Drat. I’ve been delinquent for another two months in the blogosphere. River season is rough. But I just finished my mid-season break and am back from a month back East. Although I have a bit of catching up to do on river and shop adventures, I’d rather jabber about where I’ve been for the last few weeks.

Lora and I started with a red-eye flight back to Boston where we rented a little roller skate of a car and headed north. The first requisite stop is the New Hampshire liquor store–a state-run enterprise that has its own giant freeway exit. And way cheap hooch. Always a good spot to stock up on the Irish. This year they had a sand sculpture outdoors. World’s largest for sure:

Next stop: the fish market in Portland. We don’t have joints like this back in Arizona.

We made it out to Friendship Long Island–about a mile offshore of the working lobster port of Friendship, namesake of the famous sloop. We landed that evening, early enough to exhume our banks dory Ruby. We missed getting back here last year and were quite eager to see how she’d held up to the winter storms of two years running underneath my improvised haul-out.  At first glance, things looked pretty good. Lora’s camo paint job worked well.

And, upon lifting off the roof panels, we found her dry, but not so dry she was at all cracked. And no varmints had nested inside.

The roof supports double as the launch ramp. We got her ready for the new moon high tide which was due to peak a bit after dark.

And in she went. She had the same leaks as two years ago–no better, no worse. Perfect.

How do you make a gal happy? Put ‘er in a boat at sunset.

Next day we hauled her up at noon tide and did a bit of re-caulking.

Young Tatiana helped install Ruby‘s stars that I cast last year.

But the poor girl got too close to the boat and caught the fever.

I also got to play with my ancient saw-sharpening tools that I picked up at Liberty Tool last year. Those things really work. Here I have finished filing the teeth, and am resetting the pitch.

Back at the town dock we met a fellow, Jim Loney, who is a relative of our friend Jed who we work with on the Colorado. Small world. Jim has a wee project going up the road. Jim told us the gentleman for whom he is restoring this mighty ship has another large boat he’d like to sell, but he’s not to good a salesman: When one prospective buyer, who had been niggling and fault-finding to drive the price down, got ready to make an offer the owner said. “Don’t even think about making an offer. You may like this boat but this boat don’t like you. Get the *@$%& out of here.”

This is the Canvas Palace, our favorite quarters on the island. At night, when you go out to piddle, the feel of deep moss on the soles of your feet is intoxicating.

In the heart of the island is a magical place called Fairy Rock. It’s home to more kinds of moss than I’ve ever seen. We collected some for our project back home–a living bathmat made of moss. Details to follow on that.

We did not get to stay nearly long enough, but better than nothing. On our last full day we took Ruby out for one last row around ten pee-em, planning to beach her at the foot of the ramp at high tide a bit before midnight. But the phosphorescent plankton hypnotized us and we did not beach until after 1:30 in the morning.

Next morning we cranked her back into her hidey-hole, far more confident than last time that she likes her new home and would be in good shape when we return. Next year we gotta stay a month. Minimum.