Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day 75- Sassafras River, MD

We're in the Chesapeake!  It feels like a new stage of this adventure.  In fact we've traveled over 1000 miles on this journey already, so it's time for a new stage.  We left Cape May early to catch favoring currents in Delaware Bay and the C&D Canal.  Pablo's planning was excellent, we had a 2-3 knot current in our favor for about 12 hours.  The winds picked up late afternoon and were blowing 20 knots on the nose, against the current, making for a bumpy ride.  We were happy to tuck into a calm anchorage in the Sassafras River.  Really looking forward to exploring the Chesapeake.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 74- Cape May, NJ

Finally starting to catch up on the blog. We left Port Washington, NY Tuesday morning and motored through the middle of New York City. New York City was almost as busy on the water as it was by land. A lot of ferries, tankers, tugs, and every kind of boat imaginable, not to mention helicopters on floating platforms. As we passed the Statue of Liberty the fog rolled in. Nothing like navigating through one of the worlds busiest harbors in thick fog to get your heart beating. I was thrilled when we were out of New York Harbor and offshore. The vastness of the Atlantic Ocean felt really nice! We sailed all night in southeast, 15 knot winds and arrived in Cape May mid day. Fairly uneventful except for running into an unidentified object. It made a lot of noise but luckily bounced off the hull. It was too dark to find it even with our powerful spotlight. Remi and Mia are convinced it was a submarine. The anchorage in Cape May is full of cruising boats heading south.

Foggy New York Harbor

Cape May anchorage

Day 72-Port Washington, NY

We are currently in Port Washington on Long Island very close to NY city. We had to pick up a part for the boat and make a trip into "The City" as Mia and I needed to renew our Finnish passports at the Consulate. We took the Long Island Railroad directly to Penn Station and walked across most of Manhattan (or at least it felt like it) to the United Nations complex where the consulate is. Despite spending the last 20 years on the East Coast we have managed to avoid NYC, so this was a new experience for the entire family. What a trip New York City is! The variety and density of people is staggering.  Just amazing to see how tightly packed everything is.  It was hard getting used to being so close but yet so isolated.  We ate lunch so close to the neighboring table we felt we were in the couples lap, yet not a word or any kind of acknowledgment was exchanged the entire meal.  This has got to be a defense mechanism as one would overload if you acknowledged or exchanged words with all those close by.  Reminds me of the Crocodile Dundee scene where Mick walks thru the city saying Good Day Mate to everyone…

We stumbled upon fun places without planning.  Half way through Time Square Mia asked “Isn’t this Time Square?”  Pablo, not the details planner, is a strong believer in the philosophy if you position yourself in new situations and surroundings you will find the interesting areas.  In that spirit we somewhat serendipitously wandered into the New York Public Library to use a printer. What a fabulous building. I tried to capture some of the marble, wood carvings and murals but did not come close to doing it justice. Even our over tired and over stimulated kids were impressed with the grand reading room (ironically full of computers) with vibrant and realistic cloud mural ceilings.

We're docked next to a yacht that makes us look miniscule. MITseaAH is 150ft mega sailing yacht that planes at speeds of 25 knots. Like many things experienced in NYC it was loud and obnoxious.  See here for a video. Note the pool and hot tub in photos below. They have a "full service" seven person crew. Sailing on a mega yacht seemed pretty cool until we watched the crew cater to the clients, including removing the socks off their feet.

Docked next to MITseaAH

MITseaAH pool and hot tub

Walking in Manhattan

New York Public Library, note the ceiling mural

Times Square

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day 70- Oyster Bay, NY

Yesterday was rainy and foggy so we decided to stay put in the Thimble Islands huddle up down below with good Wifi and 3G access (always amazes me, the more remote the better the Wifi). Pablo sent the kids out in the rain to clean off the boat. The kids had been cooped up for a while by then and had a blast soaping up the boat. We left early this morning and had to motor all the way to Oyster Bay, NY on Long Island. We looked into a mooring but at $1.50/ft it was by far the most expensive we have encountered. So we're anchored. Not much seems to have changed here since we came through a year ago. Expansive estates, huge yachts, and even the same cruising boat anchored next to us.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Day 69- Thimble Islands, CT

It was a little surreal to wake up to the sound of sprinklers in thick fog yesterday.  The cove that we were anchored in Fishers Island was tucked in between fairways of a golf course.  Most of Fishers Island is private so we weren't able to explore.  Here is what I read about it.

