Telling a Seanachai Tale

Aboard Seanachai, Latest Pix, Life Captured

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The description on our YouTube channel reads:

He’s a seafaring navigator. She’s a freelance writer and photographer. High school sweethearts, they were married in 1977, raised their children and spoil their grandchildren. After 30 years, they finally stopped dreaming about owning a sailboat. They bought an ‘86 Catalina 22 in September 2014. Capitalizing on their Celtic roots, the boat is named “Seanachai” (pronounced shawn-a-key), which means Storyteller. You’ve found the place where they post some of their adventures, special projects and lessons learned.

We are fortunate to sail in Charleston SC, with its beautiful, busy harbor, active ports and lots of connecting waterways and pristine creeks — each ripe for exploring.  No two days on the water are the same.  I’m a lot like a child on Christmas morning when I see the playful dolphins surface,  or the soaring seabirds taxi into flight.  I can’t resist trying to capture them or the scores of watercraft we encounter; everything from stand up paddle boards to mega yachts, cruise ships, cargo ships, fishing boats, pleasure craft and tugs.  None of these sights are new for the Captain, but his mate is mesmerized.

It’s challenging to capture images on a moving sailboat, especially when–just as the photographer is framing her image–the Captain orders, “Ready about!”  The dutiful deckhand abandons the shot and preps the jib sheets for a tack.  To tell the full story, I also want to show how we work together to get underway, handle the running rigging and such.

Recently we made a day sail up the Wando River near Charleston with the GoPro Hero mounted to the stern rail. Together with the Panasonic camcorder and the Nikon D5100 on hand, we’re able to tell a new Seanachai tale.

What do you think?


Peacock Blue

Latest Pix, Life Captured, Photo Challenges
Head shot of male Indian (blue) peacock

Male Indian Peacock – Nikon D5100, 35mm, f6.3, 1/60 sec.

One of my favorite colors is the iridescent blue as found in the Indian peacock.  Scientist tell us that unlike most birds, “peacocks do not derive their colors purely from pigments, but from a combination of pigments and photonic crystals”.  Nope, I never heard of photonic crystals, either.

Kylene Arnold, writing for Sciencing explains in her article , “This color is created by a crystalline lattice of nine to 12 rods containing melanin, a color pigment. These rods are spaced roughly 140 nanometers apart, a distance that causes light to reflect back at the viewer in wavelengths that fall in the blue spectrum.”  Okay, the jargon of physics is a little beyond me, too.

Not to worry, though.  We can appreciate the stunning beauty of this creature even if we don’t understand how our eyes see the color.  I captured this image of a very handsome bird last week when I was with my granddaughter at Bee City Zoo in Cottageville, SC.  He hopped off a fence and happily strutted his plumes amid the astonished toddlers.  And he’s my entry for this week’s Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge: Color of your choice.


Indian Peacock glides down from fence at Bee City Zoo



Indian Peacock prances past toddler at Bee City Zoo







Arnold, Kylene. “What Are the Colors in a Peacock’s Feathers?” Sciencing, 16 April 2018.

Effortless and Organic: Volunteer Sunflowers

Latest Pix, Life Captured: Every Day Observations, Photo Challenges

Pollen covered Honey Bee on Sunflower            Nikon D5100 35mm, F 6.3, 1/500 sec

Perhaps, like our family, you have a backyard bird feeder, frequented by numerous birds and squirrels.  If so, you know they are messy eaters.  Effortlessly, seeds are strewn about the area below the feeder. Spring and summer brings a circle of thin, grass-like shoots.  But this year, after we had to take down a tree in the yard, the area became quite sunny.  I was thrilled to have a few volunteer sunflowers spring up.  They attract the honey bees and make for fun photo opportunities. This post is my contribution to Patrick Jennings’ Pic and a Word Challenge: Organic.

This portfolio contains a few more of my images of the volunteer sunflowers.

