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UNCLE JACK'S WEBLOG
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Unrise in Camden, Saturday May 31, 2008

     It was raining when Uncle Jack got up this morning (Saturday) and the weatherman says it will rain all day.  Enough said about the weather.


     One of the continuing delights of living on Camden harbor for Uncle Jack is the endless parade of boats of all kinds, from nondescript dinghies to elegant yachts.  As a longtime landlubber who knows just about zip about sailboats he finds them fascinating to watch and, in the case of the many classic wooden boats that frequent Camden, to learn about their histories.


    One particularly interesting boat has been sitting up on blocks, shrouded in plastic, ever since his arrival in Camden nearly a month ago. It appears to be over 90 feet long which is about as big a vessel as Wayfarer can handle with its 100 ton traveling crane. Yesterday the mystery boat shed its plastic cocoon and Uncle Jack trotted toot sweet over to Wayfarer to check it out.


     The newly revealed nameplate on the transom --SINC  TY --appeared to be missing a few letters but his guess that it was probably SINCERITY was confirmed by Mrs. U.J who found an intact nameplate on the bow.  They were both surprised by the poor condition of the hull which looked like it needed a lot more than just painting. How it got into such parlous condition is a mystery.


     Googling revealed, as he suspected it would, that this is no ordinary  yacht.   More than a dozen entries popped up in response to "Yacht Sincerity" which collectively yielded more information than he had ever expected to find.  To pique your curiosity he will mention only a few salient factoids, e.g. it was built in Italy in 1928 from a design by the famed Scottish yacht designer William Fife.  The obviously wealthy gent who commissioned it was Signor Agnelli, founder and president of the Fiat motor company.  Princess Caroline of Monaco spent part of her honeymoon cruising the Mediterranean on Sincerity. Learn much more by clicking on the link below the picture.


    Uncle Jack will now endeavor to find out why Sincerity is parked on the dock at Wayfarer and what is planned for it over the next few weeks or months.  Stay tuned. 



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"Sincerity" with the wraps off. For many more photos click on the link below the picture.

link: http://sailingyachtsincerity.com/

posted by Uncle Jack at 12:12 PM

Comments [0]



Friday, May 30, 2008
Sunrise in Camden, Friday May 30, 2008

     The penultimate day of May has started out in fine fashion with a dazzling sunrise, the first one Uncle Jack has viewed with his own eyes for several days. Inasmuch as the sun is now rising before 5 a.m. and will be appearing ever earlier every day for another three weeks he probably won't be seeing many of them until after the equinox when all things celestial start moving in the other direction.


      It has been a quiet week in these parts except for a tragic drowning in Rockport harbor a few days ago.  A 72 year-old doctor from Marblehead, MA and another man were en route from shore to the doctor's yacht in a small dinghy when it  capsized, plunging them into freezing water. The younger man clung to the mooring buoy of a nearby boat and was rescued a few minutes later but the doctor apparently died before his body could be pulled from the water.  Neither of the men, both experienced sailors, was wearing a life jacket and there were no flotation devices in the dinghy.


     Needless to say this has been a cautionary tale for Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. as they continue their search for a smallish boat in which to paddle around Camden harbor this summer.  It hasn't discouraged them but you can be sure they will be wearing life jackets every time they venture forth. (They already have their water wings and all they need now is a boat).


     Uncle Jack is clearing his palate (so to speak) after digesting the biography of Mahmoud Ahmajinedad he mentioned last time by reading a short account of the life of Isaac Newton by one of his favorite authors, Peter Ackroyd.  In his own way Newton was as loony as Ahmajinedad but it is easy to forgive him because of his brilliance.  Uncle Jack likes to think of him as the LeBron James of mathematics because he was only 23 years old when he made some of his most remarkable discoveries. If you don't know much about Newton this little book is an unintimidating introduction to his life and work and it might make you want to read some more of Peter Ackroyd's books of which there are so many you could be entertained and informed for years. (If you don't know who LeBron James is it doesn't matter).


