Monday, October 31, 2022

Hilton Head Island: unwrapped; more painted; a dinghy's tale


The above was taken a few minutes ago.  Hallelujah!

The bedroom window was partially unwrapped Saturday afternoon. 

I biked down to GANNET this morning and painted the small areas I had missed earlier and when I returned all the plastic had been removed from that window and from the four glass doors in the living room as well.  The door from the bedroom onto the deck which is to the right of the above is still covered as are the doors onto the screened porch, but I am no longer entombed.  I can see out. I can even walk out onto the deck and I have hopes that by this evening all will be completed and my condo will again be my own.

This morning's painting took less than a half hour.  All that is left is to paint the bilge and to sand and oil the wood.

However when I stayed on board last week I discovered that none of the lights in the mast are working.  Not the steaming light on the forward side of the mast nor the tricolor and anchor lights at the masthead.  I went over the wiring this morning.  It is simple, but I don't immediately see the source of the problem.  I will have to go back again and stay after dark, hardly an ordeal, and experiment.

When I was a boy lost in the Midwest, dreaming of sailing, the two magazines were RUDDER and YACHTING.  I read both assiduously.  RUDDER ceased publication in 1977 and the last time I looked YACHTING had become purely power boats.  

After I completed the EGREGIOUS circumnavigation my literary agent sold the manuscript which became STORM PASSAGE and I sold one of my first two published articles to YACHTING.  I prepared one about the rounding of Cape Horn and one about the cyclone in the Tasman and sent one to YACHTING and one to SAIL.  I don't now recall which to which.  This was late 1976 and correspondence was by postal mail.  Both articles sold, but Patience Wales, who was then the editor of SAIL, sent a letter asking me to call her.  I did and SAIL published everything I wrote for the next 25 years.

This has come to mind because Kent recently sent me a link to a charming article which appeared in RUDDER about a small dinghy named WEE PUP.  I thank him.  Perhaps you will enjoy it too.

Read the original 1906 The Rudder magazine article

It was indeed a different time.

I once had a similar small dinghy.  It was the last rigid dinghy I owned.  I solved some of Mr. Thompson's problems by going with Avon RedStart inflatables, which don't make noise or scratch paint when they bump into the hull while at anchor, and by almost never towing dinghies, and always regretting doing so when I have.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Hilton Head Island: from the Great Cabin


The above was taken a few minutes ago.  I was tired of being entombed in our condo, not able to see outside or even go out on our deck or porch.  It became worse this morning when paint splatters begin appearing on the plastic outside doors and windows.  So I walked down and will spend the night on GANNET.  I could not have done this until I reorganized the interior yesterday.

Sitting here at Central is like coming home, except that I already was home.  I can see the sky and feel a modest breeze.  

Looking around I am satisfied with the paint job.  I have still to sand down and oil the wood, paint the bilge, and paint the two small areas beside where I am sitting that I missed earlier.  I'll do all that next week.

I brought down half a store bought Santa Fe Chicken salad and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.  I am presently charging the bluetooth speakers and in an hour will go on deck and sip wine and listen to music.  Just like old times.



Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Hilton Head Island: painted and viewless


I painted the forepeak today and didn't even get very much paint on myself.  The forepeak is easier to paint than the Great Cabin with fewer bolts in the overhead and more uncluttered surfaces, all easier to reach, except for the very bow which is a long stretch over a partial bulkhead.  Now GANNET's interior is painted except for the bilge and the dead space in the stern aft of the pipe berths.  The bilge is small and easy.  The space aft is not going to be painted by the present owner who got stuck back there last time.  He does spray mold retardant into that space from the safety of the pipe berths.

I spent three hours scraping paint yesterday and two and a half hours painting today.  So far the project has taken about twelve hours, evenly divided between scraping and painting.

When I biked back to the condo I found that somebody had stolen my view.  This place is very different without the view.  I miss it.  The identity of the thieves is known.  The exterior of our building is being painted.  I will be glad when it is done and I have my view back.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Hilton Head Island: manana was yesterday; death poems

I returned to work mode yesterday morning and labored on GANNET for three hours, scraping paint, taping bulkheads, and cleaning up the mess I made.