Ducks on the Dock

Aboard Seanachai, Life Captured, Photo Challenges

Mr. & Mrs. Mallard resting in the shadow of a dock piling                 Nikon D5100 35mm, f-11, 1/125

The late afternoon Spring sun casts long shadows across a dock at the Cooper River Marina, home to our 1986 Catalina 22, “Seanachai”.  This pair of mallard ducks found a bit of cool respite in a strip of shade.  Ducks are very light sleepers, resting their heads on their backs and tucking their beaks into their feathered wings for a bit of extra warmth, but with sharp eyes popping open at the slightest threat to their safety.  The original image was shot in color and desaturated to contribute to Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge “words that end in ock”



Pair of Mallard Ducks resting in shade


A Fellow To Fell A Tree

Latest Pix, Life Captured: Every Day Observations, Photo Challenges

A diseased tree was leaning over our house. We contacted Jason Kelly, a certified  arborist who determined the 50ft. water oak needed to come down.  So, up he went and methodically felled the tree over the course of one very fascinating afternoon–giving me the opportunity to meet two challenges in one!  Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Leaves or Trees and the Jen H’s Daily Post Challenge: Story

Wearing helmet with face shield and ear protection, a chainsaw, hand saw and other equipment attached to his harness, the arborist, using climbing spurs and rope, scales a high limb.

Wearing helmet with face shield and ear protection, a chainsaw, hand saw and other equipment attached to his harness, the arborist, using climbing spurs and rope, scales a high limb.

After tying off the limb to a pulley rope, he removes the top branches with chainsaw.

After tying off the limb to a pulley rope, he removes the top branches with chainsaw.

He guides one of the cut upper branches down while standing in the basket of his 40 ft. boom lift.

He guides one of the cut upper branches down while standing in the basket of his 40 ft. boom lift.

Arborist and "skywalker" balanced on a branch some 40 feet in the air.

Arborist and “skywalker” balanced on a branch some 40 feet in the air.

Arborist uses a pulley and rope system to guide heavy branches down safely.

Using a pulley and rope system, he guides heavy branches down safely.

Assistant removes the wedge shaped notch after the arborist makes the notch cut.

Assistant removes the wedge shaped notch after the arborist makes the notch cut.

Assistants hold a guide line and keep the cable TV wires out of the fall zone as the final fell cut is made.

Assistants hold a guide line and keep the cable TV wires out of the fall zone as the final fell cut is made.

The felled tree trunk comes to rest as planned-- on a log placed in the fall zone.

The felled tree trunk comes to rest as planned–on a log placed in the fall zone.

Certified Arborist Jason Kelly of Skywalker Tree Company

Certified Arborist Jason Kelly of Skywalker Tree Company

Building with Squares and Circles

Life Captured: Every Day Observations, Photo Challenges


Among of our favorite toys are building blocks. According to Karen Hewitt, a toy designer and founder of the Learning Materials Workshop of Burlington, Vermont, the timeless, simple shapes lend themselves to endless opportunities for education through play.  We stack them up and knock them down, we build walls and bridges, we learn about shape and color, about building and rebuilding.

There’s a new toddler in our lives; our fourth grandchild. It’s been a while since the box of blocks was opened, so I decided they needed a bath.  I filled up the kitchen sink with some mild soap and water and plunged in the brightly colored cuboids, cylinders and triangular prisms together with some classic Lincoln Logs.  Did you know those interlocking logs were originally designed by John Lloyd Wright, son of the architect Frank Loyd Wright?  I didn’t.

Anyway, the sight of those building blocks bobbing amid the bubbles inspired me to bring out the camera.  And in that mysterious way that inspiration works, the next day I saw a link to the Life of B photo challenge A Month of Squares. So I decided to play along.

A Great Ocean Tank of Fish

Aboard Seanachai, Life Captured, Photo Challenges
Boy looking at fish in Great Ocean Tank of SC Aquarium

Nick imagines what it would be like to visit the deepest oceans, filled with exotic fish.

In 1983 Charleston SC Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. visited the Shedd Aquarium near Chicago, and an idea was born. He made a deal to purchase a contaminated strip of land on the Charleston waterfront, secured Superfund money from the federal government to help clean up the area and built the South Carolina Aquarium. It’s a stunning piece of architecture when viewed from the Charleston Harbor as we often do, Aboard Seanachai.

