Friday, December 10, 2004

Norfork to St. Augustine

Heather in front of a aircraft carrier in Norfork
Traveling on the Intercoastal Waterway is a challenge, particularly when you have a six and a half foot draft and a mast that is 63' high. The bridge clearance is only guaranteed as 65'. You never feel comfortable looking up at one as you pass under. We had a list of all fixed bridges with notes from a cruiser friend on actual clearances and ways to measure it. This mostly involved the water height against the boards in the channel under the bridge. We had a cruising guide for the Waterway, MapTech guides for the Central and South Eastern Coast, and a strip map for the ICW. Of course we also had electronic charts. We used all of them!
A little out of focus, but you can see the ICW channel
markers, both permanent and temporary. That's a
Osprey nest on top of the post - that's very common.
There are hundreds of opening bridges of all types and with different opening schedules. We needed to figure out the distance and speed necessary to arrive at the next bridge at opening time. Currents and lots of boats made the small area before the bridge treacherous.
We returned to Norfork after Josh and Michal had Arielle and we'd had some time visiting them. It was 10/29 when we started motoring south again. We had one lock and a number of opening bridges to go through before reaching the Midway Marina at Coinjock (mile 50 marker - Norfork is Mile 1) where we spent the first night. They had one long dock and it was crowded.

We were lectured on the necessity of giving actual boat length in these situations, not registered length. The difference for us is 6-7 feet. It was a tight fit! The photo above shows the Coinjock Marina across the narrow canal. Next day was cloudy and the weather was deteriorating, so we gave up our plan to go up the Ablemare Sound to Elizabeth City and instead continued south, anchoring at mile 104.8 on the Alligator River off Tuckahoe Point. Nice spot - Scott went swimming the next morning to check on the prop and rudder - all was well so far.

We anchored in Belhaven, NC for the following night (that's the undeveloped part of the Belhaven waterfront although old brick chimneys show that this was once more industrial) and Oriental Harbor the next. The latter was so packed we had to anchor right at the entrance. The days were warm and sunny and we were sailing for hours some days.
Rural waterfront along the ICW

Numbered channel markers show the limits of the ICW; red on one side and green on the other. Most have osprey nests balanced on top. Temporary markers often show shallowing spots and are floating buoys. In one picture above here, rather blurry I'm afraid, you can see both kinds of red markers. In the other picture you can see the osprey on top of a green marker.
Our next main stop was in Beaufort. We stayed at the Merchant City Yacht Basin, actually on the Morehead City side of the channel. They had courtesy cars available and we really needed one to do some provisioning and shopping for boat parts - and they had free laundry! Somethings is always breaking on the boat!
Osprey and nest atop one of the green ICW markers
It was a difficult exit from the Marina the next morning 11/3 with strong current and wind. This was an unusally memorable day. First we were traveling that day through Camp LeJeune. As we approached the borders of the base, several fast boats raced towards us. Two veered off into a small anchorage on our right and proceeded to rain machine gun fire on the cruisers within. WOW!! We stopped dead. One boat remained in front of us with soldiers. It was really scary, but when there weren't any screams etc., we started to hope it was a training exercise (and the cruisers had been warned). Scott called on the VHF and after a while the soldiers motioned us on (but didn't talk to us). Yes SIR! Not far down the channel, after passing the Camp border we made a wrong turn into a side channel and more soldiers came after us to warn us and point out the right direction. Thank you SIR!

Following a catamaran through an opening
bridge on the ICW
Next, we ran into a fishing net and managed to set ourselves free after some work (we and the fisherman both apologized, but the net was across the channel), then we heard the calls for help from a older couple just off the channel who had run aground. We managed to tow them off. At 4:45 we tied up at a lovely slip in the Beach House Marina in Surf City. A classic wooden schooner beside us made for a lovely sunset view!
We had a 8 AM bridge opening the next morning but missed the 10 AM one down the way and then as a consequence missed the 11 AM. Each time that meant waiting in front of the bridge for an hour for the next opening - all making the day a lot longer. Lots of bridges this morning. We entered the Cape Fear River at 2 PM with winds up to 34 knots, cloudy but no thunder storms. It was great to tie up to the outside dock at the South Harbor Village Marina near Southport at mile 310 at 4:45PM.

