Catching Up With the Neighbors — pat morss

Our wildlife remained active while we were distracted enjoying late summer.

Large swarms of swallows harvesting mosquitos
Getting recharged on the power lines
A lone Ruby-throated Hummingbird by the front door
Makeshift nest for feeding
A nursing Red Squirrel thankful for water during the drought
Seems a little late for this little Snapping Turtle
A pretty-patterned caterpillar rhythmically galloping across the road
Monarchs gathering for their multi-generational migration to Mexico
A pair of Wood Ducks visiting Niles Pond
Hank Heron (Great Blue) back in his/her tree, enjoying the rain
Young antlers
And adult antlers

Refuge from Hurricane Fiona — Pat Morss

There was a lot of cruise ship activity viewable from Gloucester yesterday (Friday) with Hurricane Fiona disrupting two of the prime NE coast itineraries – Bermuda and the Canadian Maritimes. “Maritime Traffic: Global Ship Tracking” ( is a great tool for seeing what’s going on. Following just the four ships sighted, Zaandam and Roald Amundsen docked in Boston Friday night. On Saturday morning Caribbean Princess (origin and destination shown as Boston, with no ETA???) and Norwegian Breakaway (destination NYC) headed around Cape Cod and were passing east of Nantucket. Queen Mary 2 is due in Boston from NYC this evening.

Here is yesterday’s activity of just the four visible from Eastern Point.

Norwegian Breakaway silhouetted in the Friday morning sun
Zaandam and Norwegian Breakaway, and Roald Amundsen coming from the south, converging on Boston
Caribbean Princess arrived from the north in the afternoon
She hung around and didn’t go into Boston. No room in the Inn?
Windy but safe conditions at Friday sunset

Tower Tour — pat morss

Yesterday our “historian” neighbor, Maggie Rosa, gave a few of us a climbing tour up the tower of Gloucester’s City Hall. The building was dedicated in 1871, following a fire that destroyed the previous structure which was only two years old. Our present City Hall was designed by Gridley J F Bryant, who also designed Boston’s Old City Hall. Maggie wants the public to know there will be tours of the tower on Saturday, September 24 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm as part of Trails and Sails (Essex National Heritage Area). Here’s an appetizer:

City Hall tower exterior, Dale Avenue, Gloucester
Climbing from the Auditorium balcony to the attic level…
…and into the tower and up…
…to the observation level – here, the harbor view
Schooner Ardelle, sailing between Ocean Alliance (the old Paint Factory) and Cape Pond Ice
Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library
Climbing higher to the open-air bell level
Looking toward Magnolia. Netting to keep the pigeons out (and the people in)
View north to Central Grammar Appartments, the US Post Office, and St Ann’s Church beyond
And finally, the clock level’s original mechanism (now individual clock face motors operate the hands)

Smith Cove and Jet-skiing — pat morss

No, they aren’t related. Smith Cove in the inner harbor reminds me of a coastal Maine town, only short on pine trees. And the swells from Hurricane Earl, way off shore, brought out the Jet-skis on Sunday.

Handsome houses along the East Gloucester shore…
…have a view across Smith Cove to Rocky Neck, one of the country’s oldest art colonies
Gloucester Marine Railways, at the tip, is the oldest coninuously operating railway in the US
Full moon rising over the cove during dinner at the Studio on Rocky Neck
A little later, and a little darker
The swells from Hurricane Earl were modest on Sunday
And the Jet-skiers appeared
1) First of a sequence, with one skier racing the swell
2) Passing, with one going up and the other going down
3) Ski jump
A Catbird glanced up curiously from below saying “Whatcha lookin’ at?”

Schooner Festival –pat morss

Here’s my brief personal take on a successful Gloucester Labor Day Weekend Schooner Festival. Saturday eveing down on the docks before race day, and on Sunday the Parade of Sail out to the starting line, seeing the race at a distance from our house, and then sailing out on Troll to welcome some of the 27 schooners back into the harbor.

Schooners at Harbor Cove, downtown – seen from Ocean Alliance, Rocky Neck
And at Maritime Gloucester. Our Lady of the Voyage church beyond
Arbella and Adventure home docked at Maritime Gloucester
Downtown I4C2 dock. Ocean Alliance with schooners, beyond at left
Visiting the fleet by dory
Time to relax, on American Eagle (Camden, ME)
Sunset from the Jodfrey State Fish Pier (Fitz Henry Lane painting?)
Columbia (Panama City, FL) joining the Sunday parade to the starting line
Congested quarters during the race, out in the haze
Sailing out to greet Columbia on her return
Narwhal (Jamestown, RI), and Gloucester’s Arbella rounding Dog Bar breakwater
Gloucester’s Thomas E Lannon inside Eastern Point light
Along with Gloucester’s Adventure

Sailing a lap around the Inner Harbor — pat morss

A pleasant afternoon sail, well up into the Inner Harbor with views from water level.

