Saturday, May 19, 2018
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Back earlier than expected. Forecast called for three more days of rain showers or rain showers and thunderstorms. I can sail in the rain but I want a little light - sunlight - at the end of the tunnel and that wasn't going to happen. Six days of good sailing, interesting weather, very nice and kind people. Good to be back on Tangier Sound, it has been a while.
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Sunday, May 13, 2018
It was a finer lunch than any crab cake I might have bought.
Friday, May 11, 2018
Thursday, May 10, 2018
The weather forecast seems to be improving. Over the first four or five days of the trip there should be wind from a variety of directions and speeds from 5 to 20 mph. Some sunshine, some clouds, not much in the of rain.
Here's the tracking map. Or you can copy and paste the url below. It should go live mid-morning tomorrow.
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
I mentioned in my post about sailing last Thursday evening that I came across a boat anchored in Craford Bay from Gibraltar. This was a first for me and it caught my attention. We shared just a brief shouted greeting on that breezy evening, and I figured that was that.
Saturday we cross paths again on the water, Steffan and Jo from RADIANT SPIRIT, headed into the docks on their dinghy. Then Steffan joins me on SPARTINA for a sail just as the wind fills in around noon (photo below by Jo). And the next day the three of us go to the Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop annual open house - a really fun affair promoting a great program for kids. This morning we meet for a cup of tea and to say goodbye. Soon I'm headed for the cruise on Tangier Sound and they will be on there way up the western shore of the Bay.
I must lament once again my failed plan to build a boat and get away from everyone. Instead I continue to meet fine and interesting people on the water, many of them who go on to become my best and truest friends. Go figure.
The forecast as of now: Sunny to start the trip and then some moisture moving in. Steady winds and a little bit of everything from rain to shine the following week. I can't wait.
Sunday, May 6, 2018
Thursday, May 3, 2018
A breezy double-reefed sail this evening. About a dozen snow birds in Craford Bay. Boats from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and (a first for me) Gibraltar. Is there anything better that a sunset sail with Buena Vista Social Club on the blue tooth speaker?
Just before sunset the wind dropped and full sail. A fine way to end the day. Photo at the top from friends on the tall ship American Rover.
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
As the osprey hovers over a next on Currituck Sound, a high pressure system hovers over the Atlantic about 500 miles east of South Carolina. That is bringing us day after day of warm temperatures and southwest winds. Summer has arrived. (Could it be that spring arrived Saturday and departed Sunday?)
I have left SPARTINA in a slip on the river. A beautiful sail yesterday evening, hopefully another one this afternoon as soon as I sneak out of work. And maybe again tomorrow evening.
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Sunday, April 29, 2018
It was almost 80 degrees yesterday. Low 50s this morning. I liked yesterday better.
Saturday was a pleasant sail. Winds at time were light, filling in now and then. Almost no clouds in the sky. A NATO parade and festival on the waterfront, I could hear the singing from the stages and marching bands coming around Waterside Drive from before 9 a.m. until a little after noon. Children waved from the waterfront, two military officers wearing kepis applauded as SPARTINA sailed by.
A man came down to the dock as I tied up for the evening to ask if the boat was a Pathfinder. The exact same thing happened a week ago at the same dock - "Is that a Pathfinder?" The question surprises me. "Is that a Drascombe?" is the more common question.
More and more snowbirds are coming through, including EMMA, from Hamburg, Germany, above, which I believe to be a SWAN 60.
It is hard to sail when it is 50 degrees and gusty, particularly after a warm and pleasant sail the day before. I could not have sailed today anyway - a cruise ship came into the terminal and blocked access to the basin where I leave SPARTINA. I knew this would happen and planned to leave the boat there in the water while I did some trailer maintenance at home.
SPARTINA will be on the river all week. I hope to sneak out for an evening sail or two, or maybe three, after work.
