Monthly Archives: December 2014

A few Busy Days

I appreciate each person who is reading my blog.  I had a busy day and couldn’t finish my next post.  I’m hoping to tomorrow.  But, please know that I have to drive to Boston/Logan Airport tomorrow and Wednesday; meaning that there will be an interruption in writing.  I promise to be back on Friday for posting in a timely manner.

Some of you may wonder why it takes me so long to post.  It’s because I’m trying to write well and bring readers into my stories.  The vicarious journey’s asked for by many of you.

Some people can write and be done.  I’m not one of them.  I’m autistic and part of this is that my brain only “sees” pictures.  I hear, see, think and dream in 3D color pictures. The challenge is in the translation which requires a lot of words and in the process syntax is backwards. I have to flip my sentences, change positions for adj. and adv. and then remove extraneous material.

I hope this helps you understand why I posting every day is not always possible. I do have to work and keep up with other obligations. However, I am having fun with this blog and will remain dedicated to it because of the requests for this blog and for every one else who is enjoying my current story and those to come.

Thanks so much from me to all of you! J

My first kayak which I still love.

My first kayak which I still love.


Loading Abbie B, Day 3

I slept in a bit this morning and am just laying in bed watching the rays of the sun filter in through the curtains.  This is nice.  I breathe in and out slowly while letting go, to just be and nothing more.

Time floats by but without its irritating tick tock, tick tock.  In fact, I hear nothing and oh, I love silence. I consider it to be one of my most powerful allies. Silence speaks for itself and is the strongest form of communication.  At least, it is for me.  I feel the strength of its voice and sense the lofting of bodily tension.  Today is going to be better, especially when Abbie B and me float away from shore.  We will turn our backs from the expectations and worries of society and welcome what ever comes our way.

I climb out of bed and wear my land clothing for the last time.  Fred has done his juicing and there’s some great tasting flavor waiting for me. I love Fred’s concoctions and his great cooking.  I’ve enjoyed the pleasure of he and his wife cooking many a meal or snack.  They make a great pair and everyone benefits from their talents.

I’ll be launching at Portland, Maine’s East End Beach.  Sally and Ned will be meeting me there around four pm.  They’ll be reclaiming their van after watching Abbie B and me paddle from shore.  But, there’s still much to do and I head out to the beach room to prepare my maps for today’s paddle. I plan to sleep either on Cow or Little Chebeague Island.

I seal the enlarged map of Portland Harbor inside one of the three waterproof map cases.  These “cases” are more like a sandwich bags. They’re made out of a heavy duty vinyl with two deep grooves as a double-lock closure.  I have a second small scale map, covering a good portion of Casco Bay from the Map CasesHarbor to the south, Cousins Island to the North, Great Diamond and Long Island to the East along with Little Chebeague and Great Chebeague Islands to the North East as seen from from my point of departure.

I don’t need any other maps or mark the tides.  The day’s paddle is late and memory is all that is needed.  So, I slip the Casco Bay, Maine Tide Chart inside the third mapcase to have it ready for tomorrow.  All three cases are clipped to a carabiner.

Well,it looks like everything is ready. So I haul all the bags outside, lay them under a massive Maple Tree, and fetch Abbie B.  She’s parked behind the van. I drag her by the bow handle over to the shade of the tree, where I’ll figure out how to load her.

I have a pretty good idea of what I want based on last year’s little practice trip and years of backpacking. There isn’t a lot of room inside Abbie B so loading her will require the best use of available space and still be able to trim her.

Oops, there are a few things in the van that should be out here.  I walk over and open the back hatch to fetch my spare paddle (two pieces), deck compass, bilge pump, paddle float, sponge, tow-rope (in a bag), both water bladders, and two pieces of foil that came in package some time during the summer.

I shove the narrow items in both the bow and stern as possible. Everything else is goes in according to the I might need this order. The water bladders are filled to their six liter capacity and then placed on the bottom of the fore hold.  I can move these as needed to keep Abbie B trim.  Water is heavy which makes it perfect for ballast.  It also take up a lot of room.  Room I hadn’t considered, until now.

I didn’t mention food and stove for yesterday’s gear list.  Like I said, it was hard to remember everything. The food and stove weren’t difficult to miss. The full water bladders are removing the space intended for my cook stove. It goes back to the van along with any food that requires cooking. Yep, or now that I’m in Maine, Yup, my menu just got a lot smaller. But I that re-supplying food can be done along the way.  Don’t sweat it.  As it is, I have peanut butter, grape-nuts cereal, protein powder, milk powder, and plenty of dried fruit.  What a delightful menu! (I’ll be learning how pets feel as most owners feed them the same food everyday.)

I finished closing the fore and aft holds and secure them with the cinch straps mentioned before on Richmond Island.  The hatches also have tiny holes on a tab so I can tie them to a deck line.  Triple precaution for the hatches are a good thing.  Imagine losing one somewhere out on the great big ocean!

The day hold is next. I load and unload it several times before figuring out where to put what. I want the emergency bag with Epirb right under the hatch cover. I also want to be able to reach my camera, phone, or the fully loaded first aid kit that I didn’t mention on yesterday’s list either.

I get it done and then secure this hatch which is flush with Abbie B’s deck. The lid is round and has open and close written on it along with little arrows that will line up with arrows on the ring lid fits into. I don’t have to screw the lid on, just drop it in, turn it to close and it will snap shut. I open it by aligning the open arrows and pull it out. This lid has a tether integral to its design, and being flush with the deck there is no need for straps.

Just for fun, I attach and orient the deck compass, clip the maps to the line across the bow right in front of the cockpit.  I clip the paddle float, bilge pump and sponge to deck lines behind the Abbie B’s cockpit. The spare paddle blades are secured under the aft hatches straps. No other equipment will be on deck.  I don’t want to lose stuff to the ocean and I want the sea to be able to wash over Abbie B unhindered.

Where did the time go?  It’s almost two thirty and I need to leave by three to get to Portland’s East End. I also want to be ready to go before Sally and Ned arrive. They are doing a turn around trip and will be returning to New Hampshire once I’m on the water. They shouldn’t have to help me carry and ready Abbie B too.

I unload Abbie B and decide to back the van up, rather than haul everything to it.  Uh, Oh! The won’t start. I’d left the key in the “on” position for the past four hours. Thankfully, Fred is around and has a battery charger to start the van with.  Whew, that was close.

I go back to the beach room for the last time and toss all extraneous stuff into the half empty bin. I’m finally making my final trip to the van.

What Abbie B looks like when loaded

What To Take, Day 2 Continued

I’m glad Fred is willing to take me in for a night.  I have a lot of organizing of gear and decisions to make as to what I will be taking with me.  I wish this was already done but no time before leaving.  Life is like that and choosing to accept the given that “there is only so much one can do in a day” must be paired with knowing how much “doing” is safe and healthy.  Okay, now,I have time.

I head out to the van while Fred goes on with his day.  After several trips to and from the disheveled back of the van, everything brought from home is dumped into the “beach” room. I try to drop stuff (Idiom I like to use.)  in an organized manner.  At least I thought so, but the piles and the stuff in the large plastic bin say otherwise. I stare at the mess for awhile.  Get to work!

I focus on emergency gear first.  Surviving a disaster that may not happen is my first priority and has been for all my journeys.  My attitude toward being in a rescue situation has always been to make myself as comfortable as possible.

Before any trip, I go through as many scenarios as I can think of and make two lists.  One is for the stuff I will need and the other is ongoing, right up to my departure.  Its focus is on reviewing what I know about what I’m doing and adding to it as much information as possible.

The next step is a plan of action and practice it.  I imagine each disaster as it might unfold and mentally go through the motions of how I should handle it.  I do this often, so I wont have to think when trouble arrives.  Thankfully, nothing truly awful has happened during any of my journeys. But, I do keep in mind that the odds for injury or worse increase as I continue adding more journeys to my life.  This is okay.  I’d rather die doing what I love than living life according to the fears of others.  That would be pure misery.  Now, I must get back to work.

I examine the piles and bin for items relative to surviving disaster.  Another pile is born and it’s becoming too crowded for me to work.  So I shove it all  into a bag and carry it inside the house. Ding.  Ding. The living room wins!  It is just right for my final phase of readiness.  I dump the bag’s contents and poke through them, placing items into categories and then go over each one in detail.

