Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Livaboards and the Health of the Bay

Healthy plants make for healthy water, though they can be a pain on your prop.
Living here, year in and year out, right ON the water, you see it all. Perhaps more than any group of people, we who live on our vessels see every change, however minute, to the bay and it's tributaries. We wake to the birds along the banks. We hear the frogs in spring (or lack thereof), the slap of fish against our hulls, and the racket that the geese make when they land. We saw first hand the huge die-off last November when warm temperatures and chemicals in the runoff conspired to create an algae bloom that whiped out every fish, crustacian, and most of the plants, paving the suddenly clear bottom with dead fish and sending our seabirds elsewhere. We witnessed the huge effort of the country and civic organizations as they cleaned the shoreline along Hawthorn of human detritus. We are bellweathers. We can report it all.
This little guy actually got sucked up by our galley sink pump.  He's quite lively.

This summer I'm pleased to say the report is pretty good. The health of the Chesapeake Bay and it's tributaries seem to be in better shape than I've seen them in years. Efforts to curb runoff into the waters (including the much-derieded “rain tax”) along with a healthy growth of waterplants have led to some of the best water quality we've seen here in Middle River. Schools of fish are back in droves (This was especially pointed out to me when we literally pumped a pencil eel into our galley sink one morning). Our more enthusiastic slip mates are leaving early in the mornings and coming back with baskets laiden with large, healthy looking crab.
The crabs are back in force this year.
The birds are having a great time. Ospreys plunge into the river here and then struggle up carrying what is either some really large fish or a lost Japanese MiniSub, we're not sure. The potted rosemary on our finger peir has been host this summer to three—count em—three clutches of duck eggs, for a grand total of 23 ducklings for the season. Whatever we and nature are doing, it's working.
Why, WHY!?, do the ducks love our rosemary pot as a nesting site?

That's not to say that human stupidity and churlishness don't complicate matters. Clowns in powerboats still occassionally tear through our 6Kt zone throwing 3 foot wakes, battering boats and sea grasses, and I wish I could find whoever filleted three gigantic rockfish the other day only to toss the huge remaining carcasses back into the water in which the marina kids swim (smooth move, numbnuts). We're becoming more aware, though, and that pleases me. Folks are being more careful about their trash and cigarette butts, people are actually making an effort to fish plastic bags and bottles out of the waters if they float by, and, in general, policing of runoff and chemicals and black water systems is improving daily.

We're livaboards. We see this stuff. You're doing better. Keep it up. 


New stuff over at Life, Art, Water and more book promotions over at Wild Shore Press, check em out.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Transportation Crisis Averted

So today we took the delightful (caution, Irony alert) 24 Bus down to look at bicycles and wound up riding two of em the 5 miles back to the Marina.

Being Green is ever so stylish
 So we are now the proud owners of two new beach cruisers, with no gears (it's flat here) and fat tires (because the roads here sucketh), which puts pretty  much anywhere we need to go (closer than train transit) within range.  Now we just have to clean out our poor deceased car and get it hauled away.

And then, back to boat stuff, we promise, but it's all part of living aboard.

Lots of new stuff over at Life, Art, Water.  Check it out.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Hoofin' It

Okay, so if you're wondering why we've had yet another pause in the blog over the last few days, we had a bit of an automotive disaster.  While picking up a friend from work--one of our fellow livaboards--we turned a corner and the entire front suspension of our beloved and much abused little three-cylinder Metro simply, um, collapsed.

Our little Metro in happier days, next to the frame for "Floating Empire"
Well, in Little Red's defense, she did have going on a quarter of a million miles on her, and on the original clutch I might add.  Now THAT'S construction.  Ultimately it was rust from road salt that did her in.  Snif.

So now we're dealing with a quandary. The vehicle is apparently not repairable with any reasonable amount of money and effort. We had discussed early in this blog exploring bike routes with the thought that we might go carless (you can check out that entry here). Do we buy bikes an follow through on it?  Do we start using more of the available mass transit?  Do we find another functional junker to buy? 

Magellan just finds all these considerations exhausting.
So that's been occupying our boat time of late.  We hope to have it all sorted out by week's end, proceed with the membrane repairs to the Starboard side, and go on with our lives.

Sigh.  Will miss the little car, but engines are always a hassle.

More later