Sunday, May 31, 2009

OK ESN:0-7359581

This is Mike and Bev on "Walkure" just letting you know that we're OK.
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/31/2009 16:49:34 (US/Eastern),-81.3253&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

One more update

before we head into the marshlands of Georgia. The next few days will be spent wandering through the marshes and sounds of coastal Georgia. There's not much development there, so internet access will be unlikely and cell phone service spotty.
While we were in St. Augustine, we had a visit from Ralph and Leslie whom we met last year in Marathon. Ralph drove us to the beach for a food festival, then Leslie joined us for dinner on the boat. Leslie drove home with Ralph and left us her car for the week. (Did I ever say "You meet the nicest people on a boat?" Thank you Leslie!) The following day we drove to Jacksonville to take Morgan to a avian vet. He's molting so we wanted to make sure the process was going normally and to have his wings trimmed. The vet was great and showed us how to clip his wings and trim his talons with the Dremel.
After the vet we went to Leslie's condo for dinner and spent the night.
On our way to Jekyll, we passed Cumberland Island and spotted several of the wild horses that live on the island. It seems some early settlers brought the horses there but then abandoned the island, leaving the horses to die. The horses had other plans. Most of the island is now a park and the horses are simply allowed the run of the place. (We didn't get close enough to get a good picture, but if you visit Paul and Laurie's blog you can see some close-ups that Paul shot while they were ashore on Cumberland.)
Yesterday, during our bike tour of Jekyll Island, Bev finally got to see a gator up close in the wild. It was a "small" gator, "only" about 4 feet long, but those jaws still looked big enough to me!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

So what in the world are we doing?

Well, after consulting the budget gods, it turns out that the haulout and repairs we contemplated will have to wait. the month we have left before we need to be up north we have decided to trek north with the boat to see how far we can get. We'll then find a spot to store the boat for 6 weeks or so while we visit family in NY & MA. (California contingent, we'll get there sometime, we just don't know when the budget gods will make allowances for airfare.)
So the adventure continues for the time being. Today, we are in Jekyll Island, home of the Federal Reserve. For those of you who don't know the story, it seems that in 1910 the whole country was up in arms over the abuses of the "banking trust." So the banking trust held a secret meeting at the Clubhouse in Jekyll island to write the "banking bill." Senator Nelson Aldrich (for whom Nelson A. Rockefeller was named) introduced the bill in Congress in 1913 and Wilson signed it. The country's economy has never been the same. Since then we've had inflation, the Great Depression, numerous recessions, the housing bubble and the current crisis - all of which economists of the Austrian school blame entirely on the Fed. Being an amateur Austrian myself, I just had the see the place where the creature was born.
In St. Augustine we caught up with our friend Kieth from South Pasadena. He left Marathon the same day as we did, but sailed on the Atlantic side and got well ahead of us. Since then we've traveled with him and shared our anchorages. We've had afternoon or evening thunderstorms almost every day, but nothing severe.
Last night we had another anchor dragging incident, but no harm done. We just learned that the claw anchor works better here than the Delta.
Keith also had a little anchoring mishap. He misjudged the tides and was awakened this morning by being rolled out of bed. The boat was resting on the bottom, heeled over to about 45 degrees. Fortunately, the tide came back in and lifted him off.
The colorfull fellow in the bright costume is one of the performers in St. Augustine's "junkanoo" celebration that we attended while we were there.
The next few days we will likely be out of contact as the ICW through most of Georgia is sparsely populated and there are few facilities. We don't even have good cell phone coverage here in Jekyll island. We will send SPOT messages (when we remember...)

Sad news

Phil Bolger, the man who designed Walkure, has died. Here's the obit from his local paper:

By Richard Gaines
Staff Writer

Phil Bolger was a renowned and prolific boat designer, author and eccentric — with a playful creative streak and a penchant to make boating easy.

Sunday, he killed himself by handgun behind his West Gloucester house overlooking the Jones River where decades ago he perfected the wooden kayak.

His wife and business partner, Susanne Altenburger, said yesterday his decision to take his own life was a long-contemplated, reasoned and principled act — though Bolger gave her no advance warning or hints in recent behavior.

"How he died is part of his narrative," Altenburger said. "He died an extraordinarily violent, purposeful and soberly considered death."

