I love September. Maybe because it is my birthday month; maybe because it still brings me a sense of beginnings, as in the beginning of a fresh new school year. (Although 15 months have passed since I retired, my inner calendar is still based on the school year.) And, maybe it is because September can have the best weather of the whole year (except for hurricanes, but we won’t go there.)
Newport Boat Show – We spent September 12th, my birthday, at the Newport Boat Show. On the drive to Newport, we fondly remembered last September 12th (2013) when we left our homeport to begin our Bahamas adventure. We will not be going south for this winter. The new Kindred Spirit is still too new to us, and we would like to be more familiar with her systems and possible eccentricities before undertaking such a voyage, especially since we are newbie trawlerites (would that be the right word now? We still think of ourselves as sailors.) Al also has a two-page “Winter Project List” that will turn this boat into one of his unique and special Kindred Spirits. Therefore, I have gone back to work– yes, that four-letter word. I need something to keep me occupied throughout the winter and a little extra money never hurts. I am a part-time elementary math tutor in my former school district, just three days each week. I think it is a perfect full-circle, and I get to work with little people!
Newport is a favorite place for us, both as a harbor and as a get-away on land in the winter. It was a spectacular day for a boat show. We toured new trawlers to get project ideas for Kindred Spirit; but, truthfully, we didn’t see many new ideas. We have a pretty good idea of what she needs and what we want. We still don’t understand why boat designers and manufacturers seem to miss what appears to be obvious to us.
One last weekend — We needed and wanted one last weekend away on the boat before the season ended. There was a nice weekend weather window for a quick trip to Watch Hill again.
As we have done many times before, we passed by Latimer Reef Lighthouse. I did a little research to find out more about this tiny lighthouse. Built in 1884, north of the eastern end of Fishers Island, Latimer Reef Light is an example of a “sparkplug lighthouse,” a prefabricated cast iron structure built at offshore locations and brought to the location by barge. The whole structure rests on a solid foundation, usually concrete or stone. Latimer Reef was named after James Latemore who, during the Revolutionary War, attempted to spy on the British fleet tom a small skiff at anchor in Fisher’s Island Sound. A lookout on one of the British vessels spotted Latemore in his small craft, gave the alarm, and chased after him. Latemore ran aground on the reef now named for him, and was captured by the Biritish. He was hanged at sunrise and given a watery burial in the Sound.
We didn’t do anything special or unique this weekend, just enjoyed the crisp sunny day with a walk on the beach out to Napatree Point.
Here was something new – The US Fish and Wildlife Service is tracking migratory birds with light-weight radio transmitters here at Napatree.
September is also Ovarian Cancer Awareness month, which certainly has special meaning for me.
“Teal Toes” is a small, but unique way, of communicating the need for more awareness about ovarian cancer. In October, pink is everywhere to publicize breast cancer awareness. Such awareness efforts over many years have increased public knowledge, the survivor rates, and promoted advances in research and treatment for breast cancer. Ovarian cancer is less common, but far more deadly, and just doesn’t receive the same attention. The color teal represents an important aspect of ovarian cancer – Take Early Action and Live. From the Teal Toes website:
- Too many women with ovarian cancer do not get diagnosed until their cancer has spread. Their survival rate is only 45% within the first 5 years.
- The survival rate improves greatly – to 93 percent – if the cancer is diagnosed at an early stage before it has spread. Only 10-15 percent of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed at this local stage.
- Approximately 75 percent of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage after the cancer has spread beyond the ovary.
This summer I became a volunteer in the national program, Survivors Teaching Students: Saving Women’s Lives. “The goal of Survivors Teaching Students is for future physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and physician assistants to be able to diagnose the disease when it is in its earlier, most treatable stages. This program brings ovarian cancer survivors into the classroom, where they present their unique stories along with facts about the disease. Students are able to interact with and learn from actual patients.”
Every 6 weeks survivors meet with 3rd year medical students at UCONN Medical School to
share our personal stories and help the students understand more about the disease and how it impacts our lives. I have found this to be a very rewarding experience, something positive that I can do to improve the survival statistics for ovarian cancer. Women and medical professionals need to be more aware and more knowledgeable about the symptoms of ovarian cancer. Although this cancer is known as “the silent killer”, it is not silent. There is no screening test for ovarian cancer and the symptoms can be vague and misdiagnosed, but there is often a “whisper” – we must learn to listen to these whispers.
OK. I will step down from my soapbox. Back to our last Watch Hill weekend.
Made in 1876, the Watch Hill “Flying Horses” Carousel is the only surviving flying horse carousel in the country. The twenty horses are not attached to the floor but instead are suspended on chains from a center frame. When the carousel rotates, the horses swing out from the center or “fly”. Each horse is hand carved from of wood and is embellished with real tails and manes, leather saddles and agate eyes. Watch Hill became the carousel’s permanent home in 1883 or 1884. It was extensively damaged by the New England Hurricane of 1938, which devastated Watch Hill. The horses were recovered from the sand dunes and the carousel was restored to operation.
Even during a relaxing weekend, Al will find some boat task that needs to be done; and enjoy doing it!
We decided on a bright and early start Sunday morning so that we could use some of the favorable current (we still think like sailors, remember?) We were towing the dinghy this trip, something we don’t usually do. We both share the “blame” for what happened next. The towline to the dinghy caught on the propeller and shaft when the boat was put in reverse. And may I just say that an engine makes an awful sound when something bad happens? Who could imagine how quickly a big engine can suck that line under? Remember we are still sailors — a bigger engine and larger propeller will take some getting used to.
He was able to do that in about 30 minutes, but the line was so tightly wrapped around the shaft that he could not stay under long enough to remove it all. Time to call Boat US, the “AAA” of the waterway. Not something we wanted to do, but that’s why we pay for this service, right? Just in case…….
End of story? We were able to get back to our home mooring but could only run at 1100 rpms, about 5.5 knots. As slow as a sailboat, which did not bother us. (Remember, we are still sailors at heart. ) The engine made nasty noises whenever she was pushed above that speed. Al investigated and then researched online. He hypothesizes that we now have a transmission issue, which cannot be addressed until the boat is hauled out for the winter and on land. Which is scheduled within the next week. The season is ending………