Monday, May 4, 2009

an anniversary

Today was my only day off for the week and we had thunderstorms rolling all around as cool dry air to the north battled with warm moist air to the south. Not a good day for sailing. Decided to take care of a few chores. I emailed with Chuck at Duckworks. He had mentioned that he was setting up a page at his website where people could post their Spot tracks. I believe the idea is that you can go to his site and see multiple cruises in progress real time. That sounds pretty cool. Chuck said the programming was more difficult than expected so it is still a work in progress. He'll have a basic version set up for his Texas200 in early June. In the meantime he asked for the url for my Spot track and gave me the site for his Spot track. I tested my Spot tracking today and also added a link here on the Skeeter Beater page (you'll see it off to the right) for our Spot track. If you look at it now you'll be able to track me looking for tomatoes and peppers for the garden this afternoon. By late May we hope to have a more interesting journey on there.
Looking at the calendar I noticed that it was two years ago this week that I took Spartina out on our first cruise, a four day visit to the islands on Chesapeake Bay's Tangier Sound. Above is the boat loaded for a week (I always pack for a week just to have a cushion in case of bad weather or whatever) for one person. It will look pretty much the same when Bruce and I load it up for two people for up to ten days. I'll have a larger duffel than the one you see here. That is a 20 liter, I'm now using a SeaLine 35 liter backpack style bag. It fits up in the same spot, just a little larger in diameter. Bruce will keep his duffel on the opposite side. Those two grey boxes are Rubbermaid three gallon Rough Neck storage boxes, about $9.00 each at the hardware store. I drilled small holes in the handles and ran a loop of bungee cord through the holes and over the lid. The cord keeps the lid in places and also makes for a nice spot to tuck a piece of gear or bottle of water. The boxes are held in place by small pieces of nylon line and clips that connect to eye straps. The port box contains my log book, flash lights, anchor lights, matches, candles, etc (all separately bagged). To the starboard is my cook kit with cooking pot, utensils, bowls, olive oil, spices and the like. They work great. They are not "waterproof" but with the design of the lid I have never gotten a drop of water in either of them.
That's Spartina tied up at the public dock at Somers Cove Marina in Crisfield, Md. The small harbor opens out on to the Annemessex River which leads to Tangier Sound. Due west of the river entrance is Smith Island, a place I've always heard about but never visited. We'll take care of that this fall as Bruce and I will sail out of Crisfield on our way north to the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival. Our first stop will be Smith Island. I can smell the crab cakes already.

That is the beach at Watts Island. Decades ago the island was large enough to support a plantation. It has since eroded away to the point that it is just a narrow, wooded strip of land, a nesting area for thousands and thousands of sea gulls, herons, osprey and terns. It was one of those great cruising moments, just walking around on a tiny island with bits of sun bleached driftwood, birds squawking and gentle waves rolling up on the shore.

And there is Spartina anchored on the sand flats between Tangier Island and Port Isobel. In the background you can see the church steeple and water tower of the village on Tangier. It is a very interesting, quaint little island. It has been so isolated for so long that the locals still speak a brogue that I'm told is related to old english. Get two or three of the old waterman talking together and you'll be lucky to pick out a few recognizable words.

And this is my first experience in small craft warnings in Spartina. Quite a ride across the Sound. I learned to trust John Welsford's great design. In fact I believe that the weakest thing about the boat is the guy at the tiller. Spartina has taken me on some great trips. I can't wait for this next one.


babbler said...

This blog is fascinating! Great photos, this is a wonderful adventure, I can enjoy it vicariously, and without the mosquitoes too! (I saw the entire blog, nice net system you have there). Have an enjoyable trip, your photos are fun to view - feel free to visit my blog at "Slug's Rest" (you will hopefully understand when you visit..) Love, "Mrs. Slug" from Oregon

Perry Burton said...

Happy Anniversary Steve. Many happy voyages lay ahead no doubt.


Steve said...

Thanks Perry. How's your Pathfinder coming along?


Perry Burton said...

Pathfinder is coming.. Though the spring weather we're having is making me itchy to just slap some paint on her now and go sailing. Hull is rolled and i'm working on the bottom, sanding, glassing etc.
keep posting the little tidbits of info, an of trip planning.

Albert A Rasch said...


Great journal! I just finish a silly and crooked pirogue and I have been wondering where to go next. After a little research, I thought that the Pathfinder might be the ticket for our family.

Your Blog has clinched it. Thank you!

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles.
The Range Reviews: Tactical.
Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit.

S R Wood said...

Steve -- Spartina looks great, especially the last picture. I've been wondering about dry bags and in fact was just today looking at that same SeaLine bag you mentioned, and thinking to myself, "that probably won't fit." Now I know it will!

Happy anniversary and here's to many more voyages ... hopefully many of them involving crab cakes. I hope to see you this fall at the St. Michaels festival.


Steve said...

go for it! I think you'll love a Pathfinder.

see you in St. Michaels.