It was a late start the next day but we were through the Pontoon Bridge at mile 337 by 2 PM and anchored at 6 PM in a bight near Enterprise Landing. We had passed the rockpile and the busy free dock at Barefoot Landing but decided to keep on going and make up some time lost earlier that day. We motored in the dark near the end but the bight was obvious thank goodness.  The next morning we left early with mists surrounding us. At 10:30 AM we toured Georgetown Harbor but it was too crowded. We managed to find a place on the other side of the center island. It was a pretty spot if you didn't look at the giant factory in one section of the view. We walked around the town and had lunch, bought groceries. We were invited over to "Idle Ours", Jack and Sandy, for drinks that night.

The next day was sunny and warm. We found lots of shallow spots along the way. We trailed mud at times. I noted especially Red "92"! We anchored off the City Marina in Charleston, S.C. and the next morning went into the city to have breakfast at Poogan's Porch and walk around the city. We left anchor at 11:15 AM 11/8 and anchored in the South Edisto River about mile 504 up around the bend from the ICW in a lovely 12 foot spot.
One of the many parks in Savannah, Georgia
The next morning we weighed anchor at 6:40 AM before the sun rose. It was cold but sunny and very breezy. We sailed for part of the way, and bumped the bottom once. By 1:15 AM we were anchored in Beaufort, S.C. (pronounced Bewfort not Bowfort, as in N.C.) and walked all over the town admiring the beautiful homes.
As usual we were up and off early as the high tide was early too. November 10 was a sunny windy cold day. We bumped at the beginning and end of Fields Cut, also at the end of Walls Cut, on the left side. Then we hit hard at Red markers "2" and "4" on the right. But we managed to back off and kept on going!

Next thrill was running out of gas just before the bridge in a narrow cut of the Wilmington River at mile 578, the end of Range "B". Luckily we had enough room and depth to anchor. Scott just had to change tanks. We have two. Now he is careful to monitor them! Not far beyond was our day's destination, Bahia Blue Marina in Thunderbolt. We had two days to explore Savannah, Georgia!
Downtown Brunswick, Georgia
We hired a taxi to take us into the city and fell in love - with the city. Our taxi driver recommended a fantastic restaurant where we enjoyed a memorable meal in the evening. We walked all over and explored the multitude of beautiful squares, all surrounded by fabulous homes. Scott fantasized about living there and poured over the real estate books! We also walked around Thunderbolt and found a great fish market.

All too soon we were off again 11/13 from 7:15 AM to 12:30 PM, anchoring in Walberg Creek. These short days were due to the tides. We could only travel at half tide through high to half tide again. It was overcast, chilly and windy. We woke up that night to wind in the 30 knot range and swift currents. It was really noisy in the boat!
The next day it was the same so we took the alternate route through Walberg Creek as it was a rising tide and held our breath at the shallow junction back with the ICW. At 10 AM we entered Sapello Sound at mile 640 with confused seas and at 3:30 PM were tied up at the Golden Isles Marina with wind gusting to 35 knots.
We stayed for two nights here. They had a friendly bar and restaurant and loaned us bikes for a fun day exploring St. Simon's island. They also let us use their courtesy car to see Brunswick and shop.
Scott on the dock at St. Augustine Marine, FL

On 11/16 we headed south again and were glad we had waited an extra day at the Golden Isle when we saw the confused seas in St. Andrew's Sound. We stopped early and anchored at Cumberland Island about 1.5 nm off the ICW. This is a beautiful spot and it was great to walk around the island and see the historical sites.
11/17 was a beautiful sunny warm day and we were grateful. We were able to motor sail for part of the time and anchored late at mile 765, Pine Island with five other boats.
This next and last day, November 18, of 2004's cruise ended in St. Augustine, Florida. We had quite a time getting there as we followed some other boats in the harbor, instead of the ICW channel, and ran aground. Luckily we were able to motor off and with some advice from the tow company, find our way back. We pulled into the St. Augustine Marina in the San Sebastian River and settled "Scott Free" in for the winter!

