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Here were previous milestones at post 1000, the four-year mark, and the one decade anniversary.  A few weeks ago when I noticed on my dashboard that I was approaching my 4000th post a week or so after the actual beginning of the 13th year mark, I knew this post was necessary.

4000!!  It can be a small number:  my heart beats more times than that in an hour and I’m still in the healthy range.  I took more breaths than that in the first half day of my life.  I grew up in a town that had fewer than 4000 people.  One dairy farmer I know has about that many cows now, and collects their output in tanks . . . a reefer tank for milk and two large lagoons for  . . . well . . . their other production.

But it’s a huge number of blog posts, especially if I start adding up the time spent:  if I average about two hours per post … counting the photography and the computing –and that’s a low estimate–that’s 8000 hours of work, which is 200  40-hour work weeks, which at 50-week years equals four years of work.  If I paid myself a low $50,000 per year, that’s almost a quarter million dollar bonus.  Nice!!  As to photos, I’ve added at least 40,000 photos to the web, mostly on aspects of the work world on water.

In another way, the number doesn’t matter, because the story never ends anyhow.  Part of what makes the real story elusive is the Heraclitus issue I’ve mentioned before. It also eludes because there’s no one story; not even one person has just one story or even one fixed understanding of a single story, since we –like the water–is protean, ever shifting.  No matter . . .   we pursue nonetheless.

About those photos, hindsight says I should have started “watermarking” them years ago.  Recently I saw one of my photos in a major newspaper attributed to someone else.  The same article had two others of my photos attributed to me, but this third photo was also mine, shot at a unique event where no other photographers were present.   When I informed them that photo was mine, they refused to believe me.  I was traveling at the time, away from my archive, so I decided to drop the matter, but the fact that it occurs to me now is evidence that I’m still irked.

What else could I have done with those 8000 hours?  If I were a competitive sheep shearer, in that time I could have taken 240,000 fleeces!!  If I worked them in fast food, I’d get $80,000.  If I worked as a divorce lawyer, I’d have a Ferrari or two.  If I were a politician, I’d be at the end of my term and starting a gig as an TV analyst.

Now if I could convince my boss to pay up . . . maybe he’ll throw a party instead and buy the first round for whomever shows up …  Maybe she’ll give me some time off.  Oh wait .  . I’m the boss here.

Seriously, I’ve been fully compensated in meeting interesting people, seeing unexpected things, noticing minutae, and learning vital stuff and worthless trivia.  If I had any regrets, it’s that this time commitment makes me a hermit.  I’m not as anti-social as I might appear, only easily distracted  . . . .  Actually, I like people;  I just prefer to not let an interesting scene go unrecorded sometimes.   Although being a hermit allows me to get work done, the downside is that isolation is sometimes corrosive or parching.

Hermits lack physical community.  Since I retired from a human contact career, I’ve much less of an immediate community.  My online community is fabulous and I appreciate it, but it is its own thing.  I need to work on improving my flesh/blood community.

A friend once sent me a photo he’s taken of me photographing.  It was not a flattering photo because I appeared to be scowling.  I wondered why I was irritated at that moment until I realized that is my “focused face.”  I’ll spare you and not post that shot here.  Photography is much more than moving your fingers on the lens adjustment and shutter.  It’s an attitude born of seeing and trying to see more.   Once an overzealous security person asked me to leave an area I had permission to be because he said I was looking around too much, I must be guilty of something and alleged that I was looking around to see if security or law enforcement was around.  But I do look around while shooting to see if I’m too focused on one action and missing another.

Here’s an example from many years ago and not involving my camera:  I was hiking in a wildlife area and approaching a set of bird watchers, all of whom were intently focused with long lenses on some rare birds in the marsh.  They were lined up along a roadway ditch.  While I was still 200 feet away, I saw a red fox exit the marsh grass, walk past all the photographers close enough to brush against their heels, and then disappear back into the marsh.  Not one photographer saw the fox that touched them;  they were all focused on the rare birds 300 feet away in the marsh.

Given some of the places I go to take photos, there are wolves to be wary of, two-legged wolves, if you catch my drift. I should not malign the four-legged ones though.   Whatever to call these potential predators, I try to spot them long before they sense me.  I take chances with wolves, no matter how many legs they have, and so far they’ve all had dignity.

Anyhow, my course remains steady.  I’ll keep it up as long as I continue to enjoy it.

Thanks for reading, commenting, and sending along stories and photos.

The collage at the top comes thanks to bowsprite;  she created it for me back in 2010 for my 1000th post, and I decided to use Skitch to modify her collage as a way of creating a tradition.