Gloucester-born and raised, Bolger designed 680 boats, including the world's smallest dinghy, "the folding schooner," a novelty innovation of convenience, as well as the HMS Rose, which was given celebrity in the 2003 movie, "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World." He was in reasonable health for his 81 years, but felt himself slipping mentally, Altenburger said.

"He was perhaps the best and most diverse small boat designer in the world," said his friend, the Gloucester and naval historian Joe Garland.

Altenburger said she was not prepared for his suicide. She said she awoke Sunday morning — perhaps to the sound of a gunshot — and when Bolger did not respond to her call, she discovered his body outside along with a .45-caliber pistol.

"He made sure I was not in the loop; it keeps me out of trouble," she said.

Suicide and assisting in a suicide are crimes in Massachusetts.

"We had discussed final issues many times," she said. "He was very clear about the finality of these things; he would leave on his own terms."

The .45-caliber pistol was one of a small number of guns that the libertarian and weapons-trained National Rifle Association member owned. The police confiscated the guns when they responded to the scene Sunday morning.

As recently as last Wednesday, the Bolger-Altenburger boat designing-business team participated in the annual meeting in Gloucester of the U.S. Commercial Fishermen's Association, where they preached on behalf of his latest design innovation, a light, narrow, shallow draft, fuel-efficient commercial fishing boat.

It was his last crusade — pitched as an antidote to old-fashioned, diesel guzzlers that were encouraged by federal regulations — and after years of frustration, Bolger had finally been successful in getting a small prototype built and fishing.

Thirty-one years Bolger's junior and his wife for 15 years, the German born-Altenburger described Bolger as "an independent, unorthodox, free spirit as reflected in his work.

"In his family ran certain health issues — aging and losing faculties — he was alert for not hanging in there if it were not a good thing," she said.

Altenburger said Bolger was a serious libertarian, even a passive member of the Libertarian Party, such that he considered the right of gays to marry to be at peace with his absolute belief in the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms.

In addition to his work as a boat designer, Bolger was a prolific writer. He published numerous books on boats and a science fiction novel about apartheid in South Africa, written and published before the racial separation system ended, along with countless magazine articles.

He also left three unpublished manuscripts, which Altenburger said yesterday she would see published.

In 2008, Watercraft magazine saw fit to reprint his first magazine piece — "Tokyo Bay Fishing Skiff" — from a 1948 edition of The Rudder.

Written while Bolger was in the U.S. Army of occupation in post-war Japan and already obsessed with boat design, it outlines the unusual solutions the Japanese had found to the problem of building seaworthy boats that "can lie flat on their bellies in the mud or float in a few inches of water."

Along with the original text from '48, Watercraft featured Bolger on Bolger, in which he chastised himself for issuing a sophomoric absolute in the earlier piece. "The remark in my text then that this was the first written description of these boats is, of course, nonsense," he wrote, "though it may have been true of the American yachting press."

Behind all his work, said Altenburger, was a desire to make boating available to the masses.

"The best boats are either small enough to carry home or big enough to live on," is an aphorism of Bolger's often cited as getting to the essence of the man.

He was whittling boats at the age of 7 while growing up in the house at 250 Washington St., the younger of two boys raised by their mother after their father, a successful businessman, died of a stroke.

His grandfather, an emigré from Prince Edward Island, invented the steel ice box.

Bolger attended Bowdoin College in Maine, served in the Army and returned to Bowdoin to get his bachelor's degree in history. Afterward, he apprenticed to John Hacker and Linsdey Lord, who were among the elite naval architects of the years around World War II.

Bolger's tastes tended to the more practical and innovative, though he maintained a lifelong friendship with the wealthy yacht-builder Stanley Woodward.

"Bolger's knowledge of practical boating history is encyclopedic, including not only what the boats were but also how they were used and built, and why," wrote Don Segal in Small Boat Journal in 1989. "His designs range from the 115-foot full-rigged ship Rose to production motor cruisers to ocean-crossing rowboats to working lobster boats. A few were total failures; many were spectacular successes. Every one of them makes us look just slightly askance at our priorities and at boats as we think we know them. Every one makes us think."

