Tuesday, September 20, 2016

walking to the south cut, finding weird critters and bluefish!

Let's see... a couple weeks ago, on Sept 8, cousin Heather, my gal Cynthia, the two dogs, and I walked to the south cut, a couple miles south of the Chatham lighthouse. As we set out along the exposed flats on the inside of the barrier beach, fog kept wetting my glasses to the point that I just gave up and perched them on top of my head.  Tio, true to his chihuahua heritage, tiptoed reluctantly through the puddles and tried to stick to drier ground, but once we moved onto hard, dry sand he and Lucy danced and raced about in delight. Occasionally Cynthia called them away from something that tempted them to sniff and roll....

By the time we reached the tip of the barrier beach the fog had thinned and my glasses cleared. In the shoals we found found what I believe are tunicates, broken loose by the recent storm and tossed about by tide and wave. If anyone can confirm this or, even better, tell me the species, I'd be delighted...

Farther on, we came across a fellow surf fishing, two poles set in holders. As we approached, he grabbed one pole and reeled in a nice bluefish. We admired it and he commented that they were really biting well.... but we didn't see any on shore. Hmmm.... this looked like a case of someone who likes catching the fish, but not keeping them: many folks dislike bluefish as they are a strong-flavored and oily fish.
But not us: fresh bluefish is delicious. "May we have it?"
"Sure! Help yourself. You'll need to clean it asap or it will go bad really quickly."
We stuck around for twenty minutes, Cynthia chatting with the fisherman (a visitor from NY) me bleeding and cleaning the fish, the dogs running about in excitement, and Heather watching with amusement. We departed with four nice bluefish (all we could carry) and walked the endless distance (about 2+ miles) back to the car, Lucy snapping at the dangling fish tails, the gals carrying a fish each for part of the way.

Leaving one of the fish with Heather, Cynthia and I drove home, filleted the fish, and cooked up two with our favorite recipe: broiled with a coating of onion, garlic, mayo, and soy sauce. Very nice.

PS: Just went sailing yesterday and saw a whole school of beautiful blues churning the water surface while birds dove for the terrified bait fish....and we didn't have the fishing rod. Cynthia acted like a dog who couldn't chase a squirrel she really really wanted...
Well, life is full of missed opportunities and that is a bit sad... but what I find amazing & wonderful is that we have so many opportunities and can have such fun with them! Life is brief and sweet: carpe diem, my friends!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Sailing with whales

Here I am, relaxing, listening to the wind shaking the trees, waiting for the first wave of rain from tropical storm Hermine... and contemplating last week's adventure.

Last winter I took met Diane and Steve and took them for a sail on Dorado. (Here is the post). They enjoyed it enough that they bought a Morgan 323 and have based it in Provincetown, MA... and invited us out last Sunday. A new boat to check out: sweet!

The boat has lots more exterior wood than mine and, while mine is gray, their's is beautifully varnished.
The simpler rigging system delights me. Fewer holes in the deck for the shrouds means fewer possible leaks. The main halyard and winch sit on the mast rather than being lead back to the cockpit: some folks prefer to have lines lead to the cockpit so they can handle things there, but I typically drop my mainsail right after I grab the mooring, so it is actually more convenient to have things secured to the mast.... and there is less friction and opportunity for tangles and tripping. Nice.

So we loaded our gear aboard, cast off the lines, and motored out of the harbor. Once clear of the main traffic, we raised sails in the light breeze and headed out.

Pretty soon Steve started calling out "whale", although I certainly couldn't see what his Dolphin Fleet trained eyes had picked out.
But pretty quickly we got close enough that even I could see them: first a fin whale..
then a young humpback splashing with great enthusiasm...
then more fin whales and some minke whales. Very satisfying.

And then the wind began to pick up. We loved it, but after things began to tumble around and it became hard to move about the boat, we decided to sacrifice 10% of our speed for a 75% gain in comfort: we put in a reef (very easy in their rig).

As we sailed back toward the harbor, we noticed a beach with lots of folks wearing flesh-colored bathing suits, although we were to far away to pick out any details other than "flesh-colored". A birthday suit counts as a bathing suit, right?

Back at the harbor, Steve and Diane showed us that some folks had taken salvaged beach cottages ("camps") and put them on barges, making them into delightful houseboats... and then docked their fleet alongside. Pretty darned cool.

By the time we had tied up to the dock and unloaded, the sunset made everything golden.
We drove home, ate a snack, and fell into bed and instantly asleep. Another day seized!