Saturday, January 30, 2010

High tides

Images source Keith Cool: HERE
The full moon was at 1:17 this morning, according to the Times.  What does that mean for the tides?   They will be at the high end of the range.  and that is the case according to the charts: 5.7 feet at The Battery, 8.7 at Kings Point, 11.4 at Friendship Harbor in Maine.  The high end of normal.

Notice in the animated image above that at the half moon the image is round.  These are the neap tides.  Tides are low.  At the full and new moon the oceans bulge out, attracted to the moon and sun.  Tides are high.

Last night a kayaker told us that today is a proxigean high tide (when the moon is extremely close to the earth and the sun is on the same side).  Maybe - but I couldn't find anyone predicting that we are at such an unusual astronomical event - maybe it's just the ordinary monthly perigee.

Another image from Keith Cool - Halls Harbor, Nova Scotia, on the Bay of Fundy shows the dramatic (20 feet +/-) in a six and a half hour period:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Law of the sea: America's Cup may run aground again

The America's Cup - named for the great Sandy Hook Pilot schooner that beat all comers 'round the isle of Wight, is sailing's biggest prize - for lawyers.  The Cup was won by a great sailor who has the misofrtune to be from Lake Geneva, which is not, as the Deed of Gift requires, an arm of the sea.  The latest snag is that Alinghi's sails were not made in Switzerland, surprising given its history as a reat maritime nation.  

Now Ernesto Bertarelli says he may forfeit the race to fellow billionaire Larry Ellison if he loses in court once more.  Good, as far I am concerned.  He wanted to race in Abu Dhabi, where the racers might have been wrecked by a falling skyscraper or something. Best case scenario: Ellison wins on the water and brings the race to San Francisco where we can have photogenic races in lots of wind that people can watch from the Golden Gate Bridge.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Regulars - James & George at breakfast


Credits: below - Manhattan Times; Top: Pete & Luis - waiter and counterman Susan Sermoneta

Minor celebrity has found me.  The Manhattan Times - the local freebie weekly -did a profile of the Greek coffee shop (nee Angela's now Vicky's).  It featured me: the guy who sits in the window seat with his loyal dog staring patiently, waiting.  Most people have commented on Vicky's reference to me as a "souvenir", and an "antique".  She tells me that is because I am valuable.  Hmm.

The Regular - 10 years in the same seat
by Adam Garrett Clark, Manhattan Times 

Every weekday morning for the last 10 years or so a little after 8:30 a.m., George Conk ties up his yellow Labrador Retriever, James, outside Vicky’s Diner on W. 187th Street, takes his usual seat in the corner by the door and has the usual: a bowl of oatmeal, glass of grapefruit juice and a coffee.
The regularity is good for his “Circadian rhythms,” he explains, eating at the same time everyday is healthy for the digestive system. For a long time the waiter, Pete Mousaeakas, knew Conk’s “usual” to be a fried egg, light over easy, on buttered whole wheat toast, but Conk is trying to watch his weight.  
Conk is what owner Vicky Limberis calls one of her “souvenir customers:” he’s like an antique she explains, a historical fixture in the restaurant whose daily appearances predate her taking over the business.
The rest of the story is HERE

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Draggers in Upper NY Bay

  Nothing special about seeing a few fishing boats: until you learn that this is New York harbor - in January 2010.  the light house below is Robbins Reef - just north of the Kill Van Kull - the channel into the Port Newark container port.  On shore is Bayonne and the tank farm.  What's the catch?  Bunker (menhaden) is my guess.  For more pix go to Tugster, the leading chronicler of New York Harbor.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Swampscott dory

It was a beautiful 40 degree Saturday morning.  We met these men launching a Swampscott dory at the nearby public landing on the Meduncook River.  That's  at the end of Wadsworth Point Road (around the corner and down half a mile from us).  It was wide open after a two day thaw.  That happens quickly here because the Meduncook is fed only by a mile long salt marsh.  It gets wide quickly and is  really mostly the Muscongus Bay, Gulf of Maine.  
The Swampscott Dory was a Massachusetts Bay fishing boat launched from the shore (like the Sea Bright dories once emblematic of the Jersey Shore).