Nick, pictured above, has great plans to explore the deepest ocean reefs and discover exotic undersea creatures. For him, a visit to the SC Aquarium is a trip to wonderland.   This photo is my contribution for Travel with Intent’s Blog, One Word Sunday Challenge “Fish

Completed in 2000, there’s much to see at the SC Aquarium, which was designed to showcase plants and animals found in each of five regions of the state.

But the centerpiece is the Great Ocean Tank. Forty-two feet below the surface at its deepest point, it’s the deepest public aquarium in North America. The 18-inch thick windows are acrylic—strong enough to keep back the pressure of 365,000 gallons of water, without distorting the images of the fish. A multi-layered filtration system “turns over the water” in only 90 minutes.

It showcases three distinct areas of the Atlantic Ocean, the deep/open ocean, the shallow rocky reef and the deep rocky reef. About 550 animals of 40 different species swim in the tank. The only animal in the tank that’s not a fish is Caretta, a 30-year-old loggerhead sea turtle.

Caretta, loggerhead turtle in the Great Ocean Tank at the SC Aquarium

Caretta, a loggerhead turtle and the only “non fish” in the Great Ocean Tank

SC Aquarium Charleston, SC

View of SC Aquarium from Charleston Harbor – as seen “Aboard Seanachai”

The Lookout’s View

Aboard Seanachai, Life Captured, Photo Challenges

Here’s my entry for Nancy Merrill’s Photo A Week Challenge “Look Up”

As we prepare for the Spring sailing season, I’ve had some time to look through some older images.  This one is from October 2016 when my husband and I made a weekend cruise aboard our Catalina 22, Seanachai.   Part of the passage took us through Wappoo Creek and I experienced the opening of the Burnet R. Maybank drawbridge from a new perspective.  We posted a YouTube video of the first leg of the trip, including the opening of the bridge.

Burnet R. Maybank bascule bridge opens

Burnet R. Maybank bascule bridge opens for boat traffic.                   35mm, f6.3, 1/250

At it’s center, the bridge has a clearance of 33 feet.  The masthead to the waterline of our boat is just over 29 feet.  Technically, we could motor under the bridge, and we did–about three months later–as captured in the photo below.  The captain’s steady hand guided us under the center of the bridge, while I looked up.

Sailboat masthead clearing under bridge

Masthead clearance less than 3 feet under a closed Brunet R. Maybank bascule bridge! 55mm, f 6.3, 1/1000

Snowflakes in the Spanish Moss

Latest Pix, Life Captured, Photo Challenges
Snowfall among Southern oak trees, Spanish moss

55mm, f 7.1, 1/200, iso 2000

At the start of 2018, the Southeast coastal area experienced a rare snowfall, turning our landscape into a peculiar panorama where snowflakes in the Spanish moss looked like thick icicles dripping from from the branches of our great oaks.  This photo is my first contribution for Becca’s Sunday Trees challenge.

Fortunately for the tropical Spanish moss, our snow event was short lived.  After six days all traces of ice and snow melted away and we enjoyed the balmy 55º typical of our January highs.

Neither lichen nor moss, Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is one of the signature plants of the Antebellum South, (although it may be found from Virginia to Argentina).  It’s an epiphyte, meaning that it uses trees for support.  It absorbs nutrients and water through its leaves from the air and rainfall.  You see it most often along the coastal areas, because it needs high humidity and mild winter temperatures to survive.

Mysterious and ubiquitous, the plant is a favorite of storytellers throughout the area.  Among the legends is this poem (author unknown):

There an old, old legend, that’s whispered by Southern folks,

About the lacy Spanish moss that garlands the great oaks.

A lovely princess and her love, upon her wedding day,

Were struck down by a savage foe amidst a bitter fray.

United in death they were buried, so the legends go,

‘Neath an oak’s strong friendly arms, protected from their foe.

There, as was the custom, they cut the bride’s long hair with love,

And hung its shining blackness on the spreading oak above.

Untouched, undisturbed it hung there, for all the world to see,

And with the years the locks turned gray and spread from tree to tree.

