Monday, February 15, 2016
Evanston: two Estonians; grace in her element
I received an email from Markus in Estonia suggesting that I might enjoy the music of his countryman, Arvo Pärt. He is quite right. I had three albums of Pärt’s compositions, but Markus recommended some works I did not have, and so I bought two more from iTunes. Pärt’s music is minimalist and much of it possesses serene beauty that goes well with a fine day at sea.
One of the albums I just bought includes a piece titled, “Hymn to a Great City.” I wondered which city. So I googled and found this in a program note to a performance by the LA Philharmonic, “Minimalism can be seen as the moment music re-entered the monastery.” Perfect.
And the monastery of the sea.
It has been far too long.
The world is too much with me.
The great city, by the way, is New York.
Markus also sent me a link to a piece about Ahto Walter, a pioneering sailor of small boats, famous in his time, of whom I had not heard.
More than the Atlantic crossings, I am impressed by the winter passages in Northern Europe. I can identify with cooking on a one burner stove on the cabin sole.
This is the second time recently I have read mention of Bathurst. The Lindberghs flew from there to Brazil as recounted in LISTEN! THE WIND. I’m a little surprised that the author of the piece couldn’t figure out that Bathurst is now Banjul, capital of The Gambia.
Markus adds that at age seventy Ahto sailed solo in a 36’ two masted vessel from St. Thomas to Australia, where the boat was irreparably damaged while being hauled from the water.
I thank Markus for reminding me of Pärt and informing me of an admirable sailor.
A friend has a daughter named Grace and recently sent me a photo of her which he noted is “Grace in her element of theaters and traffic.” Grace is a lovely young woman and it is a charming photo.
I was immediately struck by what a wonderful phrase ‘grace in her element’ is. It would make a great title for practically anything, a book, a movie, or a boat, whose very essence is grace in her element.
Ryan Finn made it through the Panama Canal with some aggravation, but only minor damage, and is now sailing north to New Orleans.
Having been through the canal three times myself, once almost disastrously when a line handler on a big steel ketch to which RESURGAM was rafted lost control of his line, causing RESURGAM to come within inches of being crushed against a lock wall, I wondered how JZERRO, being a light and unusual boat, would manage. Ryan’s post about his transit is here.
My other two transits of the canal were uneventful, but I don’t like the canal because I don’t like having my boat and life under the control of others.
Transiting in GANNET would present problems. I have no place for four line handlers to sleep except on deck; no way to feed them, and less desire to do so; and would have to rent or borrow a gas outboard. If I do go via Panama, I would be tempted to see if it were possible to haul GANNET from the water and truck her across the peninsula.
For a few years I have been using eneloop rechargeable batteries, but an article at The Wirecutter, a site that I have found to be reliable, concludes that there are now better choices. Their top pick: Energizer Recharge Power Plus.
I am enjoying LuckGrib more than I expected.
There is a lot of interesting and potentially useful information there.
Updating an existing GRIB takes three clicks and about that many seconds, so I have been daily updating the GRIB I used last week to track the storm once thought headed for New Zealand. Running the time line I see that, although it is weakening as it drifts east, it is expected to reform and strengthen near Tonga later in the week into a cyclone with 100+ knot gusts.
I also have a GRIB of the area around Chicago; but I have only to glance up and see a low gray sky, and I know it is cold.
We need more grace.