Posted on

Water Lillies Stained Glass

My latest Stained Glass Creation based on Claude Monet’s Water Lillies.

Challenging with all the small pieces, but found wonderful glass and created a workable pattern.

For price and size, as well all available art, please go to “shop” button, and scroll down. Free deliver in Tampa

Bay Area.

Studio/ gallery in Seminole Heights, Tampa, Florida open by appointment, mask and social distancing required!

Come by for glass of wine, beer or bloody mary! Close to Hillsborough and Florida Avenues.

Thanks for you support and friendships!!!

Number of View :555
Posted on

Solo to Key West Pirate Looks at 60

*I am now 70, written 10 years ago..thanks!

Tampa to Key West….Solo Sail

Being a pirate looking at 60,, I decided to see if solo sailing would increase my self confidence or would  fuel my self doubt .

The day was sunny and bright when I left Davis Islands and headed my Freedom 40 south to Key West.   Tampa Bay slowly disappeared behind my wake caused by motor sailing in the light winds.  Fuel tank full, autopilot performing, bimini protecting my from the sun, Sirius radio playing 60’s and Jimmy Buffett, what a start for a wonderful adventure.  We all know that despite the best weather/wind forecasts, once we are offshore the conditions can be challenging.

My Freedom 40 has all the lines running back to the cockpit where an electrical winch makes sail handling manageable..  Once the sails are up on the ketch/cat , freestanding carbon fiber  masts flex  and the sailing is wonderful.  No releasing of jib sheets and the selftacking main and mizzen are a delight.

After sunset the full moon illuminated the water and I settled in for a peaceful night.  Around midnight the winds increased to 20  knots and after  some northeast orientation, switched to easterly with a slight southern aspect.  The seas increased from the east and started hitting the port side, throwing water up over the rail.  So much for a peaceful easy night motorsail.

I had left the full main up and with the motor running a low rpms was able to maintain my southernly course .  The real challenge to solo sailing is maintaining a lookout for traffic from freighters,shrimpers, other cruising sail and power vessels.  I had bought an egg timer and  had planned to set it for 20 to 30 minute alarms.  Actually, I would rest my eyes and was able to awake shortly to make observations.  No shrimpers, freighters, cruise ships , other boats were seen that night.  The lack of sleep does take a physical and mental toll.

My safety plan also  involved jacklines running fore and aft,  a good sturdy harness with two tethers so that I would never be unclipped,  a Spot satellite gps messenger, VHF radio, ham radio, two large GPS transmitters, and a liferaft at ready.  An inflatable pfd allowed me better movement than the larger offshore jackets. My sailboat does have three independent bilge pumps and the diesel has been running well.  Plenty of water, fuel and food.  Flares, both handheld and parachute, supplement my emergency  equipment.

In the middle of the night,the large waves headed   west like a herd of buffaloes.  Some pass quickly and quietly, while  others collided  with the boat and heaved  me over .  A quick check below found  all my belongings that were nicely stored are now on the  sole.  I make a mental note to be more shipshape for my return from Key West….It was like someone taking your home and tilting it to shake everything possible from it’s assigned  place.

My chartplotter gave me confidence in both my progress in the gulf as well as heading down the Key West  channel to my final destination, the Key West city marina in the bight area.  I realized I wasn’t as strong as I was when I was younger, and my balance also wasn’t as sure as it had been on previous night sails. Self doubt sets in and I asked myself what the heck am I doing out here.    I really did not want to go up on the foredeck , in the middle of the night, to reef the sail or check on the secured equipment.  I did have to go forward in the channel and dump the large main sail, get it tied to the boom, and continue on a safe course.  With the strong winds and the sail not cooperating,  it took more effort and was done slowly and with difficulty.

I arrived in Key West to my slip around 4am, a total of 42 hours underway.  I would prefer to have crew so you can really get some good sleep and have some companionship.  Another option is  breaking up the trip into more manageable segments, possibly a stop in Marco, or even smaller segments.  Take the time and enjoy the journey more.   I did have by tow insurance if needed but all was ok .  A radar system or AIS ship identification are both on my future purchase list.

As most cruisers realize, once at our destinations,  our sense of achievement is heightened and  the memory of the long , sometimes wet and stormy nights , is minimized.   Discomfort  and the constant attention to the aspects of sailing both make solo sailing challenging.

