Monday, August 30, 2010

The challenge: accommodation

I am gratified to tell you that the recent post telling how I got onto the path that led to living aboard Eolian has been one of the most popular posts on this blog.   Thanks Erick, for suggesting it!  (Sorry it took me so long to tackle the subject.)

I have wanted this blog to bring the experience of living aboard to those who are not, but are considering it, or want to consider it, or those who are just curious about the experience.  When folks find out that we live on a boat, there are some common questions that you hear:
I have tried to answer these and other questions (some that have been asked, and some that I anticipate) like a fresh experience would do.  I must confess, tho, that after living aboard for nearly 13 years, the infinite adaptability of the human has made this somewhat of a challenge.  We are such adaptable creatures that we can accommodate nearly any living situation, causing the novelty to fade into the background of routine.  But nobody wants to hear about the routine, because it is, umm.. routine.  (They do call it "news", after all.  A show called the "olds" would not get nearly the viewership.)

So a little help, please.  Is there something you are curious about that I have failed to address? I need your eyes, and your curiosity...

It's your turn.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Project: Rebuild the refrigerator

This is a project from September, 1999

The refrigeration compartment on Eolian was in bad shape when we took possession of her:
  • The door was bent, corroded, and didn't seal well.  
  • The "decor" panel in the door was an unfinished piece of teak veneer, suitably filthy
  • The interior was dirty
  • The floor of the interior was cracked and broken - as if someone had dropped a bowling ball in there
  • There was no drain
  • Someone had cut an opening into the counter above the compartment in an attempt to make it a "top-loader".  The cut was clearly made by a near-sighted drunk with a sawzall.  The edges of the cut out piece were festooned with some stainless strapping to keep it from falling into the refrigerator when in place.  The strapping was sharp-edged and bent.
  • The counter top thru which the hole had been cut was finished with the ubiquitous "wood-grain" Formica.
  • The compressor ran frequently, for long periods.
Any one of these items would have been sufficient incentive to tackle the job, but as I was beginning the job of replacing the counter top Formica throughout the boat, this was the issue that provided the straw that broke the camel's back.

First, I prepared for living a refrigerator-/freezer-less existence for an extended period by training myself to enjoy warm beer.

Next, I found a new Norcold refrigerator door suitable for the service at the old Doc Freeman's chandlry.  Because it had been damaged - the decor panel was dented - I got it for $10.  Then I got a suitable piece of black Plexiglas from Clear Cut plastics, and installed it in the door as the decor panel.

Now the fun starts.  In an orgy of destruction, I tore out the interior finish panels, and then the insulation...  back to the hull,  down to the floor, out to the walls, and up to the counter above.  I left the panel on which the holding plate was mounted alone, because I did not want to loose the refrigerant charge in the system.  The insulation I took out was foam-in-place polyurethane, and all of it (on the bottom at least) was saturated with water.  Clearly it had little, if any, value as insulation.  Urethane foam, broken floor and no drain all contributed to this problem.

Next I went to Home Depot and bought a 4x8 sheet of 2" blue polystyrene foam.  This stuff is closed cell, and will not absorb water.  And a can of spray foam (this is polyurethane foam).

Then I carefully cut and fitted sheets of the foam to the floor, walls and ceiling of the space, creating 2 full layers, for a total of 4".  I installed them with spray foam, and used the spray foam to fill the odd spaces where trimming was hard to get perfect.  Polystyrene is tricky because it will "melt" on contact with most solvents.  The polyurethane spray foam does not affect it however.

Next I got a 4x8 sheet of fiberglass-reinforced abs sheet designed for lining shower enclosures (I think this may be same stuff that s/v C'est la Vie used for their bimini roof, 11 years later  -Ed).  Carefully cutting pieces of this material, I glued it in place with 5200 (I didn't want to chance having expanding foam bulge the sheet).  I also carefully sealed the seams at the corners with 5200.  Outside corners around the door opening got finished with plastic moldings made for this purpose, and 5200.

And then I installed a drain, using a marelon thru hull.

Finally, I leveled the top surface where the savagely-cut lift-out had been using plywood, and with water putty for leveling.  With the new Formica installed, the repair was invisible.

As a finishing step, I cut and installed some of those snap-together soft plastic gridded cushion tiles to take the brunt and spread the load if another bowling ball should get dropped in there and to keep the food from sitting in any water that had not yet made it to the drain.