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Annapolis Boat Show and SSCA GAM

Our first stop in the Chesapeake was the 2004 Nauticat Rally on the river up to Baltimore at a Yacht Club. It was three days of talks, seminars and socializing. We met a number of Nauticat owners we knew from our first Rally in Beaufort, NC before we bought "Scott Free", and met many more. One of the nicest events was touring all the other boats; 33's, 44's and our own 43's.
We had been to the boat show many times in the past but this was our first one on our boat. It is necessary to arrive days or even a week in advance to get a good anchoring spot and unfortunately we came the day before. So we joined many other boats off the Naval Academy in a very exposed anchorage. The SSCA GAM was the next day and our first time there. We met up with our friends from the Maine GAM and had a fun dinner in town - that's Leslie Sturzenberger and myself here.
I hauled Scott up the mast to do some repairs and he took
this photo. He was shaking like a leaf; he's never gotten
used to this. Look how far down I am at the bow and
you'll see why.
The GAM itself was really fun and informative. We met two couples there that would become fast friends. Geoff and Jo on "Sutton Hoo", and Francoise and Roger on "Starship Annie". We ended up eating dinner together that night and then they came over to our boat another night. We really hit it off. Francoise and Roger (below left) cruised with us a number of times in the future - this coming winter/spring in the Bahamas to start. And Geoff and Jo made plans right then and there to accept our invitation to visit us in Vermont that winter. They spent 10 days with us and it was fantastic. This photo of the four of us was taken at Okemo in February, 2005.
The busy scene at the Newport Boat Show
We had a big list of items we wanted to buy at the boat show. It took several days to get through all the vendors and of course, to look at the new boats. Kai and Tula were there from the Nauticat Boatyard in Finland and we were lucky to spend time with Kai going over the design of our boat and construction details. We had some windy wet weather and the efficiency of our anchor was tested and found adequate. Several other boats were not so lucky.
Roger, Heather and Francoise at the SSCA Gam
We love watching the amusing show put on by the departing boats the last night. A line of catamarins did 360 degree circles while exiting the channel to loud applause and cheers. The next day we were off across the bay to do some exploring. We went up the Choptank, visited Cambridge and Oxford, funny to have them near each other in this country, then St. Michaels - not the main entrance but the back
Geoff, Jo, Heather (in uniform) and Scott at Okemo
February 2005
way up the Choptank and San Domingo Creek. "Starship Annie" was there but Francoise was really sick with a flu so we didn't see them.
 During our four days there we weathered a storm with wind in the 40 knot range. It was very protected so we felt quite secure, but were battened down by heavy rain. We tried leaving the Choptank and heading south the next day but were turned back by wind and waves right on the nose. After waiting another night with winds up to 41 knots, it settled down to 33 knots and we were able to make it out of the River. When we turned south it was better and we were able to make it across the Chesapeake to Solomon's. Back creek there was really packed with boats but we managed to find a place to anchor up Mill Creek.

The next day we were off again, across the turbulent Potomic and down to Deltaville. Our six and a half foot depth was iffy for the main entrance so we took the exciting and circuituitus southern entrance to Jackson Creek. We bumped the bottom three times on the way in. The channel comes so close to the beach that we strayed a little too far off. Our adrenaline was racing. Once in it was a lovely spot. We turned right into Northern Creek and anchored off the Deltaville Marina at Jackson Creek. Our friends Lee and Sherry from "Alessto" were there working on their boat. We had them over for drinks.

