Friday, July 31, 2020

San Diego: better

A lovely day in San Diego as is to be expected, though yesterday a fog bank lingered just offshore and the wind blowing through it was cool.  Today sunny and warm.

I pumped up the Avon this morning and spent a couple of hours leaning out of the dinghy scraping tons of growth off GANNET’s very dirty bottom with a putty knife and a brush.  Perhaps I exaggerate, but only slightly.  Hard growth and soft.  Some of it probably was eatable, but its appearance was not sufficiently appetizing for me to experiment.  No doubt there is more that I could not reach, but the worst growth is near the waterline which as you can see in the above photo is again white.  It wasn’t when I arrived.

As you can also see the little boat is in serious need of a topside paint job.  I don’t yet know when or where that will happen.

I took a break for lunch before moving from the port side to starboard and when I finished rowed around the bait barge.  There were only three sea lions, two on the barge, one sleeping on the ball float off the end.  They have been mostly quiet, but one is arkking as I write.

With the dinghy not presently on the starboard pipe berth, tomorrow I will slither aft and replace the stern deck running light, and then go for another row.

I naturally socially distanced today.  I didn’t go ashore and only left GANNET’s immediate vicinity to walk up to the trash bin, and I haven’t spoken to anyone except Carol on the telephone.


Thursday, July 30, 2020

San Diego: from the Great Cabin

Above is my current view.  It is lovely to be back on GANNET and the water.  After posting this I will go on deck, listen to some music, sip some Plymouth gin, and watch kayakers and pelicans.

My flight yesterday was as pleasant as possible.  Carol had upgraded me to Economy Plus at a normal cost of I think $59 and I had the section almost to myself.  There were three seats on each side of the center aisle.  I was the only passenger in row 10.  There was no one in the three seats ahead of me.  Two women were in that row on the other side and one woman was behind me.  I read for a while, then watched FORD VERSUS FERRARI which passed the time even though I have never been a car fanatic and now don’t even drive.

An old friend, Susan, kindly offered to pick me up at the airport and drive me to GANNET.  We stopped at a supermarket along the way where, not remembering exactly what I had left on the little boat I fortunately bought oatmeal.  GANNET usually has a several months supply of oatmeal on board, but when I got to her I found none.  

GANNET was in good condition for having been left for almost five months.  No interior mold:  a benefit of leaving her in a desert and not excessive bird droppings on deck.  I believe these were from flyovers.  It would have been much worse if they perched, but birds usually want a higher vantage point than a Moore 24.

I scrubbed the deck and mainsail cover clean.

I sat on deck in the late afternoon and retired to my sleeping bag on the v-berth around 9 local time.  I slept well but woke at 4 AM—my normal 6 AM in Chicago.

This morning I lowered and unbent the jib in preparation for the rigger.  I even got it folded and into its sail bag which I have accomplished only once before and that was in the boat yard in Panama where I was able to spread the jib out on the ground.  This was the first time I’ve been able to fold the sail on the foredeck.  After 8,000 miles it is becoming slightly more flexible.

Kasey, the rigger, arrived as arranged at 10.  As I expected he looked over the work to be done and made some notes.  The new furling gear will take about five days to be delivered.  How soon after that the work will be done, I do not know.  He will be able to replace the standing rigging with the mast in place.

GANNET’s bottom is foul.  I knew it would be.  I telephoned the diver who has cleaned the bottom for me in the past, but he has not returned my call.  There are other divers, but tomorrow I may pump up the dinghy and see what I can remove myself.  GANNET will be pressure washed when taken from the water before being trucked east.  I will probably antifoul her here.

I am curious to see what GANNET’s port side looks like.  A kayaker slammed into GANNET yesterday afternoon and another this morning.  I expect this has been going on all summer.  Inexplicably and inexcusably.  

There is a regulation that face masks be worn in the marina.  Most people do, but not all.  Perhaps forgetful.  Perhaps selfish fools.

There are considerably more empty slips than ever before, particularly on the C Dock of 25’ slips.  Possibly a consequence of pandemic concerns about health or finances.

