Over a month ago we tossed off the mooring in Salem and headed for Beverly.
Not much of an adventure to be sure but we absolutely made the best of it and settled right in. Beverly Port Marina is a run down family “owned” dump that has recently had a run in with the local waterfront revitalization community. The marina has fenced off a rather large section of the public waterfront for it’s private usage and the revitalization people want to take it back by imminent domain to continue the public hike and bike trail ultimately scheduled to go from Cape Cod to Cape Anne.
The imminent Domain has already been won by the local and state voters so it’s inevitable that the marina will have to clean up their act and let the public stroll right through the middle of their shit.
We paid up front and they invited us to come in early.
I did laundry on our first day there and it caused raw sewage to boil up from the floor drains to swamp a 2 inch funky bog throughout both the men’s and women’s restrooms. There is so much oil and toxic goo on the concrete between the docks and the restrooms that it’s guaranteed you’ll track it aboard on even a single trip to the head.
We were there for almost a week when the old guy that runs the machinery caught us on the dock and told us we could no longer ride our bikes on the property of the marina. From then on we had to walk our bikes from the entrance of the marina to where ever we were going to lock them.
Of course they had no bike racks so we had to improvise a safe spot behind a wall on a metal structure not built for locking bikes about 100 yards from the entrance.
When Dena asked why it was okay for people in cars to be on the property but not people on bikes the old dude got all flustered and gave us some bullshit story about being a bad example for all the 12-year-olds (in winter time, at a marina WTAF?!)…and we could get hit by one of his machines and… “we all have to live by rules that we all can live by” etc, etc and stupid shit that doesn’t apply to us. (Most marina machinery that moves is slower than the wit of most marina machine operators and big as a house, so, not likely to hit either one of us even on a bad day.)
When Dena approached the woman who said she “owned” the place the following Monday the woman essentially told her that it was her marina and her rules and if we didn’t like it we could leave. When Dena politely pressed the issue further (like she do) that sad, bitter old woman (who had just lost a battle over public domain for bicyclists) kicked us out right then and there.
We were back on the mooring and enjoying a great meal by sunset.
Those people at that marina truly missed a great opportunity to have us as neighbors. Not only do we actually know boating and the marina environs we don’t complain about the little things like shit bubbling up in the showers. We also have a genuine respect for people trying to make it on their own in this industry. They blew it, they assumed we were their enemies to their detriment and we will get to watch them fail. Not much of a consolation being as though we had to scramble to find some new winter digs.
Dena works with a few people who live in Lynn, two towns south of Salem and one of her coworkers mentioned they had a city run marina. So, I went on a nice long bike ride to Lynn, Mass. I talked to the two guys that run the place, Dave and Hank, and I made a play for a winter slip…Okay, I’m going to give you the short version. It was sketchy as all-hell but they ultimately gave us a slip assignment… a HUGE nor’easter, 70 knot winds, 13 foot seas in the anchorage while we were celebrating our 25th anniversary in Friendship, Maine.
We returned to a boat that was a dreadful mess but largely unhurt just in time for two days of storms and cold. By this time the cat was infuriated!
…until we got that fire going!
We got back on a Tuesday, Wednesday was the big storm, Thursday was our chance to clean up the boat and survey for damage, Friday…gales! Saturday…fucking storm.
…and Sunday we sailed away!
We sailed east, south, west and north around Marble Head to Nahant under main alone with two reefs tucked in all day long. The large north-east ocean rollers were on our good sides throughout the day and never once broke on us.
As we made our final approach one last squall pounded on through leaving us soaked to the gills with a glorious sunset off the port-bow and a magnificent double rainbow to stern.
We made landfall before twilight’s end on Halloween and were, once again, wintering here.
…you know Dean,
I learned from you that we had to give at least as many examples of the great stuff as we do the terrible stuff or people will just wonder, “…why in the the hell would anyone live this way?!”