The next day we borrowed bicycles from the marina and biked into town for lunch and some shopping. After a quiet second night worried about the trip out that channel the next morning, we were lucky to follow close behind another boat and this time had no problems.
Our next stop was Norfork/Portsmouth. We had reservations at a Ocean Marine marina. Coming into these huge and busy city complexes was awe inspiring for us. Our boat was dwarfed by giant freighters and air craft carriers. It was a challenge following the channel and keeping to it's edges. Happily the marina was very nice and we left the next day to fly home for the birth of Josh's second child. That's Arielle finding her thumb and she and Daniel with me at the hospital.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Cape May into the Cheasapeake

This trip turned quickly into a version of HELL. Thousands of flies descended on us as we motored up the river. They turned the deck black. Cries of horror from other boats nearby confirmed that we weren't alone. One man passed us using a leaf blower to try and keep them off the boat. How he happened to have that on board we can't imagine. We used snapping towels to try and kill as many as possible. They were biting too! We closed up the boat as quickly as we could but many had made there way below. A vacum cleaner helped pick up the dead ones below and clean up a little.
No one knew why this was happening and when it might stop. Big logs and debris were also coming down the river so we had to really pay attention.
Russ and Marty Wolf joined us for a long weekend
Our plans had been to anchor just before the C and D Canal for the night but some boats ahead confirmed that the anchorage was still fly ridden. We had put the throttle on high some time before so after some quick calculations we knew how far we could get before dark. Scott called the Schaefer Marina on the other end of the canal and after explaining our situation, asked how late we could dock there. The marvelous man told us he'd try and wait for us until 6:30PM. Thank goodness we have a big engine, because we needed all the speed we could get. Once in the Canal the flies disappeared (although not the ones all over the deck) and it was heaven to reach the dock on time.
Then the Gods smiled upon us!
"We have an all you can eat seafood buffet on tonight at the restaurant. We hope you folks can join us!"
Are you kidding! We were changed and up the dock in record time. It was a FABULOUS meal.
Baltimore Harbor from up on a hill 
We didn't have far to go the next day. Russ and Marty Wolf had arranged to meet us at Havre de Grace and join us for a three day weekend. We picked them up there and Paula joined us for dinner that night.
The next morning we motored up the Sassafras River to Georgetown anchoring at several quiet coves, first Woodland Creek and then Georgetown itself. On the return trip we stayed at Back Creek and Money Creek. Although the water wasn't clear, it felt great for some long swims. We visited the historic Mount Harmon Plantation as well.
Lee and Sherry's Allesto, a Nauticat 33
Unfortunately we had begun to experience some bad vibrations at various speeds and gradually we could only go very slow. Havre de Grace Marina put us up and worked on the engine but the problem was only temporarily solved. It was to plague us for the next FIVE years. Hindsite here.
 My sister Paula lives near here so we spent some fun time with her seeing the local sights and eating nearby.
Scott Free at the dock in Baltimore
We had three pleasant scheduled events ahead of us. The Nauticat Owners's GAM, followed by the Annapolis Boat Show and the SSCA GAM.
The Nauticat Owner's GAM was at the Maryland Yacht Club on Sue Creek on Middle River. This three day event drew owners both on and off their boats from all over the country. We had attended one just after buying our boat the year before in Beaufort, NC. It was a thrill to tie up our "Scott Free" along with her other beautiful siblings. Kai and Tula, designers and owners from the Nauticat Boatyard in Finland were with us for the whole three day event. The last day several of the boats hosted the participants for a sail up to Baltimore harbor. We had 12 on board. Lee and Sherry Hafele on Nauticat 33 "Allesto" seen here above right joined us.
Sunrise heading up the Chesapeake to Annapolis
Ed and Benia on "Sea Angel", a 44', and Jack and Fred from "Denali Rose" were on board with us. We were to see all three couples many times during our cruise ahead. Fred and Jack had a 43' also but the  Ketch version. It was surprisingly different from ours. Our big cockpit is missing due to the second mast. They also have a partition between the salon and the galley - our's is very open. It's really fun to see other Nauticats - you get some great ideas. Touring all of the boats is a highlight of the GAM. Next it was on to the Annapolis Boat Show!

