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Deal Island 2003

Labor Day weekend means a sailing pilgrimmage to Deal Island for me. This year, thanks to an ever shoaling channel, it meant I was forced to enter and leave at high tide.

Living aboard this summer with Terry and the kids has been a treat. Last spring, Terry and I took a hard look at our lives, our goals and our desires and made some big lifestyle changes. With yet another job falling far short of expectations, we quit our jobs, sold our house and moved aboard the boat. Two years of a brutal commute had taken their toll on me and I needed some down time. Well, I got it. We didn't get to Maine like I'd hoped, but we had an excellent summer and it's hard to believe the summer is almost over, already. My down time will be coming to an end, shortly. But first I hope to get in some excellent fall sailing.

A couple of huge improvements have made life far more livable aboard TWB. First things first, with heat indexes in the 100s when we moved aboard, we shelved the puny little Carryon AC unit and bought a 10,000 btu window unit from a local department store. What a difference it makes, when one is cool! A small Honda Generator to charge the batteries and run the AC while it's doing it, allows us to cool the cabin down after a hot day sailing enough to get a good night's sleep anyway. Running the Genset for 2 hrs is about enough to charge the batteries if I haven't been using the computer too much. Going to have to get solar panels too, if I plan to run the computer while underway.

The other big improvement for this year was the electric windlass purchased from Pete at Florida Rigging and Hydraulics in early summer. How sweet it is! No more pulling and hauling and straining backs to handle the anchor. Just step on the foot switch. Sweet, very sweet indeed.

Our return to the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake has been wonderful. We left behind the madness of the rat race, returning to the joy of a water centric lifestyle, good friends and family whom we had dearly missed. As I was fond of saying this past summer, "The Race is over. The Rats won."

As always, my time spent with my friend Bruce were among the best times in life. This year, we had the privilege of meeting Charles Abbott and sharing a couple of beers, a couple of meals and some great conversations with a wonderful new friend. As we waited for High tide so we could leave, Charles took us on a tour of Island Seafood's soft Crab Peeling operations at 0200. What a delight that was! The highlight of our weekend was Sunday night. While Bruce, Charles and I were pigging out on fresh steamed crabs, Terry and the wee ones were dancing and cavorting in the grass with ice cream painted faces to the sounds of "Randy Lee Ashcraft & his Salt Water Cowboys". Ashcroft and company wailing and crooning to an appreciative crowd were a treat. The one sad note of the trip. For the first time in the six years I've known him, our friend Bryan Twigg did not make the trip. A house rehab project regretfully kept him from sharing in our delights.

Here's hoping the Deal Island festivities never catch the glaring spotlight of yet another urbanite desperately seeking small time america. For if it were to grow in popularity as the Pumpkin Chunkin' contest has recently, I'm certain its flavor and simple pleasures would be destroyed. As it exists right now, The Deal Island Labor Day Festivities are Small town America at its best. It just doesn't get any better than that.


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The Black and White photos on this page were taken by

and are courtesy of Bruce Franz

© Bruce Franz, 2003. Used with permission, All rights reserved.


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