Archive for the ‘Maritime’ Category

He’s still there…

We thought Triomphe would disappear during yesterday’s Blizzard of ’15.  With a storm surge and northeast winds gusting into hurricane force, even a dead humpback whale should have been pulled off the island.

He washed up on Christmas Day (see blog post of January 5th) just east of the old Coast Guard Station, and the next storm washed him around the point, dropping him in front of the stone wall, right under Frank and Kim’s front porch.

He did move about 75 yards farther out, no longer up against the wall of the Station, and at least he’s well below the high tide line—so another storm may take him out to feed the lobsters.  Unless it’s a southeaster, in which case he may end up in the rosebushes.

Jeri and I hiked down to the Station with Skip and Sally around mid-day; it had just quit snowing and the sun was starting to come out.  Barb joined us along the way (see article in The Working Waterfront about Triomphe, written by Barb).

This is what we saw:

Photos - 2015 Jan blizzard & whale 011


Photos - 2015 Jan blizzard & whale 019

Jeri, Skip & Sally

Photos - 2015 Jan blizzard & whale 025

Barb joined us.

Photos - 2015 Jan blizzard & whale 026

A lot easier walking on the wet sand

Photos - 2015 Jan blizzard & whale 034


Photos - 2015 Jan blizzard & whale 042

Baker’s Island in the distance

Seagull footprints in his ribbed underbelly

Seagull footprints in his ribbed underbelly

Photos - 2015 Jan blizzard & whale 043

Read Full Post »

Eight degrees below zero this morning (that’s Fahrenheit; it’s -22 to those of you in the Celsius countries). Northwest wind and sea smoke and the mailboat cancelled all runs today.

Facebook is lit up with people wondering what happened to global warming.

It’s winter, folks. It’s supposed to get cold. The summers in the Arctic are what could become the problem: what’s melted and what’s not. Today, nothing’s melted; everything up there is good and frozen as it’s supposed to be, and some of it’s blowing this way.

Here is a lesson from the British on how to understand the phenomenon. Study it. It could keep you out of jail.

Read Full Post »

*and a cat.

Jeri and I have been married 35 years today and it looks like we’ll make a go of it. Jeri & Ted 35th anniversary brt It was chilly and breezy today, but not as cold as the 5th of January 1980—cold as a dog and the wind no’th-east, as Ruth Moore would say.  I have cousins here in Maine who still complain about how cold it was on the island the day we got married—and they go ice fishing and snowmobiling for fun. Today the wind was northwest, a clear dry wind, pulling arctic air after yesterday’s storm—but the temperature hadn’t fallen much below freezing after the warm southeaster—so it was a pleasant enough walk on the back beach.  We decided to take a few photos of the dead 36-foot humpback whale that washed up on Christmas Day.

Photos - Whale Triomphe, Little Sal 041

Left to right: Triomphe, Jeri

Triomphe, as he was called, was identified last week by members of Allied Whale and the College of the Atlantic.  He was born seven years ago in the Dominican Republic and likely would have gone back there this winter.  No indication yet as to why he died. How do they know one whale from another?  Barnacles.  Each whale has a unique barnacle pattern, unique as fingerprints; and the ones on the tail are often visible by boat and easily photographed.  Researchers can track migration patterns by comparing photographs from other researchers or even from tourists on a whale watch excursion.

Photos - Whale Triomphe, Little Sal 044

Enormous barnacles on Triomphe’s underbelly.

Triomphe had washed ashore here on Little Cranberry Island just to the east of the Old Coast Guard Station (now a summer home) but during the southeaster a couple of nights ago came adrift, made his way around the point (going over Baker’s Island Bar a bit) and nestled up against the stone wall at the foot of the Station.  I think we’ll need a no’theaster to set him adrift completely, but winter is made up of those.  In the meantime, he’s made the front pages of local papers and of course Facebook is fond of him. Photos - Whale Triomphe, Little Sal 047

The three on the right came after we got married 35 years ago.  They made the new guy wear a yellow shirt so he'd match.   No whales were harmed in the making of this photo.

The three on the right came after we got married 35 years ago. They made the new guy wear a yellow shirt so he’d match.
No whales were harmed in the making of this photo.

Photos - Whale Triomphe, Little Sal 031

Believe it or not, you can see the whale here. Click over the photo, then click again to enlarge. Triomphe is the dark mass just to the right of the stone wall at the Station.

* Here is a picture of the cat:

Little Sal on Heather's bed

Little Sal

Read Full Post »

Out like a lion

March comes “in like a lion, out like a lamb.” Or, the other way around. I can’t remember how March came in this year, but that other critter the groundhog saw his shadow on February 2nd and that meant six more weeks of winter. In this case eight, and I don’t think it’s over yet. It’s been one of those “always winter and never Christmas!” kind of seasons, some of us wondering “When is it gonna be over?” and others, more resigned when yet another snowstorm pounds our way, merely saying, “Whatever.”

No crocuses up yet, but a few robins and cardinals have flown our way. And a couple more winter storms to the westward. I checked the real-time composite satellite weather image a few minutes ago and this is what showed up. The swirl on the right, just leaving Maine, is the second of two storms this past week. It looks like a couple of days of good weather mid-week and two more storms to follow.