Downtown’s Harbor Cove
Schooners Arbella and Adventure docked at Maritime Gloucester
A “working waterfront” enterprise
Beauport Princess at Cruiseport Gloucester
Majesty up on the ways at Rose’s Marine
Fishing boats in front of Gloucester Marine Gemomics Institute (GMGI)
Challenger at the State Fish Pier
Ocean Alliance (whale research and conservation) in the old Paint Factory, Rocky Neck
Cabaret V headed home, rounding Ten Pound Island light
Thomas E Lannon hoisting sail for an afternoon cruise
Yankee Patriot waiting for some loving care

Low Tide on Niles Pond — pat morss

The drought is continuing to empty Niles Pond. Starting here with a water level comparison to a year ago.

SEPTEMBER 2021. Canada Geese are standing on a sumerged rock
AUGUST 2022. Same rock with young and adult Little Blue Herons
“I don’t think we can do anything about it”
Never seen so many young Little Blue Herons (and maybe an egret or two)
And never seen these rocks, well out into the pond (Great Blue Heron, center)
We’ll make the most of it with the “Niles Pond Greasy Pole” competition
Over the causeway in Brace Cove, staging the “One-legged, stand-in-the-surf” contest
The Laughing Gulls really weren’t amused
But a Green Heron was enjoying the view of both venues from the bleachers

Low to the Water — pat morss

Sailing on our 21ft. sloop Troll brings me down to water level and close to the action.

Did Ardelle birdnap Thomas E Lannon’s accailmed gull?
The Aquarius, registered in Malta, headed into Gloucester
Tuna Hunter returning home
Tuna parts? Could this be a trick?
Appears to be legitimate
The Aquarius has anchored next to Miss Anna
Life is good when you bring your own dock
Getting lots of tender loving care
Don’t think I can sail under her bow
Miss Anna is registerd in the Marshall Islands; and I had thought she was big
Sunset reflections at the Eastern Point Yacht Club after a perfect sail

Keep Cool by the Water — pat morss

We’re in our second heat wave, but Cape Ann is surrounded by water. There are ways to cool off.

Visit waterfront preserves like the Trustees’ Coolidge Reservation, Manchester, early in the day
And enjoy shady paths
Join a Junior Sailing program, or take a sail on Thomas E Lannon
Your profession may already have you out on the water
Or you could decide to live on the ocean – here, Princess Mia from The Netherlands
You can fish into the night
A splash in Niles Pond is refreshing
Much of the fishing goes on late in the day
If the heat is just too much, you can take a dive
…into the pool

Eagle and Constitution — patmorss

US Coast Guard Barque Eagle (America’s Tall Ship) was tied up bowsprit-to-bowsprit with USS Constitution (Congressional Ship of State) at the Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, for public tours over the weekend. We attended a reception for the USS Constitution Museum on Friday evening, hosted by Eagle. It was special because these are the only two commissioned naval sailing ships in the country. Not only that, they both have their first female Captains.

US Coast Guard Eagle docked at the Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston
Boarding Eagle for the reception for the USS Constitution Museum
All food prepared by Eagle’s onboard crew
Enjoying hospitality and the view on multiple decks
Celebrating the occasion – USCG RADM John Mauger at the podium
Eagle’s CAPT Jessica Rozzi-Ochs
USS Constitution’s CDR BJ Farrell
USS Constitution Museum’s President and CEO Anne Grimes Rand
Evening colors, striking the flags
Spectator boats observing colors and firing of USS Constitution’s cannon
Sunset with USCG Eagle and USS Constitution bow-to-bow
Sunset through USS Constitution’s rigging, from Eagle’s bow

Have-a-Heart (Tuna) — patmorss

This week Gloucester hosted the annual 2-day Bluefin Blowout tuna fishing competition. We saw a couple of boats come in and here are some photos of one of the larger fish, caught on F/V Lugnut. I need to learn more about onboard techniques for protecting the quality of the meat of these overheated high metabolism fish after a hard fight.

One of the 66 contestants coming in by Eastern Point
Part of Cape Ann’s Marina, venue for the Bluefin Blowout
Ice was packed in this cavity onboard to cool the heart down after the battle
The heart continued to pump away blood and contaminants during the bleeding process, onboard
Back at the dock, dropping the heart out before weigh-in
Hoisting the tuna up, with the scale above the tail, for weigh-in
F/V Lugnut’s fish was in an upper tier at 580 pounds
Time for a celebratory cocktail. Top honors went to Gloucester’s Easy Scrapin’, at 688 pounds

Ways to Beat the Heat– patmorss

The extended heat wave finally made it to New England, so here are a few suggestions for staying cool.