    T.G.I.F.?  It's just another day when you're retired.


    


    



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The inner harbor at dawn. Uncle Jack would love to be out there rowing around before the boats start moving.

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The outer harbor gets a bit more cluttered every day but there's still room for another small boat to maneuver, especially at 5 a.m.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:05 AM

Comments [1]



Wednesday, May 28, 2008
"Too Elusive" returns, Wednesday May 28, 2008

    Tuesday was schizophrenic weatherwise with bright sunshine in the morning followed by hours of rain in the afternoon followed by clearing in the evening.  The sun rose into a cloudless sky this morning but Uncle Jack is happy to confess he slept right through it.


     The big event of yesterday was the return of the magnificent yacht "Too Elusive" to its summer berth right in front of his apartment after a winter of cruising in the Caribbean.  Watching this elegant piece of nautical machinery come and go will provide a major part of his entertainment this summer.  He made a short video of Too Elusive's arrival yesterday which you can view by clicking on the YouTube link below the pictures.  For lots of information about it click on this link.


http://tooelusive.com/index.php


    Uncle Jack used yesterday's rainy period to finish reading the biography of Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he has been plowing through for the past week or so. In the process he has learned much more than he ever wanted to know about the arcane politics of that country and its leaders.  Ahmadinejad himself is about as scary as they come, being one of those politicians who claims to receive his instructions directly from God.  (There seem to be a lot of them in high places these days which does not augur well for peace and stability in the world).


    The book is "Ahmadinejad" by Kasra Naji, published by the U. of California press earlier this year and Uncle Jack recommends it as a very readable and up-to-date primer on the weird history of U.S.-Iranian relationships.  (Did you know, for example, that the U.S. was a major supplier of arms to Saddam Hussein in his eight-year war against Iran in the 80's? Iranians do.)


   Have a nice day wherever you are.



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"Too Elusive" becomes part of the scenery for the rest of the summer.

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Who needs T.V. when you have entertainment like this outside your door.

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The rain stopped just as the sun was going down creating some eerie lighting in the harbor.

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"Bravo" enters the crowded harbor under sail. Risky business.

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Rain or shine these folks row to Curtis Island and back every day.

link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3SCCZHG_Xo

posted by Uncle Jack at 8:39 AM

Comments [1]



Monday, May 26, 2008
Sunrise in Camden, Monday May 26, 2008

     It's a beautiful weekend in mid-coast Maine which has set off a frenzy of activity among the local boat owners.  Wayfarer Marine, the boatyard across from Uncle Jack's apartment, is working flat out on Memorial Day, taking boats of all sizes and shapes out of winter storage and dropping them into the water at a furious pace.  He and Mrs. U.J. are enjoying the show now that the weather has warmed up enough to permit all-day deck-sitting. Most of the pics below are the fruit of today's labors on the deck. Enjoy.



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5:30 a.m. Monday, Memorial Day.

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"Mary Day", queen of the Camden windjammer fleet, returns from a week's cruise in the Bay of Maine propelled by her yawl. She has no engines.

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A few minutes later the windjammer "Mercantile" heads out for a four or five day cruise propelled by her yawl.

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A little later the venerable "Lewis French" arrives under her own power after a cruise of several days.

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Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. did get off the deck for an hour or so and took a walk. This fabulous Caddie convertible was in the Memorial Day parade. It purportedly belonged to Norma Jean Baker at one time.

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Their favorite garden keeps getting prettier and prettier.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:42 PM

Comments [4]



Saturday, May 24, 2008
"Mini Too", the sequel, Saturday May 24, 2008

    If Diogenes is still out there somewhere searching for an honest man he need look no further than the residence of Mr. Scott Davis, boatbuilder, in West Bath, Maine.  Mr. Davis, upon learning that the boat Uncle Jack had purchased from him a few days ago was too small for two people to use safely he not only agreed to take "Mini Too" back with a full refund but he offered to drive back up to Camden (an hour each way) to retrieve it tomorrow.