A cool breeze off the ocean is blowing through the companionway.  Tiny wavelets are splashing against the stern.  I glanced up as an egret glided by.  Time to go.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Evanston: Yankee stay home; hurricane tracking; deadly quotes; Storm Bay; a correction

I came across the very short list of countries that US citizens can currently visit.  It would appear that the world does not believe our handling of this pandemic has been exemplary.

I check the National Hurricane Center site each morning but I have found that a USA Today tracking page is visually clearer.

In one of the eulogies of John Lewis I came across a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr:  A man who does not have something for which he is willing to die is not fit to live.

This led me to three more quotes about death.

The fear of death follows from the fear of life.  A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.    —Mark Twain, perhaps surprisingly

The fear of death is the most unjustified of all fears, for there’s no fear of accident for someone who’s dead.    —Albert Einstein, perhaps unexpectedly

I’m prepared to meet my Maker.  Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.   —Winston Churchill, perhaps accurately

In the Google Arts and Culture app I came across the painting heading this entry, ‘Sailing Storm Bay, Tasmania’ by Haughton Forrest.

I have sailed across Storm Bay.  On February 22, 1976 after more than four months aboard the ever sinking EGREGIOUS I wrote:  6:00 P.M.  A hot, sunshiny, glassy, becalmed day spent spinning uncontrollably in slow circles a mile or so south of an off lying rock called the Mewstone.  Tasmania is known for rough weather.  Even the names on the chart mocked me as we sat there futilely in sight of “Storm Bay.”

I have learned that I made a mistake in the journal entry of July 19 when I said I was going to fly to San Diego on July 27.  I am not.  I am flying this coming Wednesday, July 29.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Evanston: GANNET 2s; momentous

I know of other sailboats named GANNET and believe that there was once a Royal Navy ship GANNET, but GANNET 2s are rare.  Above you have Layne and Michael with their Golden Van parked just across the street from our Evanston condo yesterday afternoon and a power boat in Thailand sent to me by Nathan for which I thank him.  I note that both GANNET 2s are powered craft.

Michael and Layne are on their ‘shake-up’ cruise in their van, having taken possession a month ago.  When I pointed out that it is a shake down cruise, I was told that when they bought a 34’ catamaran a couple of decades ago, which they subsequently cruised from California to Key West, their first sail was on windy San Francisco Bay and it was definitely a shake up, so the expression has endured..

They are accompanied by their companion, Rusty.  

When I met Carol she had a cat, Shatters, who lived with us on THE HAWKE OF TUONELA in Boston Harbor until she died shortly before we sailed away in 2001.  Shatters was an elderly cabin cat.  She never ventured up to the cockpit and she did not like HAWKE to be away from the dock under either sail or power.  I called her Shatters, the reluctant ship’s cat.

Rusty does not like the van.  He prefers soft beds in land dwellings with no bumps, swaying or engine noise. He may be Rusty the reluctant van dog.

Michael and Layne’s GANNET 2 is very ship like.  She has full standing headroom, clever stowage space, solar panels on the roof, good insulation, and even a solar shower.  I was impressed by how Michael had parked her in a normal space on the street, but then in his varied past he once drove 18 wheelers, so to him this was easy.

Their shake up cruise was originally intended to go to Maine, but the pandemic changed that.  They drove north yesterday heading for the Wisconsin woods.

Voyage on.

Yesterday I removed two commas from the lists page of the main site and capitalized a letter.
I’m sure you noticed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Evanston: 100,000 miles; progress; risk; Conrad

In AUSTRALIAN GEOGRAPHIC, one of the many magazines I view online in Apple News +, I read a startling number.  Young wandering albatross fly farther than older birds.  Studies of juvenile birds have shown that in their first year at sea the average young albatross flies 100,000 miles.  Those are nautical miles.  The circumference of the Earth at the Equator is 21,600 nautical miles, so it might be said that they fly around the world almost five times in a year; but in the high Southern Latitudes where they actually do fly, the circumference is less than 15,000 nautical miles, so they circumnavigate at least six or seven times.  That is more in a year than I have done in a lifetime.  I am impressed.