Turn on the fan
Fish at night
Take a Harbor Tour around the Cape
Or experience a bracing breeze on schooner Advanture
If you are a leaf, you can throw in the towel and declare it’s autumn
If you are a flower, you can pretend everything is just fine
Over on Niles Pond, walk slowly, drink lots of water, and enjoy the pool
Hyper-ventilate if it gets really bad
Hold the Blackburn Challenge around Cape Ann, even if other events are canceling
After all, it’s cooler out on the water
In a hurry? Reverse the 20+ mile Blackburn course in about 20 minutes

The Week That Was — patmorss

Here’s a recap of the last week, with some photo ramblings.

Kayakers. Preparing for the Blackburn Challenge Cup?
Race returning toward Marblehead after rounding Eastern Point “groaner”
Yankee Fleet fishing party returning home, trailing gulls
Black-backed Gull on an updraft at the Retreat House rocks
Ghost finch joining us for breakfast on the window sill
Great Egret, with stretched neck for a better view, Brace Cove
Elegantly strutting across the slippery rocks
Mallard mom shading her six ducklings from the midday sun
Putting every feather in its place, Niles Pond
Green Heron deep in the brush, with pond overview
Little Blue Heron standing on lily pads at sunset

Water Lily Quagmire; a Fictional Feathertale — pat morss

A real ornithologist wouldn’t make up a story like this, but it’s fun to imagine. As the water lilies spread, they become an impediment for the water birds.

The first convoy didn’t get any closer to open water
Even jumping off the rock, it was still a short runway
Hey – we could use a little help over here
How long do you think we’ll be stuck here?
I promise – I’ll be the first duckling to fly out
How ’bout you big guys clear a channel for us little guys?
Success! Why didn’t we think of this earlier?
It’s gotten entirely too crowded for fishing here
Since I’m one of the big guys, I’ll just fly out – because I can
Someone thinks the fishing is good here – think I’ll land
I had a hankering for salt water fish, anyway

If you weren’t downtown for Fiesta — pat morss

Joey and others are correct about fabulous GMG coverage of all the St Peter’s Fiesta celebrations and events. But that wasn’t the only place to enjoy early summer.

There’s always room for one more on sunshine rock, Niles Pond
Black-capped Night Heron considering what’s next
Off to check out another fishing area
The Striped Bass are running on Eastern Point – this one is a throwback
This striper is a keeper
An all-female crew off Raymond Beach
Back sailing on “Troll” – past a party on 103′ Blue Guitar from London
A quick getaway with more than 1,000 horsepower
Family lobstering
A fresh afternoon breeze
Evening light inside Dog Bar breakwater
Capping off the week with a sunset rainbow

The Boat and Train Edition — pat morss

This posting is for people who need a break from wildlife. It is representative of the marine traffic that passes our house (except for the train).

It has been a windy spring for getting boats in the water
And for the fishing (“Capt. Dominic”) and lobstering fleets as well
But the US Coast Guard is always out there training
Tug and work barge from Prock Marine in Rockland, ME
Ryan Marine’s research vessel “R/V Kraken”
“Onnered,” docked in East Gloucester, is classified as fishing vessel
Filming with “Finestkind,” for new movie of the same name
Surrounded by schools of pogies breaking the surface
Don’t allow “Evergreen” near the Annisquam or Cape Cod Canals
First track of the rebuilt Annisquam drawbridge carrying trains
Years in the making

Pond and Ocean — pat morss

Our two local water habitats are Niles Pond and the Eastern Point shoreline, and we all share both.

Black-crowned Night Heron at Niles Pond.
Female Red-winged Blackbird flaps and hops between lily pads.
“You got a problem with me taking this rock”? Mr Mallard.
“I don’t take no grief from nobody.” Snapping Turtles have long necks.
Flowering bush between pond and ocean.
Deer in the ocean-front Audubon sanctuary at low tide.
How do they avoid injury running through the rocks?
A stop for a drink of fresh water.
“I think it’s a little brackish. How ’bout you”?
Careful Eddy (Egret)! It’s calmer back on the pond.

Audubon(s) East and West — pat morss

We have our Audubon Sanctuary on Eastern Point, and we visited the Evergreen Lake Audubon Sanctuary west of Denver last week. FIRST THE EAST.

Look! I’m growing antlers
Eiders conducting diving school in the shallows off Raymond Beach
A Killdeer faking a broken wing on the Brace Cove causeway
‘Follow me away from the nest’ (wing looks fine)
A quiet moment before sunset for Mallards on Niles Pond
Buttercup-leaf snack before bed
NOW THE WEST – the Rocky Mountains, headed toward Evergreen
A clever clean water reminder, with a cut-out in the sign
Colorado has its gaggles of geese too
Elk contemplating ‘fake news’ signage
Who gets to cross the bridge first? (We backed down)
End of a nice day on the water