2014 late march storms

Read Full Post »


Gusts to 60 knots today.  I took the camera out for a look, also to check on the Hope, having no intention of rowing off aboard but I suppose I could have if I’d wanted to (living on an island it’s important to think that you could get somebody to the mainland in an emergency).

I’m also checking out this mini-laptop that I’ll be taking to Ecuador next week.  I’ve put the camera’s SD card into the computer, and if I can upload photos directly to my blog, life will be swell.

Here goes with the photos.  The Hope, like Where’s Waldo, shows up in most of them.


View from the bait shed at the Co-Op. Like a wind tunnel in there. Bend the knees.



View from the Learys’ porch


Stefanie, Under Pressure, and Joanne Louise


Toward sunset. Much quieter.



The back beach around noon.  The old coast guard station is somewhere beyond the salt spray.  Not a good environment for a camera.

The back beach around noon. The old coast guard station is somewhere beyond the salt spray. Not a good environment for a camera.

It seems to have worked. Any suggestions for blogging in the bush will be welcome.  I think the photos are too large (nearly 5 megabytes each) for the Ecuadorian web, so I’ll change the settings on the camera.  Like many things, it’s nice to think I can do something if I have to.

Read Full Post »

Hurricane Sandy

This satellite photo of Sandy shows (almost) how far-reaching she is.  She dominates pretty much all of  North America from the tropics to the arctic, as well as the Atlantic and much of the Pacific.

If you could see the live feed of this photo, showing her in elapsed time in the hours just before landfall this evening, you’d have a better idea of how much energy is funneling into her.

Link to the composite satellite animation page:   http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/data/us_comp/us_comp.html

Hurricane Sandy, 2012-10-29, landfall

Read Full Post »

Today in church we sang one of the great 19th-century hymns, and one of my favorites:  “It Is Well With My Soul” (lyrics by Horatio Spafford; tune by Philip Bliss).  Not to poke fun at anything (that’ll be coincidental) but here is a bit of satire that I’ve been hoarding from Sacred Sandwich—something like “Great moments in hymn writing” as might be seen on David Letterman:

Now, this may not mean a thing to you without knowing the third stanza, so I’ll post it here, and the full lyrics below.  Sorry no YouTube clip, but the quality ranged from rock-bottom to CCM to worse.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

In the first line of that stanza, Horatio Spafford takes a thought-break, very much like the apostle Paul who said in Romans chapter 5, “ For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  This “parenthetical thought” has amused or perplexed readers for centuries, and Spafford (oh, the bliss of this glorious thought) continued the tradition.  Even his words echoed the Romans passage.

A couple of things interest me about the hymn, aside from the fact that I really love the music and the lyrics:

Firstly, that Horatio Spafford wrote it after suffering a series of Job-like tragedies.  His four-year-old son died; then he lost his fortune in the Chicago fire; then his four daughters drowned in a shipwreck during a trans-Atlantic crossing with his wife.  She survived, and while Spafford was on his way to Europe to join her he was inspired to write the lyrics near the spot where their daughters had died.

Secondly, that the lyrics represent a prevailing viewpoint of that period and of earlier periods, that “the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend” and without mention of anyone disappearing from airplanes.

Did I blindside you with that one?

Of course nobody disappeared from airplanes.  They hadn’t been invented yet; Jenkins and LaHaye hadn’t been born; and neither was there any mention of driverless cars.  I bring this up, seemingly off-topic, because the current pop-theology prescribes that believers be removed from the earth in a “rapture” before the second coming of the Lord.  However, as hymns from ancient times through the nineteenth century attest, Christ simply comes back.  It was never perfectly agreed whether he’ll come before or after a millennial period (whether pre- or post-millennial) but there was never any question of us disappearing.

Until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when the Irish import “Pre-millennial Dispensationalism” began to capture Americans’ imaginations.  The annotations in the Scofield Reference Bible carried it away, reinforced later by a great deal of popular literature such as Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth and later still Jenkins’ and LaHaye’s Left Behind series; and by now this sort of thing is gospel.

Except that it’s not.  It’s merely a theology.  And a rather convoluted one.

Horatio Spafford had it right, as did millions of Christians over hundreds of generations:  the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend.  Maybe we’ll disappear, our shoes and tooth-fillings left behind for the infidels to collect.

But I don’t think so.  And at any rate, that’s not the gospel.  That’s another gospel, and Paul warns against chasing after that sort of thing in the Epistle to the Galatians.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Read Full Post »

Gracie, 2000-2012

Read Full Post »

It’s well-known that as the Titanic was sinking, the popular hymn “Nearer my God to Thee” was being sung and played by those still aboard. 

I’ll post below from the movie “Titanic” the scene  that illustrates this.  No voices, only a string quartet, but it’s nicely done.

If you like stringed music, and want to see live footage of the Titanic 100 years ago, click here for last year’s post.  It’s Pachelbel’s Canon in D.

