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Archive for the ‘New England Waters’ Category

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The Scrimshaw on a newly woven basket.

A rare and wonderful tour was awarded to me to visit and chat with Susan Chase Ottison and husband Karl Ottison, at their Nantucket home and studio on a warmer than usual summer day on the island.  The  ground floor of the Head of the Harbor structure catches the cooler temperature breeze of the Nantucket Bay, and is a relief from the frenzied crowds in the lovely, but hurried town.  The studio gives a first impression of an 17th Century craftsman’s workshop of ancient tools and works.  Yet, a systematic tour by Susan organizes her space and process to hand weave and complete magnificent collections of Nantucket Lightship Baskets.  Known as the eminent expert on this talent, she is commissioned to custom design baskets and rehabilitate those of other master weavers.  The mid-day light filters through the studio window panes to reveal dozens of scrimshaw motifs ready to be mounted on future baskets. 

Last of an Artistic Talent

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As a discussion on the future of the “On Island” specialty of highest quality craftsmanship is a concern to the best of the weavers, Susan reports to consider that she is slowing down her trade.  Craft shops on Nantucket may offer these goods, as many are of high quality and affordable at these times.  There are baskets that are imported from Asia and have very poor value and craftsmanship.  Susan is remarkable is her talents and newer students on Nantucket may hope to continue to learn from these masters. And, she relates on her business card:    The old saying goes, I was made in Nantucket, I’m strong and I’m stout.  Don’t burn me or lose me, and I’ll never wear out.  

 

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Sunkist2 Island Traveler

This page gives you a little insight of my Travels through my lens.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Good Morning!

We call it, Indian Summer. The last throws of the waning Summer months transition into Fall. Still warm by day, until a blustery breeze picks up after morning. This is the time to walk the barren morning beaches. South County, Rhode Island State, USA offers this peaceful time. Yes, American Indians were the first settlers of this New England region.

Day break: South County,RI

Day break: South County,RI

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Memories of Seasons past

Memories of Seasons past

The Nikon d7100 DSLR, Nikkor 55-80mm .

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Hidden Gem of American History Shines its Lamp Brightly

NL_Light_mosaic     On the waterfront street near the City Pier of historic New London, Connecticut, USA, are the granite columns of the  179-year-old Robert Mills building: The Custom House and Maritime Museum.  Mills is most know for the Washington monument in District of Columbia.  His architecture on the 150 Bank Street location augments the age of seaport towns, such as New London, to regulate and collect the tariffs of sailing ship trade across the seas.  The Granite facade and the red brick vaulted interior rooms, highlighted by massive maple doors and soaring ceilings, evokes a time when government real estate was permanent.  The Custom House and U.S. Treasury Service still maintain office space on the second floor, though it is more of a museum space.  The three levels and a sub-basement contain treasures of the ship building days, mariner memorabilia, Ship Models, ancient sea paintings in oil, collections of sailing art and libraries of books and data.  The groupings are contained in delightfully decorated “captain’s rooms”, replete with mariner furniture.

1839 History that Rocked the World:

First Step To Freedom

amistad4On that infamous night of  July 2 at 4:00am, 53 slaves brought through Havana, and onboard the Amistad  schooner and south of the Bahama Islands revolt and seize control of the vessel.  The “Black Pirates” are discovered and taken into custody off the coast of Long Island, New York, by the U.S. Navy . They seize the schooner and escort it to New London to the U.S. Custom House.  The location serves as the beginnings of the Abolitionist Defense Committee and the US Supreme Court to instigate the Free-State Provisions.  The 35 surviving Africans departed New York for Africa aboard the barque Gentleman, and were returned to their Sierra Leone in 1842.  In 1866, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution defines a citizen as anyone born in the U.S. (except American Indians) or naturalized, thereby extending all rights of citizenship to African-Americans. 

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compliments of Wikipedia

The second floor remains the historical depiction space of the events and contains many displays.  The current Amistad Schooner  docks periodically on the local wharf, up from New Haven, Connecticut mooring.

