WATER WATER – Marilyn Armstrong

THE BLACKSTONE RIVER 


The Blackstone is 47 miles long and drops sharply throughout it’s descent from the hill in Worcester to Nantucket Bay. It twists and turns so that if you live in the Valley, you are never more than a quarter of a mile from the Blackstone or one of its tributaries.
There are about 47 dams and waterfalls that were used to power mills and factories. A few have been removed, but most are still standing.

Manchaug dam on the Blackstone

The Mumford in the middle of town

Photo: Garry Armstrong

BLUE KAYAK ON A BLUE DAY BY THE BLACKSTONE 4 – Marilyn Armstrong

July Blues – 4

Early in June, we went to the Blackstone River in Smithfield and met two kayakers. One was setting out in a blue kayak, the other in a red one.

The sun was bright and the blue of the kayak and the man’s blue lifevest reflected in the silky water.

It was a beautiful day and they decided to try paddling upriver. No one goes upriver, but we didn’t know why no one goes upriver. I’m assuming that there’s a falls up there or perhaps too many rocks.

We didn’t stay long enough to see how it went or how far they managed to paddle.

The blue Kayak

Blue sky, blue kayak and of course, blue water.

A FEW PICTURES FROM HOUSE AND SHORE – Garry Armstrong

I took most of the pictures. Marilyn was off-duty this time. There are a lot more, but this is a little taste of our weekend with Tom and Ellen.

We didn’t go out because the sea was a bit high, but we had a fine time just hanging out in the marina.

Cleaning the boat

Still cleaning the boat

On the dock – Ellin’s in blue

Along the dock — Can you spot Tom?

A little cloud over the Curley’s house

MONOCHROME WATER – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: In or On Water

A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE – WATER, WATER, WATER – Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo a Week Challenge: Water


Living surrounded by water, to no one’s surprise, most of my pictures involve water. Water in lakes and ponds, water flowing over fall and dams. I don’t entirely know where to start.

Dams? Streams? Ponds? Ocean?

I suppose, this being the Blackstone River Valley, it would have to be the river, its dams, canal, tributaries, ponds.

Photo Garry Armstrong – At the Canal

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Photo: Garry Armstrong

At Whitins pond …

At River Bend

Blackstone Gorge – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Bridge over the Blackstone

Summer on the Mumford

Swans in pairs on the pond

The dock at River Bend

September by the Blackstone

I think I’ll stop now. Because there really are so many … not to mention volumes from Tom and Ellin’s boat and marina. And of course, the beaches and docks …

RAGTAG DAILY PROMPT # 68: SUMMERTIME PLAY – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP # 68: PLAY


It’s hot. It’s humid.

It’s summer and the only thing to do is get wet, stay wet, and wait for the cooler weather to come!

Ready! 

Set! 

Jump! 

WET!

ANOTHER BOAT ADVENTURE- BY ELLIN CURLEY

Traveling to Martha’s Vineyard By Boat

Our friend, Deb, takes her boat to Martha’s Vineyard every year and lives on a mooring there for at least a month. This is her happy place. She can telecommute – so she’s very lucky, too.

Recently divorced, she can’t make the 140 mile trip on her 40-foot power boat by herself. So we volunteered to go with her and get her there safely. It’s great to see friends living their dreams.

This is Deb’s boat, Reverie

DAY 1

Deb’s radar tower was damaged. It was supposed to be fixed weeks ago. It wasn’t. We couldn’t make the trip without radar. Endless delays left her with a promise to get it fixed by 8 AM this morning – two hours before we wanted to leave! Miraculously, the marine repair crew came through this time and we were ready to roll on time.

Deb and Tom at the helm

We headed out in beautiful, sunny weather and enjoyed glossy seas the whole way. We drove for 8-½ hours, with Tom and Deb taking turns driving the boat.

