Baltimore, Day 1

We beat the bad weather into Baltimore!  My last post was titled Bad Weather Fore and Aft because we’re supposed to be getting ice pellets and rain for the next two days.  We pushed ourselves to do slightly longer days (though we ended up kicking ass and arriving in good time) in order to be tucked into our new slip before the second round boxed our ears. So…the last I wrote was that we’d left Reedville and arrived in Solomons.  And the showers really were nice.  The rest of the visit was, well, expensive. The first thing I did was pay for fuel and moorage.  We put 14 gallons in the tank, which means that our Yanmar 3GM runs quite, quite economically.  And in the office, the woman working the desk, Sam, asked the manager what to charge us.  They gave us a two-night special rate – the super-off-season-snow-on-the-dock-almost-xmas-rate – and still our bill came to $140.  Gulp.  We’d planned to anchor out more than tie up, but with the cold, it’s really nice to have the electric heater in addition to the propane one.  Plus, we needed showers! The second thing I did was call my new employers.  It worked out better to do my paperwork Tuesday – after Solomons, we wouldn’t have access to a rental car company – and they accommodated the scheduling change.  Thanks! Third, arranging the rental car.  Enterprise would pick us up at 0900 and everything would work out fine. Except that the Enterprise guy called at 0830 because the reservation was incomplete.  And we found the sticking point – they won’t allow rentals to be held by debit cards.  Grrrrrr.  All the plans fell through, and I had to be in Baltimore at 1300. I rushed to the marina office and tried to[…]

Read more

Day 6 with bad weather fore and aft

When last we wrote, the snow was beginning to fall across our lovely floating home.  Since then, we’ve had drifts and ice-pack, washed her down in saltwater to break up the chunks, and failed, yes failed, to shower. Reedville was somewhat inviting.  The first walk we made was for dinner – the broken propane fitting pushed us off the semi-cozy boat and into a much cozier fireplace-front seat at the restaurant.  Well-prepared food and a very nice staff, the place is called Tommy’s and yes it’s the only restaurant in town.  I recommend it if your purse-strings are loose – we swallowed hard and realized that we were in trouble but in the end, a meal well worth it . See, we were at the only food-serving establishment within walking distance.  We could do sandwiches, sure, but we hadn’t stocked enough bread for days on end of that. And the other piece of bad news – the marina’s showers are in the marina’s bathrooms.  Now, I am very thankful that the water was not turned off in those bathrooms, because I don’t like using the boat head for solid waste (like the euphemism?).  However, these bathrooms are unheated.  With concrete floors.  There was nothing – not an itch nor an odor – that could induce me to step out of my clothing, put bare feet on sub-freezing concrete, and take a lukewarm shower. It was all about the whore-bath. Anyway, we spend our first night at Reedville Marina with our brows raised – the wind made us keep our eyes on our electrical multimeter.  The wind generator kept the battery just…barely…under the danger high voltage range.  The propane cabin heater (Sig Marine Cozy Cabin, in case you’re interested) did a fabulous job of pumping heat into our environment.  The propane[…]

Read more

Day 3 and the winds are howling!

Oh yeah, Day 1… We cast off at 0730h and reached the mouth of the Salt Ponds by 0800h. Clipping hard on a NNE heading, with a single reef in the main and the “Iron Jib” at 2500rpm, we pounded into the 4 to 5 foot chop with the lee-boards in the water for most of the day. This ride was wet, the winds ripping the tops of the waves fabric as though it had been weakened by battery acid.  These white sprays traveled horizontally, and we strove hard into them.  We made great time moving between 5.5 and 7 knots and lay fast in the snug little harbor of Cape Charles 4 hours after exiting the Salt Ponds jetties. I slept in a tight fetal ball for the rest of that day. On Day 2 the winds and seas were perfect for an 8 hour beat due north from Cape Charles to Reedville, VA. The single-reefed main and full jib served us well for hours.  The need to make good speed rode us as we watched the wind ease, slowing us from 5.5 to 6 knots to an average just under 4 knots.  Then it died still more.  This wouldn’t do, so after 4 hours of lovely sailing, we pulled in the jib and started up ol’ Iron.  The main picked up the bits of breeze to add power and grace to our motion through the water.  A winding route from big bay to little bay to river brought us past the menhaden ships and processor, around a tenacious, crumbling tower and to the Reedville Marina, where the marina and restaurant both are closed for the season. Just as I snapped the last button on the main sail cover I noticed the first sprinkles of snow… With that northeastern[…]

Read more

Start your engines…

We thought we’d be gone today, but a couple of not-quite-cleaned-up projects and some small-craft-advisory weather brought us to the decision that we would leave tomorrow.  There’s a weather system taking over the bay – it’s moving in today at the tune of 25 knot winds with gusts to 30, but it’ll hang out for a week with 10-15 knot winds.  And that’s what I like, for sure. Of course, the real problem isn’t 25-30 knot winds – it’s that those winds are coming from our destination and so we have to beat into them in order to get where we want to go.  We wouldn’t make good progress today in the head wind and the chop, so there it is…we wait. Tomorrow, we’ll have the same wind but less of it and very little chop.  I’m hoping that our lovely sailboat will slip right on through the water and bring us to a safe harbor on the Eastern Shore (as far north on that shore as possible…) for the night.  At which point… We will be able to warm ourselves with our Cozy Cabin propane heater!  I’m so excited about this – it’s real independence in an area where sleeping would be difficult due to cold.  Makes me hurt for homeless people, it does. Hopefully James will be able to upload some photos of our improved main cabin with its beautiful new appliance. So wish us a good time.  Fair winds and following seas is the usual wish, but we’ve already put that wish away…

