Discovering the natural wonders of Southwest Florida

Discovering the wonders of Southwest Florida

By Christine Wenk-Harrison

A recent road trip to visit family in Florida took us to Rotonda West, about 50 miles south of Sarasota. Our hosts have a home on a circular canal where bird watching is a daily pleasure. With no outlet to salt water, only a limited number of small boats (pontoons and motorized skiffs) occasionally pass by. Jim thought a kayak would be ideal until his brother advised him that alligators also inhabit the canal.

We did, however, get to kayak when our family took us to nearby Don Pedro State Park for a two-hour kayak paddle to the park’s barrier island, which is accessible only by boat. We walked along the beautiful mile-long beach, which offers some of the best shell collecting I can recall.

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Dick Jarmon, SN

We have just learned that P/N/F/L Dick Jarmon, SN, has passed away. Among active members of our squadron, no one (but his wife, Pat) holds a candle to Richard Jarmon in of service to Birmingham, District 9 and USPS.

Dick was born in New York State on June 28, 1934, and passed away as the result of injuries from a fall on April 14, 2020.

Dick Jarmon

Dick Jarmon

Dick is survived by his loving wife, Patricia, of 50 years, a son, Jeff (Shirley) Jarmon, in Missouri, a daughter, Laura (Ken) Burgett, in Mt. Clemens, MI, a sister, Mary Pierpont (significant other, Howard Yoas), five grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren, and his beloved dog, Sunshine.

A memorial service will be planned at a later date.

Dick enjoyed a long career at GM Delco Division, but we all knew him as a Member of United States Power Squadrons and Birmingham Power Squadron.

Dick joined Birmingham Power Squadron in 1966, when our meetings were held at a very smoky Kingsley Inn and membership was by invitation only.  Dick was teaching our public boating classes in Bloomfield Hills in the mid-1960s, when we taught a 13-week class and had hundreds of students in each class.  He continued to teach Basic Boating for years, adapting more or less as the class was shortened to 9, 8, 7 & 6 weeks.  He and Pat continued to teach boating safety until 2008 when Power Point and other electronics replaced Dick’s blackboard and overhead slides. What an amazing service.  Dick was proud to have been nominated as District 9 Teacher of the Year.

Dick also completed his Full Certificate (today a Senior Navigator) with various elective courses through the years finishing with a Weather Class taught by Mt Clemens Power Squadron in 1981.

Along the way, Dick was mentored by a number of the founders and early members of our squadron, including:  P/C Booth, P/C Young, Cdr Hamilton and upcoming Cdrs. Miner, Shirk, Neal, Moss, Pear, Raymond, Couzens & Erickson, among others, who drew Dick into the heart and bosom of United States Power Squadrons.  What he learned and who he got to know & like lead him through years of safe, enjoyable boating and activities. The 30 foot Owens became a 36 foot Pacemaker and got acquainted with Tobermory, Little Current, Georgian Bay & the North Channel, often in the wake of Ericksons or Pears.  Rendezvous, Cruises, District Conferences and National Meetings in Miami (one Miami Meeting saw four BPS couples sharing a room) expanded his friendships statewide & nationally.

Dick joined the Birmingham Executive Committee as Secretary and moved through the chairs to become our 13th Commander in 1975.

As Pat reports, “Somehow Dick moved up to the District 9 Bridge and in 1987, Birmingham had the distinction of having the three commanders:  Jim Lawson, Squadron Commander; Dick Jarmon, District Commander; and Dick Miner as Chief Commander.”

During this period, Dick made life-long squadron friends across the state who are too numerous to mention.

Then P/D/C & close friend Ted Smith again joined Dick to work on hosting a 75th Anniversary Celebration in ’89 and a Governing Board Meeting in D/9 in ’94.  Of course his District involvement lead to more friendships and jobs in the National organization so our Squadron uniform guru & nitpicker found his niche as Rear Commander of the Flag & Etiquette Committee in 1999 with help from our P/R/C Hostetter & his D/9 mentor & coach R/C Acheson and others.

Dick’s longtime & enduring friendship with Ted Smith led to Dick becoming Flag Lieutenant for him when he became USPS Chief Commander in 2002. What followed was two years of traveling, meeting dignitaries from all sorts of USPS allies, fetching, carrying and general support of arguably the busiest man in USPS.  Dick loved it!

Pat says, “What brought him to USPS and specifically Birmingham Power Squadron was the desire to learn, & then to share, boating education.  What has kept him involved over all the years?  The many, many friendships that grew up within all levels of both USPS & CPS.  His enjoyment of boating was made possible by the many lessons learned in and out of the classroom.  It is impossible for either of us to imagine what Dick’s life would have been like without both the learning and those friendships.”

For the record, Dick Jarmon was an Emeritus Member of the United States Power Squadrons, which represents his 52 Merit Marks earned in his 54 years of membership.  Speaking personally and as a “twice-time Commander,” Dick was on my go-to list of members whose counsel I sought whenever I faced a dilemma – especially one dealing with flags and etiquette or squadron decorum.  His service to Birmingham and United States Power Squadrons is truly breath-taking and we shall miss him mightily.

