ranging in size from 30ft to well over 100ft. There was also a marina in Nuevo Vallarta with 380 slips for smaller boats up to 30ft long.

Due to the recent demand for additional slips, larger slips, and yachting related services, a number of significant new marina construction projects have been undertaken; some of which have been completed, some currently under construction, and some still in the planning stages.

For example, the beautiful Nuevo Vallarta Marina now has nearly 250 slips for yachts ranging from 30ft to 120ft long. The modern $50 million Marina Riviera Nayarit, located in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, is approximately 40% complete with nearly 400 berths for yachts ranging from 30ft to 400ft. Fonatur, Mexico's National Tourism Development Trust, has planned a 150 slip marina in their Phase 1 development program just north of Punta de Mita. These marinas will increase the moorage capacity from 400 to well over 1,200 private yachts, thereby tripling the total volume of tourists privately cruising to Vallarta.

Okay, now that we have a feel for the growth of the Vallarta area and the volume of tourists cruising to Vallarta, let's explore just what happens to these tourists as they arrive in Paradise.

As the tourists disembark from the commercial cruise liners or their private yachts, they are first greeted by the friendly faces of English speaking Mexicans. Because the local economy is based solely on tourism, almost everyone is now speaking some degree of English and therefore communication is never an obstacle in Vallarta. Friendly faces as revealed in the Conde Nast survey of its readers, where Vallarta was voted the friendliest resort destination in the world.

Of all things, those arriving by cruise ships first see a Sam's Club, a Mega Wal-Mart, and a huge new modern shopping center; probably not what they would expect to see in a sleepy little Mexican fishing village! They soon discover that Vallarta is no longer sleepy or little, in that its population has exploded to 350,000 inhabitants and is projected to reach 600,000 by the year 2015.

Unfortunately, those arriving by cruise ships are generally allowed only about eight hours in town before the ship cruises out on its journey to the next Mexican Riviera port. While in town, they are given many options in the way of city activities and tours. Some opt to play golf on any of the seven magnificent courses; others might want to take a four hour deep sea fishing trip or play tennis on any of the hundreds of tennis courts. Some take jungle safaris, ATV trips through the Sierra Madre Mountains, or go whale watching, snorkeling, or swimming with the dolphins Those less ambitious tourists take sight seeing bus tours through the city and then into the fine neighborhoods where the multi-million dollar haciendas and villas are nestled among the hillsides overlooking Banderas Bay.

The majority of these cruisers merely catch one of the thousands of taxis and head into town for a day of strolling along the Malecon by the beach, shopping the many boutique stores, or dining in any of the hundreds of fine restaurants.

Regardless of what the cruisers do during their short stay in Vallarta, they are all treated with dignity, respect, and friendliness and therefore are eager to return for a longer visit the next time. The taste of Vallarta is so addictive, that in all probability, their next visit will be by air and will last for a week or longer.

Those that come in their private yachts generally stay for longer periods of time. In fact, the quality of life is so great in Vallarta, that many of those fortunate individuals, who could afford to live anywhere in the world, have just docked their yachts in Vallarta and made this their winter residence. After all, Mexico was recently ranked the top retirement destination in the world by International Living Magazine and Puerto Vallarta is considered by many to be the most desirable city in Mexico for retirement.

To sum it up; what happens when tourists cruise to Vallarta is that they often become so infatuated by the climate, the scenery of mountains and ocean, the people, the cleanliness, the safety, the available activities, and the overall quality of life, that they either return as soon as possible or they just stay, joining the other 50,000 North Americans that have made Puerto Vallarta their retirement home in Paradise.

Source by Jim Scherrer

Discover the Beauty and Beaches of the Greek Isles

By Roy Witman

From the enchanting writings of Homer to the celebrities of Greek mythology, the country of Greece has touched the lives of us all whether we realize it or not. The Trojan War, Helen of Troy, the first Olympics, Alexander the Great, Plato, Aristotle, the Biblical city of Ephesus… the list goes on. And of course, virtually everyone is familiar with the Greek gods and goddesses Zeus, Athena, Apollo and Hades. Whether you long for a closer look at the real or mythical side of Greece, a tour of the Greek Isles will satisfy your curiosity. Let's take a look at two of the most popular destinations that can be reached via Holland America and other cruise lines.