Underway, leaving CT

We picked up a mooring at Block Island and watched an awesome sunset over the water. Then we cooked a late dinner. The only mishap of the day was some spilled butter in the oven from the peach cobbler. The cabin filled with smoke and we had to open the doors and windows to keep the smoke alarm from going off.

Sunset at Block Island

DAY 2

This morning, Deb took her dog to the shore in the dinghy for a walk.

Deb and Rosie in the dinghy

She came back with award-winning, amazingly light and airy donuts from a well-known local donut shop. We were looking forward to these donuts since the last time we had them! These donuts made the 8-½ hours on the water worthwhile. That’s how good they are!

We enjoyed a quiet morning on the water with our coffee and donuts.

We stopped to get gas before we headed out so we got a glimpse of the Block Island waterfront. The rest of the day was as beautiful and calm as the day before.

leaving Block Island

While we are underway, I love lying down on the sofa and feeling the vibrations of the engine. I also get to enjoy the gentle rocking of the boat as she moves through the water. The sounds are wonderful too. — the hum of the engine and the lapping of the waves against the hull.

The lapping of the waves is even more pronounced and soothing when we’re on a mooring. They lull me to sleep at night.

Sailboat we passed en route to Martha’s Vineyard

We get to Martha’s Vineyard and search for our mooring in the mooring field. It’s beautiful to see all the boats dotting the water. The houses on shore all around us are beautiful too. Taking lots of photos!

We decide to go to town for dinner. There’s a water taxi that takes you to shore if you don’t want to use your dinghy. The taxi drivers are very skilled. They maneuver their boat sideways next to yours and line up the boats so you can get on and off the taxi without falling in the water. The drivers are also super friendly. You always seem to end up in a conversation with other riders as well, so the whole experience is quite engaging.

Deb getting off water taxi

We end up at an atmospheric crab shack right next to the water in the harbor of Edgartown. Our view is a ‘parking lot’ for all the dinghies that people drive to shore from their boats in the mooring field.

We have a fun dinner and watch some TV when we get back to the boat. Lovely, but uneventful.

Tom and me at dinner

DAY 3 – Travel Day

After a relaxing morning, today is all about getting home without a boat.

Our trip will involve many different modes of transportation and close to six hours. First, we take the water taxi to shore where we get a land taxi to the ferry depot on the other end of Martha’s Vineyard, in Oak Bluffs.

After close to two hours on the high-speed ferry, we pick up our rental car and drive the two plus hours home. We stop at our marina to pick up my car, which we left there when we boarded Deb’s boat.

High-speed Ferry

And we’re home! Great, frenzied greeting by the dogs after two days away. Now we’re back to normal after a successful trip.

And I can go through all the pictures I took and sit down and post my blog!

THE LOVE OF THE WATER – BY ELLIN CURLEY

What is it about water that so many people find endlessly fascinating and soul soothing? People pay top dollar to live in homes that have a view of water – any water – ocean, lake, pond, marsh, stream. Prime vacation spots are often on, in or near the water.

I love the sound of our backyard mini waterfall. I can also sit and look at it for hours. The sound of waves lapping onto the shore have been recorded innumerable times for relaxation tapes, sleep aids and comfort for newborns.

 

People also love the feel of water; pushing through the fingers, falling onto the hand, resisting a closed palm, like in swimming. People walk with their feet in the water at beaches and swim anywhere they can, both under the water and on top. There are a plethora of gadgets to help you play in the water, from inner tubes to noodles, paddle-boards, beach balls, etc. There are also too many water sports to even try to list.

96-SunriseWalkNIK-CR-1

There is a theory that our obsession with water is rooted in our time in our mother’s womb. As fetuses, we float in the uterus in a protective amniotic fluid, gently rocked as our mothers move. We may even hear the sounds of swooshing water. Which could explain the universality of humans’ love affair with water.

But it doesn’t explain why only some people seek the water in many different aspects of their lives.

Personally, we choose to live in the woods — but we own a boat. Listening to water slapping against our hull is our version of Nirvana. Our boat is big enough so we’re not close to the waterline when on-board.

