Monday, July 16, 2007

This Summer

This summer has caught me up and carried me away.  This has to be one of the busiest seasons we’ve ever had at the marina.  I have a good staff this year, but we are one short of what I had last year.


My staff is a little older and more mature this summer, so the work has been getting done more efficiently than last year even with the shortage.  My role seems to have changed.  I was more hands on in past summers, sharing in the daily grind type of chores right along with the dock crew.  Now, with the Ship’s Store and some major maintenance projects I have subcontracted out I am playing a much more administrative role.


My normal routine used to include me going over to the main kitchen after opening up and getting one last cup of coffee to help start my working day.  I’ve been hitting the ground running lately and that last cup now seems like a luxury item from the past.  I’m not complaining, mind you, I’m just reflecting on the changing characteristics of my job and justifying a bit why it has been so long again between posts.


Summer has always given me many more photo opportunities that seem to end up here in my journal.  I still take my camera to work each day, but have not been able to get out and utilize it to the extent I have done so in the past.  Here’s an example of a past situation and how I had to handle it this year.


The weekend after the fourth of July each year we host the Firecracker Regatta.  In years past I have taken pictures and posted an entry after the event here in Dock Lines.  It is a much different event for me now due to changes in our facilities and changes in my capabilities in the office.


I used to help launch the committee boats and then man the sailboat hoists to help launch the sailing fleet before the race.  After the boats left for the starting line I would have down time until the races were over and they all returned to the marina.  I would then launch a club boat and chase the fleet to get pictures of the action.


We have installed a ramp for small sailboats and they no longer have to be launched from a hoist.  The kids can just wheel them down the ramp and push them off into the water and go.  I now assign two strong young members of my staff to help lift the boats off the dollys and get them into the water.  We can get the entire fleet into the water in about a fourth of the time it would take to launch each and every boat using the hoist.


We had a very unstable weather forecast during the race weekend this year.  Saturday morning dawned with bright sunshine and calm waters.  We had a 40% chance of thunderstorms with the chances increasing as the day progressed.  There was little wind although the forecast proclaimed it would be five to ten blowing from the northeast.  The delay of race pennant was hoisted and the fleet waited and waited.


About ninety minutes past the normal start time the wind picked up and the races began.  I was heading to get a club boat into the water when I was stopped by the race committee and asked to put up the local Doppler radar on my computer and monitor the weather during the actual races.  We had a front system approaching and they wanted to squeeze every safe minute they could to make up for lost time.


For the first two races I was consulted before the start of the race and that was about it.  Then came the third race of the day.  We could see some weather in the distance and what we saw looked nasty.  I was asked to stand by and give a weather update every five minutes which coincided with the radar animation as it updated on a five minute schedule.


We pretty much took over VHF radio channel 68 for the next forty five minutes as I was relaying the approach of the weather front to the safety boat who then was analyzing the 36 mile radar they had onboard their boat.  The difference was that my radar showed the weather over a map of the local area and the boat’s radar screen did not.  However, the boat’s radar screen could pick up lightning strikes.  I gave them a thirty minute prediction to the storm hitting the race course, then a twenty minute prediction.


The safety boat wanted confirmation that the front was south of the Savannah River and heading in an Easterly direction from Garden City towards the race course.  I confirmed the position and movement and predicted fifteen minutes until it hit.  The ship’s radar picked up a lighting strike ten miles to our south.  I predicted ten minutes until arrival and more lightning was seen by the safety boat’s radar.


They blew the whistle and the boats beat it into the marina.  I sent four young men down to help get the boats out of the water.  The front hit exactly on the minute I predicted.


The race committee had known it would be close for the third race, so the course had been set right in front of the marina.  The small boats had little distance to go to get to safety and many of them got a tow by all the safety boats.  There were only four or five boats still in the water when the first lightning bolt struck within a quarter of a mile.  All the racers were already on land and undercover and then the sky opened up.  My crew, bless them, got the few remaining boats out of the water in the rain and that was it for Saturday’s racing.


The captain on the safety boat made a point of finding me amongst the crowd and shakingmy hand for such an accurate running commentary on the impending weather front.  We were being monitored by other marinas on Channel 68 and they started calling wanting to know when the weather would hit them!  I never got a chance to launch the club boat and was not able to snap a single photo that day.


Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny much as the day before.  The difference was that, although the entire fleet launched for more racing, the wind never came up and the regatta was called.  They got enough races in on Saturday to meet the official criteria for a regatta and winners were determined from Saturday’s standings.


I understand some nice words were said before the audience at the awards presentation about me and the performance of my staff.  I didn’t hear them, though.  I was back on duty at the docks.  Perhaps next year I’ll figure a way to get pictures again.


My thanks to Donna for this tag.




jeroldssis said...

Hi Sam!  It's good to hear from you.  I know you're busy but I know how much you it, too.  Hopefully you'll get some pics before the summer is over!  Have a good day!


lipglosslush7 said...

There are so many times that i will be driving somewhere and see something so beautiful that i just want to pull over and stare...may it be an old barn in the middle of a corn feild at sunset on a summer evening or a rainbow after a afternoon spring storm...And i never have my camera...

Then there are times when i have my camera....and nothing to snap away at.
Thunderstorms are wonderous and amazing...But alas...hard to document on film or these days...memory card LOL.
Those that have the professional camera's to get the lightning shots are just amazing...but i'm no professional photographer...just a woman with a Kodak Easyshare 8.0 Megapixel.

pharmolo said...

Thought you'd be busy, Sam, although I think you would have enjoyed the past week here in Stornoway. Nip over to Northern Trip in amongst your busy day, and have a peep at SailHebrides.

ksquester said...

Although you didn't have pictures to post, your commentary was wonderful. I love weather watching. I travel so much that I am often glued to the weather station. They should have been very pleased to have you working in that capacity. This ALMOST makes me want to take a boat ride again.   Anne

labdancer51 said...

Hi Sam, it`s good to hear from you again. I can imagine that the Summer is very busy in your line of work. I hope everything is well with you and your family. :o)

Love Sandra xxxx

jeadie05 said...

Great to hear from you again Sam ,even though you are as busy as ever ,sounds as though you get a great feeling of job satisfaction ,your words illustrate your deeds , Jan xx

nhd106 said...

Hey Sam,
Good to "see you" again!  You sound like you've been real busy...but at least there's a lot of good stuff happening with you.   Congrats on the nice words said...even if you didn't hear it.  (You know...if a tree falls in a forest...yada yada yada).
Looking forward to some pics soon!


madcobug said...

Sounds like an exciting day for the races even though you didn't get any pictures. Sounds like a job well done by you for the safety of the racers. I hope you can enjoy part of this summer without being so busy. Helen

rap4143 said...

Sam, I always love to here from you and ready your journal :).

sunnyside46 said...

a great read, as always.
so nice to see your name on my screen

mutualaide said...

Sam, no matter how busy your summer season, you always find time to pop in here now and again to keep us posted.  An interesting commentary and a great 'excuse' for not posting pictures.  LOL

Loved the story and would expect nothing less from you than admirable work!

memes121 said...

Great to hear from you friend. Great entry! Tammy

drb1064 said...

Welcome back, sounds like you have been very busy.

elainey2465 said...

Welcome back Sam - lovely to see you again! Really enjoyed your entry! Love Laine x
p.s. I have a new journal - thats the link!

ggjack7 said...

Hey Sam sorry I came late to the reading, but at least I can see I'm not the only one that missed you. The way you tell it I feel exhausted just as tho I was with you all the way. I will await you next entry with abated breath. gg/Jackie

jlocorriere05 said...

You sound as busy as ever Sam! It's always good to hear from you, I was wondering how you were doing. From the time I spent with you at your marina I could see how busy your staff keep you and how they appreciate your guidance. Sounds like you could get a job as a weather forecaster! I'm sure you'll get some more opportunities for photos before the summer's out. Tae care, love to Paulette, Sandy and, of course, your feline brigade! Jeannette xx  

childebrand1968 said...

Hiya Sam!

Happy to hear that things are busy as ever on the docks.  You know, this time last year you couldn't post very often because you were always worn out from working so hard.. so sit back, relax, and enjoy it, man ;)

Actually, I get what you mean... I now have really great afternoon help at work, so it makes my job easier and leaves me to set things up for the next day (something that has never happened in the few years I've been there)

I am sorry about not having shots of this years firecracker, but their safety was definitely more important.  Your fans will wait til next year.. lol

I posted an entry at my place, so when you get the time...

