Snippets...September 2009
Wednesday  September 30, 2009     Newport, Rhode Island      41°28.5'N  71°20'W

Jack here again…yep, still here with BTW, aka Bob the Whacko.

5 days without shore leave!! 

Dreams of real grass…real green grass …not that piece of artificial turf  tied to the deck. 

Dreams of heat radiating from a wood stove at home in Maine. What do I get for warmth or heat here…just chasing small squares of sunshine moving clockwise around the cockpit . 

Dreams of catching that elusive squirrel on the front porch in Maine before he leaps 5’ onto a tree branch…someday… someday he will be mine to thrash around instead of this plastic ‘string toy’ BTW tosses  me.
Actually we of the canine cluster don’t dream in ‘visions’ like you humanoids; we dream in ‘smells’.  All that fragrance at the tree base…or the multiple scents on the Mrs. boots after a visit to the horse barn where little ladies carry toy lap dogs to roam the horse stalls.
Scared yesterday while ashore.   Being a ‘back woods of Maine’ dog, I was set back  seeing this proboscis-like protrusion erupting from a side walk…he called it a “fire hydrant”.  My first!!…intimidating and looking like a malevolent robotic R2-D2 iron tar-baby at  first…but now I’ve gotten to like their fragrance, straining towards them on a “leash”, something else new to me as well as BTW coming after me with a small black baggie to ‘collect’.

He grumbles I still smell ‘skunky’ on rainy days…6 weeks after ‘the’ event and numerous bathtub shampoos by the Mrs; but you ought to get a whiff of him after just 3 days on this boat without shower or clothing change! 

I dream to the Mrs. return and her smell as well as the bend behind her knees where I can dream for hours .

BTW…that’s ‘by the way’ this time, not ‘Bob the Whacko’…the orange water-proof do-dad hanging from my collar
...contains a  computer USB flash drive the Mrs. got me…listing all my stats, vitals, vaccinations, plus  location of a buried identity chip to notify her if I’m discarded to a Chinese food factory by BTW…that would be ‘Bob the Whacko’ this time.
Until her return then…now it’s his turn to pontificate…

Bob here again…still in Newport, Rhode Island awaiting Nancy’s return from her busy work schedule.  We are rocking on a mooring ‘midst 1000+ boats; watching 2000+ over-fed, over 70 years old  Italians unloaded off today’s cruise ship with maps and dig cameras to infiltrate downtown Newport; like of wave of instinct driven insects spreading outwards from a central hub.  Yesterday it was the German version to capture the same photos and scan the same novelty shops between sits under the same numerous outdoor cafes.   Blessings to Newport’s economy making this a tourista hub along with Boston and New York City. 

svNavigator is surrounded by Hinckleys…beautiful Hinckley yachts built not cheaply but built in Maine.        

Ever wonder…why are all Hinckleys a deep high gloss black, or some deep navy blue, deep forest green, or occasional deep blood red…but never white?  We once had a black hull…it but collected visible scratches from dock scrapes.  Possibly Hinckley yacht owners are either more adept or more practiced approaching docks than I, or never leaving docks than I.  Even now with the catamaran’s maneuverable twin engines, both Nancy and I abhor approaching dockage of any form.

We’ll get to ‘dreams’ momentarily, but first a little on ‘routines’ aboard while moored or anchored.
BTW is generally up by 5AM…that would be 2 bells.  I do not have a watch.  Repeat…I do not have a wrist watch…instead the beautiful brass Chelsea ship’s clock  (graciously given by Jim Greene in better times) gives us the time            
... 6 repeating cycles a day from 1 thru 8 bells…a complete circuit every 4 hours.  So 12:30 AM (or PM) is 1 bell…2 bells would be 1 AM (or 1 PM or 5 AM/PM…or 9 AM/PM).  3 bells…1:30; 4 bells…2:00; 5 bells…2:30; 6 bells…3 o’clock; 7 bells…3:30; 8 bells…4 o’clock (or 8 o’clock or 12 o’clock) then the cycle repeats itself.  Probably not clear to the reader, even worse as I reread it; but still,  even at 4:30 AM, I hear the one bell thru my one good ear, and know it’ll soon be  time to rise, as does Jack, but then his clock is the Pavlovian stomach grumble. Nancy usually follows at 3 bells…she also wears a real watch.