Preserving the Protectors

The New London Maritime Museum stretches a bit further to preserve history.  The New London Harbor Light, at the mouth of the harbor, was the fourth lighthouse recognized by George Washington when he enacted the 1789 Act for the Establishment and support of Lighthouse. It is one of the earliest  flashing beacons. This and the Race Rock Light, off of nearby Fisher’s Island, New York, are under the management of the U.S. Custom House and Maritime Museum, having been turned over from the Coast Guard.  Tours have become available to these working lighthouses.  The history of the maritime region and the donated collections, the resources of knowledge and the staffing of very competent docents, make for a sea worthy journey.

http://www.nlmaritimesociety.org/

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Trustee/Docent: Harrison Lea Jewitt, on command on Sunday for Visitors

Trustee/Docent: Harrison Lea Jewitt, on command on Sunday for Visitors

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PSDWE2013-150x150I love the sea and my surprise to have a special visitor from it across from my home is a treat.

Planet Solar cuts though the ocean on the energy of the sun.

The world trek of the vessel is rich in science and public appeal.  Staffed and crewed by scientists and open ocean seamen, this sleek boat rising on its two pontoons and full of technical equipment, is on a mission.  The destination is to research the sea  and reach far from distant ports to bring the message of solar power.  The track of Planet Solar began at Univerite de Geneve to raise public awareness of the interaction of ocean and climate, the Gulf Stream and atmosphere.  The MS Turanor ” Planet Solar” is the largest solar catamaran built. The crew of several left the Mediterranean Sea via  Spain and headed for the Caribbean.  The port of call in May was Sint Maarten/ St.Martin.  Miami. Florida and then New York followed and now the boat is in Boston, MA, USA.

SYP-0295-170x114The Fan Pier area of Boston Harbor is a perfect mooring for Planet Solar.  The education of the expedition to the public has occurred on the several days in port.  The Next port of call should be Halifax, NS, CAN.  The mission has a delay of departure from the unwelcome Bermuda High weather pattern now gripping the east coast of New England.  The trough of storms and ensuing lightning and the rough seas have them safely in place tied to the pier.  My discussion with Team Scientist, Anh Dao, and her recollection of the journey and the intense work left for the vessel is impressive.

The great opportunity to fulfill the mission and complete Planetsolar Campaign 2013 for the Environmental Sciences at the University of Geneva  can bring pride to the crew.  Much thanks to the many sponsors and port hosts.  www.planetsolar.org

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Crew Scientist Le T Anh Dao, M.Sc. Eng.

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Seraffyn is back in the water for another season.

Duxsbury_Art_010This sailboat brings out the best in minimalists and the sea.  Yet, under the decks are the comforts needed to circumnavigate the earth without engine.  I am looking forward to the next sail on Seraffyn.  It just might be with her fine captain and the guest and Vicar’s wife, whom, as that excitedly highest charity bidder on this winter silent auction secured a sail.  The Southern Massachusetts port of her mooring awaits the sail up from her boatyard where the bright work and winter fixings took place.  The outing will be a great time on the harbor and then offshore for a bit.

Cast off your worldly woes

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Larry Pardey on the vessel, Scituate, Ma.

The salon of the vessel is tight. Everything has found its place.  Cubbyholes abound, as the Pardeys’ planned it.  After decades of researching, trials and testing and open-ocean voyages, original owners, Lin & Larry Pardey, set the bar.  Their DVDs and books rank highest on the mariner’s list of required reading.  At a bit shy of 30 feet in length, the captain of Seraffyn commands a special place on history, she having circumnavigated the world’s seas multiple times against prevailing winds at times.  The  last year road trip by the Pardeys to the United States and their travels on to the East Coast allowed for a visit and time to reflect on those accomplishments. Larry’s time at the tiller and the laughter and stories from Lin captured an era not long forgotten. Bless the wings of Seraffyn!

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Lin Pardey at the Scituate, MA Harbor event

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Captain Dow on the Right

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Sunkist2 Island Traveler

This page gives you a little insight of my Travels through my lens.

Home

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Overlooking the Rose Kennedy Greenway of Boston, as anything but green, at the finale of the Blizzard of 2013. All are shot from the several windows of “Home” above the scene below.

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The New England Aquarium and surrounding walkway take the surge of the sea at the highest tides.

The New England Aquarium and surrounding walkway take the surge of the sea at the highest tides.

