Linekin to Rockland

We’re not much for crowds, so when we approached Boothbay Harbor, we did it from a slight distance. Leaving Ebencook Harbor, we used the Townsend Gut to avoid going out and around. It has an intensely narrow point or two, and a wait for a swing bridge. We got to exercise our close-quarters seamanship skills. After leaving the gut, we could see Boothbay Harbor, but skeedaddled around Linekin Point and put the hook down in Linekin Harbor, ME, just off a resort on the point. On the loop through the harbor to find the best spot, we sighted an old acquaintance, the sailing catamaran Sula, on a mooring buoy and hollered our greetings. We rowed in and met a couple who bought the resort’s boat and moved aboard. They have a built-in clientele for charters and were waiting for their passengers, so we shot the shit a while. It’s a pleasure to meet young people getting aboard and itching to travel. They set us off the right way for the epic walk to Boothbay proper. We were, as expected, overwhelmed by the seaside carnival town. No rides, but so many small shops packed together along the waterfront that it has a festive air. We, however, mostly gripped each others’ hands and made straight for the marina operators we wanted to talk to. The weather has continued to blow on and off and fog us in periodically, so we stayed another day and grabbed a free meal at the local all-inclusive hotel. The sysco fare was mediocre except the one thing that bowled us over. Oysters on the half shell served with wakame. Could have eaten that for days. We also utilized their free wifi before we weighed the hook and put off in a fog that gathered and dispersed around[…]

Read more

Making our way

Wow. We really have not had internet in the “wilds” of the Down East. We’d known that T-Mobile wasn’t great, but…wow. So we’re behind on posting, but rest assured that we are living the adventurous life. It’s been beautiful and challenging, perfect sailing and some motorsailing. Here’s our trip from Portland to Snow Island in Quahog Bay via Admiral Peary’s house on Eagle Island.

Read more

Not a Great Sailing Day

This is one reason not to bring a schedule on a sailboat. We’re relaxing, reading mostly, for the second day in a row. I’m happy for another rest day after giving myself food poisoning with either yogurt that looked a little grainy but had no smell or curry leaf oil I made myself but didn’t dry enough resulting in mold. I didn’t use moldy leaves, but still. More adventures tomorrow, I hope.

Read more

Searching for Ohana

After our calamitous approach to Portland Harbor and subsequent safe anchorage, we decided to dedicate the following day to finding Ohana, the boat that gave us 5 gallons of diesel fuel and the jerry can it came in. We’d refilled the can, so the next morning we loaded it into the dinghy and set off for the Portland waterfront. We’d anchored near our old spot, though, the one near the boat ramp at the East Promenade, meaning we were a long, long ways from the waterfront. Once we arrived at the marina Ohana had said they’d be going to, Portland Yacht Services, we tied up and went to the office. To make a long story short, they weren’t there. Ohana wasn’t at any of the marinas up the Fore River and we know because we walked the entire 2 mile length of the town looking for them. Along the way, we also questioned the surly, helpful, and/or chatty marina owners and managers about the area for our guidebook edits. We didn’t find Ohana, but we found another kind of family at Nomia, the local women-owned and operated sex toy shop. We were greeted by a gracious person who, surprise, surprise, crews for offshore voyages. If there is any such thing as “our people”, she’s it. The row back was against the current and the wind, which had picked up considerably throughout the day. This is not my (James) favorite story to tell; it was a drag. The next day, we walked and walked some more, another 4 miles, in order to get groceries. The East Promenade has a trail that leads through it, tying the waterfront-downtown area to the back bay. We used the trail to get to work back in the Equality Maine days and hadn’t been missing the[…]

