Sunday, September 23, 2012


Moonshadow has now completed her second circumnavigation.  OK, maybe not around the world, like the first time, but we've now sailed counter clockwise all the way around Cape Cod.

An 11 hour, 85 mile motor-sail from Jewell Island, near Portland Maine, brought us to Salem, Massachusetts. The wind didn't cooperate as it was right on the nose, but later in the day, it backed just enough to roll out the staysail and gain a half knot. It was a beautiful day and a comfortable trip but really pretty cold!

Salem is where we met up with Chris and Jenn (hey, that sounds familiar! *) Ware who are buying Moonshadow's sister-ship, a Deerfoot 2-62 named Diva in Ft. Lauderdale.  It was fun to show them Moonshadow and learn what makes a Deerfoot buyer tick.  Their plan is to shake down Diva with a cruise to Salem next spring, then enjoy New England, sail to Bermuda and back, then finally head for Panama and the Pacific.  We hope to see them along the way!

While in Salem, Deb drove us in the dinghy over to the Boston Yacht Club in Marblehead where they have the steering wheel from Spray, the boat that Joshua Slocum sailed around the world.

In 1895, Mr. Slocum sailed from Boston on a cruise that eventually resulted in his becoming the first person to circumnavigate the world alone on a sail boat.  

Spray was a very old Chesapeake fishing sloop that Slocum found sitting out in a field. Though really not very handsome, Spray had one quality that made it possible for Joshua to sail around the world alone.  She could sail with the wheel lashed down and hold her course for hours at a time, even sailing before the wind.  I guess old Josh hadn't heard about the Simrad Auto Pilot, like the one on Moonshadow!

We had lunch in a back-street pub in Salem where, for some reason, everybody seemed really interested in the Patriot's football game.  This was the Patriots' home opener and they lost. 

After a couple of days in Salem, we got the feeling it was time to continue south.  We keep seeing these funny trucks with big steel blades on the front...  What's that all about?

Boston is just 18 miles or about a three hour motor south of Salem and Marblehead.

As you enter Boston Harbor, the first thing you see is their waste treatment center.  It treats 350 million gallons per day.  

By the way, this is Beantown we're talkin about here.

Then you come around the channel and see the city front.

With a weather forecast calling for a gale, we opted to call for a mooring reservation in lieu of riding it our on our awesome 121 lb Rocna anchor. It turned out Moonshadow is too big for any of their moorings, but the marina owner gave us a slip in the marina for the price of a mooring.  

The slip was right in the middle of downtown Boston!  

First stop: Starbucks!

Next it was off to see the sights, like this church where some guy had this crazy idea to use lanterns to signal how the British were coming. This was way before Facebook!

The better story about the church was how the pastor used all their resources to buy 8 church bells (an octave of notes) from England then couldn't afford to pay for bell ringers. Bell ringing with eight different notes is difficult if you don't know what you're doing. After a dozen years or so, some youngsters volunteered so they finally had bells ringing from the tower. One of those young bell ringers was Paul Revere!
Funny how career paths go.

Just down the street we found the address where Deb's career with Manulife Financial came to an abrupt end. She and all the other managers around the country were flown to Boston to be given their pink slips in this building. It was the best thing that ever happened for Deb's career!
The next day as the weather deteriorated in the path of a big cold front, we did a walking tour and visited the Bunker Hill Monument, climbing all 294 steps to the top. The battle for the hill was won by the Brits, but at a terrible cost of about half their strength, proving that you can win the battle but lose the war.
The view from the top was a feast for our eyes, but our legs were screaming at us...
 We also visited the US Navy Frigate Constitution.  Old Ironsides.

Below this deck is a second gun deck and the captain's quarters in the stern. Below that, we saw where the roughly 450 sailors lived and slept in hammocks. In the aft end is the officer's quarters. 

Near the Captain's quarters there was a list of all of Constitution's Commanders. Of note was Commander Louis Gulliver from 1931 to 1934. He was in command when Constitution was recommissioned in 1931 and toured the US for three years, returning to Boston in 1934. In the late 1930s a friend of my grandfather asked Commander Gulliver to join them on a cruise to Catalina and the Santa Cruz Islands aboard the Joanne with my 18 year old Dad in charge. No pressure there!

We also noted that the only Officer to command Constitution twice was Captain John Rodgers!  1804-1808 and again 1809-1810.

We got lucky and actually saw Captain John Rogers at the wheel!

Old Ironsides was an impressive ship from any angle, but you can see the naval architects have evolved their hull design thinking over the years...

I guess if you want to go fast, you need to look more like this!
We could see the weather was getting worse so we took a ferry back to the downtown wharf where Moonshadow was waiting.  

The wind was already blowing about 25 so John doubled and trippled the docklines, put chafe protection on the wear points and located fenders where they could do the most good protecting Moonshadow. We had a loud and rocky night as the wind blew harder and harder to about 35 with some gusts in the mid 40s, then finally the front passed and we got some sleep.

When we finally left Boston, it was a beautiful crisp clear day.  The view of the waterfront and city from the water was awesome.

We had a good sail down the coast past Plymouth to the Cape Cod Canal.  This canal permits passage from Massachusetts Bay to Buzzard's Bay without having to sail around the outside of the cape.

The canal gets some strong currents from the 9 foot ties on the Cape Cod side, but we'd timed our passage to arrive at slack tide. Normally, Moonshadow doesn't leave this big of a wake...

