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18 November 2015

Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Return

071 Provincetown Hello again

We left you with the last Post in Provincetown.  It has been to date one of our favourite places. In fact the whole of the Cape Cod area is quite enchanting with charming towns and villages with streets lined with historical old homes. Shops and galleries selling lovely arts and crafts, restaurants with a variety of seafood  - lobster in particular, fresh from the ocean.   US history more or less started in this area so there is no shortage of places to visit and things to see.

Now we are at the beginning of September and quite far north.  With the fall soon to be upon us we must keep moving north and see as much as we can.  Most “normal” folk are now moving south, or thinking very seriously about moving south, for the winter months !!!!!

008 Cohasset

We leave Provincetown on Wednesday 6th September avoiding lobster pots and whales.  We are heading for the town of Scituate, some 30nm away.  We are able to sail all morning, but in the afternoon loose the wind so are motoring again.  Late afternoon we are just off the entrance to what we think is Situate.  I call on the radio to ask if we can pick up a mooring buoy.  The long and short of it is we are not entering Scituate Harbour at all, but Cohasset some 7nm further north !!!!!  Alec had entered Cohasset into the chart plotter.  The harbour master in Cohasset came on the radio to say I was entering her Harbour and yes she would come out and meet us and gave us a mooring for the night.  We all had a good laugh over that one.
001 Second Minot Ledge Lighthouse

Cohasset was a quaint stopover with lots of history.  There is a lighthouse just offshore known as Minot’s Ledge Light, and is a crucial beacon in this area as it stands guard of a set of rocks about a mile off-shore which claimed 40 vessels between 1832 and 1841.  Hence a lighthouse was erected in 1850.   Sadly in 1851 the iron structure crashed into the sea during a violent storm killing its two keepers.  In 1860 a new granite lighthouse was built, and this one still stands today.  During the Christmas storm of 1909 the keeper watched a 170ft wave sweep over the top of his tower. Not a job for the faint hearted !!

020 Cohasset, Tide going out The following morning we had to wait for the tide to come in so as to exit the harbour safely.  The tide range here is four meters. We took the opportunity to take the tender ashore and visit the town.  Its a place of big homes, mostly holiday ones as we are now seeing along this shoreline.
010 Gloucester Schooner Festival 013 Fisherman's Memorial

 Our next stop is Gloucester.  We left Cohasset on a warm sunny morning with not a breath of wind and had to motor the whole way.  The sea was like a mill pond, and again hundreds of lobster pots all around us.  Gloucester Harbour is long and fairly deep with a inner more sheltered basin.  We motored into the basin looking for an anchorage, but found it to be quite full, so moved back to the outer harbour for the night.  In the inner harbour we passed another NZ registered yacht who we visited the following morning.  We also met up with a local yachtie who is refitting out a yacht he brought some years ago.  With their help we brought SHAMAL back into the inner harbour and anchored close by.  It ended up being a great long weekend as we had arrived in time for the Labour Weekend Gloucester Schooner Festival. On the Saturday evening there was the" Local Parade of Lights",  where boats dressed in coloured lights motor around the bays for an hour or so, followed by an impressive fireworks display. Then there were all the wonderful old ships to watch racing around the harbour.  We went ashore again to find a good vantage point to watch some of the racing.  Walking around the waterfront we passed the “The Man at the Wheel” statue which is in memory of the thousands of fishermen who have lots their lives at sea over the last few hundred years.  Also the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Memorial which honours wives of fishermen everywhere.The weather was wonderful.  Hot and sunny all weekend.

012 Only in America!! Gloucester is still a working fishing port with boats of all sizes coming and going all the time.  Hence it has wonderful fish markets.  We were able to buy beautiful smoked salmon for a fraction of the price that we have seen since in any fish shop.
 
Time to move on again and after saying good-bye to everyone we headed out and around Cape Ann leaving the State of Massachusetts, and up into the harbour of Portsmouth, which on one side is the State of New Hampshire, and the other side the State of Maine.  We dropped the anchor in Pepperrell Cove off Kittery, Maine.  Next day we took the tender up Piscataqua River which divides the two States, to Portsmouth.

008 Old Naval Prison, Portsmouth NH We passed the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard which was established in 1800, one of four naval shipyards remaining in the country today. We head up the river on an outgoing tide which was not the wisest idea as our outboard is only 5hp, and at one stage we were only just moving forward in the strong current.  We tied up at North dock by the Memorial Bridge and set off to visit the town. We returned to the tender with the tide still running out.  That also made for an interesting trip back – we flew along, even through the whirl pools.

