Monday, March 31, 2014

Freedom Forever

Late last week the Cap'n looked out the window at the anchorage and said "There's Uncle Harry's old boat." "Oh yeah, I replied, That does look just like his boat.". "No, the Cap'n said, that is his boat."

Yes, the Cap'n knows his boats -- it has been said that he knows boats the way some know cars - boat builder, size, year built, he can call it all, even at a distance. Still, I needed to be convinced.

"And look, he said, it's still called Freedom."  I grabbed the binoculars. Sure enough, he was right. There she was, a 48' Jarvis Newman Lobster Boat.  Uncle Harry passed away several years ago, and had sold her boat at least a few years before that. The last time I recall seeing it was when our now 22 year old son was 7 and we were docked side by side in Rock Hall, MD. A the time we owned a green hulled 38" Jarvis Newman Lobster Boat named Freedom -- a mini-me to Uncle Harry's.

(Longtime readers of this blog will remember that 'Freedom' is a family boat named -- first established by his maternal grandfather,passed on to Harry and then from Harry to the Cap'n)

Excitedly, we tried to raise the current owners via VHF, but they had turned off their radio and were enjoying the sunset after a day of travel. The next morning, after a night of heavy rains, they tied up right in front of us. The Cap'n was thrilled to see how well she has been maintained and to hear where she has been over the many years since our Rock Hall meeting.

What are the chances: Two green hulled motor vessels,  docked in tandem, sharing a family name and a family link? It's a small world after all.

Two Freedoms

Uncle Harry's boat has the beautifully classic lines of the lobster hull

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Springing Forward

Spring has tentatively arrived in Charleston. The tulip magnolias and azalea are in bloom, and the temperatures have warmed a bit.  Mother Nature is still not fully ready to commit to the change in seasons, but we are. It is time for us to spring forward with our projects and plans as our departure date is just three weeks away.

We are about mid-way through our long awaited septic system reconfiguration.  Old hoses out, new ( and fewer) hoses in! Yea.  The only downside is "the facilities" are out of commission. As a result we moved from our spot waaaayyyy out on the Megadock to one closer to the bathhouse.  A more social,  much busier location, with a perfect "Mrs Cravitz" vantage point it suited us well for several nights....until the slip holder came back and we had to move again. Now we are back on the Megadock, yet still close to the washrooms.  All afternoon we have enjoyed watching the confused looks on  fellow slip holders and marina employees as they have passed by.  We can almost hear them think "Wait, didn't they just move last week?"

The best part about this slip is our front row river view. Not long after we tied up the Cap'n notice 6 dolphins playing just off our port side.  We may have to move again when the weekly cruise ship arrives on Friday, but for now we can't complain.

In addition to boat projects we are  checking off our Charleston To-Do list: ie, all the things we meant to do all winter.  There are restaurants to visit, museums to tour and at least one plantation yet to see. Add that to a visit from the k'dults, tickets to a few cultural events and provisioning errands it promises to be a busy few weeks.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Dolphins Off the Dock

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: This has been a  long, cold and lately, rainy winter here in the low country. I know I get no sympathy from our friends up north who have been slogging through endless snow storms, school closings and power outages, but all the same, it is miserable here.

We have been cheered by the random days of flip flop weather and the recent appearance of large numbers of dolphins in the Ashley River. It was about three weeks ago that I first noticed them - groups of 3 -5 arching to the surface and gracefully diving beneath.  As Ham and I walk to shore before bed we can't see them, the color of their skin matching that of the waves, but we can hear them breaking the surface to breath,   "refilling the lung in one fifth of a second through an explosive blow which can reach velocities up to one hundred miles per hour."  (

At dawn, they spread ripples across the calm waters as they rhythmically breath and dive. From time to time, a pair will swim into the marina, weaving between and beneath the boats. I have learned that dolphins breathe purposefully, not automatically like humans do. Consequently, they can never fall completely asleep or else they will drown. One half of their brain always stays awake to continue sending the right messages to the lungs

We rarely see a solo dolphin. Some are in adult pairs, some are family pods of two adults and a child, and once I saw a group of 10. As we have traveled along the Intra-coastal we never see groups of more than 4, so such a large pod was exciting.

One sunny day I stepped into the cockpit and noticed a group of three playing just yards from the dock. One briefly disappeared and then emerged in a vertical leap between his two companions. It was a spectacular Sea World-worthy show.  I have always thought such behavior indicated a playfulness among dolphins -- simply a way to use up some energy on a beautiful day. Turns out it has a practical purpose -- such a leap from the water is called a "Spy Hop."  It allows a dolphin to get a good look at what is going on above the surface of the water.

No one is quite sure why we have so many resident dolphins in the river now: some have suggested it is mating season, although dolphins mate all year there is a spike in spring and fall , others think they are attracted by a higher number of fish in the area. All I know is that they have provided us with some beautiful sights and sounds as we wait patiently for spring....