Monday, July 4, 2016

The SLOGFEST at Lake Champlain

AHHHOOY YOU CRAZY INTREPID READERS, YOU!

I return SO FASTLY from the last post, with yet another GIS Amateur Style-blog cruisefest! It's like we are on the fire with crazy-quick back-to-back cruising, and probably an epic post coming up next week too! What's going on around here?!

To recap, a few weeks ago the NNECS crew went out and beat the pants of Casco Bay and ate lobster products and got rained on.  Obviously you know this because you already read about this great adventure here and you're an Official Intrepid Reader vying for Free Parking!

This week, Chef Juan and I decided to go beat around Lake Champlain! Back we went, back, into the hinterland deep in the mountains, where there is a lake bathed in the golden light of an Adirondack sun, crowned by mountains and sung of by the poets. She is the olde western frontier, the edge of the known colonial world.  At one time, Lake Champlain was THE highway and avenue to get products, goods, and people into the mid-west.  This body of water not only anchors the incredible Champlain Valley, it also was highly contested battlefield from the French-Indian war until the War of 1812.  So many American war dead repose in her waters.  Quiet lake, loud history.

DAY 1: BLUEISH
DAY 2: REDISH
 Little did I know what that crazy-man Chef Juan had in mind for me! Ghosting, rowing, more rowing, rowing, and then a 14 hour sailing SLOGFEST OF DOOM which I care not to repeat.  I like to stop and see things and eat food and drink water and walk around a bit.  Maybe pee too, I like peeing.  This is Vermont, sure, no lobster shacks, but what about an ice-cream stand or two? Anything?

NO! FOURTEEN hours on my boat is just TOO MUCH. I bow, I scrape the ground with my nose, I capitulate, I revoke my status of Sailor-Lord-King in front of Chef Juan the muscle-endurance power of NNECS.

All hail.
HAIL.

Chef Juan flexes his Sinewy Muscles of Kitchendom and he:

1. Takes the day in his hands
2. BREAKS IT OVER HIS KNEE
3. AND THEN HE CRUSHES IT.


DAY 1

I show up late for dramatic effect and we hustle to get going.  The forecast called for 10-13 out of the north, and the drive testified that the landmass was experiencing such nice wind, but the lake was experience feeble breezing out of the south and it ended up dying in a catastrophic fashion.  We snuck our way north to Knight Island, with much ponderous rowing.

The Ghosting Begins

Ghost ghost ghost, ghosting along... OOOoooOOOoooo spooky ghosts

The Adirondacks of my distant far-gone long ago dreams. They weigh heavily on me.

Telltales are my obsession. Looks calm ahead, someone should warn me!
(Chef Juan took this picture)

Dragging feet for hot feet makes feet happy.
(Chef Juan took this picture)

CHEF JUAN rows into the Oblivion Blue if that's what it will take, dammit!
I can see him snickering at me from here.
"Teeheehee," he snickers as he rows.

I row my steed through the heart of the painted New England landscape.
(Chef Juan took this picture)

We gather for dinner. It is late. As usual, boat camping mandates CHAOS! 
I am glad to report I still camp like a messy hoarder you see on those TV shows.

Chef opens his world famous ILUR-based restaurant:
CHEZ CHEF JUAN-on-WAXWING.  (Think some of those Hudson River town names.)
I helped as sous-chef and managed to NOT drop dinner into the bilges.

Near the end of the blue hour, we settle down for some well deserved sleep.
Chef Juan took this picture


DAY 2


Chef Juan rows into Knight Island to have a gander. It's early, around 700am.

I row in as well, to look upon the ocean of calm.
I also leave a deposit in a convenient out-house for the gods of wind.
Poseidon, hear my smelly call!

I will not step on land again until I am an old broken man this evening. 
Little did I know at the time, the world seemed so green and good.

After much fruitless, pointless, desperate tacking to windward to round North Hero, we run out of time and give up on the larger goal of rounding both North-Hero and Grand Isle and turn around for The Gut, between the Isles... We will circumnavigate Grande Isle instead of both.
Brilliant idea!

We make vehicular traffic stop for NNECS!
Entering The Gut between Grande Isle and North Hero,

the the west side of the island, where we will head south.

FINALLY  in the gut we get a lunch stop.  I down three pieces of Chez-Chef-Juan's wife's chicken and then jumped onto these items which are supposed to be brownies, but are apparently 
DOUBLE-DOGGIE-DEATH PILLS or something to that effect.  WOW.  Unreal.  Chef Juan's wife for PREZ! WOW. I stole some and at them for breakfast the next day!

America is land of the plastic, reversed-sheer, disaster boat.  Someone-- somehow, someway--escaped assimilation and was able to stash a little peapod-ish row boat for use! Imagine!  How deviant. I sneak in for a closer look before the capitalists come get me and foist something big loud and ugly upon me! Who is this mystery owner of this reasonable boat? 
Why does it not have speakers?
Why is it not covered in glitter?

Downwind the west side of Grande Isle

Passing the Cumberland Head - Grande Isle Ferry
Still heading south.