Dick, we shall miss your friendship and good humor.  We wish you, Fair Winds and Following Seas and Long May Your Big Jib Draw. -Thomas Geggie

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Virginia Brown

Ginny Brown

Ginny Brown

Virginia Brown passed away on the evening of March 21, 2020, in the loving arms of her husband. She was a shining light in Delhigh and earned 24 merit marks in her time spent with us. Ginny was one of the most vivacious and amazing women I have ever met. This woman was sweet as pie and a superhero all at the same time. Ginny will truly be missed for her spirit and friendship and so much more.

Ginny is back home already as you can see from the picture on the right. You can see her wedding ring is on top of the urn and her first lady’s necklace and the gold medallion she always wore hang around it.

A celebration of life is being planned for a time when we can all get together and reminisce how Ginny has touched and enriched each of our lives. Her family will let us each of us know when this can take place and all of her friends and family will be welcome as she was loved by so many of us. -Kathleen Nowroozani

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Gary Corcoran

Gary Corcoran, 63, passed away on March 19, 2020. He is survived by his father, Edward Corcoran.

Gary Corcoran

Gary Corcoran

Gary was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Edward and Audrey Corcoran. He was preceded in death by Michael Corcoran (brother) and Audrey Corcoran (mother).

Gary was buried at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio, beside his mother and brother in the family plot. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date when it is safe to gather in large groups.

Gary was raised in Ohio and New Jersey and earned his bachelor’s degree from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, and graduated with his masters from the University of California, Berkeley. He then began his career with AT&T Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey. He was transferred to Allentown, Pennsylvania, and retired in 2015 with the same company that was then named Intel. During his years at work, Gary earned four patents in the area of computer processor design.

Gary was an avid boater and a member of America’s Boating Club Lehigh Valley. He volunteered his time for 10 years as an officer for this non-profit as the treasurer and an active member. He made many friends during this time and will be greatly missed.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to America’s Boating Club Lehigh Valley (previously known as Delhigh Power Squadron). Checks may be made out to ‘Delhigh Power Squadron’ and can be mailed to: P/C Michael Lebeduik, III, JN 3514 Nicholas Street, Easton, PA 18045.

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Jonathan P. Rice, N

Jonathan Rice died peacefully at his home surrounded by his loving family on March 19, 2020, after a valiant attempt to outwit cancer. Born April 17, 1940, to parents Cecil Curtis Rice and Elizabeth Wheeler (Judd) Rice, Jonathan grew up in South Hadley, Massachusetts, and graduated from Deerfield Academy, Amherst College and Yale Law School.

Jonathan Rice

Jonathan Rice

Jonathan leaves his beloved wife of 55 years, Susan (Nash) Rice, and his devoted children, Laura (Rice) Boer and her husband, Marco, of Hingham, Massachusetts, and Philip Rice and his wife, Jennifer, of Alexandria, Virginia. He also leaves his cherished grandchildren, Sydney, Lydia, Camille and Beatrix Boer, and Ethan, Gideon and Adelyn Rice. He will be missed by his grand-dog and napping companion, Ripley. Besides his parents, he is also preceded in death by his sister Carolyn (Rice) Nahon.

Jonathan’s great grandfather, John Kellogg Judd, founded Judd Paper Company in Holyoke, Massachusetts. His grandfather, Philip Munson Judd, and his father continued the operation of the business. Jonathan worked there one summer and decided that the law was a better fit for him. Following graduation from Yale, he joined the firm of Allen, Yerrall, Appleton and Thompson in Springfield, Massachusetts. Mentored by Attorney Horace Allen, he developed a practice in probate, estate administration and elder law. Thirty years later, he joined the firm of Robinson Donovan, P.C. During his career, he and his family lived in Longmeadow, Massachusetts.

Forever a hobbyist, Jonathan was a lifelong stamp collector and amateur ornithologist. Having studied Asian history in college, he was an avid collector of Japanese woodblock prints and an enthusiastic reader of Japanese history and literature. He became fascinated with celestial navigation and helped teach a course for the Springfield Power Squadron in addition to serving the squadron as its Law Officer.

Jonathan was a faithful member of South Congregational Church in Springfield. He served as clerk for 33 years, moving on to Senior Deacon and Moderator.

Jonathan’s family has had a summer home in a very special community in the town of Brewster on Cape Cod since 1912. He spent every summer of his life there. It was there that he discovered his love of tennis, sailing, and later in life, golf. He and his family formed lifelong friendships with members of this community. Together, he and a group of these friends organized sailing regattas and enjoyed many biking, sailing and other travel adventures.

When he retired, his dream was to live full time on the Cape. That dream became a reality in 2014. There, he explored his creative interests in drawing, watercolor and acrylic art classes, joined a bridge group and continued playing tennis and golf.

Jonathan’s family wishes to express their thanks to Dr. Jennifer Ang Chan and her team at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for their excellent care during the past 22 years, and to VNA Hospice of Cape Cod and Bridget’s Home Healthcare for making his final weeks comfortable.

