Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Martha's Vineyard

       Motoring down the Cape Cod Canal, bridges going from the mainland to the cape. 

We crossed our path from on our way north a couple of days ago when we motored from the Cape Cod Canal across Buzzard Bay to Martha's Vineyard. I really wanted to stop here last June so it is great to be here; at the moment, in particular because it is blowing a houlie out there. We are tucked in behind a breakwater on a free mooring. 
The island is on winter hours so a lot of the attractions are closed, but there are no lineups! I am pretty sure we were the only tourists on the bus yesterday. We went to the other end of the island to visit the town where the "big" houses were.  OMG why does one family believe they need so much room! 
I thoroughly enjoyed wandering at random through town admiring the old Cape Cod style homes. 
There was one that had tours of it and even though they were officially closed for the season I stuck my head in and asked if we could look around and they very graciously allowed it. Gorgeous, they rented it out for conferences, etc., it would have been a great spot for a wedding reception. 
We hopped on a three car ferry and went over to Chappaquiddick. It is a very small mostly sand island where Ted Kennedy ruined his chances of running for the presidency by driving his car off a bridge and the woman in the car with him was killed. I was interested in seeing the bridge but the couple we ran into the other day said that that back in 1969, when it happened, people wanting a souvenir had chopped down the bridge within days of the incidence. We didn't see the inhabited area, too much walking but there was a park with paths through the dunes. I found the scrubby vegetation very interesting.
One the bus we saw an inland salt water lagoon just across the road from the open ocean and I commented that it was the ideal place to kitesurf. Sure enough further along there was one fellow in a wet suit that did a gorgeous jump right next to the bus. The driver told us he had a speed record of 55 mph and had achieved it right there, NICE! 
We will stay another day and a half until this gale blows itself out then hop 250nm to Atlantic City. The winds will behind us for 1and 1/2 days, then be on our nose but light for a day.
                           The old Whaling Church getting a face lift.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Boston Outer Harbor

We arrived there in the late afternoon, there was one other boat on a mooring.  About 15 min. after we got tied up we heard a knock on the boat and a couple from the other boat had come over t free us some hot vegetable pie she had just cooked.  We invited them aboard, Bruce had grown up in Martha's Vineyard and we got some valuable tips from him on where to stay and we had a wonderful meal thanks to Betty-Jo. What a thoughtful thing for them to do!! 
Well exploring the islands in the Outer Harbor was a none event! They were closed. We saw the signs but landed our dinghy anyway in hopes that we could get a walk in. Not to be; a caretaker came out and chased us off. We dinghied around instead, I am pretty sure they used to quarantine sick immigrants on George Island where we were moored.  It also had what looked like a big fort on it. The outer wall that is protecting the island on the seaward side is collapsing in some places.  
We spent the day doing a few chores, planning our next few days, reading and watching movies. We are on our way to the cut through at Cape Cod.  I wanted to rent a car and drive up to the tip of the cape but I used those funds to attend the ballet, it was worth it. After we transit the Cape Cod Canal we will head to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. 

This is a shot of our Navionics  program on our IPad. The blue line is our suggested course and the red line is our current course so at the moment our boat is north of the screen. That is Cape Cod on the right and at the bottom you can see the Cape Cod Canal which is man made. 

Sailing Info.
Boston Harbor
We moored at Boston Waterfront Marina. 
It cost us $50/night with wonderful showers, free wifi at dock and dinghy tie up, laundry $1.75 wash $1.00 dry
Right in the heart of downtown, very helpful but surprised because we were so late.

Georges Island  42*19.2 N X 70*55.9 W
We moored here for free, first come, first serve, only two moorings.
Looked like lovely walks on shore and a museum but it was closed for the season. 
The area is a park and would have been fun to explore. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Boston - 2

We met an  American couple, Kurt and Pam when we were in NS. They had lived 20 years in Boston and they recommended that we do the Harbor Walk. What a good idea that was.  There are over 40 miles of walkway along Boston Harbor and yesterday we spent about an 1 and 1/2 hours enjoying it.  It was cool so I put on my down jacket and my wind pants and I was toasty warm. 
A lot of the current wharf area is built on reclaimed land. In the past they would build long piers and then they would fill in the areas between two wharfs, first with granite and then with dirt.  As a result Boston waterfront has moved over 1/2 mile into the sea over the last couple of centuries. The old buildings along the waterfront are now being converted into high end condos. We walked by one building that was advertising one for sale at 3.5 million with $3,500/month condo fees and this was their backyard
But it came with two parking spots, that apparently is worth it weight in gold in waterfront Boston. 
 Parking is so tight that people buy these bumper bullies, then they can just backup until they hit the guy behind them and pull out of their spot. 
I went to the ballet yesterday. What a treat!! It was choreographed by Jon Neumier and done to Mahler's Third  Symphony. It was very unusual, there was just a bare stage, no props and the costumes were very simple, the man were bare chested and mainly just wore uniformly coloured tights and the female dancers had a leotard with a short skirt. It was very athletic and unconventional and the music was superb. At one point there was a suprano and then a chorus who just sang like bells, in another movement there was dead silence, only dancing for about 5 minutes. I wonder if they counted in their heads to co-ordinate their movements. Here is a link to a video about it.
We are currently on a mooring in Boston's outer harbor and will explore the island's here. They are quite small islands and there are three within a 400m. radius so the dinghy will get a workout. When we  motored up the Harbor into Boston we went right by Logan airport and the planes were taking off just over our heads. I had great fun trying to take a good pic of an airliner just over the boat. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015