I plan on leaving Key West after fantasy fest and shortening  the sail by stopping in Marco Island, or at least taking a rest interval in Longboat Key.  I do enjoy my independence and solo sailing reinforces my concept of self dependency and enhances my self confidence.

It is a great feeling of being on a seaworthy boat , solo sailing and just being in the element.  It is a private time and one of great appreciation of ourselves and the beauty of the sea.  It is not to be taken lightly, as even well crewed boats can be extremely challenged .  Try a long solo daysail in good weather and see if you are comfortable alone on your vessel.  I do welcome additional crew at times but find the solo sail very energizing and a very personal, spiritual engagement with nature.



Capt.  Herman Bips III has been sailing the  southwest coast of Florida and Key West for many years.  He holds a 100 ton Coast Guard  captain’s license and does charters  and pleasure sails on his Freedom 40  cat/ketch , home port is Davis Islands , Tampa, Florida.    Other sails have included Cuba, when allowed, and the annual St. Petersburg, Isla Mujeres Race.  Feel free to contact him at





Number of View :595
Posted on

Seminole Heights and Stained Glass

Welcome back and thanks for the visit!

After returning from St. Thomas, I am living in my 1920s bungalow in the historical area of Tampa, known as Seminole Heights. A lovely area of historical homes, riverfront parks, good restaurants and bars, old oak trees, and a wonderful community.

A beautiful peacock panel , gifted to me by a Gulfport friend, welcomes all!

Having started creating stained glass art a few years ago, I am now creating a store at this website. May take awhile, especially being tech challenged.

From the main menu, go to Shop to see available stained glass art.

If you want to see a short video on what is available, please contact me..

Thanks for your patience and support!! Capt. Herman

Number of View :611
Posted on

Euology for my dad…Herman O. Bips

My Dad.  Herman O. Bips

Good morning or as dad would say,  HAPPY TUESDAY.

Looking around I see many staff and friends I have come to know from visiting my dad here at Shell Point, especially this past year . Thanks to you for making sure my dad was safe and assisting him in all his needs.  From hurricanes to everyday living.  You are the best!  Also a thanks to his friends here at Kings Crown where you all share meals and time together.

Dad was born June 15, 1921 and died March 20, 2018 just short of his 97th birthday.

Herman was born in Newark, NJ to German immigrants and lived in a German neighborhood in an area called Ironbound.  Both parents died when dad was 15 and neighbors took in him and his brother George.

Herman was street tough and eventually found his way to work in his cousin’s sheet metal fabricating shop.  He was self learned and eventually joined the sheet metal union.

My dad married the love of his life, Alma and they enjoyed living in Macoma for 10 years before moving to assisted care at Kings Crown.  Mom passed away in 2010 and was known for her loving kind spirit.  Noone was a stranger to my mom.  They were married in 1943 and were together for sixty-seven years.

Years later, dad felt he was called to the ministry.  He had to get his GED,  attended Drew University for both undergraduate and seminary.  His first church was the Saddle River Methodist Church.   Mom later attended college and graduated with an education degree allowing her to operate child care centers in the churches.

Upon retirement,they moved to Shell Point enjoying gardening, beekeeping, boating and various programs.  They were charter members of the Ft. Myers Unitarian Church.  Dad moved from being a religious person to becoming a spiritual person and seeing good in all religions and in all individuals.  Everyone has a spirit or soul and before he died he had wanted to spread the good news.

Dad also had his famous vegetable by the orchid  house.  He asked for donations for his produce which he gave to the local food bank. He hid a beehive for he needed the pollination.  The bees swarmed and he had to move the hive to the mangroves across the canal.  Once I called him and he was mumbling, and when asked he said the smoker did not calm the bees and was stung a hundred times.  Determined and stubborn, that was dad.

Dad enjoyed political shows and keeping up with modern issues.  He was for peace in the world, justice for all, and respect of women. In the 60’s he often preached of love and against war.  Made for some interesting encounters after church.  Open housing was confirmed by dad when he rented out our home on the open market and accepting all offers.

Dad was a WWII veteran having served in the Army until the blindness in one eye and bad feet drove him out.  He looked sharp in his Army uniform and creased hat.

Herman leaves in his wake his sons . Herman and Bill, grandchildren Jessie, Krissy Bill Jr., Sean, Eric, and Sam who is with us today.  He is the little boy in the video play with his grampa on the bed.

His daughter and my sister Linda , the oldest one, lost her battle with cancer two years ago.  Dad was sorry that she retiring and was on her way to being the best LaLa ever.

