Author Archives: Paul T Morrison

A call for Artistic Designer of Rubber Ducks

What? Let’s start at the end. Schooner Festival Weekend! This coming Saturday, September 5 there is a boat parade, A Parade of Lights! Parade starts at Jones Creek out the Cut Bridge into the Harbor and around the coves then Fireworks! Sounds amazing. Last Year’s parade was a tad thin. I think they need more boats. So I was thinking.

A six foot translucent Rubber Duck up on the Radar Arch of Blue Duck with a wicked bright LED bar inside. I have a blow up two man raft as a base, surf board under that, the LED bar and a 180 rubber ducks for the edging. But I need an idea for how to make the duck. A beach ball for the head, maybe some sticks here and there for support wrapped in a yellow sheet or something. I’ll have Thursday to Saturday at 7PM to construct. Anyone who spends time or comes up with the awesome solution like they have a big blow up Rubber Duck in their basement gets to ride in the parade. (Anything that blows up that light can go through that can be painted yellow might help.)

Wanna make a Homie the Seagull for RD to chase to stick on the bow? Make it and we’ll mount it!

Or if you want to add to the parade, throw some lights on your boat and read the info here!

Anyone know where this dog keeps his duck? Maybe we could borrow it while she is sleeping.

Anyone know where this dog keeps his duck? Maybe we could borrow it while she is sleeping.

Back to College Lobster Fest

Baby daughter goes to college on Sunday so she asked three friends up for lobster. Dad goes to Joey’s Dock and ten lobsters leap off the transom directly into my five gallon pot.

The Virgilio bread is coming out of the oven and the butter is being melted. I made a fresh tomato and cucumber salad went totally untouched. Five sat down, ten lobsters gone in 30 minutes.  Someone asked me, when is the best time of year to get lobsters? Answer, Today! You could wait until tomorrow but why wait?

The Virgilio bread is coming out of the oven and the butter is being melted. I made a fresh tomato and cucumber salad that went totally untouched. Five sat down, ten lobsters gone in 30 minutes. Someone asked me, when is the best time of year to get lobsters? Answer, Today! You could wait until tomorrow but why wait?

You have two hours (Until 1PM) to get to the Rockport Farmers Market

Rockport, Harvey Park, across the street from the Red Skiff that you might be able to get into if you wait two more weeks and the tourists have left. But go now. Buy a chicken that was just a puffy little chick at Seaview Farm earlier this summer. Now they are big and round and ready for your frying pan or oven. Get that chicken, fresh eggs, Vidalia Onion Pickle Relish any day 38 South Street, Rockport.

Ken from Seaview Farm at Cape Ann Farmers Market on Thursday. Meet him and the chicken that he is holding at the Rockport Farmers Market. (Chicken is in his left hand.)

Ken from Seaview Farm at Cape Ann Farmers Market on Thursday. Meet him and the chicken that he is holding at the Rockport Farmers Market. (Chicken is in his left hand.)

Beautiful Dark Skies Over Gloucester

HPSPTower

Halibut Point State Park Observation Tower, photo by Roger Porter of GAAC with the Milky Way on a typical summer night.

 The Boston Globe reported on July 26 that Gloucester has been awarded $240,000.00 to convert streetlights to LEDs; the move is reportedly expected to save the city $130,000.00 annually on its electric bill. This is great news, but only if we’re careful with the type of LEDs that we wind up with.LEDs are by nature rich in blue light. And shining blue light around at night is a terrible idea.The sky is blue in the daytime because blue light from the sun is scattered in the atmosphere most easily. This is, unfortunately, also true at night — the blue light component of streetlights is scattered in the atmosphere and produces sky glow, which blocks out the stars and causes glare. Glare is bad for drivers, and for birds and other living things that need the dark, and for other natural resources, including the night-time sky.

The more blue light, the fewer stars we can see. We could easily lose one of Cape Ann’s great tourist attractions, our rich night skies, in the transition to the wrong LEDs. Most folks never get to see the Milky Way, but we see it all the time; tourists are often quite surprised at the beauty of our night skies. But once the stars are gone, they’re gone. Go to Boston, for example, and look up.