The docks give way to the force of the blizzard.

The docks give way to the force of the blizzard.

Boston will dig out of this fifth highest record storm, as I remain at "Home"!

Boston will dig out of this fifth highest record storm, as I remain at “Home”!

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Sunkist2 Island Traveler

This page gives you a little insight of my Travels through my lens.

Illumination

Boston Skyline and Customs House Tower as front moves in 11:00PM

Boston Skyline and Customs House Tower as front moves in 11:00PM

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Direct hit!

Direct hit!

Waiting for the next hit...Mother Nature speaks.

Waiting for the next hit…Mother Nature speaks.

Cannon 750 on tripod, Before the rain, I could smell the O2 Ozone, taken off my Harbor Deck… Love it. ~Ron

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Idyllic and tranquil are the two regular descriptions of Jamaica’s Western point of Negril.

This exposed region hosts a seven mile beach of white sugar sand and the proverbial “gin clear water” of this reef protected district.  Negril beach and the nearby West End Cliffs supports a number of small family run hotels and a few larger all-inclusive resorts. October 21, 2012 5:00PM local Kingston television news began reporting the stalling of the 90 L weather front at 200 nautical miles due south of the island, the name Sandy was uttered.  Mid-October brings the usual tropic afternoon thunderhead cloud formations to this part of Jamaica.  They build with a light sea breeze and the Westmoreland Parish mountains beyond the Great Morass wrings the moisture out of the passing formations with a dense soaking at two or three PM each day. All are prepared for a ten minute rush to shelter from the front and then back to the most gorgeous late afternoon sunsets.  October 24th was no different. Yet this day. the tone changed at two o’clock.

I spoke to the hotel owner, who had anxiously walked the beach near the moored dive boats and non motorized watercraft. He asks: “Do you believe the reports?”  I had been monitoring several online weather services and the numerous models. Stormcarib.com has become a staple for me.  We both knew the answer. One hour later all his boats had steamed east to the town of Lucea, and the safeharbor sheltered up the nearby river.  The beachboys, 15 in total, organized and hauled the windsurfers, pedalboats, hobiecats and all to the grassy areas well beyond the beach. Next came the chaise lounges numbering in the hundreds.  When the season is in full swing these chaises reach from the cocopalms to the water’s edge and carpet the several hundred yards of frontage. In the three hours before sunset, all were stacked and stored beyond the hotel’s buildings. Tensions began to mount as several communications of the storm preparations were placed under the hotel room doors. Occupancy was at 79% and the staff at 100%.  The beach scene was an eerie vision: light waves lapping the shore, a glimmer of sun filtering down through intermittent breaks in the purple-gray thunderheads and a handful of humans roamed the water’s edge. The lighter side of the whole circumstance came when all was secured by the beachboy staff.  The soccer ball was produced and the goals drawn in the sand for a rollicking game by the most hearty staff.

Soon the Ground’s Keeper crew emerged, as they proceeded to pull the weakest limbs from the cocopalms and surrounding vegetation. The tractor and wheelbarrows were filled. These precautions included the open air dining rooms, where the potted planters were brought in from the perimeter of the exposed regions.  These folks knew their jobs and silently all were carried out. The night of October 23, Tuesday, the diners found wonderful meals and rum punches flowed.  The eyewall of Sandy stood a mere ninety miles south of Kingston, Jamaica.  All models determined a direct hit at hurricane strength within 20 hours.  As the gusts of winds began to pick up to 25 tp 30 knots, I knew the beach was prepared to take the brunt on the next day.

Wednesday, October 24th started with a break in the overcast and the sun poured onto the beach. Sadly, there were no chaise lounges. All was packed in preparation. The Beach Vendors were absent. Typically a vendor would pass every several minutes, but they were long gone.  The Health Club was boarded up tight and the Spa had sent all home to their families.  Lunch and dinner were sanctioned to the buffets in the two largest dining halls.  A memo under each door required the verandah furniture to be brought inside of each room.

THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM

Negril is a low land area, more like a sandbar between sea and swamp.  The saving grace is the reef offshore approximately 3 KM out and sheltering most of the Seven Mile Beach and Bloody Bay. On a calm day, no waves break on the coral several feet beneath the surface.  On the morning of Wednesday, October 24, the gusts were picking up, and the seas were encroaching the sands.  The guests were gathered at the one swim-up bar; it was an active site. The beach bars were long closed and secured down.  Kingston TV reports were on full storm mode; anchors were taking the reports of the police and field reporters.  Sandy was making landfall in the eastern portion of Jamaica and east of Kingston was experiencing the  hit at 80 mile per hour winds.  In Negril, the winds rose and the seas churned higher, but the rain that was promised did not come.  Mudslides have ravaged the slopes of the hills in other areas in past storms.  Folklore prevails here in Jamaica.  There is a perception, call it a destiny, that storms with female names will pass-over the island. Hurricane Gilbert, Ivan and others lingered with infamy.

By 4:00 PM the rains came and the seas rolled, the cocopalms bent in the 60 mile wind gusts and the night concluded with sand blasting across the ground and walkways.  Most guests braved the elements to find dinner and then return to the security of their rooms. Thursday, October 25 let the world know that Sandy was focused and raging to the north. On Negril beach the licking was to begin.  The Jamaicans explained it perfectly: Hurricane Sandy was a ” Woman with a Tail”.  The seas continued to build and the reef did its best to protect.  Yet the waves threw fifteen foot monsters against the West End Cliffs and the Seven Mile Beach was strewn with seaweed and erosion swept away sand and shore. Negril still fared the best on this Birth of Sandy.  Other parts of the Eastern Regions did not do as well.  St. Anne Parish, Portland, Ocho Rios and Port Antonio all had disaster events and loss of life. Electricity, roads and bridges were out.  Still, Negril never lost power and the roads stayed open.  This was a blessing to an area of the world that evokes peace.  The path of Sandy could only have hoped for that fate.

Port Antonio to the East on Jamaica

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Ah, Labor Day, USA!  Americans live for their well deserved few vacation holidays. This national holiday stands out as one of the very important ones. Why would anyone want to stop the enjoyment of the summer long bliss of leisure activities, of the day trips to weekend summer destinations, and of the family get-a-ways to lake and ocean front cottages and motels? The family beach day stands out as the one summer event that brings the season’s best elements together.

Taking the organization of the day at the beach as a family event, lots go into the plan to make an enjoyble mission.  The chief architect is “the Mom”.  Labor Day is bitter sweet.  As I sit on my low folding beachchair, with toes in the sand, my eyes take in the families of different numbers. They haul cooler, shovels and pails, wagons, blankets, towels, bags of suntan lotions and potato chips. The ocean front designs may be haphazard or militaristic, but always coordinated by the Mom.  With the red, white, blue, yellow and green beach umbrella firmly staked in the center, the ritual of sprays, creams and lotions are applied to each little appendage, face and back, that only a Mom can control.  The Life-Guard Stand, manned by those college kids itching to return to the dorms and another fun fall semester, stand ready for the day’s actions, whistle in hand.  But the stealth lazer vision of the matriarch on each beach blanket scans the water’s edge and all is well.

The End of the Season

Suntan lotion Labor DayAcross the parking lot the food shops and beachtoy stores show the weathered dull painted shutters from another successful summer season.  The fresh royal blue and white coats of paint will wait until next May.  Yet, the business is brisk.  The hotdogs and lemonade, the inflatable inner tubes and the season’s final sales, implore moms to open the purse and send the little ones scurrying to the boardwalk.

Moms rock on beachYes, it is bitter sweet, as the water is the warmest; the sun stays high and the coppertone scent waifs from the ajoining towel.  The moms knows that it has come to an end.  The tatered canvas chair will be gently placed against the dumpster.  Those pesky seagulls will have the run of the roost, picking through the trash barrels un-contested.  Not much is left for them, as the last tunafish sandwiches are long gone.  Sadly, Flipflop Heaven has welcomed the many orphans through its pearly gates.  But, as the tide comes in, hope springs eternal.  The sandy shoreline welcomes the little sanddollars, clam shells, rouge horseshoe crab and glistening pebbles for the family to discover for the next summer season.  Another day at the beach will be led by mom.

