Saturday, December 19, 2009

2009 - a short summer, but a memorable one.

This summer was defined by so many things. First and foremost, Jenny and I were married on July 18th at her family's camp in Michigan's northern peninsula.

It was an outdoor wedding on a small lake in the middle of a national forest. We even managed to ride away from the wedding in a "Just Married" banner festooned pontoon boat. It was a splendid weekend and I'm very happy to be married to such a sweet girl.

Hamheads, married at last.

Before the wedding, April, May, and June were horrible rainy nasty months as far as the weather was concerned. Sailing time aboard Madrigal was minimal at best. Jenny and I had opposite schedules most of the summer and we were lucky to get 1 day a week off together. In the meantime, our friend Mark has a Catalina 42 with a full bimini enclosure, so we did manage to get a good amount of sailing time in the rain. It lacks something when it isn't on your own boat though and it was often with friends and not with each other. Not ideal, but we still got on the water, and most often had a blast in doing so. Can't complain too much.

Of course, even when we aren't using our own boat a whole ton things find a way to break. :) I can't even remember what was wrong that I needed to be in this lazarette. I think it was something to do with the throttle cable acting up.

The weather broke around the time of the wedding, but then I had to go to Florida for a couple weeks with the RSN crew that I blogged about last. So I was MIA for the first two weeks of my marriage. oops. Jenny was very supportive though, and I thank her for it. Here is me on the R/V Weatherbird doing the Steve Zissou point.

When I got back from the research trip Jenny's brother Jason and sister-in-law Andrea came to visit.

We finally got in some nice sailing. A couple of calm days on the water with an overnight at Peddock's Island and a beautiful sunset sail home. Jason even braved the cold water for a while.

Dave and Christina, who live on our previous boat, The Fitzcarraldo, were also able to get out to the island with us that weekend. It was fun to have us all out there and as a bonus I got a nice shot of our previous boat and our current boat happily bobbing along together. (just ignore the trawler at left-- I really should just crop it out.)

I think for both of us though, the real highlight of the summer was our trip to Gloucester in mid-September. We didn't get a real honeymoon, and this was our first 3 full days off together all summer aside from the wedding. We left one evening and anchored at a nearby island just to get a jump on the harbor traffic the next morning. The sail north was splendid. Perfect beam reach, one tack all the way there. When we got there a 30kt northeast wind pummelled down for two days and we stayed holed up in the harbor loving every minute of it. It was such a nice cool breeze and Gloucester felt so quiet and comfortable.

Anchoring in Gloucester gave Jenny her chance to master the Zissou point as well.

Then to cap it off, the sail home was AMAZING. The northeast winds had died down to a manageable level, but had left a sea of 5-10 foot swells that were on our port stern quarter all the way home. It made for some seasickness if you looked anywhere but the horizon, but it also made for some great fun. As a swell would take us from behind we'd rise to the top of it and surf at 8 knots then slide down the backside at a miserable 4 knots. It was a ton of fun and looked incredible as the whole world would disappear behind water for a moment then reappear as we rose with the next one. We made some sandwiches, relaxed, and enjoyed it all the way home. And the best part was passing only ONE other boat all the way to Boston harbor (which was clogged as usual). So peaceful.

Most of the rest of the fall was spent trying to find ways to entertain ourselves on our few days off together and enjoying life at the marina. Willie got a new pet rat, which Jenny promptly named Santa Maria. It tried to sneak up on Jenny one day, but she was too quick for it.

Before I knew it people were talking about shrink wrap and there I stood one day on the docks as I saw my own boat towed past me... and into its winter slip. It was a short summer, but we managed to make it pretty great.

There was nothing left to do but for Jenny to fire up the oven and make some northern Michigan style pasties. Warm food makes for warm and happy sailors.

Last but not least, the discovery of Jeff Hanson made for a very pleasant summer. I usually have one album or artist which completely defines every summer for me. It just kind of happens that way. The mood will strike, and I'll listen to something all summer. I've never really heard a guy with a voice like this, but he knows how to make it happy and forlorn all at the same time. Kinda like a small sailboat on an open ocean....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

NOAA Ocean Explorers

As I believe we blogged about back in August, I went to Florida for a couple weeks on an offshore archaeological expedition "Researching the Submerged New World". Since then, quite a bit of info has been placed on the NOAA website.

It is a pretty fun site to browse around, and if you click on the "explorers" link I have a little blurb written about me.



Monday, December 14, 2009

end of an era

The semester is almost over. The last few weeks have been killer in the amount of reading and writing I've had to do. But the silver lining is that this is the last week of class... ever! At least as far as my master's degree is concerned, that is. I may or may not do a PhD. I'm leaning away from it (grad school is so expensive and financially, the payoff for an archaeology doctorate is minimal- not to mention the extra years of unproductivity as grad school draws further on). Though, I would still love to have my PhD, so one never knows... Anyhow, I'm not quite in the clear with my master's yet. I still have to write a thesis and that will take about a year to complete. Nonetheless, I'm thrilled to be done with the class aspect of this degree. Things are working out, slowly but surely. This graduate program was one of the main reasons Jenny and I moved out to Boston nearly 3 years ago. We also knew we wanted to liveaboard. So, as a whole, things are working out rather well. Grad school is taking a while, but we are living a nice life in the meantime, happily married, on a boat we love, so I'm in no hurry. Nonetheless, the end of an era is a good feeling.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hot Dog

I couldn't resist uploading this picture real quick. It is cold, rainy, sleety, snowy outside. This is Willie, who almost refuses to go out and even pee. He is sleeping between a 750 watt ceramic heater, an 11,000 BTU propane fireplace, and on top of a radiant rug heater! Even more cute is the fact that he somehow got one paw underneath a rug. That must be one hot dog.

and, btw, that rug heater that we bought is awesome! It is the RugBuddy. As a 2x7.5 runner it fits perfectly on most of our floor right down the centerline of the boat. Getting out of bed and stepping on warm rug instead of on cold bilge radiating floor is the best thing ever. I think we might have blogged about this thing before but I'm so happy with it I wanted to post again. It is also water resistant and we got some bathmats from IKEA that we put together to form a waterproof runner. Nobody can ever tell they are bathmats.

Monday, December 7, 2009


It snowed in Boston over the weekend, and Willie LOVES it. It's mostly gone now, but it came down fast and our shrink wrap held firm. Let's hope that we get more of the white stuff soon!