Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Fogland to Pirates Cove (argh!), anchor

After a couple of days of chillin' we took a very long northward voyage to Pirate's Cove. Okay, it was only about 4 miles and lasted 40 minutes or so. Slowly we're making our way up to the end of the bay, then we'll turn the corner and head down the other side.

Warm and humid yesterday. We had a great thunderstorm last night so that knocked a bit of the stickiness out of the air.

While not far there was a small trick to getting into Pirate's Cove. There's a very skinny bridge you have to get through. Once on the other side there are some low spots. To make sure our 2 big boats don't swing into trouble, we did that bow-to-stern rafting maneuver. It's a handy one to have in your repertoire. 

What did we do for the 2 days in Fogland? Fixed one of our commodes, mostly. The one in the master stateroom stopped working. Russ totally dismantled it to discover the pump/macerator was jammed. With cleaner! Note to other boaters: DO NOT USE OXY CLEAN TO HELP YOUR TANKS. Trust us on this.

Quiet sunset in Fogland.



Tuesday, August 30, 2022

How did I forget Salem?

inQuest, moored in Beverly.
Salem is the other bank.
Looking back at the blog I realized I hadn't mentioned how we spent our time in Salem. 

Salem was a nifty town, and one I'd happily go back to. Yes, there's lots of "witch" stuff. In fact you'll see witches as part of all sort of business logos, from exercise classes, to motorcycle shop, to pet stores. We did a bit of that, seeing the memorial for the victims and walked around the old part of town.

But we went to the Peabody Essex Museum. Largely because it was raining and that was an indoor thing to do.

One of the exhibits (which can be seen from the outside) was the Chinese House. Only so many people can go in at a time since it's pretty small, but it was impressive. Called the Yin Yu Tang, this 200 year old house was brought over from China, piece by piece. 

Open, airy interior of Yin Yu Tang.

The home is 2 stories, with lots of bedrooms, 
storage, and kitchen. Several families would live here.
All sons and their wives. Koi ponds are in the center.

There was a lot of carved wood
detail everywhere you looked.

Outside the museum some of the trees were painted blue.
This was another exhibit, a commentary on how deforestation
is impacting global warming. 

Monday, August 29, 2022

Onset to Fogland, anchor

Not too far behind us yesterday was Highwind. After we fueled up so did they. We then rafted together one of our favorites ways, bow to stern. We dropped anchor and set, then they dropped anchor behind us and back up. Once next to us we tied off together, their bow on our stern, ours on theirs. That way one of us was the anchor when the tide was coming in, the other the anchor when the tide was going out. It's especially handy in tight or crowded anchorages since there's no spinning.

Sunset across Highwind's bow.
That morning they left from Boston as well, after flying in from Cleveland on a 6 am flight. Like us they were beat. We ate some homemade peanut butter cookies, played an quick game of Hanabi, then we all crashed.

Both of us were underway around 7 am. The plan was to get to New Bedford. They had to make it a quick day to get to work. But the water was amazing -- so much better than anything yesterday. Russ and I decided to press on and get to Sakonnet River. 

If you click on this pic you'll notice a 
couple of things. First, the water is flat!
But you can see the current trail coming
off the red marker. That cost us 2 - 3 knots!
When we came up this way a couple of months ago we moved pretty quick to get to Maine, passing up some exploring opportunities. Narragansett Bay was one of those opportunities. We came and got on a ball in Newport, but didn't do much else. Given weather is gonna be pretty crappy the next couple of days, hiding out in the bay will be awesome.

Heck, we might try to make a run up to Providence.

The splashing got my attention.


Boston to Onset, anchor

We left early in the morning from the Charles Gate Yacht Club. Due to the bridges and lock, even on a weekend, it still takes about 30 minutes just to get 1 mile. All that behind us we headed out into the Atlantic.

The sky was blue, the sun was warm, but the waters were a bit confused. Right off we had swells from a number of directions that made it tough to find a smooth ride. That continued for about an hour or so, hitting us on the nose, then beam, then back to the nose. Very bizarre.

Then we saw a whale! Again! And again, we didn't get a pic of the thing, which was tragic because this time I could have gotten a nice one. First, the water was churned (which you feel a LOT more when you're standing still) and second, we see it, stop, but coast past it before we can do anything. Thus, no photos. Probably our last chance, too.

Boston out the back window.
As we traveled south the waters calmed. Most of the day, as a result, was dandy. Until around 2 pm when the winds kicked up. Right around that time we turned west to go into the channel.

Which was all kinds of crazy! We'd been told to avoid it on the weekends if we can. The length of the thing is a no wake zone with a 10 mph speed limit. But folks could NOT care less. There were big, fast boats tearing through there like they were in a raceway. Not only does that wake you as you pass them (or they pass you) but the wakes keep bouncing off the channel walls and back to you. With many boats doing the same thing, this turned into one of the roughest channel rides we experienced in a long time. Maybe the worst ever.

