The Log of Chip Ahoyís 2006 Cape Cod Cruise
Friday, August 4, 2006; 8:30 am
Provincetown Marina mooring #208
Iíve got a bit of catching up to do to
bring this log up to date from the start of this cruise, and on a
tranquil mooring in Provincetown Harbor, the coffee brewed and the boat
more of less settled in though still disorganized a bit beyond my
comfort level, just buttoned up for a sudden shower (downpour), Iíll
begin at the beginning.
This is officially Day Three of this
annual cruise of mine. On
Tuesday night I brought Chip Ahoy to the
Village Street dock in Marblehead, loaded it up, and spent the night
tied up there. At 6:30 am on Wednesday, August 2, I started up the new
Honda 8 hp 4-stroke, cast off the dock lines, and the cruise officially
began: my destination was Scituate for the night.
The conditions were absolutely perfect
the whole way. There was a westerly wind blowing offshore at 10-15 knots
gusting to 20, the sky was clear and sunny, the temperature Ė though
reaching close to 100 degrees on land Ė was comfortable on the sea,
where I had one to two foot seas. Chip Ahoy and I flew to Scituate in
record time, averaging about 5 knots all the way, arriving at 1:30 pm.
The day was perfect Ė except for the sea-borne man-eating house flies,
but more on them later.
Scituate Harbor I was assigned a
slip for the night by the harbormasterís office, actually alongside an
end dock cul-de-sac at the further reaches of the town dock ($44/night
with electric that I didnít bother using). I spent the remainder of the
afternoon tweaking the boat and trying to make it at least a bit more
organized. That evening I had dinner at Millerís Wharf Restaurant (great
clam chowder!), as a severe thunderstorm raged just south of us (where
Iím heading) though leaving Scituate unscathed but for winds.
I simply love my new forward
hatch, especially in this heat wave. The "tunnel effect" exceeds my
expectations; already it has been well worth the effort this spring to
cut the hole in the deck and install it! How did I ever endure without
I planned to depart early for the
30-mile crossing of Cape Cod Bay right after dawn. I hoped, to avoid the
severe thunderstorm warnings again posted for late that (Thursday)
afternoon Ė but there was a little problem: I was pretty well hemmed in
where the harbormaster had berthed Chip Ahoy, in a far corner with
little to almost no room to maneuver without hitting the boat that came
in behind me
in reverse and into a steady westerly wind coming at me from astern. The
office wouldnít open until 8:00 am, but theyíd be more than willing to
give me a hand walking the boat back (they were there on my arrival to
help tuck me into that slot for the night) after they arrived and opened
for the day.
On Thursday morning I awoke as usual
just before dawn and looked at the conditions Ė considered my options.
After another check of the NOAA weather channel, the storm warnings were
still in effect for late Thursday afternoon until midnight. I was very
reluctant to tread water waiting for the harbormasterís office to open,
so began looking at my alternative: trying to cast off and move out on
my own, without doing any damage. I devised a plan, using my dock lines
Ė and a long spring line Ė so I could walk Chip Ahoy back somewhat
myself, little at a time, enough to give me an additional edge;
hopefully enough. I moved "Chip Mate," the dinghy to the other (port)
side so it had less chance of creating unexpected problems as I reversed
myself into a corner. With the motor idling, I walked Chip Ahoy back as
far as my extended bowline allowed (while holding on to the stern
lifeline), jumped aboard and grabbed the motor controls, tossed the
bowline aboard, and backed up as far as I dared. The wind did the rest,
turning me out as I applied lots of motor angle and hard rudder, cleared
all (if barely) and was on my way. I departed at 6:30 am on my way to
Provincetown Ė just as Iíd hoped to do, and feeling pretty impressed
Yesterday (Thursday, August 3)
conditions were nowhere near as perfect as the day before, but they
werenít bad. Outside Scituate Harbor I began to hoist sails, then
decided Iíd best put a reef in the main. This proved short-lived, as
once I got under sail, I shook it out as unnecessary. For most of the
morning the wind was from the southwest at 5-10 knots, but later in the
day it turned from the south and became light and variable, then
virtually non-existent. My speed dropped to maybe two knots and my ETA
in Provincetown at that speed became no sooner than 7:00 pm. Still
concerned about the afternoon thunderstorm threat, I started the motor
and motor-sailed the rest of the way at about 4-5 knots. I arrived in
Provincetown Harbor at 3:30 pm and picked up a
mooring with Provincetown Marina; launch service included for $45/night.