His designs — especially his weird innovations — were validated by the masses, who built and raved about the Bolger Brick, a ultra-small, squared-off sailing skiff; the Bolger Pirogue, a sprite of a sailboat; and the Bolger Sneakeasy, which looks like it was made for use in the '40s gangster movie, "Key Largo."

"Brick started as an exercise in how much boat could be built of out three 4-by-8 foot sheets of plywood," he wrote in his 1994 book, "Boats With An Open Mind."

"It's a simple pleasure to come out even with no scrap left over," he wrote. "I try not to let this game become an obsession, there's an 8-inch by 32-inch rectangle here for which I didn't strain to find a place."

Joseph Gribbens, writing about Bolger in Nautical Quarterly in 1983, noted that his bigger projects were favored by Stanley Woodward, who hired Bolger as the in-house designer for Majorca Yacht and Boat Construction Association (MYABCA), the yard he established in Spain's Balearic Islands.

Bolger considered himself fortunate in the business connections he made.

His nephew Ben Bolger said he heard his uncle say he preferred to "charge less and have lots of work."

"He had very few clients," Ben Bolger said. "He made sure they never owned him."

He and Altenburger lived modestly in a house on Atlantic Street, whose front lawn was taken with a Bolger-designed boat that sits permanently in dry dock.

His most spectacular creation was the replica of the 18th-century HMS Surprise — a modern tall ship, with 20 guns, built at Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, Canada, as "Rose" to a Bolger design. It was based on the original British Admiralty drawings.

Bolger got the commission to build a tourist boat for Newport, R.I., and kept it authentic except for the required restaurant and such concessions to modernity.

The Rose was selected to be Russell Crowe's domain in Peter Weir's movie "Master and Commander," which became a blockbuster hit, and brought the designer of the war ship belated notoriety.

Robin Hubbard said she decided to invest in building the prototype, 21st-century fishing boat which Bolger had conceived and he and Altenburger had been trying to market since 2003.

"It's fuel-efficient, fast and economical," said Hubbard, a former Gloucester mayoral candidate. The building project was given to the Gloucester fisherman Davie Mero and his brother, Dan Mero, a master carpenter.

The Robin Jean was completed in February and now awaits the reopening of the inshore fishing grounds on June 1 to begin its work as the platform for hand-held gear, tub trawling.

Hubbard said she decided to invest in the project because of "everything my father ever told me about Phil Bolger, because of the respect he had for Phil and his designs."


Bev and I met Phil and Susanne in May of 2007 while we were in MA for Bev's son's graduation. We expected them to spend maybe and hour with us, but they surprised us by spending the whole day, even taking us out to lunch. Our dream for summer was to sail Walkure into Glucester harbor and show her to Phil. Now that can never happen and we are deeply saddened by the news.

I will be posting an update about our plans and recent adventures later today or tomorrow.

Friday, May 29, 2009

OK ESN:0-7359581

This is Mike and Bev on "Walkure" just letting you know that we're OK.
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/29/2009 17:05:18 (US/Eastern),-81.4238&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

OK ESN:0-7359581

This is Mike and Bev on "Walkure" just letting you know that we're OK.
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/27/2009 16:43:05 (US/Eastern),-81.4497&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

OK ESN:0-7359581

This is Mike and Bev on "Walkure" just letting you know that we're OK.
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/26/2009 11:03:04 (US/Eastern),-81.3634&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Better late..

than never.
Bev reminded me that I have neglected posting pictures of Kevin and his girls, Kate and Holly. The visited us on the boat while we were anchored off Cocoa. Kevin cartopped his dinghy to the marina and rowed out to our anchorage so he could see the boat.
(Also, Kevin...could you email us some pics of the boat you are building?)
Here are the pics I promised.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The best laid plans, etc