We are on a mooring in Boston Harbor and I keep thinking this may be the very spot where they threw in some tea. We arrived after a wonderful warmish overnight sail from Maine. We had the wind behind us for the first five hours then it moved onto a close reach and we had too slow down so that we could sail into the harbor with the pink rays of dawn. We love Boston, it's downtown core is a wonderful mixture of beautiful old brick buildings juxtaposed among towering glass skyscrapers. 
I am endlessly fascinated by the details on the buildings,
there is so much history here, the American Revolution started here. This is the church where the lanterns were hung, one if by land, two if by sea, and Paul Revere started his famous ride throughout the countryside, "The British are coming, the British are coming". 
As soon as we landed we went on a mission to get our mobile communication devices hooked up. Our US phone had not been used for six months so it needed a SIM card. We had to walk about 30 blocks to get to the store. This was a good thing because we wandered all through downtown Boston and we came upon Boston Common. The militia used to drill here in pre revolutionary Boston. We saw the plaque to commemorate the " Boston Massacre" and the spot where the Boston Marathon ends. 
This park had a much nicer feel to it than Central Park in NYC it was so restful. It was a gorgeous warm fall day and the park was full of people. They were walking, jogging, bicycling, reading, talking, playing tennis and hacky sack, watching their dogs romp in the off leash area, and just lying in the leaves soaking up the sunshine. I am a huge fan of Spenser, Robert B. Parker's fictional detective, who lives in Boston and often goes running in Boston Common. I kept sizing up the runners to see if any of them would fit into my ideal Spenser body. This picture was taken by the Frog Pond, where we saw many mallard ducks. 
Yesterday we took one of those hop on, hop off tours which included a harbour cruise. Even though we could have cruised around the harbour on our own it was well worth the money. There is so much information that the guides know and share with you.  The drivers and guides in Boston have been particularly entertaining, very ironic in their observations, one fellow was quick with the repartee, very enjoyable. 
Barry says now he can tell eveyone that he went to Harvard. I had a hard time believing we were walking around the Harvard Yard or Hahvad Yahd as they seem to say around here. The campus is huge, with these very substantial brick buildings everywhere. Our visit happened to coincide with a family weekend, so there were hundreds of students shepparding their parents to different events. The library has such a vast collection that you could run two marathons down through the stacks and not pass the same book twice, astonishing! The Memorial Hall was stunning inside and out.
We visited the Science building and discovered a display on the first computation machine built. Then down the hall there was a mock up of the cyclotron lab that was used in the Manhattan project to split the atom. 
We finished off the day by visiting the bar where Cheers was filmed. Unfortunately the camera had run out of juice. Then we caught the last bus back just outside the state legislature.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Boothbay Harbor

We stopped at this very popular tourist town to do our laundry, get groceries, have a shower and get out of a 30 knot wind on our nose. It was very pleasant. The whole town is in winter mode so a lot of the stores were closed and the manager had to make a special trip down to the marina. He was an interesting fellow. His uncle organized the building of a footbridge across the Harbor back in 1901 because he had a bank downtown and lived on the other side and did not like the long walk to work. There was a gate keepers house where the keeper would open and shut the bridge so goods could be delivered to the top of the harbour. He said during prohibition years they used deliver whiskey to the gate house, which had a trap door in the floor, in the dead of night,  
We asked him about the preponderance of lobster pots and he said there is no season.  Apparently the fisherman can be very territorial and if someone tries to set a pot where the regulars think he shouldn't the newcomer may find his pots are no longer there. The story goes one lobster man tried to set his pots right in the narrow Marina slips.  The manager and the fellow got into it, and the fisherman refused to move his pots.  The harbourmaster and a town councillor were called and he was told to move them; once again he refused.  Then it was suggested that since his traps are worth over a $100 a piece that it would be unfortunate if he came back and they were no longer there, or the pick up line could not be found. He moved them!! Apparently, according to our source, it has been known for men to wait on shore with rifles and shoot holes in the boats of the guys who are trying to horn in on someone else's territory. Lobstah man just another word for gangstah man.

