Thursday, July 30, 2009

Coast Guard Station Rockland

We missed the Eagle - it was pouring all day and I was the only one with rain gear. But when the weather cleared, we got the tour of Coast Guard Station Rockland. Here is the slide show.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Towing - it's not just for tugboats

Today my father, my friend John, and I grabbed Geraldine - a 23 foot hard-top pickup truck of a boat - in Thomaston and went downriver on the St. George. 7 miles south at Otis Cove we picked up a disabled 18' Parker for Jeff's Marine. (At Otis Cove we also checked out Art Tibbetts, who started on a new dock yesterday and had made substantial progress by this evening.)

We continued south to Maple Juice Cove to pick up Grace, my 18' 1957 Lyman which (despite a new blade cutter) had a lobster pot line wrapped around the prop.

We towed the two 8 miles north on the St. George River to the public landing in Thomaston where trailers awaited. Mine was on the trailer just long enough to cut the line. Then over to Jeff's to pick up Toaster, my 18' O'Day to tow it south to Maple Juice Cove. When we got to MJC we saw just behind us beautiful old sailboat pulling in for the might to its placid anchorage. I'll try to get the name in the morning.

One of these days I have to get to work. But it may not be tomorrow.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A shot from Lisa's spot

Hupper Island and Little Caldwell Island, from Stones Point Road, Pleasant Point Rd., Cushing, ME
The link to Lisa's shot is here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lady Debbie

Lyman Morse Boatbuilding, f/k/a Morse Boatbuilding is a builder of fine boats, and service yard for anybody who comes by with a boat - like Lady Debbie- a working dragger, one of the few on the Mid-Coast. Wood is good. It lasts a long time and if something breaks you just lay in another piece of wood.

Click on photos to enlarge thumbnails.

90th birthday/retirement party for Thomaston boat builder

"It's the excitement and the honor of seeing one after it's built in the water floating away," he said. "You see them from the time they lay the keel till they are finished and sailing away."

When asked if he will miss it, he nodded.

That's Richard Benner on the occasion of his 90th birthday/retirement party at Lyman Morse Boatbuilding Co., the brilliant yard that dominates the harbor in the town where an Englishman first staked a claim of right to New England (first possession was the flawed theory).

Lyman Morse does it all. Most of the work is building and servicing rich men's sailboats - but it is a full service boat yard that takes all the work they can get, as the post above this one shows.

Benner is profiled in the Herald Gazette, here.

But this is Richard Benner's day and here he is with Cabot Lyman who bought Morse boatbuilding 32 years ago and has made it thrive - while doing a lot of sailing, including a circumnavigation.

Daniel Dunkle

Friday, July 24, 2009

Peloton riding through sunflowers

Stage 11 - Tour de France.
Armstrong is in 3rd overall. A great vindication of his championship credentials - at 37 - after four years away from competition. Interesting that he was a 2:50 marathoner.

1 800 Own Dock

Want to have your own dock at your dream house on the rockbound Mid-Coast of Maine? Art Tibbets of Thomaston is your man. He's got all the fixins and they travel as a unit.

Here he is southbound on the St. George River, at Otis Cove, just north of Port Clyde.
Link to slide show is here
As always, click on a picture to expand the thumbnail.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Russ, Yoshi, and James Explore the Back River

James showed Yoshi and Russ the way down the Back River, around Heron Bend to James Meadow and back home.

The slideshow is here.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Issuma: Whale alongside

Richard Hudson and Issuma are underway, southbound sailing close to the coast of Brazil. Here is what they encountered yesterday. You are looking through the triangle formed by the main sheet at the aft end of the boom. The red piece is, I assume, the wind vane for the self-steering mechanism.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Walter Leland Cronkite

He didn't relinquish the helm until he crossed the bar.
It is with deep regret that we relay the passing of Walter Cronkite...
The Most Trusted Man in America... Revered and highly esteemed Member of the City Island Yacht Club.