I ran into a very unusual situation,
not once but twice Ė first time in my life this has ever happened
and it occurred twice in one day Ė very unsettling. When I arrived at
locations where (two) charts and GPS showed there should be sea buoys Ė
the buoys werenít there!
I left the Scituate Harbor sea buoy
heading about 8-10 miles out across Cape Cod Bay heading for RW "H" Mo
(A) WHIS. When the GPS told me I was within a mile, it was nowhere to be
found. I was totally out of sight of any land, any reference points. The
GPS insisted I was on mark, but I recalled the list messages Iíd read a
day or two before departure Ė that GPS satellites could be down Ė and
checked satellite reception: I was picking up six, sometimes seven. I
pulled out my backup GPS: It told me precisely the same thing, that I
was right on target. Next out came the binoculars: still nothing
anywhere in sight, in any direction. I checked my compass again, and
still I was heading in the right direction. I even ran the waypointís
longitude and latitude again: perfect according to the charts, two of
Everything I know told me I was on
mark, precisely on-target or awfully close to it. RW "H" just
there, it seemed Ė a new experience, if I wasnít somehow lost. I was
really beginning to doubt myself, but had no alternative but to rely on
the electronics, the compass, my plotting accuracy, and my experience Ė
and one thing the latter has taught me (especially in fog) is do not get
rattled and make the fatal mistake of second-guessing, or youíre forever
lost. Stick with what you have, what you know, for as long as you can,
as long as you dare, because itís usually accurate. So I beared off on
my next plotted heading Ė as if RW "H" had been there like it was
supposed to be Ė and hoped for the best, wondering if Iíd miss
the tip of Provincetown entirely and would instead keep heading out into the
open Atlantic. With
no land anywhere in sight, all things at that moment were possible.
My next waypoint was RW "RP" Mo (A)
BELL, about 15 miles away, about 2.5 miles off the tip of Provincetown.
Fortunately, I spotted the spiring Pilgrim Monument of Provincetown, then
the low coast stretching out beneath it, before I should have been able
to see the buoy Ė as it too didnít exist in reality, only on
charts and GPS! But, as it turned out, faith in myself, the electronics,
my navigating experience and ability, and fear of moving anywhere "off presumed
course" and being lost forever, paid off. I was precisely on-target all
the way: two frigging buoys were missing, go figure!
The ocean-borne man-eating house flies
were truly an experience, a bad one. I went to war with them all day
I encountered them once before, in the
middle of Boston Harbor/Massachusetts Bay coming back from a trip to
Scituate. Chip Ahoy became becalmed, so back then I patiently awaited some
kind of breeze when they'd arrived. It wasnít until Iíd gotten bitten a
couple of times that I realized they were more than just a nuisance. And
they kept arriving, out there in the middle of nowhere. Finally, I
started the motor and made a run for it, from them. I think I probably
imported a dozen or two of the buggers to Marblehead when I got home, as when I tried to
chase them away theyíd fly into the cabin and hide, stalk. After that
experience, I brought a big can of Raid Flying Insect spray aboard Ė but
didnít need it until Wednesday on the way down to Scituate. I thought that Boston Harbor experience was bad, until the Cape Cod Bay crossing!
