Making of a sailor

Close your eyes for a bit, and rewind the clock a few years, maybe more than a few for some of us, and call to memory a hot, summer day just after the rain stopped. The sun was breaking through the clouds sending bright shafts of light to ground. Mist was rising off the hot soil, and puddles were scattered in every low spot. I know what I did, but what did you do with those puddles? 

For me it was bare foot time, and I stomped in about every puddle I could find relishing the pure joy of it. Then I rummaged through my collection of toys, found a boat or two and headed back to the puddles to go sailing. With imagination only found in small children, I sailed around the world, survived storms, was chased by pirates, and discovered new lands – all in the space of a few square feet of ocean that was rarely deeper than a couple inches. Thus was made a sailor.

Sixty or so years later I can still conjure up those same feelings, and occasionally that same pure joy of being on the water, under sail now with the real world within reach – at least in my imagination. Have survived storms, found lands that were at least new to me, and been chased by pirates of a sort. So, at least in some things we do come full circle in life. 

Learning the ropes

My point in sharing my memories and experiences, is to remind those of us who love sailing and time on the water, how simple it is to give that gift to young children.  It is a gift that will live with many of them for a lifetime. Not only will it bring joy, but also teach self-reliance, new skills, teamwork and other important life lessons about the value of natural places and clean water. Focus on the joy, the rest will come along. 

Graduation!

Needless to say I have plans for my grandkids, and hope their parents are prepared!  So, next summer when it rains, find a kid or two and together go find a puddle……..I suspect you will all experience the joy.

MD Watershed Implementation Plan

MDE release – http://www.mde.state.md.us/Pages/Home.aspx

The Chesapeake Bay TMDL, Maryland’s Watershed Implementation Plan and Maryland’s 2012-2013 Milestone Goals

DRAFT Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan for Public Review (January 26, 2012)

The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure constituting the largest estuary in the United States and one of the largest and most biologically productive estuaries in the world.  Despite significant efforts by federal, state, and local governments and other interested parties, pollution in the Chesapeake Bay prevents the attainment of existing water quality standards.  The pollutants that are largely responsible for impairment of the Bay are nutrients, in the form of nitrogen and phosphorus, and sediment.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in coordination with the Bay watershed jurisdictions of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, New York, and the District of Columbia (DC), developed and, on December 29, 2010, established a nutrient and sediment pollution diet for the Bay, consistent with Clean Water Act requirements, to guide and assist Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts.  This pollution diet is known as the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), or Bay TMDL.   MDE took part in an ongoing, high-level decision-making process to create the essential framework for this complex, multi-jurisdictional TMDL that will address nutrient and sediment impairments throughout the entire 64,000 square mile Chesapeake Bay watershed.

MDE participated in numerous inter-jurisdictional and inter-agency workgroups and committees over the last three years to provide technical expertise and guidance for developing the Bay TMDL in a manner consistent with the State’s water quality goals and responsibilities. In particular, MDE worked to ensure that the Bay TMDL addressed the nutrient and sediment impairments in all of Maryland’s tidal waters listed as impaired by those pollutants on the State’s Integrated Report of Surface Water Quality.

MDE took the lead on developing an allocation process that will enable the State to meet a key requirement for the Bay TMDL and Maryland’s Watershed Implementation Plan:  the sub-allocation of major basin loading caps of nutrient and sediment to each of 58 “segment-sheds” in Maryland – the land areas that drain to each impaired Bay water quality segment – and to each pollutant source sector in those areas.

RBFF notes ICW Fishing opportunities

The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation is a great non-profit organization whose mission is to incease participation in recreational angling and boating and thereby increase public awareness and appreciation of the need to potect, conserve and restore this Nation;s aquatic natural resources.

They provide a valuable service to the boating and fishing communities…….. the following article is from their web site  at http://www.takemefishing.org/general/about-rbff — take a tlook for more great info!

The Intracoastal Waterways – An angler’s paradise

Whether you’re a newcomer to saltwater fishing or a seasoned pro, the ICW offers some of the most accessible and enjoyable light tackle action in the country.

The Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) is comprised of various bays, inlets, saltwater rivers and other manmade water canals that offer boat passage and protection from the open sea. There are three separate ICW regions: the Gulf of Mexico ICW stretches from south Texas to the panhandle of Florida, the Florida Gulf Coast ICW connects Tarpon Springs to Ft. Myers, and the Atlantic ICW reaches from the Florida Keys all the way to Virginia.

ICW waters are typically calmer, and readily accessible to smaller recreational fishing boats. They’re also home to prolific schools of baitfish, as well as larger sport fish that migrate, feed, and breed there. Indeed, the ICW is the ultimate “inshore” fishery in America.