First item is feeding faithful Jack his kibble followed by feeding fresh ground coffee to me.  Get a little food into Jack and he soon blasts off.  The only dog we’ve ever owned who both tosses and catches his own toys.  He’ll then do at least 6 high spirited imaginary squirrel chases around the deck after I’ve cleared the trampolines and artificial  green turf... then he’ll raise his nose, checking for possible ‘scents’ drifting on board from ashore.

My coffee now poured, he curls back into his bunk awaiting daylight or more action from me, while the laptop monitor lights up the settee table below…if we’re within WiFi range.  With Verizon’s amazing tiny modem acknowledging broadband presence; first is to check the ‘weather’.  Everything…I mean everything on a boat hangs on the weather…not your appointments, nor the list of chores,  nor  meetings scheduled, nor  soccer practices…here on the boat, everything hangs on the weather…everything.  Do we move…do we stay…do we need more shelter…are we safe or in potential trouble.  It’s all about the weather.; weather SSB nets; Chris Parker’s weather; Saildoc; even Wunderground this close to shore.
 Next comes an email check at  (pretty scant these days having dumped ‘’ after continually receiving  100+ SPAM unfiltered entries per day)
Then a brief look at history i.e. on this day 9/30/69, actor James Dean was killed in his Porsche Spider named ‘Little Bastard’ at 24 years of age, or yesterday it was the birthday of Miguel Cervantes September 29, 1547…Don Quixote.  Then on  the list of ‘routines’ is “The Visual” where there’s a relatively common new word or phrase to ponder daily... recently it was 'vitriol'…'malfeasance'…'quixotic'…check out the “links” subpage under the “+More” page.  
 A wander through the NYTimes online (it all seems so already distant or I’m so all now  disconnected); a quick look at the BBC News online (still disconnected); then some breakfast of leftovers if not already fed to Jack, or maybe yogurt/granola/fruit…but real hot breakfasts appear when Nancy reappears  on board. 
By now the sun is rising and Jack wakes yet again from his dreams or to my scuffling between hulls…

“Dreams”… in color or in black and white?
Nancy has a 6th sense or maybe ‘séance’ sense in her dreams.  She met our recently departed friend John West.  He was busy…very busy…active and conducting a sports medicine clinic somewhere, wearing his spiffy white coat as usual.  To her, he appeared ‘content’ and when asked…”no regrets”, he said.  In some other place… she met Mike Solomon, departed OB/GYN physician.  He and Don Maunz (happily not departed) were brush painting a dining  room bright colors.  She said to him: ‘but you’re dead!’.  He replied: ‘I try not to let it get me down’.  Then yesterday she had a dream that while working in the surgical OR, massive thick fecal material was backing up through all the drains, flooding under all the doors; only to get a real time email later that same day from Alan Currie stating all the EMMC gastroenterologists have moved to St. Joe’s hospital. 
I don’t get that type of dream. 
Mine this morning at maybe 4:25 AM:  I am doing a complex 60 degree scoliosis spine…an operative surgical correction on a 17 year old teenage boy’s deformed spine…blood and instruments everywhere…with 3 sets of gloved hands working mostly smoothly in conjunction… when I realized…suddenly realized in a panic mid way through the case… I had elected to stop  doing surgery in 2007…2 years ago!!…I am not now credentialed or even licensed to do surgery anymore!! 
Lurching back into consciousness carrying that same inextricable panic, I must have just heard 1 bell from the Chelsea clock…4:30 AM…
   cast adrift..
Tuesday   September 21, 2009   On the Isles of Shoals        42°59'N   70°37W

Jack here again...
That same whacko cast us off in the early hours of Saturday morning, I mean it was pitch dark..he grumbling or mumbling how it is bad luck to leave on passage on a Friday.  Something about a Christ being crucified on a Friday, as though he is often seen in church!  So instead of Friday afternoon, we had to wait 'til  just after midnight to cast the lines. And in the one came to my rescue from this 9 month trip which I call a gravo mucho mistako.Then whacko listed other sailing myths:
Never start a voyage on the first Monday in April (the day Cain slew Able)
Avoid people with red hair when going to the ship to begin a voyage (red heads bring bad luck to a ship; OK if you speak first to the red head)
Throwing stones into the sea will cause great waves and storms
Never whistle into the will bring storms
A naked woman on board will calm the sea (the reason for naked figureheads on the bows of ships)
Dolphins swimming with the ship are a sign of good luck (and we did actually see one along with three seals as the dawn rose)
A cormorant sighted at sea is bad luck (at SEA I said...not the ubiquitous cormorant everywhere on the coast of Maine)
Flowers are unlucky onboard a ship (they could later be used to make a funeral wreath...[comeo on!])
A horseshoe taped to the mast facing UP will bring storms, or maybe it's vice versa. Not knowing the correct attitude, we've skipped the horshoe on svNavigator (for our not nautical friends following...the 'sv' of svNavigator means 'sailing vessel'
Anyway...with that, I'll turn the chit-chat back to BTW...'Bob the Whacko', as I curl up into my bunk.

