Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
44 46.60 N 073 11.76 W
Libby and I had a nice walkabout of the Burton Island perimeter trail. It is a lovely day. When we camped here with the family, such a walkabout was the high point of every day.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
44 46.60 N 73 11.76 W
We spent last night in Porter Bay. It was another one of those tranquil nights when we could clearly sed and hear everything around us. In the late evening and early morning we were greatly entertained by the leaping fish all around us.
We don't know what species of fish they were but they were big and hungary for insects on the surface. Both Libby and I thought about fly fishing.
I've written before about what terrible fishermen we are. We don't attempt it very often. When we do, we never Icatch anything. We don't carry much equipment either. Certainly not fly rods.
Nice sailing today. We sailed 25 miles north from Porter Bay to Button Island.
Burton Island is the suite of several family camping adventures. It is a state park and a marvelously fun and safe place for kids. We have camped here with all our children and grandchildren (except Bobby), and with my sister Nancy and her family.
The picture shows Tarwathie on a mooring and the Burton Island Ferry to the left. The ferry is the only way for campers to get here. It adds to the charm.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Acknowledgment: H. Ford and N. Benetiz (JHU), & T. Broadhurst (Tel Aviv)
Ah what a great picture. Each of the fuzzy yellow blobs above is a whole galaxy. The picture reminds me of the desire to explore. To explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before. (Wait. Back up. Not that far.)
Have Libby and I lost that desire? In the past two years, the only place we've gone that we haven't seen before is the trip across Florida across Lake Okeechobee. Even here on Champlain, there are places that we haven't been to and we have no plans to go there.
Have we lost the wanderlust? I sure hope not. I also hope we can make up for it in the coming winter season. We still haven't seen the Exumas, central and southern Bahamas where there are thousands of wonderful islands. I hope to get there next season. However, we won't cross over until April. That way, we get to see the best of it without the nasty winter storms.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Here's a nice aerial picture of Burlington. It shows the waterfront (where I am right now), the city, and a frost capped Mount Mansfield in the background.
I photographed a post card with my Droid to make this puncture.
By the way, I like the Droid more and more as I use it. Today it upgraded to Android 2.2. Now everything runs much faster. I also downloaded a Navionics chart plotter program, a compass, and a level/incleometer. That's remarkable. This device now backs up or extends several of our on board instruments.
I think that the Droid should be called a pocket computer that can do phone calls. The phone app is still clunky.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
44 28.20 N 073 13.31 W
I walked through the UVM (University Of Vermont) campus today. That was my first time on the campus, despite having lived here for many years. The campus and the university are much larger than I imagined. I'm used to colleges with 2-3 thousand students. UVM has about 11,000 students. It was great.
Below are some recent pictures from Valcour Island.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
My friend Gerry sends lots of jokes to his email lists. They give me a chuckle when they come. As I rule, I don't put such things on this blog. Today however, I have to make an exception. These puns are just too too good.
The ability to make and understand puns is considered to be the highest level of language development.
Here are the 10 first place winners in the International Pun Contest:
1.A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, "I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger."
2.Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says, "Dam!"
3.Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
4.Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, "I've lost my electron." The other says, "Are you sure?" The first replies "Yes, I'm positive."
5.Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.
6.A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. "But why?", they asked, as they moved off. "Because," he said, "I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer."
7.A woman delivers a set of identical twins and decides to give them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named "Ahmal." The other goes to a family in Spain ; they name him "Juan." Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds, "They're twins! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal."
8.A group of friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not. He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to "persuade" the friars to close. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he'd be back if they didn't close up shop. Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that only Hugh can prevent florist friars.
9.Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and, with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him (Oh, dude, this is so bad, it's good…..) a super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.
10. And finally, there was the person who sent ten different puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
The Narrows, marked as it is by the giant bridge, is one of the more recognizable shoreline landmarks in the world. As we pass through it, I can't help being impressed by its size and significance. Each flood tide, it passes 270 billion cubic feet (7.7 billion cubic meters) of water. I also think of the cataclysmic event that formed it.
What was the cataclysmic event 6,000 years ago? Below is a quote from Heartbeats in the muck: the history, sea life, and environment of New York, by John R. Waldman.
All I can say is wow. I sincerely wish that I could have been a fly on the wall to witness such cataclysmic event.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
42 28.07 N 073 13.34
Yesterday we sailed over to Willsboro Bay on the New York side to visit our friends, Bob and Carol. They have a camp over there (actually two camps.) Bob recently retired and now they're going to live here on Lake Champlain year round. Lucky them.
