Saturday, September 22, 2012

Equinox


Quiet Friday morning harbor before trawlers return for the weekend
Today is the autumnal equinox, the calendar end of summer and first day of fall. Cooler days and nights lie ahead with nights longer than days for the next six months. It is the fleeting natural equilibrium that occurs only twice per year.

Today is the 5th Annual Chili Cookoff to raise funds for The Old Theater. Last night, the movie was the 2011 Oscar Best Film, The Artist. In October we will have a film festival of old detective films: The Big Sleep, The Maltese Falcon, Chinatown and Vertigo. Two special presentations are Amadeus and the new Dark Shadows starring our favorite pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow. Most people bring their favorite beverage, but water and soft drinks are available at the theater.

Flotsam at Town Dock seawall
Here at the marina, a group that calls itself C-Brats ( http://www.c-brats.com/ ) has made its annual pilgrimage: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Idaho attendees. All are owners of C-Dorys, an outboard-powered pocket cruiser. http://www.c-dory.com/boats/ These are cute, trailerable boats that range from 16-26 feet in length with most of what you need to cruise. This is the same brand of boat used by William Least Heat-Moon for his cross-country river voyage (Atlantic to Pacific via rivers and lakes) about which he wrote in River Horse. Heat-Moon is a fine writer with a prodigious vocabulary. (I looked up no less than 83 words in that one book, a record for me, though I should be more diligent about definitions when I read.) For all the obscure local history, local characters and misadventures he describes in River Horse, I preferred his back road sojourn, Blue Highways.

C-Brats gather at WPM

The blue crabs have been scarce lately. Keith at Endurance Seafood ("seafood so fresh it bites") said no one knows why there are so few. The water is still plenty warm, so they have not started hibernating. We pulled up more than a dozen the week before last that Beth cleaned and loaded into savory enchiladas. The next trap pull yielded only three (enough for one person, so we gave them to Butch as he had given us the mullet that we had used as bait); the last trap pull yielded none. So, yesterday, I packed a couple of flounder carcasses into the bait cone. Flounder has always been our best bait, but I have been using mullet with good success this year. It is easy to drop a whole mullet into the bait cone. No mess, just a little fish slime on your fingers. Maybe the crabs are tired of the mullet?

Huge schools of thousands of menhaden flashing shiny copper sides have been circling in the water around the marina. The silver side minnows that school above them look like bright diamonds exploding on the dark brown surface. We are back eating dinner in the cockpit, the summer heat having blown away with the north winds.

Our most recent rain squall with gusts over 30 knots


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