Yesterday I telephoned Pacific Offshore Rigging in San Diego, the men who rigged GANNET’s new mast seven years ago.  I am sure there are good riggers on the East Coast, but I don’t know who they are and they may not know who I am.  I got Kasey, the owner, who remembered me and GANNET and understands my atypical use of the little boat.  This saves a lot of time.  Also saving time is that Kasey made a useful suggestion about what furling gear unit I should use to replace the Furlex and agreed to meet me on GANNET the day after I arrive.  Excellent. A  step forward.

I had the distinct pleasure this morning to receive an interesting email from Jim who has kindly agreed to let me share it with you.  I thank him.

You bring up the topic of risk, which shows up from time to time in your writings.  I believe you have written about it more when you are considering or discussing sailing, than when you are actually sailing.  When sailing, you deal with what is.  You could lecture on the topic.

At 72, I have chosen to continue to go to work, part time, at an Air Force base and teach in simulators and classroom. The environment is disciplined on base, with sanitary conditions, distancing and masks specified.  But it would be less “Risky” to stay home.

As you have stated, there is a calculation. In fighter pilot terms, the probability of survival is partially the probability of engagement with a threat, and, if that happens, the lethality of that threat.  And the number of those engagements.  One should try to limit the threat exposures, and engage less-lethal threats.  Mitigate the existing threat.

In a Covid world, as you have considered, each part of any trip outside has its own risk.  You recently provided a chart with a risk (threat) hierarchy.

Our sailboat is currently in the Florida Keys. (Tavernier) To get to the boat is a fairly safe, but incredibly taxing four day drive, with four hotel rooms. Or 4.5 hours, plus airport time, with about 100 of our closest new friends.  Impossible to calculate which would be less lethal, given the variables. 

Eddie Raven sings a cute song, “Joe Knows How to Live” that includes the line, roughly, “Life is something you will never live again.” Hate to waste a sailing opportunity.  But then, there is a probability there will be an available treatment, and maybe a vaccine, soonish. 

Our good health is mitigation.  Jack Nicklaus and his wife tested positive in March, at about 80, I noticed.

Another way to view this is, at our age, the addition of Covid may not change the overall calculation very much.  Other things may be creeping up on us.  As someone said, “Something is going to kill you.”  Just not today…

I suppose I think about risk as Jim describes fighter pilots do, but I have never expressed it so succinctly.  Probability.  Lethality.  Number.

Of risk, I have not forgotten the hurricane season which although quiet these past few weeks, started early and is still predicted to be more active than average.  With global warming I expect most future seasons will be more active than past averages.

This is from NASA’s Earth Observatory site.  Orange shows sea surface temperatures on July 14.  Orange is above 27.8C/82.04F which fuels or strengthens tropical storms.

If the endless renovation is finally completed and I move GANNET to Hilton Head and both are almost immediately destroyed by a hurricane, I am going to be unhappy, but will have no one to blame but myself.  That’s a known risk.

I thought I had read all of Joseph Conrad, many of his novels and stories more than once, but in looking through THE COMPLETE WORKS OF JOSEPH CONRAD, one of the world’s great bargains at $1.99 for the Kindle Edition, I came across THE END OF THE TETHER which I did not recall and as I read realized I hadn’t before.  Maybe there are a few more gems I have overlooked.  I hope so.  It is a very good short novel about an aging sea captain who lost his wealth through bank failures during a financial panic, but continues on to the end of the tether to try to help his adult daughter.  There is a plot twist, so I will not say more.

A quote from the book:

The sea was full of craft of all kind.  And of all the ships in sight, near and far, each was provided with a man, the man without whom the finest ship is a dead thing, a floating and purposeless log.

And this not from the book.

One morning two boats left a city in the East.

It was an unusually logical city, governed under the
theories of an American psychologist by a Chinese man educated in England. Nominally a democracy, the government held one-party elections before telling the people what to do. It told them clearly and repeatedly, and it rewarded them when they did what they were told and it punished them when they did not.

The government sponsored a great many campaigns. There were campaigns in favor of birth control, education, short hair for men, higher work productivity, and the wearing of seat belts in automobiles. There were campaigns against littering, drugs, spitting in public, and the use of minor languages. But even logic can lead to absurdity, such as the huge poster in the General Post Office, which commanded: Speak More Mandarin; Less Dialects. Unfortunately for the theories of the American psychologist, this was written in English.