We visited for a while, then we took a stroll to Willsboro Point. Bob told me that was a good place for catching lake trout in the spring. It must be that the trout winter over in Willsboro Bay, then head out to the main lake in the spring. Their shortest path out of the bay takes them right past the point. Clever.
Then we went out to dinner and a show. We went to an amateur play at Essex Playhouse. In 2005, the four of us went to Essex Playhouse to see Little Shop of Horrors. It was delightful. This time we saw a Brittish comedy called Lettice & Lovage. It was dreary. None of us liked it and we left during the intermission. Oh well, you can't win them all.
Anyhow, we hope to meet up with Bob and Carol again this summer for a day sail.
Monday, August 09, 2010
44 25.62 N 073 14.95 W
The Vermont Mozart Festival is a unique institution. Since 1977, the festival presents outdoor live performances of Mozart's music with symphony, ensemble and soloist support. It was inspired by the similarity of Vermont to Mozart's Austria. It travels around to several locations in Vermont. Once a year, they have a performance at Shelburne Farms in a place where nearby boats can hear.
Saturday, August 07, 2010
Wide View. + marks our spot. Note Otter Creek nearby that leads to Vergennes.
Narrow view. Note the farms behind the veneer of trees and nature that we see. Once again, we benefit from the veneer effect. Sitting here in the bay it's easy to imagine that there's nothing but wilderness out there.
Friday, August 06, 2010
Thursday, August 05, 2010
For some reason I've been lazy about writing blogs this week. Here's another set of pics from my recent trip in lieu of prose.
My favorite sight from the trip wasn't scenery. It was weather. As we toured the lava flows of Sunset Crater Volcano, we could see a thunderstorm on the opposite slope of the San Francisco Mountains. We could see it expend its fury on the mountain but it never came to our side. Here, you see the storm approaching from the left.
I was not inclined to walk to the top of the promontories that extend into free space above the Grand Canyon. Dave had no such inhibition.
The juniper trees along the rim are wonderful. Here's a particularly nice one. I'm struck by the fact that nearly identical trees live on the rim of the limestone cliffs on Valcour Island in Lake Champlain. I'll be there soon.
I love this sign. It makes me want to print signs to give to the street gangs in the Bronx. They would say, "Crime reenactment in progress. Do not call the police."
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Regular readers know that I enjoy a perverse sense of humor regarding status symbols.
We like Vergennes. It's a lovely cruising stop. Free dock, scenic waterfall, nearby library and a nice park with free concerts. Not everything is convenient though.
Today we needed groceries and a laundromat. Since I'm enforcing rest on Libby to recover from her tendonitis, I volunteered to carry the laundry and the groceries. The hills in Vergennes are especially steep and long. It took 4.5 hours for me to walk to the laundromat, grocery, back to the laundromat and return to the boat.
On the way back, I was really bushed. I asked Libby if we could stop in the park for a rest. I had a liter of Coke in the groceries, so we sat on a park bench and took a few swigs. That's when Libby remarked, "Do you realize that we're sitting on a park bench drinking out of a brown paper bag?" :)
Last night we were a bit lonely. There were 11 other boats docked here, but none of the people on any of those boats spoke English. Today however, a new boat arrived. It's home port is Mayfield, NY on Sacandaga Reservoir. Before Tarwathie, we had a boat on Sacandaga for many years. We loved it. So today we chatted up the people onboard that boat.
Monday, August 02, 2010
This first picture is Dave's from the days before I joined him. He found a place on the Alaskan/Canadian border where he could drive 17 miles up a logging road to come out on a lookout far above this glacier. He was all alone, nobody else around. Dave was so enchanted that he says that is the place where he would like to spend his whole life.
Dave and I at the Meteor Crater in Arizona. Noplace else on this planet can you see a real crater in such pristine condition. 4000 feet in diameter, it boggles the mind to imagine the event that created it.
My favorite framed pose ever. Decades ago, I photographed Libby in this window at the Meteor Crater with the San Francisco Mountains behind her. Here's a shot of Libby's youngest son in the same spot. (Note the thunderstorm on the far side of the mountains.)
Sunday, August 01, 2010
44 13.75 N 073 18.99 W
After doing so much, we both needed a bit of rest. Poor Libby straineda tendon in her leg while helping Jenny. Today was that day.
We made a serious error in shutting down the refrigerator during the trip. The refrigerant leaked out when it was warm. I put in two cans of R134-A today but it didn't help. We'll have to go without until we find a guy to recharge the system.
Today we also commissioned our new anchor. It is a 70 pound Luke storm anchor. I bought it used. Its role is to across us to anchor in shallow bays on Champlain where the weeds have grown so thick that a conventional anchor can't penetrate to the bottom. When we're not using it, it comes apart in three pieces for stowage.