Saturday, June 30, 2018


Every dog has his day.
Today was mine.

a recipe

  • one pound live crawfish
  • one pound dry scallops (dry meaning right off the boat, no chemicals added)
  • one pound jumbo wild-caught shrimp
  • a few bottles O'Connor's Green Can Golden Ale for cooking*
* "for cooking" means that you don't cook with them, you drink them while cooking

I can see clearly now...

...or at least I will be able to in a few weeks.

Nikon makes good binoculars.  Their binoculars may not be the best but they do come with, no doubt, the best ever warranty.

In 2012 I bought a pair of Nikon Action Extreme (Remanufactured ) Binoculars for less than $100 from, I believe, Defender.  Two years later one of the mirrors was out of alignment and one lens fogged on hot days.  I sent the binoculars to Nikon under their lifetime no-fault warranty program and it was replaced with a new (remanufactured) set.

The second set lasted four years and now is out of alignment again (I may have treated them a little roughly).  A brief email to Nikon and a new (remanufactured) pair will be on its way soon.  Sounds like a good deal to me.


I can see blue skies with small white puffy clouds outside the kitchen window.  I wish I was sailing but there is virtually no wind.  I would only be drifting.

Monday, June 25, 2018


Brook from the AMERICAN ROVER, the tall ship in the photograph, just sent me this image from a storm last night that was packing 60 mph winds.  Spectacular is the only work I can come up with to describe the it.  He pointed out it was much better to watch the storm from the dock instead of seeing it while underway.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

fresh from the farm

Picked up some little neck clams yesterday, the tag showing that they had been harvested from the clam beds on the Eastern Shore's Hungars Creek a day earlier.  Talk about fresh.  Tonight's menu calls for them to be served with a spicy tomato broth, something called acqua pazza in Italian cooking, that's crazy water to you and me.  Should be fun.


A pleasant ending to SPARTINA'S week on the river today.  I think I got in five or six morning and evening sails this week, including Father's Day and the summer solstice.  A great time on the water.

Saw Steffan and Jo from RADIANT SPIRIT, Steffan joining me for a short sail.  When Jo came to pick him up in the dinghy we held the two boats together and sailed surprisingly well under SPARTINA'S main, dinghy and yawl side by side.

Also met Glen, a cruiser from down south, friends with Michael and Sheila from KANATALA.  It was nice to meet him and share stories of our mutual friends.  I was glad to report that KANTALA made it to the Azores a few days ago.

Got a different view of my favorite tall ships, the VIRGINA, above and the AMERICAN ROVER, below.  Much appreciation goes to the ROVER as I was a guest of the tall ship at the marina all week.

A nice breeze, comfortable temperature and a sky much bluer than can be expected in late June.  A fine day on the river to end a fine week on the river.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

three favorites

Brandon, captaining the AMERICAN ROVER this morning, saw me walking down the dock, glanced at his wrist watch, looked back at me with a grin and said "Kind of late this morning, aren't you?"  If I were going out for a sail, definitely yes, but no sailing today as I gotta work.  Just there for a boat check.  Nice to see three of my favorite boats so close together, the SCHOONER VIRGINIA with pennants flying, the AMERICAN ROVER, right, sailing downriver and under the tiny brown boom tent SPARTINA in docked next to the schooner.  How nice.

Friday, June 22, 2018

dawn sail

Photographs from yesterday's sail.  On cruises I often am sailing before the sun comes over the horizon, but doing so on the summer solstice seemed a little special.  Had the weather been better last night I might have sailed with the setting sun too.  Maybe next year.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Wednesday morning

No sailing at dawn, a morning that came thick with humidity and thin with wind.  I ran down to the waterfront anyway for a boat check, SPARTINA floating comfortably at the dock, clean and dry under her boom tent.

I grabbed a glass of iced-tea at the breakfast spot around the corner, carried it back to the marina where I sat up in the shade on the second floor enjoying the last bit of the morning's coolness.