Read more

In a Fog

Currents run about an hour and a half behind tides in the Piscataqua River and its side creeks and channels. In order to leave before the current turned against us, we got up at 0400 and had the engine running at 0535. Since leaving entailed dropping the mooring pennant (thanks again, Tom and Amy!), we were quickly underway. There was a good fog going on, giving us visibility of about a mile or so, but the forecasters called for 5-10 knots of SE wind, building to 10-15 with 20 knot gusts in the afternoon. Perfect conditions for a broad reach up to Portland. We thought it would blow the fog away before long. Both they and we were wrong. When we rounded Gerrish Island, at the mouth of the river, the fog got denser rather than lighter. At less than a quarter mile visibility, the term socked in was fully realized. In fog this thick, being on watch means constantly scanning the liminal horizon. With our radar pulsing through the visual barrier, we watched red blobs coalesce on the screen and navigated around most of the lobstering fleet without ever catching sight of them. Eyes straining in the diffuse glare, ears pointed to the low growl of engine noise reflecting off the water, an hour watch exhausted our concentration. Shift kiss. Modulating fog density gave us up to a half mile visibility at times before closing in on us again. The freedom to look farther reminded me (Dena) of the sensation when coming out of a dense forest onto an ocean cliff. Extending focus is a liberating act. Hours upon hours stacked up, watch on watch, but the fog didn’t lift and the forecasters were wrong. We motorsailed as soon as a breeze plucked at the water vapor in the[…]

Read more

Time Warp

In the last post, we ended in peaceful distress. The next morning, we met Roger, neighbor to Tom, owner of a Bob Perry designed Passport, who offered us his mooring. If this gets confusing, don’t worry. Forgetting names is part of the nature of the peripatetic life. They both belong to the Portsmouth Yacht Club, though they live in Kittery. The “working man’s yacht club”. If I had a dime for every time I heard someone say they belonged to a working man’s yacht club, I’d have enough money to join the Portsmouth Yacht Club. Don’t get us wrong. These two men were incredible. They offered us every resource they had. But as you know – yacht clubs are not our thing. Roger owned the house one down from Tom. Some “horrible people” lived between them. Roger, who has a 43′ Irwin, is a do-it-yourselfer to the soul. He immediately offered to take us to West Marine for the electrical bits and pieces we’d need. Of course, the liquor store was on the way… Anyway, the picture above shows what a clean break we had. There are two electrical harnesses – one on the engine and one on the instrument panel. They’re connected by an extension harness. Turns out, that’s what got pulled into our prop shaft as we motored merrily along until the hard plastic ends started to knock against the sides of the hull. No real damage, in the end. Except that the extension costs about $175 before tax and shipping, best case scenario, if the internet discount people had it in stock. Much more if we went to a regular Yanmar dealer. So, we’ll build it ourselves. As a matter of fact, now that we look at the ends on the engine and the instrument panel, we[…]

Read more

Gloucester to Kittery

I (Dena) weighed anchor at 0830, grateful for a sandy bottom that left our anchor and rode cleaner than it went in. Nothing like James’ mucky mess from Boston Hah-buh. We raised sail immediately and broad reached out of Gloucester Harbor and around toward Cape Ann into a beat. The boat was driving itself and reacting strongly to the Monitor. The sun was nice and cozy, both warm and shady in the cockpit. We traded off camera angles as well as easy one hour shifts, which adds up to many a shift kiss. You’d kiss him too. Admit it. As we came around the Cape, the wind stilled. We sucked every last bit of wind and when we went to start the engine…nothing. Not even the irritating click we’d get instead of a roar on occasion. Just nothing. So, I (James) went dumpster diving. On a boat, dumpster diving is when you have to tear into a well-packed lazarette to trace and test cables to find out why that god-dman engine won’t start. Is this a good place for a diatribe about the evils of the internal combustion engine? Sure! Before inventing most of the things that modern sailors consider ancient technology, Nathaniel Herreschoff built diesel engines. That makes our diesel engine the oldest piece of tech on our boat. Even at its best, it’s a jankie piece of shit that’s smelly, greasy, oily, and downright disgusting. There. Anyway. We broke out the screwdriver and started the engine. We really did have to motor for 4 long, loud hours. The entire time, I was thinking this engine sounds like it’s working too hard. I couldn’t explain it and it didn’t sound bad enough to break open the engine compartment and look inside. I (Dena) decided there was enough wind to[…]

Read more