Survival Gear List And Where The Stuff Goes

Life Jacket:  I.D. and emergency info card (docs, meds, conditions and contacts), Whistle, Knife, SPOT (satellite personal tracking device), VHF Radio with spare battery pack, Signal Mirror, spare compass, Multi-purpose thingy for time, weather, stop watch etc, 1 chapstick (Other uses are for sores and preventing them.).

Bag in Day hold:  ACR Epirb (Satellite Position Indicator Radio Beacon – distress call on marine and military emergency frequencies relaying position and info assigned to it.  I registered my Epirb with the Portland, Maine Coast Guard, noting that the Epirb is for me and that I’ll be wearing an orange life jacket, my boat is a yellow and white kayak, Matinicus Rock175 “Abbie B.” Kayakers are not required to carry or register an Epirb.  However, I felt it necessary because of being alone.), Flare Gun with 4 flares, White light with 3 mile visibility, Emergency Beacon, Mini-first aid kit which includes matches, lighter and a magnesium fire starter. (Experience has taught me to be sure I can start a fire.  Any method may fail, so I carry three.), Cell Phone, emergency bivvy sack, 3 heat packs (2 small for appendages and one medium for chest), multi-purpose tool, 2 meal replacement bars and a handful of dried fruit.

All this stuff, except the Epirb, are put in a small red nylon bag.  It has a loop so I can clip it to my life jacket in case I go for a swim and can’t back into Abbie B or am separated from her.  The Epirb is tethered to the outside of the bag making it available to use without having to remove the bag. (I plan to get an Epirb that will fit in my life jacket for the next outing.).  I stand and stretch before picking up the bag and Epirb, then head back to the Beach Room.  The table on the west end of the room becomes its temporary home.

Clothing For Camp and Public Appearances 

I stare at the piles again and decide to sift through the stuff in the bin, picking out clothing that I may want for the trip.  It takes a bit of time for me to find everything.  But I do.  I clear off the round table in the room and drop the clothing in one big heap on top of it.  I organize and re-organized it several times before making my final decision as to what goes and what stays.

The “to go” stuff are:  1 under pants , 1 bra, 2 short sleeve shirts, 1 shorts, 1 pair of socks, 1 fleece shirt, 1 long underwear bottom, a pair of sandals, 1 rain pant, a pair of gloves and a hat.  I separate the clothing by use and put them in freezer grade gallon size zip-lock bags, squeeze out the air and seal them.  I stack each on top of another and then put them inside my large orange compression sack.  A roll of of toilet paper is added before the bag is secured.

Paddle Clothing

These were easy to find because they, along with my snorkel, mask, dive hood and swim cap are stowed in the same transportation bag I use at home.  I empty the bag to be sure everything is there.  Some loud booms and a heavy rain interrupt my train of thought.

Wow! The lightning was both frequent and intense.  I knew some weather was coming but this is spectacular!  I’m so glad that I decided to paddle to the mainland early this morning.  There is no place to hide from lightning on Richmond Island, except the caretaker’s house which is locked with no one there.  The landscape is mostly fields and shrubs with some dunes by the sand beach, and a small interior pond.  One corner has trees but they are tall and in a small area (lightning rods!).  I pause for lunch and to enjoy the storm which become a set of storms rolling through the area for the rest of the afternoon.

An hour or so goes by before I head back to the beach room.  I check off my mental list while picking up each item and put it back inside the black bag:  1 set of long underwear (top and bottom), 1 long sleeve chafe top with 2 mm neoprene on the front, 1 5 mm farmer john wetsuit, 2 pair of neoprene gloves (3 mm and 7 mm), 7 mm Dive Hood, 2 mm neoprene swim cap, 7 mm boots, dry top, and sprayskirt.

It’s all here except for my hat, glasses and sunglasses.  I write myself a note reminding me to either wear the stuff or put it on the front seat by tomorrow morning.