    With their faith in humanity thus restored by Mr. Scott, Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. have resumed their search for a boat with renewed vigor.  They toyed briefly with the idea of buying an inflatable rubber boat which knowledgable persons had told them would be the safest choice for two geriatric novices to tool around in.  After further investigation, however, they decided they would rather drown in the icy waters of Penobscot Bay than be caught paddling around in an overgrown bathtub toy.


     Lucky for them the gentleman who  skippers Mrs. Stuart Symington's yacht which is tied up in front of their apartment allowed as how he has a boat for sale that might be just the ticket.  Stay tuned for further developments.


    The Memorial Day weekend has started out famously with a glorious sunrise this morning which Uncle Jack was awake enough to photograph for a change.  The weatherman predicts sunshine and warm temperatures for all of today and most of tomorrow which means the harbor will be bustling with boats of all kinds.


    Have a great weekend wherever you are.



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5 a.m.

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Sunlight illuminates the slopes of Mount Battie. The roster of boats moored in the inner harbor increases every day.

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These early morning clouds have moved out to sea and by 6:30 a.m. the sky was clear.

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The falls of the Megunticook which once provided power for the Knox Woollen Mill still flow prettily. Developers have tried to convert the old building into condos without much success so far.

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Tourist poses prettily under a bower of lilacs in the waterfront park. Nothing in creation smells better than lilacs in bloom.

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Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. chatted with the owner of this lovely yacht before it left the harbor yesterday. It's a "Concordia" which has a an interesting pedigree that boat lovers might like to read about by clicking on the link below the pictures.

link: http://www.concordiaboats.com/history.html

posted by Uncle Jack at 6:53 AM

Comments [6]



Thursday, May 22, 2008
Darkness at Noon, Thursday May 22, 2008

     Wednesday was a another beautiful day weatherwise in Camden but it will be remembered by Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. as "Black Wednesday" in the boating department---the day that reality intruded upon their dreams of watery bliss as they tooled around the harbor in "Mini Too", their adorable little red and yellow skiff.


     It all started well.  Mr. Davis, the boat builder, delivered "Mini Too" to the launching pad at Steamboat Landing  promptly at 11:30 and Uncle Jack proudly rowed the 300 yards or so across the harbor to their apartment. Flashbulbs popped as Mrs. U.J. recorded the glorious event for posterity. (See pictures below).


    The trouble began when she put away the camera and attempted to join Uncle Jack in the back seat of Mini Too for their maiden voyage.  It took only a few terrifying seconds to discover that their beloved new skiff was not designed to carry more than one adult.  Their hearts sank almost as quickly as the boat would have had Mrs. U.J. not quickly clambered back onto the dock.  


     They were able to laugh about this watery debacle later and they are reasonably sure that the hilarious proceedings will not turn up on YouTube. Now, however, they are faced with the necessity of selling a boat they never should have purchased in the first place.  The truth of the old saying that "a boat is a device that makes a hole in the water through which money can easily be poured" has been demonstrated once again.    


    


 



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Captain Jack in his element before the fall.

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Is it too late to train for the olympics?

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It was fun while it lasted.

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Sunrise this morning (Thursday) was a bit of a fizzle too. Tomorrow is another day.....

posted by Uncle Jack at 9:21 AM

Comments [10]



Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Sunrise in Camden, Tuesday May 20, 2008

    


     The sun made an appearance, albeit fleeting, at 5 a.m. and lo and behold Uncle Jack was there to see it. Will wonders never cease.


     He and Mrs. U.J. wondered at one time if they were perhaps pushing things a bit by coming up to Maine at the beginning of May but they needn't have worried.  For most of the past two weeks the weather has been splendid and today is no exception---sunny, breezy and warm enough to wander about coatless.


    Their morning ramble took them, among other places, to the library where Uncle Jack returned a book he finished yesterday---a brief biography of the Shiite leader Moqtada al Sadr who has been such a pain in the butt for the Iraqi government and our troops, especially in the poverty-stricken section of Baghdad known as Sadr City which his "Mehdi Army" has controlled off and on for the past several years.