The good news is that in addition to saving money, we can have more environmentally-friendly lighting by being smart about our choice of LEDs. Here’s how: the amount of blue light produced by streetlights is measured by color temperature. 4000k lighting has a lot of blue light mixed in; this is obvious to the eye. 3000k lighting or lower produces a warmer color and is not just more pleasing to the eye, but better for you, for nocturnal wildlife, and much better for our night time skies.

We encourage readers of GMG to write or call the folks who will be involved in choosing our new LED streetlights, and to ask them to choose lower glare, healthier, and more night-sky friendly 3000k lights over blue-light rich 4000k lighting. 

Northern Lights over Lanes Cove by Roger Porter of GAAC

Northern Lights over Lanes Cove by Roger Porter of GAAC

The undersigned GAAC members, active astronomers in the area, sprinkled all over the North Shore and beyond, consider Cape Ann as the best viewing in New England.  At least once a month we drag our telescopes, large and small, to the north east corner of Cape Ann for the incredible dark sky that we have here. GAAC shows the night sky to hundreds and hundreds of folks from here and away every year, and we’ve seen the night sky disappear in too many other locations. Let’s not let this happen to Cape Ann.

Michael Deneen, Boxford
Patrick Amoroso, Boston
Nanette Benoit, Gloucester
Brendan Desmond, Gloucester
Gage Desmond, Gloucester
Rick Eliot, Rockport
Lisa Hahn, Rockport
Kathleen Henneberry, Peabody
Edward Henneberry, Peabody
Andrea Johnston, Salem
Jim Koerth, Rockport
Karen Koerth, Rockport
Stephen Kolaczkowski, Beverly
Elaine Kolaczkowski, Beverly
Michael Kulick, Manchester
Michele Kulick, Manchester
Greg Lipshutz, Newton
Gregory Lippolis, Newton
Francesco Lucente Stabile, Boston
Dick Luecke, Gloucester
Gary Meehan, Danvers
Paul Morrison & RD, Rockport
Mario Motta, Gloucester
Roger Porter, Gloucester
Virginia Renehan, Gloucester
Christie Wight, Manchester
Allen Winter, Salem
Susannah Wolfe.  Gloucester

Amazing Pig Roaster and Smoker Available

Rubber Duck is replacing her oil furnace with propane. So the oil tank is no longer useful. But as we were standing around staring at it someone said, “You know you can make an awesome smoker or pig rotisserie grill out of that puppy!”Oil tank soon to be pig roaster.

Well shoot, a google of “Convert oil tank into smoker” and the hits and images are endless complete with step by step directions.Pig Smoker

Now I could just send this to the metal man for disposal but would it not be more fun to have a dear friend of mine who invites me to cookouts to take this thing off my hands and make a pig roaster out of it?

So here is the deal. First person to convince me they have the brains and brawn to convert this tank to a roaster who will also invite me to at least the first two pig roasts gets the tank. I will deliver a bone dry tank to your backyard and even help saw the lid into it. If there are multiple entries Rubber Duck will decide who really is committed to frequent pig roasting, brisket smoking, rib smoking, and the like. Be creative with your proposals.

Google: convert oil tank to roaster

Rubber Duck at the Beach

Rubber Duck's SP50 is wearing off so heading in for some DNA repair enzymes. 1) 1.5 oz Ryan and Wood Folly Cove Rum, 2) 1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice, 3) 1.5 oz Coco Reál Cream of Coconut in the soda aisle at Gucci Shaws.  SHAKE WELL WITH CRACKED ICE! OMG I AM SAVED MY DNA IS REPAIRED!

Rubber Duck’s SP50 is wearing off so heading in for some DNA repair enzymes. 1) 1.5 oz Ryan and Wood Folly Cove Rum, 2) 1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice, 3) 1.5 oz Coco Reál Cream of Coconut in the soda aisle at Gucci Shaws. SHAKE WELL WITH CRACKED ICE! OMG I AM SAVED MY DNA IS REPAIRED!

You put the lime in the coconut you shake it all up. Don’t bother calling me in the morning. Rubber Duck book review in two weeks.