The end result is a *huge* improvement.  (That's not a mark on the door - it is the reflection of a fire extinguisher on the wall opposite).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Now I are one

Years ago, when we lived in Spokane, I had the opportunity to make a business trip to San Francisco - Alameda to be precise.  In the evening, while walking the docks, I had noticed a small restaurant that served the marina there.  And I noted that they were open for breakfast, so I vowed to eat there early the next morning.

And I did.  It was foggy and cool, tho it felt delicious to this Spokane boy.  As I quietly walked the docks, heading to the restaurant, someone popped his head out of his companionway, and we had a brief conversation, mostly about the weather.

I felt a little the way you might feel if you just happened to run into Clint Eastwood in the grocery store, and you had a brief conversation...  privileged, I guess, and a little in awe.  This was a guy living the dream, living on a boat in a major US city, and making it all work!  Wow!

I thought back to that encounter this morning when I stepped off the boat onto the dock, looking at the full moon reflected in the water just at sunrise.

Oh yeah - I had Huevos Rancheros at the restaraunt.  They were excellent.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Project: Stbd saloon refit

Project from 2002

Although we lived with it for a few years, we didn't like the original arrangement of the cabinetry on the stbd side of the saloon. The only enclosed cabinet was the liquor locker - everything else was open, and although equipped with brass rod sea rails, prone to dumping the contents in a seaway. Aside from that, the clutter was exposed, and made the interior feel smaller.

Let the project begin! Notice the opening below the liquor locker (the far right hand cabinet). It's another opening cut by the near-sighted drunk, although a sharp blade was apparently used in the sawzall for this cut. I do give credit to that previous carpenter tho - the factory left that space under the liquor cabinet covered, inaccessible, and useless. He exposed it.

I squared up the opening and cleaned it up. Next, I removed the doors from the liquor locker and dedicated them to one of the spaces forward (to the left of) of the TV cubby. This left a dilemma: Now I needed two more doors to cover the other space ahead of the TV cubby, and doors for the liquor locker. I had much earlier interrupted two doors on their way from some other boat here at the marina to the dumpster. They would work with some modification. I disassembled them, cut them down to size and reassembled them. Here's a test fit, and a chance for us to see how things were going to look when done.

Next, I made two doors from scratch, using more salvaged teak. I made up two stained glass panels, intended to evoke Calla lillies, and inset them into the doors. I'm still not convinced that I shouldn't replace them with something made from beveled glass pieces, but that's an evaluation and project for another time. Then sand, and varnish, varnish, varnish.

Final product. Much improved... at least we think so. And the clutter, tho still there (trust me...) is hidden, expanding the interior. (The obsolete tube TV is now an LCD.)


Monday, August 23, 2010

How did all this get started?

It's his fault.

The year was 1968.  I was a grad student wrestling with a thesis, teaching a class, and getting by somehow on $225 per month.  The Vietnam war was raging (the Tet Offensive had just occurred), and the job market was non-existent.  It was a time with little hope.  In this dark era I was struggling to make life decisions.

And then I read an article in the October, 1968 library copy of the National Geographic about a 16-year old kid who had chucked it all and was sailing around the world in a Lapworth 24 (that is not a misprint:  the boat was 24 feet long - one step above a day sailor).  His name was Robin Lee Graham.

I was literally mesmerized.  My gosh, the freedom!!  The only responsibilities he had were to himself.  He could go wherever he wanted, whenever he wanted, with no cost except food.  The tales of mile after mile of turquoise water passing, the motion of the boat, the sun glinting off the waves...  The landfalls on exotic shores with white sand beaches and palm trees were something this Midwestern boy could barely imagine.  I pored over the pictures, trying to glean every scrap of information that would help me to recreate in my mind the feel of living on a boat at sea.

Throughout that cold, dark Indiana winter, as the war news worsened and while rewriting my thesis yet again, I haunted the library, waiting for the next copy of National Geographic, and then the next - hoping for the promised next installment in Robin's story.   Finally in April, 1969, there it was!  Even more of the same, but now romance had been stirred in too.

It was an impressionable time for me - a seed was planted.  I joined the Purdue Sailing club to get an understanding of how one moves with such freedom, using the wind as propulsion.  I even built a boat of my own design to try out the principles I thought I had acquired (it was a dismal failure).