Image this. I did NOT take this pic.
I do not know who did.
At least they had the wherewithal
to use a camera. I did not.
No long after leaving that rodeo we turned up a small channel to Onset. We stopped here on the way out about 2 months ago. Today, however, we were lured by the price of their diesel.

...and so were a hundred boaters. Good news travels fast.

So we jostle our way up to the fuel dock, fuel up, pump out, then have to duck and dodge our way back out to make room for the next wave of boats.

The day was long. We're not in a hurry but know windy days are coming this week. We'd like to spend them someplace protected. And, thankfully, traveling tomorrow is on a Monday.

This is throughout the canal and into Onset,
where we pumped out and fueled up.
The video is crazy with wakes from boats.
And TONS of boats! We were exhausted by the end of the day.


Saturday, August 27, 2022

Busy in Boston

Boston, right across from us.
Our plan was to stay for 3 nights. Due to package delays, however, it turned into 5.

But... Boston!

We happened to be here for the "Feast of all Feasts", Boston's St. Anthony's Feast, in the north end. This is "little Italy." It's so large that almost all of this part of town is shut off to traffic so the streets can be filled with vendor booths. You'll find everything here from Italian eats, to games, to clothing and gifts. Live music comes from a main stage in the heart of things. It was a sight to behold... with lots of good nibbles.

North End stuffed full of vendors and people

Donations to the saint...

Cannoli shells, waiting to be filled for you!



Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Salem to Boston, marina

(subtitled: How a 2 hour day turned into a 5.5 hour day...)

Not a banner ride. Weather was overcast but the water was reasonable. However, within an hour after leaving Salem we broke the belts on the port engine (which we discovered once the "Engine Hot" alarms went off). 

The blue indicates our
5 knots while Russ
fixed the belt.
We've done this before, traveled on 1 engine while Russ changed the belts. Back then we were in a bay, Today we were in the Atlantic and, while not awful, we had 2 - 3 foot swells. This wouldn't have been noticeable if we traveled at speed, but with only one engine we slowed way down to 5 knots. So we were tossed a bit as I tried to find some orientation that would still move us toward Boston while not taking everything on the beam.

That was a 45 minute delay. Which (unbeknownst to us at the time) would cost us 2 hours.

Boston, on a cloudy day
Turns out the Orange line, a commuter train in Boston, is down for a month. To make up for this they are running a lot of shuttles. And to ensure those run on time as much as possible the Craigie Bridge only opens for 10 minutes every 2 hours. Yes, we need to go under that. It's only 11 feet.

We got to the lock around 10:10 and were locked through pretty quickly. The next hurdle was the Tower A railroad bridge. Of course, while the bridge master tried to get us through quickly, the trains were an issue. We didn't get through until 10:37. We got to Craigie bridge right at 10:40. And they would not open. Even though they hadn't opened at 10:30 at all. Seemed unfair.

So. Unwilling to drop an anchor here (who knows what old cables, pipes, or debris is below us) we stood station. For 2 hours.

Not a great day on the water. 

On the plus side, while waiting for the bridge we were
entertained by "the Duck Parade."


Monday, August 22, 2022

Insights on Maine

Lovely vistas, everywhere
Now that Maine is behind us I want to review some of what we learned. Note: Largely this is for me so when we go back can plan appropriately).

Boating Etiquette

Throughout the loop you're told you are responsible for your own wake. You'll hear other boats remind (yell) that over radios. And for the most part, people behave themselves by slowing down as they pass one another or asking for a slow pass on the radio. Not here. There is no hailing, there is no courtesy. Radios aren't used much at all, in fact, unless there's an emergency. If you're on a ball or anchored, boats will come zipping by without regard. If you try to express your anger, you will get laughed at. So, batten down your hatchets 24/7, day or night, because you certainly will end up with food from your fridge or dishes from the cupboards on the floor.

Traps as far as you can see... an beyond.
Prop Traps

Much like crap pots, lobster traps abound. Once you leave Portland and head more north, the density becomes insane. Be aware that some of them have 2 floats per trap, so while you're weaving between traps, DO NOT weave between those.

Glary!
Moving East

Heading up north is also heading east. If you're like us you want to travel as early as possible to get the best weather you can. The problem is the sun in your eyes, and the glare off the water. This can make navigating those fields of traps a huge effort. We had a variety of sun glasses to help deal, some with darker lenses for those "in the sun" days.

Low tides can be low!
Tides

Tides are quite a thing up here, mostly between 8 and 10 feet. This can make anchoring or using your dinghy on a beach a problem. We have an app that tells us what the tides are and when they are. As a result, if we're anchoring, we make sure to add enough rode for the high tide. As for using a dinghy, we got ourselves a bungee anchor line. This will help keep the tender in water as the tide changes.