Unofficial 34 DNF (Did Not Finish) Blackburn Challenge

Unofficially 34 DNF (Did Not Finish) Blackburn Challenge and some that did finish needed a little help. Jimmy T threw a double outrigger a line before they were kindling and hamburger on the barnacle coated granite of Halibut Point. The next point was just as messy.

Here a white Epic Surfski flips right at my feet at Andrews Point. My little iPhone 6 does not really capture the drama as the dude in the red sea kayak hears the splash and turns around. (1-2) By 5 he has pulled up even, steadies the Epic as Epic paddler thanks him for stopping and hops back up into the seat. In 8-9 fellow travelers stop by to see if they can offer assistance but red kayak has it well in hand.

Meanwhile they drift from about 60 yards out to about 20 yards which is getting very close to the surf zone. Blowing hard straight in with decent swells. I was getting ready to greet them as their boats turned into splinters on the granite. Just when it seemed like they took just a little too much time the Epic takes off. (11-13)

Red Sea Kayak back pedals a touch (14) to turn around then sweeps in close before heading off (15) to surf the waves across Sandy Bay. The wind and surf were roaring but he was so close that when I called out “nice job red kayak” he tipped his hat and was gone.

Follow along 1 down to 6 then 7 down to 13.

Follow along 1 down to 6 then 7 down to 13.

2015 Blackburn Challenge is a little Challenging

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Exiting the Annisquam on an ebb tide so that current stacks up the north wind waves, that must have been fun. Then across the north side of Cape Ann which is usually the calm side, not so today. Here is the turn at Andrew’s Point and into Sandy Bay to surf downwind to Straitsmouth Gap. That sounds easier but those waves want to turn your boat sideways and dunk you. More photos to follow including a capsizing within yards of the rocks. No problem. Another racer stops to get the paddler back on board with seconds to spare.

Blackburn Challenge this Saturday!

340 or so athletes will be paddling or rowing all sorts of high and low tech watercraft all the way around Cape Ann this Saturday. Click here for specifics at Cape Ann Rowing Club website.

Click on the new updated GMG map of the race to find a good location for viewing the race. Hint: Go to Cape Ann, face water, watch racers go by left to right.

Click on the new updated GMG map of the race to find a good location for viewing the race. Hint: Go to Cape Ann on Saturday, face water, watch racers go by left to right.

If you are on shore:

Anywhere on Cape Ann facing the water is a good view of the race. Obviously a point sticking out will be a better view as the racers cut the corner. Good Harbor Beach on the other hand is not so good as they will just be dots on the horizon. 8AM staggered start and the Annisquam River is good, they will be starting to exit the river by 9AM. Then from there until 2-3PM the fastest boaters will be circling the Cape entering Gloucester Harbor and on to the Greasy Pole finish. But don’t forget to cheer on the slower boats, the SUP boards, the dories, and everyone else who just want to finish the challenge in under six hours.

If you are watching from a boat:

Again, anywhere along the shore of Cape Ann. Please be aware there are many serious racers in high performance craft in this race. That means some are in razor thin craft and your wake can easily flip their boat. Steer clear, view from a distance, and keep the speed down when near these fragile craft.

Click the map, 33 tidbits of new information sprinkled within, and don’t be like Rubber Duck and miss the race entirely. She is paddling the race on Friday morning the day before! Such an airhead.

Blackburn Challenge Race Around Cape Ann July 25, 2015

A week from Saturday the gun goes off for the race around Cape Ann. Still time to sign up before the July 20 deadline. Click here for race info at awesome Cape Rowing Club that sponsors the race.

Start at the high school, gun goes off north of the railroad bridge, paddle down the river and then start taking right turns until you go all the way around and into Gloucester Harbor to the Greasy Pole Finish line. Simple.

Start at the high school, gun goes off north of the railroad bridge, paddle down the river and then start taking right turns until you go all the way around and into Gloucester Harbor to the Greasy Pole Finish line. Simple. (Click the map for a better view and secret messages from Donna and Rick as well as the Milk Island Seagulls.)