Here are the lyrics by Sarah F. Adams:

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me;
Still all my song would be nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

There let the way appear steps unto heav’n;
All that Thou sendest me in mercy giv’n;
Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

The with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Or if on joyful wing, cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upwards I fly,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!


Read Full Post »

The day after…

The New York Times, December 8, 1941:

Click once or twice to enlarge.



Read Full Post »

“The day…”

The president’s address, 70 years ago today:

Read Full Post »

Anticipating winter

I suppose every blog needs a “here is a picture of my cat” page.  This is Little Sal, thinking I stacked the cellar woodpile just for her. 

Now that it’s December and cooled down (?!) into the 40s Fahrenheit, I finally got around to putting on the storm door.  Usually it goes up about Halloween, and even then it’s past due because October gets pretty chilly around here.  This year I skipped right over Thanksgiving and into a bona fide winter month.

Some years, we tear the page off the calendar and December brings arctic air flash-freezing a bit of sense into us, but it’s hard to take winter seriously when I’m still out on the water with sleeves rolled up, and bringing in traps without spray freezing on the windshield.  The pattern of high pressure over the mid-atlantic states has been sending air up from the Gulf of Mexico instead of down from Siberia. 

But, the calendar says it’s December, so up goes the storm door.  Finally. 

Sorry no photo of the door.  Little Sal is more interesting.      


Read Full Post »

We’re having a major pre-Thanksgiving snowstorm here in Maine.  Rain here on the outer islands, but heavy snow on the mainland and people can’t get here from there. 

Daughter #2 called from Portland this morning, halfway here from Massachusetts.  She and her entourage-filled Honda got off the road and rented a hotel room until the highways clear. 

Daughter #1 is still in Farmington under 10 inches of newfallen  and may rendez-vous with #2 and friends tomorrow, Thanksgiving, to make the morning ferry.

Daughter #3 is cooking up a meal with her running team-mates, safely in the other Portland (the one in Oregon) and no snow there.  

Wife was in Bar Harbor this morning for a pie-selling fundraiser and got stuck on the mainland when the last ferry canceled, so I went over and picked her up in the Hope (a little hubbly between Sutton’s Island and Bear Island, but not bad at the time).

The telephone wouldn’t stop ringing through all of this but I got the lobster stew made anyway.  It’s out on the porch keeping cool, company with the turkey until tomorrow.  

Everybody is safe, that’s the point.  Between good snow tires and kids with good common sense, we’ll all be together, tomorrow if not tonight.  The turkey can wait. 

May God keep your family safe and warm during the holiday season.

Read Full Post »

Last year it was Hurricane Earl.

projected track of Hurricane Irene as of 2011-8-27

This year it’s Irene (so far) but it’s still a gorgeous day on the coast of Maine, the calm before the storm.  Light fog this morning from the tropical moisture starting to show up, but sunny overhead and no wind yet. 

Tomorrow not so gorgeous.  Irene is expected to pass inland and pound us with southerly winds and rain.  I and other fishermen have been bringing in lobster traps from exposed areas; boatyards are busy;  trailers and cradles have come up the ramp dripping with boats.  A lot of summer people have left the island a day or two early to get back to school or work, and all of this has forced an end to the summer.

On a more positive note:   

Prayers and blessings go out to Sarah and Che, getting married this afternoon.  They timed it just right, as it should still be dry and sunny in eastern Maine.  Jeri is headed that way now to play flute at the wedding, and she may get stuck on the mainland an extra night if I decide it’s best not to pick her up in the Hope tomorrow morning.  But the storm is expected more for tomorrow night and Monday.

We’re never “stuck” on the island during a storm; it’s the mainland where we sometimes get stuck.  It’s all a matter of right perspective.

Satellite photo of Irene 2011-8-27

For some pre-hurricane entertainment, here is Eric Clapton in 1982 singing  “Good Night Irene”, the tune made popular by The Weavers.  

Apologies for flashbacks to the ’80s and for the Lawrence Welk nature of it.  But it’s still Clapton.  Bizarre things happen during hurricanes.


Read Full Post »

Too busy to blog

I feel better now.   Barb hasn’t posted for more than two weeks, and she had been a “post-a-day” blogger with WordPress.  Me, I’m nearly three weeks without a post.  But it’s busy on the island these days and hard to keep up with anything.

Jeri and I did manage to get to the Blues Festival in Rockland last Sunday.  Had to skip church to do it.

And lobstering has picked up pretty good, with a fairly decent run of shedders and, for some reason, a lot of the hardshells that we never caught this spring.  So too busy to blog. 

Note to those from away:  Shedders and hardshells are lobsters.  They grow a size by crawling out of their old shell and starting over again each year, soft-shelled and bigger.  And hungry.  Oh, the price is lower, but there are more of them and they pay the bills.

Anyway, for a bit of island nostalgia here’s a photo of the Serena Lee, the last of Dad’s lobster boats.   He fished out of this one from 1972 until 1990 when his back wouldn’t let him anymore.  She was a familiar sight around the Cranberry Isles, and with her red riding sail became the subject of many postcards and magazine articles.  I took this photo just north of Baker’s Island, and you’ll see the same hills of Mount Desert Island in the blog’s heading.

I miss you out there, Dad.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »