Sunday, September 18, 2016

Martha's Vineyard in a Bathtub

I have no idea if this crazy plan is going to work. Everyone I told about it said I was nuts. Probably true, but it still might work.

Martha's Vineyard in a 12' Dinghy- I spend the first half of my vacation working on my boat, getting it ready for open ocean and to sleep in. I install a battery, bilge pump, a charger for my phone (which I use for navigation), a bench seat that also holds my gas tank, tent poles to support the canvas cover, and a sleeping board that I can move into position for sleeping. I'm ready for the seven seas.

I boat out and spend one night camping in a tent on Washburn Island, Waqoiut Bay. That's been on my bucket list for a few years! Then on to Martha.

Nice Secluded Campsite on Washburn Island
The wind is 15-25 when I cross the 6 miles from Waqoiut Bay to the Vineyard. More wind and waves than I wanted for my first crossing with my little boat! At least it's a NE wind for a following sea. I get knocked around but I'm very happy to arrive, kinda dry and still floating. My toy boat made it!

I go into Edgartown and notice that my dinghy looks different from all the other dinghies at the dinghy dock. Mine has the bright red canvas covering the bow, gear strapped all over the sides, the big bench seat, a kiteboard hanging off the back. I stand out like a circus clown among grey suited businessmen. I worry that I might be told to leave because I'm obviously not a tender for a yacht but nobody says nothing. They just stare, (in admiration I assume).

I love kiting and spending the night in Cape Poge. I anchor near the lee shore and set up the boat for sleep as the setting sun paints the sky deep orange and the almost full moon creeps above the horizon. Beautiful.

Kiting in Cape Poge, Chappaquiddick

Now's the test. Can I really sleep on this tiny thing? I have just enough room to stretch out on my sleeping board. Clearance between my forehead and the canvas is about 2 inches. I drift off to sleep to the sound of ripples lapping at the bow. I feel like I'm sleeping on an air mattress adrift on the ocean. I sleep 8 hours, more sleep than I've had in forever.

I learn a lot about cruising in a boat. How the dinghy docks work, where to find showers, ice, fuel, and legal anchorages. Many harbors have amenities such as the dinghy docks etc. set up for visiting yachts. I feel like I'm cheating because my dinghy is my yacht but these amenities are great. It makes getting what I need way too easy. I could stay out here until the snow flies.

Getting Underway Early, This is the Moon Setting as the Sun Comes Up

With light wind for a few days, I boat around the island and explore all the bays and harbors along the way, (I cover 80 miles in 2 days according to my phone, 40 miles per 6 gal gas). What I learn- Katama Bay is off limits for legal overnight anchoring. Edgartown is great and has everything I need right there. Oak Bluffs has a vibrant party feel, almost a Caribbean vibe. The west side of the island is fairly secluded and rocky with striking cliffs that I want to climb, rocky areas where I want to snorkel. Menemsha has a fishing village feel with a beautiful hidden cove that I find to anchor in. The south side of the island is fairly secluded but not varied, except for the stunning cliffs at Gay Head. No harbors or shelters on this entire side, not a place I would choose to break down please.

Menemsha Night
The Menemsha cove is my high point of the trip. Glassy water encircled by marsh and stubby trees. 3 deer watch me enter the cove before bounding away. I eat my dinner anchored in the middle of this secluded pool as the golden full moon rises. Fish are jumping all around the boat. I stretch out in my dry sleeping bag surrounded by whispering water. The night is perfect.

On the last day Josh boats out with a friend to meet me and to do some kiting and fishing. I've had trouble off and on with my 25 HP motor during the trip. Now it finally dies. Unbelievable timing! This is the opposite of Murphy's law. If anything can go wrong it will at the best possible time. Josh goes to work and determines that my motor is not getting a spark. Done. He has my old 8 HP on board as his back up motor. We swap motors, (not easy but Josh doesn't hesitate), and I'm saved from a near death experience.

I boat back to the mainland at night because the wind is almost still. I use the full moon for light and my phone for navigation. Lights on the mainland, shining off the black water, act as a beacon. It's stunning!