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Southward Bound

At our mooring in Mattapoisett  at dawn
On August 22 we left Boston behind and made our second trip through the Cape Cod Canal. We did it at night. I was at the wheel, Scott below sleeping, when I turned the boat around the markers and headed up the channel, looming rock jetties on each side. The bright lights lining the canal blinded me and as I started under the first bridge I suddenly realized a huge tanker was coming right at me. Wow! Did my boat turn on a dime and head for the edge! Luckily it's pretty deep close to.
Schooner on Long Island Sound
We were headed for Mattapoisett again, this time to pick up Sean and friend Caitlin for a cruise. This is a wide pretty bay with free moorings from the boatyard. The next morning we sailed up the south coast of the Cape and flew through Woods Hole Cut. The currents here are extremely strong and it's necessary to plan your passage through here at close to slack tide. We were a little late. There are a lot of channels here near the mouth of the harbor and it was confusing but we made it through.
It's a short sail across to Martha's Vineyard. We moored again in Oak Bluffs. It was more fun this time as we were a bit more experienced. This is a tight harbor with packed in boats.
We rented bikes and explored. Sean and I spent a great vacation here many years ago and one of our fondest memories was jumping off the bridge over an inlet along the beach. We did it again - still fun! Edgartown is a beautiful town with great restaurants and we love walking through the cottage community at Oak Bluffs.
After a few days there, we left and as we did with the Korbeys the year before, we stopped at Tarpaulin Cove in the Elizabeth Islands to swim and eat and then continued to Cuttyhunk Harbor for the night. This has been a favorite place of ours for years.
Scott's Dad Mitchel at home in Conn.
We came here twice on a friend's boat and Scott and James spent a weekend here once fishing. We only had one night as Caitlin needed to get home so we returned to Mattapoisett to let her off. Sean continued with us towards Newport R.I. but we ran into bad weather. The wind was directly in front with gusts up to 30 knots. It was VERY uncomfortable and after hours of crashing into the waves, I suggested we just turn to port and spend another night at Cuttyhunk. Relief! Amazing what a difference it was on a reach with the sails up! It was wonderful to pick up a mooring and relax.
We left early the next day and it was thrill to sail into Newport Harbor! This has always been a favorite place but we've never been on a boat here, let alone our own. Sean took a bus home and after two nights we headed on down the Long Island Sound. We had a reservation at the Noank Yacht Club for ten days. We needed to take Sean up to Dartmouth and get him settled. Scott had some work to do, we wanted to visit Scott's father Mitchell and we needed to close up Vermont.
Clouds building up over Noank
When we arrived at 5 PM, no one knew we were coming. The man Scott talked to during the summer had left and evidently didn't tell anyone. Everyone was so nice. They insisted we tie up to the dock for the night and they'd figure it out. By morning we had a mooring, Paul Taylor's for the next eight nights. We could only get to the mooring at high tide and I think we had little to nothing under us at low tide. Luckily the bottom was mud. During the week a hurricane brushed by off shore and it was really rough. I was on board alone for the day and very nervous. Paul came out with two heavy anchors to reinforce the mooring. We couldn't thank him enough - and he refused any compensation.

