Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Boston to Portsmouth/Kittery, ball

After almost a week in Boston (so awesome), which included almost nightly fireworks, we headed out this morning. Still partial to the shorter days we'd been doing we set our sights on Rockport. The weather was going to get blustery in the afternoon so we wanted to be set long before then.

While on our way to Rockport Russ called the harbor and reserved a ball. Once we got into the harbor we hailed them to get instructions. After a little bit of conversation they said, "You failed to mention you were a catamaran."

"We're small. We only have a 16 foot beam."

"That still makes a big difference."

We've never had anyone complain about that before. They put us on a moored platform, which I thought was nifty. But with bad weather coming I grew concerned that we'd pull out or damage the thing, largely because of that comment. We did a quick assess of the weather and absolutely everything changed. It looked like we might have anywhere from a couple of days to a week and, while cute, I wasn't sure we wanted to spend a whole lotta time there.

The city view from Constitution Marina
Maps out we went over some other places to go. Portsmouth was only another 3 hours away. We cancelled our reservation in Rockport and ran.

While a soft rain was coming the winds remained calm. The water went from gentle rollers to silky flat as we traveled. The farther north we went the better it got.

The marina is by the USS Constitution,
which we toured.
We got into Portsmouth just before 2 pm. I just hated it. The yacht club we used (on the New Hampshire side) was right off the main channel. Apparently there is no "no wake" area there, which was only part of the problem. Mostly, these fishing vessels were flying by at 15 knots about 20 feet off our boat. We were more that waked... we were bouncing off the initial bow waves. It was just crazy.

Another quick phone call to the yacht club across the way on the Maine side, in Kittery. Yep they had space. So we moved.

Dawn departure from Boston.
In one day we turned our engines on 3 separate times. But we're now in Maine. So, hey.

Even with cloudy skies the water was fabulous.



Saturday, July 2, 2022

Still in Boston, new marina

Not far, but lots to do.
Due to the nature of the holiday many boats had already reserved space at the Charlesgate Yacht Club (which was awesome, btw). As a result we needed to move today before the 160 foot boat that needed our spot showed up. We'd already made plans to stay in the Constitution Marina through the holiday. Once they gave us the green light to come on over, we did.

The trip is only 30 minutes, but it's an exciting one. We first go back through the highway bridge, then the railroad bridge, then the lock. All of these are pretty skinny, meaning each is 25 feet wide. We're 16 feet wide. But it always felt like a bit of a squeeze.

inQuest at Charlesgate YC.
Going through the lock, one of the tour boats followed right into the chamber. I was shocked we both fit, but the lockmaster knew. This time we sank about 2 feet before the doors opened. I waited for the green light. Once it turned green I headed out... and the doors started to close. We came to an abrupt halt and waited. They opened again, the light remained green. Unwilling to risk being either stuck or smooshed we pushed out pretty quickly. Nothing more left to do but get docked. 

Famous shot of Boston
The marina was a little snug, being stuffed with vessels. But we managed. Now we're safe and snug in our new slip for a few days. 

Boston's been a fabulous town to visit. I'm partial to mass transit, which basically takes us anywhere. We've been to the farmer's market, little Italy, and North End, where Paul Revere used to live.

Tour boat coming in behind us in the tiny lock.



Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Georges Island to Boston, marina

While not a long day it was very exciting. Not due to any problems, but the small distance into the big city of Boston was packed with vessels, ferries, ships, ducks (not the birds, the amphibious vessels), and other floating obstacles. Both Russ and I had eyes everywhere, watching for "that ferry" going 30 knots to appear out of nowhere.

Boston off the port bow.
Once off the main channel we turned onto the Charles River, also filled with tourist boats and ferries. It has a lock, of all things. While a small lock it has 3 chambers since it gets tons of traffic. We saw one of the ferries get into the main chamber. We hailed the lock and he responded with "Oh, I see you. Stand by." So we did. For 45 minutes.

At that point I asked Russ to hail him again, sure we'd been forgotten. Russ called on the phone instead. Yep, forgotten.