It was not a city given to laughter, particularly at itself, and generally these campaigns resulted in the city being what the government wanted it to be: serious, hard working, prosperous, and dull. It was the cleanest city in the East, and the most characterless.

The city was situated on an island at the mouth of a great strait. The island was roughly diamond shaped, fifteen miles north/south and twenty miles east/west.

One hundred years earlier, the island was the private hunting preserve of a sultan, whose Muslim ancestors had a few centuries still earlier conquered the adjacent peninsula in the name of Allah. Then a young Englishman came to make his fortune in the service of the East India Company, saw the commercial value of the island, and founded a trading post there.

Now three million people lived on the island. Most of them were Chinese. All of them were immigrants or the sons and daughters or grandsons and granddaughters of immigrants.  But those now living on the island considered it to be their own and did not welcome new immigrants. They particularly did not welcome refugees arriving by the boatload from other less prosperous and less stable lands, which in that part of the world meant practically everywhere. Such refugees were kept in detention camps until they were sent elsewhere for resettlement. The government declared that it would order its warships to sink boatloads of refugees if other countries refused to accept them.

The gulf from which the refugees appeared lay to the east of the city. To the north a peninsula dangled like an udder from the fertile cow of Asia. To the south and west sat some of the largest islands in the world. Between those islands and the peninsula was the strait.

The city was flat and ugly and had no assets other than its strategic location and the vision and determination of its aging Chinese leader. Because it was on the Equator, its climate was almost intolerable. Probably that is why no one had lived there before the Englishman came
unwittingly to prepare the stage for his country’s most humiliating and decisive defeat.

For only brief periods at dawn and sometimes after sunset was the city pleasant. Most nights and most afternoons were filled with rain. But dawn was often clear and cool and still.

The waters surrounding the city mirrored the pastel purples and lavenders that the early sun brought to the sky. The vast fleet of ships lying off the southern shore of the city was asleep. The skyscrapers in which most of the city’s inhabitants lived and worked were silent. The streets were empty. Shadows were long.

In less than an hour all this would change. As the rising sun burned away the delicate pastels of dawn, the anthill came to life. Small figures moved about the ships and skyscrapers, slowly at first, then more frenetically. Streets filled, then clogged, with cars and busses and bicycles. Lighters and launches and barges rushed from ship to shore. The sky filled with the first drops of moist haze that would by noon coalesce into towering thunderheads.

 It was during one of these lovely dawns that two boats left the city. One was a fishing boat; one a sloop. The fishing boat had two men aboard. The sloop only one. The fishing boat left from a wharf crowded with similar boats on the northwest side of the city; the sloop from a marina on the southeast. Under power, both craft headed for the strait, their bows cutting easily through glassy, oily water.

In two days a storm would bring them together.

Not Conrad.  Me.  The beginning of SHADOWS, but I like to think Conradian.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Evanston: the eye of the gannet; Dr. No and me; a decision

I thank Tim for the above striking photo of the eye of a gannet who was rescued after being caught in plastic.  That wide open pupil is like looking inside him.  I wonder what he was experiencing at that moment.

A few evenings ago I rewatched the first James Bond film, DR. NO.  I remember clearly that I first saw it when it was originally released in this country fifty-seven years ago  It was near Memorial Day of 1963.  I saw it with Mary, my first wife, and her younger brother, John, in Dubuque, Iowa.  Mary I were were married the preceding December in our senior year in college.  We saw DR. NO a few days before graduation.  The day after graduation we set out to drive to San Diego in my first car a very used 1955 Chevrolet station wagon towing a uHaul trailer of stuff.  Mary and the stuff have long since fallen away.  I was twenty-one and filled with hope and happy that I would soon see the ocean again.  It had been five years since my last summer at my grandparent’s house in Mission Beach.  I wanted then the life I have led, but I did not know how it would happen.  I had never even been on a sailboat.  I had never had a word published.  At times in coming years I doubted it would, but it did.

Being the first of what would become a multi-billion dollar franchise, DR. NO’s budget was limited.  Sean Connery drove a Sunbeam Alpine in a chase scene, not an Aston Martin, but Ursula Andress was as desirable as I remembered.

Measured purely by distance I have not come far.  Almost six decades later I am only 180 miles east of where I was in 1963.