A screaming passage down Penobscot Bay on the tail of a NW small craft advisory.  A new record for us...12.6 knots under full mail and jib.  MaineCats are used to it but not we're destined to reef the main entering Muscle Ridge Channel towards Muscongus's greatest concentration of lobster pots waiting to snare our saildrives.  From a bird's view, we must look like drunken sailors weaving between multi-colored pickups.  Snagging one in a saildrive prop would be like putting out a sea anchor as the engine limps to a halt.  We've been there...first you try to free it with a pole, but we've also gone
the limit of diving on the tangled mess with wet suit and serrated knife.

We cannot use Bernadette, the autopilot.  Lots of named items on board besides the 'head', 'bow', 'port' which I remember as 'red' vs the 'green of 'starboard' because port wine is red.  The 'back porch' between cockpit and dinghy  where we can set up lawn chairs with cup holders. The 'fos'c's'le' which I never could spell without looking it up...forward cabinets for light gear.  The 'tramps' which Jack prefers to expensive doggy artificial turf. There is the 'great room', an expansive 360 deg visability cockpit which has entertained 12 people.  Our ideal boat though: drinks 6, eats 4, and sleeps 2.

Through the daylight hours we pass Bold Dick Rock, the Hypocrites, Jacknife Ledge, Drunker's Ledge, Shag Ledge, Old Woman Ledge, and the Cuckholds...curious to know the story behind each...a chapter in itself; but what follows below is more amazing.

By 3PM it's evident with the wind now on the nose we will not make my friend and frat brother Coz's mooring in Yarmouth before dark...can't see lobster pots in the dark!  Over the cellphone he suggests his favorite spot...Christmas Harbor...a narrow hurricane hole where one can pick up moorings.  The chart shows it on Southport Island at the mouth of the Sheepscot River with a blown up view showing 2 guarding rocks with navigational markers green and red (RRR...Red Right Returning) and 20 feet of depth inside; but when we get there, the 2 guarding rocks have no markers and the depth is 6' still dropping; but that's OK for a catmaran.  Calling Coz again, he states there are often up to 10 large Hinckley's inside but all we see is 4 small lobster boats and a runabout or two.  Anyway...passing it off to the old very old not updated chart we have, we picked up an outside mooring waiting for low low tide which still left just 1' under our daggerboards protecting the sterndrives.

Next afternoon over drinks on Coz and Betsy's beautiful porch on Kingfisher Cove, we described the previous night's out charts.  Unbelieveable..unbelieveable .but there are 2 Christmas Coves! Yep..2 Christams Coves. Seperated by less than 5 nautical miles; both with the same orientation and length; but "our" Christmas Cove on Southport Island has a 4' bar at the entrance whereas "his" Christmas Cove on Rutherford Island has a 20' depth.  Someday we will check out the other guy's Christmas Cove

Proves my point...every venture away from the dock is an adventure!

So here we sit...on a beautiful afternoon, on svNavigator's back porch, on the  approaching Autumnal Equinox, on a courtesy mooring, on the Isles of Shoals which could belong to Maine or New Hampshire (don't know), on Gospar Harbor below Smuttynose Island...probably once called SnottyNose Island before Boston Blue Bloods objected.
And right above us is this massive wooden 5 story 200 room hotel, just like the original Kineo House on Moosehead Lake or the original Samoset in Rockland...tragically but expectedly  all burned down.  This one Nancy corrects me is not a hotel; but a far out religious compound (let's just call them SkinTheologists for want of a better name) where judged by the raucous clamoring as darkness sets in, the daily ferry load of Sacrifical Virgins are being offered to the High Priests in Residence. Tomorrow morning they will be ferried back to the mainland passing midway yet another ferry carrying another day's feast.  No wonder religions capture your heart, body, and soul.

So for now, svNavigator  ambles on down the road.

"Be well; do good work; and keep in touch"  (Garrison Kellor)


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