Saturday, October 3, 2009

Where the fog are we?

Here's a small video motoring through the Maine fog. Not quite Pea Soup in thickness but chicken, for sure.

When I first started sailing in Maine with Laurel and Laurel's parents George and Greta, a big deal was never made of fog. George would always say that fog works out and his running joke while in the fog was usually "Where the fog are we?"
Back then before plotters and GPS were really popular we just worked it out on paper, plotted a course, kept current and tide in mind and watched our time and speed carefully. We also kept our ears wide open. Because if you're sailing you can hear an awful lot in the fog. Like breakers, the swish of swaying seaweed on rocks, bells, gongs and other boats.
Laurel and I did a cruise with her parents in Penobscot Bay and when we awoke to fog one morning George employed his "aim straight at land in the fog method." While this method isn't for everyone it suited George's way of thinking perfectly.
The area we were in was surrounded by deep water islands. George felt that if you plotted a course straight to your final destination, you wouldn't have a way to know if you had strayed off course, if you could confirm some points along the way you could be more confident of your position.
So he plotted straight for the middle of an island. We would sail the course, keeping an eye on the depth sounder and when the island appeared (usually no more than a couple of boat lengths away) we would tack and run alongside the shore till it fell off, then continue on to our next controlled near collision till we made our destination.
As a young lad very mesmerized by the sea and sailing, I just drank this stuff in and when we later did our own first cruise aboard a small 12 1/2 foot sailboat with just our sails, a pair of long oars, a stopwatch, compass, and our senses. George's lessons, adapted a bit, served us well indeed.

I think the most important lesson about this for me was that fog always works out, and armed with that belief, some skills, tools, and a bit of confidence one can venture forth in fog and in life; our near collisions helping us find our way.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Foggy Commute

Small video of my commute through foggy Maine. I'm busy at BRB, we're unstepping masts and in general doing a lot of boat moving, sea trials, shuffling plus helping clients end their seasons. Many boats headed South, I wish them well.

Kiddos are great and all indications thus far are that they are ahead of their classes, despite our year out and homeschooling on the go. Laurel is working at a frame shop, so we're all employed. I'm taking a class here and there, life is good. Hope all is well with you.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Conch cleaning and jobs

I did my first week of work which was a week of transition as the person I was replacing was going out and I was coming in. He also had the responsibility of training me but seemed a bit unhappy which made it more of a chore. He has now moved on and I feel as if I'm starting to settle in nicely.

I have a small video on cleaning conch, the person cleaning it is Andrew at Frazer's Hog Cay in the Bahamas (at the Berry Island Club). There are two steps missing in the video. One tapping the slot on the shell and two peeling the skin off. The more crucial one is peeling the skin off. Just take a sharp knife lengthwise under the proboscis and eyes make a shallow cut and use the knife to leverage the skin off. Helps if you have a glove on because conch is wicked slippery.

I haven't had a chance to search for the ultimate boatyard shoe but am coming to accept the pair I already have. I suppose time does that for you. The kids started school and all is well, Laurel secured a job caring for folks but has not begun yet. Missing the thought of getting on a boat and venturing somewhere far but we're just on a different phase of life just now and frankly I'm feeling fortunate for my job in this economy. Let me know what you think of the video...

Best, C.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tarantulas, Mini golf and a hole in one.

Alistair and I played mini golf today at Long Shot. Really had a great time. I had hoped to video some of it but my camera is on the blink, again...

Alistair played great and managed to par a lot of the holes, I made a hole in one on number 4. We were hoping that it was the secret hole in one for the day, as we would have gotten a free round but we were informed that the "secret" hole was number 12. Oh well...

After our round I bought Alistair a popsicle and like backseat drivers we stood behind the golfers on the range, silently giving advice.

Once home I went back to editing a little sailing video. Find it below.

Tomorrow will be my second day at BRB. Over the weekend I bought some new pants and a fleece vest for work and I spent some time looking for good, simple, warm, sturdy shoes but I couldn't find a pair that didn't look like a drag car or a tarantula on a sole, so I'll keep looking.

Will keep you abreast of the shoe search, have a great week!


