“…Life is but a dream.”

I don’t want to go back to work selling over priced marine hardware to power boaters who just don’t know how to do anything on a boat but work the throttle… But that’s what I’m doing, so I get in the little boat, I throw off the lines and I row. I row away from our beautiful old sailboat. She looks a little less proud with her little silver hat (a collapsible sun shade that really was done working last year but, it does shade the sun), her light streaks of orange rolling down her topsides, (proof of a long overdue rebuild of her toe rails) and the big ugly mooring ball that ties her to the earth (a not so subtle reminder that she has to stay put for a while so the humans that live aboard her can pay for their food), but she’s beautiful and strong. As I row in the direction of the dock at the Wessagussett Y.C. I hear a faint sound of children singing an old familiar tune, a song that anyone that speaks the English language has heard at least once in their lives. Row, Row, Row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily Life, is but a dream. Two thing suddenly occur to me at the very same instant… 1) Their singing to me! 2) That song is so Zen that it’s almost perfect in it’s elegant philosophy. As the layers were added on buy another chorus, and another, and another the truth of my life became clearer and clearer. I am row, row, rowing my boat through my insignificant little dream, and I am incredibly happy… They were singing to me!  

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…And then we went sailing!

EngineengineengineengineengineArrrgh!!!! We motored hard through a thick coat of fog from Dutch Harbor, RI, to Onset, MA, and anchored in Onset (on-sit, remember, we’re in Mass, pronunciation is everything) Harbor. The trip was a loud, bone shaking ride through big following seas and absolutely no wind so showing up in a familiar place, that we really like, was a much needed quiet reprieve. The harbor in Onset is well protected but also quite open. There’s a private island between the anchorage area and the town dock, so it’s a bit of a row. This time, we anchored nearer the island than we’ve managed before – only three boats were anchored in the whole basin when we arrived – which ended up being nice, considering how many times we rowed in and back. After anchoring, we rowed into town for groceries and got pizza. (Yay, pizza!) Back on the boat, we had a quiet evening and went to bed at a decent hour, since we wanted to leave by about 8am. At 7:30am, we decided to check the oil and put a hose clamp on the valve cover breather hose, which had torn when Carl was helping us diagnose our engine trouble. It was causing a little bit of carbon monoxide to leak in the cabin, making belowdecks a bad place to be while underway. Mostly just right over the engine compartment, but still. So we took the engine compartment apart, again, and I (Dena) pulled the dipstick. Oil was nice and dark. I know, that’s not preferable to light and oily, but it is preferable to milky looking. We’re keeping an eye on that, since the mixing elbow was like-new, not new, and when the sea-water portion of the elbow corrodes, it can let water into the oil. The oil[…]

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Shots and Mocktails

Hook down, boat stowed, New London, and all we want to do is relax for a while. Chill out. But we’ve got to get the ball rolling. So we jump in the dink and row into Burr’s Marina. We run into Paul, just like we’d never left. We tell Paul what’s up and he says you need Billy and calls him up. He’s on his way and will be there in a half hour. Invited aboard for coffee, but we were drawn by the memory of soft serve ice cream from Fred’s Shanty. Soft-served, we talked to Billy, who wondered if it could be the injector pump. Ugh. He walked us over to his boat where Carl was working. We told the entire story for a third time (funny how people seem to want to hear it, even if they have no intention of helping diagnose the problem), and discussed getting him out to the boat where it sat at anchor the next day. The ball was rolling, so we went to the convenience store for bread, chips, and soda. Carl really is an incredible guy. He is a diesel mechanic of the highest level, working on these room-sized engines that produce outrageous amounts of power. There was nothing that was going to surprise him about our little diesel engine. We had a real diesel mechanic coming out to look at the engine and we felt like it was time to relax. The next day, he showed up while we were finishing our coffee and proceeded to go through the same process we’d been through. But something caught his eye. Remember way back in the last blog when we said it was spitting the WD-40 back out at us? Well, according to Carl, this machine should  not do that.  He[…]

