Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Evanston: harder then; unimaginable; cold wakes; small steps

        David sent me a quote from THE ART OF NAVIGATION by Antonio de Guevara in 1539.
        Do no one enter (the sea) by choice but out of necessity, because the man who sails, if it were not for relieving his conscience to defend his honor or to protect lives...I say and affirm that such a person is bored, or completely crazy.
        That reminded me of Samuel Johnson saying, “No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned.”  At another time he claimed, “A man in jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company.”
        But then Dr. Johnson was an urban man who also said, “Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”  Which is obviously not true.  Among other things, there is no ocean there.
        However, I do agree with David that going to sea was harder in the days of Antonio de Guevara and Samuel Johnson.  The ships were cranky, hard to sail, didn’t go to windward well, or at all, and were filthy and pestilential.  On many voyages most of the crew died of scurvy until about the time of Captain Cook.
        David knows I was born far from the sea and asked if there were any previous sailors in my past.
        The answer is one.
        Another reader whose pastime was genealogy worked out my ancestry back to the late 1700s.  No sailors there.
        My hands are affected by Dupuytren’s Contracture which is also known as The Viking Disease, so a thousand years back there is a seagoing pillager in my past.
        That is a really recessive gene.


        The NY TIMES has an article about all the light stars have ever produced in the universe which is beyond imagination.  At least mine.
        For a start it is beyond my imagination that a few of our species are clever enough to be able to calculate that number.
        Then the article states that there are two trillion galaxies in the universe containing a trillion trillion stars.
        I can’t imagine that either.
        And finally, the universe is truly dark and empty.
        All the light from all those stars shining for fourteen billion years “provides about as much illumination as a 60-watt bulb seen from 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) away.”
Permit me to quote a great poet:

To Nicholas Copernicus

you did us no kindness
when you proved we are not the center of the universe
Easier to believe our lives had meaning then.
Harder now.

it is better
to know
the truth.



        Yesterday I telephoned the small boat yard adjacent to Skull Creek Marina which I know does not permit owners to do their own work, a now common restriction I dislike, and asked if they would reduce the cost of anti-fouling if I provide the paint.  As some of you may recall I bought a gallon of Petit Vivid before I sailed to the Chesapeake, thinking I might anti-foul there.  After some consultation, they agreed to lower the price by more than I expected.  So I have signed a contract for them to anti-foul GANNET sometime in January.
        I also have decided on which freeze dry meals I will buy to provision and where I will buy them.
        Among the ways I miss New Zealand is not being able to buy their Back Country Cuisine freeze dry meals.
        Here in the U.S. I used to buy from Campmor.  I still will buy some meals from them, but for reasons I did not know they no longer stock the Mountain House brand, which is my favorite in this country.
        Mountain House itself no longer sells Chicken Stew in individual servings.  Instead Chicken Stew is available only in what they call 10 serving cans.  From the nutritional information Mountain House provides I think each can will only provide about 7 or 8 servings. I will buy a can and repack the contents into zip lock bags.
        My list:

          Backcountry Pantry Santa Fe Chicken 
          Backcountry Pantry Louisiana Beans and Rice
          Backcountry Pantry Chicken and Rice
          Alpine Aire Leonardo De  Fettuccini
          Mountain House:
               Beef Stew
               Beef Stroganoff with Noodles
               Chicken with Dumplings
               Chicken Fried Rice
               Pasta Primavera 
               Sweet and Sour Pork 
               Chicken with Mashed Potatoes
               Italian Style Pepper Steak 

        You may have noticed that there are only thirteen meals.  
        A packet of Santa Fe Chicken provides two meals, and 
I will also buy a few other meals to experiment with.