Carolina Snow Birds

Latest Pix, Life Captured, Photo Challenges
Two small birds in a backyard bird feeder during snowfall

f 6.3, 1/320, Nikon D5100, AF-S Nikkor 55-200 @ 200

We certainly have our share of snowbirds in South Carolina.  But those who thought they’d escape the cold blast of Arctic weather by slipping into Dixie were in for a big surprise January 3.  According to the National Weather Service, the precipitation brought by the 2018 Winter storm “Grayson”  was the heaviest one day snowfall in the city of Charleston since 1989.  Freezing temperatures kept our streets treacherous for six days, cancelled more than 75 flights into and out of the airport, and kept our kids home from school well beyond the holiday break.

These little birds chose the frosty ledge of our backyard bird feeder to rest during the snowfall.  It’s my favorite image captured during the record winter storm.  And it’s my contribution to the One Word Photo Challenge “Weekly Weather Jan. 7: Pick your Own”


Talking Machines

Latest Pix, Photo Challenges

Sound box from a 1940s era portable Birch windup gramophone

Know what this is? It’s called a reproducer or a sound box. Found at the end of the tone arm of a portable gramophone, it holds a steel needle at approximately 60 degrees to the shellac surface of a recorded disc. Once the main spring is wound-up, a turntable gently spins at 78 rotations per minute.   If you close your eyes, perhaps you can imagine how astonishing it was to hear the very popular Billy Murray sing “Pretty Baby”.

It’s 1916, and for the first time, Americans can take recorded music anywhere they want to go.  They’re called “Talking Machines.” State of the art technology, 100 years ago.

Today there are savvy youngsters who have never seen an 8-track tape player, boom box, Sony Walkman, Discman or Rio. Even the iPod is 16 years old.

Now we talk to a machine and it retrieves the music we want from a nebulous place called “the cloud.” I can’t begin to imagine where the next 100 years will take us.

Perhaps you’d like to slow down, step back and remember how it was. These vintage Talking Machines are still out there, ready to be recycled.  That makes this photo my take on the Tuesday fpj-photo-challenge: Recycle

Did you ever hear the story of how the first talking machines changed the way we listen to music?

Floating Oddity

Aboard Seanachai, Latest Pix, Life Captured, Photo Challenges

“Lady in the Lake”  by Mark Cline                     35mm   f 5.6  1/250

When you embark on a 5-night, 6-day sailing adventure along the Gulf Coast of Florida, you expect to see the sugar sand beaches and blue green water of the Gulf of Mexico.  What you don’t expect to find is the likeness of a 108-foot woman skinny dipping in a marina.  She’s my entry for Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge this week.

In 2012, George Barber, billionaire art patron and owner of the marina, commissioned Mark Cline, a self-taught sculptor, to design this unusual floating lady.  Already well known for the whimsical creations formed in his Enchanted Castle Studios, the Virginia artist built the fiberglass sculpture, inserted giant styrofoam blocks inside her head and knees and  gently splashed her in a pond at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Birmingham, AL.  Later, she was trucked down the the Alabama gulf coast and placed in the corner of the Barber Marina, where she could greet all the visiting crews.  Mark Cline christened her “Country Girl Skinny Dipping,” but locals call her “Lady in the Lake.”

My husband and I had a chance to see her when we took our Catalina 22 “Seanachai” on the 20th Annual C-22 Northern Gulf Coast Cruise (NGCC).  A YouTube video series highlights our adventures, this episode includes our visit to Barber Marina.

Sailing Vessel "Seanachai" at Barber Marina

Seanachai “The Storyteller” at Barber Marina, Elberta AL May 10, 2017


A Cultivated Wood

Latest Pix, Life Captured, Photo Challenges
Waterfall at Poinsett State Park

Waterfall at Poinsett State Park                              35mm      f7.1      1/50

This image of a waterfall nestled in the cultivated woods of Poinsett State Park is my entry for Frank Jansen Photography’s Tuesday Photo Challenge-Woods.

According to archaeologists, people have lived in the “high hills” area of South Carolina for at least 10,000 years. The landmasses, water features, flora and fauna preserved in our State Parks are mere inkling of how the country looked for centuries.

Poinsett State Park in Sumter County, SC exists in an area called “the mountains of the Midlands.”  More than 11 miles of hiking trails traverse a mixed terrain that includes 100ft bluffs and black water swampland, where you’ll find a blend of Upstate mountain laurel shrubs, Lowcountry Spanish moss draped over hardwoods and tall stands of Southern yellow pines. You may encounter red-tailed hawk, deer, snakes, turtles and possibly an American alligator.

