Sunday, March 1, 2015

Frozen Fishing From a New England Port -

New Bedford harbor
Frozen Fishing From a New England Port -

by Katherine Q. Seelye

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Mark Abraham, who has fished the New England coast for decades, kept a sharp eye on his catch as the slimy haddock spilled onto a dockside conveyor belt. He had just returned from 10 frigid days at sea, among the most brutal he has spent.

“It’s probably been the worst winter in 10 years,” he said as workers sorted the fish by weight and slid them into bins. “It’s not even the ice that’s stopping you, it’s the wind. It’s too rough to fish. If it’s rough like that, you don’t catch anything.”

This winter has pounded much of New England with record snowfall, encased the region in a deep freeze that has kept the snow from melting, and disrupted work, school and lives in general for millions of residents. Here in New Bedford, the top commercial fishing port in the nation, the winter has also slowed commerce, as was instantly apparent from Mr. Abraham’s relatively meager haul.

He unloaded 18,800 pounds of haddock at the Whaling City Seafood Display Auction here; Richard Canastra, president of the auction, said that in good weather, Mr. Abraham might have brought in 40,000 pounds.
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Ice floes -late winter

We just had the coldest February in 80 years in New York.  Average temperature 84 F!
Hunters Island, Pelham Bay Park

Hunter's Island, Pelham Bay Park

GW Bridge and Ft. Lee

North River from Chittenden Ave, Washington Heights

GW Bridge from CastleVillage
Friendship harbor - Maine

Saturday, February 21, 2015

100 Years of my dream boat the Herreshoff 12 1/2

I have always sailed small boats, starting with a Snipe as a boy.  When I collected on my first jury verdict I bought a City Island built cedar Snipe, put a 2 HP motor on the back, and tied it up at a silted-in marina - the Lighthouse Boat Club - in North Bergen, NJ.  I soon learned that the motor could barely push it against the North River tide.
After that I sailed Lightnings at Nyack Boat Club for ten years.  In 1994 we went to Friendship, Maine drawn by the legend of the Friendship sloop.
The next summer I saw a Herreshoff 12 1/2 bobbing at its mooring and fell in love.  I stopped in Mystic on the way home and bought what to me looked like a 12 1/2.  Actually I was cheated - it didn't come close to the measurements.  But it looked close enough for me and I got half my money out when I sold North River in 1999.  Then I bought my current boat - North River 2 - a Buzzards Bay 14.  Designed by L. Francis Herreshoff,  I call it a stretch 12 1/2 (17' LOA vs. 15'10" LOA).  The original H 12 1/2 was designed by the legendary Nat Herreshoff who called it a Buzzards Bay Boys Boat.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

USCG Icebreaker Frees Fishing Vessel Near Antarctica [PHOTOS] - gCaptain Maritime & Offshore News

U.S. Coast Guard Photo

Polar Star,  our only heavy icebreaker capable of Antarctic operation (40 y.o.) has freed the 275 foot F/V Australian Chieftain which was beset in pack ice. - gwc

USCG Icebreaker Frees Fishing Vessel Near Antarctica [PHOTOS] - gCaptain Maritime & Offshore News: "The crew of the USCGC Polar Star freed an Australian fishing vessel from thick pack ice Friday night approximately 900 miles northwest of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.

The 207-foot FV Antarctic Chieftain contacted Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand earlier this week after becoming beset in ice with 27 people aboard, reporting that three of its four propellers have been damaged by ice and it had lost its ability to maneuver. The RCC New Zealand then diverted the Polar Star, more than 330 miles away, to respond to the vessel.

After rendezvousing with the fishing vessel overnight Thursday, the crew of the Polar Star was able to take the Antarctic Chieftain in tow. The USCG reported that the vessels are surrounded by 12 to 15 feet thick ice covered with two feet of snow."

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Philip Levine, Former U.S. Poet Laureate Who Won Pulitzer, Dies at 87 -

Philip Levine was a favorite of mine and my favorite of all is the poem What Work Is.  Like William Carlos Williams he was an accurate observerof human emotion. - gwc

Philip Levine, Former U.S. Poet Laureate Who Won Pulitzer, Dies at 87 -

by Margalit Fox

Philip Levine, a former United States poet laureate whose work was vibrantly, angrily and often painfully alive with the sound, smell and sinew of heavy manual labor, died on Saturday morning at his home in Fresno, Calif. He was 87.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, said Christopher Buckley, a longtime friend and fellow poet.

Mr. Levine served as poet laureate from 2011 to 2012. He received a Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for his collection “The Simple Truth” and won two National Book Awards — in 1980 for “Ashes: Poems New & Old” and 1991 for “What Work Is.” His poetry appeared often in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine and other major publications.

At his death, he was an emeritus professor of English at California State University, Fresno, where he had taught from 1958 to 1992.

In spare, realistic free verse, Mr. Levine explored the subjects that had animated his work for decades: his gritty Detroit childhood; the soul-numbing factory jobs he held as a youth; Spain, where he lived for some time as an adult; and the Spanish anarchists of the 1930s, a personal passion since he was a boy.

