"When I think of all the fools I've been it's a wonder that I've sailed this many miles." -Guy Clark

Sunday, January 31, 2010

a few more boats from Haiti

Got a so-so wifi signal in the Guantanamo airport terminal while I wait all day trying to catch a plane. Thought I would post a few more photographs of boats from Haiti.

Time to get home and doing the off-season epoxy, sanding and painting on Spartina. I've been reading that the EC'ers are in the thick of training for this year's Everglades Challenge, a sure sign that sailing season is not too far away.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

cuba libre

Well I don't know about the "libre" part but I am in Cuba trying to catch a ride home. The only flight coming to Guantanamo Bay is out of Norfolk where there is 12 inches of snow on the ground so I'm not sure it will take off. If it does get here it is scheduled to carry us to Pennsylvania where the weather is not much better.
So I'll just sit on the patio and enjoy the breeze, palm trees and blue water. The Clipper Club opens at 1700.


Friday, January 29, 2010

photos from the Haitian vacation


How do you fix a broken nation?

This post is off-topic. Sorry about that. I've been trying to think of something to say to put the photos in perspective but if you have been watching the news you probably know more about this than I do. I guess the photos will have to stand by themselves.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Haitian boats

I can't help but photograph these hand built wooden boats, they are beautiful.

And it keeps my mind off the task at hand.


Friday, January 15, 2010


Passing near one of my favorite towns this afternoon, Beaufort, NC. We're tied up across the water in Morehead City. Will be here just tonight, then down south to Haiti, arriving sometime next week. Bruce and I should be sailing in to Beaufort next June.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

a new marina

Received a nice email from Wally at Van Horn's Marina and Campground in Germantown, NC (up North of Spencer Bay). He says he has a good ramp ( I think it is just left of center at the top of the photo below) and charges $5 to launch and $1 per day to store a vehicle and trailer. Sounds like a good price to me.

I'm looking at using the marina for a weekend trip maybe in May. This is a great location for two or three day trips with Rose Bay, Judith Island, Swan Quarter Nat'l Wildlife Refuge, Great Island and Juniper Bay nearby.

Just heard I might be on a boat bound for Cape Lookout by this time tomorrow. Not for fun. It would be the USS Bataan, stopping by Camp LeJeune pick up a couple thousand marines bound for Haiti. Details are fluid right now, but if I don't post for a while that is the reason.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

heater eaters

I was over in Newport News today and stopped by the Bass Pro Shops to check camping and fishing gear. I picked up a couple of heater meals, self heating meals that run about $6 each. We always carry two of the meals on board for cruises - this time I got "mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes and beef" and "green pepper steak with rice." The meals come in very handy on days like day two when we got to Punch Island Creek (I love that name) with a forecast of one inch of rain. The rain wasn't there yet but could arrive anytime so we set up part of the boom tent (above) just to be ready.

Below is a photo of the boom tent looking out over Robinson Creek where we anchored for the night. With the tent up we did not want to light up the stove, but we did want a nice hot meal. Perfect time for dinner in a box.

We opened the Heater Meals, put the meals in the heater bag (that contains a pad with a reactive chemical) and added water. After ten minutes of steaming away they were ready to eat. Add a cup of fruit and you've got a great meal. Quick, convenient and (after a long day on the water) they taste pretty good. Those particular meals had been on the boat for probably two or three cruises - they are "good" for about two years. I'll seal these new ones in plastic bags and they'll be tucked away in the thwarts with the rest of the food.
The rain came in later that evening and I have no doubt we got the full inch of predicted rain. That was fine. We were dry and comfortable under the tent and in the waterproof bivy's. Below is a photo from the start of day two, a crisp clear morning, you can see Spartina tied up at the dock behind Ruke's at Smith Island. Quite the contrast to the grey evening with dark clouds moving in twelve hours later. But I enjoyed both morning and evening. The constantly changing weather is one of the joys of cruising.

Speaking of weather we did have a minor heat wave of 40 degrees yesterday. I got out and sanded all the epoxy work I did on the rub rains and coaming. Now I just need to wait for the next heat wave to do some varnish work.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

when I was younger

I just found this clip my brother Mike put together on the day we launched Spartina a few years ago. Excuse the lines, I had just thrown them on and the shrouds, sheets and halyards were not yet properly adjusted. It took me the better part of that first summer to get everything set up just right.

It was a fun day. Nice to find, after almost two years of work, that the Pathfinder performed better than I had hoped.

(No, the Kalmar Nyckel wasn't there to help celebrate the launch. She just happened to be passing through at the time.)


odds and ends

Still trying to get back in to the swing of things after the holidays and visit to San Diego. Sailing on Mission Bay in San Diego in 70 degree weather was a nice way to end the holiday trip, but it has been quite an adjustment coming back east through a blizzard in Chicago to the cold temperatures on the east coast.

The only bounty we picked up at the REI store in San Diego was a camping cutting board, nice lightweight and small enough to fit in to the cook kit. Perfect for cutting up onions, peppers, garlic or whatever. We used to use the top of the cook kit (a rubbermaid storage tub) as a cutting board, but that was too large. This will be simpler. I guess the good news is that we found we are pretty well equipped, we've got just about everything we need for safe, comfortable cruising.
I also picked up a small waterproof flashlight at another store, one to tuck away on the boat. It uses aa batteries, I think just about all the cruising gear from SPOTS to gps to strobes use aa batteries. Nice to have the gear standardized.

On a visit to a kayak store in San Diego Bruce and I did stop to look at a kayak bilge pump. I've got a West Marine pump on board now but I've never been completely happy with it. We don't use it all that much, a sponge works best for the typical spray or rainwater that gets in the boat. But the kayak pumps we looked at seemed to be better built, smaller and they come with a floatation ring built on to them. Reasonably priced at $15 to $25, it might be worth getting one this spring.
I looked at TownDock, Oriental's on-line news site (almost said online newspaper but that doesn't make sense) and found a photo of Graham Byrnes and a couple of other circumnavigators. The caption said they were celebrating Graham's 25 years of teaching boat building at Pamlico Community College. I could not find a story to accompany the photograph but maybe one will show up soon. I have never met Graham but I enjoy his boat designs and hope to meet him someday. When we first sailed in to Oriental a couple of years ago it was some of his former students who helped us out with rides and information. They were huge fans of Graham.

And lastly I had been thinking, at the suggesting of Barry (thanks Barry!), of creating an on-line photo album at Picasa. As I explored the site I found I already had (but did not know it) three albums on the site . I guess all the photos from the blog are automatically uploaded there. Cool. Now the next step it to figure out how to load all of the full rez photos from the cruises to the site.

Grocery shopping this morning I paused to look at some food for the next cruise, but it is too early for that. I'll wait until March and then start buying our food supplies bit by bit.


Monday, January 4, 2010

comparing notes

Bruce and I sat down with the charts and calendars on a sunny San Diego afternoon. Found we were in agreement on the June trip. Below is the map (which I've shown before).

This works out pretty well for our goals. Some nice sailing, passage through a couple of interesting canals, revisiting a few nice towns - Oriental, Beaufort and New Bern - and also exploring some new water. I think those canals behind Cedar Island will be fun.

Bruce says he will be working on the menus. I'll be working on the exact starting point (need to visit Belhaven and the Rose Bay area to see what marina will work best).

There are still a few options and details to work out. For example do we get from Cape Lookout Bight to Beaufort by going outside on Onslow Bay or by going inside of Shackleford Banks? I think that is a matter of gathering tide and current information and having it on board with us for the trip. We might not make that decision until we are anchored in the bight. Anchorage for the first night of the trip is still uncertain and will probably make that decision on launch day based on wind and how long it takes to make the beef, vegetable and red wine stew.

Aiming for an expedition to the REI store Tuesday.