Evidence shows Native Americans from the Santee, Wateree and Catawba tribes hunted in these woods. In 1753, Matthew Singleton petitioned South Carolina for 300 acres with the understanding he would improve the property by clearing fields, building houses and mills. Remnants of the mill still exist.

It’s believed someone named Levi built a dam to create a pond on Shank’s Creek in order to cultivate rice.   The 10-acre lake in the park is named “Old Levi Mill Pond” in his memory.

During the 1800s, the area around the property became known as the “Capital of the Lumber Industry” in South Carolina. According to the SC Forestry Commission, such was the production that by the end of World War I, most of SC’s virgin timber was gone.

In 1934, Sumter County purchased 1,000 acres, dedicating it to the public as a recreation and game refuge. Subsequently, the County donated the land to the State of South Carolina.

In an effort to address the unemployment of the Great Depression, and conserve timber resources, President Franklin D. Roosevelt conceived a “New Deal” program called the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC was responsible for the construction of many state and national parks, including 17 State Parks in South Carolina. The CCC employed young men and World War I veterans. The men learned a wide array of skills in addition to their wages.

From 1934 to 1938 the CCC built recreational and support facilities and trails in this Park.   Company 421, one of three CCC companies who helped with construction, named the park after the South Carolina congressman, physician and amateur botanist, Joel Roberts Poinsett, who was also an envoy to Mexico from 1822-23. (That’s where he found the red plant known in Mexico as the Christmas Eve flower. Due to his promotion of the plant in the US, it became known as the poinsettia.)

The CCC companies used coquina, a local rock made of ancient sand and shells to build a 75ft. spillway and the waterfall (pictured above).  A number of the buildings constructed by the CCC are still in use today, including the ranger station.

Poinsett State Park Ranger Station reflected in Old Levi Pond Lake.

Poinsett State Park Ranger Station reflected in Old Levi Pond Lake.                      35mm   f6.3   1/100



Almost There

Latest Pix, Life Captured, Photo Challenges

35 mm,  f/ 4.5, 1/200   desaturated colors, add’l filter (81)

This bumblebee is making her way to a cluster of tomato blossoms.  The pollen baskets on the tibia of her hind legs are almost full, but she is going back for another batch. According to, pollen is loaded at the bottom of the pollen basket, so the pollen that has been pushed towards the top is from flowers the bumblebee visited earliest. Only female bumblebees have pollen baskets (corbicula). A full pollen basket can contain as much as one million pollen grains.

Not quite black and white, this desaturated image is “almost there” too.  I got this effect through Adobe Photoshop Elements Editor by completely dropping the saturation of each color–except yellow, which I reduced by about half, then tinted the entire image with a warming filter (81).

It’s my contribution for Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge “Anything that Flies



Catch a Falling Star

Latest Pix, Life Captured: Every Day Observations

Camellia Sasanqua “Falling Star” and Viceroy Butterfly                          F5 1/60 35 mm

January and February is the peak blooming season for camellias in our neck of the woods, although the blooms start showing as early as October in the Southeast. This image of a Viceroy butterfly drinking the nectar from Camellia Sasanqua “Falling Star” was captured in my backyard this past October.

I’m certainly no expert on these plants, but if need to know more, there’s always help nearby.  The local branch of the American Camellia Society,  Coastal Carolina Camellia Society held their 68th Annual Camellia Show in Charleston, SC on January 28.  At that event 1067 different blooms were shown.  The variety of Camellias seems endless! For those who may be interested in the American Camellia Society, the National Convention will be held April 5-8 in Newberg, Oregon.

Sharing this one with Cee’s Photography,  Feb. 21, 2017 Flower of the Day.

Just out

From the Garden, Life Captured: Every Day Observations, Photo Challenges


Dogday Cicada emerging from its exoskeleton

Dogday Cicada emerging from its exoskeleton                                       f/5.0 1/400, ISO 560, 35mm

I spend quite a lot of time photographing in our garden throughout the spring and summer. Let me first say, I have ALWAYS been creeped out by bugs. But if you spend enough time in a vegetable garden, you’re likely to encounter quiet a few.  So, while keeping a safe camera lens distance from them, I like to capture their images and I research what I found.

