WPSU

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's the End of the World as We Know It

Smoke, just as forecast.  If tomorrow's weather is "cloudy with a chance of meatballs" I'm really gonna worry.
AMA--ask me anything. Miles Johnson asks, "What about the trip has suprised you? Many things, one being, how little cell phone/internet access there is at the coast! (Which is why you haven't heard from us)

SlowBoat left Charleston Tuesday and anchored overnight in a narrow tidal creek.  After dark the horizon heaved with the uneasy glow of reflected streetlights.  In the morning the weather forecast was, "Temperatures in the 50s, wind from the SE at 15 to 20, knots, chance of smoke."
 Chance of smoke?

We'd heard the predictions the world would end on May 21. But someone must have advanced the date. Clearly, it's the End of the World as We Know It.

The crew spent the morning humming the REM standard.  Then, midmorning, while working inside the boat, got a whiff of something burning, and rushed on deck.

 Cap, at the helm, was calm; the recently refurbished engine was humming smoothly. And the sky was a faint blue--no celestial rain of fire and brimstone in sight.  But the horizon WAS gray and fuzzy.  The local meteorologists had factored into their forecast a controlled burn at a nearby state park.

Checked the news, and it was as unsettling as the weather forecast.  Turmoil at our home institutions. PA Governor Tom Corbett proposes to slash state funding to Penn State by 50 percent.  Vivian Schiller is out at NPR. It's the end of the world as we know it . . .

 . . .  and matching our feelings,  it started to rain, a fine mist.

But then the sun came back, and a rainbow sprouted, impossibly low, across the channel, a wide arch of glowing color,  and the light turned the water to liquid silver, and around a bend a pod of dolphins--seven in all--broke the surface.

They headed toward the boat, looping and leaping, and the crew laughed and pointed to the water next to the stern and said, "I want to see a dolphin RIGHT THERE" . . .  and leapt back shrieking as a dolphin instantly materialized beneath her pointed finger.  It hung there for a moment, rolling sideways as if to contemplate its strange new companion.

Wait a minute.  Didn't these guys drop by to say "So long, and
thanks for all the fish!" right before Earth was demolished to make way for a hyperspatial express route?
With the day fading, and with strong winds and thunderstorms in the overnight forecast, SlowBoat cruised on by several anchorages, as being not protected enough. Finally, Cap eased into Minim Creek, just south of Georgetown, South Carolina, where a clump of red maples and sumac promised a bit of a windbreak.

Dropped the anchor a bit too close to the muddy bank, and the strong current quickly pushed the boat sideways, toward the shore, and waves were crashing on our beam, and trees were raking the roof, and it seemed certain the dinghy, which had swung between the boat and the shore, would be crushed, and . . . it's the end of the world as we know it . . .

Goosed the engine and grabbed a boat hook and pushed free of shore, and set the stern anchor, and the bow, at last, swung into the wind . . .   And I feel fine.

More photos coming soon.  And AMA. . . your questions, answered!  Plus, a boat recipe

1 comment:

  1. Just looked over your site and read a few of your posts- wow, what a great adventure! And for a good cause, too. I look forward to reading more and checking out the Latts and Atts article. Be safe!

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