Just another day at the office

Remember this?! Over the last three weeks we’ve been working our little tails off (between rain storms and Dena beginning and completing the first draft of her third novel) repairing our port-side toe rail where the genoa track (plum) tore its fasteners right out of that teak. At first we entertained (maybe the wrong choice of words there) the thought of cutting out the bad section completely and replacing it with a scarfed in section of some Ash-wood that we’ve had lying around for quite some time. We’ve both always heard that, because of the different expansion and contraction rates of different woods, it’s never a good idea to do any kind of scarfing with anything but the original kind of wood… That has always made sense to us. Well, we didn’t have a piece of teak big enough to do the scarf and we didn’t want to just fuck-in a bunch of epoxy so we opted for the next best thing… Fiberglass to the rescue! First we had to deconstruct a big enough section of the toe-rail to make a fiberglass repair worth the time so we went over to Northeast Harbor, ME. Got a slip for a day and a night and… …Broke out the heat gun, the scraper box, and the power-sander and melted our (practically) newly painted toe-rail right down to the bare wood. It was awesome! We were on the Hinkley sales dock right next to a million dollar plastic destroyer and we kept getting the shitty eyeball from the salesman that was hanging out in the air conditioned pilothouse of a boat that was definitely not his. Look over Dena’s left shoulder in the shot above… That over priced Clorox-bottle was baby-shit green, ugh! The next day we moved the boat back up Somes[…]

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Smooth Sailing Is Hard to Write

We just recently saw ourselves in a distorted mirror. I (James) was talking to my friend and woodworking client, Don, who expressed his understanding, based on our blog posts, that we were miserable. From pulling the engine cabling into the transmission, to running out of fuel, to the toerail breaking, to boats bumping us in the night, he thought we were “living in hell”. Screeeeeeech. No, Don. Not at all. It dawned on me that what we write in the blog are the mishaps because they bring contrast to the beauty of what we do. They provide the spice in what otherwise would be a fairly monotonous tale. Not boring to live, but with enough repetition that it’s hard to find new ways of expressing the beauty. We found out a long time ago that photos are faster, easier, and more effective at communicating the experiences of watching the sun set, of staring at our dinghy as it wags behind us like a tail, of sitting and watching the world of other boats come and go around us. Words are powerful tools, but bringing them to bear on largely non-verbal, maybe even pre-verbal, experiences of the senses is hard work. When you’re living your dreams, even in very moments of the mishaps, it’s absolutely beautiful.

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We had a pretty good run

Although internet access has been for shit, we have been out here, doing that thing, that living the dream thing! Yeah! Ok, we’re professional adventure writers now so let’s have some adventure shall we… and what would adventure be without a little madcap hi-jinx, eh? …Sailing! We talk about the work, the preparation, the joys, and of course the hours of monotony punctuated by the moments of heart-stopping intensity! Hold on a second, let’s back up… There we were, weeks of sailing along in our ship of dreams, all systems functioning as per our design. Anchorage after anchorage, gunkhole after shagged mooring… …Nothing but our imaginations revolving around our creativity and the air filling our sails and our ship guiding us through our earthbound universe. Cheesy, yes… But real. Proof. Cradle Cove, Belfast, Tom Cod Cove, Orcutt Harbor, Brooklin, Goose Cove… And the no-internet-having version of weather, a VHF Perfect-Pete Wx forecast, suggested a snug harbor for the following night, with gusts to 20 and buckets of rain predicted. We beat toward the bar between Bass Harbor Head and Great Gott Island, pushing hard into the wind, when… Crack! Remember that big toerail-rebuild project from this past fall? Well… It didn’t work out so well beating hard in a stiff and freshening breeze with a building sea at 20 degrees of heel on a 54-year-old piece of (shit) wood that had been revitalized (ok, that’s being kind) by quite a few hacks prior to us. That run-on was apropos, right? Anyway, CRACK is not what I (James) thought I would hear from that part of the boat right then. Dena was on the lee side tucking the second reef in and I didn’t even recognize the sound as coming from the fucking freshly rebuilt portside toerail! Why would I? We[…]

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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[…]

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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.

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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.

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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[…]

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