Saturday, December 3, 2016

can you see me now? / dinner menus

Two days of December and two good days of sailing.  I'll take it.  Thursday, with a steady west wind coming in behind a week cool front, had Spartina on the Pasquotank River in Elizabeth City.  Something about the shape of that winding river keeps the water almost glassy calm with winds out of the west.  Warm and comfortable, it was a perfect day on the water.

Yesterday, cooler and with less wind early in the day, we were out on the Elizabeth River in Norfolk.  Light winds in the morning completely disappeared by noon, then the wind came back strong, a cooler wind out of the southwest.  Chilly enough that I slipped on the new Helly Hansen bib pants.   Yes, I was the source of that glow you saw over the horizon yesterday.  I was very happy with the design and make of the pants, so much so that I came home and ordered a Helly Hansen jacket to go with it, in bright orange of course.


Eddie had asked me a while ago about the freeze dried meals I take on cruises.  All of my favorites come from Mountain House, which I buy in batches of 20 that earn a 10% discount at Campmor.  To name a few:  beef stew, breakfast skillet, lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, beef stroganoff, chili-mac with beef, biscuits and gravy with sausage crumbles.  There are a few with mashes potatoes too but I can't recall exactly what they are right now.  I stay away from meals that have rice, somehow in my experience the rice never reconstitutes with a rice-like texture.  I stay about from meals that are listed as "spicy," spicy meaning there is probably a lot of salt in there.  From Webb I have learned to add a little more water than called for, and a little more time cooking in the foil packet.  From Curt I learned to dress some of the meals with a little olive oil.  And because I do like spicy meals I always add my own spice with a few splashes of Cajun Sunshine.

The freeze dried meals I would really like to get come from Back Country Cuisine in New Zealand.  Their meals sound excellent, using beef, lamb, chicken and venison.  Unfortunately at this time they do not ship to the US.  Maybe someday, they told me by email earlier this year.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

the future's so bright

The future's so bright
I gotta wear shades

I will never forget Capt Steven Briggs of the tugantine Norfolk Rebel singing those Timbuk3 lines out across the water as I sailed past with Barry on board wearing his bright (and bright is an understatement) orange Helly Hansen foul weather gear.  They are a brilliant (or vivid, bold, strong - just pick your favorite synonym) orange as if they had been plugged in and charging all night long.  

I saw Barry this past fall at the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival wearing, of course, his bright orange jacket (Barry getting a really really good deal on both pants and jacket).  I reminded him of the captain's comment, Barry smiled and said "Hey, I wanna be found."  

Well I wanna be found too, particularly if somebody like the Coast Guard is looking for me, so I ordered a pair of Helly Hansen Newport Bib pants today from Annapolis Performance Sailing today.  A good deal - 20% off and free shipping (still not as good as Barry's deal but I'll take it).  The jacket will have to wait, but they are on the list for someday.

Friday, November 25, 2016


I just found this photograph on my phone, one which I had posted a couple of years ago but had completely forgotten about.  It took me a while to remember a fishing trip just off the beach, a summer rainstorm and coming home with nothing more than a photograph I like.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

still digesting, and I haven't even eaten yet

I'm still trying to digest the fall sail.  Busy with work and fall day sailing, I did not have time to work on the daily logs until weeks after the trip (though the first draft of the logs were written each evening on the cruise).  I think the time between the sail and posting allowed me to better appreciate what a really different type of journey it was for me.

Certainly more social than any other cruise with attending the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival.  And more time on land too, three days for the festival at St. Michaels and a day at Tilghman Island.

The weather was just the way I like it, a little bit of everything: great wind and blue skies; stormy; cool nights with starry skies; gusts suitable for a double-reefed main; rain; fog; calm.  I loved it all.

Though I sail alone I found myself, by chance and hospitality, three times in the company of world cruisers Michaels and Sheila on Kantala.  I still can't get over the surprising stormy evening text from them where we realized we were only a couple of miles from each other.  And then a couple of days later I saw them in St. Michaels, walking the streets of the fine little town and enjoying the company of friends MaryLou and Fred.  Later, with an approaching hurricane, we met again off Oxford.  I very much enjoyed their company.  This fall, day sailing on the Elizabeth River, I've often looked down Town Point Reach to see the snowbirds come around Lamberts Point on their way south, wondering if I might see Kantala.  I did not see the ketch and have not heard from Michael and Sheila since our lunch anchored on the Tred Avon River.  I suspect they have already gone south, and I wish them well.


There is a fine first person story by environmental writer/photographer Dave Sherwood in the New York Times.  He fished every day this summer, and even a little into the fall, for striped bass on the Kennebec River.  With family and work commitments, he was often casting off at 4 a.m. and always back to the dock at 7 a.m.  It is an excellent, peaceful read.  


Friends at Small Craft Advisor are putting together a piece on perfect small boat cruising areas around the country.  I was very glad to hear that Pamlico Sound, with neighboring Neuse River and Cape Lookout/Beaufort, is included.  (If you have sailed the area you will know it had to be included.)  They asked me for a few photographs.  I believe the one above, taken on a little cove on the south side of the Pamlico River near where it opens out onto the sound, is the one that they will use with the story.  


Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

somebody had to sample them...

Oysters from a new spot - near Wallops Island on Va.'s eastern shore seaside - and from the new shellfish guy.  For tomorrow but just to be safe somebody had to try them out.  Salty!  Excellent!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

day nine - back to the ramp

We drift off anchor just after 7:00.  "Drift" because we are tucked in close to the trees that shadow us from the wind.  I sweep the tiller back and forth, the rudder nudging Spartina out to where the wind can touch the double-reefed main. 

Out of the cove into the main anchorage and onto the the creek, the sun comes over the trees.  A deadrise is already working a trotline, a second deadrise rigged for oystering is headed towards the Choptank.  A NE wind carries us down the creek past the stout channel entrance markers,  5.5 kts to Cambridge.  Past Howell Point wind is on the port beam to Hambrooks Bar, then we fall off with the marina in sight. 


Rounding up off the ramp the Choptank is rough.  Jib and main down, then mizzen, we motor downwind.  Inside the the little breakwater I lean out and catch a cleat with the stern line.  Tied up fore an aft I check the gps.  The last entry in the notebook: 185 miles, 49.36 hours sailing time.  A nice little escape.


We sailed past the schooner Virginia Saturday as her crew of volunteers, along with deckhands from the American Rover and Harvey Gamage (schooner crews tend to help out other schooner crews), brought down the booms, gaffs and topmasts for the winter season.  She'll be put under a cover soon, though I expect work will continue on board throughout the winter.  Her spars will be taken to the nearby cruise center where they will be stripped down and varnished.

I wonder how much more sailing I will get in this year.  Last year was unusually warm and I sailed through the winter into the spring.  I hope for at least another sail or two, maybe get in one early in December.  No major maintenance is planned for Spartina this winter, so she - and I - are ready to go.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Friday, November 18, 2016

I don't care

There is no wind and I really don't care. I'm floating on a mirror that ripples only when I move. It is so warm I have stripped off two layers and I'm now down to a tee-shirt. Maybe there will be wind later, maybe not. I don't care.