     He came away from the book not with any great admiration for Moqtada but with an enhanced appreciation for the byzantine politics of Iraq and the difficulty of bringing anything resembling democracy to that unfortunate country. He learned that Moqtada's father, two brothers and a brother-in-law were all executed by Saddam Hussein, leaving him with somewhat less than warm and fuzzy feelings toward the Sunnis who ran the country during Saddam's long and brutal reign.  To further complicate matters he has fought against his fellow Shiites who have cooperated with the Americans in their efforts to establish a central government.  Proof of his tenacity, wiliness and the loyalty of his followers is the fact that he is still alive after many attempts to get rid of him in the same manner that Saddam disposed of his father and brothers. He is a troublemaker of the first order in the present scheme of things and Uncle Jack will not be surprised to read of his demise when he clicks on Google News one of these mornings.


    Having broadened his perspective on the mess in Iraq Uncle Jack decided to do the same for Iran by checking out a brand new biography of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the radical (some would say loony) president of that country who has been giving the U.S. (and much of the rest of the western world) the finger for the past couple of years. The author decamped from Teheran to London as soon as the book was published so Uncle Jack does not expect it to be a hagiography.


    Nevertheless he is a bit concerned that somebody from Homeland Security might come knocking having noticed his unseemly curiosity about Muslim radicals. Stay tuned.



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Camden Harbor at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning.

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Ditto a few minutes later as the sun peeks out from a bank of clouds briefly.

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Uncle Jack's favorite windjammer, the Lazy Jack, makes its first appearance in Camden harbor of the new season. Lots of high-fiving all around.

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With Wayfarer Marine dropping a half-dozen boats into the water every day the harbor is beginning to fill up.

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Uncle Jack is not sure what kind of tree this is but it sure is pretty.

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House and Garden magazine could fill an entire issue with nothing but pictures from Camden.

posted by Uncle Jack at 4:52 PM

Comments [7]



Monday, May 19, 2008
Unrise in Camden, Monday May 19, 2008

     The weather is in kind of a rut in Camden these days.  Early in the morning the sky is socked in with clouds which give way to brilliant sunshine an hour or two later which hangs around until late afternoon when the clouds return.  This is a not a bad weather pattern but it does result in a paucity of  sunrise pictures which he regrets. As we know from recent events in China and Burma Mother Nature can do much worse than withhold sunrises so he is not complaining.


    Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. did drive to Bath (about an hour south of Camden on Route 1) Sunday to look at the rowboat described in his last blog entry.  It was love at first sight when they spotted the  little red and yellow skiff and "caveat emptor" suddenly vanished from their vocabularies. Their hearts melted along with the wad of cash in Uncle Jack's pocket.


     The builder is a delightful man named Scott Davis whose day job is building inspector for the city of Bath and who builds small boats in the winter when he is not shoveling snow.  He calls this model a "Davis 8" (with tongue in cheek) but it will never be confused with the behemoths turned out by his namesake Buddy Davis over in Wanchese.


     Mr. Davis will be delivering their mini-yacht one day this week so Uncle Jack will begin immediately to find a mooring place for it which will probably turn out to be the Camden town docks.  Needless to say they are hoping it won't sink when they both climb into it for the first time.  Stay tuned for further developments.



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Scott Davis and his "Davis 8", built from plans he found on the internet. The cutest boat on the planet.

posted by Uncle Jack at 9:53 AM

Comments [12]



Saturday, May 17, 2008
Unrise in Camden, Saturday May 17, 2008

    Uncle Jack got up early enough to see the sun rise this morning but it was not to be.  For the first time this week the sky over Camden is completely overcast and light drizzle is forecast for today and tomorrow. This should be good for the dandelions if nothing else.


     Yesterday was so spectacularly lovely that he and Mrs. U.J. did little else but wander the streets of Camden taking in the floral sights and occasionally remarking upon the spectacular loveliness of the day. It had to end sometime and apparently it has.