Personal Items

These go in either quart or pint sized zip-locks:   Travel size toothbrush, toothpaste and shampoo.  A sliver of Irish Spring soap which is great for swiping all over my body before interacting with civilization.  (I become accustomed to how I smell but other people don’t. (Stinky! Stinky!  Stinky!)  I like to bring the small sized Baby Powder on all outings, even if just for a few hours or a day.  It’s great for drying off because it absorbs moisture from the skin which is helpful toward either getting or keeping warm, especially my feet.  Medications are bagged along with two individual plastic containers for each day’s supply.  I rifle through the pile of bags and sacks and find an old nylon zippered cooler bag.  It’s perfect.

Other personal items are my camera which goes in a waterproof plastic container and is stored in the day hold.  The other is a Waterproof Journal with a bombproof pen which goes in the blue sack with my navigation stuff to make the pen available for charting.

I also am bringing my mask and snorkel with me hoping my knee will allow for a little looking around underwater.  I want to bring them even if I don’t.  I consider these items, along with my 7mm gloves and dive hood, as extra safety gear which will be stored in the small area behind the back of my seat.  They’d be nice to have if I can’t get back into Abbie B.  I also have a “crapper” (plastic container for solid waste) and this is not going in any hold.  Imagine that leaking inside Abbie B.  She’d blow her top!  It’ll be a tight fit but behind the seat it goes.


I rummage through the bin again and find my guide book, maps, tide charts, map cases, orienteering compass with ruler and my long insulated winter trekking water bottle thingy (perfect size for rolled maps and tide charts).  I sit at the round table again and go through the charts and maps to be sure I have them all.  I organize them and roll up all but the ones I need tomorrow.  These are set aside while the rest are put in a gallon sized zip-lock which slides easily into the bottle thingy (chart holder).  “Perfectamongo!” (from Movie Ice Cake.)  The guide book, Journal, Pen and Compass are secured in zip-lock as well.

The chart holder and other bag of stuff go in a blue waterproof nylon sack.  I put the maps and charts for tomorrow on a chair next to three waterproof map cases.  I’ll deal with them tomorrow.

Camp Stuff

The rain finally stops, allowing me to check out my tent after last night’s blow.  It’s still in the van and like the “Cat in the Hat,” Out I go.  I go out, to the van, I go.  I’m getting punchy.  Duh, ” am that I am.”  Okay, get the tent.

I set it up and inspect it thoroughly before attaching the rainfly.  I want to be sure it fits after the tent’s experience with last night’s gale.  It does.  What next? Ah, the stakes.

My tent is free standing, meaning it doesn’t need stakes.  Well, it did last night, and thankfully, they held in the sand.  But most of the time, the tent will be sitting on rock.  What do I do if they won’t go in the ground?  Glad you asked.  I’ll gather a bunch of stones or anything else that has weight and put them inside 4 stuff sacks and tie the tent poles and tabbed grommets to them.

I thoroughly inspect all aspects of the tent from seems, zippers to the amount of tension on the poles.  I also have an ultra-light nylon tarp that I like to use when camping on rocks and roots.  It protects the integrity of the tent floor.  This being done.  I move to the next task, packaging the tent in a practical manner.  The fly is going to get wet at some point and I don’t like having it get my tent wet in transit.  So, I separate its components.

The poles and stakes have their own bag already.  I take of the tent fly and set it aside.  The poles are easily removed via popping them out of the grommets and pushing each one (There are three.) out of their respective tent sleeves.  I let the tent drop to the ground and walk over to the poles.  They are easy to work with because they are sectional, just pull and fold.  I put both the poles and the stakes into the pole bag.  My next task is to package the tent.

I fold it once width wise and then in half from each end.  One more complete fold makes it the right size for its bag.  The best way to keep it sized properly is to use the pole bag to roll the tent up the rest of the way.  I accomplish all of this in about 3 minutes.

The tent is now ensconced inside two garbage bags and is compressed into its stuff sack.  The rainfly is next and it too is folded and rolled, then stuffed into a compression bag.  The tarp has its own little bag and is added to the compression bag with the rainfly.  I grab the two bags and put them inside the van and head back to the beach room, again!

