Off Season Fun!

I think it fair to say that, among other characteristics, sailors are fun-loving creatures – maybe a bit of a cross between pirates and otters. In any event, we’re never inclined to pass up a good party.  That’s especially the case during the off-season when those of us confined to land by the cold look for like-minded company to at least talk about sailing and plans for the coming season.

A party is what we got over the weekend, organized by the Annapolis Sailing Club  – good fun, good company, and great music provided by Pint & Dale. As their press release says – “If you can’t hear the wind in the rigging when William Pint and Felicia Dale break out in song, then you’re not listening.” It was a great program of sea shanties, and even a bit of sing along. 

Go here to read more about the duo, hear their music http://www.pintndale.com/ .  And that rather odd looking instrument is a hurdy-gurdy – you have to hear to appreciate!   Try here for a sample……… http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/wpintfdale3

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The evening provided opportunity to visit with old friends and make new ones. Skippers looking for crew and crew looking for boats – always in the background and the makings for a fun time!

Plenty of food and ‘grog’ to go around, all brought by the 70 or so folks that gatherd for the evening.

Mid-winter blues

January 21 – Awoke to a cold and gloomy weather report for the next week or so ….. hardly a surprise for mid-January. Then, we’ve had only one significant snow fall, though there’s still time for more.

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It’s the sub-freezing temps (teens) in this week’s forecast that sends me to the calendar trying to imagine Spring.

The Spring solstice, March 20th, is a significant marker on the calendar. That’s the day when daylight hours equal the night And, going forward, days that are now becoming longer do so at a much quicker pace – and get warmer!  The Spring solstice is also my target date to re-commission the boat – the formal beginning of my sailing season.

Just two days ago the loft called to say my mainsail was ready having been cleaned and minor repairs made.  The new head sail being built should be ready soon. Bimini and dodger were re-installed a week ago, and now the sails will go back on very soon. Only the engine and fresh water system to de-winterize – just waiting to get past any serious threat of extended freezing temps.

So, forgetting for the moment the cold air descending on us, I check the calendar and count days – just 50 to the solstice!  Spring is just around the corner.  counting ..49..48..47……

DC CHERRY BLOSSOMS

…even Washington, DC may soon take on a more sunny appearance……… he says optimistically.

 

Notes from around the Bay

You’re in for a real treat if you’re willing to brave the tricky water getting there. I’m talking about Smith Island Marina.

Smith Island is a delightful place with a long and interesting history. In addition to a small but clean and friendly marina. You’ll find a fascinating museum within walking distance, and VERY important – a crab house next door! If you time it right, you can have fresh caught, steamed crabs delivered to the boat.

A word of caution. The narrow channel in from the Bay side is continually changing – that is the depth.

Smith Island Entrance

More than likely, you will find temporary white markers designating the shoal areas – just not a clue as to which side of said markers you should pass. STRONGLY urge a call to the marina for current information and guidance around those markers. Other wise, take it slow and enjoy the scenery!

A view looking back out the entrance channel from the Marina

A New Game in Town . .

A New Game in Town Promises

More Effective Conservation

Earlier this week, a diverse group of dedicated conservationists from business, non-profit conservation and environmental groups and other natural resource professionals gathered at the Fleet Reserve Club on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The gathering was organized by the Conservation Leadership Council (CLC) whose mission is to –

“advance innovative approaches to America’s environmental challenges through policies rooted in fiscal responsibility, limited government, market entrepreneurship, community leadership, and public-private partnerships.”

Politically conservative-minded leaders have been at the forefront of innovative conservation since the early days of President Teddy Roosevelt. They have led and supported efforts in land and species conservation and restoration. They firmly support the objectives of the high profile efforts under the Endangered Species, Clean Water and Clean Air Acts. It is equally critical to understand that they firmly believe there are more effective ways, as we go forward, to accomplish those goals than the top-down, regulatory-heavy approach represented in those acts and supported by their politically liberal colleagues. While there are sharp and significant differences in policies and approaches to resource conservation, there is immense common ground for those willing to explore it.

Conservation need not be partisan. While progress has been achieved under current legislation and regulation, the most effective conservation actions nearly always grow from the bottom up with on-the-ground efforts in communities and local areas. This will be increasingly true as we move past the easier to the more difficult challenges and solutions, and public funding shrinks. Innovative ideas are tested, results are measured, partnerships are built, often against a background of contentious issues and conflicting beliefs and policies. Solutions grow out of the honest exchange of information, the development of mutual respect and trust among all the interested parties. Processes are transparent. These efforts do not always come easily, but results are universally supported and lasting. Progress is measureable – a critical element to continuing support.

The Conservation Leadership Council is a group whose efforts promise to advance conservation across the Country, and diminish the harsh partisan battling that is counter-productive to sustainable progress. They provide a beacon to follow through the challenging waters of resource conservation in the coming years. They are personal  friends and professional colleagues, and have my full support.  For more, visit www.leadingwithconservation.org .

 

Think Spring…..

On these cold days, with the holidays behind us, here’s a thought to warm you (even if only in your mind)…. there are places where the sun shines and the sand is warm on your feet ……

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Orient Bay - St Maartans

Orient Bay – St Maartens

….and Spring is only eleven weeks away  🙂