Photo gallery for this series

This post presents a gallery of ALL images in this series. You can click on any to enlarge; you can even click on the first, sit back, and it’ll run them all as a slide show. The gallery is dynamic so it will automatically grow…

6,000 slides

A couple years ago I started this project of scanning slides. About 3,000 slides in, I thought I was done… and then more slides were found. So, this is, I think, really and finally the end of scanning. I am now working through tagging the…

North Atlantic and Mediterranean

Apropos of Veterans Day, here’s a dozen 35mm slides my father took in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean in 1965.



USS Furse (DD-882/DDR-882) was a Gearing-class destroyer of the United States Navy, named for Lieutenant John H. Furse USN (1886–1907).

My father served aboard as a fire control technician (as in “gun fire”); He operated a radar tracking and guidance system which controlled the targeting of the ships guns. At other times (I believe “special sea and anchor detail” being the correct parlance) he was tasked as a “phone talker” which generally entailed following a half step behind the officer of the deck (i.e., the officer commanding the ship at any given moment) and relaying communications through a microphone and headset he was wearing. (So if the Captain wants to single up all lines, he can simply say, “fo’c’s’le, bridge, single up.” and the ever-present, invisible sailer repeats it into the phones.)

Anyway. Here is a small collection of photos my father took of USS Furse.

Some of my readers are salty dogs, and will wonder how a sailor took photos of his own ship under way. During a Mediterranean cruise, Furse exchanged some sailors with a French destroyer during joint maneuvers.


Cat Island to Miami

Way back in 1980, my dad arranged to help a friend (a navy buddy if I recall correctly) named Drew move his yacht from Cat Island (in the Bahamas) to Miami.

It was as much a vacation for us, as it was us helping Drew and his wife move their boat. We took a commercial flight to Nassau and spent a day or two there. From Nassau, we took this little charter plane to Cat Island… which is just a spit of sand with nothing on it other than a tiny “runway”. From there we sailed the 200+ miles to Miami.

To make the “crossing”, my dad and Drew had to stay up in shifts sailing through the night. Although it does take some attention to detail to navigate, the real concern is that the area is thick with commercial shipping and the “rule of gross tonnage” suggests it is unwise to assert right-of-way (any sailing vessel has the legal right-of-way over any powered vessel.) So we prudently dodged enormous ships who couldn’t see us (visually) and probably didn’t care even if they did notice us on radar (via Drew’s radar reflector.) Anyway.

Do I remember anything in particular? Absolutely. I remember staying up all night, on the open sea, in the pitch black. You couldn’t see your hand in front of your face… nothing but star-light. And the stars… The constellations looked to fall out of the sky onto your head.


Hobie 16 Mast Photography

In 1977, Bruce Constantine and Rick Hollister took these photographs using a mast-mounted camera on a Hobie 16.

These guys were fast friends from high school, and Rick was a wizard at machining, model making, and miniature domithinguses. Rick built a camera mount for the Hobie Cat mast complete with remote controls.

The Cat in the photo is my dad’s, hull number 7557. Rick had hull number 718, and I’m guessing they used my dad’s Cat because it had tricolor sails; Rick’s 718 was a snappy, all-white. (At the time, these tricolors were the MOST colorful you could get. So my dad named her “Spectrum.”)

Bruce passed away in 2011, and Rick passed away in 2012. And particularly poignant, Hobart Alter just passed away on March 29, 2014.

Bragging rights

First in the world! These guys did this in 1977. Nearly 40 years ago. Bring it Internet; Who did this before ’77?

These Cats — these specific two Cats — were tuned. Noone, and I mean NOONE ever beat them on boat speed. Yes, these guys raced them for realsies. (Hat tip to Jim and “Budda”!) If memory serves, Rick was a better yachtsman, and used to beat my dad on average.

Tuned? We’re talking about: file-shaped rudder trailing edges, tuned battens (i.e. sanded specifically to control how and where they flexed to control the sail shape), altered rigging mast-attachment-height, extended tracks for jib/main sheets, adjustable mast rake. FAST. I was told they once pulled a water skier. From a standstill.

In later years, my dad and I used to go sailing for fun, and other Hobie 16s — Hobies with SIX-digit sail numbers would slide over to say hello. We regularly met Hobie sailors who’d think we had lost numbers from our sail. Anyway. These newbs would slide up on us as we’re farting around. My dad would snicker quietly, and then yell, “Go!” So they’re already up to speed, moving faster than us. We’d flatten out on the trampoline, tweak this, adjust that, and SPECTRUM would smoke. their. NEWBY. ASS*S!

Bonus round: My dad used to say he had a drink with Hobie Alter at a bar. (But now I’m just showing off.)

I need to start writing my memoirs. I think I just might…


Slide scanning

…2,600, (give or take a few hundred) mounted slides scanned!

Recently, I’ve been talking about my slide scanning project. I’ve been pouring hours and hours into feeding the slide scanner… it was like Little Shop of Horrors, “feed me Scan-more!!” for days on end. Except for a short stack of problem slides, I’ve completed the heavy lifting.

I’ve found hundreds of slides that I want to share. Stay tuned!

Aside: Where am I putting the digital files? My little Mac file server has a two drive RAID. On that Mac I run Arq, (which I highly recommend.) Arq backs-up all my stuff into Amazon’s Glacier. Glacier is dirt cheap storage; I mean dirt. cheap. They charge you a reasonable fee if you ever retrieve data from the storage service. (Get it? “glacier”. Frozen in ice, never to be used again. Unless you have a disaster, then you won’t care about a few hundred to defrost your data.)