Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Long-Billed Syndrome

I just saw this terrifying bit of news today. It seems the bills of birds are growing abnormally, causing slow starvation to the afflicted bird.

The story is here.

The cause remains a mystery.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sail Transport Network

I had the chance to crew once again on Dave Reid's boat Whisper. Dave is performing trial runs on produce delivery here in the Puget Sound. His goal is to develop a way to ship produce from rural areas (for instance, the Kitsap Penninsula) to urbal areas (Seattle) all without using fossil fuels.

As always, I'm interested in anybody who's trying to develop passage-making skills purely under sail. The average non-sailor doesn't realize how rare this is. Dave and I sailed from Seattle to Poulsbo, round trip, without the engine on his boat ever turning on. This includes sailing around a lot of topography and through a pass where tidal currents routinely reach 3 knots.

The most unexpected experience this weekend was the current we encountered at the entrance of Shilshole Marina. Shilshole has two entrances, north and south. Since the wind was coming out of the south, we needed to enter in the south. However, this spot coincides with the mouth of the Lake Washington Canal, just past the locks. High rains (at least, that's our theory) were prompting the locks to release high volumes of water that day, causing a pretty stiff current that pushed us away from the entrance of our marina. It took three attempts to enter the marina under sail. This was made especially difficult by the light air. Persistence was rewarded, and we sailed right into Dave's slip with no problems.