Logan Airport is on our starboard.
A quick spin up on the situation. Boston is in the process of building a new bridge across the Charles River, right in front of the lock. At the moment, however, there are support structures in the water. I mentioned there are 3 chambers. The first and third (the third is the largest of them) is completely visible and accessible. The second chamber is behind one of these support structures.

When Russ talked to the lockmaster he got a "Why didn't you blow the horn? 2 longs and 2 shorts. You're supposed to get in front of the chamber door and blow." No where had we read this in our boating literature. Locals we spoke to later said there used to be a sign. So, whatever. We moved forward to get to the location where we're supposed to blow our horn when I'm hailed by dockmaster who told us we're getting into the middle chamber (of course!) and we might want to go around the other side. 

Boston, from our anchorage last night.
That's what we did, backed out from under the bridge and go into the left side and into the chamber. Once there they gave us announcements about what we were supposed to do that neither of us could understand from all the slapback. But this wasn't our first lock rodeo so I gave a thumbs up. Within a heart beat the other chamber door opened. We didn't move an inch.

Out we go. Next a couple of bridges needed to be opened, but those tenders were very informative and quick.

Right away the yacht club we were staying at was on the right. The slip they gave us was a t-head on one side. A boat, however, was already on it. So, we call, we text, we ask for instructions. And eventually we're given a temporary position on the other side. We'll move eventually since we're kinda hangin' off the end here.

Settled, we ate at an Indian place and caught up with the crew of Bella Gatto, Jayne and Jonathon. First time we'd been in a marina together since Florida. We plan on doing a bit of cruising together as we head north to Maine.

Later. First we get through this weekend, and the awesome fireworks displays coming up. We planned on being in Boston for the 4th.

 


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Scituate to Georges Island, ball

The winds were to remain calm all morning so we weren't in a real hurry to get up and out. Boston was just a couple of hours away so no need to rush. 

It was a shame yesterday was so rainy and dreary. We wanted to play in the town a bit more. There's a wonderful sushi place called Salt Society that we thoroughly enjoyed. More to explore, too.

That'd be Boston in the distance.
After lattes and breakfast we headed out. The Atlantic was a kitten. It's such a joy to boat when the waters are so welcoming, placid, and peaceful. Once again we slid our way through the prop traps that abounded but ultimately had a fabulous ride.

The goal was to get to Peddocks Island but as we came into the harbor we noticed a fort to our right. Quick research revealed it had mooring balls and a dinghy dock. So, we veered right and Dockwa-ed* (sure, let's make a new verb) a ball. No one was there. We picked one with the most depth since the tidal swing is 10 feet here and we didn't want to fret. Within an hour we noticed a boat come by. The pilot was from the marina that manages these balls. He was just checking which one we'd taken and approved us right there.

inQuest on a ball, Boston in the background
We ate a second breakfast then headed to Fort Warren.

Ramparts. No more guns, tho.

6 acres of parade ground within Fort Warren.
It's sizable.

One of the few forts where they just let you
wander around and explore. Many signs are 
around warning you "this place is dangerous."
This is called the Dark Hall.

A magazine. Not lit. Just watch your step.

From the fort you can see us and the city.

*Dockwa: an app that allows you to reserved slips and balls with marinas. We've know about it for a while but it's relatively useless in Florida. In New England, however, they use it efficiently, contacting you within the hour with a confirmation and information.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Plymouth to Scituate, ball

The weather was going to turn windy and rainy over the next couple of days. We could have stayed in Plymouth -- lots to do there. But between all the tour boats, fishing folks, and incoming weather our ball, which was right on the main fairway, was bouncy. Moreover, Scituate looked kinda nifty.

Up and out early we had another short day today. I noticed that Russ had already programmed in our destination in Navionics, so I just hit "go" and we were off. The water was calm and a slight breeze came from off shore so it didn't impact the water. The timing would be great to make another batch of house water, so we started that process once we reached the deeper part of the bay. That takes about 2 hours. The trip was only about 2 1/2.

This is how I like my water.
Ride done and the water made we started the turn into the harbor. For a Sunday things here were pretty slow. We're used to lots of fishing boats zipping in and out of the harbor. We were kinda alone. Depth was fine as we inched closer to the town... which was NOT Scituate. All stop, look around, check the charts. It took us a moment to get our bearings only to discover we'd passed our destination. 

