09/03/2007, Top of Point Judith Pond RI
Christa and company (Capt, Tracy and Fernie) sailed yesterday, 9/2/2007 at 0940 from Newport Navy Base bound for Point Judith Rhode Island. I would consider this departure the start of the trip around the planet, even though I have not yet been released from my duties with work. Next Saturday (9/08/07) weather depending is the target date to sail from Point Judith and start making the trek to the Chesapeake Bay.
Anyway, we motored the distance to Point Judith on a beautiful day, little wind but a great day anyway. I am happy to report that all of Christa's systems functioned correctly. I will mention the AIS receiver. That little bugger is pretty cool. As long as a ship is transmitting the data my AIS picks up the information and plots it right on the screen and sounds an alarm when the ship comes within the inner ring. It worked well yesterday for multiple contacts.
Once we arrived in Point Judith pond we did some shuffling around. I had arranged to pick up a mooring from the Narragansett Harbor Master, but the assigned mooring had another boat on it. He was supposed to bug out in the afternoon. We lashed onto a temporary mooring in very shallow water with even more shallow water close aboard. The area is chock full of current and sits right in the middle of the fishing fleet with constant boat movements. I quickly became unstoked about the situation. We moved to a fishing pier where the fleet unloads and loads lobster pots and such to wait for the mooring to shuffle. Well that wasn't to be. The Harbor Master assigned us a mooring far up the top of Point Judith Pond near Silver Springs Marina. It really is lovely up here at the top of the pond, but about an hour transit to the mouth of the Rhode Island Sound and can be a navigational challenge as it is shallow everywhere. I was stationed here in Point Judith in the early 90's and have the advantage of knowing the area which is a great comfort. Even stranger is the spot where we are moored is the same spot I road out Hurricane Bob on a Coast Guard Motor Surf Boat, the 30620 in August of 1991.
The plan is to stick up in this area and watch the weather this week and plan on a Saturday departure with my buddy John. One last thing. A grand fiesta was thrown on A-Dock at the Newport Navy Base on Saturday to give me a send off. I am not used to all the fuss. But I wanted to thank them from the bottom of my heart, my neighbors Mike & Cheryl for putting on the shindig, procuring a large lit palm tree and providing me much joy. They gave me and Christa a fine send off! Thank you!
08/28/2007, Falmouth MA
I've been quite busy these days making my last minute arrangements prior to sailing from Newport to the Chesapeake Bay. I am excited to report that my good bud John Gamble will be coming along for a few days of sailing to help me start the circumnavigation off on the right foot.
The short term plan is to try and move Christa from Newport to Point Judith RI this coming Sunday or Monday. I was able to secure a Narragansett town mooring for a week or so. This would be a great help and it sets up an easy transit down Block Island Sound to transit the "The Race" which is a bottle neck of vigorous current. It is the official beginning of Long Island Sound. John and I have discussed the possibility of sailing offshore and do a straight shot to Cape May. This is still on the table. If we can get 3 or 4 days of decent weather after the passage of a cold front and the tropics are calm we will make the offshore trip.
So this coming labor day weekend will bring yet another flurry of activity. My boat neighbors Mike & Cheryl have organized a departure/end of summer fiesta on the dock for Saturday. A fun time should be had by all. It looks like the weather forecast will hold.
The last thing I wanted to mention is I will attempt, very soon to start updating this blog via the sat phone and xGate email program to give it a good test. I don't think I will be able to attach photo's while using the sat phone to update. Also, when I take off I will start a new photo gallery that is specific to the circumnavigation. Later!
08/21/2007, Holiday Inn Falmouth MA
It works! In my blog post dated 7/24/2007 you can see the Iridium 9505a satellite phone I purchased off ebay. I made the decision not to purchase and install a Single Side Band (SSB) reciever and instead decided to go with the satellite phone set up. Like anything else in life each has its merits and downside. Briefly, the SSB would cost a bit more than the sat phone set up, but then you can use it to send and receive email for free. You can also chit chat with other boats long range on the radio. The downside is that to receive email is not always easy due to atmospherics. The sat phone works anywhere on the planet so sending and receiving email is now a snap plus you have the added comfort of being able to place a phone call anywhere, anytime. For a single hander, if I have a medical problem and need to speak with a doctor I can immediatly. The downside is the cost and I don't have the ability to converse with other boaters long range. Word around the campfire is that much good gouge is passed via SSB regarding weather, anchorages and safety from boat to boat. Hope I made the correct choice. We shall see. But....
