I know many people think all I really do is sail……..well they are right but I do fish once or twice a week too not to mention taking the time to keep this blog up to date doing the best a lazy person can do. I was here at Francis Case last weekend too but is was simply so pleasant and uneventful, there was simply nothing to really put into the blog. We arrived this week to an abundance of sailboat fuel coursing the river but figured the Marina would get crowded this weekend as it did last weekend so we left into the heavy wind to seek shelter elsewhere without hesitation. We did not discover the great turnout at Dock 44 last weekend until we returned on Sunday to ascertain that nearly everyone who has a slip or a mooring had found their way to the marina. We assumed it would be the same scenario this weekend but we returned on Sunday to a very vacated marina. I cannot imagine people would have something better to do.
I made it through another June 9th and for me, it has become one of the toughest damn days of the entire year. I remember when my boys were very young, we went on a camping trip where we met my Mother, and her small tribe, who immensely enjoyed camping. We actually had the opportunity to camp with her on several occasions but I remember this one the most because it was the last time we were afforded such a fortune. It was in the summer of 1994 and we met at one of the Corps Of Engineers’ campgrounds in Yankton, S.D.
I always thought she camped kind of funny but at least she went so I never gave her too hard of a time about her methods of posturing in the “wilderness”. A couple of her favorite places were the Red Barn Campground in Tea, S.D. and Yogi’s Jellystone Park off the Eros Road Exit on I-90 only a few miles outside of Sioux Falls, S.D. if this gives you any clue as to why I did rib her a just a little (neither has a lake). We talked her into this trip to Yankton where we could camp right on the shores of an actual lake. This was (as far as I was concerned at the time) the only way to really camp. This is back when my three boys and I would sleep on lawn chairs in sleeping bags under the stars and pull a tarp over us if in rained. I remember she had insisted on cooking and wanted to make taverns on the open fire in a cast iron skillet. I remember it being mid to late June but the exact date escapes me.
I do remember though we ended up camping in the midst of one of the nastiest may-fly hatches I have ever seen and I have seen many. No, may-flies do not always hatch in May so I am unsure how those dirty buggers were bestowed the with name of such a pleasant month. As usual camping trips go for our group, dinner was started at dark because if it is light out, we got things to do and see. As the sun went down and we wandered back to camp, the may-flies were there waiting in droves and seemed to have some kind of need to dive bomb the tavern meat as it cooked in the skillet. We tried to keep them picked out of there and we did manage to make sure the kids did not see but there is no way we made total containment on those repulsive critters.
They actually were not half bad once they were seasoned properly and we all survived the sandwiches. Mom died on June 9th the following year in 1995 and it just never seems to get any easier. I do not visit her grave often because I know she is not really there. She lives yet in the hearts, minds and even the faces of those who loved her. Not a days goes by she doesn’t cross my mind because of those who were touched by her life in one way or another. She actually visits me almost weekly in my dreams and offers some encouragement from time to time but most of the time simply has a question to ask me. I could use the encouragement a whole lot more than the questions but I guess I won’t complain.
Saturday night, she stopped by to tell me the anchor was holding just fine. Like any kid, I simply would not take her word for it and got up to look. Several times, as a matter of fact, and it held all night in textbook fashion. A friend had told me to add more chain rode between the anchor and the rope. I did have some chain there but added an additional eight feet of some heavy chain. Last weekend was so calm and uneventful that it just was never put to the test at all. This weekend, we anchored a bit more in the open just to see and when the wind cut loose Saturday night, I was happy with the results. Even though Mom reassured me that everything was good, I do imagine it will behoove me to still take a gander from time to time to make sure we are not on an unintended sail somewhere.
I do my best to escape the cell coverage areas but with expanded services, it is hard. It is easier to find a place to hang out naked all weekend and not be seen by anyone than it is to avoid cell coverage. I have come to the conclusion the only real way to circumvent the cell phone is to not carry one. So far, I am liking this albeit I know there are a few who are unhappy with me about the whole thing. Saturday night I did happen to catch three catfish which was more than I could use so I tossed one back and pulled my lines from the water. I finished a book about a couple who sailed from Sandusky, Ohio out the river system and Erie Canal and down to Key West and back. The guy was a little spoiled looking for Chinese cuisine and docks with showers. I deemed him a bit of a sissy and went back to filling my air mattress and making strawberries and fresh home made whipped cream before turning in for the night.
Sunday morning, the wind was howling nearly non-stop at 25 knots with gust to nearly 30 knots. I was unsure of the exact direction out on the open water but I knew we were in for a ride back to the marina. Before we even raised the anchor, I donned the storm jib which is a handkerchief sized hunk of canvas we hank onto the fore-stay in an attempt to have a little steerage in some of these vicious winds. As we wandered to the open water, the wind was straight astern which is something I have always had just a small amount of trouble with. I like to blame the boat but I am always looking for the chance to see what I can do to improve on the skills I obviously lack.
Today, going downwind was fun and I did perhaps learn a little something today. Flying a little storm jib with the rollers hitting about fifteen degrees off from straight behind us, I had Boomdiada skimming about as fast as she has even gone without (I feel) any risk at all of broaching as we have done in the past. By the way, broaching is not the way to win any popularity contests with the crew (man, woman, nor puppy dog). I have been out in much more beastly conditions and no doubt will not hesitate to go out in worse circumstances another day. The trick I guess is remembering what I learned today, putting it to use and maybe even attempting to improve on it even if it is only a little.