 

I first mentioned this boat here, and included photos taken from it on the Columbia River here.

The following story and photos are a real treat. They come from Glen Cathers, whose retirement projects include restoring the 36′ motor lifeboat you see below.  This article from an October 2016 issue of the Dalles Chronicle tells you all about the boat and a bit about Glen.  But let me sketch out a bit more, especially about his sixth boro connections:  his father was a surfman-1936-1940 at Point Adams, where Glen was born.  Glen spent four years in the USCG, 3 on icebreaker Westwind, and one running a 40′ boat in the sixth boro.  After three years piloting commercial hydrofoils and two more on B&O RR tugboats, he then worked on the Staten Island ferry for 28 years, retiring in 1996.

In 2006, Glen and his wife Naomi bought MLB 36391 and began a six-year restoration process.  And what would you do once you have a perfectly restored motor lifeboat?  Take it on the road . . . er, the waters, of course.  And after a few years on the Columbia River system and over the bar and along the Oregon and Washington coasts, navigating waters these boats were designed for and visiting active USCG stations, he put it on a Duluth-bound flatbed in spring 2018.  So if you saw this unit while driving northern highways back in May, here’s some of the rest of the story.

The truck had just pulled into a marina yard in Duluth.

This was Glen and Naomi’s planned itinerary.

Once ready, the 36391 Point Adams points toward the Aerial Lift Bridge to head toward the Duluth Ship Canal, the way into the west end of Lake Superior.

Here Glen, to the extreme right, poses with the boat and some USCG crew at Station North Superior, near Grand Marais.  Look that up on the map here, if you don’t offhand know the location.

From Grand Marais, they head across a glassy and clear Lake Superior to Bayfield, a trip you want to do when you trust you boat, your skills, your health, and have a good weather window. This blog was in Bayfield just a few weeks before 36391 was there.

Here’s the placid lake as they leave from Ontonagon for Houghton-Hancock.

These rails beside the dock–on an island NW of Marquette–were built to accommodate MLBs like this.

Here’s a disused small boat station near Munising,

jumping-off point for Pictured Rocks.

Besides stopping at USCG stations, Glen and Naomi stopped at public docks to show the restoration off to more folks.  Here there’re showing their restored vessel off at the Soo on the best day of the year, Engineers Day, when the locks are open to the public.

I’m grateful to Glen and Naomi for these photos and this story.   This is post one of three.  Two more to come.  If you do FB, search for The Point Adams – 36391, and get ahead of this blog.

Check out this article by my friend Peter Marsh in the October 2017 Northwest Yachting starting on pp. 78-79, with great watercolor illustrations by Cory Mendenhall.

For another article on Glen and 36391, read this one in Spring 2014 issue of Freshwater News by my Peter, starting on p. 13.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say  MLB 36391 is one of only three  (?)  fully restored vessels of the type.  One is 36340, which accompanied 36391 for some time this past summer and is based at the Michigan Maritime Museum.  The other is 36500, a newer boat but famous for the 1952 Pendleton rescue, acclaimed in book and movie entitled The Finest Hours.  There may be others we don’t know about.

I could have called this “unusual sail.”

That’s me in the two-person sailing Folbot back in 2002.  I had bought it back around 1998 from an ad I saw in a publication called Messing Around in Boats.  The gentleman who sold it said it had been in his barn for at least 30 years.  When I peeled off a layer of pigeon shit, the skin came off with it and exposed a wooden frame that broke down into pieces four-foot or shorter.  The hull, mast, leeboards, sail, rudder all could fit into a seabag, and I fancied myself, a show-off,  hiking up to a roadless mountain lake, assembling my vessel, and sailing  . . . in the clouds.

When I couldn’t sew a new skin or find someone who could do it–two different canvas shops took on the job and then backed out–I decided to skin it with leftover shrink-wrap boat covers,

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reinforce the bow with duct tape, and go paddling.

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It worked!  Here’s a blurry shot showing the insides . . . shrink-wrap and plastic strapping.

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As time passed, I decided the Folbot could at least as be sculptural until such time that I find a canvas skin maker.

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So this is the top of big room in my Queens cliff dwelling, where I should maybe keep some shrink-wrap and a heat gun handy to skin my boat in case the water level here rises.

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And since I’ve invited you into my home, how about more of the tour.  Yes, that’s the stern of the Folbot in the center top of the photo and a spare one-seater kayak, which I cut-bent-glued-stitched at Mystic Seaport, to the left. [They appear not to offer the kayak building classes now.]   Only problem with the stitched kayak . . . the only egress/ingress is out the window, down 12′ onto a flat roof, and then down another 15′ onto the sidewalk.