I returned this morning and painted for three hours.  GANNET's interior is now painted from the main bulkhead to the aft end of the pipe berths.  And so am I.  Some of the painting was directly overhead and gravity was not my friend.  I checked myself in a mirror before leaving GANNET and applied turpentine liberally.  It burns, but I already knew that and quickly rinsed with the hose.  However upon returning to the condo I saw a blob I had missed and later felt another farther back on my bald pate that I cannot see.  They will wash and wear off in time.

Work will not resume until Monday when I will move everything from the forepeak  and scrape paint there.  Paint Tuesday.  And then a more complete cleanup, including sanding all the interior wood I can reach.  I have always been a messy painter and have become messier with age.

I read ten pages of JAPANESE DEATH POEMS each day.  Unfortunately I have only five more days to go.  I have enjoyed them and given enough time will reread them again, but not immediately.

Some were prepared in advance, but many were written the day the writer died.  Here is another I like.

The thought came to me last evening that I wrote a death poem many years ago.  I looked for it on the poetry page of the main site, but it is not there.  So somewhere along the way I rejected it.

I remembered the first line:

wind and waves of torment cease

Then it occurred to me that I had ended STORM PASSGE with it, but I was wrong.  When I checked STORM PASSAGE I found that the last words are:

Egregious man, boat, voyage, life.

The fool smiles and sails on.

Not bad if I say so myself and maybe even a death poem.

Some of you may know that I named EGREGIOUS after the root meaning of the word, which comes from the Latin and means away from the herd, which I certainly was on that voyage and have been all my life.  In the past being away from the herd was thought worthy and the word meant something remarkably good.  With the rise of equalitarianism, and even more now when the herd dictates through social media, being away from the herd is considered to be shockingly bad.

Finally I remembered what follows wind and waves.

The couplet is:

wind and waves of torment cease

to become a poem of this senseless voyage.

I expect I wrote that during the painfully slow sail back to San Diego from the Southern Ocean with broken rigging and an unsteady mast after my second failed attempt to reach Cape Horn.  Consider a play on 'senseless'.  Expecting oblivion, death will be without senses as well as meaning.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Hilton Head Island: as others see us; on poetry; non


Who is that old man?  I don't recognize him.  So that's what it's like to be in the oldest 1% of the living of our species.

I thank my friend, Michael, I think, for giving me permission to use the photo which he took a couple of evenings ago on his, Layne's, and Rusty's way through on their temporary return to Key West.

Sometimes it is good to see ourselves as others do.  Perhaps.

As is known I read some poetry every day.  Usually I read some Western poetry and some Eastern.  I have come to prefer Eastern.  


There have been many editions of THE OXFORD BOOK OF ENGLISH VERSE.  My Kindle edition is a copy of that of 1900 and it almost gives poetry a bad name.  There are as many bad, too wordy, too obscure, too long poems in it as there are bad paintings of Madonna and Child in museums in Lisbon, Portugal.  Probably museums everywhere; but Carol and I particularly noticed them in Lisbon.  I judge editions of OXFORD by whether they include Chidiock Tichborne's ELEGY also known as ON THE EVE OF HIS EXECUTION because that is when he wrote it to his wife.  He was executed for his part in a Catholic plot to assassinate Elizabeth I.  The 1900 OXFORD does not.

Chinese and Japanese poetry, at least that which I have come across, is simple, concise, and elegant.

Here are two more Japanese death poems.


I continue in non-working mode.  I really don't have an excuse, but then being my own boss since November 2, 1974, I don't need one.  I'll get back to working on GANNET mañana.  Or the mañana after.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Hilton Head Island: reberthed and rebuttoned


I biked down to GANNET this morning to a triple pleasure and a minor disappointment.

The first of the pleasures was the approach on the dock, looking out onto openness and the sun shining on Skull Creek rather than the rusting wall of the abominable ferry boat.  In time this will become normal and be forgotten, but for now it is continued delight.

The second was opening the hatch and stepping below and finding the Great Cabin organized, when for the past week or so it has not been.

I do not by nature like clutter.  It happened that I wrote to Kent about how well organized his work shop is.


He replied that is so he can find things.  

I understand and agree.

If you go to sea long enough there will be instants when you have to find objects in the dark while living at a severe angle.  When I see a boat with all kinds of clutter on deck, I expect there is all kinds of clutter below deck and the person is an incompetent sailor.