     The slightly inclement weather has not slowed the pace of activity at Wayfarer Marine across the harbor. A crew of riggers arrived at 7 a.m. this morning which was unusual because the yard is usually closed on Saturdays.  In less than two hours, using a truck-mounted crane rather than the big blue traveler,  they put six smaller sailboats in the water and stepped their masts in a display of expertise that was impressive for a landlubber like Uncle Jack to watch. 


     Speaking of smaller boats tomorrow could be the day when he and Mrs. U.J. become the proud owners of one.  They have been talking for nearly a year about acquiring a small rowboat for tooling around the harbor and getting closer to some of the magnificent yachts that will soon be visiting Camden.  To this end they bought a copy of a weekly publication known far and wide in Maine as "Uncle Henry's Swap or Sell-It Guide". (Uncle Henry's is kind of a Craigslist for people who are not computer literate---or literate, period).


    In this week's edition under the heading "Paddle Boats" they spotted the following ad: "New 8' plywood and oak skiff. Light, sturdy, nice lines. Comes w/oars, locks, painter and 2 life jackets. Painted. Ready to go.  443-6439. W. Bath".  (They are still trying to figure out why it comes with a painter if it's already painted). A quick phone call ascertained that this paragon of boatly virtue had not already been sold so Uncle Jack made an appointment to look at it in West Bath Sunday morning.


     If it turns out to be the boat of his dreams all he will have to do is figure out how to get an 8' plywood and oak boat into the Mini.  Stay tuned for further developments.


P.S.  If you would like to learn more about the Beech Hill Preserve which Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. explored a few days ago just click on the link to the Village Soup right under the pictures. Ace reporter Holly Anderson did a wonderful story on the preserve just a day after they visited.



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Every residential block in Camden seems to have at least one spectacular garden like this one.

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Here's another. It seems to be the homeowners who do the work rather than hired landscapers in most cases.

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No this isn't Holland.

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A harbinger of summer. The Yacht Club floats went back into the water yesterday with the help of a portable crane.

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Mrs. Stuart Symington's lovely yacht "Anjacaa" went for a shakedown spin into the bay yesterday. After a few more days of post-winter tweaking it will take up its summer residence right in front of Uncle Jack's apartment.

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Anybody know what this is? Mighty pretty.

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The last of six sailboats deposited in the harbor by the Wayfarer crane this morning.

link: http://knox.villagesoup.com/Community/story.cfm?storyID=116227

posted by Uncle Jack at 12:50 PM

Comments [5]



Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Sunrise in Camden, Wednesday, May 14, 2008

      Yet another spectacular day in Camden.  Uncle Jack actually woke up in time to watch the sunrise for the first time this week and he was richly rewarded as the pictures show.


     Later in the morning he and Mrs. U.J. made their first visit of the season to the Rockland Breakwater, one of the area's major amenities for people who like to take their exercise in surroundings of great scenic beauty. They will return to the breakwater many times during their stay in Camden because there is nothing else quite like it. 



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5:05 a.m.

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Five minutes later.

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The breakwater is about a mile long and is made of huge blocks of granite and took 14 years to build. It's a good idea not to step on the cracks, some of which are a foot wide.

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The lighthouse takes a beating every winter but it has survived for more than a century.

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The force of the waves that pound the breakwater each winter can be seen in this upended chunk of granite.

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Rockland harbor from the breakwater. Nothing much going on yet.

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"Angelique", perhaps the most elegant of the Camden-based windjammers, has shed her winter cocoon and heads out into Penobscot Bay. She carries 31 passengers on weekly cruises during the summer.

posted by Uncle Jack at 8:08 PM

Comments [5]



Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Beech Hill Revisited, Tuesday May 13, 2008

    Uncle Jack seems to be slipping slowly into a slough of sloth inasmuch as he slumbered through sunrise for the second day in a row this morning.  Once again the sun got well up into the sky without him so there was no harm done.