Yes, my sleeping bag is there, tucked inside two plastic bags and into a stuff sack.  The ensolite pad is right next to it.  For those who don’t know, ensolite is a type of foam that has a waterproof coating on it. It provides some comfort from the hard ground.  But, its main feature is to keep the body warm.  I even use it with my hammock, except for the really hot nights.  It’s closed cell construction creates a barrier between the cold ground and a warm body.  It is already rolled up, cinched tightly with two wide velcro straps, and in its stuff sack which is lined with plastic as an extra measure to keep the pad dry.

I stack everything neatly on the long bench in the beach room and then check the back of the van to be sure my paddle, deck compass, sponge and bilge pump are stowed inside to the far left.

Yep, they are and I’m done for the day.

Fred arrives around five pm and fixes us both something to eat.  We relax and watch a star trek movie before going to bed.  I’m so tired that I feel nothing for tomorrow, launch day.  My body falls like a brick on the mattress and sleep over-takes me.  Ahhhhh.

Richmond Island Photos

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You May Want To Wait

Howdy, Everyone.

You may want to wait until tomorrow’s post which will feature launch day and first landing for an island night.  And, I apologize for not posting earlier in today.  These two posts were long and arduous.  The Richmond Pictures may be fun to look at but the actual post may not be so engaging.

It’s all about packing for the trip.  You may appreciate the work that went into it though.  I kept going over and over my lists as if I were packing again.  It’s so easy to forget something.

Have a peaceful night and see ya late afternoon tomorrow.  ~ just jude


Merry Christmas



Hey Everyone,

I worked on a post for today but was too busy with Christmas gatherings to finish it.  I trust everyone is have a wonderful Christmas Season with friends and family.  I will post tomorrow.   ~ Judy



Abbie B and Me, Day 2

I awaken having not rested but that’s okay.  The crazy night is part of my vacation with the key word being vacation.  Things that rob me of sleep at home add to the pile of stress as the next day progresses with its own challenges and concerns.   The tension pile away from everyday life is much different as there is little to build on and the things that do find their way to it, have a short life span. This is nice in that the disruptions that do occur are easy to let go of.  One of the many benefits a vacation provides.

The wind is still blowing but it’s only 8 knots which is a bit over 9 mph.  Camp is efficiently taken down.  Everything is stuffed into their sacks except the tent as I have yet to change.  Last night was warm so my I wore a short sleeve shirt and shorts, which should not be worn on the cold Atlantic.  The water temperature (temp) is fifty eight degrees.  This temp may sound chilly,  but it’s not.  It is downright cold and dangerous!  [Water robs the body of heat thirty times faster than air and treading water will reduce survival by fifty percent.  I don’t remember what site I found these facts from but I highly recommend watching this video and Check out the site for tons of cold water info and instruction ]  I change into paddle clothing from inside the tent, take it down, roll and stuff it in a sack too.  The tide is two hours from top so Abbie B is not far from the water.  I decide to load and drag her to the sea from where she is.

My biggest challenge is keeping the sand out of Abbie B’s holds.  Very little gets in but  Abbie B’s hatches are a different story.  The sand is dry but is behaving as though it is wet by sticking to and within the lip to the fore and aft holds and inside the threads to the day hold.  I swipe it with my fingers with little results.  Ding! ding! ding! Use the sponge.  It’ll squish to form and do the job and it does.  But I fail at getting the majority of sand out of the clips to the straps that run over top of the holds.  I rec-clip the sponge to the deck line and try blowing the sand out of the clips and then apply significant force.  A gritty snap, snap secures each one but the salt and sand stiffened straps are difficult to tighten.  Getting ready to go is taking forever.  I definitely have to come up with a better system!  But, she is ready to go and I drag her to the edge of the water.

Although, it seems late because of how long it took to get ready to go.  The time is six am.  The water outside of my protective cove looks rough.  I know that it is even more so than it looks.  I studied a lot throughout my preparations for this trip and The book, Sea Kayaker Deep Trouble, by Matt Broze and George Gonseth shares several stories of disaster due to the misjudgment of water conditions.  I decide to add my 7 mm dive hood to my paddle wear.  I am decked out in long underwear top and bottom, a long sleeve chafe shirt with 2 mm neoprene, 5 mm farmer john suit, 7 mm boots, 3 mm gloves, a dry top and a Snapdragon spray skirt.  I bought a full dry suit that was on sale but need to lose a few more inches to fit more comfortably inside it.