These were themes with which few American poets were concerning themselves when his first collection, “On the Edge,” appeared in 1961. “A large, ironic Whitman of the industrial heartland” is how the poet Edward Hirsch, writing in The New York Times Book Review, described Mr. Levine in 1984.

Dwight Garner,  writing in the Times in 2011, said

The work of Philip Levine, America’s new and 18th poet laureate, is welcome because it radiates a heat of a sort not often felt in today’s poetry, that transmitted by grease, soil, factory light, cheap and honest food, sweat, low pay, cigarettes and second shifts. It is a plainspoken poetry ready-made, it seems, for a time of S&P downgrades, a double-dip recession and debts left unpaid.

The book to buy, if you haven’t read Mr. Levine, is “What Work Is,” which won a National Book Award in 1991. It won’t give you the most rounded sense of his long and varied career, but it starts strong and, like a perfect rock record, won’t quit. Mr. Levine was born in Detroit and worked in Cadillac and Chevy factories as a young man; his evocations of working-class life are moving and exacting.

Here’s the beginning of “Fear and Fame,” which opens “What Work Is”:

Half an hour to dress, wide rubber hip boots,
gauntlets to the elbow, a plastic helmet
like a knight’s but with a little glass window
that kept steaming over, and a respirator
to save my smoke-stained lungs. I would descend
step by slow step into the dim world
of the pickling tank and there prepare
the new solutions from the great carboys
of acids lowered to me on ropes — all from a recipe
I shared with nobody and learned from Frank O’Mera
before he went off to the bars on Vernor Highway
to drink himself to death.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day Weekend

Low tide on the Back River


Friday, February 13, 2015

Memorial Mass - Clare Marie Trautfield Conk

Our brilliant and accomplished mother Clare Marie Trautfield Conk (1922 - 2015) was remembered at a Mass of Christian Burial at the beautiful Blessed Junipero Serra Chapel, Mission Santa Barbara, on February 6, 2015.  By sad coincidence my sister Kathryn Therese, who had long been in poor health, died the night before and was remembered on this our saddest day.

My mother was eulogized by memy sister Nancy, and my brother Peter who read a passage from the Book of Proverbs.  My brother Steven read a letter from Paul to the Philippians, reminding me that he had been a champion high school  forensic speaker.  Mom's husband of seventy years, our dear father George, was present, struggling with the flu.  They had marked their 70th anniversary on January 27, only four days before our mother's passing.

With Nancy, Dad, Norma, Peter

George at Serra Chapel, Mission Santa Barbara

Mom and Dad, Stones Point, Maine- 2009

Clare never passed up a boat ride
with Sophia Clare Conk - her youngest grandchild

With Dad and Nan at the dedication
Clare Conk Castillo homes
Mom was a WWII vet - a Navy WAV
and a member of the California Bar - self-taught!

We all walk this earth feeling we are frauds - The Quotable David Carr -

David Carr was a great journalist and, hardest of all, an honest memoirist.  He was addicted to crack cocaine, nicotine, endangered his tiny twin daughters and yet managed to redeem himself.  But he did not escape the damage he had done to his body.  He collapsed in the Times newsroom - dead at 58.  He knew as Benedictine Brother David Steindel Rast said that "gratefulness is the heart of prayer".

The Quotable David Carr -
‘We All Walk This Earth Feeling We Are Frauds’

From his book, The Night of the Gun:

“I now inhabit a life I don’t deserve, but we all walk this earth feeling we are frauds. The trick is to be grateful and hope the caper doesn’t end soon.”

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

USCG Icebreaker 'Polar Star' Sent to Rescue Vessel Stuck in Ice Off Antarctica - gCaptain Maritime & Offshore News

Coast Guard heavy icebreaker Polar Star
USCG Icebreaker 'Polar Star' Sent to Rescue Vessel Stuck in Ice Off Antarctica - gCaptain Maritime & Offshore News

"The U.S. Coast Guard heavy icebreaker USCGC Polar Star’ has been called on to respond to a 207-foot fishing vessel with 27 people aboard that is stuck in thick ice approximately 900 miles northeast of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.

The Australian-flagged FV Antarctic Chieftain contacted Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand after becoming beset in ice, reporting that three of its four propellers have been damaged by ice and it has lost its ability to maneuver.

RCC New Zealand has diverted U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, homeported in Seattle, to respond to the vessel. The 150-person crew of Polar Star was deployed to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, as part of Operation Deep Freeze, which provides military logistical support to the U.S. Antarctic Program managed by the National Science Foundation. The crew had just completed their mission at McMurdo Station when they diverted to aid the vessel in distress on Tuesday at 9:15 p.m."

Polar Star will need to steam more than 330 miles to reach the vessel. Ice in the some areas has been reported to be 9 feet thick, with 35 mph winds and heavy snowfall, according to the USCG. The crew of Polar Star is scheduled to reach the Antarctic Chieftain Thursday at approximately 10 p.m
Once on scene, the crew of the Polar Star attempt to free the Antarctic Chieftain from the ice, and the New Zealand-flagged fishing vessel Janas is schedule to escort or tow the vessel to the nearest safe harbor. The FV Janas is approximately 600-miles away from the Antarctic Chieftain’s position, the Coast Guard said.

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