Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Blue sky days, wood stove nights

The end of the season, traps in the late afternoon sun

With a further spell of cold but clear weather we opted to get away for another few days. The wind strengths were nothing like our last jaunt and we took advantage of the remarkable abundance of anchorages and sailed across to Isleboro, the nearest inhabited island to where we are. Actually about 30 minutes before we cast off, Earl McKemzie had dropped off a bag of kindling and suggested we pick up his buoy in Seal Cove which we were happy to do so. Normally the buoy holds the 60' schooner Bonnie Lynn so we had no worries about its capabilities of holding us. As before we used only the mizzen and #1, enjoying a brisk sail across the 8 miles of water. Certainly cold despite the bright sunshine and we lost no time in firing up the wood stove once we'd sailed in and (almost) onto the huge buoy. We launched the dinghy and rowed ashore to view the progress on Bonnie and Earl's new house which has been on going for a few years, they having only part of the winters to work on it. Essentially it is a flat (apartment) built above a large workshop, warm, not too big and will afford them fine views over the water and the schooner they charter during the summer months. One of the other benefits of having friends who are building houses is there is frequently scrap wood lying around for the taking and we came away the following day with bag of kindling and a pile of mags to browse through. We took a short ride with Bonnie to the local Post Office, remaining in the car whilst she collected their mail. Apparently in the short time she was in there 2 people said to her they'd seen a real pretty boat on their mooring and what on earth were they (us) doing still sailing around at this time of the year...

The wind was a whisper and we motored gently to Warren Island some 3 miles or so from Seal Cove. It was here in 2004 that we decided to go to Belfast lured by the prospect of being able to buy coal and we fancied seeing the place once more. Deserted of course, all the mooring buoys hauled for the winter but plenty of room to anchor where we enjoyed the solitude, quiet and a big moon shining into the saloon. Oddly enough we were still able to pick up the Internet and checking the weather it looked as though the following day, Thursday might be the best until after the week end and we decided to sail back,hopefully getting in before the wind picked up too much. A leisurely breakfast, donning of warm clothes, up anchor and away we went catching the last hour or so of the flood. As before we neglected the main -don't you just love this about ketches, this ability to make fine speed's without bothering with the main? 
In fact we didn't even take the 1.5 metre chimney down or the wind generator but simply made sure the boom and gaff were well secured and headed out. The 11 miles passed fairly quickly, we slowed down a little toward the end as the tide turned to slack water and nearing the harbour area we came across a nasty bit of wind over tide but beyond that the waters turned calm with little wind to ruffle the surface. The jetty we are on requires us to slalom around another set of jetties before making the turn into the slot. We must have entered at least four times now and each approach has been different. This was one of the better entrances, certainly slower than the last one so seemed less frantic. But always good to get in without carving up the boat next door with an errant bowsprit...
Toots before the temps dropped...
Winter is beginning to creep up with -C temperatures regularly appearing. Oddly enough it wasn't until today that the temp. inside the boat dropped to 6C, a figure we had last seen in August when in Labrador. This was early morning, well 7am and it goes up gradually as we run the cooker and fire up the Aladdin lamp for the day. Generally the wood stove stays off until noon or later when we decide enough is enough and get it going. Toots who, upon finishing her breakfast, makes a beeline for the vacated bipeds bed and crawls into the specially prepared duvet "cave" Bee has made up. There she will remain, snuffling and dormant until the sound of a fire being lit is heard when she will poke her head out to check on progress. If it meets with feline approval she'll emerge, scoff some biscuits then take up position on the table, stretch out and fall asleep again.

Finally two sites you might be interested in.

Following on from the bit about celestial navigation (still plugging away) there is a free online course you might be interested in here

We also came across this by chance a journey on foot across Antartica by a descendant on Frank Worlsley. The trip has only recently started and his progress can be followed via a daily phone call he makes. This might be pod cast or something - we tend to be vague about all that is happening with this sort of thing but it makes engaging listening. Here's the link to Shackletonsolo.org
If this is the hardest frost we get, I'll be quite happy!