005 Lobster boat leaving Portsmouth in morning fog Once back on SHAMAL we decided to go ashore to the local Yacht Club for a drink before dinner. One local beer and a glass of chardonnay came to US$15.00. Hope ya’ll come again !!  Yeah Right !! But we did met a lovely couple fishing for squid off the tender dock who gave us the most yummy jar of home-made apricot and cinnamon jam.  Thanks Laurie and hubby, we are still enjoying it.

Our next leg takes us up to Portland where we drop anchor off Fish Point which is just a short distance from downtown.  We have a change in the weather where it is grey and overcast with showers, and winds gusting down the bay at 15-20kts.  We have boat jobs to attend to so spend the first day doing those.  Mid morning we are surprised to see a Seawind 1000 sailing past.  We call up on the radio but get no answer.  It is called “Flying Circus”. Later in the day they return and wave out, but we didn’t manage to catch up with them.

037 Yummy Lobster Dinner The following morning the sun is out and it is warm again so we head off into town.  There are also a couple of cruise ships in town.  Oh help it feels as if the whole world has arrived in Portland. We have a good walk around the town and find the Harbour Fish Market which we later return to and buy 2 lobster and a 1lb of fresh salmon.  I also find the “Bam Bam”  Bakery/Coffee shop where EVERYTHING is Gluten Free.  It is heaven, and we sit and enjoy coffee and a large slice of freshly baked carrot cake.  We get a few supplies and take everything back to SHAMAL then return to walk around the point and take photos.  Then it is back to SHAMAL for a yummy Lobster dinner.

The following morning we spend on board, then up anchor to do a tour of the harbour.  As we up anchor a seal pops its head up to watch us.  There really are so cute with those long whiskers. We find a fuel dock and fill up before heading up the harbour to Falmouth Foreside.  We are in Casco Bay.  This is as far north as we will come.  (Ves. Pos. 43 43 186N  070 12 578W)  The original plan was to take SHAMAL up to Canada so we could renew our visas, but according to the US immigrating website one cannot cross into Canada, Mexico or out to the Bahamas, to renew your visa, so we have applied for a six month extension to coincide with the boats cruising licence which is valid for 12 months.  Fingers crossed!! SHAMAL needs a lift out and work doing before we can go any great distances. We have also had another call from our daughter and son-in-law saying that they are moving house closer to their respective work and would we be able to yet again do some child minding while they settle in.  So from here we will head south again, but still have a couple of weeks to see more before we get back to Rhode Island Sound where our son Murray will be also joining the family.

025 Tons of the  B things 046 Lobster Boats, Casco Bay It is the 15th September as we motor out of Casco Bay still weaving around those lobster pots.  We were told by a local that the lobster fishermen can have up to 800 pots each.  Now not every single one is marked with a buoy.  We have watched them pull in about six pots between buoys, but that still makes for thousands of marker buoys out there. It is a very successful method of fish farming which has been going on for hundreds of years. The lobsters are measured and the medium size ones are kept, the big ones are put back for breeding, and of course the small ones also. The trap is re-baited and the Nett effect is one is continuing to feed the lobsters, hence fish farming - and the industry is sustained.

We head out of the bay motor sailing and heading into 16kt westerly winds which makes for a slow trip back to Gloucester.  At least it is still warm and sunny, but we don’t arrive back in the harbour till 23.45 of which the last three hours I am up front with a torch looking out for lobster pots.  To date we have not had any caught around the props. That was a leg of 75nm.  We did see another whale heading the same way as us, but he kept his distance, and a shark !!

We spend a day and a half back in Gloucester stocking up with more yummy smoked salmon and other goodies, plus going for walks and enjoying a coffee.

016 Salem Our next stop is Salem, still avoiding lobster pots everywhere. It is a hot sunny afternoon when we drop anchor in a harbour chocker block full of boats on mooring buoys.  There were hundreds of them.  The following morning before we go ashore, the Harbour Master motors over and asks us to move as we are in a fairway.  !**! This we do, then we take the tender ashore.

Salem is well known for the witch trials of 1692, when a frenzy spread through the town believing 156 people were guilty of witchcraft. 19 were hanged, but when the accusers began pointing to prominent members of the community, everything died down as quickly as it started, and by 1693 the remaining accused were released.