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So we have an inflatable dinghy that we drive around. In that, we are as close to the water level as you can get, like in a canoe or a rowboat. I can’t resist putting my hands in the water and opening my fingers as we ride through the water. I love the sound of the little boat pushing through the water, punctuated by the percussion bursts of waves breaking against its sides.

72-ct-Marina_17

I don’t have any earth-shattering conclusions to make. I’m sure there are research studies out there on the subject. It’s just that I’m on my boat enjoying being on the water and wondering why it is so satisfying for me. I had a swimming pool and a pond during summers growing up but no one in my family went to beaches or liked boats. We were city folks who ‘roughed it’ in the countryside of Fairfield County, CT during our summer vacations.

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So I have no family history or childhood memories to fall back on, except the pool and the pond. Maybe that, combined with my primal connection with amniotic fluid, is enough.

2018 BOATING SEASON BEGINS – BY ELLIN CURLEY

2018 BOATING SEASON BEGINS – BY ELLIN CURLEY

We got our boat in the water right on time this year, in early May. But the weather wasn’t acting like spring. It was rainy and cold a lot. Tom didn’t care. He’d go sit on the boat in the rain. He says, “It’s a boat. It’s waterproof!” That’s not for me. I stayed home while Tom went and sat on the boat in the lousy weather.

Now it’s feeling like summer and I’m getting into the rhythm of boating. Some days we just go to the marina for a few hours, often without the dogs. But when there are several nice days back to back, we pack up the dogs and move to the boat. It’s like going to a floating beach house.

Living on the boat feels like a vacation. We’re only a half hour away from home. So in some ways, it makes no sense that we feel like it’s such a big and positive change from our everyday life.

But there’s something cozy and fun about living in a mini house. The small kitchen and bathroom are challenges – but fun challenges. Cooking on the small three burner stove often has to be done in installments because I can’t fit three pots on the stove at once. I can’t boil pasta, make sauce and cook meatballs at the same time as I do at home.

Creative juggling gets the job done – eventually.

We grill a lot at home. But we aren’t allowed to use a grill on our boats at the marina. Instead, there’s a communal grill for each dock. You often have to wait your turn to get to it, so we don’t rely on grilling too much on the boat. We tend to order out or go out to eat more. It’s part of the sense of being on vacation when you don’t have to cook as much as you do at home.

Since we are all living in a smaller space on the boat, we end up spending more time together with the dogs than at home. At home, the dogs spend a lot of time outside in good weather. And they love to go from room to room, sofa to sofa. On the boat, there’s only one sofa for them to crash on. And that’s where I spend most of my time.

While we do similar things on the water that we do at home, such as reading and writing, it feels different on the water. Among other things, the dock is a more social environment than in our rather isolated house in the woods. When boats go out or come in, everyone rushes to help. It’s dock etiquette. There is a very strong current in the river at the marina, so getting in and out of our slips can be a tricky affair.

After helping a boat in or out, the people on the dock hang out and chat. The same thing happens when we walk the dogs. We end up chatting with people on their boats as we traverse the dock to get the dogs to the parking lot and the dog walking area.

Then there are the invitations for drinks and the time spent relaxing on each others’ boats. Most things are impromptu, spur of the moment affairs. You never know who will be on their boats when you’re there.

We recently had a wake-up call, reminding us that boat travel can be dangerous. Our good friend took her boat out in bad seas. She got banged around so much, her swim platform literally broke in half and her radar unit broke away from its hinges. If the swim platform had come off ITS hinges, the boat would have started to take on water and sink in the middle of Long Island Sound!

She was lucky and dodged a major bullet!

imagine a swim platform, like this one, split in half, lengthwise

My friend was very shaken, as were we. When you are alone out on the water, you are dependent on weather and water conditions. And there can be lots of unpleasant surprises. The key to boating safety is knowing when to leave the dock and when to stay put. The go or no-go decision is the most important thing a Captain does.