Friday, August 28, 2009

First day of work and skateboards

I had my first day of work today at Boothbay Region Boatyard, where I'll be the new rigger/dockmaster. I used to work for Maloney Marine Rigging which is in the same compound and rents space from BRB, so I know a lot of the folks there and most faces are familiar to me. Sort of nice, a bit like a homecoming.

I spent my first day dealing with admin, safety and an introduction to the job. Then spent the rest of the day on the docks, rigging season not quite underfoot yet.

On a different tack I've attached this small video of Dakota and me skateboarding.

I've been having a blast editing and using my sensibilities in something other than still photography which is my background and what I'm comfortable with but now I gotta go, my turn to read to the kids. See ya C.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Frustrations, Solutions

We've now been back about a month, we're making progress on the job front having had some interviews and interest from a couple of places. We are patiently... waiting for more information from a couple places to see if we can put something together.

I've also been working on slide shows, PowerPoint and editing video. Which has been a lot of fun albeit the frustrations that technology can bring about at times. Oddly what creates the frustrations is resolved by the same means. I just post whatever frustration I'm experiencing on the web and find that countless other frustrated folks have been there prior to me and have ready answers for the plucking.

This video is from when we first started our voyage, it's the day after Halloween and we're sailing down the lower Chesapeake. Don't mind the fact that I use the word "awesome" more than an eighties valley girl, just a throwback...

We're also reconnecting with the community, I spent time at the Bowdoinham library today, doing satisfyingly mundane stuff like chatting with librarian Kate Cutko about cook books and Italian wedding soup.
We've been to friend's homes, had some friends here and partied with half the town last Saturday night. What better way to reconnect than to imbibe a wee much with friends.

Alas mateys, so it goes.

Best, C.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Dolphins and Job Hunting

It's been a while since I've posted anything, we've been a bit crazy just getting our house back together, seeing friends and family, and alas also job hunting.

I've attached a video of dolphins playing in our bow wake. This is just off Marathon in the Florida keys. It's quite a large pod to include babies. Very cool.

My first time posting video so I'm not sure if it's in the right format or what have you. If any of you have any suggestions please let me know.

Just started using Facebook, it's been great to reconnect with friends that I haven't seen in forever, however it is a huge time waster.

Looking for a job has definitely been frustrating, as so much of it these days is sending out resumes through the web, I'm slowly realizing that's not the path. Will keep you updated. Seems as if we managed to come to Maine as the weather finally changed to good and have had more than one person thank me for bringing the sun. I like being known as a bringer of the sun. If I could only get a job doing that....

Friday, July 31, 2009

Cuttyhunk to Freeport, Maine

Well, after Martha's Vinyard we sailed over to Cuttyhunk, the last island in the Elizabeth island chain, and spent the day. We had fun hiking the island and then going to the beach for rock throwing challenges. Dakota loves to rock scramble.
Hike on the rocky beach.
Taking a break
We then went to South Dartmouth to meet us with our friend Lauren and Cary and their two kids, Max and Milo. They were staying with their friend Jenn, in the middle.
The four boys.
The kids made a dam together
We then sailed through the Cape Cod canal and up to Provincetwon, MA. These pictures are widows looking out for their husbands to come home from sea.
They built a 1/2 sized boat in the library.
We met up with our friend Pat and John there and spent a day with them.
They kindly towed us to our boat with our groceries!
Our next stop was Gloucester, a fishing town. On our way we saw humpback whales!!

Alistair mastering the monkey bars
A cool sculpture of an artist
Then we went to the Isle of Shoals, which is a group of islands in New Hampshire and Maine. One island, Star, has a big hotel and retreat center and lots of trails, some of this island is open to the public to explore.
Another island, Smuttynose, is privately owned but open to the public as an historical site where a famous murder happened 100 years ago.
The harbor at sunset. The next morning we set sail for Casco bay and made it in late, then on to Freeport the following morning. We've been in Freeport for one week and plan to move back to the house tomorrow! We plan on continuing the blog from home so keep on visiting!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Martha's Vinyard

We spent 7 days on Martha's Vinyard anchored in Lake Tashmoo, a lovely well protected anchorage close to Vinyard haven or Tisbury. We had a great time on the island! We took the bus all over, played on the beach, walked among the old captain's houses and admired a variety of boats in the harbors. Dakota and I on the beach in Tisbury
The road leading down to the dock in Lake Tashmoo.
Aquinnah cliffs from a look out. These cliffs are visible as you sail in Rhode Island sound towards Buzzard's bay.
Dakota looking at the lighthouse.
That same day we went to a town called Menemsha and the kids went crabbing with many other kids and had a ball!
More crabs!
Statue in Menemsha
The crab was this big!! Crabbing in Tisbury, they caught maybe 30 crabs!