What I wanted to pass on was the fact I finally was able to configure xGate email compression program to connect to the computer correctly. Today I sent and received for the first time via the sat phone. It's really cool. The sat phone is connected via a USB serial adapter to the phone. Press send on the email program and it automatically dials the sat phone. The sat phone starts flashing "Data Call". The dialog box in the email program shows the progress. Here is my first transaction log. As you can see it took 1 min 18 seconds to to connect and send and receive.
CMail 16:59:58 Opening connection to xgate.gmn-usa.com
CMail 16:59:58 Connecting to Iridium Direct Connect...
CMail 16:59:59 Dialing Iridium Direct Connect
CMail 16:59:59 Connecting (1)
CMail 16:59:59 PPP Initializing (1)
CMail 17:00:00 PPP Connecting Link (2)
CMail 17:00:22 PPP Negotiating Link (4)
CMail 17:00:24 PPP Authenticating (5)
CMail 17:00:26 PPP Negotiating Network (7)
CMail 17:00:29 Connection Connected (2)
CMail 17:00:29 PPP Connected (8)
CMail 17:00:31 Login main identity
CMail 17:00:33 Sending Mail
CMail 17:00:33 Sending 1 files
CMail 17:00:33 46CB5241018000003.Mail 2353
CMail 17:00:33 Sending mail size = 1159 bytes
CMail 17:00:43 ACK - 46CB5241018000003.Mail
CMail 17:00:43 Done Sending Mail
CMail 17:00:43 Receiving mail for callaire
CMail 17:00:46 Receiving 1 mail messages total size = 5110 bytes
CMail 17:01:14 Receiving 1187692344.M199925 8102
CMail 17:01:15 Delivering /Applications/MaXGate/spool/callaire/1187692344.M199925.Mail
CMail 17:01:15 Done receiving mail for callaire
CMail 17:01:15 Mail transaction complete
CMail 17:01:15 Hanging up...
CMail 17:01:15 Finished.
I have no idea if this is slow or fast or average. But I plan on learning much more about the service. The image is a screen shot taken from the Global Marine Networks website. They have been very good in the support department. They actually pick up the phone. More to follow!
08/17/2007, East Providence RI
As you may know from my earlier post regarding hurricane preparations, I am a little paranoid about the buggers. I start most day's with a quick stop by the National Hurricane Center website and then surf over to intellicast.com to check out the sat photo's to see about early developement.
Anyway, I loaded this GRIB file, taken from my GPSNAVX nav program and coverted it to a google earth file. I hate to say it because I don't want anyone to get whacked, but I hope Dean keeps on its current track!
08/17/2007, East Providence RI
Hello..I have been recovering from last Sunday's trot along the shores of Cape Cod. I did well and am pleased with said results. Last year I finished in 1 hour 1 min and 16 seconds and this year I bested last year with a run time of 57 mins and 47 seconds! Not bad considering I recently left my 30's astern. But more importantly because of many folks generous nature I was able to raise $1700.00 for the Dana-Farber Cancer Foundation. I ran with the Dana-Farber team and between all 59 runners more than 100k was raised.
This year there were 10,900 runners and again I was caught up in heavy traffic most of the race. In fact I had to walk across the starting line because it's so crowded. Because I did ok last year I was due to start in a group who generally runs at my pace. But when my heat was leaving I was stuck in a porta-john pumping the bilge. So I started out slow. But.....I was able to keep focus and the last two miles averaged a little more than 7 min miles.
The weather was bright and sunny....but hot. It is amazing, once I emerged from the tree lined road along Nobska, I could just feel the sun sapping energy. I am proud that I stuck with it and was able to raise some cash to. The picture was taken right offshore at the finish line. Look closely and you can see all the heads....but few porta-johns!