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03 October 2010 @ 03:11 pm
Fall is starting here  
The week just passed consisted of days which just melted pleasantly into one another, affirming that things are going very well for me even though I feel like I left earth and landed on another planet this summer.

I am becoming very familiar with the tent barge now, and developing a routine. There is still much experimentation and learning I do every day, but it is now about fine details of everything already started -solar cooking, using the blinds to control inside temperature, improving nighttime comfort, providing things for Ghost to do while we're out on the water, etc.

I am closer to setting dates for my car trip to Ohio and back -I am aiming for mid-October.

In mid-week, a tropical storm, Nicole, passed just east of Florida, and that finally broke the heat wave in my opinion. It had been cooling off and changing slightly before then, but only now is it really that different from when I got here. Yesterday, Saturday, was the first morning with a heat index low under 60. But the low humidity is really the story of this weekend. -It is much lower than anytime since I arrived. Now, at 2 PM Sunday, it is not only just 80 degrees, but there is NO heat index at all, and there is a slight wind chill (78 degrees).

Speaking of today's wind, which is gusting to 13 miles per hour, it is perfect for the test I am doing today -of what I call pin mooring.

The true bottom of these waterways is clean sand, but there is a thick layer of pea-soup-like muck which probably averages about two to three feet thick, the top of which forms what looks like the bottom. There are no rocks or sunken branches for a boat anchor to rest against, and I've found my anchors drag during the kind of gusts we are having today.

Many boaters down here recommend driving a long fiberglass rod down through the muck and into the sand, and tying the boat to the top of the rod.

I am now using my 10-foot-to-20-foot telescoping fiberglass pole with the hook on the end for my experiment with this "pin mooring", as shown in this photo:



So far, I am happy with the ability of this to hold fast, after several quite windy hours. The muck is REALLY thick here, though, because I have the fiberglass pole extended close to about seventeen feet to get to the sand, even though the water only looks about sixteen inches deep!

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Poor Ghost had a scare this morning soon after we came out to this open spot.

I have been preparing for such a thing to happen ever since he began feeling relaxed and happy here, because I remember all the learning experiences James went through. (These events are the reason people say cats have nine lives.)

Ghost is so much more gentle and shy than James was, but he still gets very rambunctious and daring, usually early in the morning. I give him limes to use as balls to bat around inside the tent, and he loves to watch the fishes down in the water, but he wants to investigate the edges of the barge, so I let him start doing this while I carefully watched, knowing that I could rescue him if he did something crazy.

He crawled off the side plank onto the top of the pontoon, and acted like he wanted to explore along the pontoon. But I said, "No, Bad!" as I hunched over him.

The pontoon is round and shiny, unlike the board he jumped off to get there, so I knew his paws would have no traction.

Sure enough, when he leaped to get back to the board, he fell in the water.

But I was ready, so I scooped him up instantly and tossed him onto the deck.

I felt tears in my eyes as I watched how terrified he was and how skinny he looked completely drenched, but as I hugged him and dried him with a towel, I knew he had learned a very important lesson about where he can't go when on the boat.

These lessons are frightening but necessary for us both. He is now sleeping peacefully now that he is all dry but I am sure he is having some dreams about what happened.