Fiction on the Oliver Hazard Perry

ohp-dock-e1508195109642.jpgI’m back on the Oliver Hazard Perry for another semi-annual check up on the rigging. Last night as the ship was moving out of a dock in downtown Newport she got a line wrapped up in her propeller. The overloaded engine stopped. The captain gamely tried maneuvering between the closely spaced yachts with one engine, aiming to gain sea room or bump down on the commercial ship pier in the rising wind. It was difficult trying to get the bow into the wind and the OHP bumped into two yachts before moving away from them. And then, as the skipper was succeeding at getting the ship into open water, rather perversely, the other propeller sucked up a loose section of the same line that was caught in the first prop. Handcuffed, with no power any longer, he ordered the anchors dropped and slowed the ship’s drift until the crew got mooring lines out to nearby dock pilings. In all, there was minor (yet expensive) damage to four yachts.

The incident kicked off a media frenzy and the reporting has been a bit wild. Some reports went out that there was a person overboard; a crushed boat; a deck collapse, and that the ship was aground, none of which were true. It underscores to me that we are often reading fiction even though we sometimes believe it to be fact.

In the end no one was hurt. Kudos to the captain and crew for keeping a no win situation from becoming someone’s terrible loss.

 

Squirreling

Fall continues to be superb in the northeast, with clear, warm days and rainy nights. The squirrels have just about stripped a nearby hickory tree of nuts and now have them buried. I’m told that these busy creatures have almost no memory, so finding their own caches or others’ is a matter of scent and instinct. They make me wonder which little works of my own will turn out to help me, or someone else-or even a squirrel–down the road.Eastern_Gray_Squirrel_800

Equinox

The last hours of summer are possibly also the best. After wearing long clothing in both July and August it comes as a surprise to be sitting outside today with no shoes on. It could be myth, or maybe it is fact, that you can balance an egg on its pointy end at the equinox. I’ve succeeded at this twice. One of the times the egg remained that way for three hours before rolling over. I like to get a photo of the egg next to a pint of Guinness (for contrast, I assure you). Enjoy the final hours of summer, and if you can work the egg trick send me a photo. Equinox is at 4:22 PM EDT today.

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Give Up The Ship

As Hurricane Irma blasts through the Caribbean towards Florida, I am reminded of all the sailors who have told me they would never leave their boat unattended through a hurricane.

Who knows what this monster will bring? 160 knots of wind is unimaginable.

If you have the time to read this then you can still make it off of the boat and into a concrete building. Don’t be afraid to change course.