Even ashore, with my vision, which I estimate is about one-third normal, if I have to start hunting for something, it is likely to be a long hunt.  So everything has its place, except when as recently almost everything was out of place. That made me uneasy.  GANNET is again organized and I am easier.

The third pleasure was that today was perfect.  Sunny.  Relatively low humidity after the front passed.  And a temperature of 70F/21C when I was working.  I didn't even break into a sweat.

I got the port berth lee cloth laced into place.  I will not likely need it in the near future, but I want GANNET to be seaworthy.

I reglued a piece of wood that acts as an attachment point for one of the stowage bags.

I cleaned a lot of loose paint flakes that had made their way into the bilge.

I have more painting to do.  

In the photo above only the side of the hull has been painted.  Not the overhead or the strip above the companionway bulkhead.  I consider sanding down that bulkhead and painting it off-white.  I don't know if I will.

The remaining painting will be in two or three stages.  The hull and overhead of the starboard pipe berth.  The v-berth hull and overhead.  And the areas around the counters aft of the main bulkhead.  The two or three depends on whether I do those on the same day I do the starboard pipe berth.

The minor disappointment was to discover that relatively small birds as demonstrated by their relatively small droppings are roosting on GANNET's boom sail cover.  I like birds.  If I were not a human, I would like to be a Wandering Albatross.  I might even have rather been a Wandering Albatross than a human, but was not given the choice.  None of us are.  This was easy to clean up.  But I wish they had better manners.

Of the rebuttoned, I have become so fat that a button popped off my shorts.  Actually I am at my desired 153 pounds/69.39 kg and the button on an old pair of shorts just popped off.  So I ordered a $7 sewing kit from Amazon which arrived yesterday and sewed the button back on today.  The hardest part for one of my age and vision was threading the needle.  Long ago on my first circumnavigation I sewed dozens of feet of sail repairs.  By the time I reached New Zealand waters the mainsail was unusable below the first reef.  Younger then and bigger needles.

I later learned from a sailmaker to make repairs at sea using contact cement rather than stitching.

I am on the screened porch.  The sun is lowering over Pickney Island.  A bird is kawking.

Be well.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Hilton Head Island: THE WIND IN MORNING; a pleasant surprise; 4%: owls


A friend's reference to Magellan reminded me of an excellent novel about his voyage, THE WIND AT MORNING, which I read probably more than fifty years ago.  That happens when you are almost 81.  It is no longer in print and there is no Kindle edition, but I was able to buy a used hard cover via Amazon for less than $8.  I just checked and there are presently ten copies, both hard cover and paper back available at Amazon for less than $10.  If you suspect that I am going to advise you to buy one, you are quite right.  This is one of the best sea novels I have read. 

The author is an Englishman, Donald G. Payne, who wrote under several pseudonyms, including James Vance Marshall.  His most famous novel, WALKABOUT, was turned into one of my favorite movies.

THE WIND AT MORNING follows Magellan's voyage from the point of view of a cabin boy on one of the five ships that began what would become the first circumnavigation ever.  In 1519 five ships and 277 men left Spain in an attempt to reach the Spice Islands by sailing not east as had been customary, but west.  Three years later one ship and 19 men returned.  Magellan was not among them.  Men died for many reasons, violence, execution for mutiny, storms, and mostly scurvy.  The author states that only the narrator cabin boy is invented and all the rest is factually true.

I have sailed to many of the places mentioned in the book and it was a pleasure to revisit them in my mind as I reread THE WIND AT MORNING.

If you have an interest in the sea and the edge of human experience, as considering that you are reading this journal I have reason to believe you do, you will enjoy THE WIND AT MORNING.

Early afternoon.  Rain is forecast and so I biked to GANNET at 8 am this morning, wanting to get my work done before it started.  However a solid overcast sky is beginning to clear and the sun is coming out.

I biked expecting to have to apply a second coat of paint to the areas I did yesterday.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that I did not need to.  The first coat covered smoothly and completely.  I used Pettit Easypoxy, the same paint I used to paint GANNET's topsides a decade ago.  I applied it with a small 6" roller.

So I laced the pipe berth cover back in place.  Restowed all the stuff I had to move to clear work space, cleaned up some spills with turpentine, swept, and the Great Cabin is again organized.