Here are some ICW fishing hotspots worth checking out with light tackle.

  • Laguna Madre in Texas – A massive hyper-saline (and consistently shallow) lagoon, the Laguna Madre is a veritable factory for speckled sea trout, as well as redfish and tarpon.  If sight fishing is your deal, this is a place where you can run a skiff, wade or kayak for miles, and cast at fish all day.
  • Carrabelle, Florida – Fishing guides from throughout the region gravitate toward the waters around Carrabelle in the summer, because big tarpon migrate there. In the fall, the sea trout action is hot.
  • Fort Myers, Florida – Try fishing for snook in the evening from a flats skiff in the boat canals. Fly fishing is a particularly rewarding approach; use a purple “Puglisi Peanut Butter” fly with an 8-weight rod.
  • Miami Beach, Florida – Believe it or not, anglers have been known to hook 100-pound plus tarpon by casting plugs (and flies) in and around Governor’s Cut, right where the cruise ships pass by. It’s also fun to catch pompano in this area. But be sure to pay attention to other boat traffic when fishing here.
  • St. John’s River, Florida – Northeast Florida has a wide array of canals, rivers and channels that are loaded with some of the best populations of sea trout, jacks and redfish in the country. This is a kayak fisherman’s paradise.
  • Hatteras, North Carolina – Fishing on the inside of the Outer Banks offers some of the best opportunities to chase redfish in shallow water. Try slowly retrieving a golden spoon with a light- or medium-action spinning rod.

The number of species from striped bass to snapper, black drum to sheepshead (and everything else mentioned above) comprises only a fraction of a list longer than any angler can tackle in a lifetime. And the approaches and techniques you can use are only limited to your imagination. So what are you waiting for? Give it a try.

What to do with winter……

Clearly there are all sorts of things to do, especially withholiday business behind us. Shovel snow for one if you live in that part of theworld. Cut, split and stack wood for the wood stove or fireplace.  As they say, it warms twice. I can attest tothat from personal experience. Do those chores around the house that got putoff during the important (sailing) season – and explain at home why that’s so.The explaining could be a serious time sink depending on the views of others inthe household. I’m sure you can add to this short list with many imaginativetasks from your – and others’- to do lists. However, I’m inclined to be forwardlooking, and specifically to look past this current inconvenient weather. Afterall, it is only a few short weeks till Spring sailing weather.

Days are gettinglonger now, and the pace of that change will accelerate soon. We’ve turned thecorner on day length, and very soon will do the same with temperatures.

So, on a more positive note I’m planning and preparing forthe return of the important season. That means attending to all the boat tasks– repairs and improvements – that didn’t get done when being on the water wasmore compelling. It’s actually very satisfying to complete those jobs that havebeen nagging at you for several months. In fairly short order:

  • I managed torepair some seams on my dodger and bimini – and learned another skill in theprocess.

  • Re-assembled the bimini framework and began acquiring the parts neededto add supports in anticipation of installing a solar panel or two on top.

  • Built a more convenient companionway door (well almost done).

  • Washed dockingand other extra lines that laid in the locker most of the past season.

Yet tobe accomplished is adding chain and new rode to anchors, add a new anchor toinventory and finish construction of ‘glass’ side panels to enclose the cockpiton those inclement days.

To add challenge and excitement to this off-season process, Ihave been mapping out my season schedule, noting organized club event and othersailing opportunities on my Outlook calendar. Of greater interest is pouringover charts to plan more extended cruising to new places and imagining findingquiet anchorages yet to be visited. Already I have at least two 10-day trips onthe calendar, as well as preparations for heading south next Fall before allthis cold weather arrives again. That will make my next winter “to do list”quite different!

Between chores it is a delight to follow the travels of sailing friends who allow us to track their progress via SPOT trackers, and to livevicariously thru their frequent Blog posts with pictures and descriptions ofplaces, events and the occasional interruptions of groundings and other minormishaps. Here’s one example of a friend who left Portland, ME last October andis now in north Florida —  http://forums.sbo.sailboatowners.com/forumdisplay.php?f=142

There’s much to belearned from those who are going places you have not been but intend to go. So,productive time is spent absorbing that experience and weaving it into our owncruise planning.

Finally, and not the least of opportunities, are all theseminars and other activities offered by clubs and the sailing industry. And Ijust heard we will have a Spring boat show in Annapolis (April) to add to theearly season fun – and wreak havoc with our boat budgets.

So, get busy with thechores, and look forward to seeing you on the water soon!

BTW – Happy Friday the 13th!