Wednesday, 29 August 2012

No 29 Boston, Massachusetts

Hi from Clare,                                          Tuesday 28th Augut 2012-08-29
Throughout the week we made our way to Boston stopping off at a number of anchorages along the way. I will mention two as they were the most interesting.

Squirrel Island

The first one is Squirrel Island, interesting because it is privately owned and self managed by the residents. Our American friend Bert (Exuberance) said it is old money and the fifty or so properties never appear on the market; they are handed down through the generations. There are no cars and we circumnavigated the island by way of wooden boardwalks or made footpaths. We enjoyed the peace and tranquillity, the aroma of the pine forests and the chirping of many pretty birds. The few locals we meet were very welcoming and friendly and hoped that we would enjoy their island.

Jewel Island
Our second favourite anchorage was at Jewel Island. The bay was flat calm and surrounded by pine clad hills. We (Andrew and I, Bert and Prue) explored the walking tracks on this island for about two and half hours and climbed the WWII look out towers giving us a great view of the surrounding area; see photo.

After many emails to sail makers in the past weeks, we stopped at Salem (20 miles from Boston) and ordered a new Main Sail and a new Genoa from Doyle Sails. After eight years and good service our old sails are showing signs of imminent failure. So far (we haven't got the sails yet) it has been a pleasure doing business with Doyle's.

So we motored to Boston Massachusetts and arrived in thick fog. We couldn't see the shoreline when motoring up the channel. The passenger ferry to Provincetown had run aground with 150 passengers on board. No one was injured but there was a full scale evacuation being conducted. We followed the chatter on the VHF radio and when the fog cleared momentarily we could see numerous rescue vessels with flashing light heading out of the harbour. We heard later that it was operator error as the ferry was off course.

So we took a mooring ball for two nights. We were within a stone's throw of the Old City. The best way to experience the history of Boston is by following The Freedom Trail; a red line running through the city. This takes in 16 historical sites making up the backbone of the American Revolutionary Story.

Faneuil Hall & The State House

That afternoon we saw Faneuil Hall (1741) which served as an open forum meeting hall and market place for over 250 years. The gold domed State House (1713) where still today the Massachusetts senators, state representatives and the governor conduct daily business.

Granary Burying Ground & the Old State House
The Granary Burying Grounds (1660) where some of America's most notable citizens and revolutionaries rest. The Old State House (1713) which was the seat of British rule. Then finally the Old South Meeting House (1729) which is where the signal was given to throw 342 crates of tea into Boston Harbour. After that we retreated to a waterfront bar for a well earned refreshing drink and some people watching.

Old South Meeting House & Charles River to Harvard
Boston is very much a university town, there are lots of students everywhere and they come from all over the globe to gain a higher education. Both Harvard and MIT, amongst others, are located here. So the following morning we took our dinghies for a five mile trip up the Charles River to Harvard University. 

Harvard Residential Colleges & Gymnasium
Harvard Chapel & Library
What a beautiful establishment nestled under magnificent leafy foliage. Bert and Prue said that tuition for a degrees cost around $250,000 and that doesn't include boarding in at one of the many halls. It is the beginning of the University year and so there were many eager students (I hope) there receiving introductions.

In the afternoon we continue on the Freedom Trail taking in the Paul Revere House (1676) which is the oldest frame house in Boston. Then to the Old North Church (1715) with its 217ft steeple making it the first landmark travellers saw when approaching Boston. We continued on through the lively Italian restaurant district where the food smelt delicious, the restaurants were full and people spilled out into the streets to celebrate St Anthony's day with cheering crowds and live bands.

Paul Revere House & Old North Church
Last but not least we then crossed the bridge to the Charlestown naval shipyards to see the USS Constitution which is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. It became known as "Old Ironsides" during the War of 1812 as cannonballs merely bounced off her hull, which was made not of iron but a three-layer sandwich of oak.

USS Constition & her Gun Deck
The following morning we left Boston but not before I poured some tea into the harbour as my little act of rebellion.

View from our mooring ball & the Rebel

We are now in Provincetown and heading for Newport tomorrow to restock supplies before heading out to Martha's Vineyard.

