Trawler Towing Insurance – “A horrible ordeal turned into a wonderful ending”.

trawler towingIf ever you were to spend money on your boat it would be a very important decision to buy Towing protection insurance. After writing the diesel engine blogs on site I felt compelled to address the towing issue. Without the right coverage, a tow on the water could set you back thousands and I mean thousands of dollars out of pocket for just a short tow.

Trawler Towing insurance is to help ease the stress, aggravation and out of pocket expense related to breakdowns, soft-groundings, fuel delivery, jump starts… while at the same time paying compensation to towing companies.

Commercial companies charge over $250.00 per hour for travel and (tow time) with additional charges for night time and bad weather. They may also charge $20.00 plus per foot of a vessels length for soft- groundings hard-grounding & salvage… Running time will also be billed for cancelled calls.

There are two types of towing insurance to buy, one being on your Yacht Insurance Policy and the other an inexpensive towing card like Boat US.

Why do you need Yacht Insurance Policy coverage above and beyond coverage from an inexpensive boat towing card like Boat US? Tow boats and other company’s like them do not cover hard-groundings & salvage. A hard grounding is when a second tow boat must assist, now more equipment is needed to free your boat, this is where your yacht policy will come into play and handle your claim. Another feature is your coverage will be extended to any coverage your policy provides for. you must find out if your policy will pay your towing bill up front or will you need to pay first and be refunded later (this could become a huge bill), you must have the cash or credit card to cover the tow. One more thing I would check on, make sure your policy covers salvage up to full value of your boat and not a percentage of your boat’s value.

You can buy inexpensive towing insurance coverage from outside company’s such as Boat US from West Marine. They offer on the water towing service by the nations largest towing fleet members and have unparalleled service at a competitive price in the US, Canada & Mexico 24/7 including water towing, fuel delivery, jump starts & soft groundings and 100% coverage for home dock tows.

I personally have both towing coverage’s and sleep very well at night with no worries while underway.

I hope this article was helpful, we teach this and a lot more at Trawler School Charters.

For more information, pictures and reviews visit our website at

Become a trawler scholar.
Captain Bob Hamilton

Trawler School: A Lesson on Oil Changes

What time is it? It is time for our 100 hour oil change. If you do this religiously you’ll be happy, and your engine & generator will be happier. There is no better way to extend the life of your engine or even double it. 100 hours my friend, every 100 hours. While you’re at it, this is also a good time to change your oil & fuel filters for extra insurance.

If you like to make your oil change easy, I highly recommend an electric oil pump for your engine and generator. Using this method, it will only take you five minutes to empty the old oil. Then, you reverse the pump to put the new oil back in.

A gallon of oil is expensive, about $20 per gallon for the type I use. Five gallons for engine and generator, plus two oil filters, and five fuel filters totals about $140.00.

Breaking news: buy your oil in five-gallon buckets! I pay $65, or about $13 per/gal. bringing the total cost to $105 for a single engine, and that includes my generator.

I always use two buckets: one full with new oil to trasfer back into the engine, and one empty oil bucket for discharged old oil.

I also keep five, single, empty one-gallon oil containers and refill them from a full bucket keeping the oil I refill underway when needed keeping my cost per gallon down. I now have an empty bucket to drain the old oil in, and then take to an auto parts store that accepts old used oil for no charge!

I’m very lucky my shipmate (client) and excellent assistant, Stan from Port Arasas, Texas, will be helping me, and his lovely wife Enda is taking pictures. Being from Texas they sure know about OIL. Hearty ha ha…

Here is what you need to get started:

This is what I use on my single engine.














1.  Rotella  40 weight oil  (3 gallons) three-quarters mixture

2. Lucas Oil adding (1 gallon) for four gallons total. This is the miracle additive, truckers swear by it saying they receive a 100,000 miles more on their engine. It’s expensive but worth every drop.

3. Engine Oil filter

4. Two Racor fuel  filters, one Engine Fuel filter

5. Generator: one Racor fuel filter, one generator fuel filterDon’t forget to use BIOBOR JR to fight against growth in your fuel tanks, plus much more. 1 oz treatment for every 80 gallons of diesel fuel.