We are headed on an overnight trip to Boston. We had wind behind us and now it has moved around to the south and we are close hauled. It is not cold and the sun is shining. Now that fall has set in I am in fall cooking mode, we had butternut squash soup for lunch and I have the makings for borscht onboard. We have all sorts of root vegetables, parsnips, turnips, and carrots for some great stews. I made biscuits the other day and a couple of batches of cookies. All I want to do is eat to store up some fat for those cold winter days, oh wait a minute, we are headed south, I won't need that fat. Yikes, try telling my body that.  It will not look good in my bathing suit!! I must cut back on the baking. 

Sailing Information
We have been using A Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast, by Hank and Jan Taft, & Curtis Rindlaub.  It has been excellent with great historical notes and wonderful anchorages. Anyone wishing to buy a lightly used copy please contact us. 

Buckle Harbour 44*10.8 N  X  068* 28.3 W
We anchored in 4m. with very good holding. 
Almost 360 protection. 
Had to anchor amount the lobster pots
No services, great walking along the island to the south. 

Southeast Harbour, Deer Island   44*12.0 N  X  068*38.7 W
We anchored in 5 m. with great holding in heavy mud. 
Great protection. 
No pots in anchorage but zillions coming in. 
No services, but we had great fun exploring in the dinghy.

Bucks Harbour   44*20.3 N  X  068*44.2 W
Tied up to a mooring, got winter rates, $20 included wifi and showers. 
Great protection, some room to anchor but would be in the open. 
Restaurant and village store open, Yacht club closed for season.

Castine    44*23.2 N  X  068*47.7 W
Tied up to the town dock free of charge due to winter season. Normally only allowed 3 hours. 
Lovely historic town. All services available. 
Strong current in the river, check the tides. 
Lots of moorings available and anchorage across the river. 

Pulpit Harbour   44*09.6 X  068*53.38 W
Anchored in 3m in very protected cove, first one on the right as you enter the harbour. 
Had to go to the back of the harbour to avoid mooring balls. 
Good holding in mud. 
No services, did not go ashore. 

Christmas Cove   43*50.8 N  X  069*33.3 W
Took a mooring ball, no one around so did not pay, Marina closed. 
No room to anchor, exposed to southwest winds. 
Did not go ashore, no info on services. 

Boothbay Harbour Marina 43*50.9 N  X  069*37.6 W
Tied up to Marina dock, paid $90 this was a rate for 30ft boat so he gave us a deal
Great showers, laundry $1.75 wash $1.00 dry 
Very central to shops, place is a tourist mecca.  Grocery store 1 mile away, nice walk. 
Lovely houses and gardens in town. 
Marina manager very helpful. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Cruising in Penobscot Bay, ME

We are just south of Penbscot Bay, having left it yesterday.  We stopped and tied up at the town's dock in Castine.   It is the spot where the U.S. suffered it's biggest naval defeat before Pearl Harbour. It took place in 1779 when the British and the Americans were fighting. I am sitting on the remainder of Fort George (I love that it is now a soccer field) , the British were defending it and had a small force.  The Americans had overwhelming naval power but the Commodore would not send the ships in because it was a difficult place to attack.  He dithered about unable to make up his mind to attack until the British fleet showed up and rather than fight and be captured they sailed up the river and burnt all the boats rather than risk having them being captured by the enemy.  Paul Revere was in charge of the artillery in this skirmish and apparently had to go to court to defend his behaviour. I read a book about this and it was very interesting to see the exact place that it happened! The skirmish was called the Penobscot Expedition. 
We met a very nice couple on the dock.  He was from Minnesota and she is from Hong Kong. They are touring around the U.S. in their car, after meeting and being married in Hong Kong.  They are on a limited budget so they introduced us to which is a website where you can go and people offer up their homes for no fee for you to stay.  An interesting concept. We may have to try it one day, they said they have had no bad experiences. 
It has not been very warm so we are now into layering big time.  I brought out the heavy duty gear and Barry has on my down jacket under his fleece in this shot; and that is just for inside the boat!!! He also put on some socks for the first time aboard this year, he was saving on laundry costs. 
This is the lighthouse at the entrance to Penobscot Bay.  It has been fun looking at all the huge homes along the shore ands trading opinions on the architecture. I am sure there will be lots of that as we move further south. 

