Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Living in Boothbay Harbor Maine

Catholic Church Boothbay Harbor Maine
Living in BBH, Boothbay Harbor Maine is paradise as we are here for a week leading up to the bi-annual Island Packet Yacht Owner's Rendezvous hosted by Norm and Mary Pierce of Pierce Yachts. Norm is so helpful with the Island Packet Fleet and everyone highly respects his open and honest help and support. The IPY Maine Rendezvous will be Fri, Sat, and Sun with events planned to bring the fleet together to share and to learn topics related to our yacht ownership. As the local Maine dealer, Norm organizes and hosts this event every other year. Owners sail up to Maine to participate in the event. This year 25-30 boats should be here!

We are here a few days early because we love the BBH town center, shops, ice cream parlors, library, shuttle bus, and friendly Maine people. There is something special about Maine; besides the scenic beauty, it has to be the people. We will enjoy life in BBH for this week and we will be sad to see it end. I am working on a full photo essay of the BBH town, and will post that later, for now....

Here are a few photos from today...
The view from our mooring ball

Our neighbor, a local lobsta boat

Our local lobsta retailer...fresh caught everyday!

$8.50 per pound live lobsta....Got Lobsta?

Schooners sail past our boat several times a day

Conrad our friend from Rock Hall, IP420 Oro Negro in front of us

The local neighborhood


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Isles of Shoals to Boothbay Harbor Maine

Cape Ann off Gloucester MA, with two lighthouses
We did not plan to run 70 miles today, but the weather changed underway, so we decided to press on another 20 miles and reach Boothbay Harbor Maine before the front. Last night we were anchored in Isles of Shoals 8 miles off the NH coast and we were treated to the most spectacular sunset we have ever watched. The lighting on the rocks to our stern and the golden colored sunset off our bow was breathtaking. Radeen and I both are so grateful and appreciative that we have this opportunity and time and good health to live this sailing life and our lifetime dream. This sunset made us both take time to reflect.

Isles of Shoals sunset and Radeen
With flat calm seas and clear skies we depart the Isles of Shoals for Maine, planning on anchoring near Cape Small, the closest point towards our destination of Boothbay. Underway, it was so calm that we sanded and re-varnished the port stern cap rail of teak around 10am! Then as we crossed the Portland shipping lanes 8 miles off shore and in 350 foot deep water, we were treated to TWO WHALE SIGHTINGS! One off our starboard beam about 4 boat lengths away, and the other, 30 minutes later surfaced off our port BOW about two boat lengths away. This one was swimming across our bow! This second one was a humpback whale and was ....VERY LARGE....I tried to get video but the WHALE never resurfaced, thank goodness as it crossed our bow. We heard other boats talking about WHALES in the area, but these two sightings were the only ones we saw. Welcome to MAINE, we call it a fairyland because it seems too good to be true, to beautiful to be reality, it truly seems like a dream land. We both agree, we have never seen anything as beautiful as Maine!

Seguin Island Lighthouse approaching Boothbay Harbor, Maine
Arriving into Boothbay Harbor, Maine by water is spectacular, as you pass lighthouses and islands with summer homes on rock lined shores with pine trees down to the high water mark. White waves crashing onto the rocks and splashing into the air contrast to the dark greens of the pines, even in the low light, rainy overcast day, the lighting was still spectacular. I find it difficult to describe the true beauty, you simply have to sail into Maine and discover it for yourself....Welcome to Maine, our 3rd visit by water.

Here are a few photos....

Sunset on the rocks, Isles of Shoals, NH

Sunset over the bow of Island Spirit, Isles of Shoals, NH

Thank you...Attitude of Gratitude

My friends Conrad and Mirna from Rock Hall, MD in Boothbay Harbor, ME
Our view over the Boothbay Harbor, Maine for the next week....ahhh

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Gloucester, Mass

Fisherman Memorial for all those lost at sea
5,368 lives lost at sea since 1716!

Sailing from Scituate north across Massachusetts Bay can be a beautiful sail when the winds are west as we had. This places the boat on a beam reach so the seas were delightfully flat calm as we reached north towards Gloucester Mass, a place we have never visited. Since this was highly recommended by our good friends Ed and Sue K. we decided to stay in Gloucester for 2 days and search for the best chowder and all the town has to offer. Well, the town has not been disappointing!  From the downtown Federal anchorage spot to the beaches, town center, restaurants and charming shops all surrounded by the largest commercial fishing fleet in the USA, Gloucester is a very interesting harbor.

Bob, Martha and Hayden and the vast salt marsh

One of the highlights was re-connecting with fellow Island Packet friends Martha and Bob of IP-420 Entropy, who kindly picked us up at the Coast Guard Station for a driving tour of the Cape Ann area. Then we had a lovely seafood dinner at the Lobsta Land Restaurant located on the marsh where the sun setting made for a beautiful visit. Thank you, Martha and Bob, for your time and your hospitality, how kind of you!

Lobsta everwhere....FUN
As recommended by Martha and Bob, on Saturday we walked to the Fisherman's Memorial, across the busy lift bridge at the Blynman Canal and then to the Causeway Restaurant to gladly wait in line the most delicious clam chowder on the planet!

We have not explored this town fully, so we will plan to return on our way south. Today we will continue north to the Isle of Shoals in NH as we progress toward Maine.