    It has been another sunny, brisk day in Camden which he and Mrs. U.J. took advantage of by returning to the site of yesterday's excellent climbing adventure, the Beech Hill Preserve.  This time they reached the summit by way of the much longer and more challenging trail on the other side of the hill.  It winds through a forest of what they will presume are beech trees until corrected by a knowledgeable local arborist.  In all they spent more than an hour on the trail which more than satisfied their daily exercise requirements.  More fun than shooting baskets at the Y.



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Once more into the beech. This lovely wide path soon narrowed into a boulder-strewn obstacle course requiring balletic moves on the part of walkers. (That's a binocular case in Mrs. U.J.'s hand).

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Fiddle head ferns will soon begin to turn up salads in some of the more gourmetic local restaurants.

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This marble outcropping was an anomaly amongst all the granite boulders and ledges on Beech Hill. There must have been a hot time around here a few million years ago.

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They take their blueberries seriously around here.

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It is sobering to think that a developer almost got his hands on all this land back in the 1940's.

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Approaching "Beech Nut" from a different direction.

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Hundreds of thousands if not millions of boulders went into the building of the many miles of stone fence in the Beech Hill Preserve. Uncle Jack is going to try to find out who did this and when by hitting the library on the first rainy day.

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The schooner Nathaniel Bowditch wintered in Camden but yesterday shed her plastic cocoon and headed for her home port of Rockland whence she will carry passengers on "windjammer" cruises this summer.

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A view of the harbor from the library. Several members of Camden's own fleet of windjammers can be seen in the foreground.

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Tulips are popping out all over town.

posted by Uncle Jack at 4:48 PM

Comments [3]



Monday, May 12, 2008
Climbing Beech Hill, Monday May 12, 2008

     Uncle Jack overslept this morning and missed the sunrise but it seemed to go off quite well without his help.  By the time he got up at 6:30 it was obvious that this was going to be a lovely day in mid-coast Maine and perfect for a long walk.


    Lucky for him  he had gotten a haircut a few days ago and his barber, an octogenarian lifetime resident of the Camden area, had told him about the wondrous Beech Hill Preserve, a 295 acre tract overlooking Penobscot Bay in Rockport, a ten-minute drive from downtown Camden. Unlike Mt. Battie State Park, which also offers spectacular views of the bay, Beech Hill is free and open to the public during daylight hours.


     This is black fly season in Maine so they worried about being attacked by clouds of the merciless little creatures like the moose who ventured into the neighborhood a few days ago.  Lucky for them a fresh breeze was blowing off the ocean which seemed to keep them at bay.


    The walk to the summit of Beech Hill from a small parking lot near the top was less than a mile and not so steep as to pose any serious problems for doddering old Uncle Jack even though he has not yet acquired his summer climbing chops. He took some pictures along the way that only partly capture some of the scenic splendor of the place.  For a fascinating account of the origins of Beech Hill farm and its history to date please click on the link below the pictures.  It's an interesting and ultimately heartwarming story.



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This is the first time Uncle Jack can remember being asked not to step on the blueberries.

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"Something there is that doesn't like a wall" said Robert Frost. This one seems to have taken a beating over the past hundred years. The path improves greatly 50 yards ahead.

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Looking back toward the Camden Hills and Mount Battie about halfway to the summit.

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"Beech Nut", a sod-roofed stone "house" dating to about 1915 comes into view. Read all about it by clicking on the link below the pictures.

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One of the spectacular views of Penobscot Bay from "Beech Nut". From this vantage point the view is 360 degrees and truly breathtaking.

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The stonework is exquisite. Repairs were completed only a few weeks ago and the building will have its grand reopening in early June. We hope to be there to see the inside.

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In July and August the blueberry fields are open to the public for picking at a modest fee that helps to defray the cost of maintaining the fields.