I still have some details to take care of, in addition to painting the rest of the interior.  I did not reinstall the lee cloth on the port pipe berth because that requires tying several tiny knots and I didn't feel like doing that this morning.  And a piece of wood used to secure one of the storage bags came adrift from the inside of the hull and I need to reglue it.  I'll get around to those things  soon, but I just had the pleasure of marking off 'port pipe berth' from my GANNET to do list.

We all know 'to err is human, to forgive divine', but what is most human is to blame others rather than take responsibility for ourselves.

Two recent examples.

I read an article a few days ago about the limited numbers of those who have received the fourth COVID booster shot.  It stated that only 4% of those eligible have gotten the shot.  I am among them.  So is Carol.  And so I know are several of you.  Readers of this journal are a superior group.  However, the article went on to blame the government for not promoting the shots more.

I do not agree.

I think you have to take responsibly for yourself.  The information is out there.  You should not need the government to run an ad campaign to convince you to do what is obviously in your own best interests.

The other example is the absurd 'controversy' about the forecasts of the track of hurricane Ian.

Larry sent me a link to an article in the  WASHINGTON POST about the complexities in such forecasts.  I do not pass it on to you because it requires a subscription to the POST to read.  Some of the articles in the POST are available to me through Apple News +.  This among them. You can doubtlessly google and find others.

In essence the article said that in recent years hurricane forecasts about intensity have become more accurate, but forecasting track has not improved equally.  There are just too many variables.  Meteorology is not an exact science.  Maybe in ten or twenty years it will be.  

So while I generally have little sympathy for government leaders, in this case I do.  For them and meteorologists, it is a no win situation.  Advise evacuation and it is not needed and there will be outrage.  Advise evacuation too late and there will be outrage.  Outrage has of course become in our time the standard human response to almost everything.

I am not aware that anyone, except those in jails or prisons, is forced to live in hurricane zones.  If you do, you take that responsibility upon yourself.  You have a waterfront  house looking out at the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean, you have chosen to expose yourself to risk.

This is true of me as well.

I am sitting by our bedroom window looking out at Skull Creek and beauty.  I know that a hurricane will in time hit Hilton Head Island as hurricanes have in the past, most recently Matthew the year before we bought this condo.

As regular readers know if I am here alone I have no intention of evacuating for any storm even a category five and that at the beginning of hurricane season I am provisioned and equipped to live for at least two months without outside help or services.  That presumes that I am not killed or injured during the storm.  I have accepted those possibilities for years at sea.  I do on land.

We are on the landward side of this island.  The ocean front is about five miles away.  However Port Royal Sound is only two miles away and storm surge is likely to go up Port Royal Sound.  How much of it would then make the left turn and flood Skull Creek I do not know.  Being on the third floor it will certainly not reach our unit.  It could flood the first floor.  If it does not collapse the building, I believe I will be all right.

I get a monthly newsletter from the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology.  In the most recent is a link to a four minute video of the highlights of a pair of Great Horned Owls raising a single owlet.  I enjoyed it.  You might too.  I had no idea these owls could prey on so many different species and on so large.


Saturday, October 8, 2022

Hilton Head Island: a state of grace

I am on the screened porch, having been driven from the open deck which I prefer by no-seeums who appear just before sunset.

I biked to GANNET this morning and put the first coat of flat black paint on the new pipe berth track.  I'll put a second coat on tomorrow morning.  I would not have minded leaving it unpainted, but the track on the other side is flat black so I accepted symmetry.

Almost completely dark now.  Something is chirping.  I am not sure bird or insect.  Life goes blindly on for all species.

I made a video around sunset.

I deleted from the comments that I often think Carol is a very superior one of you and I think that I am something else.  That is not true.  I am one of you.  But the link which I have tried to keep open is tenuous.


Friday, October 7, 2022

Hilton Head Island: tracked; hourly rate; splattered; symmetry

As you can see the the new track is in place.  Getting it to follow the curve of the hull was slightly complicated.  I placed it exactly where the old track was located which was obvious after it was removed.  I even think I succeeded in not drilling any holes all the way through the hull.  Actually the hull has a thick balsa core there and it is quite easy to feel when the drill bit breaks through the inner layer of fiberglass into the core.