The final installment of Robin's story was delivered in the October, 1970 issue of National Geographic.  He left a boy and returned a man, with more practical knowledge and experience than most people will ever attain.  With the conclusion of Robin's story, I turned to looking at Yachting, and that new-fangled Sail magazine.  With no experience at all, I found myself evaluating boats and soaking up salt water lore just like you might expect a dry-land Midwestern boy would do.

Then (condensing the story slightly) I met Jane and we married, and I signed on with ALCOA in the Saint Louis area.   We moved to Belleville Illinois - still an awfully long way from salt water.

But the seed was quietly growing, out of sight.  One hot summer day, Jane and I loaded up our ratty 1961 Ford van and headed over to Carlyle Lake, a large reservoir an hour or so east of us.  We camped out on the lake, and walked the docks, oogling the boats (something we still do at every opportunity).  And we sort of got to talking to a broker, who just happened to have a brand new Cal 21 for sail sale.  Buying that boat was for me as natural an act as breathing (and perhaps as involuntary as well).  I remember thinking at the time that this boat was only 3 feet shorter than Dove, Robin's boat.

The seed had blossomed.

I still have those three issues of National Geographic, here onboard Eolian.

And that guy at the top of the page?  That's the modern-day Robin Graham, in a photo from an article in, yep, Yachting magazine.

Friday, August 20, 2010

iPhone App Recommendation #2

All of you iPhone-equipped sailors out there, listen up. (And you non-sailors too!)

I know I have already recommended one iPhone app to you, and therefore I am probably exceeding my annual allotment of these, but I just can't *not* post about this one.

Have you ever wanted to take a picture of a scene, but found that you just can't get it all in? I know this has happened to sailors - we frequently have spectacular horizon-spanning sunsets to capture. You may even have looked into software that lets you tie individual images together into a panorama. But all of the solutions require a lot of tedious work, defining points of correspondence in each of the images that work to match up the images. You could easily spend hours making one. 

Have I got the answer for you! The app is called AutoStitch Panorama, and it costs an amazing $2.99. Here's how it works:
  • You take a series of pictures from the same point. there must be some overlap between them.
  • You tell AutoStitch to use them.
That's it!

AutoStitch then takes care of, completely automatically:
  • Arranging the pictures in the correct places in the final image (in other words, there is no need to specify the pictures in any particular order to AutoStitch)
  • Finding points of correspondence between the pictures
  • Distorts/undistorts the individual images as necessary
  • Corrects exposures in the pictures (this one is especially important, since some pictures will likely be taken into the light and others with the light at your back)
  • Blends the adjusted pictures into a final panorama.
(Sorry about the post in the middle of the picture)
The results are amazing. Compare this with my earlier effort (which was so tedious that I never repeated it).  All pictures displayed on this blog are thumbnails; this is definitely one which you will want to click on to see the original, full-sized version.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How to: Climb a mast

D%*$@ birds!

This weekend, sailing along close-hauled, I was watching the wind direction indicator, and was amazed at my ability to keep the boat exactly on the right course.  While congratulating myself, some doubt began to creep in.  Am I really that good?  Able to track even the slightest wind shift?  Then I noticed that the wind vane was missing from the mast head.  Cue ego deflation.  Some plus-sized bird must have sat on it and broke it off.  So it wasn't my ability after all - without the vane, the sensor was reporting a constant wind direction.

So now I have to make a trip up the mast, to the mast head.  You probably have had to do it too.

Jane watches me, up at the top
There are some irrational fears (and some rational ones) that I have to get past to do this.  At the top, I am 6 and a half stories above the water.  It is crowded - all the stays, shrouds and halyards terminate there.  And yet, working at the very top of the mast, there is nothing at all around me.  Nothing to reach out and grab, should I want to.  No mistakes are allowed.

I've written about mast climbing before, but I've never gone into the gear I use.

Petzl ascender
First, I securely cleat off a halyard which passes over the masthead.  I want one that does not depend on a pin to stay up there.  (Do you trust your own knots?)   Then, I use a pair of Petzl ascenders (think: rope clutch on steroids) to climb the uncleated end of the halyard.

Both ascenders on the
halyard - ready to climb
My bosun's chair (it has an integral seat belt) hangs from one ascender via a locking carabiner.  From the second ascender hangs (via another locking carabiner) a line with two foot loops in it.  The footloop ascender is on the halyard below the bosun's chair ascender.

