Adventures of Adirondack

Adventures of Adirondack

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bikes in Boston

We had a great time in Boston. We pulled into Constitution Marina, just across from the North End, and stayed two nights. It was a short walk to the Freedom Trail, Paul Revere's house, Old North Church, lots of Italian restaurants and food stores. Peg and I wandered and Jeff had a great bike ride along the Charles River.

We met our friends, Linda and Rad, for dinner and delivery of a new davit for the dinghy and lovely universal pump-out fitting which had been sent to their house. As we waited outside Mike's Pastries for Rad to get a canoli for dessert, we watched a Harvard Crimson writer take over a balloon artist's spot and make a wonderful bicycle (much more impressive than the simple balloon flowers he had been making).

As we walked Rad and Linda to the T stop to go home, she stopped to throw the bicycle away and Peg protested and ended up with the creation (her roommates said she makes them all the time and they didn't want it!)

The next day, we visited the Constitution ("Old Ironsides"), Peg climbed to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument, we went to the amazing Farmer's Market, watched a bike race around City Hall, I visited the Public Garden to see the "Make Way for Ducklings" statue. We returned to our now favorite Italian restaurant and Jennifer the waitress for dinner. Then the next morning we were off to head South down Cape Cod Bay and the canal at the end. Today we are off to New Brunswick and the Whaling Museum! Sally

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cape Cod Canal

Tonight we sit in an anchorage just on the west end of the famous Cape Cod Canal, first envisioned in the 1600's as a shortcut around the peninsula and finally finished in 1916. We arrived there from Boston on the east side about 4:00 pm and the current was against us. Half way through it stopped and it was pushing us out the west end. I guess the waves can be over six feet high if the current meets the waves there but I don't want to see that.

Boston was terrific; the Constitution Marina was quiet, close to all the action on the North End and the cheapest place to stay in town. There is so much to do there. Capt. Jeff

Friday, September 21, 2012

Notes from the v-berth

September 15

(entry from Peg Guilfoyle, presently berthed on Adirondack)

A long fine day that started in a soul-less chain motel, and is ending in the berth on Adirondack.   Salient features:  a bus driver named Barbara who recommended the same dive-y restaurant, J's Oysters, as my buddy at the baggage claim yesterday.   Ask for my friend the bartender, Mary, and tell her I sent you!  She called out the local sights to the whole bus as we whirled downtown.  "Lady from Minnesota!"  she said.

Easy intersection with Jeff and Sally at Dimillo's Old Port Marina and much marching up and down the vicinity of the old port.   a dinghy tour of the harbor... ship names Harsh Mistress,  Maine Responder, which on internet exploration appears to be a huge pollution control vessel, and Sero Sed Serio, which research reveals to be a Scottish clan motto saying meaning  Late, but Steadfast.  Jeff runs the dinghy below the piers!  We ask some returning fishermen if they have lobsters to sell!   I nap in the afternoon!  We go to J's Oysters, which is wonderfully dive-y and have lobster stew and we share a bucket of steamed clams, dipping them in clam juice or butter.   Then we walk through the port. The marina has a lot of water movement in it.  

