Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Duckpunting HO! MRS MUMBLES on the loose again!

This is going to be very straightforward.  Any Intrepid Reader knows exactly how this is probably going to go, and I assure you that this crazy blog won't disappoint. I KNOW you've been waiting all year with heart-in-throat and I have pictures of sure proof that all is still right with the world: The sun still shines in your portion of the cerulean sky and we are not part of an extraterrestrial hologram.  Breathe that sigh of relief, Intrepid Reader, tuck your children into bed with joy, enjoy that whiskey by the evening fire, and rejoice! The Cold War is over!

And Dory Dan's duckpunt still leaks!

We gather to sail south, towards the Clamming Grounds.
This year, I brought my hypothermia kit.
Winds were honking when we got to the ramp, I'd say gusting to 20kts, a little more than we were expecting or asked for.  However, champs like us see this as an opportunity to test our mettle against the elements.  What are a couple of New Englanders like us afraid of?  We are sailors and gritty, and like it cold and wet. Our ancestors had it worse. Full speed ahead!  I brought my hypothermia dry bag in case I dumped it and went into the drink.  I'm glad, because I forgot my drysuit at home.  Dory Dan forgot his bailing bucket at home.  This induced a moment of extreme incredulous in me for as we may remember... the first sail of the season for his duckpunt usually means she has to "take-up" a bit.

He looked at me, I looked at him, and I promptly poured the rest of the contents of a windshield-wiper fluid bottle into a spare nalgene rolling around in my car (I'm not going to waste wiper fluid, I come from a long line of frugal Yankees) and then I cut the bottom off.  While doing this, Dan told me about the slick-seaming he did and how he left the punt outside this winter so it shouldn't be AS BAD AS LAST YEAR, etc., and then added: I have my clamming bucket, but it has holes in it, and other such gems of conversation. Anyway, I made the Instant Bailer, boom! This saved the expedition from more lateness to the Clamming Grounds, as the tide was about to turn in but a few moments and we had little to lose.

I sped off, making good time. The punt is exhilarating downwind! There was a small mudflat to my starboard and I put in briefly to re-arrange my living situation.  Dory Dan was close behind, charging hard.

Why so stern heavy Dan?

check out bailer in aft cabin

YES! The picture that begins the season for realz! DORY DAN BAILING HIS PUNT!
History! Intrepid Readers rejoice!
"I can see it coming in through the planks," he says!
Tumultuous crowds line the banks of the marsh to ogle!
Mayor proclaims May 17 as Dory Dan Bailing Day!
"It's coming in as fast as I can bail it out!" he mutters to himself!

Dory Dan finally southbound--
...still bailing...
Chasing Dory Dan downind. What a day! What weather! 

I hug a mud flat at machspeed-loony and watch the bottom go by, scant inches away.
This is sailing a duckpunt, in all it's glory. What fun!
For the record, this was a very difficult picture to take.
We arrived at the Clamming Grounds just as the other clammer-types were cleaning up their gear and heading home.  Dan anchored his punt and starting clawing away at the mud, making excellent time and many large holes.  This guy is Mr. Muscles, fo' sho'.  We had to quickly retreat into the middle of the flat as Dan was forced by the tide to leave behind one hole after another. Three holes he dug, in quick succession, throwing clams into his bucket. I watched the boats, now in the distance, slowly float and then become isolated beings in a sea of water.  As the tides closed over the mudflat, I looked around myself in a sweeping circle while standing in ankle-deep water, thousands of feet from the nearest shore and surrounded by the broad blue expanse.  The sun began to set beyond the clouds with golden fingers flecking the virgin green grass on the marshes.  Silence except for the wind washing across the sound.  This was certainly a moment of reckoning, of isolation, of mortality, as the water rose to my boot tops.  The siren song of the sea, I suppose, or something else.  So close to humanity and yet in that moment so far, far away.  'Twas a beautiful moment.

Back to the boats, and the long slog upwind to the ramp.

Dory Dan clams in the distance

MRS MUMBLES and Dan's Punt get cozy. They make a good punting team!


New England Sea Captain to his bones.

Dory Dan leaves the punt to take up over the week.

What joy, this duckpunting.
And, may I say with some humbleness, A GREAT LUNCH THE NEXT DAY!

New England Life 4EVAH


  1. God I love this blog

    1. The GIS Amateur loves you too, Anonymous! You get the Famous Free Parking for the month!