Despite Paul Simon's plea, the kodachrome is long gone. I haven't seen a film cassette in years. And if I did shoot some film, I wouldn't know where to get it processed.
In dollar terms, my biggest sailing acquisition this off season will be a new, waterproof digital camera. I've pretty much settled on a new Pentax Optio W90 camera. I've researched a lot of the "outdoors adventure" cameras and this one always seems to come out near the top.
Right now I'm looking at a package deal where you can get the orange camera (I prefer the bright color, makes it easier to find) plus a remote, waterproof shutter control button for about $230. You can find the deal here. I'll probably wait a while to see if the price drops during the holiday season.
Not only are the reviews of this camera generally very good, my experience with an earlier version - the Pentax Optio W20 - has been great. I've been carrying the W20 on Spartina since it was launched. I can't begin to count the cruises, day sails, rainstorms and batches of salt spray this camera has endured.
But beginning in early October the camera started eating batteries for breakfast. A fully charged battery would last maybe six or eight images, then die. But I can't complain. It has worked well for years. It has been dropped, kicked, soaked and dunked. And somewhere in there some wires got crossed. To fix them, I'm sure, would cost about the same as a new camera.
If Bruce and I are on a cruise together we'll bring two cameras. One will be his very nice digital slr Canon camera (I can't tell you the specific model, but it is very nice) and the Pentax Optio W20. When I'm sailing by myself, I bring just the waterproof camera. (With single-handed sailing I'm too busy to worry about keeping an slr dry.)
Having just the digital waterproof point and shoot on board is not a problem. They take, in my experience, very nice photographs. Here are a few from this past spring's walkabout solo sail.
Above is a foggy morning on Mouse Harbor. That is great detail in the grey morning light.
Both highlights and shadow detail hold up great.
And this is where it makes a big difference - on a windy day sailing into the waves near Judith Island. Salt spray flying. Not a problem for the Pentax camera. So I figure I got my money's worth out of this one camera. It is time to get a new, updated version.
IN DEFENSE OF SPAM
From today's New York Times story about the crippled cruise ship off the coast of San Diego....
"A few passengers said they saw some kind of canned meat product, but Carnival Cruise Lines officials insisted that while Spam was delivered to the ship, it was never served."
You would have thought they were feeding the passengers rat poison.
We take SPAM on every cruise. If it is the two of us, we take the tins of spam. If I'm on a solo cruise, I'll take the foil packet single-serving spam. On the Skeeter Beater Bruce fixed Kung Pao spam and it was great. And I've grilled spam with peppers and sweet onions (below) on solo trips. It is inexpensive. It stays good and fresh in the package. If the fish aren't biting and the fresh meats are gone, spam is a pretty good way to go. I'm not sure where spam got its bad reputation, but it is ok in my book. So I'm sorry the folks had a rough cruise with the Carnival lines, but there are worse things in life than spam.