Santorini

The unofficial colors of Santorini are blue and white thanks to the abundance of whitewashed buildings and the azure-blue sea that surrounds the island. The contrast makes for a very dramatic presentation as you approach from the sea.

The fun of your visit to Santorini begins the moment you depart the cruise ship. Reaching the city requires a walk of about 600 steps, which, if you so desire, you can take on foot. However, most opt for either riding a cable car - which offers great views - or riding a donkey, a fun experience for all ages.

As your sightseeing of the island begins, you might elect to take a bus ride to the highest mountain peak where the views are absolutely outstanding! A local winery welcomes tourists as do all the residents of the quaint village you'll pass through during your excursion.

You may also choose to visit the ancient archeological site of Akrotiri. This historic wonder has been preserved under volcanic ash for nearly 3,600 years and helps depict what life in the Minoan period would have been like.

Don't forget to make at least a short visit to the local beaches. Because Santorini is a volcanic island, you'll find white sand beaches plus a few unusual varieties including grey sand, black sand and red sand.

With plenty of craftsmen, boutiques and jewelry to choose from, shopping is also a fun pursuit. In addition, there are excellent open-air restaurants and cafes that let you enjoy authentic Greek cuisine. But one of the most popular activities is watching the sunsets.

When the sun hangs low in the sky, the cascade of oranges and golds sends a fiery blaze across the sky that reflects off the water below. Amazing!

Rhodes

Rhodes is a delightful island where you can participate in the three S's: shopping, sunning and sightseeing. This walled city offers spectacular beaches that range from crowded, tourist hotspots near luxury resorts to virtually untouched, secluded hideaways. There are dozens of beaches and bays to choose from around the island.

You can also partake in virtually every type of water sport. Thanks to the shape and position of the island's curves, you often find perfect conditions for windsurfing. When the sun goes down, the nightlife heats up with plenty of clubs available.

An aquarium, the Valley of the Butterflies and the ancient village of Lindos are popular attractions for families. As you ascend to the Lindos ruins, the streets are lined with vendors selling their wares. Good buys can be had on practically everything imaginable including jewelry, leather goods, furs, carpets and more.

If you're looking for a vacation that's out of the ordinary, touring the Greek Isles is an excellent choice. With plenty to do for all ages, you'll expand your mind and your cultural knowledge while enjoying friendly people, exceptional food and intriguing sites.

Source by Roy Witman

Black Pearl Liveaboard Holiday Review

Choosing the Black Pearl Liveaboard

Having already been scuba diving in the Maldives, my friends knew that the best way to explore as many dive sites as possible in our 2-week holiday was to go on a liveaboard holiday.  It is also the cheapest way to see the Maldives, considering the prices of these amazing resorts.  The nice ones can run at way over USD 500 each night!  The last time my friends visited, they booked through a company called Maldives Dive Travel and had been really happy with the trip, so we decided to go with them again.  Looking at the Maldives Dive Travel site and other similar sites, I noticed that Maldives Dive Travel has the best selection of liveaboard boats and the site is really user-friendly.  You can see loads of photos of the boats and all the information you really need.  The Black Pearl is one of the cheaper boats that they offer, which is a big part of why we chose it.  All we really care about is the scuba diving and having a lot of fun in a group, so the Black Pearl was perfect for us.

Black Pearl Liveaboard Facilities

The Black Pearl really has everything you could need on a scuba diving holiday and more.  The Black Pearl holds 14 people comfortably and there were 12 in our group, so we had a little extra space. Of the 12, 10 of us were scuba divers.  I was a little concerned for the non-diving members of the group because I didn't know what they were going to do all day, but they had a great time relaxing on the boat, sunbathing and snorkelling while we were diving.  There are other activities on Black Pearl that we all took part in, a part from scuba diving like fishing – it was great when we caught some tuna and the chef would prepare it ‘sashimi-style' with ginger and soy and we would all tuck in.  There's really nothing like the taste of fresh tuna, especially when you catch it yourself!!!