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In a pinch, you could make a kayak using a tarp, willow or similar shoots, and wire.  And in the long ago and far away department, here I was back in January 2005 sewing that kayak you see hanging to the left above . . .  10 hours of just sewing once the skin was on, per these plans.

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Bending ribs right out of the steam box and

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knotting together the bow pieces happened

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prior to the actual two-needle sewing.

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These last two pics are not mine but come from a Folbot publication from the 1960s.  The photo below shows what a later-model sailing Folbot–just out of the duffel bag– looked like.

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Here’s what the publication says it looks like sailing.

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For now, mine remains sculpture.

This post marking a personal milestone passed already five years ago.  Today’s post marks the fact that now I’m officially old enough to opt for the thin slice of retirement money or a senior price ticket on New Jersey Transit.

The photo below shows one of my high points of my past year.  I’m the more enclosed guy with the black cap.   And you might wonder where this is?

0aaaaaaja

Here are two clues that’ll help you situate that high point, the aluminum portion and the

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steel.

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And here I’m standing on the edge of a trough.

0aaaaaaja3

Many thanks to Chris Ware for the top photo and to Brian DeForest for the one directly above.

I am deeply grateful for a chance at another year of living  . .  . exuberantly.    Here was seven years ago.

I have always loved maps, as far back as elementary school.  The internet and satellites have changed maps;  sometimes I still prefer old-fashioned paper ones.  This post shows five “grabs” from on-line maps.  What they have in common is that in each an inch is equivalent to about two miles and that all show places in the Americas.  This is my last regular post for about two weeks because it is time to hit the airport, then the road.  This road will take me through three of the five grabs here.  I’ll identify the places along the way.

1.

At this link there are 24 quotes about maps . ..  like this one by Abulrazak Gurnah: “I speak to maps. And sometimes they something back to me. This is not as strange as it sounds, nor is it an unheard of thing. Before maps, the world was limitless. It was maps that gave it shape and made it seem like territory, like something that could be possessed, not just laid waste and plundered. Maps made places on the edges of the imagination seem graspable and placable.”

2.

Herman Melville said that true places are not found on maps.  Here’s an interesting article that quotes him and talk about a place (not in the Americas)  I’ll likely never visit, never have to navigate myself around with or without a map or chart.

3.

On travel . . . aka gallivanting, Robert Louis Stevenson said, “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.”

4.

I airbrushed some names out of this map grab . . . lest you figure the location out too easily.   And if you don’t figure it out, no matter . . .   see this LandSat fotos or play with google for a while if you think these satellite images are beautiful, as I do.  I didn’t change any of the colors, but some satellites use filters to capture invisible but significant detail.

5.

But as much as I enjoy looking at maps and charts, there is a time to get out, feel the wind on your face, and let yourself be surprised.  Doubleclick this one;  these two watchstanders on MSC Federica last weekend seem the ultimate gallivanters.  They could even be time travelers.

I’ll try to write from the road, something I last did just a month ago here.  Any guesses about the geography captured by those fotos?

Related:  Here and here are some airplane seat art sites.   Here are more examples of “land art” visible from google earth.

. . . astrotisements for everything imaginable.

It’s bowsprite’s drawing on the pin I’ll wear today.  Send me an email and I’l tell you how you too can get one of these pins.  Or send her an note . . . to the post she put up today.  The original event/foto happened here in September 2008, but it took bowsprite to transform that contest into some universal depicted on a pin.

It’s love . . .  can be  warm and abstract as it is to a six-year-old;  sometimes

filled with drama, pursuit-and-retreat-and-repeat….

It can be very high drama, perilous paroxysm, much more than hissy-fits.

It can just be bump-n-grind physical, rubber and steel til our eyes go askew as we

go through the process of trying on all shapes vaguely recognizable as hearts.  But it’s all

amor valentinus.  Here are my V Day posts from 2009 and 2007.

For me, the more dispassionate, the better . . .  but I’ll tell everyone (and everything) I really love that I love them.  Wanna try the same?

Three years ago it was my father;  now it was my mother:  she passed on last week at age 83, and I will miss her.  This foto was taken two days ago at Pultneyville, looking north toward Kingston, where her parents are buried.

Near these waters was her home–and mine–for 55 years.  And they shaped us.

Ma, you will be missed, and you’d tell us to push on.

All fotos taken this week by Will Van Dorp.

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