Rubber Duck and I have done this race five times and it is great fun, uh, a wonderful test of endurance, uh, an accomplishment for an old fat dude who sits in front of a computer too much of the year! It is a staggered start so a standard sea kayak gets to go before all the high performance vehicles paddled by sinew and muscle. It is entertaining to watch them all fly by on wakes you could water ski behind.

Over 300 of these crazy people have signed up. They are probably all doing an Iron Man Challenge this weekend followed by a double marathon the day before the Blackburn. When you talk them they seem like such normal people. Jimmy Tarantino types.

Over 300 of these crazy people have signed up already. They are probably all doing an Iron Man Challenge this weekend followed by a double marathon the day before the Blackburn. When you talk to them they seem like such normal people. Jimmy Tarantino types except he does the whole race in a Grand Banks Dory!! Jimmy T, why don’t you stop by Joey’s dock and stick ten wooden lobster traps in your dory and make it a real challenge?

So I was thinking of changing it up a bit for the Rubber Duck. The day before (Friday July 24) high tide is at 5:41 AM. So if I did the paddle from the tennis courts at the high school at 6AM I get a nice tide, the cool morning for most of the paddle, and no crowds mowing me over. Might even be all the way around before that dreaded southwest wind starts piling up in your face.

Anyone else want to go for a paddle on Friday? Leave a comment. I have two spare kayaks. We won’t try to break any speed record. Maybe even stop for lunch on Straitsmouth Island or Thacher Island. And if the Good Harbor Beach looks like a good finish line then why not pull in there instead of those last grueling miles in the Harbor?

Yo Adam Bolonsky! Ed Collard! You’ve both gone all the way around. Anybody else? On Saturday we could hang on Pavilion Beach, “Oh yeah, did that yesterday mon.” (That’s a Jamaican accent, I will pack bear can lettuce and tomato sandwiches. If you say that with an accent you will get it.)

Today we read the alien message on Pluto!

Isn't this cute! Aliens have drawn a cute heart on the side of Pluto! This view was from last night as the New Horizons NASA probe approaches the last planet to be photographed up close and personal.

Isn’t this adorable! Aliens have drawn a cute valentine heart on the side of Pluto! This view was from last night as the New Horizons NASA probe approaches the last planet to be photographed up close and personal.

WTF!? Today's up close photo of Pluto reveals the alien's true intentions as the cute heart resolves clearly into an actual human heart ripped out of a chest!

WTF!? Today’s up close photo of Pluto reveals the alien’s true intentions as the cute heart resolves clearly into an actual human heart ripped out of a chest!

Eating bait again and loving it.

Bored with kayaking? Stop and bounce a little silvery thing off the bottom and catch a few Atlantic Mackerel. (Three Lanterns Marine, Deadly Dick Lure, good for lots of stuff, go with a small one for the Atlantic Mackerel. Catch a Pollock and eat that or rehook on something bigger and drop down for a blue or a low IQ Striper.)

Marinate in olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper overnight in a ZipLoc.

Marinate in olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper overnight in a ZipLock.

Heat up the grill on high then turn to medium low. 6 minutes a side or until charred just a bit.  Hard to screw up.

Heat up the grill on high then turn to medium low. 6 minutes a side or until charred just a bit. Hard to screw up.

Jasper White has these as an appetizer for around 23 bucks at the Summer Shack. He adds some fancy Venezuelan pickle relish on the side. Skip that and use Genuine Vidalia Sweet Onion Mustard Relish from Seaview Farm in Rockport. Rubber Duck Seal of Approval.

Rockport Bonfire Aftermath

In 2011 Les Bartlett posted a photo on his website of dawn on July 5, 2011 and I have been fascinated ever since about what the bonfire is doing the day after. Click here for his shot and links to Les’s website.

This year it was as hot as ever. You could have roasted a Seaview Farm Grass fed Steer on these coals.

This year it was as hot as ever. You could have roasted a Seaview Farm Grass fed Steer on these coals.

So immature.

So immature.

There were 24 boats moored in Sandy Bay this year up from 4 last year when I took this photo.

There were 24 boats moored in Sandy Bay this year up from 4 last year when I took this photo.

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