Saturday, July 28, 2012

Harvest of Plenty: Lobster Glut on the Maine Coast

Lobster crates - Stonington, Deer Isle, Maine
Annabel buys lobster at Brian's Wharf, Hatchet Cove, Friendship, Maine
Warm water.  It's not all bad.  The lobster love it.  The Times reports there's a lobster glut on the coast of Maine, driving down prices.  We're paying $2.75 right off the boat at the dock at Hatchet Cove in Friendship where I moor our boat. Katherine Q. Seelye drew the plum assignment this year to drive up the lobster coast and taste.  Chris Becker is the Times photographer on the story.  His slide show tells the story.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Good luck, Clare!

from all of us in Maine on the night before your surgery.
Next year in Friendship!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bronx River Now Flows by Parks -

Bronx River Now Flows by Parks -  Yes, the Bronx River, The Bronx - home of City Island, my homeport.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Become an Antarctic explorer with panoramic imagery | Official Google Blog

Become an Antarctic explorer with panoramic imagery | Official Google Blog:

'via Blog this'

Explorer Pushes the Boundaries of a Human-Powered Watercraft -

Explorer Pushes the Boundaries of a Human-Powered Watercraft -

by Tom Sims

 "Wave Vidmar is about to cross the Pacific from California to Hawaii — in a kayak, totally alone and unsupported — in what, if he succeeds, will likely be the longest voyage of its kind.

IHT Rendezvous: What Makes Extreme Athletes Risk It All? (July 13, 2012)
Humans have been crossing oceans for centuries, of course, but what makes this excursion particularly challenging is the fact that Mr. Vidmar (yes, Wave is his real name) is traveling by kayak: a small vessel he propels himself with a double-ended paddle. And there’s also the worrisome issue that it could take days for a ship, helicopter or plane to reach him (to the tune of $35,000 an hour) if he needs emergency help.

In the coming days, Mr. Vidmar, 48, plans to leave Horseshoe Cove in Sausalito under the Golden Gate Bridge in his custom Seaward Passat G3. He expects the voyage to last 45 to 65 days."

'via Blog this'

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Gone to Sea - George Vecsey

PictureThe Great Times sportswriter George Vecsey is a man after my own heart.  He understands that the key is to see an epic in an everyday voyage. - GWC

Gone to Sea - George Vecsey:
 "When I took the [NY Times] no-brainer buyout last December, I talked about watching the wheels go round and round. Instead, I’m watching  waves.

Two years ago my wife bought me another perfect  present,  an inflatable kayak from Sea Eagle. Pumps up with a pedal in 10 minutes. Seats two. All I need is  company up front. 

This week Grandchild No. 5/5  and I paddled across the bay to inspect a mansion at West Egg. We glided through a school of baby blues (you should see them jump when they are fully grown in September, I told her), and watched a gent in a motorboat cut his engine politely when he reached the No Wake sign. I pointed out the Bronx and New Rochelle at the north end of the bay  and we talked about the Huguenots who settled there. We watched the afternoon flights heading toward JFK.

After an hour, I told her to navigate toward the dock and the beach. The kayak deflated and was easily stuffed in the back of the car. 

The summer is young. "

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

1421 The Chinese Discover America

1421 - the fabulous book by Gavin Menzies is about the Chinese treasure fleet that explored all the world's oceans from 1421-1423. 
Here is the website.  But National Geographic isn't buying it.  They recognize seven voyages by the great admiral Zheng He = which stretch only to the east coast of Africa and Java.  Meanwhile the Chinese training ship Zhen He has just passed through the Panama Canal.

The Iliad on the Broadway Local

Monday, July 2, 2012

Naval Academy YP 676 Squadron runs aground approaching Kings Point

YP 676 Class Patrol Craft - Training , at Severn River, Annapolis - full dress review
Led by YP 692 a squadron of four Naval Academy YP Class training ships made a courtesy call and tied up for the night at the Yocum Sailing Center of the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point.  We were approaching Hart Island when Fred spied them.  They were passing Execution Rocks when he identified them as naval.  They were greeted by NYPD and Coast Guard ribbies.  Here are a couple of shots.  Specs for them are below.  They closely resemble the 110 foot sub-chasers like the SC 1355 on which my father, Lt. George W. Conk, Jr., was executive officer, then captain on convoy escort duty 1942 - 1945.  Based in Norfolk, VA., their patrols ranged from Iceland to Puerto Rico.
Update: USNA YP Squadron runs aground at Kings Point
Official statement:
On July 2, 2012, during a routine summer training cruise, a Naval Academy training vessel (YP) ran aground in shoal water near Kings Point, NY. This vessel was part of a squadron of four YPs on a month-long midshipman summer training cruise. There were no injuries. The training vessel suffered minor damage to the propeller and rudder. A formal investigation into this incident was immediately launched and is ongoing. Following an operational and material assessment, three YPs returned to USNA while one YP remains in NY for further assessment and possible repairs. 

The Naval Academy is a training command with a mission of developing the next generation of leaders for the Fleet. We are committed to providing the safest and best practical hands-on training to our Midshipmen while utilizing our YPs. Insights into the cause of this incident reported out by the investigation will be used to better prepare and train all personnel involved with YP operations so that similar future incidents can be avoided.

Like teaching the navigator to look at the chart?  Not every rock in the ocean is marked.  But these are. There is a reason it is called Stepping Stones light.
Two YPs approach Stepping Stones side by side

Heavy fuel barge in the channel passes two YPs starboard to starboard

Two YPs approaching Kings Point, Willetts Point at
1 O;Clock

As we observed it two ships appeared to be lashed together.  They were in perfect tandem - that's why you see only one in front of the lighthouse. One of them must already have ran aground - perhaps a couple of miles east near Execution Rocks lighthouse, or perhaps where we saw them at Stepping Stones light. We heard a radio call by a former YP commander - who warned them to mind the channel.  Here and below is a series of shots of the two YPs as they approach  and pass Stepping Stones one mile from Willetts Point and  the Throgs Neck Bridge. 
YP 680  passing Stepping Stones Light - click to enlarge
Of course it's not the first time in naval history. The worst is the loss of seven destroyers in 1923 at Point Arguello.  But they didn't have a GPS.  Not that you need one when you are right off the light house.  Just look at the chart!

YP 692  off Hart I. click to enlarge

YP- 676 Class Patrol Craft, Training

  • Laid down, 10 December 1986, at Marinette Marine, Marinette, WI.
  • Launched, 18 June 1987
  • Delivered and placed in service, 27 July 1987 at the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD.
  • Status, active in service assigned to the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD.

    Displacement 176 t. (max.) Length 108'  
    Beam 24' 
  • Draft 8' 
    Speed 12 kts.  Armament none 
  • Complement
    Officers 2
    Enlisted 4
    Range 1800 nm
    two 12V-71N Detroit Diesel engines
    two propellers, 437shp @ 2,100 RPM

    WW II 110 footer
    The disaster at Point Arguello - 1923