Ugh, I (once again) hate wage slavery!

Apr 29, 2016 by James in James' Blog

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Here we are, getting up before the sun, riding to the gym, working all day within a few paces of each other and more or less resigning ourselves to our particular version of the long term grind…

…And then it snapped inside me, it really did,

I hate newly manufactured packaged consumer capitalism!

It’s disgusting!!

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It might have been the evil abrasions that appeared on my uvula shortly after starting the job that threw me into a rage about my position in the evil cycle of 21st century American consumerism, I don’t know, but…

…Take a piece of equipment, okay, let’s just say a shackle, it gets made by a person (most likely) operating a machine and zip tied to a plastic sign/rack hanger-thingy. Then that shackle goes into a plastic bag, into a very large box full of shackles, they get craned, shipped half way around the planet, craned again, trucked, flown, trained, trucked again, hand-trucked, unpacked, sold and ultimately replaced for no other reason than the boater was replacing the line the “old” shackle was attached to.

Oh yeah, and all that petroleum-based packaging that got dragged along the way? Well, it either went into the ground or in the ocean somewhere!

Then there’s the fact, yes fact, that most of the labor that is shipped offshore to international manufacturing countries is abused, overworked, under-paid and often, under the age of ten.

This is not some revelation to me but it suddenly became too much of a contrast with the rest of my life…

…which is extraordinary.

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…And beautiful.

So I quit and got a job selling recycled marine hardware.

(Not exactly in that order)

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I haven’t even started yet but it feels so much better.

 


Agonizing Reticulation

Apr 16, 2016 by James in James' Blog, Life Under Sail

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A glorious year… April 15 2015 until this very minute, we’ve been living underway!

Awesome year, man, but now we gotta go to work.

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Dena started her job on Thursday, it snowed on Saturday…

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…And on Sunday we tucked a couple of reefs in and motor-beat our asses out of South River.

Reaching

We broadened her down on the wind and the waves, put the engine in the off position and hooked our way around Tommy-Point and back up into Back Creek. We then dropped the hook in 10 feet of gacky mud with a 7-to-1 scope…

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Shook off the chill…And went back to doing what we think is really important,

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Agonizing over the perfect reticulation on the panels during the days we’re not on the boat for getting as much entertainment and cool beverages as possible for the days we are.

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Hook down, Annapolis

Mar 29, 2016 by James in Dena's Blog Posts, James' Blog, Life Under Sail

Hi, remember us?

We’re the crazy boat couple that set off about 17 years ago on an adventure of discovery around the world in 80 years!

Well, we tried to find employment in North Carolina right before that state’s government embarrassed themselves by telling the world that they hate everybody that doesn’t fuck like they do and left there right after.

We really didn’t like it there! The job market is employer driven which means that they can pay very little, charge more, and watch their profits rise (along with the cost of living). They don’t seem to care whether or not their workers can afford to be customers or even live nearby. Ultimately we sailed away, which is what we tried to convince everybody we met there to do… It didn’t work very well, again, we sailed off alone like we always do.

After discovering that we didn’t want to pay a government to hate queer people, we went to work readying the boat for the long trip back north. After 11 months underway the boat was more than ready for some upgrades.

Before

First on the to-do list was the dingy, by far the most used piece of equipment we have. She has been beaten and hammered from one end of this coast to the other and it was high time we did a stem-to-stern rebuild.

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Before.

The entire rub-rail was so beat up that, when we pulled the plastic off, the wood underneath just came apart. So we mixed up some epoxy and some fairing compound and fixed her up.

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After.

This was a James-heavy project. Meanwhile, I (Dena) worked on the deck. Scraping and sanding, priming and painting all the spots that got worn or where the paint let go of the substrate.

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The chartplotter had been giving us fits – freezing and restarting in irritating fashion exactly when it was most crucial that we know exactly where we were, like while feeling our way into a shallow anchorage – so we obtained a replacement. Its installation went smoothly, as did that of the compass.