We didn't have much, but
fog can be troublesome.
Fog

While we had little incidents fog can be a big thing up in Maine. Bar Harbor is also called "Fog City" for a reason (altho I tend to think of San Francisco as that, but that's the west coast thing). We recommend Doppler Radar to help with foggy journeys. We also use a fog horn, AIS, and yellow-lensed sun glasses. Those always help.

AIS is used way more up here than anywhere down south. We love that.

Dinghy docks can be stuffed!
Dinghy Docks

Mooring fields are a big thing up here. Marinas are extremely expensive and probably tough to maintain given the weather. Not only transients, but many locals keep their boats on a ball, some all year 'round. As a result the dinghy docks are just stuffed! Be ready to move some of the boats around when you are trying to land your tender. Also, make sure you give a long line on your dinghy so others can do the same.

But SO Worth It

By far, some of the best vistas we had were in Maine. On the loop, the only area we can think of that's comparable is the North Channel in Canada. Originally we were a bit nervous about the rock up here, but the charts are accurate. Follow them, and you'll have a ball.





We sure did.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Gloucester to Salem, ball

Officially we're in Beverly, right across the bay from Salem.

Among the "high points" of Gloucester was our dinner last night at Tonno Gloucester. This was an Italian place that also served seafood, and one of the best meals we had since our crazy night at Aragosta. We ordered muscles, raw oysters (which were $12/dozen for happy hour(!)), the risotto, and eggplant parm with a side of house made spaghetti. All of it was outstanding. 

On the "low points" was the waking we felt right up until 10 pm, then started again around 4 am. Needless to say, we decided not to stay.

Among the things to explore in Gloucester are the 
Hammond Castle...

...and the Morning Glory.

I've been wanting to go to Salem. It was only an hour away so we'd get there before any harbor office opened. Rather than wait and be rocked, Russ found us an anchorage off Misery Island. We shot for that to hang out for a while.

The trip was just lovely; I love a calm Atlantic. We didn't have to drop a hook since were mooring balls were available. We grabbed one that looked big enough, deciding we'd move if the owner showed up and wanted it back. Russ made us a second breakfast of soft boiled eggs. Those are yummy.

The moors of Misery Island.
Getting more full as the morning went on.
As the morning progressed more and more boats filled the tiny bay. It was beginning to feel like "party city", and who could blame them given it was Sunday, sunny, and balmy. Lots of folks ready for a day of paddle boards, kayaking, and swimming.

Right around 10:30 we noticed a Harbor Master boat spin by. We hailed them and asked if there were moors in town available. They said they thought so -- it was first come first serve. We left the island and headed to the Beverly Harbor, where we grabbed a ball there.

Around 2 pm we went into town to check out a nearby brewery. We stopped first into to the harbor master to settle up. Turns out... free

We'll be here 2 nights.

While in Beverly just is a sample of what we see
come by. This is a serious "no wake" zone, thankfully.
But the sheer volume of boats is impressive!



Saturday, August 20, 2022

York to Gloucester, ball

Out of Maine! We are officially headed back south.

First, let me tell you about last night. The currents in York were astounding, very comparable to Bath. Being on the ball there wasn't comforting. Russ ran a couple of lines through the ball itself, not trusting the pendant, but it didn't make me sleep any better. When the tide came in, which was in full flood about 4 am, inQuest twisted and danced so hard the lines screamed and we yanked on the ball. That jarred us awake a couple of times. As a result, we were up by 5, ready to go.

Tide coming in is scary strong.

Getting out was easy since by then the tide had slacked. We plotted a course to Gloucester (pronounced "glou-ster", not sure why it has so many letters but, English. Go figure.). Our Navionics gave us a course through the Isles of Shoals, which we thought was absurd. But we'd just gone through a bunch of islands in Maine so, hey. That's exactly what we did.

About 30 minutes later I was playing with my phone and couldn't make it turn a picture. I handed it to Russ, who was driving at the time. I kept watch while he fiddled with it. We were passing a prop trap when I realized it wasn't a float but a flipper. I peered further to see a large, round body. Sea turtle? Then I realized... it was a whale. 

I pointed, I shouted, Russ stopped the vessel and we tried to really see what was going on. I even tried to take pics, but nothing came out. We never saw a spout, but the creature seemed upright, with it's head occasionally bobbing out of the water. The only thing I can say with certainty is it was much smaller than the humpbacks we saw in Bar Harbor. Russ called it in (since we're told repeatedly to report whales when you see them). They asked us a bunch of questions we just couldn't answer, like is it in distress. I mean, it wasn't frantic or thrashing, it made no sound, but it let us pass without 40 feet of it and didn't move. We felt like we should have done more, or known more, but we moved on. From that point on I was paranoid -- every piece of flotsam or bubbles or vegetation I was wondering, "What is that?"