September 17...or whatever day is it, because I'm already losing track.   A long fine Sunday, after a snug long night in the cabin.    Went to the First Parish Unitarian in Portland this morning, founded 1670-something, and was greeted warmly.  Great church space, with heavy incised carvings in the walls detailing early ministers, all of whom sprang from Harvard, and a great set of religious symbols carved on a white wall behind and above a very ship's prow type New England high and fierce pulpit, which the minister ascended, thick gray hair swept back to orate.  box pews,  collection boxes on long arms, two young musicians on piano and cello who did a fine job, detailed and full, with the hymns.   Then up to the Portland Museum of Art, arriving at the same time as a 1000/plate members opening for a new Winslow Homer exhibit... we were not admitted! but saw the permanent collection including  a stunning NC Wyeth Lobster Boat painting peculiarly hung when one first got off the elevator.  We pulled out past the Portland Headlight around 2 or so and out onto the Atlantic.  I've never been on the ocean in such a small boat and it was stunning.  Huge swells like breathing, a million lobster buoys to avoid, and a cool breeze rapidly cold-ing.   Jeff at the helm, Sally with the I-pad charts navigating us down the coast, long vista of water and breakers and cliffs, tide falling on the clock.  We eventually settled for Kennebunkport, and entered the breakwater at absolute low tide looking for a reputed mooring ball, in what felt like half the river exposed as mud and bottom.   I called out soundings, eyes glued to the depth finder, while Jeff steered and Sally called the harbormaster to locate a mooring ball next to a sailboat named Night Magic.   Marina mooring here is $4/foot, so the free mooring was quite a score.   Hardly any water!    Now the stars are high and cold above the river, Sally is knitting, Jeff is emailing and we had live lobster dinner... okay, never done that before.  After instruction, I chose not to eat the green stuff or the tomalley.  What an amazing day.   After a bit of napping down below... it was cold up on the flybridge, I came back up, wrapped up, to help watch for buoys.... there was one narrow shape bobbing up and down wildly and very buoyantly.  We passed with it close on the starboard side and, not having seen that particular shape before, I glanced down at it and to my utter astonishment, it was the fin of a gigantic dead shark!  It looked like a great white, just like the darned movie, as if it were spiralling up out of the deep, so the snout and jaws and torso were about to break water, turned so its side fin bobbed rhythmically into the air.  The torso must have been 10 feet in circumference.  I have never imagined such a sight, gone in an instant and in the wake, leaving me gaping. 

This was just after we passed the presidential buoys, where, apparently, they set a security perimeter when the Bush's are in residence. 
So tonight we're tucked up in the Kennebunk River, tide rising, stars hanging high and cold.   Next low is at 6 a.m., so by the time we're up and ready to dinghy across to the little town, there will be enough water to go and explore the village a little.  One of the wealthiest communities in Maine and no doubt adorable.

But that shark!!

Monday night, Portsmouth NH

Another amazingly day, full of grace. Waking up in Kennebunkport to a completely transformed river scene, the water high and full and running, no more mudbanks.   The marinas asking a per foot hourly to tie up to explore the town, so dinghy-ed across instead and walked into an appealing little village, full of shops;  we seem to be gravitating toward specialty food's acquisition dark chocolate sea salt caramel sauce to be drizzled over apples.  We pulled out at 11, once again motoring down a transformed access and out into the ocean, headed south and reviewing options for a possible two day weather layover   Seas are supposed to run 8 to 12, and they're using the dreaded word gale.   Portsmouth looked like the most appealing spot for holing up but the currents and tides in the river here are extreme, so we had to plan to arrive at slack tide in order to get safely in.  A beautiful ride over... but cold on the water, and I was really cold this morning.    Walked through Portsmouth this afternoon after being met by Steve the marina guy, who presented us with an access key under elaborate subterfuge circumstances.    It's a new moon with extreme tides and a storm coming;  he made no bones that he was hoping for salvage and a few necessary tows in the next few days.   There's a Navy shipyard here that works on nuclear submarines, and a very lively street life.  Monday night, dozens of restaurants and shops open, hundreds of people out and about.   

a fine long harbor day waiting for the gale to hit, changeable weather and a good day to be ready to change clothes.   i charged off for a walk first thing, wanting to walk out to the beach and hoping to see wild sea in advance of the gale.  It was a long hike and so diverting that the relative still-calm of the ocean did not disappoint.   Through Portsmouth and to an extended road, over a few bridges with beautiful vistas of the town and the water on both sides...  and a forlorn little skiff on a mooring ball lettered Chicken of the Sea on the stern.   If you were afraid, fear would run rampant since the water is such a dominant feature of the universe here.  On to New Castle Island, full of winding streets and dead end lanes and beautifully kept houses tucked patchily together with gardens bright with flowers, doors and house walls closely bordering the roads, and occasionally the bones of the island revealed, huge granite sloping up and disappearing.   I don't know when I've enjoyed a walk more.   Eventually past the Congregational Church and a little post office with an elderly caned man emerging, and finally to a beach opening up to the bay.  Tide low revealing that ecological system so mysterious to me.  Sitting, looking at the horizon, the small strand with a dog-and-man, some seabirds on rocks.  Jeff and Sally brought the dinghy over to pick me up at the Portsmouth Yacht Club, and then we had a fine ride through the river and harbor, admiring it all, while the weather turned south and the breeze chilled.  We borrowed dock space to stop for a snack and wait for the tide to slacken so the run back would be easier and by then it was starting to look like weather.   It's hours later now, though, post-hot-chocolate and used bookstore and chasing fairy houses and calling home from the back deck in the night with the river running hard back out to the sea.   
Tonight the seas are supposed to be 8 to 12 feet and it won't likely settle for a couple of days.  I'd like to see it from the beach, remembering how all my life I have loved a storm. 


