Thursday, August 23, 2012

The siren song of boatbuilding has lured another

You can't stop what you can't stop.  (I'm pretty sure that's Rumi.)  Count Gregoire de Frontenac has realized that boatless man is truly bound like the t-shirt says, and he must escape his shackles with a project that will dominate his garage, pick his pocket, and estrange him from family and friends.  Yay boats!

I ripped this picture of my Goat off his first and only post.

BILTrek2012 was spent mostly doing this.  Note bank of fog.
Good luck to Count Gregoire de Frontenac!

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Ahoy Mateys!  

In the grand tradition of VisionQuest/ManQuest2010 (here and here), and BroVenture2011 (Days 1+2 and 3+4), I bring to you BIL(brother-in-law)Trek2012!

IAZ,P, myself, and my brother-in-law Count Gregoire de Frontenac boldly drove forth to the wonderful world of Blue Hill Bay, Maine.

Count Gregoire de Frontenac
We went to Brooklin, to be exact, to enjoy a leisurely circumnavigation of Swan Island with some potential exploring in the Deer Isle Thoroughfare.  I promised Gregoire bald eagles and starry nights, fast heart-pounding broad reaches, and leathery tanned skin!  I promised adventure and riches and a story to last a lifetime.  I promised a Goat Island Skiff experience, an IAZ,P adventure!

What I neglected to promise Count Gregoire de Frontenac, however, was the glories of a gigantic low pressure system that was going to park itself over Maine for two days.  Oops.  So much for my budding meteorological skills.

"Hi, my name is Mr. Twirly and I'm going to rain on your parade, you buffoon."

A few disclaimers.  We spent our time on privately-owned islands along the Maine Island Trail that are available to MITA members and described in the guidebook.  It is requested to not publicly blather about such islands with respect to the islandowner.  I will honor this request.  As I have a done before and will do now, I highly encourage the intrepid reader who is interested in these waters to become a member at MITA.  It is not expensive and it pays for itself immediately.  It is a worthy organization for a worthy cause.

I present, with humbleness, BILTrek2012:

Peace.  Notice lack of houses anywhere.  Quiet.

Fickle winds started us off the public launch at Brooklin.  I carefully ghosted out of the harbor, and once out in the bay we started to scoot along-- just barely.  The boat was heavily laden with the two of us, gear, food, and water for five days and winds ere light.  We made good time, all things considered to our first island.  That was the last of the sun.  In came the fog.

15 minutes later after "peace."  No joke.
After dinner, we went to bed.  Around midnight, it started to rain.

And rain.

And rain.

Out came the WX radio.  Thunderstorms on their way.  Flashes through the tent.  2-3" of rain per hour.   Rumbles in the distance.  I struck IAZ,Ps mast/lightning rod.  Flash flood watches throughout Maine.  The wind came up and started folding over Count Gregoire de Frontenac's tent.  My tent was in the lee, so I thought it was quite peaceful.  We skippers need to stay well rested and dry to make good decisions.

Gregoire's tent blowing in from the wind.  Wet.  Rain seeping through the seams.

IAZ,P with mast down

Stoic Captain...?  Feelings of foolishness lurking underneath stone cold face.
By the next morning Count Gregoire de Frontenac started to complain that his sleeping bag was sponging rain water that had finally started to work itself through the saturated seams of his tent.  The weather forecast was calling for continued heavy rain the entire second day.  There was going to be no hope of drying out for at least another 24 hours, and who knew what would come next.  We were exposed.  There were multiple factors to take into account, but most signs were pointing to an easy escape or a hard and cold and wet day.  With the fog lifted for a few minutes, I took a compass bearing towards Brooklin and we rapidly broke down the tent, and sailed back to the boat ramp.

We had a good wind pushing us along, and we passed some lobstermen who gave us energetic waves and smiles as we blew through some chop in the pouring rain.  To them we probably looked like we were off on an adventure as opposed to turning back around...  I waved back.  Lobstermen in Maine have always waved at IAZ,P.  Better keep up the impression that we are a salty bunch too.

Romantic second night camping location.  IAZ,P loved this. (sarcasm)  Count Gregoire de Frontenac observing.

Drying tents.  Why not?

Camping in a hotel room.  Talk about sand and wetness.  That chart book?  Pissing water.
On day three with improving skies, we drove back to Brooklin, to start again!

This is a historic picture for blatantly obvious reasons.  Take note.
We repeated the loading of IAZ,P for the second time in as many days, and sailed forth!

This is the "all-tides" gravel ramp at Brooklin.
My compact 2W sedan is not going to make it back up this at low tide.
Note fenders for rolling IAZ,P down to the water after pushing her off the trailer.
World-famous Eggomoggin Reach in the background.

Sailing out.  Cute Maine Island.  What dangers lurk around its waters?

Count Gregoire de Frontenac navigating and keeping us safe from said dangers.

I just like this island.
I had a plan, and that was to head to a supposed Island of Paradise and salvage what we could of our trip.  We didn't know what we were going to find.  We didn't know if it was going to work.  We didn't know if people would already be camped in its limited space.

And then, we turned to the corner into the small harbor.

That's right.

Splashing into the crystal clear water on the beach, we decided that there was no further reason for exploration anywhere else.  Day three was henceforth spent relaxing in the sun warmed harbor, circumnavigating the island at low tide, and napping.

Camp.  Gregoire up on the hill, I'm closer to the boat.
Count Gregoire de Frontenac posing with IAZ,P


Trees and what-was-once-tree communing
Count Gregoire de Frontenac bathing.  This ain't no damp breezy castle no mores, this be real saltiness!

The beach/bathtub dries out

Further and further the water falls

Officially stuck for the night.  We're not going anywhere for another 6hrs at least.  And then it will be dark.
Legal fire below high-tide mark
The night went smooth.  A few showers passed, but nothing of any consequence.  The bioluminescence was spectacular. The next morning, however, dawned with calm/calm/calm winds and an overcast.  The tide was on the flood, and I wanted to be sure to meet it as soon as possible and make the most of it, because there would be no sailing that day, and it would be a long row back to the car.

Calm and mist.  Woe.

Waiting for the tide
It was a long row back to the car, and a longer ride back home.  BILTrek did not have booming reaches, midnight collisions with rocks, spirited discussions about spear-gun safety, anchors lost overboard, or encounters with sirens.  However, we had a decent relaxing time, saw WoodenBoat, and discovered an absolute gem of an island for future visitation.  Every trip with IAZ,P brings something different, why not some relax for once?

Fair winds, intrepid reader.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Michalak Jonsboat

This is a decidedly non-Goat Island Skiff post.  

My friend Peteloaf, who did a wonderful job building a Mik Storer Eureka (see this post on the Storer forum) is now building a Michalak Jonsboat for himself and his family.  So far, so good.  The boat is built with meranti ply from Goose Bay Lumber, ash, and pine.  Epoxy is being used for the buttstraps and other very critical components, otherwise the PL Premium is being used throughout the boat.  

Here are some pictures.

The boat is actually quite large.  Much larger than I ever thought from looking at pictures.  There is a lot of room.  The main salon in the middle is over 6' long.  It is wide.  It is awesome.  It will easily take dogs, children, and adults, at the same notice.  Notice Storer-inspired inwale.

Looking good!