I launch Abbie B between my legs as before, quickly sit on the back of her cockpit combing, slide in and secure spray skirt.  I have a lightweight graphite feather bladed paddle and put it to use by pulling Abbie B and me over the surf.  We head out through the safest exit from the protection of the island to cover the mile between Richmond Island and Crescent Beach.  Oh, boy, the tide is bringing in large swells with some that break from the east and the wind is still out of the south pushing piles of water behind me.  I’m glad that I know the area well as there are lots of rocks and some ledges dotted throughout the area.

I work at threading my way away from them but still make a landing either at Crescent or in Kettle Cove which is next to it.  This is no easy task for avoiding capsizing in which practicing rolls specifically with Abbie B was my reason for going to Richmond.  There’s weather coming and I need to get back to the mainland!

I’m very busy keeping a vigilant eye in two directions as the incoming tide is from the east bringing breaking waves with it.  A mere five feet are between them while the south wind pushes piles of water from behind.  Sweep, pry, a few small sculling and hard forward strokes are my best weapons.  I’m finding the most difficult part of this crossing to be keeping myself off seal rocks.  The sea is becoming “confused” out here in the middle and it’s all I can do just to keep myself from being hit broadside, especially from the large incoming swells.  Abbie B is responding well but we are slowly being pushed toward seal rocks and are encountering the outskirts of rebounding waves.

I turn into the tide often, stroking hard to edge us up over and turn a bit this and that way according to the breaks and the sneaky piles from behind.  I guess I’m getting some real practice with Abbie B, except for rolls and I hope not to have to do so.  We’d make it fine.  I just don’t have the confidence I’d like because of only having Abbie B a week and a half before vacation. We didn’t have much time together and only one day of practicing getting back in after a wet exit.

Two hours fly by feeling more like thirty minutes and we are almost there.  I want to get into Kettle Cove where there would be no surf to land in but the rocks which form the cove are preventing me from doing so.  I certainly am not going out again to try and make it.  I see a quiet space in a small area right where Crescent and the west side of Kettle Cove meet and head for it.

I welcome the landing but have a little bit of a time getting out.  I worked so hard in one position that my legs , especially with a problematic knee, are refusing fluid movement.  My skirt is off and I move my legs a bit inside the cockpit while doing a partial “chair” lift a couple of times.  I feel secure now and push myself into a sitting position on the back of the cockpit, splay my legs stand up and guide Abbie B back between them.  I walk her through the light surf over to the boat ramp area and drag her fully loaded part way there.

Once again, I receive some strange looks as I walk with all my paddling gear on except for my gloves and dive hood.  The van is waiting for me in the lot by Kettle Cove from where I drive her down, load it and secure Abbie B on the top.

All Through The Night – Conclusion of Day 1

The wind’s a blowin’ and the tent is on the ground.  I shove my ultra-light tarp under the tent and finish with an extension jutting out in front of the door.  Unzip said door, plop inside (except for legs), wipe, dump, and shake sand onto the tarp.  Keep that infernal stuff out of my stuff!

Captive gear is sprung from their sacks and in minutes everything is as it should be.  But it wasn’t. Will the tent hold or be ripped to shreds?  No, but seriously damage is possible.  My best solution is to turn the tent parallel to the tempest, allowing  it to pass into one door and out the other. The saying, “No rest for the weary” is magnanimously applicable right now.  I haul myself outside to do chores, AGAIN!

I crawl back inside as before and try to rest.  This body wants sleep, sleep, sleep.  Oh, no.  This is not working either!  Zip! Zip! Zip! yet again.  I close the screens and open the doors, peeling them back as far as possible and tie them to the tent’s poles.  And once more, this body plops down while faithfully maintaining the keep out the sand ritual.

My mind becomes quiet.  But not for long, as a sarcastic chuckling surges up from within.  This is like jumping into a ditch while a tornado passes over, except the extreme airflow relentlessly slams into me.  I  now know what it feels like to be a mountain in the midst of a storm.  The only escape is to bury myself below the surface but I don’t like the sand.  (I learn so much on these outings!)  An explosion of laughter bursts on the scene and keeps on until sleep overtakes it.

