I Follow Quakes

There was an earthquake just north of Puerto Rico twenty minutes ago. It’s likely any damage will be minimal with no tsunami. Just like weather and other sci/tech pursuits, I follow quakes.

EarthquakesOur government, the USGS specifically, does an excellent job analyzing the data and quickly posting the results. It’s mostly an automated process, so even on a Sunday evening there’s no wait.

On the left is their front page link to the Puerto Rico quake. There are two entries because the original report was revised.

Each quake gets its own series of webpages. The first page contains a map pinpointing where the quake happened, plus an academic description of local seismology. This one got, “Seismotectonics of the Caribbean Region and Vicinity.” Riveting prose.

More useful on an immediate basis are the DFYI and PAGER pages.

usc000m1w9_ciimDFYI (Did You Feel It) is an Internet derived ‘shake report.’ Regular folks try to quantify their experience. It’s very insightful when plotted on a map.

Most felt the shaking was light.

PAGER estimates the damage based on all the available data. Computer modeling at work. An educated guess. Tonight, it’s overdone. San Juan felt light shaking. PAGER says strong.

PAGER also predicts up to 10 deaths. Hopefully that’s overdone too.

Respect For Hurricane Earl

I am surprised by the Hurricane Center’s forecast. The ‘out days’ center of the track is well offshore, though the Maryland shore to the Canadian Maritimes are all within the cone of uncertainty.

Radar — that was my first step this morning. I needed to check the radar from Saint Maarten. As I type this the southern eyewall of Hurricane Earl is touching the coast of Anguilla in the Caribbean. The eye is well defined on radar.

The Hurricane Center says the top winds are 125 mph. If that’s true they’re in an extremely small area. I usually feel NHC’s estimated maximum wind is higher than warranted. It’s all academic. You don’t need 125 mph to rip a Caribbean island to shreds!

There have been no official observations from the Anguilla airport since yesterday afternoon. In Saint Maarten just to the south winds are sustained at 33 mph with gusts to 53 mph. Anguilla is getting it worse.

At St. Thomas the wind is gusting to 49 mph. Earl isn’t there yet. The Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico get their run-in later this afternoon.

These storms tend to wobble. They are not fully symmetrical. There is uneven friction from nearby landmasses and the interaction with other weather systems. This current path is north of where I thought it would be as recently as last night, but reasonably close.

Hurricane Earl is definitely a threat to the US East Coast. Will it hit? Too early to say, but it’s certainly enough of a possibility that I’m watching its every move.

I am surprised by the Hurricane Center’s forecast. The ‘out days’ center of the track is well offshore though all of the East Coast from the Maryland shore to the Canadian Maritimes are within the cone of uncertainty. How helpful is a forecast when it has to alert Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston? There’s lots of fudge factor still at work.

Based on the GFS past few runs I’d shift the track even farther west (left) than they have. I’m sure there’s a little “better safe than sorry” in my thoughts as well.

From the latest Hurricane Center discussion:



There’s a full workweek of this still to come! I will become enveloped in the storm. Actually I already have.

Bad Times For The Times At My House

There is the temptation to drop home delivery entirely. After all, the Times is online 100%. Still, there’s a difference between online and offline. I always discover something in the printed paper I didn’t see on my screen. The photos are better too (though you’d think online would have better and more photos).

Long before I was out of bed, Helaine was downstairs getting the newspapers off the front steps. The ‘old school’ Foxes get the New Haven Register and the New York Times.

Along with today’s hernia inducing Times, was a smudgy, photocopied note.

Unfortunately today Sunday, February 17th will be the last day we will be delivering your newspaper. The intrusion of large delivery conglomerates has taken much of our business and is forcing us to cut back our delivery area. Refunds are being processed.

scan_paper.jpgHarold, who owns the place,had his name at the bottom. I’ve been speaking to Harold on the phone for over 15 years. He has one of those deep, rough voices that implies a life fully lived.

Our Times delivery wasn’t always trustworthy. Sometimes the paper wouldn’t come, then show up the next day. Who wants a day old paper&#185?

If we called, there would be a refund, but we didn’t always call.

I suspect we could have beaten Harold’s price. Now I’ll be forced to see if that’s really the case.

There is the temptation to drop home delivery entirely. After all, the Times is online 100%. Still, there’s a difference between online and offline. I always discover something in the printed paper I didn’t see on my screen. The photos are better too (though you’d think online would have better and more photos).