Many of the towns on the Vinyard are very old and have a long history of fishing and whaling, therefore they have old captain's houses with widows walks. These are balconies on the roof where the wife of a sailor would go to look out to sea and see if her husband was returning.
Some of the garden's were lovely, many houses are planted with hydrangas and daisys and many other perennials.
The path to the lighthouse and beach.These roses grow wild here!

Edgartown's waterfront
Charles relaxing in front of the Whaling Church
Pillars of the Whaling Church in Edgartown. They are made of wood, the whole building is classic New England architecture.
Our last day we met a lovely couple, John and Pat, sailing on Remedy their nonesuch 30. They had us for cocktails and we all loved them. This in Pat with Alistair.
All in all we loved MV. it was a definite highlight for me this whole trip. A perfect blend of quaint towns, very friendly people, interesting history, crabbing for the kids and of course there was Lake Tashmoo.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Woods Hole

We travelled from Watch Hill in Rhode Island where we had spent the fourth to Cuttyhunk in the Elizabeth islands of Cape Cod.

NOAA had predicted light winds instead we got 25 knots and by the end of the day 6 foot seas. Not a problem as it was behind us and it was taking us fast to our destination but our dinghy was surfing down the waves hard enough to hit the boat and then get jerked as the Alice took the slack of the line up. It was enough to damage the painter attachment point.

We played with how much line we let out to stop the surfing but by then the damage was done. In retrospect we should have put the dinghy on deck but had expected light winds so didn't. Lesson learned..

We spent a windy night anchored in the outside harbor of Cuttyhunk and then left early to meet up with our friends Josh and Naomi and their kids Yacob and Jasmine. Josh and Naomi summer in Woods Hole where their family has a summer place. We anchored on the Buzzard's Bay side just in front of their association beach. Was really great, the kids played and swam hunted for creatures and got along really well.

Meanwhile Josh helped me fix the dinghy. They very kindly gave us the tour of the local area including the aquarium and part of the institute's tanks which house everything from Fiddler crabs to squid, lobster, dogfish and much more. Definitely a highlight. We also heard and participated in local folk singing on Tuesday nights a Wood's hole tradition for over 40 years.

Here the kids are setting up a trap to catch fish in Eel pond. One of the local restaurants nicely donated their old bread to the kids.

Here is one of the touch tanks at the institute, Josh is handling a blue lobster. Great stuff for the kids and us.

We spent a few days there with many excursions into town, here the kids are playing soccer at Josh and Naomi's place.

We left Wood's Hole with the end of the current as it rips through theWoods Hole cut. Josh, Naomi and kids joined us for the sail to Martha's Vineyard, where they planned to return via ferry later in the day.

Josh cranking in the Yankee.

Naomi and Jasmine up forward.

We all took the bus to Oak Bluffs, and then went to the Flying Horses a merry go round carousel where you have the additional challenge of trying to grab small rings as you go around. If you get a brass ring you get to ride again. The kids really dug this.

Here is Dakota trying to get a ring. It looks static here in the picture but when the carousel is moving right along its pretty exciting!

The horses are all antiques, you stack your rings on a rod on top of the horse's head.

Of course there was ice cream. This is the "kiddy size" in Oak Bluffs.

In Oak Bluffs there is a section of town that is all Ginger Bread cottages, these started in 1835 as tents where people would get together for religous congregations. Apparently these were huge events with each mainland church having it's own tent. Over time these tents got roofs and eventually evolved to these cottages. They are arranged in a semicircle around an area called the Tabernacle where the preaching happened.

All in all we had an excellent time with Olins-Beal family, thanks for the great time guys!