ChartComp

Then it was finally time to build that reticulating solar array we’ve been wanting for the two 75 watt solar panels we got a couple of years back. The panels are very efficient but building a system where they can follow the sun across the sky increases their effectiveness by several fold. Well, at least that’s what all the experts say.

First we had to remove the panels, install the brackets on them and then figure out where to build the holding system.

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The way we had them installed before really was a temporary mount: we’d tied them to the handrails directly on the trunkhouse top. Our original plan was to permanently install them on the new aft-rail, but we never found one that extended far enough forward to make that plan work. Instead, we rail-mounted them in the same basic place they’d been tied.

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Looking good, and it turns out that rewiring them and making them adjustable has increased our solar input quite a bit!

Readdy

Then we were ready to go. We’d towed the dinghy behind the boat for thousands of miles, but we hoped for a good weather window that we could use to go offshore, meaning Tinker rode on top. The Cape Fear River is south of the Frying Pan Shoals, an extensive, dangerous place, so we motored (ah, ICW) to Wrightsville Beach and spent a night on their free municipal dock.

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Even on an early spring day, fishers were looking for good spots and we ended up gathering some righteous praise.

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The weather cooperated and we sallied forth from Masonboro Inlet in the early afternoon. Offshore trips that are too long for one day’s amount of light are turned into overnighters, and so we timed the trip to have us arriving after dawn the next day. This worked so well that we also made the flood and skipped anchoring in Morehead City. We simply entered Beaufort Inlet and went straight for Core and Adams Creeks.

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These creeks are narrow enough to make sailing impractical and they’re connected by a bit of canal. Those swamps are persistent, though.

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This was a no-nonsense kind of adventure so we moved as quickly through our environs as is possible on a 55 year old sailboat. The days were getting much longer so 10 to 12 hour sailing days became our norm. The Neuse River, the Pamlico Sound and the Albemarle Sound are almost a blur in my (James’) memory.

After entering the Pasquotank River, north of Elizabeth City, NC, we anchored for one more night before the seemingly endless straight line of the Great Dismal swamp.

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BTW: the photo above is a reflection shot!

…So is this one.

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It was so beautifully glass becalmed before entering “The Ditch” that it made for some almost perfect reflection pictures.

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Then it was back in the Great Dismal Swamp. Some people really love this place and I (James) have to admit that it is truly beautiful but motoring in a straight line for two days is not my idea of an awesome sailing adventure.

What I want to know is, have you ever seen the rain coming down on a sunny day? Well, here’s a picture of it…

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…And boy did that rain ever come down! Not for long, but hard enough to make visibility a problem.

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Finally!!!

We stopped in Willoughby Bay and rowed into Rebel Marina again. Good people. Stop in if you’re ever in Norfolk.

Didn’t stay long, though, because the next day was James’s birthday! Why spend a birthday at anchor if the weather is nice enough to go sailing?

…And that was absolutely the best present I could’ve gotten! The weather was perfect in every way. It was warm with a fresh breeze of the beam and we didn’t have to listen to that horrible engine until right before we set the anchor in a perfectly calm gunkhole up inside the Ware River off Mobjack Bay. Unbelievable, perfect!

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From there we spent a couple of days waiting out a big blow up inside the Virginia Severn River and taking advantage of some much needed free showers at a nearby full service marina that hadn’t even seen a fuel customer in over 6 months. Talk about secluded!

We sailed to Solomons after that weather system passed, spent a couple of days there shagging showers and saunas at the same Holiday Inn that we shagged at on Dena’s birthday this past December (I still had a key card!) and then sailed another long day to Annapolis, “The Sailing Capitol of The World” (according to Annapolis), on a dreary, somewhat, windless day after.

And here we are, hook down at the end of our ICW adventures! We’re going to stay put here for a while, get jobs and try to fit in… We’ll see how long we’ll be able to take that!