Why one eye?
I actually only have one fully working eye right now, as I returned to the US to have my fourth and final cataract surgery. In 2015, I had premium lens implanted (Technis multifocal IOLs) and while the vision was wonderful, they drove me crazy. Basically, my night vision was shot, with orbs around all the lights and all sort of other distractions as well by day. Imagine trying to navigate among 350 ships anchored and moving near the Panama Canal!
So, it was a very hard decision, the Chief of Cornea Surgery at Wilmer Eye Institute, devised a plan to exchange both lens with distance only in one eye, and a newer technology Extended Depth of Focus (AcrySoftIQQ Vivity EDOF) lens in the other eye to get me near and middle vision. Two years later, both lens are exchanged; the team did an amazing job.
Why one leg?
On the way to eye surgery, we stopped in Frisco, CO to ski with our son Josh, and good friends, Ken and Lisa Karsten. After not skiing for 10 years, I managed a whole 3 hours skiing before rupturing my medial head of my gastrocnemius muscle (commonly known as tennis leg). But, Copper Mountain was glorious. I did graduate to the blue runs, after testing out the green runs, before I crashed and burned.
I buried the lead
Knowing I would only have one eye once I got to the US, I took the US Coast Guard OUPV Captain’s exam via Mariners Learning System. OUPV stands for “Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels” (OUPV); most sailors call it the “6-pack” or “Charterboat Captain’s License”. Since the exam is proctored, you have to have really reliable internet access, and we had that at Marina Papagayo. The marina folks are wonderful, they let me do the charting exam in their “board room” which had a beautiful table that could support the large paper chart. It is a known fact, that Marina Papagayo has the best and fastest internet in any marina on from Panama up to Mexico. Just ask Dietmar Petutschnig who leads the Panama Posse; he’s tried them all.
Actually, I am almost the Captain now
Now I have to send in logs of all dates that I was on the water more than 4 hours and differentiate which days were inland versus near coastal/offshore. The logs can go back forever, but there is a certain number of days that need to be done within the past 3 years. Unfortunately, while you can sail for 24 hours straight, USCG only gives credit for one sailing day if it ends up midnight to midnight. Reason to leave later in the day for sure!
One last class before I’m officially a Captain, is understandably a USCG approved CPR and First Aid course.
What’s next for Captain Ninja?
Since I won’t have enough offshore days, I’ll be getting an Near Coastal OUPV Captains license. But, I can upgrade it to a 100-ton Inland Masters license after passing the Masters license exam (see USCG rules here).
I have passed the USCG Sailing Endorsement exam in anticipation of securing the Masters, so I’m on my way.
Some day, I may have enough off-shore days to then upgrade to a UCG 100-ton Near Coastal Masters license.