 Here are more photos of the Gloucester Ma area....

Good Harbor beach on the ocean, Cape Ann

Cape Ann, beautiful summer day
Commercial fishing boat, look at the scale, see the tiny people on the bow!

Even the bars and pubs serve Lobster!

Then of course there is Octopus as well....WOW

Sadly, the stats of those lost at sea, Gloucester Fisherman Memorial
5,368 residents lost at sea 1716 - 2001

Typical sights, whale watching ships all depart from here, we will see if we can find whales as well

Our boat anchored in the harbor, 28 feet deep, 150 feet of chain out, 9 foot tides!

Sunset over the Gloucester with town hall clock tower

Sunrise over the calm harbor from anchorage, beautiful day

Friday, July 22, 2011

Buzzards Bay to Cape Cod Bay

Reefed Main Sail, FULL 135% Jenny + Staysail, all out!
These Island Packet Yachts can handle high winds, 33 knots true here!

This is our fourth trip north through the Cape Cod Canal and every time it gets my adrenalin elevated because of the various conditions of weather, shipping, and 3 to 4 knot current added to the 10 foot tides! This time was no different, we had it all: Fog with 1/4 mile visibility or less, a closed railroad bridge that we could not even see, and two tugs pushing loaded oil barges, WELCOME TO THE CAPE COD CANAL!

Yes, that's a Railroad bridge, it was DOWN just minutes ago!
I always say these New England sailors are a hardy bunch and we Chesapeake sailors have no clue what they endure until we try it for ourselves. We ran north east up Buzzards Bay into fog with about 1/2 mile visibility which is good for this area, then we entered the Cape Cod Canal right behind the "A.J. McAllister" who works the canal pushing barges through to the other side. We never saw him but we knew he was there via our computer's AIS, automated identification system. This system tells us the course, speed and direction of commercial ships and how close they will pass you. We love this system as it answers the most important question: WILL THEY HIT US?

Notice the 10 foot tide that is DOWN.
These fisherman are sitting above the high tide mark!

After exiting the canal, we enjoyed a brisk 25 knot SW wind in Cape Cod Bay. We sailed this wind for 26 miles up to Scituate Harbor, MA. Of course this wind built to a solid 30 knots with many gusts up to 35 knots. Here we were again, sailing in strong winds but our little Island Spirit took it like a champ and sailed many miles at or above hull speed of 7.2 knots and many times at 8.2 knots! It was a great day!

Whitney and Jason on the bow of Island Spirit
The highlight the day was a visit from our special friend, Jason, and his new bride, Whitney, who were in Boston on business. We enjoyed snacks, cocktails and fun stories of their St. Lucia honeymoon. Jason is the son of Radeen's college roommate and good friend; they are family. Thank you Jason and Whitney for making the effort to visit Island Spirit. We really enjoyed seeing you both!

More Photos from this leg:

Tug and Barge passing us in the Cape Cod Canal

Tug A. J. McAllister pulling an Oil Barge
Sailing Cape Cod Bay in 25 knots SW

Jason, our history teacher, gave me this flag a few years ago....Thank you, JASON
Jason and Whitney arrive at Scituate Harbor, MA, what a special visit.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Jamestown, RI our 31st Anniversary

Jamestown, RI, has a wonderful spot named Dutch Harbor on the west side of the island, and this is where we reflected and celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary with boating friends. Our good friend Carey organized a gathering called a Mini-vous. A mini-vous is a small rendezvous of boat owners who raft up, or anchor nearby and gather for fun cocktail party.

The AM started off with a walk to Jamestown for breakfast and to find Radeen the perfect anniversary gift.

We found it....a special corner tower Condo, overlooking the Jamestown harbor....
Radeen's Anniversary gift, a new condo!
After a quick presentation of the $995,000.00 price tag, I decided we needed to be more reasonable.

So, off to the Jamestown Hardware Store....
...where we found the PERFECT gift....a NEW SPRAY bottle to use when water proofing the canvas. Radeen just had to have one and they were on sale for $2.70. What a deal.

Why do I spoil Radeen so much?....look at this....a new spray bottle!
Arriving back to Island Spirit in the harbor
After cleaning with the NEW SPRAY bottle, it was off to the Mini-vous party to continue the celebrations. Toasting with MOET....and great friends...
Cheers to another great day...another great year....thank you Kevin and Annie

Happy 31st Anniversary
Enjoying the raft up on SP Cruiser, CATSPAW, thank you Carey and Bobbie. Boats attending: Mise en Place, Lafalot, Tiller the Hun, and Island Spirit, plus a Catalina 380 from the Wickford Yacht Club.
We all enjoyed the forward seating area of the SP Cruiser on Catspaw
And even TILLER the CAT had a fun time.
Carey's cat with more sea miles than most yacht owners, RI to FL to Bahamas and back several times!

The true beauty of cruising is sharing fun times with the good friends we have made. Thank you Carey for the fun mini-vous, we really enjoy Dutch Harbor, RI.
Carey and Hayden in Dutch Harbor, RI

SP Cruiser Catspaw and IP 370 Tiller the Hun rafted up

Thank you Radeen for 31 years of a great marriage...looking forward to 30+ more
Hayden and Radeen....1980 Wedding