To climb, I stand up in the foot loops and raise the seat ascender.  Then I sit down in the seat and raise the footloop ascender.  In this way, there is always on ascender clamped on the halyard - most of the time there are two, except when one is being moved.  Ascenders are impossible to release when there is tension on them, so it is not possible to release the wrong one by accident.

Interlocked loops
bracing against the mast
The footloop is really two interlocked loops - this keeps them from spreading out, and allows me to prop myself against the mast.  (I always wear these white tennis shoes when climbing, to avoid marking the mast.)

Where's the vane?
Yup, the vane is gone - it used to be on the top.  D*&% fat birds! Now the fun starts - how to find another mast head transducer for a Standard Horizon WS1.

Update: I am making a new vane.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Boom Brake Bucks (not)

There is a nice bit on inexpensive boom brakes over at Boat Bits.  I have been wanting to pursue a boom brake on Eolian, but the cost of the Wichard et al solutions was very off-putting.  This is the answer - we will be going forward with it on Eolian.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ghost town

It's a ghost town out at the end of G Dock

When we left the dock on Thursday evening, we were the only boat between Black Opal and the view of the Olympics to the west.  Since then, for the last two days they have essentially been an "end tie".  Perhaps because of the wonderful weather (highs in the low 90's forecast for the weekend), everybody is out.

Poulsbo morning

We are in Poulsbo, one of our favorite anchorages.  Tho it is quiet this morning, it was blowing 20 kt when we anchored yesterday afternoon.  With the heat, that felt pretty good.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Propane tank coverup

This post appeared originally on Small Boat Projects.

The propane tanks on Eolian are aluminum, and can stand the sun and rain. But then there is the salt spray, and the effects of sun and rain on the hoses, fittings and the propane solenoid valve. A cover was called for. And besides, no one wants to see a naked tank.

I laid it out, and Jane sewed it (we work as a team). It was made out of some Sunbrella scraps we had, so there were some unusual effects - like the nicely-made seam at the bottom, and the odd placement of some Common Sense fasteners. The only tricky part was the tapered top. I laid this out as if it were a mast boot, cut in half, with a straight section inserted between the halves. There is a drawstring in the bottom to keep it in place in a blow, and it is slit up the back to accommodate the propane hose.

And now there is no untoward nakedness. You can stop averting your eyes.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

iPhone App Recommendation #1

This post appeared originally on Small Boat Projects.

You have paper charts on board, covering the area you cruise.

And you have a GPS (well, most of you do). Often, that GPS is a chartplotter.  So, those paper charts don't come out of the drawer too much, do they?  You have them on board as a backup against the failure of the GPS, right?  Are they current (probably not)?  And have you checked the price of paper charts lately?  Wow.

To get this straight right up front, I am not advocating abandoning the paper charts.  They will work if the GPS dies, if you lose all electrical power on board, and even if the constellation of GPS satellites shuts down due to EMP.

Another (I am a belt & suspenders kind of guy) navigation backup is available to you if you have an iPhone (and perhaps other smart phones too, but I haven't checked).  For less than the price of a single paper chart, you can have all the charts for a huge region in the palm of your hand.  The Navionics app for the iPhone cost me $9.99, and that price included all the charts for the West Coast of the US, Alaska (including the north slope) and Hawaii. 

These are excellent vector graphics charts, and include tides, currents, optional satellite overlays, and the ability to record tracks and store waypoints and routes.  Everything is on the iPhone (except the satellite overlays), so once you have downloaded the app, no internet connection/cell phone coverage is needed for use.

Where else are you going to get a chartplotter for $10?  And all the charts??

If you have an iPhone, you should have this one.  It really is a no brainer.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I learned about sailing from that: Small places

It was 1998, and I was living aboard Eolian by myself - Jane was still over in Spokane with Adam, he in his senior year of high school. I was on a mission of exploration, trying to find out everything about Eolian that I could, and in particular, what was all the "stuff" in all of the compartments (it is a rare boat that does not come with an assortment of surprises stored away in hidden places, compliments of the Previous Owner).

I had pulled up the floorboard that covers the space by the mainmast step. There was all kinds of "stuff" in there! A spare prop, an anchor, a grappling hook... and what is that behind the prop? Well, from my position, lying on the floor with the upper half of my body more or less down into the compartment with a flashlight, I couldn't quite tell.

