For twenty-eight years I worked overseas, but that's past history.  Now I'm back home in the United States swimming with the sharks.  Exit Only is berthed in Florida, and I am checking out life in the USA.


A lot of changes happened during my prolonged absence.  When I departed the US, gas was under fifty cents a gallon, and now it is nearly three dollars.  Before I left, I could purchase a good house for eighty thousand dollars, and now in some places the same house costs more than half a million.  Back then, the American dream was affordable for families who had only one wage earner.  Now, the same lifestyle requires full time employment by both the husband and wife.  The American Dream is no longer affordable if you want mom to stay at home and take care of the kids.

I shouldn't have been surprised by these changes, because the same thing happened in the sailing world.  When I first went overseas, you could get a seaworthy sailboat for forty-thousand dollars, but now most cruising yachts cost four to five times that amount.  When I first cast off my dock lines an average size yacht was thirty-two to forty feet in length.  Now most cruising yachts are forty to fifty feet long.  Twenty-five years ago people in their thirties and forties were sailing around the world.  Now, young people can't afford to go sailing because yachts are so expensive.  The only people with enough money to buy a yacht and go cruising are senior citizens.

It's alarming to see how costs are spiraling out of control in North America and Europe.  What's happening can be summed up in one word, and that word isn't inflation, it's greed.  Businesses shamelessly prey upon unwary shoppers.  A couple of examples stand out in my mind.  When I purchased a new high frequency radio for my yacht, one well-known marine store tried to charge five-hundred dollars more than another supplier for the same piece of radio gear.  When I needed a fifty-amp pigtail adapter for shore power, the adapter cost either $206, $160, or $130 depending on which store I completed the transaction.  That type of price gouging is all too common in the land of the brave and home of the free.  Tell me why energy companies are making record profits during a fuel crisis, and consumers are paying more than three dollars a gallon for gasoline.  The apostles of greed appear to be running the show, and we are their victims.


A one day car rental in Fort Lauderdale was supposed to cost twenty-eight dollars a day, but the rental company counseled me to take out insurance for collision, bodily injury, and supplemental liability which would cost an additional 34 dollars each day.  They knew that I was paying for the rental with my credit card and had insurance coverage from the credit card company, as well as full coverage from my personal car insurance policy.  They lamely suggested that since it was raining outside, the roads would be slick and additional insurance would be a good idea.  They were trying rip me off by selling duplicate coverage that I didn't need, and they didn't even blink an eye or squirm as they attempted to work their scam.


For the past month, I've been riding around south Florida looking at billboards, and what I see shocks me.  Lawyers are trying to drum up business by fishing for lawsuits.  Their advertisements say things like, "Were you in a car accident?  Are you in a hospital or nursing home?  Have you had a disagreement with your doctor?  Give us a call, and we will get you some money."  The advertising must work, because there are dozens of billboards preaching their flavor of the gospel of greed.


When I sailed the seven seas, it was rare to see sharks.  Now that I am on dry land, they surround me on all sides.  I'm swimming with sharks who want to have a feeding frenzy in my wallet.  The real problem is that people are looking into my wallet rather than into my heart.  They don't really care about me, what I really need, or my limited resources.  They want my money, that's all. 

It seems ironic that sharks never bothered me on the high seas, but on land they are circling and closing in.  Although, I'm getting used to swimming with sharks, it's disappointing that so many people are only interested in my wallet.

Speaking of my wallet, I've got an idea for a new business.   I'm thinking about selling shark repellent. Every yachtie returning home from sailing around the world needs to buy a couple of cases, and illegal immigrants could use a few cans of shark repellent as well.  If my business takes off, I could become rich and famous, and someday I might even be able to live my dreams.  Hmm.  Come to think of it, I am already living my dreams, and I don't need to have a shark repellent business in my life.

Pssst.  Pssst.  Do you hear that noise?  That's the sound of me spraying on shark repellent;  I'm now covered in it from head to toe.  Good-bye sharks, and hello world.

Once again, life is good.