After considerable consideration I have concluded that the variables of getting needed work done on GANNET and the risks of the virus are incalculable.  Therefore I can either do nothing or something, and I prefer something.  So I am going to fly to San Diego on July 29 and figure things out from there.

I will be considerably more exposed in San Diego than I am in Evanston.  I am in the age group of greatest risk, but I like to believe I have some reasons to think I am not an average 78 year old.

Here is the GANNET to do list:

I don’t know how much of it will get done or needs to be done in San Diego.  I could just haul the little boat, have her bottom pressure washed, and put her on a truck east.  I am flying on a one-way ticket.  I don’t know how long I will be there.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Evanston: back to boats

I know that many, probably most of you are only here because I sail.  I read a lot about sailing when I was teaching myself how to.  I don’t much anymore.  I have other interests and I appreciate your putting up with them.  Or perhaps you don’t and only read entries about boats. If so you will be pleased.  This entry is all about boats and the sea, most of it provided by readers.

Dan was going through boxes of old papers and opened an envelope from which fell an article of mine that appeared in CRUISING WORLD.  Above is an artist’s rendition of me making for an anchored fishing boat after twenty-six hours and about 125 miles of floating and swimming in the Gulf Stream after sinking RESURGAM, though in my memory I was wearing a yellow tee-shirt. 

The article begins:  I was Socrates for nine hours, but then, as I weakened, I became Dylan Thomas for seventeen.

A slightly different version can be found on the articles page of the main site.

That swim was a turning point in my life.  it has become easier since.  

I thank Dan for sending the image.

Since I am writing about myself, permit me to continue.  Kent just reread THE OPEN BOAT:  Across the Pacific and sent me a list I included under the heading, “What Other World Cruiser.”

...has a dinghy more than half the size of the boat.
...can sit out the cyclone season in a tax assessor's back yard.
...has full standing head room for giraffes.
...can lift his mizzen with one hand.
...can take care of annual maintenance in two mornings.

...can be towed behind a minivan.
....can fit in a garage.
...can be rowed.
...has no boom. named Lugger when it is actually a Gunter.
...has a bumpkin.

I had forgotten that and thank him for reminding me.  I haven’t read my books for decades.  Maybe sometime I will reread me from the beginning.

As I expect most of you know I was writing about CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE, an 18’ Drascombe Lugger.  Kent and Audrey—though probably that should be the other way around—Audrey and Kent have a sister ship, ONKAHYE, in their Armada of small boats.  


Their ONKAYNE is named after a mid-19th Century US Navy Schooner on which an ancestor of Audrey’s, Ben Hunter, served.

I thank Kent and Audrey for the images.

I thank Ron for the link to an entertaining and interesting four minute video of the scraping of a ship in Scotland.  To me it looks like insects devouring a carcass.

In viewing the Maritime Traffic site, I recently noticed yachts heading north from New Zealand and emailed a couple of friends there asking if restrictions have been eased.  I thank Zane and Jason for their responses.  

The answer is that Fiji is opening to yachts, but with significant restrictions:

Somewhere in the fine print is listed a requirement for insurance.  I do not recall how many times I have sailed to Fiji since I first did in CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE in 1979.  Five or possibly six.  I have never had insurance.  Perhaps this is limited to inside the marina.  Perhaps the frontier is closed.  Sometimes I feel like a mountain man in the old west when the settlers came.  I am on the record as believing it desirable that no marine insurance exists.  If sailors had to go to sea totally responsible for their own lives and property, a good many who shouldn’t wouldn’t.

I discovered online that Skull Creek Marina has been sold since I sailed for Panama in late January of last year.  I subsequently learned that Marc, the office manager, and Fred, the dock master are still there.  Carol and I did not make it to the marina during our curtailed visit to Hilton Head.  We started to walk down one day but found the pier out to the marina blocked by a group of twenty or so people and on our last day it rained.  I emailed Marc and told him I plan to truck GANNET back east sometime this year and hope they will find a space for her.  I received a quick response back that indeed they would.  Very nice people at that marina.  One less problem to solve.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Evanston: five kisses

The other evening I read a poem by Sara Teasdale, ‘The Kiss’.

