Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Nantucket part II The Surveyors

Almost a dozen volunteers gathered in Oyster Bay, last Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009, to help survey the condition of the Nantucket, click for more info.
Robert Mannino,, on the right, and a marine surveyor,
after making an inspection of the interior of the lightship, took out a dinghy, guided by ropes from the Nantucket's deck above
and paddled around the entire hull of the lightship, assessing the condition of its  waterline.
Beginning on the port side, the surveyor tapped the steel hull with a ball-peen hammer.
Previously, that morning, the crew pumped a huge quantity of  rain water from the ship.  Pumping the water out of the bilge
lifted the hull, and thus revealed the previous waterline, which better exposed it for the surveyor.  It also righted the ship which had been listing slightly to port.
They worked around the lightship,
as they were guided and kept from floating out into the harbor,
by William Perks, on the deck.
He moved the guide rope around the bow of the lightship,
so that the volunteers in the dingy could examine the starboard side of the hull.

Perks throws the guide rope to the dinghy at the conclusion of the inspection.
Volunteers cleverly brought the dinghy up to the waiting truck above.

It was a wonderful day, cold, but clear, and all went well.
 Robert Mannino with a young lightship enthusiast, and a volunteer.
Mr. Mannino mentioned that next month, January, a tugboat will tow the Nantucket to Boston, a trip that will take about 30 hours.  This inspection was necessary to comply with Coast Guard rules about transporting the lightship on that voyage.
 A narrow metal gangplank was used with an outstretched rope,
 which even I mastered several times that morning, the water about 8 or 10 feet below and really cold!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sunken Meadow Board Walk on a December Day

It was 27 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday morning, but the sun was brightly shining.  Driving back from picking up a special plumbing part, in Bayshore, for the upstairs bathroom, which no one else had, I decided to go all the way to the end, on the Sagtikos Parkway, to Sunken Meadow State Park.

There are New York State Parks located on the ends of North-South parkways, as designed by the famous civil engineer, Robert Moses.

On winter days there are no fees to enter the park, and hardly any cars in the paring lots.

The entryway is sculpted out of red bricks, in very beautiful patterns. 

 Original old doors and hardware are locked shut.
The handsomely crafted ticket booths are closed up for good.

Usually my walk starts to the right.

There are  tangles of trees and vines.

There are scrub pine trees which feed and shelter winter birds.

Spent oak leaves reflect the sunlight.  That is not snow, but the whitest sand.

The dunes, looking right, support patches of dune grass.

As you progress down the board walk, one lone walker comes into view.
The railing marks the end of the first stretch, about 1/4 mile, and you touch your elbow to it before you turn.
 As you walk in the other direction, the wind is not helping you by pushing you from the back, but it is fighting you as it whips towards your face.  Dress in a hooded down jacket with a scarf and gloves, and you will feel exhilarated!

There are waves of snow fence shadows to see, and sand that has been patterened and touched by the wind.

Clouds move quickly through the sky.
A ramp leads to the beach.
 The jetty, is  mostly visible, in a lower tide,

which also reveals a glacial erratic.

At the other end of the board walk, touch the railing while you are looking at the cliff and the dunes.

Quite a curious thing happens at this end of the walk way.  Music suddenly starts from nowhere.  Somehow the particular configuration of the pipes and the railing with open ends, in combination with the wind,  starts the concert. 

Take a look at the jetty with sea gulls picking out their food from the surf.
They can glide and hover in the strong wind, appearing suspended in the air.

On the storm weathered beach, a whelk shell buts against an old brick.

Reeds and other debris collect from a higher tide.

Wind marks the sand in ripples.

A wire trash basket is sleeping in the softness of the sand.

The last 1/4 mile marker, indicates that you have walked 1 1/2 liles, from end to end, and now the wind is behind you again.

As you leave the park, you see the flag pole.  Its rope has been hitting the metal pole and clanging the whole time that you have been walking.

Come back another day, even if it will be cold for a long winter. The air here is clear, and clean,  good to push out all of that cabin fever.