So I slithered a little more forward and was almost able to reach the prop. But not quite. Just a little bit more...

Uh oh... Too far!

Now I was over-balanced, with more of my body down in the hole than on the floorboards above. And with no way to back up. It was like a Chinese finger trap, every move I tried made things worse, ending up with me farther and farther into the compartment, headfirst.

I was alone on the boat, and there was no one around to hear me shout for help.

I finally stopped struggling, and managed to quell the rising panic. I'm not sure how long I hung there, with my hands too far from the bottom of the compartment to push myself back out. It certainly seemed like long enough, with my body blocking the light from above (and the air!), seeing with only a flashlight, and the blood rushing to my head, trying to figure a way out of this trap. I had visions of Jane coming to the boat 6 months later, only to find my skeleton dangling half in and half out of the hole.

Eventually I came up with the plan to rearrange the contents of the compartment, stacking the things I could reach on top of those I couldn't, until I had a platform high enough to use to push myself back up out of the hole. It worked.

  • This is the reason that in industrial settings there is the concept of a "Confined Space" and a "Confined Space Permit". You may not enter a Confined Space without a permit, and the permit requires various safety considerations, usually including someone to pull you out if necessary. This certainly constituted a Confined Space.
  • Always consider the whole job before starting - including provisions for retreat.

Years ago when I was a kid, I used to read Flying magazine. I particularly enjoyed a long-running series of articles entitled "I Learned About Flying From That." Each article was written by a pilot, who humbly admitted to having made a mistake, and then having lived, told about it in the hopes that others would not have to make the same mistake. I thought then that it was a good format, and I still think that now. This series of postings is my attempt to recreate that article series with a new subject and new technology.

(If you would like to help others to learn from your mistakes, please send your article to: WindborneInPugetSound at gmail dot com)


Friday, August 6, 2010

How to: Replace vinyl windows

Nothing outlasts Sunbrella.

Eventually, those vinyl windows in your hatch covers will die - turn yellow or brown and go opaque, long before the Sunbrella is finished. Hatch cover vinyl seem to be far worse at this than the vinyl in dodgers - perhaps because the sun strikes it more directly. Ours had gotten pretty bad.

Old and new vinyl

So Jane went to Seattle Fabrics and got some new vinyl. Now the $64 question is how to actually do the job, without losing the shape of the fabric? Once the old vinyl is removed, there would be nothing to hold things in place. The standard technique is to sew the new vinyl in behind the old vinyl, and then cut the old vinyl back to the inside edge of the opening. We did not like this because:
  • Jane's machine would never sew thru two thicknesses of vinyl
  • Now the edge will twice as thick as it was before. Imagine doing this a third time, or even a forth.
So we needed a different process. We devised this one (we work as a team on this kind of thing):
    Carefully cut between the seams
  • On the back side, use a pair of scissors to cut the old vinyl between the two lines of stitching. Be careful to cut only the vinyl, and not the folded-under Sunbrella.
  • Pull the threads and remove the outer strip of old vinyl, leaving the inner seam in place to hold things in register. If the inner seam lets go because the thread is too rotten, use seam tape (basically just adhesive on a transfer back) to stick the seam in place.
  • Use tape loops to stick
    the new vinyl to the old
  • Lay the new vinyl in place. Make a bunch of tape loops and stick the new vinyl to the inside surface of the old vinyl - to keep things lined up while sewing. (We tried a lot of things here - this was by far the easiest.)
  • Resew the outer seam, fastening the new vinyl in place
  • Now from th outside, cut the inner stitching and remove the old piece of vinyl completely. The shape is retained because the new vinyl is already stitched in place
  • Sew the inner seam.

This worked flawlessly for us.

Walking foot attachment
Oh, and by the way, if yours is not a "walking foot" machine, you will probably have a lot of trouble keeping things lined up and moving correctly under the presser foot. The feed dogs, pulling on only the bottom layer of fabric, want to move the bottom layer with respect to the upper layers, which are dragging on the under side of the presser foot. We'd recommend you get one of these inexpensive "walking foot" attachments. It is not actually a walking foot, more like a "dragged foot", but it works wonderfully. I paid $24 for ours from Gone Sewing on eBay. They were very helpful in making sure that I had the right attachment for Jane's machine (the attachments are available for most machines).