The rooms on Black Pearl are very comfortable; all have en-suite, hot water bathrooms, air-conditioning and exterior windows so you can see the amazing blue water all the time during your holiday.  There is a nice communal living area with a bar – fully stocked, thank goodness, and a dining area.  There are comfortable sun-loungers to relax in while you are not diving.  It is quite a big boat, just less than 100 feet, and so even with 12 guests and all the crew on board, it never felt crowded.

Black Pearl Service and Food

After the scuba diving, the food in the Maldives was probably the next biggest highlight for me.  We were served three meals every day, plus afternoon snacks and there was plenty of food.  As you know, scuba diving really works up a hunger (and a thirst), but the catering on the Black Pearl totally satisfied!  Most meals included fresh fish and rice, all cooked to perfection.  The chef does a good job of combining international cuisine with local Maldivian specialties, so we all got to try new things, without being thrown out of our comfort zones.  There were no complaints from our party on the Black Pearl, and all our plates were always clean at the end of the meals.  The bar also got a "thumbs up" from our group.  We drank mainly beer, but there was a full selection of wine and liquor on board.

As far as service is concerned, the Black Pearl did a great job.  All the crew members were really friendly and the dive instructors were informative and inspired confidence.  They knew everything about the dive sites we visited each day and all about the animals we saw under the water.  They were also all really down to earth and genuinely excited for us and our new diving experiences.  I liked this; so many times the dive instructors can be aloof and behave as if they are superior.

Black Pearl Itinerary

The Black Pearl offers 7 and 12-night holidays.  Since our trip to the Maldives was a 14-night trip, we did the 12-day Black Pearl diving safari and then spent two nights at the W Hotel Retreat to finish off the holiday and rest our weary scuba diving bodies.  Upon arriving at Male Airport, we were collected at the airport and taken to the Black Pearl.  As soon as everyone was on board, the ship set sail and headed off towards the first dive site.  When we got there, to Lion's Head, we took our initial "status" dive which helps the dive instructors and dive masters understand what level everyone is at and if you hadn't dived for a while, like me, it serves as a great refresher.  The Black Pearl personnel are obviously conscious of everyone's safety which was really reassuring. We took 2 or 3 dives each day and one night dive, for a total of 30 dives throughout the trip.  It sounds like a lot of scuba diving, but I think it was the perfect amount and it satisfied our ‘cravings' for another few months, at least!

Black Pearl Diving

The diving in the Maldives was definitely first-class.  What was great about the Black Pearl and all other dive boats was that there was a second boat accompanying the Black Pearl, called a Dhoni, where we kept all the equipment.  We used this boat to actually take the dives which made the whole experience more comfortable.  Some people brought their own equipment, although the majority of us hired the equipment from the Black Pearl and it was all in great condition – no complaints here.  As far as marine life goes, we saw some amazing things, including the most important creatures in the Maldives – the Whale Sharks and Manta Rays.  We also saw turtles, dolphins, moray eels, reef sharks, barracuda, nurse sharks and a whole array of fish, from massive napoleon wrasse to tiny Oriental Sweetlips.  It was simply amazing!

All in all, our Black Pearl adventure was excellent.  If I had to rate it, it would definitely get a 9 out of 10, maybe even a 10 and I truly hope to be able to return another day for more Maldives adventures.

Source by Gill Garbourg

Crab Pot in Your Propeller – What Next?

It was late November and we were approaching our chosen anchorage, Shark River, located on Florida's west coast.  The seas were calm; the weather was clear and had been nice and warm all day.  I could not wait to enjoy a cocktail on the trawler's fantail watching the sun set.  In just another minute or so we would be there.

All of a sudden, thump, thump and the port engine died.  What was that?  I looked down below and everything seemed fine.  But our First Mate’s vigilant eyes spied a crab trap float, suspended from a line attached to the boat. 

We had been eluding these floats all day long; thousands had been set by the local fishermen. But we obviously missed spotting one and now had the line and the crab pot wrapped in our prop.  We were miles from any one; no mask, no fins, no dive tanks.  There was neither cell phone service out here nor any VHF reception.  Matters didn’t look good, not at all.