Hope you enjoyed my oil blog!

The Last Frontier – Cruising to Havana, Cuba


August 19 2016 4:00am

Captain Bob and Captain Harry Hinkle at the helm, hoisting the anchor, and plotting our course from Key West to Havana, Cuba.

Destination: Hemingway Marina, 95 NM across the Straits of Florida and the unpredictable mighty open waters of the Gulf Stream, about 12 hrs at 7.5 knots.

This is our big Cuban reunion: Havana Harry from Cape Cod and Captain Bob out of Dania Beach, FL.

Captain Hinkle (69 years young) recruited me (61 years old) into the Marines in 1973. For the past 2 years we have been talking about some day cruising to Havana, Cuba. Our Cuban dream was answered with permission to enter the the Cuban territorial seas legally under the 12-step, person to person permit issued by the USCG & Homeland Security. We are one of the first waves of American boaters to take advantage of this opportunity.

Why Cuba? It is the forbidden fruit of the Caribbean Islands that Americans cannot visit. Cuba has been a nation frozen in time since the 1950’s. With 11 million friendly faces, stunning scenery, beautiful beaches, please let’s not forget the rum, cigars…

The hustle of Havana outside clubs, cafes, bars & restaurants, there is music galore. You can feel the Cuban soul in the air. Be prepared to be serenaded by the many musicians & bands. The drinks and food are very cheap. Havana Harry’s favorite beer was Bucanero.

Of course old 1950 cars, taxis do exist and are everywhere.  We hired a mint 1957 red convertible Caddie, it was a ride in heaven. We stayed 10 wonderful days.

In closing words cannot express the impact visiting Cuba BUT a picture is worth a thousand words! So, enjoy the pictures.

Sea U

Captain Robert Hamilton
Trawler School Charters

Miami Mermaid in Havana

Miami Mermaid in Havana

Hemingway Marina

Hemingway Marina


The Closing Chapter – Essential Cruising Gear

In closing, I’d like to share the books, charts, and electronics used on this trip. Everything you are about to see is taught in my Trawler School.

Maptech Chartkits

Maptech Chartkits

I used MapTech Chartkits, there were 7 to get to Boston. You are looking at about $500 for all of them. They are a must, even if you have GPS and chart plotters on board. I planned my trips the night before, one day at a time.

Waterway Guides

Waterway Guides

4 Intracoastal Waterway Guides– $120.00. They are great on finding everything about the ports along the way: history, location & navigating, restaurants, great reference guide.

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Skipper Bob’s
I have been using his books in my school for the last 10 years. He died about 5 years ago and Intracoastal Waterway guides took over. The anchorage book lets you know where all the anchorages are and has a fantastic rating system, the best I have seen, and has all the mile markers in it. I anchored all the way up. Even if you’re not staying at the marinas, buy his Marina book it is very useful finding where a state begins and ends, very very helpful.

Skipper Bob.

Skipper Bob.

A chart plotter, GPS tells you where you are and where you’re going. Nicknamed (Captain Know-It-All) he is the only one on board who has all the answers.

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A small GPS chart plotter (Captain Know-It-All Jr.) the is a backup for Captain Know-it-All Sr.

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Please let’s not forget about (Captain Auto) yes Captain Autopilot, don’t leave the dock without this little baby. Relax leaving the driving to him.

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Thank God for Navionics.

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Here is the screen. It is a chart plotter, GPS, and it shows you on the screen everything and every place you have been or are about to go. They have a new screen that has sonar charts and it has updated depths. You need a computer or an iPad with internal satellite. It is an app that costs $50.00, and it covers US & Canada, everywhere including lakes. Check it out on YouTube.

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Radarscoop is an app, 99 cents and it shows you the oncoming weather, (rain) very handy.

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Fuel just about $2,000. For 1,700 miles average price per gallon $2.75. 740 gallons about 2.70 mpg including running the generator. Oil $300.00, with one oil change in Hilton Head.