018 Salem Salem is also well known as a once-thriving centre of global maritime commerce. There are great self-guided walking tours one can do which take you around the Heritage Sites passing some magnificent old homes and public buildings.  This we did by picking up a map from the information centre and following the blue lines marked out along the route.

027 Housing for Plymouth Rock Next day it is on to the Historical town of Plymouth.  We were up and on our way by 06.45 on a partly foggy morning.  As the morning progressed the fog grew thicker.  There was a light breeze and we were able to use the sails which seemed strange. 09.30 there is a bang on the deck.  Now what? The shackle had come off the reef 1 at the sail – lovely NOT!!!!  We were lucky that both bits stayed on the deck and didn’t roll into the sea.

All morning we seemed to sail from one fog bank into another.  It is an uneasy feeling as you could hear the lobster fishermen moving around, but not see them. But with the radar on it was not too much of a problem. Also those pots again were everywhere.

By the time we reached the channel into Plymouth we were back in clear airs which was great as we had to negotiate our way past sandbanks, rocks, and along channels with the markers which house bells to guide you in when the fog is down.  We dropped anchor outside the main harbour.  As we were still putting things away the Harbour Master comes out to tell us if we plan to go into town we can’t leave the boat here. Not again !! He then guides us into the harbour and onto a mooring buoy, then asks for payment, so we produce the cash to be told he will only take a cheque – but not a foreign one !!!!  Thats OK we haven’t used a cheque book for years. The next way to pay is by Money Order. You must be joking. We tell him that will have to wait for the morning when we go into town.  They are very amiable and we make the payment the following day before departing.

021 Mayflower 11 replica There is so much to see and do in Plymouth, and we did not have time to visit all the sites we would have liked to, but we did walk around the waterfront to see Plymouth Rock, the symbol of the Pilgrims landing place, with the year 1620 etched into it, and, to see the reconstruction of the Mayflower 11 as it is called. Plymouth was not their first landing place, but Provincetown across the bay, where they spent two months before moving on.

Next we headed for the eastern end of the Cape Cod Canal which would shorten our return trip and avoid us having to round Cape Cod again, The Canal was an easy transit and we were through and into Buzzards Bay before sunset. We were looking for another sheltered bay to anchor for the night, but when you do come across one they are always full of boats on moorings. There are just thousands and thousands of boats along the coastline. We ended up anchored outside another very full anchorage.

014 Fishing Boat, Buzzards Bay The following day there is a change in the weather – winds 25kts, gusting 30kts and seas of 1.5mts. We have a great run back to Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island.  Funny we were the only yacht in sight out that morning, but a couple of fishing boats were about. By mid afternoon when the winds had dropped some, more yachts came out to enjoy the breeze. That evening we were anchored outside Wickford beside the Seawind 1160 “Courageous Couple” whom we had met out at Block Island.  We did not meet up with them again.

Before returning to Apponaug Cove, Warwick, we took the tender in to have a look around the village of Wickford. A pretty place, but no WIFI, no supermarket – it had closed down and moved further out of town, and the coffee was poor. One of the main problems we have found here in the States is that around many marines the amenities are so far away and one really needs a car to access them.  In some places in Florida even taxis to take you there were scarce. Unlike the Mediterranean where most towns have been built around the port with amenities just a short walk away.

The next few days are spend with the family.  We do a drive down the coast looking for a marina to park SHAMAL up in for the month of October while we child mind again.

036 The eclipse We are onboard SHAMAL on a mooring buoy in Apponaug Cove the night of the eclipse.  It was a wonderfully clear night and we had a great view of it.

Our son Murrays arrives a week later, and, on the 1st October he comes with us as we move SHAMAL down the coast just over a hundred miles, to Stamford.  We take a couple of days and again the weather has changed.  This time we have lots of rain.  We pull out or wet weather gear for the first time in six and a half years to find it is no longer water proof having been locked away in a cupboard as we pass through more tropical climates.  It was a rather cold wet trip for us now “tropical birds” !!!  As we arrive into Stamford we have news of the category 4 hurricane “Joaquin” which is hitting the Bahamas, and there is news it could turn and head north.  The Marina Manager tells us he wants us back on the boat if it should head this way.  We put extra lines on SHAMAL and stow everything away and tie everything down making her as secure as we can before heading inland to Danbury. The next three days we are watching the path of “Joaquin” and are very relieved when she blows herself out before reaching us.

Like the notice in this photo. Yes SHAMAL is in the photo.

041 Falmouth Foreside

We will now enjoy a New England Fall with the family.

Love to you all from

The Admiral and The Commander

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