We anchored next at N. Fisher's Point, Saybrook on the Connecticut River and then again at Milford. Leslie Smith's college roommate's mother and husband, Mike and Sandy Madigan, invited us to use their mooring at Bell Island, off South Beach, near Norwalk. We ended up staying in their home for two nights. They were great hosts and had a beautiful home there.
Scott and brother Brent at the 79th St. Boathouse mooring
Our last anchorage in Long Island Sound was off City Island. There is a yacht club here although we haven't gone ashore. It is necessary to time your passage down the East River the next morning from the Sound to the Harbor through Hell's Gate. Well named we hear, although we carefully planned our three passages through it (two others the following year) and had no problems. The first part was a peaceful and interesting trip past the Maritime Academy and under the Long Island bridges we'd been over hundreds of times by car. Then the positive current swept us down the river, faster and faster. We were around Hell's Gate bend and in a few minutes the United Nations Building gleamed in the sun - seen here behind me. It was a thrill to see the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges from the underside!
The United Nations building gleaming in the sun on the
East River
Our oldest son Josh lived for many years in a loft on the river, which we saluted as we passed. The current slowed after we went around the tip of Manhattan and we had it against us slightly going up the Hudson. We stayed on a mooring at the 79th Street Boathouse, a few miles up. The currents on the river make it quite challenging at times getting on and off the boat but it's an amazing place. For only $40 a night we were fifty feet from the shore and let's say, 1000 meters from Zabar's Deli. We love New York and this was a thrill. There is even a charming cafe and FREE laundry facilities at the Boathouse!
We left the boat on the mooring for two nights while we visited Brent and Wilma, Scott's brother and his wife. We even participated in a labor rally in Atlantic City with them. He's Chief Counsel for UNITE.
An old boat tries to make way against the current

When we got back we found our dinghy, tied up to the docks, filled with debris and barely floating. There had been a storm during our time away. It was a huge job pulling it up on the dock and cleaning it. Disgusting!!!
We left NYC in the very early morning before dawn. It was a thrill to sail past the Statue of Liberty and out into the crowded harbor, under the Tappan Zee Bridge and out to sea. We planned to visit our friends on "Sea Angel" at Brielle Marine Basin at the Manasquan Inlet for one night. The weather was lovely for a sail down the N.J. coast and the entrance easy into the inlet. Once in we passed under the railroad bridge and docked at the Brielle Marine Basin marina. Ed was there to tie up our lines and take us out to lunch. His wife Benia was unfortunately away.

UNITE protest in Atlantic City, NJ
The next morning we had to leave in the dark. We called the bridge attendant before casting off our lines and waited for the bridge to open. It was pretty frightening for us newbies to navigate out the inlet in the dark - a first, for sure. But we had a long trip ahead of us, down the rest of the NJ coast to Cape May. We wanted to be safely anchored there before dark. We came in through the Inlet from the Atlantic and anchored near the Coast Guard Station.
We could not exit via the Cape May Canal out to the Delaware due to fixed 55' bridges so we made another before dawn exit back out the Inlet and carefully made our way through the complicated channels around the Cape and up the Delaware.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Our first summer in Maine

We set off again north directly this time to the Isle of Shoals on July 16. As we did last time with the Smiths we picked up a mooring and hoped no one would come to claim it in the middle of the night. Gosport Harbor isn't a good place to anchor. We didn't get off the boat this time.
Our next stop was Wood Island Harbour at Biddeford Pool, Maine. What a great spot, although it was a challenge to anchor (only our second time?). Portland, Maine, our next destination, wasn't far so we left after lunch and were moored at Portland Yacht Services at 4:45PM. On the way we passed Jane & John Moore sailing south on their boat and talked to them on the VHF. Another coincidence.

Two days later we sailed through Casco Bay and picked up a mooring off the Chebegue Hotel on Chebegue Island. The Bagnells and ourselves had stayed out there for a three day weekend when the kids were young and had a memorable time. That's the front porch above. After exploring we sailed around the island when a big thunderstorm threatened. A spare mooring at Central Landing on Great Chebegue island proved a

great place to weather the storm but after it departed, so did we. Our anchorage for the night was Chandler Harbor and it was nice to be settled in there before sundown. The next morning we were fogged in but by 11:15 it was clear enough to start off.
Jewell Harbor was on everyone's list of must sees, so we anchored there for a late lunch and walk around the island - truely a beautiful spot. This is a State Park and has cement towers used during WWII to watch for submarines. Unfortunately we had a time schedule to follow and couldn't stay the night. We pressed on to Falmouth Foreside's moorings.