Walter Leland Cronkite
1916 - 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Georges Harbour - Henry Hudson's first landing in the New World - July 1609

One would like to believe that the great navigators made grand, generous entrances in the New World. But no. Hudson expected the worst from the "savages" and quickly started to plunder.

Here is the day by day account of his third voyage (1609). (Looking for a route to the orient, the first was north to Iceland, the second northeast over the top of Norway and Sweden. The third sought a northwest passage.) Thanks to Ian Chadwick, whose blog is here. Thanks to Tugster for the link.

July 2

The Half Moon sounded the Grand Banks off Newfoundland.

  • 3: They moved south, where they spotted a fleet of French fishing vessels, but didn't speak with them. The crew took soundings and caught 100-200 cod.
  • 8: The Half Moon reached Newfoundland and sails west-southwest.
  • 12: Hudson sighted the coast of North America, a "low white sandie ground,"
  • 13: Off Cape Sable, Nova Scotia.
  • 14: Off Penobscot Bay, Maine. For three days the ship was trapped in a deep fog, which lifts on the fourth day. The crew was able to go ashore where they met and trade with natives who offered them no harm.
  • 17: The crew went ashore again to trade and meet the natives.Native woman
  • 18: Anchor in George's Harbour. Hudson went ashore, his first landing in the New World.
  • 19: Crew traded with natives. Juet wrote: "The people coming aboard showed us great friendship, but we could not trust them." He remained suspicious of the natives, despite no effort to do them harm. The crew continued to trade with the natives for several days while they remained at anchor, fixing their mast. They caught and cooked 31 lobster. Hudson ate with his men at this feast, providing two jugs of wine from his private stores.
  • 21-22: The crew cut several spare masts and stores them in the hold. On July 21, the ship's cat went crazy, upsetting the superstitious crew. It "ran crying from one side of the ship to the other, looking overboard. This made us wonder, but we saw nothing."
  • 24: Juet wrote: "We kept a good watch for fear of being betrayed by the people, and noticed where they kept their shallops." The crew catch 20 "great cods and a great halibut" in nearby waters.
  • 25: Juet took an armed crew of six men to the native village and wrote in his journal "In the morning we manned our scute with four muskets and six men, and took one of their shallops and brought it aboard. Then we manned our boat and scute with twelve men and muskets, and two stone pieces, or murderers, and drave the salvages from their houses, and took the spoil of them, as they would have done us."
  • The crew stole a boat that morning, then later in the evening, 12 armed crew went back and drove the Indians away from their encampment, stealing everything they could, on the pretense the natives would have done the same to them. No one was punished for this act.
  • 26: Fearful of an Indian counterattack, Hudson sailed away at 5 a.m.

Henry Hudson landed at the St. George River

Tugster posed the question: where is this? I said to myself - Caldwell and Gay Islands in the St. George River. But then I said - oh, could be any one of several hundred spots in the Gulf of Maine archipelago. Well lo, and behold, it is the St. George, and it is Cushing - though I couldn't say with confidence which spot. But why be shy? I say - this shot is taken from Stones Point Road on Pleasant Point Gut looking south.

Turns out Henry Hudson landed on the St. George in 1609 on his way to discovering the North River. Hi mission was to replace a foremast lost at sea. Allen Island is the best candidate for that - its magnificent tall stand of trees still thrives. I had no idea Half Moon had landed there.

I knew, of course that Waymouth's first anchorage in 1605 was George's Harbor - the protected cove formed by Allen, Benner, Davis & Burnt Islands. That, of course is where Maine and New England were founded, by common consensus - marked by the stone cross erected there in 1905 for the Tricentennial. (more shots in this post).

And of course I knew that Waymouth was the first to make a claim of right of possession (w/o just cause) in what we now call New England. And he made it in Thomaston, an event this bronze plaque commemorates.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pilot boat on Pilot Street

There is a pilot station on Pilot Street, City Island. At the opposite end of the street is City Island Y.C., where we are members and North River 2 is moored. The pilot boat - Newark Bay - docks on the inside of the rusting old fuel barge that protects Consolidated Yachts. One of the oldest yards on City Island, it is still the home of a lot of good boats. It was here that the schooner Mary E was hauled out last winter for maintenance.