I'm sad to go home to a backlog of work emails, phone messages, estimates, invoices, scheduling headaches, and all the trivial ups and downs of running a small business, although I'm glad to be back with Barbara.

This trip was a bucket list trip that I didn't even know was on my list. Until very recently it hadn't occurred to me that it might be possible to live and sleep on a 12' dinghy for a few days, not to mention crossing over to Martha's Vinyard and back. It took a little creativity but that was part of the appeal. Out on the water I had a feeling of complete freedom, joy, and adventure, with many moments of tranquility and bliss. I think I was using a part of my brain that's dormant in 90% of my life. Now I'm using all of my brain to think about my next trip.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Martha My Dear


Josh and I make it over to Martha's Vineyard in his boat for kiting and fishing! This has been a goal for both us with our boating this year.

Josh kiting in Katama Bay
Is it crazy to come over here with his 40 year old motor that cuts out frequently? Yes, probably. It helps that we have an auto mechanic on board. Also Josh has a small back up motor just in case. Still it takes a little faith or foolishness. We have plenty of both.

With Josh, Darren, Kaitlyn.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What Are You Thankful For?


Blue skies overhead, a trail beneath my feet, wonderful hiking company. This is what I'm thankful for!

Ben On top of Mt Flume

2 peaks- Mt Flume, Mt Liberty. Flume Slide Trail up. Liberty Spring Trail down, with Ben.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

You Never Forget How to Ride a Bike

8/21/16 Kiting with Josh

This is Josh's first session in 2 years. I thought I'd get to see some really good crashes! I was disappointed.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

My New Kite Boat

  Goodbye little red bathtub.
Kiting in Chatham 7/16/16

  Hello little gray bathtub.
Kiting at Horseneck West End 8/5/16

My old boat was 10'. My new one is 11.5'. Just big enough to get myself into some real trouble. I'm sorry to see the old red boat go. I have such great family memories in that little old boat.

Josh's boat is still bigger than mine.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Sandy Session

Sandy Neck- Sandy feet, sandy hair, sandy brain. I love it. This is how I relax.

Kitesurfed, Sandy Neck, Barnstable, ENE, E, 12-18, 17M Fat Lady/ Mako 150.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Egg on my Kite

I've been using my teency tiny inflatable boat to kite off the grid a little. I'm drawn to the wild, secluded spots like South Monomoy. I can't kite there, (legally), so I'm doing some exploring and poking around for new venues.

Egg Island, near Kalmus Beach. I launch from the sand bar at low tide and kite in the kiddie pool.

This bar is exposed for only about 2 or 3 hours before and after low tide. The main beach in the background would be an easier launch but it's off limits. It has massive signs saying so and a guard actually patrols the beach.

I can't say I didn't see the signs. You can read them from 10 miles away.

Is this spot worth all the effort of boating out here? No, not really. I just like the challenge of finding a way to kite an otherwise inaccessible spot.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Chatham Light

Oh yeah, I love this spot in SE! Especially on the outgoing tide. The waves, sand bars, slicks all line up beautifully in this wind.

Sand Bar at the Mouth of Chatham Harbor

My favorite spot is on a sand bar off South Beach near the mouth of Chatham Harbor. This may be one of the very few remaining spots in the world without a kite ban. How lucky is that?! We had better enjoy it while we can.

Chatham Lighthouse, Kitesurfed, ESE, SE, 15-25, With Jean, Jamie, Rich.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Ban Kite Bans.

Assachusettes is becoming the world capitol of kite bans. I think the authorities won't stop until kiters have been officially declared an endangered species. That's probably the only way we'll get any rights. Then they'll have to put up signs, ropes and barriers to keep birds from interfering with us.

Taking a break on Great Island

All the kite bans make me nostalgic for windsurfing. I go to Kalmus for a good ol' windsurfing session. I get some good ol' forearm cramping and muscle failure.

Windsurfing is hard work! It can age you quickly. I was a young man when I started windsurfing this morning, a tired, frail, old man by the afternoon.