Looking forward to reading you again, my friend.


helmswondermom said...

It's good to be busy, isn't it?  Especially doing something you love!  You did a great job on the weather watching, and I'm glad you received thanks and recognition for it.  Thanks for stopping in to update us.

pixiedustnme said...

(glad you're keeping employed :-) Our weather has been hectic too, but I've been so busy with school that I haven't noticed....much!

piperacharmed1 said...

Good to see an entry from you  : )
I know you will be busy...but I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer!


stupidsheetguy said...

Sam, you tell a great story, lol, I'm always sorry to see them end! I'm not an expert, but I know enough about boating to know what an incredible job you did with the Regatta. I'm just glad the organizers had the good sense to recognize it as well (even if you didn't get to hear it). This was a great tale, despite the pictures, so I can only imagine how good the next one will be.

Take a bow, my friend!


nightmaremom said...

Aaaah the life of a master :)  Sounds like you did well Sam... and of course safety comes before these fans here...  will watch for your next set of pictures.  You never fail to amaze me with your shots.
thanks for the plug my friend

my3gifts said...

Sam you do such a great job explaining those little details. I have always loved the pictures you're able to share and hope you'll be able to find a little time to enjoy some down time to take a few.

God Bless

ally123130585918 said...

Sam I love how you can explain everything that is going on ~ hope you are happy with your role change ~  sounds like you are extremely busy ~ hope you get the chance to take some photographs I love to see them ~ You did well to predict the exact time that storm would hit ~ glad the Captain on the safety boat sought you out to thank you for your commentary ~ even though you didn't hear the nice things they said about you it must have pleased you to learn about it ~ Ally

slbourgoyne said...

Great story.  Love the new tag.  We've been missing you.  Love to ya'll.  Lynn

lsfp1960 said...

I guess summertime is boating time all over.  My friend Bob has been working on his sailboat and is considering launching it and going for a sail out in the Pacific Ocean.  He's sailed around Puget Sound for years and wants to see what his boat will do in the actual ocean.  Not me...I don't like it.  A 917 foot long cruise ship is more my speed.   Linda in Wsahington state  

springangel235 said...

Wow, how busy you are...and congratulations on a job well done.  Yes, maybe next year we will get to see some awesome photos.  I admire how important a job you have, and that so many in your community repect you and honor you too.  Job well done!
Have a great midweek.

jmorancoyle said...

    Hi Sam. Congrats on a job well done!

nedmoh said...

Hi Sam great to hear from you again and you sound as busy as ever ,thank you for your interesting entry telling us all about things wishes Jean

acoward15 said...

I couldn't miss my coffee.

chatzeekay said...

gee alot of reading of rmy brain thought to say hello ,,s eems like you have been busy, got love your job, ocean evryday, priceless

ksgal3133 said...

Congrats on a great job :)
It seems like summer can be busier than the rest of the year.


dizarra said...

Well done! Pictures are great, but safety always comes first! I was happy to see
your alert, and even though YOU are disappointed you have no pictures to post,
in my opinion, none were needed; hello to the wife-stop by my journal if you get
a sec-if not-no offence taken! LOL ~Diane~

coloneljan said...

Awesome story, Brother!!  I truly enjoy reading about your daily routine.  I have always figured you were really good at what you do!!!  Now I know you are.  As a boater, I can appreciate the minute by minute weather and the opportunity to get off the water before the storm hits.  I have been towed in more than once by the Coast Guard with engine problems during a storm.  Well Done!!!!!

lurkynat said...

Dear Sam
what a grat entry! glad to see you're doing ok! wow! I remember you said that it was your busy season; still you've had a lot of changes going on!
take care!

fowfies said...

Hey Sam...sounds like your summer is well under way...and you are the best place to be in the WATER..yes yes! Thanks for stopping in and letting everyone know how you are doing. I know summer is busy for most of us...I reckon we better enjoy it as before you know it it will be cold and windy again. I will take sunny skies and the ocean any day over cold. You just add an entry or stop in here and there when you can...hey after all, you are busy living life! :)