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Heroism and Happiness

The next morning, we ran through all the issues again. Oh, by the way, in case you missed the last post, we were at anchor off Lloyd’s Neck (Oyster Bay area) because our engine had died the day before. We bled fuel through all the bleed points, including the pipe nuts at the injectors. Okay. Nope. We took the air filter off in case it was clogged. Okay. Nope. We sprayed WD40 in the air intake. Okay. Nope. It just ended up blowing back out at us. Each time we thought we might have found the problem, we tried to start the engine.  With the cylinders decompressed, we ran the starter until it sounded strong and then pulled the compression levers.  It’s like starting a car by rolling it down a hill. Anyway, we ran through a ton of amp-hours in a half day and killed the 7 year old starting battery that we’d meant to replace long since. So we called the Oyster Bay Marine Center, who said they had what we needed, which we hoped at that point was just a new battery. They also said that they couldn’t come get us, perhaps for insurance reasons? We were 3 nautical miles away and our only way of getting there was the same as our usual. The dinghy.  If we have perfect conditions, we sail that dinghy. There was no wind, though. The water was glass all the way across the bay. So we had to row. (Got to!) It was epic, with mid-voyage switching and showers at the marine center. We both got a good workout that day, but the battery didn’t fix the problem. We had options.  The option we didn’t like was to call for a tow and be charged way too much money to have[…]

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All Technology Fails

James and I were just talking about how there’s a role for heroism in happiness.  We’re in New London, CT, and, if you know us, you know we never planned to come back here.  On the other hand, plans go awry. Looking back at my employment history (my linked in page is almost 100% of the jobs I’ve held), I was struck by how few jobs I’ve held more than a year.  Why that should surprise me, I don’t know.  I’ve lived it!  One striking part is how much notice we tend to give – a month or more at jobs that we’ve only held for six or eight months.  It’s the planned nature of sailing adventures and the necessity to stop spending money and bank some for the dry times. It’s also a personal tendency of mine – planning and planning and refining plans. That didn’t happen this time. James and I realized that we wanted to leave. Spring fever, perhaps, but also a long winter of dissimilar schedules and the event that was not-falling-in-love with New York. We talked about it, thought about it a couple of days, and gave two weeks’ notice at our jobs. We’re both still employed, though we worked our last a week ago, because there are more opportunities with the same companies in the Boston area, where we’re headed. Whole Foods and West Marine both want James, and it will depend partly on what town we end up liking. I worked my last day; James worked his last night. We rested one day, readied the boat the next, and hauled the anchor the third. The first day took us to familiar territory (a theme in this story). We filled the water and fuel tanks at our winter abode and anchored behind the Statue[…]

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In Brooklyn Baby!

The current was so strong at 79th street that we could only get on or off the boat at certain times of the day or we’d get swept out to sea or up the Hudson. To be honest with you I (James) never mind a good row, it brings such peace to my day before and after a wage slave shift that I’ve never really had issues with rowing either in a current or not. The current was strong and the weather was crappy at 79th Street but it never made either one of us lose a shift of drudgery. The real reason to hate that place? My fucking bike got stolen at the 79th street boat basin the night Dena got back from South Dakota. Trying to own a bicycle is the very thing that turned me into an anarchist in the first place. It’s proof-positive that owning anything is impossible. I’ve had so many bikes stolen from me that I have a personal policy of beating the shit out of a bike for the entire time that I have it, simply because I don’t want the next bike thief that drunkenly stumbles up to my ride in need of the next fix to get a good deal of any kind by stealing my bike. Fuck those people! Although the Kryptonite company will insure a lock anywhere in the U.S. BUT Manhattan, bike thieves are everywhere and they all suck. So even though it was, absolutely, the best bike ride I’ve commuted on (Ever!)…THEY STOLE MY FUCKING BIKE!!! Fuck the the upper west side. We’re going to Brooklyn. So on Saturday as the tide came around to an ebb we rocket-sailed back to the anchorage behind the Statue, put the hook down, and enjoyed a night of much needed[…]

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