But no matter how careful and conservative you are, you can get caught in unexpected and dicey conditions. It’s happened to us but we never suffered as much damage to our boat as our friend did. We have had some very rough and scary trips. We’ve reached our destination with things flung all over the boat – furniture, contents of drawers, anything not tied down! I’ve had to crawl along the floor to keep a chair from heading off the boat when our gate broke loose!

Fortunately, I’m very happy on the dock! I don’t need to go somewhere in my beach house in order to enjoy it. I like hanging out at the marina and taking short day trips. Our friends and family are happy with this routine as well. So this is what we do most of the time. It’s not what all boaters do, but it’s fine for us.

WHAT IS THAT SOUND IN THE BASEMENT?

We were watching “Father Brown” on Netflix and in the back of my head, I was hearing a grinding sort of sound. I could not identify it, but it was coming from the basement. I could barely hear it … but it was there. It isn’t the sound our boiler makes and it didn’t sound like the dehumidifier.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Odd sounds in the house always get me investigating. I can’t ignore them. 

So I went downstairs to look around. Aside from realizing that we really are overrun by mice, the sound had stopped. I shrugged and went upstairs, pondering how the mice — which we used to have under control — went so crazy. I think it’s because no one lives downstairs now, so they’ve the run of the place. They are living here, but as far as food goes, they are “ordering out.”

Woods in winter – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Snow starting in early winter

Our Pest Control guy assured us they aren’t eating our food because you can follow the trail of acorns from the trees. Our oak trees could feed a world of squirrels. It turns out, they are already feeding a world of mice.

Living in the woods is wonderful and romantic. It’s also messy and invites many uninvited guests to drop by and stay awhile.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Today, we took Gibbs to the vet. It was his annual visit. He needed to be tested for heart worm, though I know he doesn’t have it. As we were driving home, I noticed all the little streams looked more like real rivers. Everything has overrun its banks.

The Mumford and Blackstone Rivers are full and the dams wide open. Even the usually shallow Whitins Pond is deep and wider than usual.

Manchaug Dam

That was when I realized what that sound was, the one I heard last night. It was a sound I had nearly forgotten because it has been years since I heard it.

It was the sump pump, pushing the water out of the sump under the house.

Flooding!

If we didn’t have a sump, a pump, and French drains, we would be up to our kneecaps in water downstairs. For the first time in more than a dozen years, we are facing the likelihood of flooding in the valley.

We are pretty well prepared for it because when we first moved here, we had some serious flooding issues. Before we even fixed the roof or put up siding, we were adding French drains across the entire front of the house, down the driveway and through the backyard into the woods. The sump and pump came about two years later and we haven’t had any flooding since.

Of course, if the water gets bad enough, nothing will stop it, but we don’t live on the edge of a river — though many people around here live very close to the river. We have a lot of rivers and tributaries and streams and ponds.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

We are a major water source for all of Massachusetts as well as parts of Connecticut and Rhode Island. It is the reason I get so worried when we go through long periods of drought or semi-drought. It isn’t just “our” well. We are all linked to the same underground waterways and rivers. The water belongs to everyone.

WATER, WATERFALL, WHISKERS, WINDOW, WESTWARD, AND WINTER …

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Letter W – Needs to start with W and have two vowels in the word


It’s the middle of the winter, which is a fine “W” word. Along with weather and water and window — an easy peasy collection. At this moment in time, it’s pouring rain and our front yard looks like rice paddies, without rice.

Wires in the winter blizzard – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Wires in the first winter blizzard – Photo: Garry Armstrong

White water at the dam

Sunset facing westward

Window in the kitchen – October’s colors

Tugboat in the water

Wintry weather on the water

Whiskers!

Waterfall at Roaring Dam

It is remarkable how ugly this place can look when the weather changes. Drenching rain removes the snow. Then it removes the grass. Soon, every impression in the ground has become a sucking mud puddle. I have never had less desire to go outside. For anything at all.

WHERE DOES WATER COME FROM?