Storm passed with no fuss here at this safe dock, and really little sense of it.  Another day of being in love with Portsmouth...who knew?   There's a nice little theater, too, that shows good touring stuff and arthouse movies.  Things I've considered from here... a wonderful felted birdhouse.  some great-looking but expensive clothes.   fancy salts.   a compass rose medallion.  a towel that looks like a kilt for my Scot husband.  Things I've bought.... none. 

I had sea legs in town today.   Nearly a two hour walking tour of the port and then a visit to the Strawbery Banke museum. 

4 a.m. Thursday into Friday

in Gloucester Bay.  The wind has come up and that heavy line from the mooring ball is rubbing back and forth along the bowline, just above my feet.  I am used to the night and day sounds of Blue Boat Home, but not Adirondack, so knocked at the stern cabin door and then went out to take a look, with the ready-at-all-times starboard flashlight.   The stars!   Orion is hanging low off the port bow, and the Dog Star at his heels.   They all seem lightly fuzzy here, a trick of the air above the water? 

We had a lovely run today over a rough-ish ocean, (Jeff and Sally say it's the roughest day they've had), as the water settles down from a gale-ish storm now two days past.  We were fortunate in heading, with wise Sally adjusting from her I-pad charts, to be able to stay in relative harmony with the disorderly waves, but still some tossing and pitching (or is that 'yawing'?) Bright sun and at the end heading into the sun's path, and a cool breeze.  Fewer lobster pots farther out, but still hazardous.  When visiting with their friend tonight here in Gloucester, I added the word 'cutters' to my maritime vocabulary, with Peter reporting having hauled his boat out for work and finding a watermelon sized ball of line, presumably somewhere near the props.  'Cutters', installed on the shaft, will sever any line encountered ("cutters and throttle up!') The approach into Gloucester Bay was lovely, the welcome shelter as we neared the entrance to the river, and a long twisting channel with boats on mooring balls everywhere, beautiful homes with grass running down to the water, (Massachusetts is civilized!, Sally says) and something I've never seen before, small, neat summer homes simply set on floats off the channel.  A narrow railroad bridge after a hard right hand turn, lifting quickly after we called... I always like to think of the bridgetenders working on manuscripts for their novels in the hours between lifts... and a wonderful and very low little town bridge in which we were perched well above the roadway even when all their lifting was done.   Joggers, people walking dogs, town traffic, pausing in their day as we swept through into the open expanse of Gloucester Bay and toward the house of a friend.   What could possibly be better?  

The lights of Boston, some 25 miles away, glitter like the Emerald City through the opening in the breakwater off the bay.   We're headed there tomorrow and then on toward Cape Cod.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Boston Bound

And tonight we are in Glouchester, MA, on a mooring right in front of Peter and Laurie's house. Who are they? We met them in Quebec a loong time ago, cruised much of the DownEast Loop with them until they pulled ahead of us and now we are together again, at least with Peter. We are planning more adventures in some of the the same areas later this year. We had dinner with Peter and his daughter after he shlepped us around to fill up our brand new propane tank that he had picked up for us. Life is good.

We just left Portsmouth, NH this morning after holing up there for three days while a storm roared through  for a few hours one night. What a town this is!! It is now my personal favorite, barely edging out Halifax. Great stores, atmosphere, a West Marine and a rich history in a very walkable package. Life is good.