Last but not least:

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A dinghy. If you are anchoring it is a must, if your taking your time you want it to venture out and explore. The better the dinghy the more fun you’ll have. This is an AB dingy with a 30 Hp. Finding one used is hard, it took me 4 months on Craigslist for $3,500 Used, 2005. New? Hope you’re sitting down, $20,000, plus another $5,000 to $10,000 for an electric lift. I dragged mine up all the way and used it all the time.

All righty folks this is the Captain Over & Out

Boston: Home Sweet Home!

Captain’s log  Monday June 20th 2015   “Home Sweet Home”

Captain Bob, Wilma, and The Miami Mermaid completed the 20 day 1,700 mile Intercoastal Waterway trip! I would like to thank the Mermaid for the strength she demonstrated underway. She is pretty old, but has the will and strength culminating in an amazing 18,000 plus hours on a single Perkins 165hp Turbo engine, they normally last 10,000 hours and she is still running strong.

OK, back to the last leg. I left at 8:00 am on the top of the flood tide (high tide) that took me through the Cape Cod Canal going North, with the current at my back. In neutral you will hit 10 mph going through the 7 mile leg!
The Cape Cod Canal passage cuts across the neck of Cape Cod from Buzzards Bay, with New Bedford to the north side of Cape Cod Bay. This cuts the long and arduous 135 mile trip around Cape Cod. The Canal opened up in 1914. It was 15′ deep and 100′ feet wide. During World War 2 the Canal was heavily used to avoid attacks by German U boats that lurked offshore. Now It’s the modem day version of the worlds widest sea level canal and has a controlling depth of 32′ and minimum width of 450′. You came a long way baby!


All the way up from Florida I was lucky, I had good weather,but leaving that morning it was miserable. Fog and rain, and it lasted the whole way.

All right, what am I crazy? It is June 20th, and I’m freezing. OK, that does it, I’m turning around and going back to Florida.

I did go by a cool lighthouse, I knew I was getting close to home. There goes that smell of Boston Baked Beans & Fenway Franks, what is it with that?

Minors Light right outside Scituate Harbor, it is famous up and down the coast as the “I Love You Light” for it’s 1-4-3 flashing light, meaning I Love You. Many weddings take place out there on chartered boats.

Graves Light, an aid to get you into Boston Harbor. Unlike most big cities, Boston has within it’s harbor and immediate environs, dozens of friendly yacht clubs, protected mariners, secluded anchorages, boatyards and facilities for recreational crafts, many which welcome cruising boats.
Fascinating sightseeing is within easy distance from any dock. Nearby are many historic towns and resorts to visit by dingy.
Approaching Boston, the fog was like thick pea soup, I could not see a thing. The big cargo ships, 12 stories high, blowing their fog horns, was pretty scary, and very hard to navigate into port. I was all fatigued out at that point, and I had no radar. Hello, I’m from Florida, I’ve seen fog twice in 30 years. This is why I wanted to do Trawler School in Boston. This is a one time deal.

Yahoo I made it to my dock!!!

10 to 12 foot tides good thing I’m on a floating dock.
Low tide look at the ramp.

It’s a long way uptake ramp on low tide.

Ramp at high tide much better.


Miami Mermaid on the very end of dock, right hand side. On a clear day, Logan airport and the Boston skyline. This is my back yard for the next 3 months, what a view!


I DID IT!!! ‘Feeling no pain, drinking Champagne’

Look what I found on the dock, and thank you Justin, what away to end a dream come true journey.

Thank you for reading my daily blogs for the last 20 days. I have one more very special one tomorrow. All good things must come to an end.
Now it is time for clean up. I have 3 back-to-back, 3-day, 4-nights trawler school charters, and I’m off July 10th, and that’s for July. August I’ll do only 2 charters, 2 more in September, and back to Florida on September 21st. I’m booked with 2 sets of clients going back.
Good night
Sea U
Captain Bob Over & Out

50 Miles to Go

Captain’s log    Day 19   Saturday June 13th 2015

Found a wonderful anchorage right off Newport Inlet. Fisher Island, 9 miles long, I hid in the cove for the night.