Newspapers are in terrible financial peril (what business isn’t). Episodes like this don’t help.

&#185 – My dad tells the story of taking a cruise through the Caribbean. When the ship got to St. Thomas, he stopped at a newsstand, looking for the Times.

“You want yesterday’s or today’s?” asked the man behind the counter.

“Today’s,” my dad replied, a little confused.

“Then come back tomorrow.”

Why Is That 737 Heading To Jamaica Tonight?

Sometime today, probably mid afternoon, Jamaica will get creamed by Hurricane Dean. It’s not a pretty scenario. Imagine watching a train barrel toward you while you’re tied to the tracks!

In the midst of this tumult, a chartered jet is heading into Norman Manley Int’l Airport in Kingston.

How do I know? I went on FlightAware and looked to see air traffic in and out of Kingston. I can only see flights which will touch Jamaica and the U.S., but that’s enough for a feel.

The plane is question is a Boeing 737 owned by Ameristar Jet Charter, operating from Addison Airport near Dallas. It’s a plane normally used for charters and configured 100% first class. There are only 56 seats.

Why is it flying there? Is it a rescue flight of some type? If so, why a plane with so few seats?

More importantly, will it get out before Hurricane Dean shuts things down? Any kind of mechanical trouble would be very costly. In this case time is money.

At the last observation, winds at Kingston were light. It is just another sultry tropical evening in the heart of the Caribbean. You can see how people were totally surprised by these storms in the pre-electronic era.

There will be enough damage in Jamaica without a perfectly good 737 being ripped to shreds. I hope they refuel and return to Texas quickly.

Hurricane Dean – At The Antilles

Tonight, the Hurricane Center deemed Hurricane Dean’s winds to be sustained at 100 mph. Sure, why not?

I actually don’t think they’re blowing that fast. I’m basing my estimate on the look of the satellite imagery, surface observations and the Martinique radar.

The chain of islands Dean is approaching, the Antilles, will be quickly passed. Though Dean might damage them, they won’t slow Dean much at all. That seems unfair.

The next two days will probably see significant strengthening of this storm as it enters the Caribbean. On TV, meteorologists and others will point out Dean’s well defined and circular eye. We can’t do that quite yet.

The official pronouncement from the Hurricane Center calls for a period of Category 4 winds. There’s no certainty, but that seems a reasonable call. Dean is entering an area primed to be hurricane fuel.

Jamaica, the Caymans and the Yucatan Peninsula are all under attack if Hurricane Dean follows the computer guidance (amazingly in agreement with each other right now). All three areas are quite vulnerable.

After Katrina, some people were left with a false impression. There aren’t many places that can flood like New Orleans. Certainly none of the places I just mentioned floods that way.

The major damage from Dean will be related to strong, destructive winds. If you want the Katrina analogy, that’s the kind of damage produced on the Mississippi Coast.

A less sexy story, Mississippi a whole lot less news coverage than New Orleans. The damage was nonetheless catastrophic. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

Must Be The Season

I spend a lot of time watching the tropics. It comes with my job. These tropical systems are fascinating and devious.

Right now I’m watching two with great interest. The first is Ernesto, off the Carolinas and officially just below hurricane strength.

When Ernesto’s path out of the Caribbean was first predicted by the Hurricane Center, it was centered in the Gulf. Actually, it was well into the middle of the Gulf. Ernesto actually moved up the center of Florida and emerged in the Atlantic.

Not even close.

This is not to say the Hurricane Center doesn’t do a great job. They get the word out, which is probably their most important job.

Even though Ernesto is a wimp, people will die and property will be destroyed. We can predict, not prevent. I feel frustration over that. Isn’t that silly?

Stef’s move back to college is scheduled for Saturday. That’s Ernesto’s big day in the Northeast. Darn!

The second storm is more interesting on an intellectual level, though it won’t affect me personally. That’s Hurricane John, in the Pacific, off Mexico’s West Coast.

John is on track to strike Cabo San Lucas. We were there in January.

Cabo is a beautiful seaport town. It’s at the southern tip of Baja California. Stretching south of the city, into the Pacific is a string of rocky islands, called Land’s End.

If John passes just west of Cabo, its winds will be out of the south. They’ll be guided by Land’s End, piling water into the harbor and flooding all the low lying areas. Meanwhile, damage to the homes and businesses built on the surrounding hills will be immense.