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Several stands of birch trees add to the beauty of the preserve. Robert Frost would have liked it here.

link: http://www.coastalmountains.org/downloads/campaigns/beech_hill_campaign.pdf

posted by Uncle Jack at 6:02 PM

Comments [0]



Sunday, May 11, 2008
Sunrise in Camden, Sunday May 11, 2008

     It's another chilly, windy morning in Camden but the sun is rising into a cloudless sky which bodes well for a long peregrination later in the day.


     The Camden Farmers' Market opened for the new season yesterday in a new location within walking distance of Uncle Jack's apartment.  The new venue offers unlimited parking for customers and a paved surface for the vendors which will keep the area from turning into a sea of mud with every rainshower.  All in all a great improvement.


     Pickings were slim in the organic vegetable department as might be expected in Maine in May.  Parsnips were the featured veggie and Uncle Jack can tell you Mrs. U.J. knows what to do with parsnips.  If you have never tasted parsnips mashed with butter you have missed out on one of life's great gustatory experiences.


     Their favorite sausage maker made the trek down from Lubec on the Canadian border and Uncle Jack can tell you his chorizo pork sausage is as good as ever and goes especially well with mashed parsnips. 


     The cheese lady was there, too, so they lunched on her bleu cheese which is so good as to rival the very finest Stilton they were ever able to buy in London.  As the year goes on the offerings at the twice-weekly Farmers' Market will expand to soak up considerably more than half of their food budget---all locally grown and spectacularly good at prices that should make the folks at Harris Teeter blush.


     Uncle Jack thanks Will for reminding him that yesterday was the third anniversary of his blog on the obxconnection website.  It doesn't seem possible but the archives don't lie.  He thanks his many readers who have checked in over 277,000 times since he started this thing in 2005.  He appreciates your loyalty even when he runs off and leaves the Outer Banks for months at a time which he seems to be doing with increasing frequency as he grows older and his tolerance for heat, humidity and traffic wanes.


    Thanks again to all and have a great day wherever you are.



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It was 45 degrees when the sun came up at 5:10 this morning but it's rapidly warming up. A few more boats occupied floats in the harbor yesterday which is a sure sign that summer is impending.

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Camden is ablaze with forsythia at the moment. Every yard has at least one bush like this one.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:35 AM

Comments [6]



Saturday, May 10, 2008
Unrise in Camden, Saturday May 10, 2008
    

     It's a cloudy, chilly morning in Camden into which the sun has yet to make an appearance two hours after official sunrise.  This is a dramatic change from yesterday's balmy temps and clear skies but much more in keeping with what one should expect in mid-coast Maine in the middle of May.


     Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. took advantage of the clement conditions to take a long walk through town yesterday but as it happened they should have stayed in their own neighborhood.  One of those rare events that can only happen in a town in Maine occurred a couple of blocks from where they live on Bayview street. Lucky for them the excitement started practically in the back yard of their friend Holly Anderson, ace reporter for the Village Soup online newspaper, who recorded it for posterity.  Read all about it by clicking on the link to her Village Soup article right below the pictures.



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2007 was a tough year for some of Camden's downtown merchants. This clothing store and five other tourist-oriented shops closed during the winter and will not reopen.

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The lovely old windjammer "Mary Day" has shed her plastic cocoon and will soon be ready to carry passengers on 4-5 day cruises into the Gulf of Maine.

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Mrs. Stuart Symington's beautiful little yacht "Anjacaa" had her mast re-installed yesterday at Wayfarer Marine and will soon be parked in her regular berth in front of Uncle Jack's apartment.

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The crew of Wayfarer's traveling crane were out to lunch when this picture was taken. They launched at least six boats yesterday and will keep up that pace for many days to come.

link: http://knox.villagesoup.com/Community/story.cfm?storyID=115755

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:14 AM

Comments [3]



Friday, May 9, 2008
Sunrise in Camden, Friday May 9, 2008

     Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. have spent most of the past three days struggling with their electronics which seemed determined not to function properly in their new environment.  Their cell phones refused to send or receive calls which baffled them because they had worked perfectly last year.  After three trips to the cell phone store and one call to the "CustomerService" (LOL) desk at Cingular they learned that Cingular had been swallowed up by AT & T some months ago and the latter had decided to help its debt-ridden bottom line by dumping most of sparsely populated and therefore unprofitable Maine.  So much for "Customer Service" at AT &T.


