Monthly Archives: September 2014

Jumbos, Jimmies and the Red Sea

A local woman has been taking us out on her boat a lot. There is nothing like getting a locals vantage of the hood. She was telling us about Jumbos (giant blue crabs that were plentiful when she was a kid and hard to find nowadays), Jimmies (male blue crabs), and as she was talking, Ava tubed right into a “red sea”. And red it was.

The “red” is from the oil of the menhaden, a local fish that is made into fish oil and catfood in Reedville, by a company called Omega Protein that apparently has a monopoly on the industry. The Chesapeake makes a perfect nursery for the young, so killing them here affects the entire population along the eastern seaboard.

There has been a lot of racket from both sides on the overfishing as well as the pain of lost local jobs when Omega Protein is asked to cut back.

In the 1800′s a fisherman’s wife in Blue Hill, Maine learned how to make oil from the fish. Soon enough a guy from Maine, Captain Reed, moved his circus to Reedville, VA in 1874 and started a town and a fishery.

In any case, we sat in a huge sea of orange red for a good 20 minutes, watching bald eagles dive and learning about Jumbos, Jimmies and why the sea was red.

Warping the Boat

Warping is a way to move the boat.  in our case, docking it. Instead of complaining about that piling that is always in your way when you are docking, you use it to your advantage. This is particularly useful when the wind or current is working against you, or perhaps you have a shortage of crew or there are obstacles in front and behind you. We park our boat stern to on the dock, so we need to bring the boat right up to the piling, tie a line from our boat, amidship, wrap on piling and back to our boat, then use the piling as a pivot point . Reverse. The stern (back of the boat for you landlubbers) will have no choice but to move towards the dock and you can safely dock the boat.

Ok so, warping can also be done with an anchor, called kedging. You use a “kedge” anchor, but that isn’t the type of warping we have been doing, but you would throw the anchor out and use that as your pivot point.

Our slip in Olverson’s Marina in Lottsburg, Va is beautiful (and inexpensive taboot, $150/mo). We had an Osprey nest through July off our port bow (that’s left front, landlubbies), bald eagles flying just over the mast and now a very animated Great Blue Heron off starboard bow, The Heron looks like he flew straight out of the Jurassic Period, but here he is, long lanky squawky and awkwardly beautiful.

The slip is at the edge of the marina, so to the north is a spit of land that juts out. Which makes it a National Geographic moment every day, but also makes for tricky docking, because there just isn’t that much room to do it. When we took Whisper out in July, the wind was blowing us OFF the dock, and we were just a few feet too far out, and we grounded.

We have warped the boat a few times and it is getting easier.

We did make it to Virginia in our 1986 VW Westfalia van in 5 days in 8 states with a detour to see my awesome uncles in Kentucky. My uncles Frank and George are a bit of a legend in our family and Dave hadn’t spent much time with either (he had never met George) so I wanted him to have a chance to experience them in real life. Frankie gave us a tour of his farm, in Frankie style, in a 4WD vehicle, riding through creeks and telling us name of every plant and tree that grew out of the ground. George showed us his new fireplace mantle wall, that he himself hand carved every piece of limestone that he and his wife collected from around the globe. Frankie told us stories of yesteryear of the family and we laughed until late until the night. I feel so grateful to be able to call these two my relatives.

Our work started the day we arrived in Virginia.

We have had the bottom scraped and painted, the zincs replaced, the sails refurbished, the wood sanded (varnish is on it’s way), changed out all lights for LED lights, replaced the condenser fan in the fridge, replaced the propane tanks with refillable ones, fixed the nav lights, fixed the bilge pump switch, changed out porthole seals, rebedded the staysail pedestal, got a new dodger, got a bimini and replaced the mizzen sail cover, replaced the stereo, added and replaced broken fans, fixed the shower sump pump, fixed water system leaks, inspected chain plates, replaced mizzen shrouds, had a new staysail made, replaced salt water foot pump in the galley, sanitized the water tank, refurbished ice box pumpout pump, serviced winches, fixed the dinghy motor, installed second bilge pump, ordered new anchor chain, refurbished the compass, replaced cockpit speakers, replaced engine ignition switch, bought a swim ladder, fixed the engine alternator charging system, replaced the starter battery, replaced and installed the depth sounder, replaced the barometer… etc etc

In short, it has been like one long vacation.

Homeschooling has been enjoyable. It does take up a lot of time, but Ava seems to thrive on the “one on one” learning.

Today a local woman took us out on her fast boat to go kneeboarding and tubing. All day she kept saying, “We’re not in any hurry.”” That’s no problem, we’re not in any hurry.” ” Sure, we can, we’re not in any hurry.”

I love hearing that.  It is so much about what I want this year to be about, not being in a hurry, enjoying the moment.

And already, even in the face of all the projects we are in the middle of, I already feel the “be here now-ness” of our endeavor. Time does seem a bit suspended. Or warped.