We are still in St. Augustine. Not a bad place to get stuck, in fact it's a beautiful city BUT...
We got here last Thursday. We took a few days to visit with Kieth from S. Pasadena, and with Leslie and Ralph whom we met in Marathon last year. We did a tour of the city and got in some grocery shopping. Then the you know what hit the fan. The weather has been absolutely crappy since Sunday. Rain, gale force winds, etc. Just a mess. Needless to say, we're stuck. At least we're at a marina so no worries about the anchor.
The delay now means that it is highly unlikely we will have time to sail the boat to NY and MA and get back to Marathon by Nov 1 for Bev to start work. If we could be absolutely sure of no more weather delays, we might make it, but that is very unlikely so...
We are changing our plans. We are now looking for a do it yourself boat yard where we can haul out, do some work on the boat and then store it for the summer. We'll rent a car, go home and see the family, then drive back and splash the boat again in Sept. We'll be dodging hurricanes on the way back to the Keys, but it can't be helped.
If anyone out there knows a good, cheap, DIY yard in NE Florida or southern Georgia, let us know.
In the mean time, here are a few pics from around St. Augustine.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

OK ESN:0-7359581

This is Mike and Bev on "Walkure" just letting you know that we're OK.
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/14/2009 20:50:26 (US/Eastern),-81.3229&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

OK ESN:0-7359581

This is Mike and Bev on "Walkure" just letting you know that we're OK.
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/13/2009 15:44:45 (US/Eastern),-81.1229&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

OK ESN:0-7359581

This is Mike and Bev on "Walkure" just letting you know that we're OK.
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/13/2009 08:56:39 (US/Eastern),-80.9286&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Shuttle

Well, Tim and Julie and Tommy all came over to see the launch with us. Julie brought sandwiches far all - Thanks, Julie!
"Sailor Tommy" did great on his first ever dinghy ride.
The Shuttle Launch was cool, even if clouds blocked a lot of our view. The noise was not as thunderous as we had been told, but the rumble continued for a long time.
I'm running out of power so I'll only post a few shots.

The Space Center

Today, we are anchored out near Titusville. We can easily see the Vehicle Assembly Building and last night we saw the lights on the launch pad while the shuttle was being fueled. Today, at 2:01 PM we will get to see the launch. They tell us we will feel the sound more than hear it.
Thursday and Friday we visited the Space Center. Here are a few pics of the tour.
For scale, remember that the flag on the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) is so big that each stripe is as wide as a lane on a highway! The doors are 400 feet tall!
The bank of control panels is the actual control room from the Apollo flights.
The stop here puts us a bit behind schedule for completing the loop, but how often do you get to see a launch?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

OK ESN:0-7359581

This is Mike and Bev on "Walkure" just letting you know that we're OK.
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/05/2009 11:33:59 (US/Eastern),-80.7137&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Monday, May 04, 2009

OK ESN:0-7359581

This is Mike and Bev on "Walkure" just letting you know that we're OK.
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/04/2009 11:36:48 (US/Eastern),-80.6435&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Sunday, May 03, 2009

OK ESN:0-7359581

This is Mike and Bev on "Walkure" just letting you know that we're OK.
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/03/2009 12:36:49 (US/Eastern),-80.5264&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Saturday, May 02, 2009

OK ESN:0-7359581

This is Mike and Bev on "Walkure" just letting you know that we're OK.
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:05/02/2009 13:46:20 (US/Eastern),-80.3992&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Friday, May 01, 2009

OK, enough rest.

If the weather holds as predicted, we plan to be on our way again in the morning. We hope to be in Titusville by Wednesday. Our friends Julie and Tim might drive over and join us there. (Come on guys, we miss you.)

In the mean time, I thought you'd enjoy a little taste of how the crew of Walkure eat. Last week Publix had a sale on shrimp, so we bought a pound. Bev hunted through our collection of cookbooks and found this. We modified it slightly to suit our tastes and it worked! It is to die for:

Makes 2 large servings. (Double for 4 people.)

Butter or margarine to taste.
1 pound fresh shrimp peeled and deveined.
1 clove fresh garlic
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon basil, crushed
1/2 teaspoon oregano, ground
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon file' powder
1 tablespoon A1 steak sauce
1/2 cup beer (your favorite - we used Yuengling)
cooked and drained linguine (or rice)

In a skillet, melt some butter or margarine to coat the pan. Add onion and garlic, saute a minute or two until wilted. Add shrimp, salt, basil, oregano, white and red peppers, and file', saute 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add remaining ingredients and cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Beer and steak sauce will create a nice sauce - make sure you save it to toss into pasta.
Toss the sauce and shrimp into a bowl of freshly cooked and drained linguine. Toss thoroughly to mix sauce through the pasta. Serve and enjoy!