Category Archives: Boating

Good Christmas season and a nice family visit

Mrs. Poolman and I spent most of the past two weeks lounging around and doing not much of anything. Mrs. P worked for two days the first of Christmas week and then again on Jan 1-2. In between, we had a great holiday, and then a three-day visit to see my middle-sister, Maggie, and her family at Lake Hartwell, near Anderson, S.C. We didn’t do any floating in the lake on this visit, but one afternoon, the clouds parted and it was nice enough to take a boat ride. So the nine of us piled into the neighbor’s pontoon boat for a winter afternoon’s boat cruise. Very nice.

The view from the back deck.

The view from the back deck.

My niece with her "child," Norman the Basset.

My niece with her “child,” Norman the Basset.

All aboard!

All aboard!

Sister and Mrs. Poolman enjoying the day.

Sister and Mrs. Poolman enjoying the day.

Sister with the center of attention.

Sister with the center of attention.

Mrs. P enjoying the ride.

Mrs. P enjoying the ride.

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A great week continues

This working out to be a very good week.

Poolboy and Girlfriend finally made it down full time on Monday afternoon. And Monday turned out to be a truly lazy day. I got up at a decent hour and then Mrs. Poolman, Writer Princess, Son-in-Law and I enjoyed a sinful late morning breakfast at a local place called, appropriately enough, The Breakfast Club. This restaurant specializes in serving enormous plates of unhealthy, but delicious, breakfast food. For example, I had a three-egg scramble with chorizo, mushrooms, jalapenos and onions served over a pile of grits. Mrs. P had a dish of grated hash brown potatoes, cooked with onions, peppers, and bacon, with a little cream cheese folded in. The serving covered the entire dinner plate. I couldn’t eat this way every day. My arteries couldn’t take it. But once in a while…on vacation…

Ran a couple of errands on the island and then took a nice afternoon nap. Sigh. It clouded up and got windy late in the afternoon. Some of our group hung out on the beach anyway.

Even a  cloudy day at the beach beats a sunny day behind a desk.

Even a cloudy day at the beach beats a sunny day behind a desk.

We had several of our friends from “down the beach” here for drinks and appetizers that evolved into a full-evening social event.

Today, SIL, Poolboy, Girlfriend and I went on a kayak eco-tour.

Beach13 Tue2w

Getting ready to push off on the great adventure.

Beach13 Tue3w

Resting up and re-hydrating on our mid-tour beach break.

It was fun, but not quite what we expected.  A lot of fairly open-water paddling with a fairly strong wind pushing us around. We did have some nice beach time and saw a few interesting sights, like osprey diving and feeding, and a small bonnet head shark feeding along the shoreline. By the end of our trip, we were pooped. I may not be able to move tomorrow.

Another afternoon nap (I could get used this.) and then we all went out to the North Beach Grill for dinner. This locally-famous restaurant is really just a beach shack with some outdoor seating on a deck.

Our group at the North Beach Grill.

Our group at the North Beach Grill.

The kitchen was slow, but the food was good. I had a jerk chicken sandwich and home-cut fries. Mrs. P and several of the rest of our group had the half-pound of shrimp, saute’d in a jerk seasoning. It was very good. I think we are going to try to duplicate it at home.

Saute'd shrimp in jerk seasoning.

Saute’d shrimp in jerk seasoning.

I think we are all pretty tired tonight. I don’t see a party night in the offing.

A busy day…

Today has been interesting, in two parts. This morning, we hosted a “state visit” by a group of roughly 65 VIPs, including the state Board of Regents, a bunch of university presidents and senior university system staffers. Most of these people have never been here so it was a pretty big deal.  I have been working to plan this event since mid-January and have fretted over the details and coordinating with the two other institutions in town. As it turns out, everything went very well. Everyone did what they were supposed to do and they did it well. No hitches and I heard nothing but compliments. Big load off.

Suits and dresses on the work deck. What's wrong with this picture?

Suits and dresses on the work deck. What’s wrong with this picture?

One of the cool things about my job is the opportunity to get out and take an occasional boat ride. This afternoon, I went along on one of our small skiffs to shoot some video for a promotional piece we are producing to market our research vessel.

Tough duty out on the water today.

Tough duty out on the water today.

The weather was gorgeous, roughly 80 degrees and sunny. We were out for about an hour which was just enough to sunburn my face. Duh. I did get one cool shot with my Canon point ‘n shoot camera. We frequently see dolphins around here, but it’s tough to get pictures because they don’t surface where and when you are expecting them. I did get this shot this afternoon, which was pretty pleased with.

A dolphin riding the bow wave of the R/V Savannah

A dolphin riding the bow wave of the R/V Savannah

Spellcheck doesn’t always work the way you want

Whoever copy-edited an article in our local paper, the Savannah Morning News, should take note of this. In an article on a recent sailing regatta, this paragraph referred to the members of a sailing team from an all-girls high school (St Vincent’s Academy) who crewed on some of the boats. (Caps are mine.)