The infernal beast wakes me on three occasions throughout its trek from southwest to south southwest and finally only from the South.  At least it’s warm and not a bone chilling cold. I grudgingly get up each time to drag the loaded tent so it remains parallel to the wind. Thankfully, I easily fall back to sleep after each rousting.


The profile of my tent has little surface.  So, I figured that presenting it this way into the wind would work.  Seeing the sides being pressed together was something else.  As they say, “There’s a first time for everything.”

Hour After Top of Tide – Storm Surge Photos

Wind Invasion, Day 1

I’m on the ground now and plant the tent fabric underneath my knees while unfolding the  poles.  Okay, got that done.  I crawl to the bottom right corner and push the poles through their prospective sleeves.  Here we go.  Quickly now!  I burst upright grasping a pole and shoving one end and then the other in their grummet and do the same for the other.  The tent is up and the wind hits so hard that it is upended in my hands.  I walk beneath the odd-shaped kite, climb up the trail to the field and fall to the ground.  I finally get control of the tent in the space beneath the tall grasses.  I go back to the beach to grab my sleeping bag, pad, compression sack stuffed with clothing and make my way back to the tent.  Zip, Zip, one door opens.  Thud, Thunk, in goes the gear.  Grab and Zip, Zip, trudge back to the  beach wading through the soft sand while pulling the weighted tent behind me.

Man, this is work!  Land on the sand.  Drag Abbie B up ten feet of wet sand and over another twenty of dry to settle her in for the night.  Open hatches to unload gear and taking care to keep sand from getting in.  Wrestle with tent, Ugh!  But, it’s finally up.  Think positive.  Actually, I’m not thinking at all.  The sound of a small engine invades my crazy space.  Oh, no.  There goes my privacy!  A small skiff lands and four people climb out with one tossing wood up on the beach.  Okay, be polite.  I walk over and greet them.  We have a pleasant conversation.  Thankfully, they are kind enough to move around the corner to build a fire, drink beer and whatever else youngsters do there at night.

The tent is still where I left it but is caving in on the side of the wind.  I’ve pitched her in some pretty wild places but this spot takes the cake.  The later it gets the stronger the wind.  I’d hate to be out at sea, even in a big boat.  The forces to reckon with under a gale is not for the weak of heart.  For that matter, the strong do not welcome such circumstances either.  It’s one of the great wonders of the world to me.  How a calm surface can be whipped up into heaps within moments.

Walls of water that block out the sky, wash cargo off great ships and run others aground or into rocks.  The sound of many cannons erupt on impact, boom! boom!  boom!  A mighty creaking and crunching follow as the forsaken breaks apart.  Twisted chunks and heavy cargo head for the bottom like bodies ensconced  in cement.  The rest are torn asunder, scattered and taking a beating.

God help the souls of those holding on as thousands of pounds of water rain down upon them, as they are sucked up and over thirty to fifty foot swells and sent tumbling over and over down the backside.  They choke on water, spray and foam.  They pray for death and let go while others hold on and still drown. And after the tempest, rescuers find frozen bodies poking and turning them hoping for signs of life.  The dead are still gathered.  Leave no one to the cold barren sea.  Bring them home to the widows and orphans that they may mourn and sing the hymn, Eternal Father, Strong to Save.

Eternal Father, Strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bid’st the mighty Ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to thee,
for those in peril on the sea.

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walked’st on the foaming deep,
and calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe’er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee,
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.                ~ words by Rev. William Whiting and music by Rev. John B. Dykes

And those found alive cannot help themselves.  They are too cold and over-come with exhaustion.  Some believe they are dreaming.  They awake in hospital beds, calling for help or sobbing at the sight of a mate torn from hands by the angry sea.  Loved ones keep watch by day and night until the peaceful calm returns once more.  The go home.  They go back to work.  They head out to sea once more.  But they will not forgot, nor will those who watched from afar and those who worked Search and Rescue.

See next post for gallery of a storm driven tide at Crescent Beach.