Unless we're following a ginormous tugboat!

On the Buzzard's Bay side of the canal, we found our British cruising friends Patrick and Amanda sailing Egret, bound for the same cove as Moonshadow.

 After about 70 miles we arrived at Hadley Harbor near Wood's Hole, Mass. This is a beautiful little spot with mooring balls marked "Private", but that's just to relieve the owners of liability.  They're free for the taking. Later, we were invited aboard Egret for sundowners.

The cove is small and protected from all sides by adjacent wooded islands, with beautiful homes back in the trees. One of these islands is Naushon Island, owned by the Forbes Family.

On Naushon Island there is an old boatbuilding shed with a marine railway next to a pasture with horses.

The shed has a half model over the door...

Nearby is a little fleet of Herreschoff sloops.

Another island, named Bull Island, has no homes or buildings. Instead, as this plaque suggests, it is intended for visitors to explore, picnic, and enjoy. We like that.

We hiked around the island, explored and enjoyed (no picnic though)...

The anchorage reminds us of Howland's Landing in Catalina. It appears people come here for the weekend from across Buzzard's Bay or over on Cape Cod all summer long. There were several raft-ups and fun times here.

But one could find some solitude just around the bend...

It was finally time to return to Moonshadow and plan our next leg, 38 miles to Newport, Rhode Island. We've heard there's some sailing that goes on there.

But first, how about some freshly baked banana bread!

* John has a niece Jen married to Chris

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dessert Anyone?

The sail from Camden to Somes Sound on Mt. Desert (pronounced dessert) Island, Maine, would have been an easy day's cruise through the archipelago of islands (around a bazillion) to the east but we didn't get underway until 2:00 PM (that's 1400 in sailorspeak), so we stopped in an unremarkable but secure cove called Macrel Bay on Seals Island, then continued on the next day.  

The best thing about leaving Camden so late was the wind really piped up and we had a terrific sail out of Camden.  Steve Dashew, Moonshadow's designer was in Camden aboard his 83 footer Wind Horse and took some great shots of us as we revved up the knot meter right in front of his anchored boat.  The new photo in our blog's masthead is the result.  Thanks Steve!

Funny how when things don't go according to plan, other things you couldn't plan for happen, like sailing past this beautiful gaff schooner.

Five miles up Somes Sound, which is the only fiord in the United States, is Somes Harbor where we anchored and stayed for a week.  

Part of the reason we stayed so long was Somes Harbor is a very safe place to be if a hurricane should pay Maine a visit.  As it happened, we were intently watching Hurricane Leslie as it passed a few hundred miles to the east on it's way to oblivion in the North Atlantic.  That's closer than we've ever been or hope to ever be to an hurricane.

Mt. Desert Island is the home of a few points of interest, like Southwest Harbor, where there'e a Hinkeley yard, and Morris Yachts, both premier boat builders; Northeast Harbor, where some rather well healed people like Martha Stewart choose to hang; and Bar Harbor, which is cool mostly because it's pronounced Baa Haabaa. 

 Bar Harbor has some tall ships you can see... if you can see them.

Can you see the sails above the fog?

There are miles of hiking trails and cycling along "carriage roads" left to the national park system by the Rockefeller's who once owned most of the land here.  We also enjoyed beach combing and admiring good ole Moonshadow in such beautiful surroundings.

The other reason for staying in Somes Harbor so long was just the raw beauty of the place.  

How can you leave a place like this?

(click on any picture to enlarge it)

Something made us wonder how long it would stay nice like this, after all, this is Maine...

When the wind swings around to the north (which happens when a hurricane cruises by) bringing some of Canada's surplus frigid air south,  and  you discover you are sleeping in a long sleeve shirt under two blankets; you can easily rationalize a plan to head for lower latitudes.

Besides, this bald guy kept checking out Moonshadow...

So it was that Moonshadow found herself anchored in Pulpit Harbor on North Haven, the first in a three step 185 mile cruise west and south to Salem, Massachusetts.  

In Pulpit Harbor, we found Adam Cambell, owner of North Haven Oyster Company, about a mile's walk from the dinghy landing.  

It was really nice to hear this self made businessman in remote North Haven Island, Maine, tell his story of taking a small piece of land on a pond, learning about growing oysters, gambling on his own initiative and now producing 100,000 of the best oysters you've ever tasted.

Adam sold us three baker's dozen (39) oysters for $30, taught us how to shuck oysters, gave us a shucking knife, gave us a tour of his oyster farm, and offered a ride back to the dinghy.

He gets the five star platinum award for customer service!

 After gobbling up a third of our oyster haul, we decided to find something in the fridge for dinner and look what we found!  Eating lobsters that were in a cage 50 feet underwater just a few hours ago is just the best thing on earth.

Eating fresh live Maine lobster is far better than picking up a lobster trap on your keel, rudder or prop.  We did.  Twice.

It ain't hard when you have to navigate this easter egg colored mine field.

The really bad ones have a "toggle" with a second float for deep water and swift current locations.

Motor between these and you will know it.

This is the view you have of the lobster-trap-mine-field...and you're motoring at 9 knots!

Next stop on the way to Salem was Jewell Island, which has a long narrow anchorage with room for six cruisers anchored bow to stern as if in a parade.  It turned out this anchorage had a jewel of a sunset in store for us.