STILL GOING 
STILL GOING DOWN THE WEST SIDE
"This is a big island!" I start thinking. "We should have started to do this sooner."

Also, hero wing-and-wing shot by Chef Juan

Finally around the southern end of Grande Isle and Camel's Hump swings into view!
Check yer Vermont quarters! Ooooh get me off this boat! It's 730pm!

Still an hour to go! Look! The Moon!

Just to top off a great day, we have to beat 2 miles to windward to get back to the ramp.
It was hard fought beating, but with no current, which was actually nice.
I was BUSHED. Here, Chef Juan drives north with Whiteface Mountain framing his sails.

This is a ho-hum picture, but I LOVE how this sail is setting, close-hauled to the wind.
It's a Dabbler sail, and you can see the professionalism in how it is built.  

This rig is just set perfectly and the sail is cut just so and it's working hard for Chef Juan.  
A real nice job here, beautiful in it's utilitarianism. 

Revenge.

ANOTHER NNECS VICTORY! GRANDE ISLE!




Monday, June 13, 2016

The Thunder Rolls and NNECS Sails Out

...intermittent thunder
Lets us know

The gods are arriving,
One valley over.

(from the poem "New Hampshire", by Howard Moss)

The Summer Triangle is back in the sky and the Northern New England Circumnavigation Society meets again and rides forth into Maine's blue water and June fogs.  The inland storms do battle in their high aeries and we watch from our fortress island.  It's good to be back on the water for real.

Oh, we go to ERICA'S again, which means lobster heaven.  Scallop heaven.  Fried Oysters, anyone? How about the CRABSTER? 3oz of Lobster, 1oz of Crab, 4oz of Perfection.  One of the very best lobster shacks in Maine. ERICA'S is small boat friendly!  Cash only.  

GreenMountain John is now CHEF JUAN

For the weak of remembering NNECS is:
Sea Pearl 21 SCOUT
Sea Pearl 21 INDIGO
Fran├žois Vivier Ilur WAXWING
Herreshoff Coquina SLIFPER


WE MEET

I AM A CRABBY RULER OF THIS ISLAND

WE MEET AGAIN

THE COMMODORE JUMPS WAVES FOR BREAKFAST

CHEF JUAN SAILS INTO THE FOG
THE COMMODORE SAILS INTO THE FOG


I don't sail into the fog and get a nice tan

Chef Juan took this picture


We raft to converse, eat, and drink.
MERRINESS TOO.
I take SLIFPER ouf for a ride and the Commodore
foints the way so I don't hif rocks
 
FRIENDS

CHEF JUAN COOKS ANOTHER MEAN MEAL FOR US
TWO-BURNER STYLE
LIKE A BOSS


DAY TWO

CHEF JUAN and WAXWING under the mackerel sky

The Commodore rolls in NOT-SO-HOT

BREAKFAST TIME, WHERE'S THE SUN?!

Drying clothes can only mean one thing:
IT RAINED A LOT

ERICA'S SEAFOOD
The one, the only.

HEADING TO JEWELL

THE THUNDER ROLLS IN

NNECS rows into Jewell for exploration

IN WHICH CHEF JUAN SETS UP AN OUTHAUL WITH MUCH SUCCESS

Partnership and community building

Setting the anchor

The Commodore and Chef Juan work together while
Cap'n Jon wanders off at a critical time
I think he's looking at rocks.

SUCCESS

CHEF JUAN walks through the birch grove of his distant dreams
while birdsong pulls him onwards into the forest
with the crashing sea around and the thunder above
we all walk the lonely paths through our forests of birch and fern

The next valley over

The Commodore just really needs to get it together

I (author) use my new precision engineered German umbrella while everyone
laughs at me from their tents. Some buddies these guys are! Jeez-O.
The umbrella was great, though.

DAY THREE

Intrepid Readers may remember my fondness for SOFT-BOILED EGGS
I believe the art of cooking the perfect soft-boiled egg has skipped a generation.
As it is with many things, I remain an anomaly to my age group.
I cook damn good soft-boiled eggs. Ignore the sand that got into it.

NNECS rides out of Jewell and for home

Chef Juan took this picture

Cap'n Jon took this picture of SCOUT CRUSHING IT 
SCOUT jumps waves for breakfast too!
Chef Juan took this picture


INDIGO CRUSHING IT

WAXWING CRUSHING IT

Kinda-lunch on Whaleboat Island
We should have had lunch but didn't
Stupid.

The most heroic picture of Cap'n Jon EVAR.
I mean, c'mon guys, is he not being SUPER MANLY right now, or what?
He's like a steel-worker.
We towed the two other boats back up the Royal River to the ramp due to a 20kt+ wind blowing straight down the river, and a contrary tide.  The water looks smooth because there is no fetch.  It was blowing hard here. We could have easily spent the night at the mouth but some of us (me) had to go home, so we fired up the Iron Mizzens. 

I tow the Commodore.
I will say, his sailing into my precarious position close to the shore combined with
my tow-line throwing were so perfect, it was like we were sailors, or something.
Had to see it. Seamanship pays off.
THE END FOR NOW, THE SUMMER IS YOUNG