Posts tagged ‘boats’

May 13, 2013


Asbury Park lifesaving boat in front of the Casino

For Mother’s Day, we took my mother for a walk in Ocean Grove (with a quick jaunt into Asbury Park). I hadn’t been this close to the Casino since before Sandy.

They’ve cleaned up the rest of the area pretty well, so the lifesaving boat was likely dragged and intentionally placed here recently. I guess it’s one of those icons of Sandy, a reminder, a curiosity we can show the kids.

Playing in the trashed Asbury Park lifesaving boat.

Playing in the trashed Asbury Park lifesaving boat.

Just this past week, a brand new 8-foot wide asphalt path was laid between the end of the Ocean Grove boardwalk and the Asbury Park Casino, making that area accessible again.

January 2013— After the boardwalk was destroyed by Sandy, the only access to the Casino from Ocean Grove was by walking across dunes.

January 2013— After the boardwalk was destroyed by Sandy, the only access to the Casino from Ocean Grove was by walking across dunes.

The Casino serves as the bridge across Deal Lake between Asbury Park and Ocean Grove, linking the two boardwalks. The structure itself is still fenced off, but sources say that it’ll be open for Memorial Day.

Peeking over the fence into the Asbury Park Casino, May 2013;  this will all be cleaned up in two weeks

Peeking over the fence into the Asbury Park Casino, May 2013; this will all be cleaned up in two weeks

Currently, people can get from Asbury Park into Ocean Grove by detouring around the Casino onto the beach (which probably won’t work after Memorial Day, when you have to start paying for beach access).

Side of Asbury Park Casino, 2011

Side of Asbury Park Casino, 2011

The sand drops off into the ocean right about where the old demolished Casino foundations end, so circumnavigating this area isn’t entirely safe anyway, but it’s our only option at the moment. Here’s hoping for better access in two weeks!

February 26, 2013

Boat on a bridge

Boat on a bridge, a month after Sandy

This was taken on November 25, 2012, a month after Hurricane Sandy swept away east coast.

The boat is lying on a bridge in the Sea Bright-Rumson area… maybe the Shrewsbury River? I wasn’t the navigator, so I’m not entirely sure where this was.
Ed.: The navigator speaks!— this is the Navesink River, as seen from Middletown, NJ.

This represents the level of destruction in that area, I think… as long as the road was passable, a boat on a bridge didn’t fricking matter.

January 9, 2013

Parkers Creek, 6:32AM

Parkers Creek, Shrewsbury River, NJ

Ho hum, another everyday scene from the window of a train.

I love those fiery colors, though. Sunrises are really pretty nifty.

October 3, 2012

Harvest Festival 2012 – Boat builders

Bending ribs for a canoe!

(As ever, the following dialogues have been paraphrased from memory, as faithfully as possible to the actual quotes, but they are not actual quotes.)

At the Harvest Festival, I spoke to a multigenerational family who builds boats— Dick Christie, senior builder; his daughter Susan Christie, who’s been building boats for 2-3 years*; and his granddaughter Laura (Susan’s niece), who’s had a year or two of boat-building experience under her belt. Everything is crafted by hand: the paddles, for example, are planed with a custom-designed tool (Laura let me try it, and I was terrible at it).

She's actually just releasing it from the vice, to bring it inside the tent; it started drizzling and they didn't want the unfinished wood to get wet.

“Of course, this could all be done with power tools,” grinned Ms. Christie, “but where’s the fun in that?”

As part of their Harvest Festival demonstration, they tucked some long strips of wood into a long steamer box, and waited for the wood to soften enough to be bent into ribs for building a hypothetical new canoe. (Anecdotally, the steamer box doubles as a lobster cooker, if you have a lobster handy.)

Waitin' for ribs to cook.

“You know what,” said Mr. Christie, “I have a friend who’s from Canada, so he had me to build a canoe for him out of white birch**. I’d never worked with white birch before. It wouldn’t bend! I was breaking 85% of the ribs. You know what I did?”


“Fabric softener.”

I stared at him blankly.

“Add fabric softener to the box, when you’re steaming the ribs— I went from breaking 85% of the ribs to using 85%. Wonderful stuff. I don’t know how much softener you’re supposed to use, but I do my best guess and it seems to work all right.”

Carefully extracting a rib from the steam-box.

Finally, the ribs were deemed sufficiently steamed. Mr. Christie slipped on some work gloves, and his daughter handed him a pair of pliers. He flipped open the end of the box and extracted a long slender twig.

Go go go! You've only got 20 seconds!

There’s only a 20-second window to remove the rib from its steam-box and clamp it into place before it becomes too stiff to bend anymore, so you need to work quickly.

The first rib snapped anyway. The second one went smoothly, though.

Bending a canoe rib!

If you don’t already have a finished boat to bend ribs around, you can just build the rest of the canoe and add the ribs last, as Mr. Christie did when he built this particular canoe in 1994.


* Ms. Christie learned boat-building from her father, but remotely. She lives near Philadelphia, while Mr. Christie is all the way up in Wayne, NJ. While she was learning, she visited her father once a month (a two-hour drive each way, if traffic is clear); he critiqued the work she’d done over the past month, and gave her a new assignment to complete over the next month before her next visit. This continued for a full year. What a way to learn a craft! I think it’s pretty amazing.


** My memory is faulty, and the wood may not have been “white birch.” I’m going with it because (a) I’m pretty sure the wood we discussed was something “white,” and (b) “American white birch” is also known as “canoe birch.” I also have no idea what the connection is between being Canadian and needing your canoe to be built from a particular kind of wood.

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