Bella Gatto stopped by just minutes after
we got moored. They went through the canal!
I'm kinda jealous -- I wanted to try it too.
We got into Gloucester before noon. There are a number of mooring fields here so finding the one we were assigned was a challenge. Russ read reviews that this was a very bumpy place. I'm here to tell ya, it is. We're 500 feet from the "no wake" buoy into the marina, and no boater seems to bother to slow before that. In fact, the worst we took was from a fast, grey vessel with massive engines kickin' off a 6 foot wake that knocked over chairs and shifted furniture. It was, of course, the Coast Guard.

They ought to be ashamed of themselves...

Lovely lighthouses.




Friday, August 19, 2022

Portland to York, ball

After a couple of days in Portland we're underway again. I do like Portland. Cute little town, reasonable mass transit, nice selection of restaurants, and good shopping. We took a very long walk (since we weren't sure about rain and rather walk than bike in the rain) over the bridge to the downtown area. We went to a bagel place, a sporting goods store (I needed a new bike helmet), and Trader Joe's. And we didn't get caught in the rain once!

Lovely lighthouses along the coast.
Careful scrutiny of the weather encouraged us to head out today. Rather than go back to Portsmouth we went to York. The Atlantic was quite nice, less than 2 feet with an 8 second period. About half way through the trip the winds came up quite a bit above the forecast, with steady blows around 18 to 23 knots. The direction, however, was spot on coming from the west. That made them come from the "land side" which was perfect for our trip. We did tack a bit to take what chop we got on the quarter beam.

This is one of the packages we were waiting
for in Portland. New wheels for our balcony
windows (right). Old ones on the left.
We're still in Maine, but this will probably be the last day.

No more lobster for me!



Wednesday, August 17, 2022

The Nubbin to Portland, marina

Lazy morning then anchor up to get to Portland. Once docked we took a walk to get some lunch and do a little shopping. 

I saw some seals in The Nubbin. But every time I get out the camera, they disappear. Gotta say, they are a bit disappointing. I mean, wild life is unpredictable. But after having dolphins in our wake almost every time we see them makes me think seals just don't know how to have fun. 

Dreary couple of days ahead, so we're here for a while. We might try getting around via the mass transit here. We'd bike but, well, rain.

Eating knishes at the knishery in Portland.

We passed a huge mooring field. 
In it was Highwind... and a thousand sailboats!

Monday, August 15, 2022

Freeport to The Nubbins, anchor

By now you're aware we're within striking distance of Portland. Yes, we're dragging our feet. More on that in a moment.

We headed out from Freeport right at slack tide, making it very easy to get off the dock. It was only an hour's journey to an anchorage, which was reviewed as quiet and secluded. So far that is true. Been hanging out all day... literally.

Why the pace? Firstly, these 2 days will be lovely so it seems a shame to be in a marina when we can be peacefully on the hook. We got food, we got water, we got power, and the internet. Seriously, what more do you need? Secondly, the marina we're going to will get packages for us tomorrow, so no real hurry to get there. But lastly, that marina kinda screwed a buddy boat out of a day. So we shortened our visit out of solidarity.

Quiet sunset on The Nubbins
(that name makes me laugh)
We will reprovision when we get there. The cabinets and freezers are getting bare. Gonna take advantage of my Insta-cart!

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Quahog to Freeport, marina (!)

Wow! On an actual dock and everything.

We said goodbye to Brian and Stewie (a little Quahog joke) and headed just around the corner to the next bay over. We originally intended to get to Portland today, but the lure of L.L. Bean was just too great. Back on Mount Desert Island all the free shuttles were sponsored by L.L. Bean, so I'm happy to sponsor them right back.

Sunset in Quahog
The trip over went uneventfully. We're really enjoying dipping in between the little islands and rock outcroppings. Once we get to Portland that ends, for the most part. It's back out into the Atlantic! No where to hide, so we'll pick and choose our travel accordingly.

I heard some noise
coming from the roof.
Looking up from the bench
at the radar mount.
That's an osprey.
Russ called the marina to get a ball but they were all taken. Dock space, however, was available, thus our location. Given we were taking a bike ride I prefer that -- easier to get the bikes to land than loading them on a dinghy. We pumped out, then slid down the dock and out of the way. We did a quick load of sheets, took some naps, then headed downtown to the "Open 24 Hours A Day" L.L. Bean store, about 3 miles away.

Freeport -- aka "L.L. Beanville" -- is the home of the store. They have a complex of stores located in the town that include clothing, accessories, and equipment (bikes, backpacks, fishing). Amid the small downtown you'll also find Orvis, The North Face, Eastern Mountain Sports, Patagonia, and if that doesn't get you what you want, there's an outlet mall too. A little shopping Mecca in Maine.

inQuest on a dock!