I  was astonished to catch this moment.  It’s a Dogday cicada just coming out of its nymph shell.  

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Tales of the End of Christmas & a Few of My Favorite Things

Life Captured, Special Ocassions

In the Christian liturgical calendar, February 2nd marks the official end of the Christmas season.  While some are looking for a groundhog’s shadow and others are humming “Here Comes Peter Cottontail,” the staunchly traditional among us are still contemplating Silent Night.

Duck, Duck, Quack!

Aboard Seanachai, Life Captured, Photo Challenges

Mallard Drake on Marina Dock                                                         f/6.3  1/500, ISO 250, 35mm

After a spring daysail aboard Seanachai, we came upon this mallard drake standing at the edge of the marina dock. Camera at the ready, I took a few steps toward him.  Truthfully, I expected he would fly away at any moment. Instead, I was able to get close enough to cast a shadow over him, which toned down the highlights from the setting sun, and revealed the detail in his feathers.  For several minutes he stood his ground, looked me right in the lens, and commenced to recite some sort of duck manifesto while I happily snapped this image–my entry for Cee’s Fun Foto Challege: Duck Duck Goose.


close enough to cast a shadow!


Sweet Anticipation

Life Captured: Every Day Observations

In my faith tradition, the four weeks leading up to the celebration of Christmas are called Advent, meaning, “to come to”.   We are taught the Advent season is a time to direct our attention to the coming of Christ at the end of time and also to the anniversary of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

It isn’t easy to stay focused on these spiritual matters in our culture. For most Americans, the Christmas season began the day after Halloween and is a sensory overload of marketing from TV shows, movies, store displays, and an email inbox overflowing with ‘unbeatable deals’ with ‘last chance’ sales.

Holiday traditions are important to me, and those traditions include celebrating the hopeful spirit of Advent. So I was thrilled to receive this charming wood Advent Calendar several years ago. Advent begins on the Sunday closest to November 30 (the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle), but most Advent calendars begin the countdown on December 1.

According to the German folklorist and historian Esther Gajek, the history of the first printed Advent Calendar is traced to 1908 and Gerhard Lang. Lang, a native of Maulbronn Germany recalled the homemade calendar his mother made with little candies. He was working in the printing office Reichhold & Lang, when he produced little colored pictures that could be placed on a cardboard marking the countdown to Christmas. Later, he produced calendars with little doors to open.

The kids especially love to open the doors of our Advent calendar. So, in addition to a bit of candy, I bring them into the Spirit of the season with a bit of Scripture printed on cardboard.

Imaginary Quest

Digital Art Projects, Photo Challenges
JRR Tolkien's Elfish Princess Arwen and Thorin Oakenshield imagined in Middle Earth

JRR Tolkien’s Elfish Princess Arwen and Thorin Oakenshield imagined in Middle Earth

Halloween is just around the corner.  For those who participate in the alter-ego tradition of dressing up in costume, it’s a wonderful time to use our imaginations.  This couple suited up for the holiday as characters from JRR Tolkien’s fantasy novels.

This digital art project creates a vision of JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth and the quest of the dwarf Thorin Oakenshield and an elfish princess.  It’s my entry for the Daily Post photo challenge Quest.  Here’s the original snapshot…

Original snapshot of Tolkien characters Elfish Princess Arwen and Thorin Oakenshield

Original snapshot of Tolkien characters Elfish Princess Arwen and Thorin Oakenshield

Complementing Purple

Photo Challenges
Basket of Colored Easter Eggs in purple shredded cellophane

Basket of Easter Eggs                                                                 f/6.3, 1/60s, ISO 450, 35mm

My selection for this week’s CFFC challenge featuring the color purple brings me to a consideration of color theory and the color wheel.  I think the complementary color of the table (yellow) makes the purples in this basket ‘pop’.

Did you know that Sir Isaac Newton, the 17th Century English physicist and mathematician, was also the inventor of the color wheel?  I didn’t.

Sure, I remember the story about an apple falling from a tree which led Newton to “discover” gravity.  I leave it to Steve Connor of the UK Independent  to detail the veracity of the anecdote.  But there’s so much more about the scientist I didn’t know.