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Why does a holding plate work?

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
- Arthur C. Clarke, 1961 (Clarke's third law)

A holding plate is a magical device that keeps your refrigerator or freezer cold, even when the refrigerator compressor is not running. How does that work?

Here's the advanced technology behind the magic: The holding plate is a tank, filled with a water-propylene glycol mixture. The refrigeration system's evaporator coils (the source of the cold) are immersed in the liquid in the tank.

When the compressor is running, the coils get very cold, and begin to freeze water out of the glycol solution, eventually creating a kind of "slushy" inside the tank.

But wait... why doesn't the tank burst when the water freezes? The answer to that is the phase diagram for water/propylene glycol mixtures.

(Aside: why propylene glycol? Propylene glycol and ethylene glycol - which you probably know as automotive anti-freeze - are very closely related chemically. But, while ethylene glycol is a deadly poison, propylene glycol is a food additive. Both taste sweet, BTW.)

A sketch of the water/propylene glycol phase diagram is below:

The way to look at this diagram is like this.  The horizontal axis is delineated in % glycol, meaning that it runs from 100% water on the left, to 100% glycol on the right.  The vertical axis is temperature.
And there are two horizontal curves here:
  • An upper one which has a dip in it.  This line marks the point, at any given composition, where freezing begins.  Above the line, everything is liquid; below it, a solid phase has begun to form.  (The lowest part of the dip is at a composition of 60% propylene glycol, called the eutectic point.)
  • A flat one at -60° C.  Below this line, everything is solid.  Above it, there is some liquid present (except at the 60% glycol eutectic, where the upper and lower lines meet).
Now notice that at any composition away from 60%, the line, representing the melting/freezing point of the mixture, rises. Basically, this says that the best you can do in preventing freezing with propylene glycol and water is -60°C, at 60% glycol. This is a case where while some is good, but more is not better. (Not surprisingly, the water/ethylene glycol phase diagram is similar - putting too much antifreeze into your car won't help things...)

Next, notice that under the freezing point curve to the left of the 60% eutectic point, there is an area labeled "H2O(s)+lq". This means that for compositions and temperatures that fit here, what is present is a mixture of solid H2O (ice) and liquid. If you were to take a mixture of water and propylene glycol with less than 60% glycol and slowly lower the temperature (moving straight down on the chart), pure water ice crystals would form in the mixture. As water is removed from the solution by freezing, the concentration of glycol in the remaining liquid phase rises, and the subsequent temperature needed to freeze more water out of solution continues to fall... until the concentration of the remaining mixture is 60% glycol, at which time the remaining liquid all freezes solid at once.

(For completeness, to the right of the eutectic point, the unmarked area between the curves should say, "Glycol(s)+lq".  That is, for compositions greater than 60% glycol, what freezes out of the mixture is propylene glycol, not ice.  But still it is a slush.)

This shows why your holding plates don't burst. Until you get down to a temperature of -60°C, there will always be a slushy mixture of ice and water/glycol solution present.

So how much propylene glycol should you use?  I spoke at length with a Technautics engineer at a boat show about this.  He told me that Technautics uses 10% glycol in holding plates destined for refrigerators, and 15% in plates for freezers. So that's what I put in mine.

There.  Now you have the technology - magic is no longer required.


Monday, August 2, 2010


Very early one recent morning at anchor, that was the sound that awakened me.

To a boat owner, this is not a welcome sound.  When you are just waking up, these are the kinds of thoughts that run thru your head:
  • Someone has drifted into us (drug their anchor, miss-judged their scope, etc); damage has ensued
  • A log is drifting past the hull (does it have rusty spikes in it?); damage has ensued
  • We've hit bottom on an outgoing tide; damage has ensued
  • ...; damage has ensued
Nothing in that list has a happy outcome.  So as you might guess, I lept out of the bunk and went up on deck, dressed nearly as I was at birth, looking frantically all around.


Then I noticed, on the aft deck, a clam, freshly broken.

Gulls and crows have learned this trick:  at low tide, find a clam that you can lift and fly with.  Take it high enough, and drop it onto something hard - it breaks open and you can feast.  In this case it was a crow, who was very displeased with me for throwing away his breakfast, and he told me so.

I ignored him, and went back to bed, thinking that birds deserve way more credit for intelligence than we give them.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...