This reminded me of a very different ‘The Kiss’ by Siegfried Sasson which I had seen mentioned a few days earlier in THE EYE IN THE DOOR, the second novel in Pat Barker’s REGENERATION TRILOGY.  Sasson’s kiss is given by bayonet.

Which caused me to seek an image of Auguste Rodin’s ‘The Kiss’.

In doing so I came across Gustav Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’.

And of course Alfred Eisenstaedt’s “V-J Day in Times Square’.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Evanston: books read; correction; inconclusive; living to 110

January 2020


RED CAVALRY.  Isaac Babel

OVERTHROW  Stephen Kinzer

BEOWULF. translated by Frederick Rebsamen

THE SEA WOLVES.  Lars Brownworth

ORIENT EXPRESS   Graham Greene


MUNICH   Robert Harris

ROAD OF BONES   Fergal Keane


THE FALCON THIEF.  Joshua Hammer

UNBROKEN.  Laura Hillenbrand


TIME AND TIDE   Thomas Fleming

SAILING TO FREEDOM.  Voldemar Veedam


A LONG PETAL OF THE SEA.  Isabel Allende



GERMINAL.  Emile Zola

THE RESCUE.  Joseph Conrad



PALE HORSE, PALE RIDER.  Katherine Anne Porter

COVENTRY   Helen Humphreys


THE FROZEN THAMES.  Helen Humphreys


ISACC’S STORM   Erik Larson

THE MAP AND THE TERRITORY   Michel  Houellebecq



Jay has gently corrected my description of the photo taken by his son Jimmy that I posted on Tuesday.  It is of the moon rising, not the sun setting, with color provided by Sahara dust, which had left Hilton Head before we arrived there.

You may have noticed that Shawn suggested in a post comment a few weeks ago that shaving cream might help prevent eyeglasses fogging when wearing a face mask.  I remembered to try this before we left on our flight to Savannah.  The results were inconclusive.  It may have helped for the first half hour or so, but not beyond that.  I can read without my glasses and removed them once we were seated on the plane.

Google Arts and Culture ran a feature on the Japanese woodcut master Hokusai, perhaps best known for The Great Wave off Kanazawa shown above.  I was amused to learn that he planned to live to be 110 when he was convinced he would do his best work.  

From Google:

He fully embraced old age and had big plans for each milestone.  “When I am 80 you will see real progress,” he said.  “At 90 I will have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself.  At 100 I shall be a marvelous artist.  At 110, everything I create:  a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before.  To all of you who are going to live as long as I do, I promise to keep my word.  I am writing this in my old age.”

Unfortunately he didn’t see 110 and passed away aged 88. On his deathbed, he apparently said, “If only Heaven will give me just another ten years...Just another five more years, then I could become a real painter.”

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Evanston: home; Izembek; the path of a burger

I am glad to be home.  Hilton Head has beauty and many virtues, but that condo isn’t our space yet.  Carol says it is starting to feel like home to her.  It does not to me.  Perhaps in a month or two it will be, but for now I would rather be here in a space uninvaded by others.

While in Hilton Head and Savannah, we engaged daily in dangerous activity.  We did so as carefully as possible, but we knowingly took greater risks than I wish.  Our flight back was filled almost to capacity.  This was a smaller Canadair built jet with only two seats on each side of the aisle.  No one was sneezing or coughing and all wore the mandatory face masks.  

Going through TSA in Savannah I was picked for a random hand swab test for explosives.  The first time that has happened to me.  I was directed to a man who swabbed both my palms and then held the swabs in front of a small yellow box that after a few seconds flashed ‘No Alarms’.  He then pleasantly wished me a good flight and a good day.  

As we were taxiing to the terminal after landing at O’Hare I found an email from Larry that contained a chart rating activities during the pandemic by degree of risk.  

That may be unreadable.  If so, opening the mail is at top and the least risky, rated as 1.  Going to a bar is at the bottom and most risky, rated as 9, along with going to a large music concert or a sports stadium, or attending a religious service with more than 500 other worshipers. 

We have done none of those, but I was reading the email on an airplane, which is a 7, and we had been staying in hotels, a 4, been in stores and shops, and on several days in proximity to several unmasked construction workers. 

