Sunday, May 31, 2009

Penobscot Bay Pilots

I have often wondered - who are the pilots who navigate those massive tankers and bulk carriers through the Penobscot Bay. They are the men and women (like Capt. Jane Ryan) of the Penobscot Bay & River Pilots Association. They serve Searsport, Bucksport, and Bar Harbour.

The switch from the 61 foot pilot boat to ship via the ladder over the side may be a piece of cake on balmy days like the afternoon I took the shot above. But what about in a gale like this?

Blues man

Corner of Astor Place & Lafayette Street in front of then Astor Wines & Spirits.
Image: George Mocsary

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lilac - a little noticed steamer turns 76

Bowsprite has posted new work. My favorite is Lilac, seen here. A one-time Coast Guard lighthouse tender, it is docked at Pier 40 near Houston Street. Tugster has gotten down below and taken shots of the engine room today and has links to historic shots like the one below. It shows the engine room in the ship's glory days when it was the USCG vessel Oak.

And here is the link to the Lilac Preservation Project. You can visit it, support it, etc.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Issuma: Salvador to Recife

Richard Hudson is on the move again.

A four day sail from Salvador to Recife (the northeast corner of Brasil).

Here is the link to his site - which is also in the blog roll on the right of the page.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Volvo: grrr...Lobster Pots Stop Green Dragon

The Volvo fleet took off from Boston for Galway Saturday. A sentimental reverse voyage to me because my great grandfather Thomas Costello came to New York from there. And probably the same for the Curtises from County Clare, which explains my mother's name.

Traveling on a Volvo 70 is not very different from a famine ship: below decks most of the time, probably sick as a dog in rough seas, cause there are skylights but nothing you could call a port hole. So you spend most of your time in the amenity-less haven of pipe bunks and gear below deck. Click on the thumbnails to get a closeup view.

Getting out of Boston Harbor was tricky - with the tanker Nor'Easter blocking the way, as the picture shows. And then the dread with which we all live Down East: lobster pots.

The skipper of Green Dragon - the Chinese-built Irish-crewed boat reports:

Green Dragon - Ian Walker (Skipper)

Why did I have to mention the threat of lobster pots yesterday? Today as we rounded Cape Sable off the Southern tip of Nova Scotia we were confronted by hundreds of them and to make matters worse, it was low tide and the lines were slack with little or no pattern.

After zig zagging our way through with a lookout forward we eventually hooked one on our leeward daggerboard. Five minutes later we had three of them entangling us. After backing down and clearing two of them we realised one line had sawn its way through the leading edge of the port daggerboard. We managed to raise the board and cut it free but we are left with a 250 cut in the laminate of our daggerboard one metre up from the tip. The rope we hit must have been over a metre below the surface!

We cannot leave the board in this state or the laminate will peel away and the board will start to disintegrate. Right now the watch system is on hold and we have four teams of people working onboard. Two people are sailing the boat as fast as they can with no daggerboards, three people led by Neal are working to repair the damaged board down below and three people led by Damian are working to swap the windward board end-for-end into the leeward case and two people are eating or resting.

Hopefully we will have the daggerboards reversed and can sail at 100% in the next hour and the port daggerboard can hopefully be fixed before we have to go upwind. This is a big disappointment as we were in sight of 5 boats and sailing well. We can only hope that we don't lose touch with the fleet and live to fight another day.

Got to go and help.


For more, click HERE

Images: Taisy

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Idylls of Spring

A man, a boy, a dog, a boat.
Life on the Back River, Friendship, Maine
Discovering new lands: James Landing, Nikolas Landing (picnic landings), the Meduncook and Back rivers

Monday, May 11, 2009

Double Eagle

It's not a golf thing. Double Eagle is a sardine carrier - a traditional wood one, maintained at Lyman Morse boatyard in Thomaston, Maine. The transporter's giant vacuum cleaner takes the fish from the draggerz and then hurries to market.

It looks to me like the sardine carrier called Grayling that Benjamin Mendlowitz photographed for WoodenBoat. The whole slide show can be found on my Picasa site here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ulysses Luke - dob 5/9/2009

It's a lot to live up to, expectations to contend with when you have got a name like Ulysses Luke, born to Jesse and Pascale on May 9, 2009, at about 5:00 AM, 9 lbs, 5 oz, in Keene, New Hampshire.

Newborn pix here

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Back River Blue Heron

I am going to have to get a longer lens,
like the contributors to the great Spanish birdwatching blo
Miradas Cantabricas. But these will do for the moment. These shots are taken right out back at our place in Friendship. The last shot is of the house from my skiff.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Delivery & Launch

Darrin and crew from Carpenter's Boatshop in Pemaquid delivered, on moving-in day in Friendship, my Monhegan skiff, and Marilyn's Adirondack chair.

The bank of the Back River, more on that later, is the kind of environment in which Water Rat and the Mole thrive in The Wind in the Willows, which opens with the famous soliloquy to messing about in boats.