Kent who has been following my efforts observed:  

It's not allowed for someone to work on a boat without a non-working observer interrupting the work to ask 1000 questions, or a Ramp Commander telling you that you are doing it wrong.

My brother was a mechanic, his labor rates back in the day:

Labor Cost:


$20 if you watch

$40 if you help

Being able to get to GANNET in five minutes biking or ten minutes walking makes working on her so easy.  I've been down every morning this week.  This morning I was greeted by this:

Good that I was not sleeping on board last night with the hatch open.

I like birds, but...

It did wash off.

I decided I like the poem in the last entry enough to upload it to the poems page on the main site.  I can always remove it if I change my mind.


While on that page I counted the poems.  This one makes twenty-five.  I've written a good many more that I've discarded.  Seven or eight are about women.  That seems about the right proportion.  Now the first and last, separated by almost sixty years, are.

                                       for years he drowned

                                       the voyage in his mind

                                       and wore the women

                                       like clothes of water


Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Hilton Head Island: contortionist; Spanish Moss at sunset; perhaps a poem


That was easier than I expected.  And how many times can you say that about working on your boat?

For three to four months Hilton Head Island is hotter than Hades.  For the other eight or nine months it is a legitimate version of paradise.  This year Ian flipped the switch.  Since he passed here all but unnoticed the weather has been perfect, and as you can see from the above forecast is expected to continue to be indefinitely.  Not, however, perfect for sailing.  Only single digit winds and while I would like to go sailing, I don't want to drift with the tides.  So  I have begun replacing the broken port pipe berth track.

Yesterday I went down to GANNET and removed the berth fabric.  This requires removing a short track that is bolted through the partial bulkhead at the head of the berth and then unlacing a continuous line that secures the fabric on the underside.  This must be done in cramped, awkward, uncomfortable positions reaching into blind spaces.  I had forgotten what contortions are necessary when working inside the little boat.

The instant I had loosened the fabric I saw that I am going to have to paint the area under it before putting it back in place.  I knew the interior needed repainting after in ignorance I used the wrong kind of Rustoleum to paint it the last time.  I did not know then that Rustoleum makes a specific line of marine paint and so used what I found on the shelves at Home Depot.

Today I drilled out the too numerous rivets holding the old track in place.  I was not looking forward to this, but as noted it went easier than I expected, although again requiring me to squeeze this old body into unseemly positions.

Drilling rivets of course left the cabin filled with tiny specks of aluminum waiting to imbed themselves in my skin.  I swept them up with a hand boom and a dust pan, then squirmed aft again with a putty knife and chipped paint.  Then swept all the debris up again.

Tomorrow I will cut the new track to the required 7' length, fill rivet holes, and chip more paint.

Today I order paint and paint supplies.

The interior is not in complete chaos, but it is a mess.  To clear space I have had to move things back into the stern, onto the starboard pipe berth, and onto the v-berth.

I like working on GANNET when the work goes well and when the interior is not an oven.  So far the work is going well.

I can write prose any time, and do.  Poems write themselves and one may have done so last evening while I was reading a fine and thought-provoking novel, THOUSAND CRANES, by Yasunari Kawabata, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature, but then so did Bod Dylan.

While poems write themselves--and none has for me in six years--I do revise them and I am still moving these words around, but I think this is pretty much it.  Whether it is a poem I have not yet decided. 



Monday, October 3, 2022

Hilton Head Island: Audrey's Armada; Grace; heat; farmer Webb

I frequently communicate with Kent, maintainer and self-described 'moveable ballast' of Audrey's Armada.  That is in fact a misnomer.  It is in truth Audrey's and Kent's Armada.  But Audrey's Armada sounds better.

Last week I found myself wondering about the size of the Armada.  My impression was about twenty boats.  So I emailed Kent and asked:  how many boats and what is the largest?  I received this reply for which I thank Kent for giving me permission to share.

Hi Webb


The biggest is 1980 ONKAHYE (a Drascombe Lugger:  18' LOA  named after a 19th Century ship on which one of Audrey's many seafaring ancestors was if I remember correctly sailing master) and she has been around the longest. A family friend bought her in 1980 and Jack (Audrey's father) got her in 1982. Audrey took over in 1994. Audrey was the only kid really interested in sailing and the only one to bail her out after a storm, other than Jack or me. She's travelled from Corpus to Oceanside to Ft Worth to Navarre to Smithfield. 