Again, as with Ernesto, I can see it happening in my mind’s eye. It’s like watching a car crash in slow motion. There’s just nothing I can do about it.

With proper warning, most people will be saved. You can’t move a building. You can’t stop the terror for those who have nowhere else to go, or the uncertainty for those who get evacuated.

You Never Forget Your First… Storm

So, here we are on June 10, and the first tropical system has formed in the Caribbean. Winds are ‘light’ at the moment. The storm remains an unnamed (only numbered) tropical depression.

Last year’s first storm formed on June 8 and in a similar place. It became Arlene and was an early non-entity.

People in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands have been dealing with torrential rains from this system for the past few days. We’re talking feet of rain, not inches!

I’m curious to see how this hurricane season plays out. For me, there’s awareness of every system – after all, it’s my job. Most people only perk up for the big ones… or at least that was the case until last year.

Will people hang on every word about storms destined to stay with the fishes? Probably – at least for a while. In years past, we often disregarded them on TV. This year, disregard at your own peril.

When this year’s season is over, and the hurricane count is down from 2005 (as it almost certainly will be), will those who make the connection between tropical systems and global warming make excuses? Probably.

If the count is up, I’ll certainly reevaluate my beliefs.

This first system… this little Alberto wannabe… looks like it will cross Florida and then parallel the East Coast. This time of year it’s tough for a storm to maintain any strength in the relatively chilly Atlantic. It’s also tough for a storm to have any westward motion – critical for it ‘hitting’ land from the Atlantic.

As far as I can tell, there’s never been a landfalling hurricane on the East Coast that moved through the Gulf.

Lots of eyes will be on this system. Lots of eyes will be on the Hurricane Center and anyone who forecasts the weather.

The “A” storm is usually pretty docile. Sort of like training wheels for weathermen. Except when they aren’t – Andrew, for instance.

Those were the ‘good old days.’ Back in 1992, Andrew didn’t form until mid-August. By August 16, 2005, we’d already seen Irene.

Blogger’s note: On the right side of the page, you’ll see links to the Hurricane Center’s official forecasts. Those are dynamic links which update through the season dozens of times a day.

Vacation… Again

Here’s something new employees never look at, or think about (and not just where I work, but everywhere). If you stay long enough, you get a lot of vacation! Right now I get four weeks of vacation plus ten additional days for working holidays. That’s six full weeks off.

With that in mind, and Steffie getting six weeks between semesters (Wow – college is better than work!), we’ve decided to take a vacation.

I’ve mentioned my Southwest Airlines credit card before, and it enters into this vacation. With a bunch of free tickets stowed away, air fare was not a problem. Now, where to go?

I’m not quite sure how we got to this point, but a cruise was brought up by one of us and agreed to by all of us.

We’ve been all over the Caribbean, so decided to go elsewhere. We’ll be flying to Los Angeles, spending the night, at a hotel. then boarding our ship, the Norwegian Star, in San Pedro for a trip down the Mexican Coast… or as the cruise lines call it, the Mexican Riviera.

Norwegian Star Intinerary
Day Port Arrive Depart
Wed. Los Angeles – – 6:00pm
Thu. At sea – – – –
Fri. At sea – – – –
Sat. Manzanillo 10:00am 6:00pm
Sun. Puerto Vallarta 7:00am 6:00pm
Mon. Mazatlan 8:00am 6:00pm
Tue. Cabo San Lucas 7:00am 2:00pm
Wed. At sea – – – –
Thu. Los Angeles 9:00am – –

Originally the ship was to go to Acapulco first and slowly head north over eight days. That changed a few weeks ago when a problem showed up on the ship’s propulsion system. It can no longer do 25 knots… only 20. Acapulco is too far.

They say the ship will be fine until it gets dry docked in March. I don’t want to see us cruising behind a tow truck.

At first we were disappointed. Helaine and I went to Acapulco for our honeymoon. As time went on, we were told Acapulco isn’t what it once was (and even when we were there the beach had Federales armed with automatic weapons!).

From Los Angeles we go to Manzanillo, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. Mostly I will go with the flow, doing what Helaine and Steffie want to do (i.e. mostly shopping).

In Manzanillo I plan on meeting up with a professor from the Monterrey Institute for a day trip to the Colima Volcano. It is just a plan because the professor hasn’t written back in the last day – we’ll see.

