Monday, August 25, 2014

Dog Days



The dog days of summer are here. In honor of their arrival, I have decided to explore where the phrase comes from. It's too hot to do anything else.

As it turns out, the "Dog Days of Summer" dates back to ancient Rome, of course.

History
Near to the constellation Orion (The Hunter) is Canis Major (Greater Dog). According to ancient lore, Canis Major is one of Orion’s hunting dogs. In the Canis Major constellation is a star named Sirius, also called the "Dog Star." With the exception of our sun, Sirius is the brightest star visible from Earth. The brilliant, blue-white star’s name comes from the Greek word for “searing” because it is so bright

During April and early May, Sirius was quite visible in the southwest after sunset because it was so bright. But by the time mid-summer came along, Sirius would rise and set with the sun and therefore get lost in the daytime light.

The ancients knew that "Dog Star" was still there somewhere, and figured that since Sirius was so bright and up there with the sun, it had to be helping produce and add to the substantial rise in temps. Hence the "Dog Days of Summer."


To find this constellation
Orion rises before dawn this time of year. It is recognizable for the short straight line of three stars that make up Orion’s Belt. Sirius follows Orion into the sky. It's very bright and twinkling. It’s so bright that when it’s low in the sky it shines with glints of red and flashes of blue!


Dog Days • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $200

Monday, August 18, 2014

Windy Super Moon

We were out on the boat again during the super moon a week ago. Having some extra days away from work, we made it up to Stonington the second day. A brisk SE wind had not backed around to the SW like it's apt to, which changed our destination for the night. We decided on Camp Island, snug with the wind coming from the SE, hoping that the wind would not go N NE like it did the last time we anchored here a few years ago in the little claudia. But that's another story.

It was windy past sunset which is not unusual, but also not the norm. There was something a bit spooky about it all. It might have been being so far from home - the coast gets bolder and more ominous in many respects the further down east you go. It was also another example of coming to terms with the fact that we have little control over the circumstance out there, no matter how much we know, how well prepared we are, or positive our thoughts and outlook in life are. 

We both woke up in the middle of the night like good cautious and superstitious sailors do. The wind had died and we were still snug in our anchorage. 

The next morning, we were afloat and I had forgotten my fears the night before...until now. 

Windy Super Moon • 8" x 8" framed to 12" x 12" • $200

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Pulpit Harbor



Although the weather forecast was threatening thunderstorms, we decided to head out for the weekend anyway. Unlike the first claudia, (which we sailed for 12 years and was basically a floating tent), the claudia II is a floating RV complete with cabin, cabin lights (though we still use headlamps and candles out of habit), a head, galley and real bunks.

We spent the first night in Perry Creek on Vinalhaven, and second night in Pulpit Harbor on North Haven where we would attempt to anchor overnight for the first time. Until now, we had been picking up moorings.  

The anchor Tom bought for this boat is overkill - the biggest and the best he could find. It will hold an ocean liner. This night would determine whether or not Tom could anchor and get some sleep all at the same time. Thankfully it worked. He actually slept - as well as a sailor can anyway.

This sketch is of the view we had sitting in our cockpit at dinnertime. The peace a quiet  anchorage off an island along the coast of Maine is a real gift.

Pulpit Harbor • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $200