Saturday, August 30, 2014

In the Kingdom of Ice // Hampton Sides

Found the next in the book series I call Men in Bad Weather.  It began of course with Shackleton.  The most recent was Stove by a Whale - the story of the Essex.  There the weather wasn't so bad - it was the dehydration and the starvation.  An Empire of Ice was before that - arctic exploration in the heroic age.  That title compelled Hampton Sides to call his account


The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette
Illustrated. 454 pp. Doubleday. $28.95.

...The Jeannette remained confined in the ice for two years. Then one day the ice opened, and the ship slipped into the water — and floated. But not for long. The pressure resumed “with tremendous force,” De Long wrote. The Jeannette foundered, and the truly appalling chapter of the tale began. The 33 men set out over the ice, 1,000 miles from the Lena delta on the Arctic coast of Siberia, “one of the most remote and unforgiving landscapes on the planet.” They battled “ever-­shifting mazes of fissures, hummocks, pressure ridges and pools of shimmering meltwater.”

And “they pulled more than eight tons of provisions and gear, on improvised sleds whose crosspieces had been fashioned from whiskey barrel staves and whose heavy oak runners were shod with smooth whalebone. In addition to the three battered boats, they hauled, among other things, medicine chests, ammunition, stew pots, cooking stoves, tent poles, oars, rifles, ship logs and diaries, canvas for sails, scientific instruments, the wooden dinghy and 200 gallons of stove alcohol. As for food, they had inventoried, at the outset, 3,960 pounds of pemmican, 1,500 pounds of hardtack, 32 pounds of beef tongue, 150 pounds of Liebig’s beef extract, 12› pounds of pigs’ feet, and substantial quantities of veal, ham, whiskey, brandy, chocolate and tobacco.” (The stories of polar explorers are but little without the wonderfully evocative lists of the things they carried.)

Sides observes that De Long met all the hardships with a remarkable penchant for understatement. “Gazing at a puzzle of jammed ice and meltwater that would require weeks to cross, he stoically predicted: ‘We are in for a time.’ Hopelessly disoriented by fog for the better part of a week, De Long would only allow that ‘we are in the dark as to our position.’ Halted by a lashing blizzard, he scribbled that the day’s weather was ‘anything but ­satisfactory.’ ”

After 91 days on the pack, the men took to (relatively) open water in the three small boats they had been dragging. They were soon separated. One boat disappeared and was never heard of again. The whaleboat commanded by George Melville, the Jeannette’s engineer and most resourceful crew member, was lucky. He and his men made it to land, found natives and were saved. De Long’s cutter landed only eight miles from a branch of the Lena that would have led to a settlement within a day. Instead, he and his men left their boat, wandered and suffered terribly. Sides vividly recounts the horrors: gross frostbite, crude amputations, madness, much boot eating and, ultimately, starvation. Before succumbing, the ship’s surgeon had gnawed his own hand. Earlier De Long had sent his two strongest men for help. They somehow met up with Melville, who eventually found the bodies of De Long and his comrades. Only 13 of the 33 survived.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lit Up Inside - Collected Lyrics of Van Morrison

George Ivan Morrison
Lit Up Inside: The Collected Lyrics of Van Morrison 

Faber and Faber are thrilled to announce the acquisition of Van Morrison’s Selected Lyrics, titled Lit Up Inside, for publication in autumn 2014.

Morrison’s publication will sit alongside Mother Brother Lover, Jarvis Cocker’s Selected Lyrics, and So This Is Permanence: The Lyrics and Notebooks of Ian Curtis as part of the Faber Social imprint. 

 Lit Up Inside will be published as a hardback and in a special edition in October. 

 Van Morrison says: ‘The lyrics in this book span 50 years of writing and as such are representative of my creative journey.’

Lee Brackstone, Creative Director of Faber Social, says: ‘Van Morrison is a colossally important, inspiring and influential figure in the music world and his place as one of a handful of truly iconic twentieth century artists is secure. Publication of Lit Up Inside reminds us of his place in a broader seam of Irish creativity; the collective consciousness of his literary forbears, the likes of WB Yeats, William Blake, Patrick Kavanagh, Joseph Campbell, the poetry of the Blues and Robbie Burns. The words on the page are a joy in themselves and it is a great honour that his lyrics will be immortalised in a Faber volume.’

Lit Up Inside has been edited by Morrison with the help of Eammon Hughes who is also contributing an introduction. Ian Rankin will be writing a Foreword."

