The Last Six Weeks: Iowa, Milwaukee, Chicago, Indianapolis, Deltaville, Annapolis, and More!

The last time I posted, about six weeks ago, I had just returned to Illinois after bringing the boat from Maine to the southern Chesapeake. It goes without saying that Margaret and I have been neglecting the blog and our YouTube video channel since then (and maybe before then too). In our defense, we have been quite busy.

The photographic educators conference that Margaret had been planning for two years finally went down. We made a birthday trip out to Mason City, Iowa, to stay at the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Park Inn Hotel and see the other Wright and Prairie School homes in town. The following weekend we went to Milwaukee so Margaret could give a talk at UW-Milwaukee, stopping to see our friends and their new baby in Chicago on the way home. And, a week later, we were out in Indianapolis to see family. But really, that only scrapes the surface of everything that we did and accomplished over the previous month and a half.
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Photography Inspired By The Sea

As some of you know, in addition to being a part-time cruiser, I am also a professor of photography.  Over the past 4 years I have been making work inspired by my time living on the water.  The video link below is to a talk I gave last month at the Peoria Riverfront Museum about the development of my recent work using bioluminescent organisms in photography.  I spend the first part of the talk discussing how the purchase of our Tayana 37, and subsequent cruising, has changed the type of photographic work I make.  I also weave a thread about following your passions and curiosity – a regular mantra in the cruising world – through the lecture.  I hope you enjoy this look into my life outside (but intimately related to) sailing.

Margaret LeJeune Peoria Riverfront Museum Artist Lecture 

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Thoughts on Inspecting Chainplates

At the Annapolis boat show, I had a conversation with friends who are planning a full refit, but are not intending to pull the chainplates. I said something about new rigging not meaning a thing if it is attached to chainplates that are going to give way and pointed out that crevice corrosion is going to happen exactly where you cannot see it, as the plate passes through the deck. They argued that the metal they could see looked great and that checking the chainplates would require dismantling some of the interior wood and joinery, which would, obviously, be a colossal and potentially costly piece of work.

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A Cruising Guide to Lagoon Pond, Martha’s Vineyard

In early June, we left Cuttyhunk and continued on to Martha’s Vineyard, anchoring in Lagoon Pond on the inside of Vineyard Haven. We had never been to the Vineyard before, but had heard about how bumpy it could be in the Vineyard Haven anchorage outside the breakwater. So, we decided to give Lagoon Pond a try. We came in and out of the bridge with some current flowing, anchored up between some moorings along Cedar Neck, and stayed for nearly a week.

Vineyard Haven and Lagoon Pond Chart

Vineyard Haven and Lagoon Pond

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Hurricane Jose

As I write this, it is September 15th, which is my birthday. I am about three miles off Kennebunkport at the moment, heading for Isles of Shoals from Jewell Island up in Casco Bay. It is great to be out on the water on this day; there have not been too many birthdays that I have had that privilege. At the same time, I do wish that Hurricane Jose was not heading towards Cape Cod, because the storm is causing a little bit of anxiety and affecting my planning going forward.

NHC Hurricane Jose track - September 15

The National Hurricane Center’s track for Hurricane Jose on September 15th.

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Where Is Bear and What Are Our Winter Plans?

Margaret and I started cruising early this summer, getting to Newport by the middle of May and to Maine by the middle of June. Even still, by the time the end of July rolled around, we did not want to leave and head south. The Maine coast had amazed us with its beauty and overwhelmed us with the seemingly endless anchorages. There was too much still to explore, and we felt like relaxing and enjoying ourselves rather than pushing southwards back to the Chesapeake. However, I had some commitments back in Peoria in late August, which meant Margaret could not just head back to Illinois herself while I took the boat south as we have done in previous years.

Bear at Jewell Island

Bear at Jewell Island in Casco Bay, Maine, June 2017

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Cruising Guides for a Year-Long Caribbean Sabbatical

Looking ahead to our sabbatical, we are stocking up on cruising guides to help us plan our trip. Of course, we will be using these while on the trip as well. Since guidebooks can be hit or miss, I have been combing through the internet looking for recommendations and beginning to sample a few. I would love to hear suggestions that people have for the Caribbean – those guidebooks most like our beloved Taft guide to Maine and Shellenberger for the Chesapeake – in the comments below.

Taft and Shellenberger Cruising Guides to Maine and the Chesapeake

Old friends: Shellenberger’s Cruising the Chesapeake and Taft’s Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast

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Charts for a Year-Long Caribbean Sabbatical

Margaret and I are just eight months away from her 15-month sabbatical. We have pretty much decided – as much as you decide anything on a cruising boat – to head to the Caribbean. And, as we make our preparations, we are starting to gather the charts and guidebooks that we think we are going to need. As we begin to do that, I figured I would share the resources that we are looking at and also solicit recommendations.
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Dispatch from the Head of Somes Sound

With the twinned gasps of porpoises close by, somewhere forward of the dodger, I put my book down and bounded out of the cockpit. Now standing along the port rail, I waited for the harbor porpoises – who had been cruising the cove every day at about this time – to come up again. After a moment, the mother and calf rose up three times not more than thirty feet away before diving again. They were not close enough for me to see them under the water, but I imagined that they were chasing the mackerel that have been about in large numbers.
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Rock Hall to Newport – Part Three

This is part three in a series. If you have not read part one and part two, you might want to check those out before reading this one.

The next morning we awoke at 6am, made our morning caffeinated drinks, and re-checked the weather. It looked like we were good to go with 10-20 from the southwest for the day and some lighter, more variable winds overnight and into the following day. We quickly decided to depart for Block, and, by 6:30, we had the anchor up. A half hour later, we were out the Cape May inlet and putting the sails up. With a single reef in the main and most of the genoa unfurled, we were making over six knots.

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