Slideshow HERE

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Schooner docks - Rockland, Maine

The Bird Block, Rockland.  Coast Guard HQ is in the  brick bldg.

M L King weekend in Maine here

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Winter comes to the North River

January 9, 2010 was the first day of ice.  Here's the slide show - Hudson River Ice 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

James in full stride

The full slide show is HERE.

Eco Piracy? Whaling ship collides with protest ship

Image: Japanese whaling vessel and activists collide
Image above: the damaged trimaran Ady Gil and the Japanese whaler that rammed it.

The AP reports a collision between a vessel of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and a Japanese whaling ship near Antarctica. Sea Shepherd boasts that it has scuttled and even rammed the ships of many whaling fleets.

I love the sea tales of the whalers - Moby Dick, and Nathaniel Philbrick's Sea of Glory -the story of the 1838-1842 U.S. Exploring Expedition that mapped much of Antarctica, the South Pacific, and the Pacific Northwest. The seamanship of the Nantucket whalers was awesome - but they had nearly wiped out sperm whales worldwide when the first "rock oil" was drawn in Pennsylvania, rendering whale oil obsolete.

There is no need to destroy and good cause to conserve the last stocks of whales, I agree. But sometimes the passion of the conservationists looks like Eco-piracy. In this dramatic video a Japanese whaling ship wrecks a protest ship obviously designed for rough conditions, and speed. If, as reported, they obstruct legal fishing, they are going too far.

But if as Sea Shepherd's videos appear to show - the Japanese in the name of "research" are harpooning 1,000 whales in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary, the question is closer. The Japanese ships appear to be protected by Japanese Coast Guard. Sea Shepherd claims its purpose is to "obstruct, and interfere" with illegal whaling. But it is a dangerous game of chicken that Sea Shepherd is playing in the icy Antarctic waters - confronting the Japanese ships in collisions and near collisions. It is the province of government - not self-annointed privateers - to enforce the law.

The MSNBC video below is a very short clip. Sea Shepherd's own video appears to show the Japanese ship changing course to collide - and certainly making no effort to avoid the "Whales Navy" ship - a bat mobile like trimaran that once set the gloabl circumnavigation speed record. Sea Shepherd's video is HERE



Paul Watson has run the many incarnations of the Sea Shepherd operation for years. He's a card-carrying psychopath and adrenaline junkie who has found a politically correct outlet for his fantasies, which, like yours, are rooted in the likes of Moby Dick and the romantic and violent whaling past.

Some day I'll dig up the article for you I wrote in the late 1970s for The Real Paper in Cambridge about covering this bunch protesting the harp seal hunt off Prince Edward Island. Suffice it to say that after being mistaken for Sea Shepherd types, an AP photographer and I had to be escorted to the Prince Edward airport under armed guard, and thus escaped local anti-protestor mob by the skin of our teeth after having been virtually held hostage all one Saturday night. Afterward, back in Cambridge, I had my first and only experience of Stockholm sydrome.

Watson's exploits, for many years underwritten by the writer Cleveland Amory and his Fund for Animals, are longstanding and infamous. Even then he was a thoroughgoing thug.

That said, you're suspicion is correct: The Japanese whaling fleet -- which by the way has not been deterred in the 30-plus year I've been aware of their depredations -- richly deserve Watson and the whacked-out Sea Shepherdistas.

Russ Hoyle
January 8, 2010 12:31 PM

Sunday, January 3, 2010

After the storm

18" fell on Friendship, January 1-3, 2010

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Winter fashion: Bill Cunningham On the Street

On the Street | Quicksilver
Bill Cunningham likes what he sees as he wanders on the streets of New York. What he mostly sees is women fashionably dressed - developing surprising themes. It's Quicksilver - the gray scale this holiday season. The video is

Friday, January 1, 2010

Blue Moon high tide, New Year's Eve, Back River, Muscongus Bay, Gulf of Maine

Once in a blue moon something like this comes along.
10.9 feet, 9:39 AM, December 31, 2009

Here is the slideshow of the most-photographed cove on the coast of Maine.