The next boat to show up was 1965 Sunfish WAVE, acquired 
1994 from Audrey's Aunt. 14 foot WAVE is the furthest travelled, having trekked from Ct to Hawaii to Texas to Florida to Virginia. The Sunfish is Audrey's favorite for getting away from it all, meaning us, no voice activated ballast to move. 

When we were in Corpus Christi 1993-1996 Jack found another Sunfish PHOENIX. Jack and Adrienne trailered PHOENIX out to Yuma, AZ because everyone in Yuma needs 2 sailboats. WAVE stayed in Texas in storage.

Holding at 3 boats. Things stayed sane until we moved to Florida in 2011, when we got into restoration. We showed up with 3 boats and left with 14/15. While Jack was scooting around Pensacola he got the 16 foot 1961 O'Day Day Sailer II CYANE and Sunfish MADISON, so when we got to Florida guess who showed up in our boat yard? See a trend yet?

We got Jack the 17 foot Grumman canoe SCOUT for his birthday but we got it back a few years later. Jack and Adrienne bought us the 10 foot kayaks Clark and SACAGAWEA in 2013, they are the newest except for the boats we built. All the other boats are 1982 or older.

We posted about our restorations and a gent from Grand Island New York said he'd give us one the first 20 Sunfish prototypes, if I came and got it. 2252 miles later ZIP was ours, a 1953 wooden Sunfish, number 13 of 20 prototypes built for ALCORT family and friends. Our wooden Alcort fleet grew with addition of a14 foot 1950s Super Sailfish TRACKER that I got from South Carolina, and our friend Alan cartopped the 12 foot 1953ish Alcort Sailfish WINNIE down to Florida from Syracuse, NY. WINNIE is the oldest, and until recently the smallest. Somewhere in that timeframe we bought the 1959 wooden runabout WILLOW on ebay and I drove to Nashville to gather it up, after the seller hauled it down from Detroit.

We built a Penobscot 14 from 2013-2017, and the 1965 Alcort Catfish was trucked down from Schenectady NY the same year.

Last year we built the 8 foot punt SCUPPERS and the 7' 7" Nutshell Pram showed up this year. 

We like to have one foot of boat for each knot of wind, with SCOUT taking care of 0-7 knots.

The largest boat we have owned is a Catalina 22, in Corpus. And another factoid, we have owned/restored 41 other boats, 39 of those while we were in Florida. 

16 + 41 = 57

2 boats are on the drawing board, a new wooden Sunfish and a 14 foot catboat.

57 + 2 = 59....I don't like odd numbers, so I need to find another boat...if we won the lottery we'd build a replica of USS ONKAHYE...Hmmmm...would 96' be considered small?

Kent is one of you who can build anything and obviously manage a fleet.  A year or so ago he and Audrey moved from near Pensacola, Florida, to near Norfolk, Virginia.  They did not just move house.  They moved the fleet.  I have no idea how many trips up and down Interstate 95 that required.  I, who cannot built anything and found two boats and a wife too complicated, am filled with admiration.  I have every confidence that if Phillip the Second of Spain ever decides to invade the United States as he once did England, Audrey's Armada will protect us.

I have written about the song, 'Grace', here before.  When I clicked on the bookmark to watch the video of its performance by Jim McCann I found that the video has been taken down.  So I goggled and found an even better video of him singing the song.  Better because it shows photographs of Grace Gifford and the poet and Irish rebel leader and for fifteen supervised minutes her husband, Joseph Mary Plunkett, before he was taken out and shot by the British after the 1916 'rebellion'.  There are also photos of some of the scenes of that 'rebellion'--I put the word in quotes because it was a not a rebellion against legitimate government, but a seeking of independence from foreign invaders--including the General Post Office where the freedom fighters to call them by their right name fought until killed or forced to surrender by British artillery at point blank range.  

This video does not mention as the earlier did that although she was young at the time, Grace Gifford never remarried and died living with two or three other old women in Dublin in 1955.

A truly tragic song.  Here is the link.

