31 july 10 fungus among us

King Boletus, come meet us

What is it about large mushrooms that inspire song and poetry?

We went on a woodland stroll this evening in search of boletes. Paul found one in our neighborhood last night and started to get that crazy glint in his eye. Our one hour walk this evening turned into two. We have much to show for it, probably more than will fit into one batch of drying in the convection oven.

When the moon hits your eye like a big bolete pie
That's amore ...

Old King Boletus
Old Bichon happy in woods
Meet just once in life

july 2010 blossom

In September 1998 Paul and I sailed together for the first time; it was the first time Paul had ever sailed. We went to Maine to visit my brother Ron. Our plan had been to rent kayaks and paddle part of the Maine Island Trail. We had rented a shelter on Isle of Haute in Acadia National Park for a few nights. But because Ron hadn't kayaked before, no one would rent to us. Ron, who is a boat designer, was working for a boat builder at the time, and his boss offered to loan us an open wooden sail boat that he had built. We'd still be camping every night, and if the wind didn't blow, the boat was fitted with oars. His daughter had named the little blue boat Blossom.

Ron and Paul did row quite a bit but we also sailed. Somehow Ron anchored Blossom off-shore each night and got us and the camping gear to the islands without a dinghy. The weather was mostly good, we ate fresh mussels, hiked on Isle of Haute, and had a great time. Not only did Paul get the sailing bug that week, but we bought two folding kayaks and found out that the National Park Service wanted to send him to Alaska to work for Katmai and Lake Clark National Parks. Our lives were changed forever in the span of a few days.

Our Jeanneau Tonic 23 is much more modern in design than that little wooden gaffrig sailboat, but those happy memories and maybe the blue bottom hull of our boat have caused us to call our sailboat Blossom almost from the time we bought her. We haven't told anyone, but that's the name we've been leaning toward. And we've finally toasted her with Paul's homemade mead (the last bottle from our wedding 16 years ago!) and made it official -- here's Blossom II.
Our Blossom with all the wet gear hanging out on the first sunny day

July was the first real sailing and gunkholing month on our Blossom. Over a long Fourth of July weekend, we anchored in Surprise Cove, hiked on a state park trail, and finally saw Blackstone Bay. We've kayaked in Prince William Sound many times and have never seen whales. We probably saw a dozen humpbacks in Cochrane and Blackstone Bays that weekend. We scooted back into Whittier for a night in the harbor when a small craft advisory was forecast for our last day. Sleeping at dock and maneuvering about the harbor the next day in sustained 14 mph winds with 40 mph gusts were excellent boat handling practice!

On the 17th we drove to Whittier with food, libations, books, and other supplies for a week's sojourn. We spent another night at Surprise Cove and then two rainy nights tucked back into Three Finger Cove. Two harbor seals had greeted us there. On the first night, I was awake in the middle of the night and heard an odd bubbling sound water off the bow. I jumped out, grabbed the binoculars, and peered out into the dark. I could just see some tremendous splashing near the shore. In the morning and all the next day, the seals were gone. I feared that orcas had attacked them. When we left the cove the next day, dozens of seals were hauled out on rocks near the cove entrance. I hope that our seals were just visiting with the family.

We left Three Finger Cove and spent the afternoon motoring up out of Cochrane Bay and down Culross Passage to within a couple of miles of where we had started that day. The sun came out for the first time in four days while we were anchored in Long Bay. We hung all the wet towels and rain gear on the boom, back stay, and life lines. Paul hoisted a sun shower from the main halyard and we bathed in the cockpit.

Clean and dry, we sailed out of Long Bay and then down Culross Passage to Picturesque Cove for a night. The next day we motored through the gap between Culross Island and Applegate Island and then up the east side of Culross. We had hoped for a little wind from the greater Sound for sailing that day, but the north breeze wasn't enough to be worth tacking back and forth up wind. We tried to visit Lake Bay that day but the commercial fishermen had it blocked off to catch pinks returning to the hatchery. So we returned to the north end of Culross Passage and anchored in Carrs Cove.

The wind and sun returned on Friday and we sailed out of Culross Passage and north into Port Wells. For an hour we just enjoyed the east wind on a broad reach toward the glaciers. Late in the afternoon we anchored in Ziegler Cove in the state marine park of that name. The swells in the cove rocked us to sleep after we explored the long gravel beach and boggy uplands separating the cove from Port Wells. On Saturday, those same east winds pushed us back to Whittier. With the whisker pole holding the jib out, we hit our fastest speed yet, under sail or motor, of 7 knots.

To see more photos of our Prince William Sound trips, click Play or the photo itself:

17 jul 10 becoming a crew

The 'somewhat weekly' has moved into summer schedule of 'somewhat monthly.' We are headed to Prince William Sound for more wilderness and sailing fun.

When we were deciding whether or not to buy the boat, the former owner gave a little speech about how sailing and boating had transformed his family: we used to be just a family, now we're a crew. We sometimes joke about that little speech -- you really could almost hear the music cued behind it. Yet the sailboat does seem to be bringing a new level of cooperation to our marriage.

So co-captains Paul and Corinne with first mate Gilligan (B's boat name) are off to keep honing our crew skills.