Love Candy xx.

At 12:32 AM28/08/2012 (utc) our position was 42°02.60'N 070°10.86'W

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Monday, 20 August 2012

No 28 Maine Part III

Hi from Clare,                                   Sunday 19th August 2012

Last Monday was a beautiful day and so we hiked to the top of Mount Dorr, Mount Desert Island, Maine. We went with Kurt and Katie (Interlude) and their friends Fred and Monica (Sagitta 11). It wasn't really a hike it was more like being in the gym on the stair master for a couple of hours. Apparently the stairway is the short cut up the steep incline to 1250 ft. Stairs are fine for the likes of long legged Kurt, Katie, Fred and Andrew. However I was at a distinct disadvantage at 5.2" and I would have had a grizzle expect Monica is shorter than me, five years older and scaled the cliff face like a mountain goat - what could I say?

Summit of Mt Dorr at last and the views

The following day Andrew and I took it easy with a bus trip around the coast. We got off at Sandy beach and walked the track to the next bus stop at Thunder Cave. As you can see by
the photos it is a very pretty walk and thankfully it was on the flat.

Sands Beach and the Ocean Track

That evening we had drinks with new friends Neville and Glenys on 'Alba' along with Mark and Julie on 'Rachel'. These guys are English and long time cruisers like us. We had a great night and although we all went our separate ways the following morning, I'm sure we will meet again.

We moved across to the Cranberry Islands to catch up with American friends Bert and Prue (Exurberant). We had a couple of quiet days. Bert and Prue came over to Eye Candy for drinks the first night but on the second day it just poured rain. I did domestics while Andrew finished rubbing down the companion way and applying multiple coats of varnish. He still has a couple of steps to go but already it looks a million times better.

We don't intend travelling any further east along the coast of Maine. We have turned around and are now heading back to New York. All going well we should be back in New York by mid September and then Washington by mid October. So far this year we haven't had a hurricane come up the east coast of America. They have been forming out in the Atlantic and dissipating in the Caribbean; let's hope it stays that way.

Eye Candy in Pulpit Harbour and the Tribe gathers for sunset

We sailed 35 miles to Pulpit Harbour. This is a very popular overnight stop in very peaceful surroundings. The harbor is well known for its beautiful sunsets. We had drinks with new American friends Rus and Lyn on 'Blue Highway' along with Interlude and Exuberance. Six Americans and two Aussie's - we were the quiet ones.

Bert and Prue from Exuberant and the Interlude team of Katie and Kurt

Yesterday we sailed eight miles to Rockland in time to invite Stu and Steph (Matador) over for morning tea. We have been talking on the MagNet each morning but we haven't seen them for nearly two months. They are still heading east so it was only a quick hello. Stu and Andrew headed to the Ship's Chandlers in search of an equivalent to 10mm anchor chain. They didn't have any luck, we might have to wait until we get to the French Caribbean Islands where metric is available. In the meantime our anchor chain is very rusty and we get splattered with muck when pulling it up.
Last night we went out to dinner for Andrew's birthday. Bert and Prue (Exuberant) came with us. The food was delicious and we had a lovely night.

The main event for the coming week will be visiting Boston. Just as sailing past the Statue of Liberty was one of my goals, so too is empting my tea leaves into Boston Harbour - I'm planning my own party!

Love Candy xx

At 8:08 PM18/08/2012 (utc) our position was 44°05.89'N 069°05.80'W

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Tuesday, 14 August 2012

No.27 Maine Part II

Hi from Clare,                             Sunday 12th August, 2012

So here we are in sunny/foggy Maine. When the sun comes out the weather is reminiscent of a perfect spring day in Australia. When the fog rolls in the visibility can get down to 50 metres.
Smiths Cove calm and relaxing

After leaving Islesboro Island and the fun of the GAM, we sailed 13 miles over to Smith's Cove. The cruising community sometimes uses Smith's Cove as a hurricane hole because it is surrounded by trees and the bay is well protected from most weather. When we were there it was so calm we could see in the reflection of the clouds on the water, you can see in the photos the Skipper found it very relaxing.

