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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Jump!

3 weeks! …Not bad for free digs within rock throwing distance of the City. The routine went like this… I’d get up around 4:00pm, do the coffee thing and if the weather was shitty, which it was most of the time, I’d get geared up and go out on deck to check the ground tackle, foredeck, midships, cockpit, fantail, wind generator, and standing rig … Check! Back on the hook and off the grid, that is the way this boat performs best. And let me tell you, it’s incredible to experience so viscerally the fruits of your labors. And let me tell you about those labors… …I’d feed myself next, read some and then Dena would text around 6:30 or so to let me know that she was going down into the PATH station from midtown Manhattan, Grove Street bound. She’d text me again at the Grove Street station, I’d wait about 10 minutes then jump in the little boat and row in to the public dock to meet. A couple of times over the past few weeks I managed to hit it perfectly where Dena would be riding up just as I’d be rowing into the dock. that was definitely cool, it felt like we were making this thing, this Cryptozoic, thing look easy. …She’d jump in the boat and depending on a combination of, her level of retail-exhaustion, wind direction and of course, velocity, she’d either row back to the boat, or not. We’d chill out, she’d decompress and I’d ready myself for another night of graveyard-wage slavery in TriBeca. In the morning after my servitude-to-capitalism I’d work out, steam, shower, jump on a train and then ride back to the anchorage where I’d find the little boat locked up to the dock where Dena had left it[…]

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Adventure’s End?

October 25th marked the completion of our 17th year together.  We celebrated in high style – our version. We got underway from Cold Spring Harbor bright and early, heading around the rocks off Center Island, along the blunt point, down Hempstead Bay to Glen Cove. Once again, we were doing some heavy beating with a foul current for most of the trip.  When we turned down the bay, though, we caught the fair current, broad reaching in 20 knots of wind, with the swell on our quarter.  Fast. We didn’t make arrangements ahead of time, because of our allergy to firm planning, but it’s just not that hard to get into a marina in late October.  To our disappointment, the Brewer juggernaut has taken over every single marina in Glen Cove – not a single independent left.  Sigh.  Oh, well – we’ll feed the devil this once. So we pulled in (minor clusterfuck – the office drone told us we’d be port side to, so we put our mooring lines and fenders on the port side, then she waved us in on a starboard side slip and said oops, which necessitated some last minute scrambling to get lines on the correct side).  We did a washdown of the boat and then of ourselves (the first in the six days since using Mom’s hotel room shower in New Haven). We walked up to Sea Cliff, where the Metropolitan Bistro was just opening up.  Almost three hours later, we left replete with wonderful conversation, loving each other more than ever, well fed and well lubricated.  The waitress gave us the poached pear on the house – it was divine.  It was perfectly us on our day – a long walk after a lot of sailing, holding hands and wandering into the unknown[…]

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We Be Here

Stepping foot off the Mystic Whaler for the last time was as uneventful an adventure as the trip from Baltimore to Philadelphia aboard that same schooner. Our friends and ship mates Marie and Dan handed us our measly belongings, walked us to our rented car, hugged us, shook us, and away we went… The End. (I should note that the captain and cook were so moved by our departure that they couldn’t bring themselves to say goodbye. I should also note that the previous note was facetious.) The drive to New London from Philly actually took longer than the preparation to get our boat underway. Within 45 minutes of being aboard the S/V Itinerant/Nomad, the boat was completely ready to go mechanically with the only thing left to do being provisioning and washing the Whaler off our bodies.  Groceries, propane, water boarded and several excellent showers enjoyed, we slipped the mooring pennants off the bow bollard and sailed off our mooring. A gentle wind wafted us, aided by the more powerful ebb current, down the Thames River.  It was our first downriver sail aboard our own boat in quite some time, though we’d done it so frequently as crew.  The ebb turned against us when we tried to head west, up-Sound, and the wind’s light caress revealed its insufficiency.  We motor-sailed past Bartlett’s Reef, past Niantic Bay, and entered the Connecticut River. A few miles in, a bascule bridge allows, by turns, trains and boats to utilize the same scrap of planet.  It is ordinarily open, closing only for approaching trains, with a digital board counting down the minutes until the next opening.  Something has gone awry with this elegant system, however, and it is, as usual, the human element at fault. We approached the open area downriver of the[…]

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