Saturday, July 10, 2010

Penelope on board, Day 2

Above, a butterfly who butterflew our way and rested chez nous as we motored our cautious way up Great South Bay toward Bellport (previous posts have the back-story and the map). We saw a good many of his ilk -- who can identify him? -- but this particular individual stayed with us for a good long while. Perhaps he had made quite a night of it. Yesterday, he was in Charleston, maybe.

Great South Bay is a scary place for a sailor. The average depth is what, two feet? The Scapegrace draws four. There is a channel -- a nightmarishly shallow channel, by my standards, with the depth gauge reading nine feet -- seven feet -- seven and half. Five!

And it twists and turns fiendishly, and it's really narrow. If you lose your focus on the next buoy for ten seconds, and go fifteen feet off your course, the depth gauge starts doing that terrible thing where the water is too shallow to compute, and the display just goes blank. Aiieee!

White-knuckle stuff for me, as sailing in the dark was for Penelope. Funny how this stuff works. A beautiful bright sunny calm blue day, with the motor put-putting along; no heeling, no bouncing around. Penelope was happy as a cat with a bowlful of cream, and ten times as attractive. And I was a nervous wreck. What goes around comes around, as they say.

We managed to grope our way up the channel to a spot not too far from Bellport, and then realized that we were in danger of arriving early, an unforgivable social sin. So we dropped the anchor in eight feet -- which was already starting to sound like deep water -- and took a nap.

What a day!



    A Red Admiral, down from Nova Scotia, perhaps.

  2. A Red Admiral! Who could ask for more -- though I'm just sort of a Red Subaltern myslef.

  3. Its original name was the Red Admirable, or so Bob Pyle told me. Got shortened a bit. There's another, the White Admiral (not a close relative) that was really named Admiral on purpose.
    Vanessa atalanta is the very feminine scientific name.
    This is a butterfly I used to chase across back yards in Iowa.

    The RA is migratory -- overwinters in mildish climes (like down where you live, I think) and heads north in numbers for the summers, some years, like this one. Caterpillars eat nettles and hops. There, more than you wanted! Nice photo.