Saturday, June 25, 2011

Smoke on the Water

A year ago we were aboard the Dawn Patrol sailing some of North Carolina's beautiful coastal waters alongside the yawl Spartina   --as recalled and re-enjoyed this week in Steve Earley's Log of Spartina.   We had a blast on that 8-day tag-team cruise:  great camaraderie,  great sailing on wonderful rivers and sounds and waterways, learning the art of cruising from Spartina,  enjoying relaxed camping on the Dawn Patrol.  It just doesn't get any better than that.

In recent weeks, folks in many of those wonderful coastal sailing areas have had to cope with wildfire smoke.  Dry conditions and subsequent coastal wildfires have occurred relatively early this year. A haze of smoke has even reached us in central NC on a rare day this month when the winds were strong and SE. 

The "Pains Bay" wildfire viewed from Stumpy Point, NC, on the Outer Banks.   
(Associated Press,
The air quality forecast for this weekend (shown below) makes me glad that SOS and some of the B&B Yacht Design team are in Mystic, Connecticut, for the 20th annual WoodenBoat Show. They will be exhibiting their boats and guiding folks who signed up to build a small sailboat on site.

Mystic Seaport venue  (Bing Maps)

SandyBottom is sea kayaking this weekend off Shackleford Banks.  She may have to cope with some haze but the forecast getting all her attention has been the one that mentioned high winds and big seas.

SandyBottom, et al. kayaking along Emerald Isle toward Shackleford Banks:  June 25th 11:30am. 

Update: SB reported  "no haze,  huge waves, white knuckles going out Bogue Inlet".

Update:    SandyBottom, et al.  at Cape Lookout Lighthouse.   June 26  11:45am.

Meanwhile back here on the home front, sailing in clean air on Jordan Lake looks promising. 

Many coastal locations are dodging the haze, no doubt,  depending on wind directions and speeds.
Forecaste for June 26

Webcam in Oriental, NC.   June 25th at 10:50am.

Where the smoke may drift:   Forecast for Saturday June 25, 2011
(NC Dept of Environment and Natural Resources,  Division of Air Quality )

Where the smoke may drift:  Forecast for Sunday June 26, 2011

Where the smoke may drift:  Forecast for Monday June 27, 2011

Update: One week later...
Where the smoke may drift:  Forecast for July 3-5


Monday, June 20, 2011

Radio Waves on Core Sound

Thanks to my most favorite now-grown-up crew members, the Dawn Patrol will surf the waves with a perfect radio. What a great surprise on Fathers day! 
Eton Emergency Radio Wave Receiver for AM / FM / NOAA Weather & Alerts

Small and light-weight, this is fine multi-purpose gear that pulls its own weight with a photo-voltaic solar panel, hand crank recharging, main rechargeable battery, optional secondary batteries (AAA), USB port for recharging cell phones, auxiliary audio input port, headphone port, optional charging with an AC adapter (not included), 4-led white or flashing-red flashlight, digital tuning of AM/FM/Weather, clock, and alarm clock.

Does it have a fold-out can opener, screwdriver, tweezers, knife blade and spoon-fork?  Well no, but it does remind me of a Swiss Army knife.

Hand cranking the dynamo for 90 seconds provides 15 minutes of radio play. Fully charged, by direct sunlight for 10 hours or by the optional AC adapter for 6 hours, the main rechargeable battery provides 10 hours of radio play --according to the user's guide.

While not water proof, this radio will be happy in our dry cabin and is small enough to fit inside any small drybag that offers about 6" x 6" x 2" of storage.

One of the things I like most about cruising and racing aboard Dawn Patrol is the time spent in natural sound scapes, or silence, away from the media. But there have been times when even the drone of robotic weather reports on our VHF handheld radios was a welcome sound: for example, when we were becalmed cruising on a hot day, or while racing when the sleep-deprived helmsman needed to stay awake during his turn at the helm. AM / FM will be much better, and is much appreciated.

Brilliant idea, Crew! Thanks!

(Perhaps the crew was inspired and informed by reading Steve Earley's blog, Log of Spartina (1), (2). Hey thanks, Steve. You're always an inspiration for sailing.)

--DWSB a.k.a. DAD.