10 hour day 80 miles. My friends were supposed to meet me in Newport, RI, but that did not happen. This is the last thing I saw before lights out.


Oh, oh, 4:30am, what is that sound? Why it is my alarm. Rise and shine, a quick cup of coffee, hoist the anchor and I’m underway at 5:00 am sharp. I’m right on the border of leaving the Long Island Sound, and back into the open ocean again. Early morning is light winds, and I must take every advantage I can to get across the 80 mile leg to bring me to the Cape Cod Canal. I have been alone for the past few days and my 1,700 mile trawler adventure is right in front of the finish line. By hook or by crook I’m going across that line even if I have swim across it.

I been getting a lot of response about my wild and crazy long hair, here is a before and after picture the last one being me with it slicked back. So there.


image4.JPGAfter 11 hours, and 80 miles, I made it to the mouth of the Cape Cod canal. I’m not going through for many reasons, here are just a few: Fatigue has set in, and I’m seeing all types of things that do not exist. It is late, and I may not find an anchorage on the other side. The tide is wrong, tomorrow I can catch the flood tide at 8:00am. And lastly, I have a wonderful anchorage for the night in Onset Bay, 5 minutes from the cross over from New Bedford to the east side of Cape Cod. I’m 50 miles from my dock in Winthrop.

image5.JPGThroughout my cruising Long Island Bay there was a ton of lighthouses along the way here are a few.





Home sweet home tomorrow. Good night Folks.

Captain Bob over and out.




New York, New York

Captain’s log     Day 18 Thursday June 11th

Sorry I’m so late writing my log, but I left this morning at 6:30 and anchored at 4:30. 10 hours and 80 miles, I was almost falling asleep at the helm. I needed a well deserved Captain’s nap. Good thing Wilma (my woman over board drill blow-up doll) was there to assist the captain. This will be tomorrow’s log.

So, so, sad. All good things must come to an end. Say good bye to my faithful crew. I will miss them.

image4I will really miss them. Oops, wrong picture.

image5That’s better.  “I’m so sad and lonely”

Dropped them off at 2:00 at Flushing Meadows, NY at the entrance of the World Fair. It lasted 2 seasons from April thru October 1964, and April thru October 1965. The theme was a 12 story stainless steel model of the earth called the Unisphere. It still proudly still stands today.

If you look really hard, it is in the background of the park. Sorry, my Ipad does not have a zoom lens. Anyway, admission was $2.00 for adults and $1.00 for kids from 2 -12. The fair took place right before the turbulent years of Vietnam Nam & the struggle of the Civil Right movement. Hey, let’s not forget Captains Bob’s favorite hippy revolution “Hey dude, don’t bogart that dubie” Love Peace & Rock & Roll. Ya baby that’s what I’m talking about the 60’s…


My crew left at 2:00 for their hotel and off to LaGuardia airport, located minuets from Flushing, the next day. That’s when I called it quits, and anchored for the night. Nice view. I woke up at 5:45am and peeked out my stateroom, and there they were, Paula and the Doctor saying did you check the oil are we ready to go. It was just my imagination, Yahoo! I ended up staying at anchor all day till 3:00pm and cleaned the Miami Mermaid. I pulled anchored reluctantly, I was by myself, and good old Cabin Boy Bob was intimidated. Well, at that point I put on my Captain’s hat and all of the sudden there stood Captain Bob at the helm. Yo ho ho, and away I go. I had the right tide behind me and was doing 11 MPH for two and a half hours. I anchored in Greenwich, CT

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, the grand finale of our trip. We were so excited, we could not wait to take off from Sandy Hook. After that 14-hour the day before, let’s get under way!

First we went by Coney Island and the George Washington bridge.



Rikers Island Stars & Stripes without the Stars just stripes

Amazing, right across from Rikers Island, look closely a real live prison ship. Looks spooky.

That’s all folks. Good night
Sea Ya
Captain Bob

Hit the Big Time in Jersey

Captains Log    Wednesday June 10th  Day 17

Jeff, the man that picked me up hitch hiking (I gave him the $5.00 lotto ticket to win $10,000), he called me and is sending me half $5,000. How lucky can one man be! Yahoo!