Kalmus, Windsurfed, 15-30, SW, WSW, 4.2/Surf 85, 5.2/Acid 94, with Martin, Jay, lotsa others.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Plover Sandwich

High tide, solid north wind, and the parking lot in Sandwich is still open to outta towners. Life is good! After my session I walk out to the point so my skin can absorb a little more of the rejuvenating sun and salt.

Injured Plover? Nope, she's just faking it. This plover built her nest way out on the point where everyone walks. Every time someone walks near the nest the mommie fakes an injury and limps away from the nest to lead the mean humans away from her eggs. This is what soccer players call flopping and plovers are great at it.

The sad thing is that the nest is way below the astronomical high tide mark. It doesn't bode well for the survival of this particular plovers gene pool. Maybe that's as it should be.

Town Neck Beach, Sandwich, Kitesurfed, N, 14-22, 12M Rally/ Mako150, Solo.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Windsurfing Wimp

I got back on a windsurfer today. I know! Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.

I thought it would make me feel young. Like bringing back old times. Or not.

Windy Hardings
Overpowered on my smallest sail and board, 3.5 meters/85 liters. Didn't I used to use this rig up to 50 MPH? I was young then, I think. I hit a few jumps, a few jibes but I'm nearly shaking with exertion after just 4 or 5 runs. I rest, do a few more runs, then I smarten up, pump my 6 meter kite.

A windsurfer and a kitesurfer stop to have a leisurely chat
Being overpowered on a windsurfer, exhausting. Being overpowered on a kite, not so exhausting, dangerous.

Luckily I'm not overpowered on my 6m kite today. I still kite cautiously with all that air and water moving around me so quickly. Hey, at least I got to rig a sail and a kite in the same day.

Windsurfed, Kitesurfed, WNW 25-40 MPH, with Windsurfer Jay, others, Kiters Chuck, Liam, others.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Franconia Ridge: A Werewolf's Tale

Midnight hike by the light of the silvery moon. Hike 5:30 PM to 1:30 AM, very icy. 

Everybody had practiced their wolf howls for this 2 mile long ridge hike. We make it to the beginning of the ridge, 4800 feet up, but the 40 to 50 MPH winds are howling louder than we are. We abort.

Our werewolf spirit is undiminished. We howl our way down the mountain. I howl myself right to my truck and into my sleeping bag. I sleep the sleep of a tired wolf.


Hiking by Headlamp

Night Hike, Little Haystack. Trip Leaders- Karen Hoagland, Jonathan Niehof, Fred Smith, Ellen Tsai, Keith Watling.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Three in One

I kite. I hike. I kite. Mayflower Beach, East Sandwich Game Farm, Horseneck Beach. Not an extremely restful Sunday. At least I'm not spreading myself too thick.

Mayflower, Kitesurfed, NW, 10-22, 12M Rally/Mako, With Brad, Jean, Frank, Bryan, Others.
E Sandwich Game Farm, Hiked, 3 miles.
Horseneck, Kitesurfed, SW, 18-25, 10M Rally/Mako.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Windy Sunday

The White Mountain Higher Summits forecast is calling for a mix of sun, clouds, snow,  high temps around zero F, winds 80 to 100 MPH gusting to 125. Nice Spring hiking weather.

Unfortunately,  the hike I'm doing is completely in the trees, and mostly on the lee side of a ridge in NW winds. I'm missing out on all the excitement of hiking in those hurricane force winds. The good news is that I get to stay alive.

The View from Hancock

 Hiked, Mt Hancock, South Hancock, 10 miles, 6.5 hours. Solo.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Gone Sightseeing

Good sightseeing session! Mayflower to Sandy Neck, to Barnstable Harbor, to Chapin, to Mayflower. By the time I get back everyone has packed up and left. I don't take it personally. I switch to my surfboard and keep going until the wind disappears. It's good to be kiting again!

Sandy Neck Solitude

Kitesurfed, Chapin, 15-22, NNE, NE, 12M Rally/Mako 150, Surfboard, with Brad, Kitermike, Dave, Pam, Frank, Sandy, George.