I am having a conversation on Facebook involving a kid drinking water from a dipper, presumably drinking well water. The question was whether anyone had ever had water from a well.

Many people commented that yeah, they had well water, but they used glasses. Like regular people.

I said: “We have a well.” They were unimpressed. Because apparently only city water is “safe” and wells are dangerous. Everyone has city water these days unless they live in the really super deep rural wherever. Total boonies.

Really? Seriously?

Finally, I pointed out if you don’t have a well, then your town has wells. and you get your water from their wells. And pay them to pump it into your pipes. No one uses an old wooden bucket to get water from a well unless you don’t have electricity. Most places have electricity and everyone uses an electric pump, just like the city, but not as big.

So, to sum it up: Water that comes from your well is just like getting it from the city, but closer. Also, it is better water and typically, free of chemicals.


Marilyn Armstrong In the 1950s you got free glasses with your laundry detergent, so EVERYONE had glasses. If there was a dipper, it was so you could put the water into another container — like, say a pitcher? And by the way, a lot of people have wells for water. I’m just 65 miles outside Boston and everyone around here has a well. If you don’t have a well, then your TOWN has wells, so you get your water from THEIR wells. Seriously, where does everyone think water comes from?


Eventually, I pointed out that we aren’t all that rural. We’re just an hour or so outside Boston and everyone out here has a well. Which is typical of most states in New England. We have an aquifer, so when you need water, you dig a really deep hole and when you find water, install a well pump and hook it to the pipes … and voilà! Water!

That was when I asked them if they understood where water comes from.

We have an artesian well.

Do they think when you hook up to “city water,” that water magically appears through some mystical city apparatus? Do they not understand you are getting water from wells or reservoirs, but no one is “making it”? City water is water. Pumped by the city, from wells or reservoirs. After which, they put chemicals in it and send you a bill. A big bill.

I know the people in our town who get “city water” (you have to actually live in town to get “city water”) pay a bundle for it. And the water is pretty bad.

I keep hearing how daring it is to drink “raw” water. RAW water? What other kind do you drink? You mean … if it isn’t full of chlorine, you shouldn’t drink it? You know, when you buy bottled water? It comes from a well. Like ours. Sometimes, not as good as ours.

Fresh water tastes good. Our water is delicious. Ice cold because our well is deep. Clear as crystal and free of chemicals.


(But … isn’t that … dangerous?)


I haven’t heard a lot about people in the country with wells getting sick from their water. It’s cities where the water is bad.

This was one of the funniest conversations I’ve ever had on Facebook. You all know where your water comes from … right? Just checking.

THE ROMANCE OF COUNTRY LIFE: THE DAY THEY PUMP THE SEPTIC

I had to call the guy who pumps out our septic tank this morning. He was supposed to do it at the end of October, but early November would have been fine. Apparently, he forgot. He has been coming here annually to take care of our personal ecological system since we moved here, so there’s nothing unusual about this request. In fact, he sent me a card to remind me it was “that time of the year” again.

Some time between the changing of the leaves and the falling of the snow, it’s time to pump the septic. It has gotten a bit crispy outside, so it is definitely that time of year. Humorously, today’s word is “sludge” and if what lays at the bottom of that tank isn’t sludge, I don’t know what you would call it. In the course of living here, we have had to replace the well pump twice, once because it got old. The second time because it was hit by lightning.

“What? How does a well-pump that is located 500 feet underground, get hit by lightning?” I asked the insurance guy. That was when we had insurance. Unfortunately, after they replaced the well pump, three computers and the hot water heater — all following one very special electrical storm — they didn’t want to insure us anymore and strangely, neither does anyone else. Pity.

It turns out that the well pump is a magical combination of electricity, iron, and water. It has an almost gravitational effect on the fire from the sky. It isn’t even unusual and the insurance adjuster instantly recognized the problem, though I certainly though it was kind of strange.