"Most people have never heard of Fishers Island or Fishers Island Club (ranked #29 in the world). It is a seven mile long island, located on the narrowest part of the Long Island Sound between New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. It is quite small, the entire island being only 3,200 acres and is one of the most affluent places in the world. Fishers Island was granted to John Winthrop Jr., an early governor of Connecticut, in 1640. The family owned the island for several generations and finally sold it in 1863. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it evolved into a retreat for families with last names like Dupont, Firestone and Whitney. Fishers Island remains a secluded enclave.." 

Needeless to say we fit right in with our jerry jugs and all.

From Fishers we motored to The Thimble Islands.  Pablo wanted to go in the back way, literally between a rock and a hard place.  The hard place in this case was a very shallow spot.  Pablo thought it was hilarous that I was snapping photos as I complained that there was nothing enjoyable about the experience.  Again I survived without a serious nervous breakdown.  The Thimble Islands arn't quite as exclusive as Fishers Island.  As indicated by the fact that tour boats cruise within feet of our boat packed with people with camcorders. 
East Cove, Fishers Island

Fishers Island

Thimble Islands

Morning swim in the Thimble Islands

Warm enough to hang out in
One of the many tour boats that went by

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day 67-Fishers Island, NY

Finally underway again!  We spent a very productive week at our old home base Brewers Yacht Yard Cowesett in East Greenwich, RI.  The folks at Brewers have been very accommodating and we are thoroughly impressed with the yard staff and how the yard is run.  Pablo got the life raft remounted on our stern rail, a shelf built into the anchor locker, picked up our new downwind sail, upgraded running rigging, added more anchor rode, installed a new tachometer and added running boards with fuel jugs on deck.  We're really starting to sport the cruising boat look now.  We spent time going through our storage unit to swap gear with a finality not experienced the last time we left the unit.  We were able to spend a couple of days with family and friends.  Our timing back was perfect and we were also able to attend the MIT Lincoln Lab family day; which was very cool as it is only held every 5 years.  Unbelievable this was our 3rd of these.  Pablo went to the Newport Boat show and picked up some nifty LED bulbs.  Now we can actually use lights when we need them without constant reminders regarding how many amps we're using.  These will use about a third of what our old ones used.  I spent time taking advantage of having a car.  We got haircuts, went shopping for clothes and food that will get harder to find as we get further into the trip.  And then spent a whole day trying to find places for everything on the boat.  I went through mail for the first time in in weeks.  Other than a jury duty notice, no surprises.  Mia's Calvert homeschool package arrived.  I think it weighs more than she does!  So far I'm impressed.  The system is well organized and looks fun.
It felt really good to leave the dock this morning.  It is nice to have the boat put back together after the chaos of working on it.  We sailed out of Narragansett into Long Island Sound and anchored at Fishers Island, NY. 

Newport Bridge in moonlight while anchored in Dutch Habor

Cool clay creatures

Pablo and Remi working on the anchor locker

Making cookies with Nana

Pablo fixing the wind generator.  Note the stuff accumulating on deck.

Band Hero with the Candell family

Monday, September 12, 2011

Day 58- Dutch Harbor, RI

We left Freeport, ME at 11am for a 150 mile passage to MA.  We arrived 25 hours later in Hadley Harbor.  We sailed most of the afternoon but took the sails down when the winds died in the evening.  The sunset was gorgous and the night lit by an almost full moon. Traffic was relatively light, other than a few fishing vessels.  We did hear a Coast Guard notice regarding a 250ft unlit barge adrift in an area that we were transiting.  Luckily we didn't find it.  After a beautiful overnight sail we transited the Cape Cod Canal without incident this time.  (Last time we ended up with a lot water from a power boat wake inside the main cabin.)   Hadley Harbor was busier than we expected. We were hoping that the sailing season would be slowing down here but it doesn't seem so.  No moorings were available in the inner harbor so we anchored in the outer harbor, only to be joined by a boat with folks we met up in Islbororo Maine. Along with the high density of boats and people, we are back in the land of cell phone and internet service.  I have't seen 5 bars in many weeks, maybe months!  After spending a very still night in Buzards Bay, we sailed toward Narragansett Bay today and ended up anchored in Dutch Harbor.
Sunset 20 miles offshore