There have been changes to cruising since we last went. The ship has its own cell site – though at $1.99/minute mine will be turned off! There is also Internet access. It is also pricey and slow, but I will be checking email (which is how our voicemail will be delivered too). Having Internet access also means the blog will be fed.

We decided to get a room with a balcony. OK – I decided to get a room with a balcony and then convinced everyone else. This way, if there’s any conflict, the offending party can be thrown overboard without breaking the porthole glass. I think it was a practical decision.

I do have one fear on this trip – weather. The forecast for our departure from Connecticut is rainy with a little frozen stuff mixed in. California, though suffering from awful weather for the last few weeks, should be sunny with temps near 70.

We have never cruised the Pacific. Though Magellan thought it was placid when he named it, it can be anything but! I will be popping Bonine like there’s no tomorrow. I once got seasick while snorkeling! Hopefully the waves will be small.

The World Traveler Calls on IM

I was on IM at 3:00 AM when a new window opened on my screen. It was a friend of mine. “I’m in Seoul,” he said.

“So, you’re a soul man,” I replied (using the cheapest joke I could think of. He’s in Korea for some sort of conference.

We didn’t chat for long, but he said I should go. It was the kind of place I’d enjoy… a country which resembles a gigantic Best Buy&#185. I look upon much of Asia that way.

The guy in Korea is someone I’ve known for 25 years. During that time he’s traveled everywhere for business and pleasure, including a few years living in Europe and more living in Asia.

He travels enough that my daughter suspects he works for the CIA. I don’t think so, but it’s a good fable.

There aren’t many things that bring out envy in me, but this is one of them. I’m not sure I need to travel enough to get extra pages added to a passport – I’d just like to need a passport. I’ve been to England once and the Caribbean many times. That’s pretty much the extent of my long distance travel.

I’d like to visit Oriental Asia – China, Japan, Korea, the Malay Peninsula, maybe Thailand. Sure I want to come home with electronics and optics, but I want to see where it happens. Photos and videos I’ve seen of teeming Asian cities are enticing.

Quite honestly, I don’t know what I’d do once I got there!

Europe doesn’t hold quite the same attraction. I can’t say why. Maybe it’s Europe is so 19th Century and Asia is so 21st. That’s no more than a guess.

Helaine says I probably wouldn’t do well on a 24 hour transpolar flight. I’m not sure I disagree. That’s a long time to have your knees in your chest, sleeping sitting up. My Southwest Airlines miles won’t help. I certainly know this trip isn’t her priority.

My on-the-road friend will be back in the states this weekend. It won’t be long before he’s traveling again. He racks up frequent flier miles like they’re going out of style. Maybe next time he’ll shoot some photos.

&#185 – His characterization. Obviously, he doesn’t know about the screaming match I once had inside a Best Buy. “Go ahead, call the police!” was one of the things I yelled. Need I say more?

Quoted In The Norwich Bulletin

I think I’ve become the low hanging fruit of weather quotes. I was included in an article published today in the Norwich Bulletin.

Use the link above if you want to read it, though I’m attaching it to the jump should that link go stale.

Continue reading “Quoted In The Norwich Bulletin”

Cayman Island Earthquake

I was surprised, to say the least, to read about a strong earthquake tonight close to the Cayman Islands (20 miles southeast of Georgetown, the capital). Actually, there are a number of surprises for me here and I might as well run them down.

Though I knew there are plates upon which all of the Earth’s surface floats, I didn’t realize there was a boundary between two plates in the Caribbean. They grind against each other slowly, but constantly. The relative motion is only 6/10″ per year.

Of course one year is nothing to the Earth. Over 20 years that’s around a foot of motion. Over decades and centuries… well, you get the idea.

At some point something’s gotta give… and it did tonight. The quake was magnitude 6.7&#185. That’s enough to be very scary and even more destructive. I have not yet heard any damage reports from the Caymans. Magnitude alone is not enough to predict destruction.

My second surprise was seeing actual ‘shock reports‘ from the Cayman Islands. This is actually an interesting idea from the United States Geological Service. They ask people to check in and rate the quake! It’s like Dick Clark on American Bandstand circa 1965.

As I type this there are 189 reports from the Caymans and one from Haiti. Each locale is averaged to show how the quake was felt.

I think the USGS does an amazing job keeping up with earthquakes. Their website is fast and thorough. I’m a math and science guy, so it appeals to me more than most. Still, if you’re curious, it’s worth looking at.

