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:

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Jeri, Skip & Sally

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Barb joined us.

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A lot easier walking on the wet sand

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Baker’s Island in the distance

Seagull footprints in his ribbed underbelly

Seagull footprints in his ribbed underbelly

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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.

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*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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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