Monday, October 27, 2014

cruising world

I was very pleased to see this evening that Cruising World used some of my photographs with a story by Webb Chiles.  The piece, in the November 2014 issue, recounts Webb's sail from San Diego to Hawaii aboard his Moore 24 GANNET.  No, I was not there to shoot the photographs on the sail across the Pacific.  I had shot them a few months earlier when we sailed for a couple of hours off the coast of San Diego.

I find I am still amazed to realize how many interesting people I have met the last few years because of Spartina and the internet.  In the mid-1980's I read a review of Webb's book The Open Boat:  Across the Pacific in the old Small Boat Journal.  I ordered the book - which meant at the time that I drove to the mall, placed an order at the book store and waited a week or two for a phone call to tell me the book had arrived - and devoured it and the subsequent book The Ocean Waits.  He was then and is now one of my heroes, both for his sailing and how he chooses to live his life.  

And I find myself shaking my head in wonder when I think of him now as a friend.  It is an interesting world.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014


It was a sun-splashed, sparkling day on the water.  Excellent wind late morning, then hardly enough wind to sail in the afternoon.  But with all that sun and blue skies - doesn't the warmth of the sun on a cool fall day feel great - where else would I want to be?

I was very happy to have my binoculars on board for the first time in a month.  I never knew how much I would miss them until they were off at the repair shop.  The Nikon binoculars have proven to be an excellent deal.  Bought "refurbished" from Defender Marine a year or two ago, they came with a lifetime $10.00 no-questions-asked lifetime guarantee.  Too good to be true, I thought.  On the last cruise one hot day a lens fogged over.  I emailed Defender, who replied with a copy of the warranty and the original receipt.  I shipped them off to Nikon a month ago and then this past week a brand new - not refurbished - pair of binoculars was overnighted to me.  And nobody ever asked for the $10.  Yes, too good to be true.

Late afternoon, with hardly a breeze, we dropped anchor and enjoyed the day.  I left Spartina on the waterfront, we'll be out again tomorrow.  The season is growing short, better enjoy it while we can.

sparkling blue

Friday, October 24, 2014

deckhands gone wild

I sent a note to Pride of Baltimore II asking if the
gold crew would be making another appearance
to the Sultana Downrigging in Chestertown.

The reply said "attire tbd."  The first evening of 
downrigging is Halloween.  This could be interesting.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


A very nice photograph of Sultana during the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race, borrowed from Sultana's Facebook page.  We'll see her, and sail with her, in a little over a week at the Downrigging Festival.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

a recipe for Marius

Marius, who has luck catch bluefish by trolling when out for a sail, asked for a recipe for smoked bluefish pate.  

I don't have any photos of smoked bluefish, but I have used the same recipe for smoking salmon as seen in the photo above, leaving off the lemon and pepper slices.  You can find the recipe here.  The larger bluefish, called "choppers" in our stretch of the coast, are oily - which makes them perfect for smoking.

There are several recipes for making the pate available on the internet.  I prefer the ones with a little horseradish (but I don't think you can go wrong with any of them).  Basic ingredients...
  • ½ pound smoked bluefish, skin removed
  • 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 heaping teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 heaping teaspoon finely chopped onion
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Mix it all together, have some crackers and maybe a glass of white wine nearby.  Enjoy

(just looking at the photo makes me think we'll be having some smoked salmon this weekend)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

a fish by any other name

Bluefish.  I only knew the names tailor blues and choppers.

But reading an nice little article in today's NY Times 
I learned there are several more names.  

Snappers and cocktail blues, harbors, and racers.

Alligator blues, gorillas, monsters and pigs.
(The best are the tailors, in my opinion.)

It's been a while since I've caught one.  
Maybe this spring on the Chesapeake.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

notes for next time

  • take less dried fruit, and buy better quality
  • make a variety of trail mixes, not just one, and package in smaller portions
  • those very expensive, little, not-so-nice looking, organic dried strawberries are great
  • babybel cheese rounds, sliced with crackers, make a great snack
  • more cups of fruit in syrup

  • like the pasta freeze dried meals best, get lasagna, spaghetti, beef stroganoff
  • mashed potato-based meals are excellent too
  • breakfast meals - eggs, bacon, potatoes - freeze dried make for great breakfasts and great dinner
  • cajun sunshine makes everything taste better
  • always start with a new rite in the rain notebook, they fill up fast
  • buy decent quality pencils, those cheap lottery ones fall apart
  • minimum two good books for evening reads
  • need a new chart book for NC waters, the old one is falling apart

  • buy a new straw hat, $10 at the grocery store
  • buy a waterproof bag, preferably one with a lanyard, for the new iPhone 6
  • spend more time enjoying those little creeks and hidden bays
  • love the GoPro, use it more, keep it set at a frame every two seconds, the battery will last a longtime and the storage card holds 4,000+ images
  • two weeks on the water, which I had worried was a little long, is perfect

Saturday, October 11, 2014

downrigging 2014

I'm very happy to see Spartina listed again this year in the Sultana Downrigging Weekend brochure.  This will be our third year at the event, missing only the 2012 "Hurricane Sandy" weekend, where I didn't really miss anything because of the late season storm.  

The last couple of Downriggings Spartina has been tied up on the Canon Street Pier.  This year event organizer Drew McMullen ask if I would mind moving over to a Chestertown Marina slip to make way for the catboat Silent Maid.  No problem I said, who wouldn't want to make way for such a beautiful boat.  Heading out for a sail on the Chester River, which I do a couple of times each day during the festival, I will pass between the tall ships Sultana and Pride of Baltimore II.  Very cool. 

I've marked the new slip in the map above.   And I've also marked the prime spot at the foot of High Street where the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum's skipjack Rosie Parks will be tied up.  It was during last year's Downrigging Weekend at the Rosie Parks was relaunched.  It will be nice to see her up her with the tall ships and classic bay boats.

Below are some photographs from last year's event.  I can't wait for this year's, which is scheduled in Chestertown for Oct. 31 through Nov. 2.