The tiny town of Scituate
We spun around and slunk, embarrassed, back down the coast about 30 minutes to Scituate. I'm still not clear how it happened... we're chalking it up again to "our Navionics is secretly trying to kill us."

Once we entered the bay we contacted a yacht club to get on one of their balls. They had us hold up in the channel for a few minutes while a launch investigated what balls were available. Then the launch led us to our parking spot. Now that's service!

The dock is literally 40 feet from us. It's almost
silly to call the launch to get there.
Seems like we should be able to jump it.
Anyway, we're situated in Scituate. Winds are coming today and staying until mid-Tuesday. Possible storms. We'll see how much touristy stuff we can do, considering.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Onset to Plymouth, ball

The day was predicted as amazing, and it was. We wanted to get through the canal early before a bunch of boaters clogged the water, and we did. Moreover, it timed out perfectly with tides. We got to the top of the canal pretty close to slack.

The hardest part about the trip today was the veritable slalom through all the lobster/crab traps on the bay. Since we don't know which (lobster or crab) we've been calling them "prop traps" as the issue is getting their lines fouled in our running gear.

A better idea of what
we did today.
We arrived early as a result, The marina was able to let us get on a ball anyway. We immediately took the launch into town for 2nd breakfast and some walking.

Plymouth Town Hall

Lovely down town area. Lot of businesses and eateries.

Yep. It's a rock.
Plymouth Rock is a real thing. It's just a large rock that made it easy to find the harbor, a landmark, but not so big that it was some kind of sailing obstacle. It's been moved a couple of times but is now back in it's original location, safely surrounded by granite columns.

The walk was lovely. The houses there are very "hometown USA" like. The very first "hometown USA" to be specific.

The cemetery is the burial site of the original pilgrims. Efforts have been made to preserve the original headstones by setting them in thicker granite stones. 

"Here lies Interrd
the Body of Mrs
SARAH SPOONER
who dece
afed January
ye 25th A. D. 1767
in ye 72nd Year of
her Age She was widow
to THOMAS SPOONer.
"

"Here lies buried ye body of
Mr. Thomas Clark
Aged 98
Departed this life March 24, 1697


The Howland family, pilgrims on the Mayflower.

Speaking of the Mayflower...

The Mayflower II, to be specific.
But built with the same specs.

You can tour the boat, and we did. It did NOT smell of dead whale, which was a plus. The replica was build in England then sailed here to Mystic where it got it's last embellishments, then is came to Plymouth. It doesn't sail often since it's crazy costly, and crazy dangerous. The docent told us the last time it even left port was 2020. For those of you who boat, it has a Garmin chart plotter. Just sayin'.

inQuest is in the distance...
Given the time period there is no record of what the Mayflower really looked like. They made the replica from knowledge that it was a Dutch ship (they based it on old blueprints of similar vessels) and a sparse description from the pilgrims.

Friday, June 24, 2022

New Bedford to Onset, ball

We left New Bedford early today. Again the winds were calm first thing and predicted to get blustering by noon. Just after our coffee we were underway.

The trip to Onset was wonderful. We messed up our GoPro recording today, recording the trip in real time, but as you can see it could not have been better.



Boat life is largely about being open to change. Weather tends to trump most everything else you may want to do. Tide is second to that.

inQuest on Onset
Our next big thing to do is to traverse the 8 mile canal from the Atlantic (Buzzard's Bay) to the Cape Cod Bay. A handy shortcut, since it keeps one from having to boat all the way around the arm of Massachusetts. We've heard many warnings about when to go, how the tides run, don't go when the wind and tide are against each other, and so on. We're just not sure if all these cautions are warranted or not (mostly open water boaters so the canal is a scary thing) but we're taking them to heart. Onset Beach is a protected little bay just before the canal. Tomorrow should be a wonderful, calm, sunny, and warm day. So if we get through early before the droves of boaters we're expecting on a Saturday, things should go well.

Meanwhile, we hung out, took naps, and met our friends from New Orleans, Bob and Lorna, for an early dinner. The only thing that goes better with good weather is good company.