The following morning we sailed ten miles over to Belfast which is a small town on the coast. Belfast was holding its Annual Festival and so that night we joined the townsfolk in the main street. The community atmosphere was terrific with entertainment for the kids, a sixteen piece band playing popular tunes and then later a six piece country/rock band playing music from the 60/70s. The members in the rock band we about our age and the townsfolk danced in the street till late in the evening. The thing that struck us was how much everyone enjoyed themselves regardless of whether they could dance or not; they just let their hair down. It seemed that the whole town was out celebrating as the place was packed; it was wonderful to see.

The following day we went back to Smith's Cove and took a mile dinghy ride across the incoming tide to the town of Castine. We arrived with dry clothes, which is something we can do in our new dinghy; gone are the days of having to hide behind a waterproof - it's terrific.
The House of Sin (1858) and The First Parish Church(1790)

Castine was been occupied continuously since the French arrived in the early 1600s and is one of the oldest communities in North America. A bonus for visitors is the town map which marks the historic buildings and houses and gives a little of its history. This made walking around town a lot more interesting. For example, one of the lovely houses built in 1858 was known as the House of Sin. Not because of anything untoward but because the owner who worked long hours in the shipyard spent his Sundays working on his house, giving it its notorious name - a bit harsh?
We stopped at the First Parish Church built 1790. I had a lovely chat with the minister who told me that the church was first owned by the Puritans. He said
"The English sent the Puritans to America and the convicts to Australia, I think you got the better deal", I could only agree with him.
In the evening we had drinks with Prue and Bert on 'Exuberant'. We thought we would stay for about an hour, but we were having such a good time the hour turned into three.
Lobster Pots! and waterfront house.

On Thursday we travelled forty five miles to Mount Dessert Island. So after saying last week that we hadn't found large numbers of Lobster Pots, this trip was a nightmare. Through the binoculars we could see hundreds of colourful Lobster Pots ahead; it looked like a sea of jelly beans. The Lobster Pot buoys are in pairs and attached by a long rope (which we don't want wrapped around our propeller). The trick is to work out which ones are pairs. The new ones are easy as they are generally the same colour and there is one large and one small buoy. But the older ones are faded, dirty and damaged making identification very difficult. Anyhow after hours of "go left" or "go right, go right" we arrived into Somes Harbour without incident, but we still have to get out.

Foggy Bar Harbour, Maine

In Somes Harbour, we caught up with Amanda and Patrick on 'Egret' and had morning tea with them the following morning before they left. We weren't alone for very long as Katie and Kurt on 'Interlude' arrived late afternoon. Yesterday we went with Katie and Kurt to Bar Harbour which is a tourist town in a very pretty setting. We bumped into Prue and Bert on 'Exuberant' in the Tourist Information Office and so the six of us spent the day together. We walked around town visiting the local craft market and shops and had a long lunch at a waterfront restaurant. The weather was a bit changeable with the fog rolling in and out. It was a disappointing really as I think Bar Harbour would be spectacularly beautiful on a sunny day.
So today we planned a mountain hike with Katie and Kurt but the fog has set in and the whole place is dripping. Andrew is busy varnishing the companion way and steps and I will spend this afternoon catching up with my scrap book. It's a bit like a nice quiet day at home by the fire. Perhaps a fire is not such a great idea!

Well if the weather improves we will do our mountain hike tomorrow. Then we will have to pick a nice sunny day to get out of here and thread our way back through the belly bean field.
It's Andrew's 60th Birthday on Wednesday so we will have to find somewhere to celebrate.

Love CANDY xx

At 11:19 AM6/08/2012 (utc) our position was 44°21.72'N 068°46.25'W

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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

No 26 Maine

Hi from Clare,                                                    Sunday 5th August 2012

We are now in Maine, as far north as we intend going up the east coast of USA. So far this year we have sailed 5,500 NM (25 miles per day) and so we are looking forward to relaxing and spending the rest of this month in beautiful Maine.

We departed Newport, Rhode Island around 7am Monday and headed for Cape Cod Canal arriving in time to catch the outgoing tide. With the assistance of a 4 knot current we traveled through the canal doing as much as 9.4 knots of boat speed.
We arrived at Provincetown Massachusetts, some 60 miles in all, at 7.30pm ready for a beer/dinner and not much else.