The next day we motored slowly through pea soup fog to Portland again. We couldn't see a thing but navigated by the auto pilot, radar and careful listening. What an eerie experience! We stayed one night and then in poor visability passed Halfway Rock on our way to Sebasco harbor. Next in cloudy, rainy conditions we turned around Cape Small, off Hendrick's Head and finally to Ebencook Harbor. This is where we picked up "Scott Free" last year. The sun came out and it was a beautiful night. It's a short hop around to Boothbay Harbor and we spent a few nights enjoying this busy scenic spot. I spent many days here on vacation with my parents and Uncle

Morton and Auntie Berta on their boat. Our friends Wendy & John Padgett and their two children Ray & Olivia live in Bristol so we spent two nights in Christmas Cove and two nights at Round Pond visiting them. We had dinner with them at their home and at Coveside - an old favorite from many years visiting them. Our mooring in Round Pond is a free one kept for visitors - very friendly. The Padgetts came on

Olivia, John and Ray on board
board for lunch at our mooring and John, Olivia and Ray decided to sail north with us to Camden. Unfortunately the seas were confused and the wind picked up, gusting to 28 knots. Ray got really sea sick and Olivia some, so we turned into Port Clyde instead. This was a rolly harbor but a clear night. The next day was beautiful and clear. We had to motor around to Camden. Our time was getting short now. We were meeting Bob Defeyter in Burnt Coat Harbor on Swan's Island for the Music Festival in two days. So next morning we sailed off Egg Rock, North Haven, off Green Ledge, under the bridge and anchored in Benjamin River, a beautiful rural quiet anchorage.

The next day started sunny but soon the pea soup fog rolled in. It is remarkable that we could continue slowly manuvering our way through the multitude of channels, rocks and islands without being able to see a thing. Navigation is with the auto pilot, radar, listening to the conversations of the other boats on the VHF, and to the other boats horns calling around us. We stayed two nights and managed to get tickets to see the show at night and the free one in the afternoon.

We'd been to this before with Bob DeFeyter on his boat and loved it. Besides the evening concerts, there is an afternoon trip round the harbor by a old schooner with musicians jamming aboard (that's it three photos above)- sea chantys of course! One afternoon there is a free concert on the beach (photo above right, also shows the mural). And through it all the resident artist paints a huge mural of the sea/shore, different each year. The

musicians come from all over the world and many have been here every year for maybe 30 years. Their children are now performing! The yacht club where we came ashore is above right.
Our next planned event was the Seven Seas Cruising Association's GAM at Islesboro. It followed right after the Music Festival. The GAM was a lot of fun. Anchoring safely while under the scrutiny of everyone in a crowded harbor was the first challenge. Luckily we arrived the day before the GAM started - others arriving the next day provided more entertainment.
Our first morning our neighbors Larry and Leslie Sturzenberger on "Algonquin" invited us over for hot morning muffins. This was our first glimpse of cruising hospitality. That night was the welcoming cocktail party - a dinghy raftup with at least 40 boats participating. Passing the hors d'oeuves around from boat to boat while holding drinks was the second big challenge!
Sunday was a big pot luck, talks from experienced sailors and members, and of course, a yard sale. We met many cruisers, several of whom we would see again in far flung ports.

After this it was time to start south. We spent one night in Boothbay, and the next day sailing close reach in 15-20 knots with big rollers following us, our dinghy broke off from the davits and went under water with the outboard on it. We stopped and Scott managed to right it and pump it out. The motor needed additional help fast and Portland wasn't far. We made in to the Portland Yacht Services and they put it in a fresh water tank. The next day we got it back running, but it was never the same and a pain in the ass for the rest of it's life.

