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.

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