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Spring in Greenland

Aboard the Polaris
Michael Haferkamp, together with Martina, spent 18 months cruising the west coast of Greenland in their Hutting 53, Polaris.
Spring in Greenland

beautiful old rigging equipment and more… | Bowsprite: A New York Harbor Sketchbook

beautiful old rigging equipment and more… | Bowsprite: A New York Harbor Sketchbook:

That's Boston, N.Y. & Lockport!

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Arctic Sea Ice data update//National Snow & Ice Data Center

Arctic sea ice extent

Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis | Sea ice data updated daily with one-day 

lag: National Snow & Ice Data Center

"Arctic sea ice extent is well below average, and large areas of low concentration ice are observed in the Beaufort Sea and along the Siberian coast. However, it is highly unlikely to set a record low at the end of this year’s melt season. Antarctic sea ice extent remains at record highs.

Overview of conditions

Figure 1. Arctic sea ice extent for August 17, 2014 was 6.11 million square kilometers (2.36 million square miles).

The orange line shows the 1981 to 2010 median extent for that day. The black cross indicates the geographic North Pole. Sea Ice Index data.  Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center

High-resolution image

Sea ice declined at slightly slower than average rates through the first part of August. By mid-August, extent was similar to this time last year, which makes it unlikely that this year’s minimum extent will approach the record low level observed in September 2012. On August 17, sea ice extent was 1.03 million square kilometers (398,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average and 1.42 million square kilometers (548,000 square miles) above that observed in 2012 on the same date.

Ice extent remains below average everywhere, except near Franz Joseph Land and in the northern part of the Barents Sea. Extent is particularly low in the Laptev Sea where open water now extends to about 85 degrees latitude, less than 560 kilometers (350 miles) from the North Pole. This is the one region of the Arctic where ice loss has been exceptional in 2014 compared to recent summers. Ice extent is also very low in the East Greenland Sea, possibly as a result of reduced ice transport through Fram Strait."

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Annabel R and crew return to Eastchester Bay

wind shift

sand barges


North River 2

Friday, August 22, 2014

Rosenfeld collection at City Island Nautical Museum

Morris Rosenfeld
Constellation - 1908
The City Island Nautical Museum announces:
The Rosenfeld Collection is the largest single collection of maritime photography in the world, and although it is housed at Mystic Seaport, the photographers who created it lived and worked on City Island.  Morris Rosenfeld and his sons defined the ultimate in maritime art photography. Their images of sailboats, steam yachts, naval vessels, powerboat races, leisure activities, and every America’s Cup Race from 1885 to 1992 are world famous. Morris, together with his three sons, David, Stanley, and William, produced nearly a million photographs. This newly curated exhibition features images of beautiful boats from the island’s yacht yards, including Dorade, Brilliant, Bolero, Constellation, Infanta, and Analgra. Curator Tom Nye has also created a unique slide show featuring Rosenfeld images and photographs from the museum’s collection.

190 Fordham Street, City Island, NY
Hours: Saturday and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. and by special appointment.
Visit our website

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Peter turns 65!

My brother Peter celebrated the landmark day by splitting a glass of Pinot Noir with his wife Norma and a piece of chocolate cake from Costco.
He is the same weight as he was at 21.  Swimming is good for you.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Women's Team SCA in Round Ireland and Great Britain Race // Volvo Ocean Race

Five Volvo Ocean Race teams are tuning up for their round the world venture  by participating in the Round Ireland and Great Britain Race.  The boats in ideal conditions make life on deck like standing in front of a firehose.  The all-women SCA team reports it is just relentless.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Chinese sea chanty - Volvo Ocean Race

Dongfeng 东风 East Wind is the Chinese entry in the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race.  Five of the teams are now doing the often brutal round Ireland and Britain race.  Here's an interview with a Chinese crew member who goes by the name Horace. - gwc

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Rockland Breakwater Light

Annabel R - Junior Sailor

into every life some rain must fall

taking down the rig on her Opti

`Sailing juggernaut' award winner

Friday, August 8, 2014

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Monday, August 4, 2014


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Eagle at Coast Guard Station Rockland

Eagle, the Coast Guard Academy's square rigged training ship, was seized as war compensation from Germany after WWI.  We stopped by to see the ship on our way from Northport to Friendship.  It was in Rockland for the Lobster Festival.

Mumbles - a Belfast Bay mussel farm harvester

click pix to enlarge and for slideshow