We spent one night in Biddeford Pool, another at the Isle of Shoals and then were back in Glochester. James joined us there for some vacation. The three of us sailed to Provincetown and spent a few days exploring the town. What fun! It was a special weekend for transvestites with a parade. Next we had a very brisk sail to Scituate for a night before returning to our marina in East Boston.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Sailing with the Smiths

The old Oceanic Hotel on Star Island at the Isle of Shoals, once a fishing village, now a Christian Retreat

Colin with Heather and at the wheel 
Carol, Bill and Jonathan
Harvey and Gail, not sure who is with them below.

That's a shot from our boat to the point
with it's lovely lighthouse.
From Scituate we sailed north to Glochester and picked up a mooring at the Eastern Point Yacht Club. That's a shot from our boat to the point with it's lovely lighthouse. Our very close friends Harvey and Gail Smith live there in the summers and it's a favorite spot of ours. We'd arrived on July 3 and hosted all the Smiths, Fonvielles, Jeanne, Ravi and Sunjay Dhama for a July 4th dinner and fireworks. That's Leslie and boyfriend Chaz below. Originally we'd planned to motor in to the inner harbor but once everyone was on board it was late and dark.

Navigating in the dark with a big group of people on board was too scary. So we sat at the mooring and watched a line of fireworks displays down the coast towards Boston. There must have been six towns visable! Naturally the food and company were great!
We went in to Brown's Marina for fuel (this picture shows the shoreline as we get near the inner harbor and had a great day sail with Harvey, Gail and Colin the next
day. Harvey and Gail then joined us as we sailed north around Cape Ann up to the Isles of Shoals. Our first night we picked up a mooring in Rockport off Motif #1. Then on to the Isle of Shoals. This tiny group of islands has several small homes and the big old Oceanic Hotel, established in the 19C and now used for religious retreats. They welcome the public to look around and eat dinner by reservation.
Nearby Appledore Island is a summer teaching and research center run by Cornell University. The biggest of the islands, it was once the home of poet Celia Thaxter. We toured the center and the island. Smuttynose Island is has two fishing cottages and a ranger to loan you a booklet for a self guided tour around the island. The restored Haley House next to the Ranger office is said to be one of the oldest in Maine. Legends of pirates and smuggling hang around these islands and a famous murder occurred here as well. It is impossible to anchor there due to a fouled bottom but the moorings, put down by several N.H. Yacht Clubs, can be used if available.

From there we crossed over to the mainland and up the Piscataqua River into Portsmouth. This is a charming old city, recently considerable restored. Unfortunately the dock at Prescott Park was full so we went past the draw bridge where we found a available slip, right downtown. In the afternoon we toured Strawberry Banke, a collection of 30 historical structures all restored and open. That night we saw a musical production at the local theater followed by great folk music at a historic tavern. Fabulous! And, no advance planning.

The next morning the river was churning with a 3-4 knot current sweeping down under the bridge, only 200 feet from our dock. Oh boy did we angst! We pulled the boat as far down the dock as it would go and tested the engine before we cast off. Scott barely made it on board as we surged off and away from the bridge. Far enough off, we called the bridge tender for an opening.

The bridge slowly began to rise. I didn't want to get too far away so I circled around while we watched. Time went by. The bridge tender got on the VHF; "You're making me dizzy! What are you waiting for?"
Scott came back nervously; "We have a 63' mast. Is there clearance?
"Oh I think so...the bridge is 120' up!", he replied with a laugh.
The rest of our cruise was uneventful but lovely. We returned to Glochester and tied up at Brown's Boat Yard for some repairs. During these five days we had rigging work done and new instruments installed. Heather striped the railing and Scott installed a new refrigerator. The boat was a mess as you can see below, but happily we were able to stay with the Smiths in comfort. Once completed we set sail again, this time north to Maine.