South Carolina has been in the news recently as one of the states with the greatest percentage increase in COVID 19 cases, but the numbers are increasing from a small base.  In Beaufort County where Hilton Head is located the number of cases per 100,000 is 877 and the number of deaths per 100,000 is 12.  In Cook County where Evanston is located the number of cases per 100,000 is 1,815 and the number of deaths per 100,000 is 91.

The next two weeks will tell.

Not eating in restaurants, I returned to Evanston weighing exactly the 153 pounds I did when I left.

I only did my standard workout twice while we were gone.  Today I resume.  Seven floors of stairs already done.  Fourteen to go.  And the full workout this afternoon.

The monthly Cornell Lab of Ornithology newsletter contains a link to an interesting and beautiful video about the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.  There are too damn many of our species on the planet.  I am all for leaving what little we have not yet ruined untouched.  The ocean is my wilderness.

From the WASHINGTON POST via Apple News comes a to me fascinating article following a gourmet hamburger from artificial insemination to the dinner plate and the changes in human lives of those in this progression during the pandemic.


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Hilton Head Island: from the porch: dust; 51 years to catch up; horde

On an intermittently rainy day that has thus far remained comfortable, we are confined to the screened in porch.  The screens are floor to ceiling and some rain has blown in.  Radar shows a band of heavy showers due in an hour which may drive us inside.  The forecast also mentions possible waterspouts.  Not, I think, on Skull Creek.  Work inside seems confined to the laundry room, so we should be able to find refuge somewhere out of the way if we must.  Until this place is finished, assuming it ever is, I will be glad to be in control of my own space elsewhere.  We fly back to Chicago tomorrow morning.

Sahara dust has reached as far as Chicago.  I thank Jimmy and Jay for the above photo of a dust enhanced sunset.  Considerably more boats in the water than in the last photo from Jay and Jimmy of Monroe Harbor for what will be a very short sailing season.  

Sunrises, sunsets, and the moon are often beautiful over Lake Michigan.

As some of you will know, Scot, the owner and editor of the Sailing Anarchy website, has just bought an Ericson 35 Mk 2.  I know Scot.  He even once bought me a fine lunch at the San Diego Yacht Club.  I wrote to him under the subject:  congratulations on catching up.

I knew you talked about buying an Ericson 35-2 and see that you finally did.  It has taken you 51 years to catch up with me, who bought off the plans and had the second one in the water in 1969.  Well, most never catch up with me at all, so you have done well.  

And in reply to a question on how I liked the boat:

I lived on board with a beautiful woman at Harbor Island Marina in the early 70s, sailed as much as one can in Southern California, which has the best climate in the world, but as you know usually not much wind and few, almost no anchorages, and prepared for breaking away forever.  When Ericson came out with the 37 in I think 1973 I traded up and had a 37 built without lifelines or engine or through hull fittings below the waterline.  The 37 had engineering problems with the rig, particularly the bolts through the mast below deck level in lieu of tie rods, and on the passage in which I became the first American to round Cape Horn alone the hull cracked and in five months at sea I ended up bailing seven tons of water out with a bucket every 24 hours.  I have occasionally wondered if I might have done better to have stuck with the 35 for my first circumnavigation.  She was a fine boat and a pretty one, which boats should be, though I was not sailing her as you will.

All the best from the other coast.

The cover story of the July issue of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC is about an expedition to try to recover a camera carried by Andrew ‘Sandy’ Irvine, who disappeared near the summit of Mt. Everest with George Mallory in 1924.  Since then there has been a question of whether they died on the way up or down, and if down, whether they were the first men to reach the top.

I was struck by several aspects of this expensive presumably for TV endeavor, among them how unlikely it ever was to succeed and how disproportionate the effort and cost even if it were successful, but most by the statement that as the team was waiting to summit, 450 others were also waiting on the Nepal side of the mountain and 200 more on the Chinese.  Almost all of whom had paid according to Google $45,000 and up.  In some photos illustrating the article Levittowns of tents despoil the mountain.  Not quite an edge of human experience.  

Spoiler:  the camera was not found.  The ‘crevice’ seen in an aerial photograph in which Irvine’s body was ‘certain to be’ proved to be a dark rock that only looked like a crevice.