With luck we'll be in Plymouth tomorrow. Yes. That Plymouth.


Thursday, June 23, 2022

Newport to New Bedford, ball

In watching weather patterns of late we've noticed that early, early mornings are the best time to travel. That's when the winds are calmest. We've recently touched based with friends who summer in Cape Cod, Bob Batterman and Lorna Blake, who we're trying to see this weekend. We took a 4 hour run to New Bedford to make some progress that way.

Trust me... this is tough. Gorgeous, but tough.
While calm the winds were coming from the south. Once out of the Narragansett Bay we had 2 foot swells on the bow. Some were 4 foot, but none were terrible since they were spaced reasonably well. Once we made the turn to head east, however, the water fell to 2nd place of our concerns. At that time of day we were headed directly into the sun. Between it and the glare off the water even with strong sunglasses the travel was tough. Most of our energy was spent trying to see. Debris, crab pots, lobster traps, all these become more of a concern when your vision is limited.

That's one serious hurricane wall.
New Bedford is on the other side.
Thankfully, we didn't have any issues, just headaches from glare. While dealing with that the water calmed as we got behind the islands that bound Buzzards Bay. We experienced some chop once the tide changed direction. Otherwise, the trip went fine.

Lunch at Moby Dick Brewery
Since we got in early Russ did an oil change on the engines. After, he had oil samples he needed to mail to a company that detects any metals that indicate wear or problems. So we called the launch (the shuttle boat) who took us to New Bedford. It was a quick walk to the post office, then onto the Moby Dick Brewery. Scott, the proprietor, stopped by to chat. He recommended a checking out some of the architecture in Fairhaven, the small town on the other side of the bay. We both had our walking shoes on so we did just that. And it was really worth the effort.

Henry Rogers, local millionaire, built a number of public
building for his hometown. And they do have flair.

The high school

The library

The spire on the church. Notice
the gargoyle on the right.

Flying buttresses on the church.

New Bedford impressed us quite a bit. After the bustle of Newport with its many-mansion walks this tiny town was more a town and less a tourist destination. It has lots of eateries and shops, but clearly it's a livable place with townsfolks. We like that more than ogling over the "lifestyles of the rich and famous."




Wednesday, June 22, 2022

What's to do in Newport

Lots of walking. Lots of of "ooo"-ing at all the magnificent places along the shore.

Fantablulous trees...

...on fantabulous grounds of fantabulous homes.

Most of these were summer cottages of the New York wealthy.

Huge homes perched on the cliffside.

A number of them have been donated to
Salve Regina University, 

Each more grand than the one before.

This is the cliff walk that skirts along the homes.

Beware falling off the cliffs!
Apparently, there is crazy gravity.

We crossed over Easton Beach. This is looking
back at the cliffs.

Once we got on the other side we sought out a brewery called Rejects Beer Company. And they were awesome.
4 8 oz pours. 2 stouts and 2 IPAs.
We took home 4 32 oz cans of the stuff.

We're thinking that we want to get to Boston for the 4th of July. If we traveled directly from Newport we'd bet there in about 11 hours (gotta love Navionics!). Stoked we're so close we dilly-dallied another day. There's a huge fort here I wanted to explore. We donned our walking shoes and, after a dinghy ride, hiked there.

Turned a corner and now we're in England!
If you click you'll see the manor in the background.

As you approach the fort this is the bay view.
LOTS O BOATS!

An historic replica.
You can tell by the dinghy off the back.

Fort Adams

You can walk up to the top of the walls.
Cool view of the big touring sailboats.

Fort Adams is so big forts McHenry, Sumter, and
Ticonderoga would fit into it. With ease.

Fort Adams is huge. We've been to a number of forts now, and none can compare size wise. That said, it's probably the most disappointing. The buildings are there, not really decayed enough to be called ruins, but the shear size of the place keeps the tiny state of Rhode Island from being able to return it to its glory. Many of the forts we've been to have vignettes, for example, recreated rooms that look as they did when in use, or exhibits of uniforms, weapons, or miscellaneous items found during refurbishing or reconstruction. There's none of that here. Except the view.

If you stood in the middle and spun, 
this is what you'd see.