Tuesday, September 2, 2014

watertribe equipment list, circa 2007

The basis for cruising gear on Spartina will be this required equipment list for the watertribe crowd.  Orange marks the check-offs for this sail.  Almost forgot the bug spray.

Monday, September 1, 2014

a walkabout it is

Wind out of the south the first couple of days, I'll do all my sailing on Chesapeake Bay.  A south wind is no way to work our way down the Eastern Shore seaside.  Fine by me.  The walkabout will be an extended version of the Bay Days 220, one of my favorite cruises.  We'll launch out of Crisfield, work our way up Tangier Sound to the Little Choptank, Choptank and Miles Rivers.  No set plan or route, but I'll look forward to visits to the Bay's offshore islands, Tangier and Smith, maybe Taylor's Island, certainly Oxford, Knapp Narrows on Tilghman Island, St. Michaels and maybe Cambridge.  And a lot of places is between.  The photo above is from day four of the Bay Days sail, sailing the Choptank towards the Tred Avon River, a very breezy morning sailing under mizzen and jib.   

The electronics are charging away, batteries for the GoPro and Fuji X-20, and the power pack for the GoalZero solar kit.

Out in the garage the gear and supplies do not appear as large and as complicated as when it was all piled up in the living room.  Starting from the top you can see the portable head, sleeping gear that gets tucked up under the foredeck,water, gas, dry bag of freeze dried meals, plastic jars of food, cook and notebook kits and hats.  What you don't see is the gear stored under the seats of Spartina's cockpit seats, that's already packed - fishing gear, toilet and cleaning supplies, safety gear, batteries and spare parts.  Clothes will get packed tomorrow night.

We should start off under clear skies, then have some moisture moving it.  But that forecast is three days out and could certainly change.  The only true forecast for weather is that there will in fact be weather, beyond that it is at best an educated guess.

Here's my tracking url, which I will post again before I leave.


Am I the only one who gets nervous as I pack my gear and look at the weather?  Shallow breaths and long sighs, and wondering what it will be like.  It will be this way until we push away from the dock in Crisfield.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

reef-less and radio'd

A very nice day on the river with about 10 mph wind out of the southeast.  The southeast, not the typical summer southwest.  This has been the mildest summer I can remember.  Little, relatively speaking, humidity and winds out the the east, north and southeast.  Someone told me that the weather channel reported this as the coolest summer in about 20 years, and I can believe it.  While sailing today I tried to remember if I had tucked in a reef at all this summer.  I may be wrong but I can only recall having a reef tucked in coming out of Peter Mashoes Creek on day eight of the spring cruise.  

Few sailboats were out today, I don't know why on such a nice day, but small pods of dolphin kept me company, coming so close at one time I could see their grey backs as they swam beneath Spartina.    Pretty cool.

Just as I have not reefed all summer, I have not listened to the radio either.  I don't know why, it was not a conscious decision.  The radio, a new one, rested comfortably in a gear back.  I got it out today for football, U. Va. vs. UCLA in what sounded like a futile effort.  Radio (and hopefully dolphins too) will be my company on the sail which starts in a few days.  Sailing Tangier Sound and north on the Bay, within reach of stations out of Baltimore and Washington DC, is great for the sports fan.  We've got baseball - The Nats and the O's, both in first place in their divisions - and football - the Ravens and the Washington football team (who cannot lose enough in my opinion).   And of course for every game played there are hours and hours of talking about them.  I will listen, I suspect, until I can listen no more.  The radio does have an "off" switch.  

The pile of gear in the living room is growing.  There is food, sleeping gear, notebook and cook kits, cameras, solar charger and various other items.  The amount of gear surprises me, as does the way it all disappears into the hull of Spartina.

Friday, August 29, 2014


The side of a container ship called Paradise was in interesting tableau for the evening light as a fuel barge delivered bunker (that's fuel to you and me) at sunset a few days ago.  Light and the working waterfront, got to love them both.

or maybe back to play "A"

 I think I spoke to soon, which is what I get for looking at 10 day weather forecasts.

A high pressure system will be moving over the mid-Atlantic late next week, which could mean favorable winds for a trip down the eastern shore seaside.  At the very minimum is means sunshine and comfortable sailing.  I have decided to wait until Tuesday to make the final call, which is when I would in fact have to make a call to the car service out of Easton to confirm a one-way ride from St. Michaels back to Chincoteague to get the jeep and trailer.  Either trip is fine - better than fine, really - with me.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

forecasting for plan "B"

Looking at the weather a week out it appears we'll be sailing plan "b," a walkabout on Tangier Sound and up the bayside of the eastern shore.  Not enough wind to make the outside sail down the seaside.  Fine with me.  I had a great sail in that area a couple of years ago on the Bay Days 220.  This trip should reach a little farther north and also explore back on the Choptank and Little Choptank.

All the photographs in this post came from the Bay Days trip, which was noticeable for its wind - both a lot or a little - and for eight days of sunshine, not a drop of rain.  That lack of rain sounds like a good thing, but I also remember Spartina being covered with a good layer of salt after five or six days.  I also remember being anchored behind an island on the Little Choptank, eagles perched in the trees above while I cooked a fresh caught bluefish on the grill.  

There was some good sailing, fishing and reading on that trip, in fact it will always be one of my favorites.

I've pack all my food, the first day's lunch and snacks are already in the lunch box.  The battery count is good, I've still got to charge my rechargeable batteries.  Pencils are sharpened for the waterproof notebook.  Clothes are packed and so are the storage areas under the cockpit seats - fishing gear, batteries, flares, cleaning gear and toilet supplies.  All of it will be rechecked next week before we leave town.

In the meantime, the forecast looks excellent for a daysail on Friday.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

a taste of the ocean

From a visit to my shellfish guy...

Sewansecott oysters, above, raised just inside the barrier island inlets on the eastern shore's seaside.  With strong tides coming off the ocean, they grow quickly. Maybe just year old oysters, not much more.  A plump, tender taste of the ocean.

And farm raised little neck clams, they could have come from either the bayside or the seaside of the eastern shore.  Oysters raw, clams steamed to go with a steamed artichoke and lemon butter.  Excellent.


Boxes of gear, plastic gallon jars of food and the dry bag of freeze dried meals migrated downstairs to the living room and now reside beneath the desk.  I think I'm set on food, probably have to much in fact.  The cook kit and light/notebook kits were pleasingly intact and ready to go from the spring sail. 

I've updated my SPOT profile to reflect that I'll be sailing on Chesapeake Bay and not the sounds of North Carolina, and also edited the list of email addresses that receive "ok" notifications when I drop anchor at the end of a day and then again in the morning when I raise the anchor.  I'll post the tracking link next week.

My renewed my Virginia saltwater fishing license will, because of a reciprocal agreement, work in Maryland waters of Chesapeake Bay.

A car service out of Easton, Md. has agreed to drive me at a reasonable rate from either Oxford or St. Michaels to Chincoteauge should I make the sail around the bottom of the Delmarva.

The trip is still more than a week away, but it feels good to be getting things in order.