We are an artesian well that goes down more than 500 feet. And no matter what anyone says, you need a pump because you have to get the water from the well to your pipes

“Lightning,” he said, nodding. I knew about the lightning, of course because when lightning hits your home or even near your home, it is VERY LOUD. If it sounds like anything in this world, it sounds like your house has been hit by lightning. Not like a gun, a bomb, or an oncoming freight train. Lightning. House shakes. Curls of black smoke rise from your electrical and expensive technological wonders. I don’t care what kind of electrical surge protection you’ve got — a bolt of lightning beats it all to hell and back.

These days, what without insurance, I get palpitations if we have a bad electrical storm. Replacing a destroyed well pump is not a job for amateurs. Pumps are huge, heavy … and living, as they do, deep in the water of your well, they get even heavier. Because water is heavy.

But I digress. The well is part one of the ecosystem. The septic is (pardon the pun), part two and that is the part with which we need to deal today.

Green septic cover is the first sign of spring in a frozen backyard

The Darlings who pump our septic are also the people who service our well. One big family and they live just up the street, which is locally convenient, but makes it hard to figure out the number to call since they all live in one big rambling house on a farm. I have them labeled as Jeff (DON’T CALL JEFF, HE RETIRED) and John (THIS IS THE RIGHT ONE, CALL THIS NUMBER) and David (THE WELL GUY).

If you need a hole dug, they are your guys. The fixers of all home ecosystem management. The ones to call.

So today is indeed sludge and home ecological maintenance day.

The thing is, when we moved here, we were city folk. I never imagined living a life with a well and a backyard sewage system. I thought that somehow, the town took care of all of that. Considering the terrible condition of the water of the town, we are incredibly lucky we have our own water and septic system. Not only would we be paying a ton of money to let the city make a mess of it, but we’d have disgusting fluoridated water! Yuck.

The city’s wells are not in great condition and since they have been digging things up all over town, the water situation has deteriorated and everyone is complaining. We are not complaining. I love our water. Although it is a bit rich in iron ore and makes my white hair turn a little bit orange, it is delicious and my dogs will testify it is the best water ever. Comes from deep underground and it is always icy cold.

Unlike so much of the world, we have great water. And by the end of the day, a clean system, too. Ready to go for another year, barring lightning.

THE CURSED BOAT – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Our first boat was a disaster. One bad experience after another. One large repair bill after another. It’s amazing we continued boating. But we got another boat and we’ve been enthusiastic boaters ever since.

In 2001, Tom and I bought the ten-year old boat we affectionately nicknamed “The Titanic”. It was a 27 foot Carver Santiago power boat. The boat was named “Patron,” after its previous owners, Pat and Ron. We never changed the name and according to boating superstition, that could have been the reason for our bad luck with the boat. (Boaters are very superstitious).

The one good trip we had with the boat, fortunately, was the first. We had to pick the boat up in Massachusetts and drive it back to our home marina in Stratford, Connecticut. We had taken a required boater safety course but had never actually driven a boat. For some reason, we thought it would be a good idea to make our maiden voyage a 122-mile trip. In March! We were wearing ski gear to stay warm. It should have been an eight-hour drive. It turned out to be more than eleven.

Tom’s brother came down to help us on our maiden nautical voyage. All the boaters we talked to on the trip asked us if we had insurance and if we had Sea Tow, the boater’s equivalent of AAA. We couldn’t understand why everyone kept asking us those questions. Now we do. Experienced boaters knew that doing that trip in one day was totally crazy! Especially with novice boaters.

We set off from Massachusetts in sunny but cold weather, and calm seas. The first few hours were fine. We were pleased with how well we were doing. Then we hit Long Island Sound and the seas got rough. Very rough. The boat was rocking,d rolling, and banging down hard after each wave. We were being bounced and flung around like rag dolls. It was scary and unpleasant, to say the least.

Kitchen and living area

The second half of the trip took twice as long as the first. It got dark. Now we were navigating into our home marina at night. We had no idea where we were.