Think that imaginary event could happen to you?  Think again!  We don't think about it and it's unusual that it does ever occur.  I have made the same passage I described numerous times, praying that we could avoid those traps and we always did.  But the chance that could occur is always there so it's best to plan for the worst.

And yes, let’s not forget the slime that grows at the water line that needs scrubbing.

And turning up a diver is not always easy to do.  Here in north Florida, divers are rare, pricey, and they are commonly less than dependable.  And you never know precisely what they did or didn’t do below either.  So what’s a mariner to do?

Some time back I decided that if I wanted my trawler to have her bottom inspected as often as I liked, my best option was to do it myself.  After all, most mariners learn early on that you must become reasonably self sufficient to own a boat.  It’s not that saving some cash wasn’t good, but you just can’t rely upon others to help maintain a boat.

I had watched divers go under my trawler and wonder how he did it with all that gear on that must certainly get in the way.  There had to be a better way.  I discovered a man called Dennis Parker.  Dennis is a boat owner himself and had his trawler here in Florida at one time.  Dennis and his team was selling a new tank less dive system that might prove to be useful.

Dennis and his team began in 1996 as an effort between several boat owners and engineers.  The need was felt by all to design and build a tank less dive system that could be affordable for boat owners and simple to use. 

The system was born, utilizing an oil-less electric compressor to furnish air to the diver without concern of carbon monoxide.  A regulator, air hose and belt comes with the package.  All you need to furnish is a mask, wetsuit and fins.  The system will allow a decent to 30 ft, but most boaters will only be about 4 ft under the water.

All complete, including the system, wetsuit, mask, and fins the cost came in at under $1000.00.

It works great.

Source by Mike Dickens

A Unique Beauty of the Changbai Mountain

The combination of Korean pine trees, broadleaf trees and other trees shows us a unique beauty of the Changbai Mountain. Along the JingJiang Valley on the western side of the Changbai Mountain, there is a wide variety of plant species. Besides the native Korean pine,there are also the Amur linden, Mongolian oak, Japanese elm, maple, birch and more. Thanks to a favorable growing environment, the forests are dense, full of primeval views. The seasonal changes to the thriving mixed forest adds enchantment to the mountains.

In China, there are only two well preserved primeval forests of Korean pine; one is on the Lesser Xing'an Mountains, the other here on Changbai. The Korean pine's favored medium is black humus earth, and habitats such as gentle slopes, steep peaks, or fiat gullies and valleys are all suitable. Its bark is reddish brown with some grayish black texture. The timber has a close-grained, light and soft texture, with a slightly red tinge. The Korean pine gets its Chinese name hongsong(red pine)because of its reddish timber. Its best feature is its stable and straight grain SO that it won't change shape, regardless of humidity or dryness.

Korean pine is native to northeast China. It is a member of the white pine group, which is characterized by leaves (needles) in fascicles of five. It is an old subgenus of pine. In the primeval forest of Changbai, the Korean pine stands tall, together with other species such as little seed spruce, Korean spruce, Amur linden, birch, and Manchurian ash. Below these trees, there are over 20 underbrush species such as corylus mandshurica. At ground level the herbaceous species are even more diverse.

Every year, in late June a yellow smoke spreads over the whole primeval pine forest like a vast yellow umbrella. This yellow smoke is the pollen of thousands of tall Korean pines, bearing countless male and female flowers, the male flowers lower down and the female higher up. In early summer, when the flowers open, yellow pollen from the male flowers flies skyward, each tiny pollen grain equipped with two small air cells that make it lighter than air. Thus it can fly up to the female flower, and to the sky above the forest, drifting with the airflow. This is the yellow smoke we see.

To enjoy and savor the group beauty, the individual beauty and the primeval beauty of Korean pine here you must go to Lushui River. There, in a forest by the river, stands "the King of Korean Pines' 0ver 480 years old. The tree is 35.5 meters tall and has a l.24-meter-diameter trunk. According to historical materials, the Changbai volcano erupted in l597, 1668 and 1702. This tenacious "King of Korean Pines" is not far away from the Tianchi Lake but has survived all these disasters.

The Lushui River seed stand of Korean pine?programmed by the government in l 964, has all area of 11,764 hectares and is the largest in China. It is a natural excellent gene bank.

Source by Sunny