The kids and the little boat

I count 17 or 18 people here.

Every weekend, I have this ritual where I watch this bunch of kids head out in their boat and then return.

What I mean is, at the condo next door, I see a bunch of kids, who look to be about 16-years-old, possibly older, go out in a small boat. They leave in the afternoon and return at sunset, when the sun is at the magic hour. For some reason, I enjoy watching them. I don’t spend much time snooping, I just usually hear a lot of noise – music, people talking, etc. and I look outside and there they are.

I watch them head out and when I hear the music/noise at sunset, I see them coming in.

I think the boat is owned by an older man, because when they return, this silver haired guy goes out and checks the boat, locks it up, and does whatever it is he does. He must be the father or grandfather of one of the kids. I think one of the boys, because I’ve seen the boy alone with the older guy’s dog a few times, so it’s basically his father’s or grandfather’s boat.

That’s one crowded boat.


I love the energy that these kids have and how polite and helpful they are. They help each other on the boat and off the boat and when they return, they help with removing all the stuff, you know, coolers, towels and such.

The strange thing is that there are usually from 15 to 20 people on the small boat. Yes, I counted. The boat looks to be 20 to 24 feet, so I’m not sure how comfortable that is, but most likely they head out to a sandbar or “the flats” and I heard the older man mention Soldier Key one time. So the kids ride out and then spend the time in the water, I guess.

I know, I should mind my own business. But I just love the scene of them going out and coming back. I don’t know why. Maybe it reminds me of my youth. For so many years, I spent it boating or at the beach, I grew up in and around the water – I went to the beach almost daily for years. So maybe I’m remembering my youth. Whatever it is, I get a kick out of seeing them.

When they started this routine, it was the end of the school year, so I thought that this was their last hurrah after school ended, but it went on all summer. They usually go every Saturday and sometimes Sunday, too. Now that it’s September, they are still at it.

It’s about the same number of boys and girls – all friends and really good friends it seems.

I know a few of the people who live in the condo building next door, but not the boat owner, so I am speculating about who all these people are.

One funny thing is that on a weekday – usually a Monday or Tuesday, a lady and man come and clean the boat. I guess it’s full of sand, dirt, footprints and the like, and they spend hours there, cleaning, getting it ready for the next weekend. This photo below is the lady this morning. She’s there early, cleaning it up.

Right on cue, she’s there Monday morning to clean the boat.

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Our kayaking misadventure

So things are slowly getting back to normal. I actually did some physical activity yesterday. It’s been so long! And the good part is that today I don’t feel achy or any pains, so my muscle memory is working.

What we did was go kayaking, but only for a short time That’s me rowing at left and that’s a blow up kayak, which looks more like a moccasin/shoe.

My friend Jorge came over with a new kayak – a blow-up kayak! I told him we had regular kayaks here at the building that we could use, but he insisted on purchasing a rubber blow-up one. So he brought it over and while I didn’t want to go out in that thing, I thought, “Let’s see what happens.”

I live on the bay so it only made sense for him to bring it over so we could launch from here and he could just leave it here for convenience if he likes.

I know Jorge almost all of my life, so it was just another day; another adventure for us to add to our hundreds, if not thousands of adventures we’ve had in our lives together.

It took awhile to blow up the thing. Maybe an hour! Eventually one of my neighbors brought down an electric pump and showed us an easy way to do it, so that made that part easy. Another neighbor brought me sunscreen and insisted I use it, so it ended up being a nice day.

We finally got the thing into the water and really didn’t get the results we had hoped for. As I suspected, it was ricikty and flimsy and unstable. He packed some sort of lunch and drinks and stuff and that thing made the kayak even heavier, plus we had all sort of supplies – life jackets, oars and other things.

We got out into the bay and paddled around a bit, but it was rocking and jiggling and wouldn’t steer right, it kept turning in circles. It was not was was expected – from him anyway. Me, I sort of predicted this.

What I didn’t predict was that I would get seasick. I’ve lived around the water my whole life and only got seasick twice – this time and once on a Key West snorkeling trip.

Anyway, after about 20 minutes of “boating” and an hour or more of setting it all up, we decided to head back and get out. And just as we got to the home docks, I got seasick and started throwing up. Not good.

I almost jumped out and swam to shore, but we made it in properly as many of my neighbors stared from out back, where some were in the pool, others sunning themselves and others getting ready to boat. For a small building, it seems like everyone was out!

I came upstairs and it seems like I fell asleep for a long time while Jorge got everything back together. When he came upstairs two hours had passed! I could have sworn it was half an hour!

We ended up going to a local place to eat lunch, but I was still feeling unwell, so I didn’t eat anything, I took it home with me. He went home from the restaurant and after another hour or sleep or so I felt much better and I texted him and told him, “I had such a great day today!”

And I did, seasickness and all.

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The menace of the ocean

Today’s cartoon is more editorial or commentary than funny. It’s about the scourge of our oceans – the jet ski.

Since the pandemic started, I have seen more and more activity on the water, including jet skis. The calm, pretty kayaks and paddle boarders are sometimes menaced by jet ski riders.

I know, I know, I sound like an old man, “Get off my lawn!” “Get out of my water!”

But seriously, I have always been against them. They tear up the ocean bottom in shallow areas and are not good for the sea life. The noise, interruption and chaos is not healthy for them.

I can hear them coming from a mile away. And usually they are racing across the sea, in pairs or more.

I remember years ago, I used to go to a quite beach, where there were hardly any people and one guy would always pull up in his jet ski. I didn’t like it then, I don’t like it now.

Today with all those Spring Break fools, spreading covid and disaster all over the city, jet skis only add to this mess. And it’s never the locals, I guess locals have a respect for the environment. It’s always visitors, tourists. You can sometimes see them pulling the jet skis behind their cars, looking for a dock to accost so they can then attack the water, the fish and the whole environment.

Ok, there’s my rant for the day. I’ll go back to being a happy cartoonist tomorrow.

A perfect day in Central Park

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We spent yesterday in Central Park and it was perfect – 60 degrees and sunny, you almost didn’t need a jacket.

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After a little searching, I came across my favorite piece of 1887 graffiti. It’s above the Bethesda Fountain, up the big flight of steps. I’m sort of hesitant to share it but I know you guys will protect it. As you can see here, a few jerks put graffiti near it and almost toughing it. It’s almost 133 years old, you can’t have anything nice. That “L” or whatever it is to the left is not part of the original 1887 thing and neither is the PJE below it.

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Drawing sailboats

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Since Hal and High Water is about two friends taking off on a sailboat, I had to learn to draw a sailboat. At first I liked the idea of an old rickety fishing boat, but how would they sail around the world on that, so I had to change to sailboat.

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I didn’t want to get too technical with the drawings because first off, it’s not my style of drawing and it’s too complicated for a comic strip; a sailboat has so much rigging and details that it would be too much to draw this daily.

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For the first strips, they need to be in the boat since that is the premise of the strip, but as the strip goes on, they will get off and see the ports of call, the places where they dock.

I kept the drawing simple, but you can tell that it’s a sailboat. In one strip I show them sleeping in bunks below the deck. They have a kitchen/galley and it’s a nice size boat.

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In a lot of the strips I show the boat only once, in one panel, to establish their location. Since there is dialogue, I have the characters on or below deck, but you don’t see the full boat of course, like this image below.

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Here Sam is steering the vessel (that’s Hal to the right) and you see the steering wheel and some rigging and the sail itself to the left, and the railing, but not much else.

I use photos and I’ve always lived around boats, so I go out to the marinas in my neighborhood and I take photos of the boats from various angles so that I can use them as guides when I draw.