At one point, we ended up in just a few feet of water, which is not good. Tom decided it was time to call it quits. He announced that we were pulling into the first marina we saw. Our car was at the Brewer Marina, but he didn’t care. We were docking NOW! Believe it or not, we landed at the right marina, on our assigned dock. Victory! We did it! What great luck!

And then our luck changed. On Tom’s next rip, he ran aground and broke a battery post, which killed the battery. Two fishermen in a small boat towed Tom to a public dock. He called me, I picked him up, we bought a new battery and the boat made it home.

Next time out, Tom thought the auxiliary gas tank was full and opened it up. It was empty and this caused the boat to go dead in the water. Tom got acquainted with Sea Tow’s services. They were wonderful and helped Tom figure out what was wrong over the phone. He filled the auxiliary tank and all was well again.

Kitchen and living area with dining table

Then came the coup de grâce. We took a trip to Essex, Connecticut on the Connecticut River. Tom was pulling on a line at the marina and it broke, flinging Tom into the water. He lost his sunglasses and his lucky boating hat. More bad juju. I told you boaters are superstitious.

On the way home, a stick got caught in the propeller and the boat started acting wonky. Tom was anxious to get back home quickly to fix the problem, so he took a shortcut – and ran aground. At full speed.

Here’s where the expensive damage came in. Both propellers were damaged. Tom replaced one and took the boat out to test it. Unbeknownst to him, the oil pan under the engine was rusted out. Running aground caused the oil to drain out of it. The oil gauge should have told Tom that there was a problem. But it had never worked right, either. When it registered ‘no oil pressure’, Tom assumed it was wrong — and ignored it. When he ran the engine, the engine seized. And died. The entire engine had to be replaced. which cost as much as the original price of the boat.

This repair was so major and took so long, our boat was out of the water for most of the boating season. Friends teased us that we didn’t really have a boat. So when we had guests, we started entertaining them on the boat – which was sitting in the parking lot at the marina. At least we still had a water view.

Sofa (and bed) in stern of boat plus view of small deck

Tom loved to say that the only difference between our boat and the Titanic (other than the fact that we never actually sank) was that the Titanic had a live band and we had a cassette player. Most of our problems were not actually the boat’s fault. They were stupid Captain’s tricks made by an inexperienced boater.

But the boat felt cursed to us. So that fall, while we were waiting for the second engine to be installed, we sold the boat, now in pristine condition.

In 2003 we bought another ten-year old boat, this time a 32-foot Carver Aft-Cabin Motor Yacht. We named the boat ‘Second Chance’ since we were giving boating a second chance. Also, we had just gotten married and we felt we were each other’s second chance as well.

Second Chance

We loved this boat and took wonderful trips with it, usually with our two dogs and often with other boating friends. We spent time in a beautiful cove in Port Jefferson, Long Island, NY. We traveled to Montauk, NY, Block Island, RI and Martha’s Vineyard, MA. We went back to the Connecticut River many times.

We had no problems with this boat except that our gas tanks were small and our range was very limited. So in 2008, we upgraded again to our current boat. This is our dream boat. It’s a 40 foot Carver Aft-Cabin. It was ten years old when we got it but it was in great shape and was immaculate. We named this one ‘Serenity’, after the spaceship in Tom’s favorite TV show and movie, ‘Firefly’.

This is our last boat. It’s incredibly comfortable to live on for a week or so at a time. It’s great to entertain on for as many as twelve people. It’s been a wonderful ‘vacation home’ for us, as well as a way to travel around and ‘sight-see’. We often spend time on the boat at the marina, which can be a very friendly and social place.

This is our current boat, Serenity

Tom spends almost every day on the boat for six months of the year. He just loves it. It’s his happy place. He goes into withdrawal when we have to take the boat out of the water in November. He counts the days until it goes back in the water in May.

Tom on the dock in the winter, waiting for boating season to start again

So despite our inauspicious beginning as boaters, we have made boating an important and cherished part of our lives.