James is positioned at the bow of my Walker Bay 8, like an explorer poised to be the first to step onto the new land and claim it for Clan Costello. As as for me - without my SPF 70 my skin tone is indistinguishable from my official Herreshoff T-shirt and cap - both of which are pink.

Big ship approaching Piscataqua River Bridge

It's a landmark - the high Piscataqua River bridge on I-95. Portsmouth, NH on the south, Kittery, ME on the north and the swift Piss-Kat-uh-Kwa running underneath. As we crossed a week ago we were startled by the massive bulk carrier approaching the bridge, southbound. Seemed as high as the bridge when we first spotted it upriver, guided by two tugs - one port and one starboard, down the winding river, with the tide (I hope).

Issuma - southbound

Soutbound from Salvador "out of the tropics" toward cooler weather is where Richard Hudson reports he is headed. It'll get cooler alright. This is the astral winter, isn't it?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Peloton - Stage 6

winning speed: 29 mph, 112 miles
Fabian Cancellara, Switzerland wears the yellow jersey

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Jersey's official tall ship - the A.J. Meerwald

The A.J. Meerwald - a 115 foot restored Delaware Bay (South River) oyster schooner - is visiting the Hudson (North) River.

The Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area and the Crossroads of the American Revolution Heritage Area, in cooperation with the Nyack Boat Club and the Palisades Interstate Park are sponsoring a cruise on the Hudson River. Driven by over 3,500 square feet of sail, it should get a move on even on a light air summer day!

The boat will depart from the Alpine boat basin.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
9:30 am to approx. 5:00 pm

To register, visit the Crossroads website at and click on donate and then the menu option "other".
For further information, email Palisades Park Convservancy at or call 609-633-2060.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Thomaston - New England's first town

Thomaston is 8 miles north of Port Clyde on the St. George River, just west of Rockland. Few stop there, though some head by and for boats to Lyman Morse - the all-purpose yard specializing in luxury yachts. Some check in at Jeff's Marine where the "pirate of the Midcoast" will sell you a skiff with a Yamaha 4-stroke on the back.

Thomaston has a great Fourth of July parade - and a great Halloween too. Crowds line the Main Street for 1/2 mile in front of classic colonial homes, and the monument-studded mall.

The site of George Waymouth's first sustained anchorage - in 1605 - at what is now George's Harbor - 12 miles south - is the acknowledged founding spot of New England. The cross placed there in 1905 by the governor of Maine marks Waymouth's first sustained anchorage in the New World.

But Thomaston has a distinct claim to fame: Waymouth landed and claimed a right of possession there, where the River narrows and turns west. A bronze plaque marks the event. Some highlights of the parade are above.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Bowsprite - the Sturgeon of Liberty State Park

Thanks to Tugster and Bowsprite for exploring a surviving bit of the salt marsh behind the Statue of Liberty. They find clams, oysters, sturgeons and other harbor edibles. A video of the biggest find - the carcass of a 6 foot sturgeon - shows that the fish that once dominated the river survives.

The marsh and the fish are transformed by Bowsprite's watercolors, which beautifully abstract the shock of the found carcass of a six foot sturgeon. The fish lies half-buried in a salt marsh of the kind that once dominated the harbor shoreline, in a lost, beautiful world. The river and the harbor fed New York City and its surrounds. Sturgeon (Albany beef), shad, stripers and blues, along with the oysters that carpeted the bottom of the New York Bay, were the staple source of protein in New York's first three centuries.

My daughter Taisy's fifth grade teacher - Mr. Lofton - at P.S. 84 on Columbus Avenue - took the kids to Jamaica Bay to cast nets and catch shiners (spearing)! Mr. Lofton was an award-winning teacher. The City should be pleading with Bowsprite and Tugster - to teach teachers how to teach children (and grownups) about the Harbor.