Cape Cod Canal and Provincetown (Pilgrims Tower in background)

By morning we were ready to explore Provincetown. We climbed to the top of the Pilgrims Monument (see photo) and spent a very interesting hour or so in the attached museum learning about the early settlers. Then we spent a few more interesting hours watching the settlers of today. Provincetown boasts that it is not just gay friendly, its gay inclusive. It has a very vibrant downtown with art galleries, unique shops and fine dining. When we were looking for a place to have lunch I was accosted by a beautiful young man dressed only in a pair of tight shorts with a bread roll (I think) stuffed down the front of them. In an attempt to lure us into his restaurant he announced that "lesbians love our meat". Well I must be getting old because apart from nearly choking with laughter, he just about put me off lunch; we ate vegetarian.

 View from Pilgrims Tower and "vibrant"shops in Provincetown

Our next passage was an overnight sail to the town of Rockland to attend the 65th Maine Lobster Festival. We arrived in heavy fog which is pretty normal for Maine due to the cold air and warm water at 14.3 degrees. On a sunny day the fog burns off by about 9-10am. The Gulf of Maine is home to a large number of lobster pots. Hearing how prolific these are and concerned as we don't have a rope cutter on our propeller, we nearly didn't come up this way. However, yes we have needed to pay full attention and steer around lobster pots but it hasn't been bad at all. So the "good old CBN (Cruiser Bulldust News) has proven to be unreliable yet again".

Anchorage with and without fog
So, back to the Lobster Festival; this is a little piece of country America 1960s style with carnival rides, shooting galleries, live bands and fried corn dogs and fried everything else. Upon our arrival In Rockland we caught up with American friends Kurt and Katie on "Interlude" (a Deerfoot 75). They told us the best meal deal at the Festival was the double lobster dinner for $19 which is steamed, quite tasty and terribly messy to eat. We had our lobster dinner with Bert and Prue on "Exuberant" who we met via the VHF radio and AIS during the overnight passage. Rockland is a quiet country town, the people are very friendly and our taxi driver said it's such a safe town he never locks his house - nice to think that places like this still exist.

Bert and Prue told us they were heading to Islesboro Island for the Seven Seas Cruising Association's Annual Gam (meeting). It is open to both members and non members. Interlude and Blue Highway were heading there also and so we tagged along and register for the event. The first social gathering was a dinghy raft up for evening drinks and shared nibbles. Well about forty dinghies tied up at the back of the organizer's yacht. Fortunately conditions were flat calm, drinks balanced precariously as dishes and trays of nibbles were passed from dinghy to dinghy. It was lots of fun and a great pre curser for the following day's lunch.

Dinghy raft-up at the Gam
One of the SSCA members owns a house on the waterfront of Gilkey Harbour, Islesboro Island where Eye Candy and about fifty boats had anchored to attend the Gam. The pot luck lunch was held on the lawns of their property under the shade of some magnificent trees - what a perfect spot. Let me qualify that, perfect in summer but snowed-in during winter. People from 51 boats attended and their combined efforts produced an absolute feast. Tables were set up in the garage and they were laden with beautifully presented hot and cold dishes; quite amazing to think that this standard could be achieved on boats.

The Potluck lunch on the lawn

The guest speaker, the Island Historian who had grown up in the area, spoke about the development of the island starting at its beginnings back in the early 1600s. It was interesting but a bit long winded. After forty five minutes and the chap next to us snoring, many of the people sitting on rugs decided to sprawl out on the ground because their backs were aching. As the speaker came to the last page of his copious notes the guy next to Andrew lent across with a mischievous grin and whispered "If you want to ask him about the Police Department, I'll ask him about the Fire Department"
All he got from Andrew was a resounding "Shut up" endorsed by his wife.

I think just rest and relaxation and gunk-holing along the coast of Maine and surrounding islands while waiting for other members of the Magellan Net to catch up.

Love Candy xx

At 11:19 AM6/08/2012 (utc) our position was 44°21.72'N 068°46.25'W

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