And, to get my own little plug in, there’s a link to the most recent large earthquake in the column on the right: Latest Large Earthquakes Worldwide.

&#185 – Remember Richter? The Richter scale is no longer in use by geologists.

Continue reading “Cayman Island Earthquake”

Ivan Has a Growth Spurt

The Hurricane Center has just upped Hurricane Ivan to a Category 5 with top winds of 160 mph with higher gusts! That means winds with 2.5 times the force of Frances at landfall and four times the potential to cause damage.

Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. All shrubs, trees, and signs blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Severe and extensive window and door damage. Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the hurricane center. Major damage to lower floors of all structures located less than 15 ft above sea level and within 500 yards of the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within 5-10 miles (8-16 km) of the shoreline may be required. There were no Category Five hurricanes in 1995, 1996, or 1997. Hurricane Gilbert of 1988 was a Category Five hurricane at peak intensity and is the strongest Atlantic tropical cyclone of record.

Tonight, my friend Bob and I were chatting about hurricanes. We realized, as bad as this season is, deaths have been low. This is 100% attributable to satellite technology. In fact, Bob suggested whoever ‘invented’ weather satellites deserved a Nobel prize for that alone!

I worry about the people on Jamaica. This storm is steaming right toward them and there’s really nowhere to hide.

Not only will the wind be destructive, but Jamaica has topography which will bring out the worst in a hurricane.

Jamaica is about the size of Connecticut in the United States. It measures about 4,400 square miles (11,400 square kilometers).

Stretches 146 miles from east to west. Varies between 22 and 51 miles from north to south. And in many ways is more like a continent than an island.

It has rugged mountain ranges, with Blue Mountain Peak, the highest point, soaring 7,402 feet. It has miles of white beaches, bordered by the blue Caribbean.

It has 120 rivers flowing from the mountains to the coast. And it has great central plains, fertile agricultural lands, towering cliffs, magnificent waterfalls, dense tropical forests…and eternal summer.

From 1uptravel

Seven thousand foot mountains will surely wring more than the Hurricane Center’s estimate of 5-7″ of rain. A direct, or even near, hit will mean catastrophic mudslides and flooding.

This storm is not done yet.

It Is Paradise

After a few days of eating buffets, you do fill up. You do need to slow down. That awakening came today.

Breakfast this morning was at a small coffee stand in the hotel. I had a bagel and cup of coffee.

This coffee stand, like every other food place in Las Vegas, features oversized portions. Imagine muffins, baked at a nuclear power plant. That’s what you get. You won’t find this anywhere else… or we’d all be waddling around.

Michael, Melissa and Max were at the pool, and I headed there. I haven’t had my shirt off in public in a really long time, but the whole pool area was so inviting. The air was warm. So was the water.

Max, Michael and I took the slide down into the pool a few times. It was really a lot of fun.

I’m starting to think this is the perfect climate. Though the temperature was north of 100 today, it was comfortable. The humidity was bone dry low. In fact, sitting at the pool I wondered what the advantage of Florida or the Caribbean was?

Of course Las Vegas does have winter and it does get chilly. But, for someone like me in Connecticut, this would be considered a mild winter. Florida, on the other hand, has virtually no winter. Maybe this climate would be better when retirement comes along.

My sister and brother-in-law, busy with work related things most of the time we’d been here, showed up at the pool to say goodbye. They were catching a flight back to Milwaukee. Talk about culture shock!

Michael and Melissa had a friend coming over around lunch time, so Michael and I got a table at an open air restaurant at the pool. The birds at this restaurant must feel like they’ve died and gone to heaven as they have run of all the leftovers until the tables are bussed. I’m sure there’s some health concern, but it was sweet and no one seemed to mind. It’s like the birds are part of the whole aura of the place.

Jacques, the friend, showed up and had lunch with Michael, Melissa and a fading Max. Jacques is a choreographer involved with the new Cirque du Soleil production that will open soon at the MGM Grand. My cousin Michael works with Jacques’ dance company, Diavolo Dance Theatre, in Los Angeles (their website is www.diavolo.org). Jacques is French and seemed very theatrical (in a good way) with long flowing hair. Jacques’ family had a lot to do with the view at the pool: his grandfather, a Parisian fashion designer, is credited with inventing the bikini.

When my folks joined us at the table, Jacques kissed my mom on both cheeks. Very continental. She swooned. He kissed her on the way out too.

