Thursday, October 20, 2005

Paddling the Pascagoula Book Cover

I just received a photo of the cover of my newest book, Paddling the Pascagoula, which I co-authored with Ernest Herndon. The book is a narrative of our trip from the headwaters of the Pascagoula River system to the Gulf. More about the book and more photos from the trip can be found here:

The main background image on this cover is a photo I took at dawn from one of my campsites on the Chickasawhay River. The inset is a photo I took of my wooden Arctic Tern sea kayak at a lunch stop near Waynesboro.

The book should be available sometime early next month.

Last Visit to Intensity

Yesterday I made one more trip to Discovery Bay to salvage a few more items off of Intensity. It's been awhile since my last post, but Ernest Herndon and I went looking for my boat in his canoe and found it after paddling up the canal from the marina and then hiking/wading across the marsh to the back side of the dense woods adjacent to the marina basin. Being dark green, the boat is hard to spot in the surrounding vegetation.

When we found her that day, I discovered that looters had broken in and taken a few items, but there was still a lot of gear on board that we were able salvage; much of it will be useful on another boat at some point. A few weeks passed and I decided to go back with tools and try to remove more stuff, particularly hardware and other useful equipment that was bolted down.

I knew when I first found the boat jammed between two pine trees where it was that it would not be sensible to try to salvage and repair it. The storm surge was reported to be 30 feet high in this area, and it's obvious by the fact that the boat was carried through the tree tops before being dropped where I found it by the receding water. A section of my mast was hanging from the top of one of the trees, the rigging caught on branches at least 50-60 feet above the ground.
The rest of the mast was lying across the cabin top, the mast tabernacle torn out through the deck. Besides dismasting, the bow pulpit and several of the stanchions were torn off, as well as the port sheet winch. The rudder shaft was bent and the tiller post pushed down through the cockpit floor. The hull is still sound, a testimony to the solid construction of old Grampian boats. But as anyone who has ever built or rebuilt a sailboat knows that a hull is only a small percentage of a cruising vessel. I knew it was time to move on to the next boat and the only thing to do was salvage what I could and cut my losses.

Yesterday's trip was successful, in that I got just about everything on the list that I made in advance. The whole Discovery Bay area is a scene of utter destruction, and even now there has been no effort at clean up. A few boats have been removed, but those in the woods like mine are still just as they were after Katrina left them there. The place was deserted yesterday and eerily silent as I worked alone in the woods and rowed back across the bayou in my heavily loaded dinghy. I suspect it'll be a long time before I return to this backwater yacht basin that was home to my boat for so many years.