We had another little boat adventure yesterday. Our outboard got sick again and the outboard doctor suggested a good fuel filter to prevent future infection. As I was looking at the dinghy for a mounting location I noticed one of the dinghy davit brackets was badly cracked. This is a big deal, as it carries the entire weight of the dinghy and its motor and if it broke while we were underway out in the big water like we were in today it would not be good. I went to the trusty West Marine store and got some of those ratchet binder things and supported it until a new one arrives tomorrow from California. A close call, to be sure. Life is good.

It's going to be just like Christmas when we get to Boston tomorrow! We are getting a new pumpout adapter so we can empty our holding tank just like everyone else, some new navigation chips and the bracket. And we get to see our friends, the Deckers. Life is good. Capt. Jeff

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Blueberries for Sal

We had a great time at Camp Sabael on Indian Lake in the Adirondacks. We got to spend two weeks with David and Adam and my Dad, sit on the world's best porch, swim in delicious water, hike in the mountains, stain the porch and rebuild the kitchen deck and see lots of family and friends that are part of Camp.

We returned to Belfast Maine (with a stop at LL Bean in Freeport and purchase of many things blueberry)  and picked up our next crew, Anne (my Middlebury College roommate) and Mike from Kansas. Mike grew up in Maine and has had some good ideas of places we should go.
We went over to Castine to visit the Maine Maritime Academy and toured their training ship,  State of Maine, and found lobsters for dinner.

The next day we scampered (as fast as one can at 8 knots) to Rockland to duck in to a harbor with good protection from the predicted strong south winds from the hurricane Leslie moving up toward Nova Scotia. Rockland was a great place to spend a few nights. We toured the Farnsworth Art Museum with lots of Wyeth's and the Owl's Head Transportation Museum with lots of planes and old cars - that they take out and fly and drive periodically. The nearby watering hole, The Time Out Pub, had great fried clams, rivaling the ones in Escumiac NB, and a television for Jeff to get a little US Open Tennis time.

The waves didn't quite live up to the predictions of 10-12 feet and settled down after two days so we were able to cross over and check out North Haven then tuck into a beautiful anchorage, Perry Creek, just south in the island of Vinalhaven. We could explore up the creek in the dinghy - seeing Great Blue Heron and a floating house.

The wind was coming from the Northwest yesterday, so we headed out along the east coast of Vinalhaven, visiting the town at the southern end of the island. After a walk around town, we moved over to Hurricane Island and picked up a mooring ball at the site of a former Outward Bound School and now a research, education and leadership program. The hike around the island was great - woods and rocks, a buck scared off as we came by, interested remnants of the granite quarry that had provided stone for many famous buildings and the base of the Washington Monument.

Today we are off to work our way West - heading to Portland by the weekend. Maine is wonderful and we want to come back! Sally

Monday, September 10, 2012

Back in the saddle

After two wonderful weeks in the Adirondacks, we finally had to put David and Adam on their respective planes back to college and we had to get back to our real life, cruising. "Adirondack" had a wonderful time on a mooring in Belfast, where he was carefully watched over by Wes, who said he didn't like mountains and wanted to stay on the boat.. The boaters who read this can imagine my pleasure when I got back onboard, went directly to the voltmeter and found it reading about 12.3 volts! Boat things don't always work like that. As an example, after I equalized the batteries yesterday I noted some variances between the six house batteries. This is never a good thing and may indicate that after seven years of faithful service, they may need replacement. Thank goodness we can push the boat to start it.

The weather has been holding out for us, even in the Adirondacks, where we had only one evening of rain the whole time. However, we got back to find that hurricane Leslie had passed by out in the Atlantic and was kicking up eight foot swells which caused us to run like rabbits for the nearest secure harbor in Rockland from our nice anchorage near Castine. It turned out to be less severe than we feared, but we never mind that outcome.

Tonight we are in a beautiful anchorage called Perry Creek, located just south of North Haven. We've invited yet another family of lobsters for dinner. We really have the cooking of these guys down to an art form (it really isn't much of an art) and can't wait for dinner. Wes hasn't shown much of an interest in eating lobsters, one of the few things we really like about him lately.  Capt. Jeff