     Switching internet service providers seemed to produce acute indigestion in the innards of their laptops which also refused to function properly for the first three days.  For the moment Uncle Jack seems to have found the correct assortment of modems, routers and cable connections to allow them access to the web but he is still braced for arcane error messages of all kinds at all times. 


      In the meantime the weather has been mostly magnificent with sunny skies and temperatures hovering around 70 during the day. The natives are acting like they have died and gone to heaven after one of the worst winters on record.


    The magnificent Camden Farmers' Market reopens for the season tomorrow.  There won't be much in the way of organic produce this early in the year but the Tuva Bakery's sticky buns are more than enough to make a visit worthwhile.   


     Have a great day wherever you are.



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Camden is so far east that the sun rises a little after 5 a.m. Fortunately Uncle Jack's bladder and the sunrise seem to be perfectly synchronized at the moment. He took this picture on the way to the bathroom at 5:10.

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Spring arrived a little later this year but the trees and bushes are making up for lost time.

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The former Yellow House gallery in Rockport is getting an extreme makeover and will soon reopen as a wine store. Uncle Jack will continue to buy his wine at the Rite Aid and let the wine snobs pay for the expensive rehab.

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This monster yacht will soon shed its cocoon and be dropped into the harbor by the Wayfarer Marine traveling crane. Uncle Jack hopes to be there when it happens.

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This one is owned by a famous TV star.

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The harbor will soon be replete with gorgeous playthings like "Kemmuna". She has her own website at http://www.oceanindependence.com/en-us/Charter/yachtsheet.php?id=258

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:13 AM

Comments [4]



Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Sunrise in Camden, Tuesday May 6, 2008
     Uncle Jack is pleased to report that he and Mrs. U. J. are safely ensconced in Camden, Maine after a five-day odyssey through various parts of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire.  They drove through intermittent rain for the first three days (with stops in Baltimore, Downingtown, Pa. and Seaside Park, N.J.) but the farther north they got the more the weather improved until they arrived in Camden Monday afternoon under a sunny sky with the temperature near 70. If this be global warming let us have more of it.
     The Mini greatly enjoyed Monday's drive through the gentle mountains of southern Vermont and New Hampshire which feature lots of twists and turns and ups and downs.  Trees that we last saw blazing with red and orange in November last year are now wearing their spring finery in brilliant shades of green.
      Camden is still waking up after a long and exceptionally snowy winter.  The Megunticook river which flows through town and empties into the head of the harbor is rushing and roaring with its load of spring melt.  Uncle Jack made a short video of the rapids at the mouth of the river which you can view by clicking on the YouTube link below the pictures.


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There is something to be said for being able to photograph the sunrise from your deck even if it isn't always as dramatic as sunrise over the ocean.

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Nothing much going on in the harbor yet. The large windjammer owners are working on their boats but the summer sailers are still a month or more away. Most of the floats in the harbor are still unoccupied.

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Not much going on at Wayfarer Marine yet either. In the near future the big blue crane will be busy dropping yachts back into the water.

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Scores of mooring buoys are ready in the outer harbor for the influx of pleasure boats when the weather warms up a little.

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This house in Hyde Park, N.Y. caught our eye. This is not where FDR lived.

link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95l9pG2a35k

posted by Uncle Jack at 9:05 PM

Comments [11]




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Except for short hiatus in Baltimore Uncle Jack has lived in Nags Head for over 45 years. He was a columnist for the Outer Banks Current and its successor, the Outer Banks Sentinel, for 20 years. A collection of his columns is available from Amazon Kindle under the title Uncle Jack's Outer Banks. He and Mrs. Uncle Jack, aka Sue, live in South Nags Head whence he observes and sometimes comments on the passing parade.
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