Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Spring in Michigan!

Beautiful weather! Cool strong winds, hazy blue skies, everything turning green! Nice thunderstorm a couple nights ago.

I've always loved spring with all the plants bursting into life, but  never realized that the spring leaves have colors similar to fall.... more green, of course, but lots of reds and yellow-greens, too.
The shiny red leaves of some maples,
the fuzzy red of an oak leaf,
ferns unfurling,
sassafras buds just beginning to loosen up..

Cynthia and I walked through the woods and marshes,
looking for mushrooms (found none), finding lots of places that wild turkeys had dug up the leaves, enjoying the spring scents, and finding this strange semi-arboreal creature.
Lucy loves hunting squirrels!
Once we returned to the car, we found ticks, so spent five minutes then and later picking them off our clothes and dogs... and added DEET to our grocery list.

We found loads of wild strawberries and wild blueberries in bloom. In another couple months the fields of commercial blueberries will be ripe. So will the cherries, wild black raspberries, and wild blueberries. Wonderful place for foraging!

And Cynthia (well, Lucy) found a mallard duck sitting on her eggs at the edge of a parking lot close to our house, near no water we know of. We wish her well.

Thursday, May 11, 2017


Here I am, back in Grand Haven, MI. I had forgotten how much I love the northern spring, but more on that in my next post: this one looks back at my last three weeks in St John, three weeks without Cynthia...

I find that a curmudgeonly mood settles over me lately and I don't really greet anything with much gusto, just stay below and read and eat. Perhaps this is due to the minor but constant pain in my elbow and arm (from knocking oysters off the hull back in November), perhaps due to being unable to dive much deeper than 25' before the pressure creates pain in my jaw (sinus? *sigh*), perhaps other reasons. I see so few people who live aboard their boats actually are visible, enjoying the view and air: they seem only to emerge to go ashore.

And so I fight the ennui. Maybe actually tackle some needed improvements on the boat, like rebuilding the hatch dogs.
And popping my head out at the sound of many little voices and flapping sails to see these cute little moth-like sailboats...

Or, rather than remain below when I wake, drinking coffee and reading latest developments (not terribly uplifting), I motivate myself with a virtual kick to the backside, emerge to do yoga as the stars fade, then drink coffee with my back to the mast and my face to the breeze and sunrise. Random thoughts chase their way through my mind like rambunctious puppies. And, once I can see enough to avoid moorings, I set sail for reported lionfish, on a mission of ecosystem purification, and note the unexpected thrills of finding a pile of shells with eyes among them (a hidden octopus in his pile of dishes) or of swimming through a shoal of bait fish while a barracuda and other predators harry the fringes. It really helps... when I do it... but I need to prod myself more often.

My neighbor Larry arrived on the 24th. I had agreed to help with various work and, so, climbed the mast and repaired high rigging, worked on reducing leaking through the deck, mounted the solar panel solidly, helped on troubleshooting and demolition and repairs of wiring and wood, and hashed out plans, ideas, and general life questions over morning coffee and evening rum & coke, or, one night, over an excellent bottle of wine our neighbors gave us in thanks for helping undress their boat for the season.
We took turns providing dinners: I would cook something one night, and he would take me to Skinny Legs for one of their famous burgers another. Sometimes sunset sailing would call too loudly and I would sail away, skipping drinks and catching a mooring in Johnson Bay, then sail back with the sunrise in time for 6am coffee.

And we made excuses to go sailing to St Croix: me to sell excess fenders and watch meteors (well, I saw ONE and a pair of porpoises as we sailed back), him to check their chandlery for second hand winches and stoves. We headed out with our 6am coffee in hand
 took care of business on the island, watched sunset and slept on the cockpit benches, then headed back home in the dark the next morning.
 a storm just made the sunrise more interesting..
And we sailed for home, wind increasing, heeling well over, spray making the deck gritty with salt. I got to sleep a bit while Larry took the helm.
Another good adventure and more memories!