Shore call started at 3:00 to 7:30. We dinghy in, did laundry and hit the town. My clients had a blast.

image2_1Cape May is reputed to be the nation’s oldest seashore resort. 1812 and peaking architecturally in the 19th century. It is a National Historic Landmark. It has the largest collection of Victorian Houses nestle besides Gingerbread cottages. Check out the Coast guard water tower very cool. We left Cape May at 5:00am right behind the fishing fleet out into the open Atlantic Ocean.

My clients want to beat me and Captain Fred’s record of 105 miles in 12 hrs.

This leg was the worse part of the whole trip. This run would be 120 miles to Sandy Hook it is a 2 day trip in my boat and if the ocean is bad even more days and you will get beat up pretty bad.

We had a Southwest wind the south wind pushing us forward and the west wind coming off the shore knocking down the waves almost flat. It ended up that my clients did not break our record, but instead blew us off the face of the earth! 14 hours, 120 miles, at about 10 miles per hour, 8.3 knots.


image1_1_1Went by Atlantic City

image3_1_1INTO Sandy Hook

All good thing must come to an end! My clients are disembarking tomorrow I will let them off at LaGuardia airport the vacation i is over time for the Doctor to make people feel good again. It is a sad time and our last supper together but we cracked open a bottle do Champagne for a cruise never to be forgotten.

Even after 14 hours of cruising we are very excited about tomorrow.
The best is yet to come. NEW YORK NEW YORK!!!

By the way about the $5,000. That was a big fat lie. Got ya Hardy ha ha.

Nice People, Delaware Bay, and NJ!

Captains log    Day 16 – Tuesday June 9th

Very funny story: we dinghy in to buy some wine, unfortunately it was a mile away. My clients and I decided to walk down and taxi back with the much needed supplies. We had all our wine on the counter and bought it, only to find out there were no taxi in that city, or any other within 45 miles. My clients had a heavy duty bag, so they took one handle each and off they went. I’m alone and it is a long way back, so I was going back the old fashioned way, hitchhike. Here I am, with my Captain’s hat on, oh goody, here comes a truck. I started to walk with a big limp & the truck  pulls right over. Yahoo! My new friend’s name is Jeff B, he tells me he hasn’t seen a hitchhiker in 40 years, and after seeing the Captain’s hat, and that phony limp that looks like Captain Long John Silvers with his peg leg walking backwards, he had to pick this strange character. Jeff was a great guy, he even pulled over and took the heavy wine bag from my clients to bring back to the dinghy. It was a two seat truck so my clients walked back without the wine bag. Off to the dinghy I went. Jeff helped me with all the supplies. He wouldn’t accept anything, so I went into the store and bought him a $5.00 lottery ticket, Mo Money. I explained to him if you do a good deed, then karma will repay you. He couldn’t wait to go home to see. He probably hit the million dollars. I gave my number, just in case??? It was time to say good buy to the nice guy. We parted friends. Thank You, Jeff!

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Check out the train bridge rising up and down, I have never seen one like this.


Ok, let’s talk business. Instead of anchoring right before the C & D canal at 5:00 we decided to go through, since the tide was at our back. We were able to run through at 10 mph instead of 6 mph against the tide. We ended up breaking our record for 105 miles and 12 hrs at the helm. We were dead by the time we anchored in Delaware Bay. As soon as we did, we got hit with a wicked rain & thunderstorm. This is where the mile wine walk paid off. It was happy hour in the salon! Paula told me she was going to sleep in the next morning till 11:00am? Sure enough to when I peeked out of my stateroom, there they were, making sure I filled the oil and they were ready to go, go, go.

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I pulled in and filled up now I went green and under nuclear power.

We humped across the bay for 50 grueling miles, a 7-hour trip, and found out we had to anchor & hide in Cape May, as the Atlantic Ocean was bad & ruff .  We will try tomorrow and see what the ocean looks like.

Very cool picture of the Delaware lighthouse in the background.

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Be on the look out for Crabby Dick’s.

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Lewinsky’s bar is on Clinton St.  Now read the sign.

