…Can you believe this shit? (!)

Adventure is all about the interpretation… We’ve been at sea for 13 years. We’ve seen 40 foot seas in the north Pacific Ocean; we’ve seen 20 sunsets in a row without land; we’ve seen a dozen squalls blow over New Jersey, one after another! We’ve also spent time in an apartment writing music in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. We’ve written books in a house in Kallatumukku, Kerala. And now, I (James) have seen an old pianist slip and fall in a laundry room in Groton, CT.  And it made me weep like a baby. And now, I (Dena) have seen an upright, lithe woman with early Alzheimer’s look for a phone so that she could call her daughter and get a hotel room.  Because she needed a place to stay the night, though she lives right upstairs.  And I showed her that she had a key on her wrist and helped her find her apartment. In Denver, we were in the last and smallest class for the type of training we did.  There were six of us, three couples, who were hired and flown right out to sales training.  In the future, couples will spend a week in a community first.  Those couples will know the emotional aspects and the time requirements and the pressures far better than we did as we made our way down to a hotel meeting room, day after day for two weeks. On the side, of course, we maintained our lifestyle by hooking up with an old friend and a family known as the Bozos. The training focused on sales and didn’t even try to touch operations.  We role-played and drank coffee and iced tea and took notes and struggled to stay awake while we learned how to sell an invisible product to the aging populace and[…]

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To Noank, Then to Denver

When last we updated you, we were in the Cuttyhunk Pond, surrounded by Cuttyhunk Island.  The sail to Point Judith, once the weather calmed, was as promised by our weather sources.  Light wind from the NE and a gentle, 1-2 foot swell.  There was no remaining violence from the previous day’s wind. Deciding it was time for showers, we sojourned at Point Judith Marina that night.  We used the marina office directions to the Matinuck Oyster Bar, which served up some of the best locally raised oysters either one of us have ever had.  My (Dena’s) only superior oyster experience was at Chinook’s in Seattle.  Strange thing is that they were serving up Blue Points and other Narragansett oysters!  This was definitely the place. The next day was hidden by thick fog and the radar, once again, proved invaluable.  When the fog drew back, we saw that we were covered by a grey shield.  We never got more than 2 miles from shore, coming as close as 300 feet at Napatree Point, the entrance to Fisher’s Island Sound.  We sucked out every bit of wind there was to be had that day.  From full sail in the fog to frustrating motorsailing, then ultimately we struck all sails.  Windless water shone silver.  The engine sound was absorbed by the stillness and the splash of raw water from the engine cooling system disappeared. Immediately after starting the engine, I (James) noticed a strange, intermittent squeaking sound coming from the engine compartment.  Dena was riding on the bow at that time, so I asked her to come back to see if she could hear it.  By the time she arrived at the companionway, she said, “I can smell it!” We knew that we were burning a belt.  So, engine off.  Engine compartment taken[…]

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Cuttyhunk-a-burnin-love

We took off from Onset heading southwest down Buzzard’s Bay.  We’d planned to catch the tide down the bay, but there was an unnatural phenomenon we didn’t take full account of.  When the tide is going out of two bays at once, as in the Cape Cod Bay and Buzzard’s Bay or the Delaware Bay and the Chesapeake Bay, and a man-made canal has been carved between them, there is a suction in both directions.  I (Dena) thought that Onset was far enough on the Buzzard’s Bay side of the canal that we would get only Buzzard’s Bay currents.  When we got out of the entrance channel for Onset though, and turned down the major channel to the bay, we nearly stopped in place. Dropping from 6.2 knots down to 2.8 knots in seconds is a better than decent clue that the tide is against you. I pushed up the RPM until we were burning at 2600 and going 3.7 knots, and that was good enough.  Within 15 minutes, the speed started creeping upward.  There isn’t a definitive pinnacle where the tide reverses.  Instead, it took about 10 minutes to cover enough distance for our speed to bump back up past 6 knots.  At that point, I reduced the RPMs on the engine in order to burn less fuel. A steel grey day faced us with constant rain.  Everything was wet outside, and we did battle against drenching the interior of the boat.  We were doing one hour watches because of the intensity of the weather.  Each time we switched places, the person who went below dried off at the foot of the companionway steps and boosted up the propane heater to dry things a bit.  We really won that war. Outside, the winds were variable from 5 to 15[…]

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