For instance, according to biographers, Newton was born into a farming family on what was Christmas Day 1642, just three months after his father died.  His mother remarried two years later, but the young boy was sent to live with his grandparents and felt orphaned.  His early school reports described him as ‘idle’ and ‘inattentive’.   Apparently, however, a grammar school headmaster perceived his talent and encouraged him to remain in school. Eventually he entered Trinity College Cambridge, with the aim of earning a law degree.  After being introduced to philosophy and the mechanics of astronomy and optics, he later settled on the study of mathematics.

In 1665, a  terrible recurrence of Bubonic Plague spread across London, killing 15% of the population and closing the University until 1667.  Newton, just 25 years old, went home to Lincolnshire. In the next two years, his independent studies led him to extraordinary advances in mathematics, optics, physics and astronomy.

It was during this period that he argued that white light is really a mixture of many different types of rays, each producing a different spectral color.  He arranged the colors in a wheel, primaries (red, yellow and blue) opposite their complementaries (green, purple and orange)–demonstrating each complementary enhances the other’s effect through optical contrast.

If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.                                                        – Sir Isaac Newton


Seanachai Sun Screen

Aboard Seanachai, Digital Art Projects

Summertime temps this year have been hovering in the mid- 90s, which makes for an uncomfortable time aboard Seanachai.  One day, we’ll sail with a proper bimini top, until then, we’ve adopted an idea from The $tingy Sailor for a “poor man’s bimini”.

The boom tent is easy to install and stows away compactly in the cabin.  We’ve motored with the boom tent installed, but mostly we use it when we’re at the dock.  It makes the cockpit about 10-15 degrees cooler–just what the captain ordered to make the sundowners more enjoyable!

Here’s a video I made detailing how it works.


Remembering September – Part 1

Aboard Seanachai
NOAA R/V Joe Ferguson at Ross Marine Dock, Johns Island SC

NOAA R/V Joe Ferguson                                                       f/6.3 1/1000s, ISO 280, 55-200@200mm

September is a month of anniversaries for me in many ways, and in a solemn way, for the United States.

Aboard Seanachai for our wedding anniversary cruise, my husband and I made a two-day trip along the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) from Charleston, SC to the Limehouse Bridge on John’s Island.

I photographed lots of watercraft along the way, but this image of the Research Vessel Joe Ferguson is particularly significant.  She was apparently having some maintenance completed at Ross Marine boatyard on John’s Island when I snapped this picture.  Not the best photo technically, but the story makes it special.

According to the website, the vessel was obtained by Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary in July 2008.  She provides a platform for research, rescue, training and educational operations for researchers connected with NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

The boat is named for Joe Ferguson, who was the former director of the National Geographic Society Education and Outreach Program.  Ferguson was killed on             September 11, 2001 when the plane carrying him was hijacked and flown into the Pentagon.  He was traveling with National Geographic Society staffer Anne Judge, and three teacher-student pairs on an educational trip to the Channel Islands of California.  The team was planning to participate in a Sustainable Seas Expedition.  The teacher-student pairs were: teacher James Debeuneure and student Rodney Dickens; teacher Sarah Clark and student Asia Cottom, teacher Hilda Taylor and student Bernard Brown. All of the star students were 11-year old sixth graders.

That I would learn about these outstanding people and their work within days of the anniversary of their deaths makes this September profoundly memorable.

Framed Through the Rigging

Aboard Seanachai, Photo Challenges
Black and white image of a sailboat viewed through the frame of another boat's rigging, Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge over the Cooper River, Charleston, SC

Through the Rigging                                                               f7.1, ISO 100, 1/400s, 35mm

The San Francisco, CA firm Donald MacDonald Architects,  was charged with creating a design for a new bridge across the Cooper River near Charleston, SC.  The goal, they said, was to create a timeless landmark that pays homage to the historic city and compliments the harbor and waterfront park.  Across the landscape, the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge “evokes a sail motif over the river.”  It opened to the public in July 2005.

A sailboat framed through the rigging of our C-22 Seanachai, with the landmark bridge behind emphasizes the architect’s theme and is my entry for this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge: Frame