Dinner at sea

Remi taking advantage of the 5 bars

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Day 56- Freeport, ME

After the Basin we spent two nights on a friends mooring in Water Cove on Bailey Island.  It was nice to slow down for a bit and catch up with friends and dry out after several days of rain.  While waiting for Hurricane Katia to pass offshore we spent a night in Freeport, ME.  We took advantage of the outlet stores and picked up some clothes. Unfortunately most of  the summer clothes were already gone and not on clearance as I'd hoped.   As luck would have it, we were directed to a slip next to a boat named Aurora. The owner, Joe, was a great guy who knew all of the locals and let us use his truck to run errands.  He introduced us to Bob, a colorful character who lives on Pound of Tea island at the entrance to Freeport. Today we're getting the boat squared away for an overnight passage to the Cape Cod Canal.

Water Cove, Bailey Island


Pound of Tea Island near Freeport

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day 53 -The Basin, New Meadows River, ME

What a difference a day makes. The winds shifted to the north and we had a very pleasant sail down the coast yesterday. Tacking up Casco Bay through lobster pots and multiple ledges/islands made us feel like we were sailing through an obstacle course. Good practice making upwind progress. We are now anchored in "The Basin" which is off the New Meadows River in Casco Bay. The narrow inlet isolates it from the outside, so it feels like an inland lake. According to Pablo and the girls the water is warmest it has been in Maine. I may even have to try it out. Call me loony but I prefer swimming water to be at least in the 60's. Pablo rigged a rope swing out of one of the halyards. It still needs a little improvement since the landing point is a little close to the boat. We're spending a rainy morning doing school work and boat chores.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Day 51- Boothbay, ME

We spent a great relaxing weekend with the Gardner family in Pulpit Harbor.  An unexpected pleasure of this trip has been meeting really interesting people we may have otherwise not met.  Pablo and I enjoyed getting to know the entire family and realized that we share many similar perspectives.  It was great to have the kids spend time with other kids who are comfortable on a boat.  Sure hope we'll meet up again not too far in the future.  We left Pulpit at 7am and beat our way to Boothbay.   It was a wet and bumpy run beating into the wind. We all felt a bit quesy. Could of waited a day or two for the winds to shift but felt motivated to move south.  We were happy to arrive in Boothbay, though it was a little shocking after the remote places that we been hanging out in for the past month.  Not sure if it was the cigarette boat loudly idling next to us or the ubiqoutous PA systems on tour boats and dockside restaurants that made us want to turn around and go back to the Penobscot Bay area.  Have pictures to add and additional notes to post to previous entries.  Hope to spend some time tomorrow morning catching up on it all.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Day 49- Rockland, ME

We came to Rockland two nights ago to run errrands.  We spent a entire day in town and managed to do most of the things on our list.   I still haven't gotten used to how ridicoulously long it takes to get routine stuff done. For example we had to return a package to Amazon.  This required a stop at the library first to use a public printer for the label.  Which requires signing up and then waiting in line for the next available computer.  Then we need to hunt down a box for shipping and tape to secure it.  And then finally the PO.  A few extra steps on each errand adds up.
Rockland is much quieter than a month ago.  Many boats had been hauled out at the boat yard.  Not sure if Hurricane Irene prompted an early end to the season or this is when things start winding down here anyway.
We heard rumors about free moorings in the harbor so we were motivated to track them down.  This ended up being a super sweet deal.  The moorings belong to the Samoset, an upscale resort.  Upon arrival they gave us access to their facility.  The kids were in the pool before I had set our stuff down.  The hot tub, steam room, and 10 head showers felt incredible after walking and carrying supplies all day.