“It was a chance to see that things are similar but not the same on the bigger boats with WENCHES, and see a different age group in competition,” Baczynski added.”

Somehow I suspect the good Sisters of Mercy won’t appreciate that characterization.

An island weekend

I had to work this Saturday, but at least it was fun work.

I took a trip to Wassaw Island, a barrier island near Savannah.  The purpose was this — each year, we offer some “trips” as prizes for the silent auction that is part of the university system’s big fundraising gala. Today one of the winners of last year’s prizes came for his trip. We put them up in one of our cottages on our campus and took them to Wassaw Island for a beach and nature tour. My boss, his wife (who was our guide) and I hosted the day.

Wassaw is only reachable by boat.

The Fish and Wildlife Service dock.

It is entirely a nature preserve. When we were leaving the island, we saw a few boaters “beaching it” on the very south end. Aside from them,  I believe we were the only humans on the seven-mile long island. Our own private pardise for a few hours.

The family involved was very nice – the parents and two children. They seemed to enjoy the day. We docked at the Fish and Wildlife dock on the land-side of the island and hiked across the island to the beach.

Wassaw has a different look to it than some of the other barrier islands I’ve visited. It is newer and doesn’t have the same expanse of maritime oak forest. There is a 35 foot high sand dune (hill) running down the middle of the island.

Hiking up the "dune" on the way back to the boat.

On the beach side of the dune, the terrain is low-lying but the vegetation is mostly pine and palmetto – not many oaks at all.

Burned pines on the beach side of the big dune.

So we hiked across the island and spent a couple of hours just hanging around the beautiful beach.

Arriving at our "private beach."

Not very crowded today.

When we returned, we got cleaned up and I started cooking dinner. We provided a low country boil, and that was my responsibility. It went well. I managed to cook the shrimp just right. (It’s very easy to overcook the shrimp. Then they are soggy and tough to peal.)

Mrs. Poolman originally planned to join me on the day’s activities, but her boss asked her to work Saturday as an overtime day. She would earn some significant $$$ for the shift, so she jumped on it.

Today (Sunday) is our only off-day of the weekend. We spent it cleaning house (Mrs. Poolman) and yard work in the backyard (me). I’m grilling some chicken for dinner and Mrs. P is doing the green beans and new potatoes. We’ll be to bed early tonight. The work week awaits.

A great day on Ossabaw Island

I had a great time on Wednesday of this week – a day trip to Ossabaw Island. Ossabaw is one of Georgia’s secluded, undeveloped barrier islands. The only practical way to reach it is by boat.

The beach

We took off from our campus at 8:30 in the morning with a group of eleven scientists and technicians for the one hour trip down the Intra-Coastal Waterway to the island.

Ossabaw Island is held by the State of Georgia as a Heritage Trust. Access is by permission only.

We had several reasons for this trip. One reason was to conduct some maintenance on the “Barrier Island Observatory.” We are part of a group of organizations that are developing an observatory network on the island. This is a series of sensors and cameras that can by accessed through the Internet. Right now there is a weather station, a water sensor at the dock and at two wells, and a camera at the dock. You can see what they pickup here.

We also had a couple of geologists who needed to dig some core samples, and a graduate student who collected Spanish moss and air samples.

I went along to take pictures and to enjoy the day.

It was great to get out of the office. Along the way, we passed the bald eagle nest on Pigeon Island.

Once on the island, we got around on the back of pick up trucks.

The causeway from the dock to the island.

The island is beautiful and peaceful, with scenes ranging from maritime forest, to salt marshes to open beaches.

Salt marsh

Dead palm trees

A dead tree -- the result of erosion.

An interesting matrix of dead wood on the beach.

Tabby former living quarters

When we first arrived, we were greeted by “Paul Mitchell,” one of the island’s pet hogs.However, unlike on my last visit to the island, we didn’t see very much in the way of wildlife. We saw only one alligator. I think part of the reason for this is that the fresh water ponds on the island are very low, so the gators aren’t close to the various roads and causeways.

No water = no alligators.

All in all, it was a great day and a lot of fun.

Sailin’ south for the winter

The campus where I work is on a coastal island adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway. Each fall,  starting in October,  we get to watch a migration that is as predictable as the birds flying south for the winter. In this case, the snowbirds drive their yachts south for the season. I can sit in my office and watch a parade of high-priced sailboats and motor yachts cruise on down the waterway. I cross a drawbridge over the ICW coming to work in the morning, and it’s not unusual to see four or five yachts lined up waiting for the bridge to open.

I’ve never owned a boat, and have never been a big “boat person,” although I did some sailing in my younger days. Still, seeing these boats pass by makes you wonder, “wouldn’t it be nice.”

Snap out of it!