Friday, October 16, 2015


                  A beautiful four masted ship waiting for the tourists n Bar Harbor. 
We landed in Bar Harbour, Maine and had a painless check in with U.S. Customs and Border Control.  They just renewed our permit that we got in Puerto Rico and we were good to go. Bar Harbor is a tourist town, a lot of the cruise ships stop here.  I had trouble avoiding the North Face and Patagonia shops but managed to bypass them on the way to the grocery store. 

                                Our last sunrise in Canada for quite some time. 
Maine is touted as being an awesome cruising ground with thousands of little islands and some great harbours.  There is a problem though, lobster pots.  They are absolutely everywhere, we have had to weave our way through them even in the smallest pass which is only a hundred meters wide. Apparently they can leave them in year round and today we discovered one small bay where we could anchor and there were no pots, YEAH.  Truly it almost makes you give up cruising the area and just take off.  In our cruising guide of the area there is mention of a feud between the lobster fishermen and the sailing community, claiming in some areas the lobster fishermen will come as close as possible to your boat for the sport of it.  We thankfully have not experienced that yet, although it is a bit disconcerting when they are steaming at high speed at your boat and veer off at the last minute to pick up their pots, we understand they are out to make a living but surely in this lovely area there is room for both!!

Our first night after Bar Harbor we anchored in a very small spot in between the lobster pots. The next morning we went ashore and Barry wanted to pick up the stray markers that have escaped duty from their pots. We had fun tramping around the island and collected quite a number. There were three raccoons down by the water as I walked past between them and the shore.  One in particular watched me very closely and I talked in a soothing manner and just kept walking.  I turned around a few meters down the beach and one of them was attempting to return to the woods.  He arched his back at me which I took not to be a good sign, then he growled and rushed at me.  I got the message and scampered on my way down the beach.  On the way back past that spot I made sure I had some rocks in my hands but they were not in evidence any more!!

I have decided that if we win the 649 I would like to buy this house.  It is gorgeous, the setting is stunning and the best thing is it has it's own dock.  Perhaps if you ask nice I might invite you to stay in the boat house.  
It has been quite cool here and most places are now on winter hours, so we are getting out of season prices for moorings, etc, which helps to offset the hit we are taking because our dollar is so low. We did a tentative plan the other night and it involves about another week in Maine, stops in Boston, Cape Cod and perhaps Atlantic City and then on to the Chesapeake again.   Hopefully the weather will co-operate. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

We are sitting in Port La Tour NS. It is almost at the bottom of NS and we are waiting for a 30 knot SW wind to blow itself out. We hope to set off tomorrow for Bar Harbor, Maine.
The part finally arrived in Brooklyn and within an hour of it appearing it installed. We also got a part for our auto pilot from Australia and Barry mucked about with it and we are hopeful it will work as well. We have missed it.
It was only 5 degrees in here this morning so it is high time we were further south.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Stalled in Brooklyn, NS

                                          The Brooklyn Marina Clubhouse

We are in Brooklyn, NS, which is just up the river from Liverpool, NS and we are stalled!!  We finally found a diesel mechanic to look at our engine which has a slow leak and he figured we needed a new diesel return line.  We have ordered the part and sit waiting for it to appear.  The parts place in Toronto did not have it and so it has to go to Toronto and then here and shipping takes time.  It is a pleasant spot, the only drawback being it is a long way from anywhere.  It is a very well protected spot and there is a clubhouse which they leave open 24 hours so we have access to electricity and lovely hot showers.  It was really windy over the weekend and our propane furnace would not stay lit so we went out and bought a small electric heater and we have been warm ever since.  
                 Cat's-Paw IV at the dock with the defunct paper mill in the background

We met some people that we had briefly met in New Zealand, Jack and Linda, and they were gracious enough to have us over for dinner.  They totally renovated an older house and it is just lovely.  They were very interesting to talk to, Jack reads for audio books, he has a wonderful knack for accents and Linda is a self published author, she has published nine.  They have enjoyed being here but say that they will never be able to overcome the fact that they are "from away", and consequently people do not open their home or their hearts to them. 
We are having a very social time here, one evening the Russian single hander whom we helped put on his new furling Genoa, came over with a bottle of vodka and some Russian snacks.  On Saturday a younger couple, who are new to sailing came aboard after we helped them take down their mast and picked our brains about sailing. Yesterday Gail and Royce Stryde drove down from Bridgewater and we had a happy hour aboard before we went out for dinner. Tonight Jack and Linda are coming for dinner so we are keeping busy with company and doing some of the endless boat chores. 

I also got a chance to finally finish the cross stitch that I have been working on for 3 years.  It is for our oldest grandson Eli and he chose the pattern when he was 9, he is 14 now and I hope he still likes wolves.  It is the biggest and most difficult cross stitch I have ever worked on.  The difficulty was because so many of the colours are very similar, with subtle changes that is was very hard to figure out where you were on the pattern at times.