Tonight, my plan is to play in a very pricey poker tournament. This will be the highest stakes I’ve ever played. I don’t think I would be doing it, except I’m up for the trip. A loss here will turn my net into a negative number – but an acceptable one.

So, while I play this, and Helaine plays elsewhere, Steffie, Ali and my parents will be at New York, New York seeing Rita Rudner.

Oh – one last thing which I do not want to forget. While I was walking through the casino earlier today I passed an area of new slot machines being installed. I stopped to look and see what was going on. These slots are really just sophisticated video games – often built on PC platforms.

As I looked, one machine was actually booting. I looked at the screen and saw some things I recognized. The slot machine was booting into Linux! I thought that was geeky cool.

Blogger’s note: I continue to add photos to the gallery for this trip. You can see them by clicking here. The whole Vegas trip has its own category, which means you can link to these stories specifically by clicking here or read about the 2003 Vegas trip here.

My Day of Kayaking

As anticipated, 8:30 AM came very quickly. Hey, to me that’s the middle of the night. A little procrastination with the bedroom TV, and then I was in the shower getting ready. I was actually running on time!

The plan was to meet at my friend Kevin’s house, in Cheshire at 10:00 AM. Kevin had invited me, his boss Scott and his daughter, plus a friend, Jeff.

It was beautiful. A little on the humid side, but with a pure blue sky. I had the top down and the radio up. As I turned from N. Brooksvale to Mountain Rd, a bicyclist came the other way. He was dressed in a loud, skin tight biking suit. But, he had the best advice of the day, “Cops ahead.”

The speed limit on Mountain is 25 mph – an unattainable goal, even if you know there are police lurking. I did about 30. As I passed the patrol car, the policeman turned his head and looked at me. No one does 30 without being tipped off! I’m sure he knew.

Kevin has a small trailer. He lashed the kayaks to it, and we were off. We went up I-84 to Waterbury and then north on Route 8 into the Southern Litchfield Hills. It didn’t take long to get to the White Memorial Foundation – hundreds of acres of nature preserve.

If the White Memorial Foundation sounds familiar, it should. It’s where Connecticut’s Governor Rowland has a small cottage, which had a hot tub, which is all swirled within the specter of corruption charges.

Scott checked the water temperature as we brought the boats down to the Bantam River. His thermometer read 70&#176, though we would later all agree it was probably in the 60’s farther from shore.

If I had been in a kayak before, it was a long time ago. I rocked a little from side to side as I set out. Last night, at the station, our director Tracey had admonished me to push, not pull when paddling. Otherwise, she said, I’d get very sore.

Easier said than done, but I tried.

The Bantam River is small and gently flowing in this part of Litchfield County. We headed to the right, against the minuscule current. A light breeze was at our back.

You actually wouldn’t know there was a current on this river except for the beaver dams. I had heard and read about beaver dams for years, but had never really experienced them. From bank to bank, a pile of twigs, branches and mud choked the flow. We found weak spots and paddled over… though I got caught a little more than once.

The kayak handled really easily and it didn’t take me long to get into the rhythm. Inertia is an important part of kayaking. When you stop paddling, the kayak continues… in my case it often kept going until it hit another kayak!

The White Memorial Foundation land is a protected habitat for all sorts of wildlife. We saw birds, including a few hawks and beautiful red winged blackbirds. A duck, probably protecting a nearby nest, let me get pretty close without flinching. I turned back, not wanting to upset him. There were turtles too, including one who seemed to be stretching out as if he were sunning himself on a Caribbean vacation.

After a mile or so (Kevin had a GPS receiver capable of plotting our course) we came to some beaver dams too high to paddle over. So, we just turned around and went back down river.

The river wasn’t crowded, but it wasn’t empty either. A while later we ran into an older husband and wife, and their dog Coco. The dog was sitting comfortably in a wicker basket lashed to the front of one of their kayaks. Coco started kayaking at 3 months and wouldn’t even think of staying on shore now.

My five hours of sleep and the gentle rocking of the kayak was starting to catch up with me. I asked if it would be OK for us to end it here – and we did.

I hadn’t flipped the kayak. I hadn’t really gotten sick. I hadn’t put anyone else in mortal danger by doing something stupid. The trip was a success.

I’m hoping to go with Kevin again. Next time, with a little Dramamine, I’d like to try the Thimble Islands, off the Branford coast, in Long Island Sound.