Read more

What I say to prospective employers…

We’re moving to Baltimore (which I persist in mistyping as Balitmore), and I started looking for moorage today.  I found a neat-o place that could be perfect for us.  This is the letter I sent the owner and president, Dick Mead.  Would you hire us? Hello Mr. Mead, My name is Dena Hankins and my husband is James Lane.  I left a phone message for you moments ago, but went to your website right afterward. I think we could be a great addition both to your marina and your staff. Let me introduce us a bit.  James and I bought and moved aboard our first boat in 1999, in Seattle, WA.  She was a 50′ Seawolf ketch, a William Garden design, done in mahogany on oak.  We tore the deck off and replaced it right away, then brought the rest of it into condition to sail up through the San Juan Islands, into southern B.C., and then slowly down the West Coast.  Once we reached the San Francisco Bay, we sold her and bought a Gulf 32, a pilothouse sloop that was also designed by Garden, but done in fiberglass.  That sturdy, comfortable boat took us up the Sacramento River Delta, down to Monterrey, CA, and, in 2006, all the way to Hawaii.  Great boat! We sold that boat in Hawaii and moved to India for a while.  Boating wouldn’t let go of us, though, and we moved back to the US and bought our current boat, a Phillip Rhodes designed 32′ Chesapeake sloop, also fiberglass.  We’ve redone the electrical system, the plumbing, the propane system, and redesigned the interior.  We’re skilled and confident sailboat mechanics for all systems, and not only because of the work we’ve done on our own boats. James has been the woodworker for a high-end[…]

Read more

A sad birthday

Gypsy Jill has died. I’m sad, so sad, but it’s my birthday. I only celebrate three occasions: my birthday, James’ birthday, and our anniversary. I’m celebrating with a special meditative consideration of age and death. I’m not a person who meditates on death on her birthday; it seems so melodramatic and morbid. I have tremendous amounts of fun. I pack in moments of joy, looking for every reason to be joyous (and many can be found when walking around the birthday-enhanced world). Except that I sit, still and solemn, sipping a mocha and typing these words that negate themselves. Also, I got a job I applied for. I’ll be working for the Baltimore Data Capture Center, processing forms for the 2010 census. I even got a team lead position, so I’ll be making decent money. I have a move to plan and execute, and it will take several days by sail, even if things go well. There’s nothing I like quite so much as pulling up stakes and embarking on a journey. The destination doesn’t matter as much as the fact and moment of motion, but Baltimore has the possibility of being a better place for me. Another reason to rejoice. And I do. I do. And I’m sad. I loved Jill from the first five minutes of our acquaintance. She helped me, with a dozen words, two or three sentences, feel hopeful that I’d be able to cover up a terrible tattoo, a blemish on my left hip, of which I was inordinately self-conscious. It reflected badly on me that my judgment had been so bad. I wanted tattoo work, but I had the idea that it ought not to be a crapshoot. That I ought to have been able to better judge the artist and the situation. That[…]

Read more

The Broom

“You’re listening to ‘Pussy-Cock Juice is Weird’ live on 89.1fm FUCC, Belltown’s only totally illegal Micro-Radio source. I’m Snatch, one of three delicious fem-fantastic hosts and this is Azer-By-Jane, say hi Jane.” “Hi Jane.” “And this is our totally sexy Fem-Studies doctoral student, Frankie. Say yo Frankie.” “Yo Frankie!” “Tonight I’d like to do something a bit different. I want to re-tell a story I heard the other night while enjoying a dose of post coital bliss with, umm, a special friend of mine. It’s such an incredible tale that at first, like most things this man tells me, I thought it was a bald-faced lie. Upon further inspection and a re-telling of the same story by said lover’s mother, I have found that this tale is true and relevant to tonight’s theme of ‘Overcoming Random Violence’, though its male-on-male violence is outside our usual subject matter.” Throat clearing. “We all know that the guy that started this station is a really cool guy named Popeye Kahn right?” “Right, hi Popeye, he’s the only person in the world that listens to every single show on FUCC” replied Azer-By-Jane. “Well, Popeye was unlucky enough to have grown up in the USA’s ‘Random Violence’ award-winning state. Yes, Texas. So here goes, people, Micro-Radio at its best.” “’Parents are indeed a strange persuasion. It’s like once a person has a kid they somehow stop being a person and start being an influence and let me tell you, when you’re a ten year old boy in the mire of seventy’s suburban south Austin Texas, your friends and their parents become your most powerful influences. Besides TV of course. David Reynolds was my best friend and his dad, Tom “Shit, call me Tom” Reynolds, was undeniably the biggest man I knew. My hand always got[…]

Read more