I added the newest piece of gear to the boat, a luminescent waterproof flashlight made by Pelican.  Easier to find in the dark, and a good deal at less than $30.00.

Summer solstice tomorrow, dawn at 5:46.  Wouldn't it be nice to raise sail as the sun comes up?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Tuesday morning

Nice sail this morning, cool and comfortable, excellent wind at times, spotty wind other times.  Sailing friend Lynn, out for her morning walked, hopped on board for a while and had the chance to say good morning to Steffan and Jo anchored out on RADIANT SPIRIT.  Heat index of 108 this afternoon, is there a better way to start the day than a cool breeze?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

day six - an early exit

Cast off from the dock 6:25, low tide and a light east wind.  Under power.  Wave to Rudy and Jill Sechez aboard their self-designed, self-built sail assisted trawler BRINEY BUG, new friends from yesterday.  They are raising anchor, headed for the Pocomoke River.  Low overcast looking like it might break up.

South wind and sails up at 6:50, sailing down Onancock Creek.  More wind and soon making 4 knots towards the bay.  7:35 pleased to find the entrance channel to Onancock Creek calm.  Just before 8:00 pass the entrance marker and turn NNE. Patches of rain to the east.  Making 3.8 with wind over starboard quarter when the rain finds us.

The rain comes as goes.  Past the shoals that reach out from beach island the shore to the east is just a distant line of trees.  Checking weather the forecast is not good.  Morning rain, afternoon thunderstorms.  Light winds except for around thunderstorms.  The same for tomorrow, the day after and the day after that.  

Almost 10:00 and I can see the houses at Saxis above the marsh to the NE.  Light winds.  Flies, lots of biting flies.  Light winds, 2.8 towards Saxis.  I think about following BRINEY BUG across Pocomoke Sound, maybe even into the river.  Still a couple of hours from Saxis an early lunch of tuna fish, fruit cup and granola.  The wind comes and goes.  Checking the forecast doesn't make it any better.  

Just after noon, no wind.  Grey all around.  Check the forecast one more time, rain and thunderstorms for the next four days.  I decide to let the wind choose my plan.  Two miles from the entrance to Broad Creek, though I can't see it in the thin line of low-lying marsh, I will go through the creek to the Little Annemessex River.  If I find wind on the river I'll sail to Tilghman Island, maybe visit Tylerton there, or back north to explore the Big Annemessex.  If no wind, I will head back to the dock.  I see a waterman up ahead turn toward the marsh and I follow him towards the creek entrance.

Broad Creek is a winding path through the marsh grasses, pleasant and peaceful.  I've gone through it several times, mostly under sail.  Under power today, just the mizzen raised.  Another crabber comes up from behind in a large open boat, a crewman sleeping on the side deck.  I turn into the big wake he leaves behind and continue north.  

The Little Annemessex, light drizzle, no wind but I raise the sails anyway hoping for something.  I check weather radio one more time.  Rain and thunderstorms are all it says.  Frustrated, disappointed.  I am not a purist about sailing, I don't mind using an outboard.  But I am a purist about having fun, and rain with no clearing in sight is not fun.  I drift for a while, then motor sail into Somers Cove.  Back at the dock 2 pm, glad for the six days on the Sound.  I break down SPARTINA'S rig in the drizzle.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

the slowest circumnavigation

I am taking great joy in tracking what friends Michael and Sheila describe as the slowest circumnavigation on their ferrocement ketch KANTALA.   The red dot shows their most recent location as they head for the Azores.  The lower set of tracks is their current sail from Florida to Bermuda, the Azores and eventually Europe.  

The track above that from Virginia east and then north to Nova Scotia is from last summer, an attempt to cross the Atlantic which ended when their primary auto-steering system failed and their backup system began to fail.  So it was north to Nova Scotia then south to Maine, Chesapeake Bay and then Florida.