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Chesapeake Bay Musings

Captain’s log day 15 June 8th Saturday

As I see it, it takes 1 mile to begin a 1,700 mile journey. Southern Atlantic waterway to the shores of the Northern Atlantic waterway, region by region, state by state, city by city & wave by wave, “I shall return” to my home city of Boston Strong.

I have nothing to report today we are in wide open water and we should be out of the Chesapeake tonight and anchored right at the C & D canal. This 14 mile trip will bring us from The Chesapeake Bay to Delaware Bay.  The “C & D canal” get it? About 50 miles across the Delaware Bay we will be at Cape May and will anchor there for the night. The next morning and we will be out in the open ocean across the Atlantic City shores up to Sandy Hook. Please let there be calm sea’s for that leg. Please Please Please …
This is our view for this morning.image2 (7)

I would like to introduce my crew (clients) they boarded in Myrtle Beach and cruising to Boston. Doctor Carey and his wife Paula.

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The first couple of days they did well, but at this point they are doing so well handling navigation and port of calls, along with the electronics on board, I’m just amazed and proud of their knowledge and how far they have come in such a short period of time. I’m lucky to have shipmates like them. The only problem is they are learning more than the Captain! They are teaching good old Captain Bob a few tricks, in fact they may take over, and I’ll be reduced down to Cabin Boy Bob, even Wilma is starting to worry. Man oh man, talk about Gun Ho! I peek out my stateroom at 5:45am, and instead of “good morning Captain Bob,” I hear, “did you check the oil & are we ready to go!” After only completing 50 miles per day when I was alone and sick and losing 4 days down time for repairs, I was set back and way behind schedule. With their enthusiasm, and 10 to 12 hour days, we have just moved right along, now we are only 600 miles away. I can smell those Boston Baked Beans and Fenway Franks GO Soxs!

One last note. Our anchorage last night at Solomon Island: we took a well deserved shore leave and found a very active seaport. Since the 70’s it has become one of the top destinations for cruising boaters. It offers an array of boat yards, mariners, restaurants, and of course bars. We had a good time the crab cakes were great, according to the Dr. and Paula. Captain Bob had to stay onboard to check the oil. Only kidding!!

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Thank god those days are far behind us.
As you can see I’m getting better at blogging, adding pictures, and storytelling.
Sea U
Captain Bob

Rose Buddies, Dismal Swamp, and Tall Ships on the Chesapeake

Ready to roll at 6:00 am but consumed in heavy fog must wait it out a little. Off by 7:00am covered 95 miles in 11 hours hit a little port that has a great reputation for being the friendliest port of call in the US.

Let me tell you about Elizabeth City, otherwise called The Harbor of Hospitality. Free 48 hour docking, you will be boarded by Rose Buddies, a welcoming crew. When 5 or more boats arrive they will visit your boat with fresh cut roses for the ladies. And, a wine & cheese gathering for the visiting boaters, how cool is that?

We got of the ICW and head for the famous “Dismal Swamp” miles of wonderful canals to cruise before hitting The Swamp.

Now we are coming up to the 8:30 water lock that lets us into The Swamp.

A little history about Dismal Swamp! Writing in his journal, George Washington described the area as, “a horrible desert, with foul damps ascending without ceasing, corrupting the air, and rendering it unfit for respiration…toward the center of it no beast or bird approaches, nor so much as an insect or reptile exists. Not even a turkey buzzard will venture to fly over it…”
George Washington went thru it 9 times. He had it opened up for passage by having men hand dig the Dismal Swamp, and as you can see it is only 60 yards across.

So far I went 1,100 miles and have about 730 miles to go. We passed the NC and VA line in the Swamp. When we got out,we ended up in the Chesapeake Bay, there was a big party going on and the Tall Ships were in. The Chesapeake has the largest ship yard in the world. I saw fleets of Navy ships and Air Craft Carriers.

All the action is over folks, we are out in the Chesapeake and it is like an ocean- 178 miles of this. At least the Doctor is having fun, and his lovely wife Paula, passing a Blimp site.



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That’s all folks
See u
captain Bob

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