Friday, November 29, 2013

Icy sunrise beach walk

I walked on lighthouse beach today, my feet often making no mark upon the frozen sands. Wind cut through gaps in my clothes and the sun leaked orange light though gaps in the clouds, but gave no warmth. Some ice rimmed the salt pond and a thin sheet covered the fresh one. I picked up a few blackened Coors Light cans from the sand drifted over the remains of a beach fire, shook out the sand, and carried them back to the bins at the top of the stairs...then headed back to Hammond and warmth.....and leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Back in Cape Cod

My trip to Coral Bay was unplanned, a spur of the moment thing. I didn't even manage to get back here for my prescription mask, Swiss army knife, or various clothing. I simply felt that I couldn't wait any longer to see Dorado and begin the adventure, so bought tickets and swooped on down for a week. But now it is time to button up and batten down, deal with the things I left undone up here....and enjoy Thanksgiving with family....before heading down south again.

We dropped down from the dark skies over Boston on Sunday evening, the A320 bucking and rolling under the strong winter gusts, breathing deeply and relaxing myself, trying to ignore the roughest flight ever....and near the ground with no room to recover. Once down, I pulled out my long pants from the luggage and pulled them over my shorts, then walked out into the 20degF wind and darkness, snagged the 66 bus to the T, and made my way to my cousin Jen's where warm hugs and critters greeted me.

Sherman, the dog, stayed with with her beloved Jen and Mick all night, but the cats tried to get into my room, eager to eat unguarded plants and nestle upon my bed, but the door held and I slept pretty darned well until 5ish, then rose and got to work on the laptop, then ate delicious steel-cut oats (with almonds, raisins, cumin, and cinnamon) with Jen and took the T to the bus station.

Various buses took me to Chatham and I walked the final cold mile, taking a shortcut down Mill Pond road and along the shore, occasionally stepping in ice and slush that had washed ashore, then into the chilly house where I turned on heat, water, and wtr heater and made myself at home.

The next day (yesterday) I found the tide low, so grabbed the bucket and filled it with oysters before the predicted storm.

And tonight I opened those 4 qts of oysters and cooked them in some steak drippings, threw in some onions, peas, and potatoes, and....and am waiting for it to be done, hardly able to stand the savory scents coming from the simmering pan beside me.

So: roaring wind, rain pelting down, night falling, and good food cooking beside me. There are times when it is nice to forget the complexity of ordering parts and materials, infinite to-do lists, and questions of sanity and just live in the good, solid, satisfying moment, eating food one had collected (ok, partly) and cooked. This, too, is good.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

OK, I sent this out on 11/20...

I am sitting at Pickles, a local deli, eating banana bread and drinking coffee and messing with internet. WiFi at last!
Waking in the morning here is quite nice, although locals tell me they are darned cold. I did not wear long johns last night and had to go below to stay warm around 2am. I'm guessing the temperature was around 75. Blanket? I don't need no blanket!
All night the feral roosters crow to each other: "these are MY hens!". Occasionally a burro brays loudly or a truck makes its way along the shore road. And the clang of wires in my mast is a constant (note to self: find solution!)(note: in spring of 2016 I finally found that the cables should have been run in a conduit, but were not. When I replace the masthead in fall of 2016 I will handle this).

Large fish occasionally make correspondingly large splashes; although it could be rays as they make a lot of noise for their size. As I sat and read last night by headlamp, SOMETHING made a lot of noise for about a minute. Makes one wonder about the advisability of swimming, but I'll still do it as needed....and the water feels great.
Then, around 5:00, the sky lightens and the clouds turn pink and silver and gray. Very nice.

Lots of work is needed on boat, mostly easy and time consuming: re-bed all hardware on deck to stop leaks, replace a lot of lines (running rigging), replace life lines, deal with plumbing leaks, fix electrical system, clean and paint bottom, lots of refinishing, repair floor and various drawers, scrub and polish everything. Like a neglected home, the work is endless and I have moments when I want to just drop it and say "next boat!".
But being lulled to sleep by water sounds and gentle rocking, swimming over to the Peter's floating bar next door, and doing yoga on deck in the moonlight is really pretty darned nice.
 And I love the feeling that I am going to make it all my own, that I will really know every bit of the boat and feel comfortable with it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Surf clams and winter coming

I woke in the morning light, wondering if I had missed the sunrise. I pulled jeans and hurricane shirt over long johns I wear as PJs, snagged shoes, and headed for the lighthouse.
Across the road and through Joan & Bill's gate and down their drive, through the Smith's yard to Silverleaf Lane, up my parent's driveway and through a hole in their heldge, then down a little private drive to Shore Road....and a few hundred feet more took me to the Chatham Lighthouse Beach overlook. Silver morning light shone through light gray clouds and reflected off the water below as it rushed toward the sea under the cold still air.  

I had planned to do just a little loop, but decided to walk to the water's edge....then to the next point....and soon had found a sea clam eroding from the sand, unable to dig further into the bed of gravel a few inches below the surface. A while later I found another and planted them in a better area.


Cold air, clear water, hardly any walkers upon the beach.. and death all around. I don't know if there is more in the fall or if I simply see it more when everything is clean and crisp, but I seem very....aware....of the broken shells of surfclams with bits of meat still adhering, the scattered crab legs in a gull-trampled patch of sand, the remains of a duck and another unidentifiable bird devoured by gulls, and the inexperienced or old birds laying still on the beach, some dead and buried by wind-blown sand, others waiting patiently. And even the dunes themselves dissolve noticeably each month, dune grasses falling and washing away as the land disappears under them.

What to do? What CAN one do when the ocean grows colder, the days grow shorter, the fish and birds leave, the beaches grow more quiet, the homes sit empty? Well, talk to friends, pet random dogs, chat with the people I meet.....and, when the clouds part and the sun shines through and I feel a bit too warm as I walk the lonely beach, strip down, wade into that crystal clear 57deg water, dive under the surface, kick and splash and create a happy commotion, then get out and shake myself like a Labrador. Yep, this was another good day in a beautiful world!