Log 1 Peter Pan Around the World
Log 2 Weapons of Mackerel Destruction
Log 3 Pirates of the Malacca Straits
Log 4 Kissing Cobras
Log 5 Debriosaurus Rex
Log 6 Go Ahead - Live Your Dreams

Log 7 The Man Who Built His House on a Rock
Log 8 Ambivalent Eagles
Log 9 One-Shovel Full at a Time
Log 10 Hitchhiker's Guide to Planet Earth

Log 11 Keeshond

Log 12 The Red Sea Blues

Log 13 Feel the Freedom

Log 14 The Danger Zone

Log 15 Lucky Man
Log 16 Dream Machines - Land Rover Defenders

Log 17 Trade Wind Dreams
Log 18 Logs With Fins
Log 19 Everywhere, Everything
Log 20 Shark Slayer Is History

Log 21 Viking Funeral - Burial at Sea
Log 22 Improbable and Impossible

Log 23 Keep on Trucking
Log 24 Dream Machines II
Log 25 Bodysurfing Whales
Log 26 Hitting the Wall
Log 27 Surviving the Savage Seas

Log 28 The Next Step
Log 29 Welcome to Barbados
Log 30 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
Log 31 The Man with the Unplan
Log 32 Dali Dolphins
Log 33 Flying Like a Turtle
Log 34 The Foolish Man Built His House on a Pitch Lake
Log 35 Go West Young Man
Log 36 Crossing the Atlantic in a Row Boat
Log 37 The Unsinkable HMS Diamond Rock
Log 38 Catamaran Capsize in 170 mph Winds
Log 39 When Are You Coming Home?

Log 40 Master and Commander of Anegada - Frigate Birds
Log 41 Baths of Virgin Gorda - Batholiths of Central Arabia

Log 42 Free at Last
Log 43 Stalking the Wild Manatee

Log 44 Spreaderman
Log 45 Attack of the Flesh Eating Bees
Log 46 Sharks and Coconuts
Log 47 Stingray Picnic
Log 48 Boo Boo Hill
Log 49 Whale Slayers
Log 50 Noddies (Not Naughty)


Log 51 Exumas Land and Sea Park
Log 52 David and Goliath
Log 53 Turquoise Clouds of Paradise

Log 54 Momma Nightjar
Log 55 Maximillian The Great
Log 56 Chiton Kingdom
Log 57 Flying and Holding On
Log 58 Far Horizons
Log 59 Clouds Are a Sailor's Friend
Log 60 Getting Connected
Log 61 Fear
Log 62 Grand Schemes and Other Important Things
Log 63 If Jellyfish Had a Brain
Log 64 Cousins That Don't Kiss
Log 65 Swimming With Sharks
Log 66 Perfect the Way You Are
Log 67 Space Travelers
Log 68 Aliens
Log 69 Monsters of the Mind
Log 70 My Butterfly Collection
Log 71 Somewhere Other Than Here Societies
Log 72 Five-Hundred Pound Spiders
Log 73 Red Sea Sunsets
Log 74 Gibraltar Sunrise
Log 75 Big Sea - Small Ship
Log 76 Just Cruising
Log 77 Castle Mania
Log 78 You Must Know the Sea
Log 79 Flying Like a Goat
Log 80 The Joy of Photography
Log 81 Universal Camouflage
Log 82 My Rainbow Collection
Log 83 Indian Ocean Reward
Log 84 Fiber W
Log 85 Turkish Reflections
Log 86 Mirrors and Mirages
Log 87 Lycean Tombs Rock
Log 88 Rigging Emergency
Log 89 Pamukkale
Log 90 Volcano Land
Log 91 Sniffing the Air
Log 92 Why I Don't Kite Surf
Log 93 Resurrecting Exit Only in Turkey
Log 94 Greased Pole Competition
Log 95 Tsunami Damage
Log 96 Afraid of Living
Log 97 Living on the Edge
Log 98 Borneo Adventure
Log 99 Uligamu Tree Tender with Full Benefits
Log 100 God's Fireworks Display

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