Heat.  Not the debilitating summer heat of Hilton Head with heat indexes routinely above 100ºF/38ºC which is too much for me in my old age.  But heat as in the heat came on in the condo this morning.  The heat has not come on here since at least April.  Maybe March.  But overnight the temperature dropped to 60F.  I had left all the doors and windows opened.  Screened of course.  And when I woke at 6 a.m. I was chilly and couldn't figure out what was happening.

I had set our system just to cool, but there is an emergency backup which cuts in when the temperature in the condo is more than 5 degrees F below the thermostat setting, which I had at 75.  The temperature inside the condo was 64.  Once I woke fully and figured out what was happening, I closed the doors and windows and lowered the thermostat to 68 and we stopped trying to heat the great outdoors.

The day continued overcast and cool.  The high was only 68F.

I biked to a supermarket and liquor store, being out of berries and dangerously low on gin.  I wore a jacket.  Before leaving I was concerned it would be too hot.  It wasn't.  The ride was lovely.  

I also bought sushi--spicy salmon rolls--which I had for dinner.  Actually only half.  Excellent.  I'll have the other half tomorrow night.

The overcast is due to burn away tomorrow and the rest of the week looks perfect, except for lack of wind.  I'd like to go sailing, but with only single digit wind don't want to drift with the tides.  So I expect to go down to GANNET tomorrow and start the replacement of the port pipe berth track.

Google alerts me at no charge when my name appears on the Internet.  This is not completely accurate, but for free I am not going to complain.

Yesterday I got two alerts.  One showed a heading:  First Man To Give Birth.  Naturally I was surprised.  My memory is not as good as once it was, but surely I would have remembered that.

I clicked on the link and inexplicably found photos from my website interspersed with this absurd article.  Almost instantly I received warnings about possible malware threats and so will not share this amusement with you.

The other was the letters section of the most recent issue of LATITUDE 38.  

The letters were in response to the article in their Lectronic Latitude about me which I have written about here before.   The article was about what I am to do after leading an epic life.  One of the letters suggested that I take up farming. 

Now I am glad there are farmers.  We all should be or we would be spending most of our lives hunting and gathering for ourselves, and with my eyesight hunting is not likely to be productive.  However to suggest that I turn from sailing to farming perhaps reflects a lack of understanding of Webb Chiles.  Some know my name.  Some have even read my words.  But few give me more than a passing thought.

So this man sailed for a while and then became a farmer.  I suggest that perhaps sailing was and is a more essential part of my life than it was of his.  

I take people who claim to be sailors at face value until proven otherwise, as often happens with unseemly celerity.

I have never said I am giving up sailing.

I have said that the second part of my life which I have called 'being' ended with my reaching San Diego at the end of my sixth circumnavigation and this the third part is 'dying'.

Now three years on I think I may have been mistaken. 

I have made little progress toward dying.

I wrote on the very first passage of GANNET's circumnavigation "use yourself up, old man.  Use yourself up."

I don't seem to be deteriorating very rapidly.  Maybe I am not used up.  I miss the monastery of the sea.  I am uncertain how to re-enter it without a destination or a belief in meaning.  I am tying to understand.

Maybe this is not 'dying', but 'being.2'

I am not going to become a farmer.

It has taken me two hours to write this.  I started with a small glass of Laphroaig at hand.  The glass is empty and my throat is dry.  I am writing at my seat by the bedroom window.  Only a few lights in the marina reflecting on Skull Creek.  I think I deserve to refill my glass.



Saturday, October 1, 2022

Hilton Head Island: the morning after


I moved the furniture back onto the deck and porch and had breakfast this morning on the deck.  Sunny, slight breeze.  70F/21C.  Lovely.

According to the television news the maximum gust on Hilton Head island was 52 mph/45 knots and we received only 1.1"/2.8cm of rain.  

Ian made landfall about 150 miles/240 kilometers from Hilton Head.  Until the final 36 hours it was forecast to make landfall here.

I also emptied the water jerry cans.  I will leave them up here.  I don't need four on GANNET unless I go offshore.

While emptying them I was curious how far ten gallons of water would fill the bathtub and so closed the drain.  The answer is to a depth of 4" at the deepest part of the tub.  The tub at that end is 14" high.  Of course I would not fill it to the brim, but it would easily hold 25 to 30 gallons of water which would last me more than two months, without counting what the washing machine and jerry cans would hold.