His family will cherish the memory of his kindness and patience, his love of his grandchildren and his Brewster community, and his skill in making fudge and penuche at Christmas.

A celebration of his life will be held in July. In lieu of flowers, donations in Jonathan’s memory may be made to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute or to the Brewster Council on Aging.

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Woman to Woman

How to avoid trouble when docking

By Capt. Katherine Redmond

Try, try again

If you start the docking process wrong, begin again. Many boaters feel embarrassed to back off an improperly aligned docking attempt, so they stay with it, vrooming forward, shrieking into reverse, banging into this, dinging that, haplessly attempting to correct the uncorrectable.

It’s much easier—and more professional—to abort the ill-fated maneuver and start over.

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Dock on deck logo

Stay safe from ticks and tick-borne illnesses

By Gino Bottino, M.D.

Unique among arachnids, ticks suck blood to survive. Some are as small as a sesame seed. Like tiny vampires, they latch onto mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. There are soft ticks and hard ticks. A hard tick has a hard plate on its back and is more likely to bite and feed on people and animals, transmitting dangerous diseases. Hard ticks thrive in wooded areas, tall grass, and trees and shrubs. Some, such as dog ticks, make their way indoors on humans or canines.

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Keep your boat from drifting at the beach with picnic anchor

Keep your boat from drifting by backing down

By Dave Osmolski

Last fall, I was on the beach enjoying a swim and watching the other boats passing. Before long a very new, very expensive center console boat at least 35 feet with three 300-horsepower engines came up to the beach. The captain and his crew—wife, daughters and granddaughters—wanted to swim and walk on the beach. There’s lots of beach on Pine Island, and on a weekday, before the snowbirds descend, there’s more than enough for all.

As I watched, the captain pulled close to shore bow first. He had a plough-type anchor deployed from the bow and was looking for a place to anchor. As I watched him drop the anchor straight down and tie it off, I commented to my wife how amazing it was that folks had enough money to buy an exquisite boat with all that power but didn’t have enough time to learn how to use it properly.

Long story short, his crew soon tired of swimming and walked up to the beach. He left the boat, came over, introduced himself and began a conversation. I was looking out to the water, and he had his back to the water. The tide was coming in. There was a light offshore wind, and sure enough, his boat began to drift away from the beach. Before it went too far, I told him it was adrift, and he waded then swam to the boat to retrieve it.

Knowing how to anchor your vessel is every bit as important as knowing how to drive and dock it. This is especially true at the beach. In my years at the beaches of southwest Florida’s barrier islands, I have seen three boats filled to the gunnels with sand and shells. These boats had evidently been run bow first onto the beach. I almost suffered the same fate by foolishly going on to the beach bow first to pick up a passenger—just for a minute, you understand. Boats were just not designed to go stern into the waves. Not even for a minute. Especially in the shallows off the beach.

Back down on the beach

If you love going to the beach, the proper sequence is to choose your spot and back down on the beach slowly. When you feel you are close enough (for me, 20 or 30 yards is close enough), deploy the bow anchor, set it and let out enough rode to put you in water deep enough for your lower unit or prop, but shallow enough so you can wade to the beach, and close enough that you can carry your chairs and umbrellas.

Anchoring this way keeps the bow pointed into the waves, allowing it to ride smoothly up and over even some pretty rough seas. Be aware though that in many anchorages a current parallel to the shore may cause your boat to drift sideways into water that’s over your head. This makes retrieving the gear you took out to the beach difficult.

Use a picnic anchor

You can overcome this sideways drift by using a picnic anchor. Smaller than your main bow anchor, a picnic anchor is attached to a 75–100-foot nylon rode. (Mine is three-eighths inch, three-strand nylon rode with an eye splice on the bitter end.) Attach the picnic anchor to your boat’s stern, carry it to the beach and set it in the sand. This will keep your bow headed into the waves and the stern in water shallow enough to comfortably carry your gear to and from the beach.

Consider adding a picnic anchor to your boat if you don’t already have one. I use mine as my main bow anchor while tarpon fishing. When I hook up, I have a fender with my boat name on it attached to the bitter end of the rode that I toss overboard so I can follow the fish until I land it. Afterward, I return and retrieve the fender, anchor and rode. Double duty!

If you haven’t already, take America’s Boating Club’s Anchoring Seminar. It can save you as well as your vessel.


David H. Osmolski of Charlotte Power Squadron/27 has been repairing boats since high school when his first boat, a canvas-covered canoe with cedar ribs, leaked in gallons per minute and required constant repair.

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Instructors Corner Hugh Blair-Smith

DIY device improves sextant training

INSTRUCTOR’S CORNER

By Hugh Blair-Smith

When taking sextant sights on any celestial body, one key measurement to log and feed into the sight reduction calculations is height of eye (HE) above water. On a boat, this measurement is straightforward using a plumb bob and tape measure. However, we commonly teach sextant use at a known location on the beach (or other convenient point on land), so any discrepancy between the student’s observed location and the actual location can be attributed to the quality of the instruments used—the sextant and timepiece—and the student’s skill in using them.

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