Megan Manlock, Barnstable,MA

Megan M., Barnstable, Ma. Watchful eye

O.Oliveria, Fall River,MA

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     A Baby Boomer relinquishes the last vestige of Youth in sorrow.

I remember the day clearly, as I wrote the check to the man at the counter.  He pushed the package across the counter and I was off and running. The sleeping bag, pup tent, mess kit and the one little burner Coleman gas stove gingerly was put in the trunk. The luxury of the single blow-up mattress was my next great desire. Sleeping on the ground bonded me to nature in the best primitive way.  As Tonto, from the Lone Ranger, placed his ear to the ground to learn the rhythms of the land, so could I feel the stability of the earth below my body, and, I loved it.  The pint-sized cooler held all nourishment needed.  At twenty-five years old, I splurged on the equipment with the hopes of the financial efficiency of wilderness and campsites.  I was not disappointed.

I quickly learned to make one extra purchase. The second sleeping bag assured companionship in my tent, as there would be plenty of room for two. I was ready to venture into the wilderness and to campsites.

     Matching Nylon Jumpsuits and Rhinestoned Poodles

The distance from the oversized apartment closet out to the trunk of the car was not far and the camping equipment fit perfectly. Hiking boots and denim and the obligatory plaid flannel shirt was quickly stuffed in a duffel bag and I was on the road.  The first destination was still unclear, but I would find the ideal campground.  Youth is resilient. The sign said “JellyRock Family Camping” and the price was cheap. The site had the campfire stone ring and was back from the small paved road. At twilight, with the baked beans and hotdogs well digested, and the flames inching up from the campfire, beverage in hand, what could be wrong? I paid  little attention to the others around the “Family Camping” area, until the strolls of residents began at dusk. There is a style to seasoned trailer campers that includes a travel cocktail tumbler, a sporty nylon windbreaker jumpsuit outfit and a little dog on a bedazzled leash. These folks all knew one another and appeared in for the season, each with a “Howdy!” as they passed by. The next outing was certain to scope out a true forrest, where my pup tent blended as one with nature. A requirement never to be forgotten. Or, so I thought.

     Finding Nature’s Bliss

All the comforts neededSoon the equipment graduated to a quality of comforts needed for the “experienced camper”.  The queensized plush-top mattress, with the electric air pump started the mission.  How could anyone sit near a fire without lucite brandy snifters?  The demands of the day required the nonstick pancake griddle to be supported by the Coleman double burner Camp Stove.  These in no way hampered the living off the land. In fact, the purchase to the six-person umbrella tent and camper fly awning, was only a mere forty pounds. One cannot expect to camp on the coastline of Maine without an aluminum and nylon 10 by 20 foot dining tarp; the weather so iffy. I so enjoyed the campchairs, they bringing comfort off the damp ground. The Coleman fuel lanterns gave off the glow that assisted the cuisine preparation on the aluminum prep table. Chilled properly, steaks and food supplies can last days in that 25 gallon cooler!  A fine camp chef need his resources, right?

     The Quality of Life on the Earth

Ok, I do not have the knowledge of when it started. It was not quite a tipping point. Maybe it was the camping vacation for five days when it rained buckets every day.  A  few, no, several, slugs climbed up my legs the week. There was the fall leaf peeping trip to camp on a Berkshire mountain side as the temperature plummeted to below freezing in several hours. I can love children and families while camping, but the several little ones shining the laser flashlights into my tent that one night was a bit much.  Maybe it was a seasonal event that one July weekend, as the mosquitos were the size of small sparrows. I believe a blood replacement transfusion would have made me feel better. There continued to be several more incidents of equal and forgettable outings. Oh, those “cheap” camp fees ceased to be anything but cheap over the years.

    A Four Poster Bed and Down Comforter

Vermont, B & B, The families that run the small county inns and bed and breakfasts know me.  They feel my pain.  Some have perhaps been in my shoes.  What they do not have is my camping equipment.  That all now belongs to a great younger friend with an oversized closet and a good sized car trunk. I do not have a small dog with a rhinestone collar and never did have one. What I do have is a knowledge of the loss of my youth to retain the creature comforts of warm baths, linen table dining, and inn-keepers happy to keep me off the ground.

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