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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ya Loses Some Ya Won, Then Ya Wins 'Em Back

I'm sure you'd much rather hear about our swimming nude with the manta rays this morning, but I'm going to blow my own horn again first. You'll have to wait.

Yesterday afternoon the tape player spit out the iPod tape. No matter how many times I tried to get the tape to work, it just kept spitting it back out. It was looking like another failure of the internal mechanism so once again I got out the Elect. tool box and tore open the stereo. The failure this time was catastrophic, the drive belt had snapped. So much for the iPod. What a bummer.

I burned a CD with an episode of Fresh Air for the following morning but came to the conclusion that doing so is not much of an option. We don't listen to these shows more than once so having a CD of them is a waste. Then I realized that I might be able to get the iPod audio to come out of the stereo when a CD is playing. I pulled out the cable that runs from the CD changer (it's an external 12 disk CD changer that hasn't seen much use since we copied all our CDs to the iPod) and carefully cut it open. Inside were eight wires, two of which were obviously small coaxial cables. Audio signals are often sent down coaxial wires to avoid noise, and since there were two coax inside the cable running from the CD changer to the stereo I figured these had to be the left and right line signals. I cut the two wires, stripped them back, and soldered on a three conductor earphone plug that's been kicking around in the Elect. tool box forever. Then I put a CD in the changer and pressed 'Play' on both the stereo and the iPod. Ha! Instead of Dido, which was on the CD, we heard Terry Gross interviewing Drew Barrymore. Who da man?

So this morning, while listening to the Drew Barrymore interview over the CD/iPod, Linda noticed a couple of rays swimming around the boat. They seemed bigger than the rays we used to see in Mexico (see July 11, 2005 blog entry) but it was hard to tell. After 10 minutes of trying to get a good look at them from the deck I decided I should just get in the water to watch them. I slipped quietly in and hid behind the rudder to keep from scaring them away and after a minute or so it was clear they couldn't care less about me so I swam over and had a great show; three 4-6 ft manta rays swimming slowly around in circles feeding. I signaled the 'all clear' to Linda and before long we were both taking in the show. One manta even had a couple of remora fish clinging to its underside near the tail. Way better than listening to Terry Gross.

I'm sure you're still wondering about the 'nude' part. Well NAKIA is the only boat in the anchorage and there's no reason to get your bathing suit wet if you don't have to. So instead of changing out of one suit into another we just took off our clothes before getting in. Really, I'm surprised the mantas didn't bolt from fright.