The have had a variety of sailing conditions on this current passage, the most recent message describing wonderful sailing in the middle of the ocean.

Michael called the evening before they set off from Florida, an enjoyable conversation where we caught up with each other since we got together for an early Thanksgiving dinner while they headed south on the ICW.  Michael and Sheila are not big on plans - they tend to live in the moment.   Maybe, Michael said, just maybe we would talk again in a couple of years.  There weren't quite sure when or where they were going, no need to make any long term plans for their circumnavigation which began in 1989.  

Monday, June 11, 2018

day five - a fast crossing

Awake at 5:30 after a wild night.  Went to sleep in the storm.  Woke at 1 a.m. for an anchor check.  By dawn the GPS track shows a complete circle around the anchor as the storm came and left.  The anchor held. 

Sail off anchor at 6:45, gusty and both reefs tucked in the main.  Two waterman work the oyster farm nearby.  They look in our direction and I imagine them wondering if I spent the night out there.  It's not as windy as I had imagined, the second reef comes out right away.

Just after 7:00 passing the tip of the sand spit at the south end of Tangier where a waterman is out working his pots.  Morning clouds begin to break up.

In Tangier Sound and full sail by 7:20, 3.7 to 4.2 knots across the rough water.  Past the protection of the island waves roll from the south, 4.6 to 5 kts down the front of the waves.

Just after 8:00 the water smooths out, better wind, 6.3 with a nice bow wave.

More wind and rough water at the entrance to Onancock Creek, 7.7 kts past the markers.  Outgoing tide against the wind, water very rough and wind building.  I sail to the edge of the channel, round up into the wind to bring down the main.  I'm irritated with myself when I see a trawler coming into the channel behind me, occupied with the wind and the water I had been completely unaware of the boat.  I sail back to the southern edge of the channel to give them plenty of room to pass by.  I'm soaked by the spray and the chop, the people on the trawler smile and wave.

We sail up the channel under mizzen and jib, wind over the starboard quarter and making 5.9.

Shifting winds sailing up the winding, tree-lined creek.  Mainsail back up at Marker 22, sometimes catching the wind, sometimes drifting past the tall pines.

Just after 10:00 Onancock in sight.  Docked at 10:20.  Time for laundry, lunch under the shade at Mallards at the Wharf, a walk through the pleasant little town that dates back to colonial times.  I catch up on my notebook, seek out the air conditioning and iced tea at the Blarney Stone Pub.  A shower, straighten up SPARTINA, back to Mallards for dinner, then the evening at a picnic table on the waterfront.  Back to SPARTINA, the boom tent up, I crawl into the sleeping bag for the night.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

kitchen confidential, industrial waters, road weary

With the sad news about Anthony Bourdain I was reminded of his famous book "Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly."  I have not seen Mr Bourdain on television, I don't watch much television at all.  But I have read many profiles of the man and reviews of his writing.  So I texted my good friend Dave, the chef, sailor and all-around Bon Vivant also known as BayDog, to see if I should read the book.  The image above was texted in return.  An endorsement of the best kind.  I think this might be the perfect book for the fall sail, if I can wait that long.


I have been working too hard, something that will surprise my friends who tell me that I never seem to work at all (seriously, I had somebody tell me that a little while ago).

It has been interesting and, at times, exhausting.  A couple trips to the Outer Banks, a couple of trips to the Eastern Shore.  One trip involved visiting a Panamax coal ship, Panamax meaning it is the largest ship that can fit through the Panama Canal.

And something a little more local, a little less exotic, yet equally interesting - a tug and a crane barge on the Elizabeth River.

I see these guys all the time while out sailing, it was good to meet them and get to know how their business works.

All the work has not been on the water, some of it was inland and involved more driving than I like.  That is the way it goes sometimes.  I'm tired of driving.  Hopefully I'll soon be back on a sailboat instead of watching them pass by from the bridge of a tug.

I hope to finish up the sailing log in the next couple days.