Friday, April 27, 2018
I found a photograph at my new favorite website that really touched my heart. It is a photograph taken on the Beaufort, NC waterfront just a matter of feet where I dock SPARTINA when passing through town. The boat in the foreground is the Nettie B. Smith, a 35-foot-long boat built for local freight hauling. Behind the boats - there are three there including a sharpie, a kunner (the small dinghy in the foreground) and the Nettie - is the intersection of Front and Turner Streets. You will see that same intersection in the satellite image below, the X marking the site where the old photograph seems to have been taken and the O marking the floating dock where the dock hands typically direct SPARTINA. Just being able to see the history there makes me smile. If you are interested in Mid-Atlantic maritime history it is worth reading the entire entry. Below is the description of the freight being hauled by the boats, written by Michael B. Alford and David Cecelski.
My good friend Barry - boatbuilder, photographer, videographer, writer and connoisseur of oysters - asked me if I had ever heard about the web page. I had not, but I knew well of David Cecelski, the man behind the collection of new writings, essays and observations about life on the North Carolina coast. I had read two of his books, The Waterman's Song, Slavery and Freedom in Maritime North Carolina, and the more personal A Historian's Coast, Adventures in the Tidewater Past.
Cecelski's site looks at the social, racial, economic and environmental history of the sounds, creeks and rivers of North Carolina. That may sound a little on the dry side but it is not. He weaves together rich stories of the coast, bringing historical characters to life and putting them into the context of the times. Cecelski's books have changed the way I look at the shore as I sail by. I see thriving communities that are no longer there, hard working fisherman and boat builders now long gone. It is strange and sad how along the marshy shore villages and towns disappear, quickly pulled back into the bog and covered by vines. Those places, people and lifestyles may be gone but I thank David Cecelski for keeping them alive.
Monday, April 23, 2018
Two days of sailing. Light winds, strong winds, no wind. Sunshine, clouds.
Glassy calm in the morning. A cormorant breaks the surface, a striped bass in its beak. The fish, surprisingly large, tries to wriggle free. The bird shakes its head, leans back and swallows, the shape of the fish seen sliding down the bird's throat.
Midday the wind builds, as does the overcast. Tired, chilled by the wind, I drop the main and jib, set out the anchor, lean back and put my hat over my face. Sleep. The boat rocks as tugs pass by in the channel.
An osprey sits on a crooked nest on a crooked post near shore, a chick no more than a month old next to the large bird.
A pipe band walks in a line across the park, five yards between each member. Casually dressed, it must be a rehearsal. The sound of the bagpipes carries across the water.
Breaking down the boom tent at the dock a man walks by. Dressed in a suit and carrying a brief case, he stops and turns towards SPARTINA. He watches for a minute, says nothing, turns and walks away.
A gusty southeast wind heading up Scuffletown Creek to the ramp. No other trailers in the parking lot. Blue sky. Sunburn. Spring.
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Steamer night at the household. A week ago a neighbor boiled up 120 pounds of crawfish shipped live from Louisiana. He realized he had bought way too much for his party. I got three texts asking for help. So I showed up and did my best, ate as much as I could. He sent me home with several pounds more, which I froze and then enjoyed tonight. I like to be a good neighbor, helping out anyway I can.
Green means "go." A good forecast with temperatures in the 60s, a few clouds and some sunshine, and a decent breeze. Can't wait.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Monday, April 16, 2018
Two days of work. The first to figure out how to lift SPARTINA slightly off her trailer, tape then sand below the waterline. Then two some final sanding, one coat of bottom paint, three-plus hours of drying and then a second coat of paint. There are a few small areas near the rollers and supports that I could not get to. I'll take care of them tomorrow. I used West Marine's Bottom Shield which they describe as a hybrid that combines a hard surface that self-polishes like an ablative. We'll see. About $60 for the paint, probably another $60 for the brushes, rollers, tape, gloves, etc. This summer I'll feel much better about leaving SPARTINA on the river for a week at a time, giving me the chances to sail before and after work. Sanding was the worst, painting was pretty easy. Glad I got it done.