Many summers you would find the family at the Jersey shore, or later our annual visit to Sanibel and Captiva.

The family will be getting together in NJ later this year to spread his ashes at the Jersey Shore where he taught us to crab and fish, and ride the waves on rubber rafts at Ocean Grove.  The family moved from Newark to Glenwild Lake in Bloomingdale , NJ  when the kids were very young.

Thanks to my dad for all the love and support these past 68 years I had with him.  The family mourns the loss but all are aware his spirit that lives on through us. May he rest in Peace.

To end this as my dad would end his church services and meals here at Kings Crown……Peace Be With You!




 Number of View :21375

Posted on



A beautiful rainbow in Long Bay, St Ameli Harbour….lots of boats anchored as well as megayachts in Yachthaven Grand Marina…


The local safari taxis provide low cost transportation in St.Thomas,  highest fare is $2…nice outdoor driving experience.



The children’s parade during Carnival is wonderful to watch…go kids!



One of many floats along the waterfront drive.



This boat dragged and ended up holing on the rocks….they had 2 pumps going and towed it .  It was a salvage claim and very expensive for the owner.  Winds blew to 30knots ….often boats drag in this harbour.

DSCN0589   Honeymoon beach on Waters Island is a favorite among the locals. Two beach bars and good music  make this a great sunday afternoon getaway.

^DSCN0588   Honeymoon also has a great “wet” bar.  Grab a beer/drink and come on out!

DSCN0590     The beach is long and beautiful , and is excellent to snorker and view some turtles.


DSCN0584    M:y neighbor in the harbour,  s/v  Mystic out of Connecticut.  Beautiful !


DSCN0536    Fellow cruising friends join me for a hike on historical hassel island….good workout!Number of View :681

Posted on

Coppertail Brewery in Tampa

Welcome to the Tampa Coppertail Brewery! Capt Herman visited the brewery and enjoyed tasting the beers served by his son Sam….Sam also conducts tours of the brewery.








CAPTAINPC - WIN_20150607_180105

The brewery is located on Adamo Drive, across from IKEA, in Ybor City.

CAPTAINPC - WIN_20150607_180437

Coppertail brews beer for distribution and also has a fantastic tasting room, for onsite consumption. The brewery also has wonderful food !

Number of View :616
Posted on

St. Thomas, USVI

harbrvwstWelcome to St. Thomas,  Charlotte Amalie.   Quite the busy harbour with the cruisers and up to four large cruise ships!












A birdseye view of Hassel Island and further to the east,  Water Island, a popular mooring area.


















St. Thomas attracts      many fine larger yachts from around the world.  Here is a classic docked over in the Crown Bay area.






The US Coast Guard mantains a presence here in St. Thomas.











The Marriott Hotel sits at the entrance to the main harbour and has a shuttle boat to down.  The hotel is on Frenchman’s Reef.











Buck Island is three miles east of St.Thomas is has great snorkeling viewing turtles and a wreck.  Great visibility.












BlackBeard’s castle is still overlooking the harbour.  Definitely had pirate dominance in St . Thomas……











This Pirate is part of the museum as you walk down from the castle.  Tough looking fellow these pirates!






Many fine old churches are still in use in St. Thomas.

Below,  the Ninety-Nine steps are original and joined the lower harbour area to the hilly area above.





S/V Whitewing at anchor in Charlotte Ameli, St. Thomas,VI.


























 Number of View :646

Posted on

Welcome to Culebra

Culebra as seen approaching from the west.  Beautiful mountains line the coast.



culebraharb  Inside the harbour, my neighbor is a large sailboat redone as a trawler..

culeharbhomes     Many homes are on the edge of the waterfront.

pirageisland    Pirate island is a closeby and fun to snorkel and look for lobster.


whitewingnewhome   Whitewing is anchored in her new harbour.  It’s over 20 ft. deep and heavy tradewinds blow daily, so lots of  anchor chain out.  This anchorage gets busy in December when the season starts.


culelobstr     Yes, there a lobster in the harbour.  These two decided to join me as dinner….Yummy!


culeliftbridge    This liftbridge used to work.  It goes over the canal that connects the two sides of the island.


cullib     The library is community based and offers good wifi and book exchange.  A few minutes from the dingy dock.


flamingbch    Flamingo Beach is one of the top ten beaches in the world.  Just a $3  bus ride from the dingy dock.  It is located on the northwest corner of the island and gets some good size waves.

 Number of View :422