The whole crossing yesterday was like
Armageddon, my being relentlessly attacked out in the middle of nowhere Ė
no land in sight but there they were in droves. I was on the cell phone
for my 9:00 morning check-in call with Barbara, heading for the mysterious RW
"H" sea buoy, when the attack began in earnest. I grabbed my near-full
can of Raid from below and put it atop my chart on the cockpit seat,
within easy reach Ė quick draw. While speaking with Barbara, I told her
the count so far was Chip Ahoy six confirmed KIAs, six Unconfirms;
killer flies three (bites). This morning, the cabin is littered with
casualties of that war. It was relentless non-stop all day: tiller in one hand,
Raid in the other . . . and reinforcements just kept coming. At one
point, they were visible all about, on the sails, rigging, deck,
cockpit. I blasted away all day, until I realized I was running out of
ammunition and started selecting my targets, no more two taps of the
"trigger" but making each short burst count, picking my targets
exclusively. Iíve got to clean a huge body-count out of the cabin today
Ė and Iím not leaving here until I rearm!
Last evening Jude, Peter and I
scattered the remains of our old and dear friend, recently deceased
Starr Patick. On her passing last month, I accepted the duty of bringing
her ashes down here Ė sheíd always wanted to come out aboard Chip Ahoy,
but her deteriorating health never permitted it. She finally made it, if
posthumously; Iím sure she was fighting off the flies along
with me yesterday, at least in spirit. We had a quiet little ceremony
for her send-off on
Long Point in Hatches Harbor at sunset, secluded way
out among the sand dunes, one of Starrís favorite places Ė each of us
taking a handful of her ashes, wading out a bit into the ocean, and scattering them
with our thoughts and memories. Afterward,
Jude Ė beneficiary of Starrís 501K fund of
a whopping $265, took us out for celebratory dinner at Clem & Ursieís
Restaurant, then returned me to the dock before the launch service
closed down at 10:30 pm.
Today Iíll take it easy, clean up and
organize better the boat. Iím nursing some good pain in my left ribs Ė I
think raising and tilting the new motor initially pulled muscles and the
way I sit at the tiller with my left arm over the lifeline, my hand
grasping it for hours on end, is aggravating it. A day off will help,
along with the new posture Iím working on. This began on Wednesday, first noticed
it that night. Though it felt as if improving yesterday, this morningís
movements were again quite painful, maybe worse. Ah, the joys and challenges
Tomorrow, on to Sesuit Harbor, 17.2 nm
away. I hope the buoys are there when I arrive this time.
Saturday, August 5, 2006; 6:35 am
Provincetown Harbor mooring #208
An extraordinary discovery yesterday:
Chip Ahoyís VHF radio mast antenna
is gone, apparently a victim of the
previously-suspected lightning strike some time back that took out the
steaming, bow running, and cabin lights. Today Iím
holding here Ė at
least hoping to after 2:00 pm when Iím supposed to be off this mooring
(#208) Ė until itís replaced.
I first noticed a problem with it in
Scituate when I was getting lousy reception on the weather channel; the
handheld worked just fine. I didnít give it much thought until yesterday
when again the NOAA weather channel was full of static, fading in and
out. I tried a radio check to the launch service about 300 yards away:
they reported that my signal was coming in very weak, almost
After checking the antenna cable
connection at the back of the radio, I called around from here down to
Barnstable attempting to find someone who could go up the mast and check
the cable/antenna connection, where I suspected the problem would be
found, again Ė where it in fact was two years ago. From every marina or
boatyard I called I got the same answer: "Weíre sorry, we canít do it,"
or "we canít touch it for a week. Best of luck."
I suggested to one that we make the next
state slogan. "Welcome to Massachusetts: Weíre sorry; best of luck!" More on this later.
Finally, the dockmaster handed me a
business card for Cape Cod Mobile Boat Services (from Hyannis, he said)
Ė 774-994-0226. I called and spoke with Chris Milewski, and he happened
to be nearby, incredibly. He arrived by launch at about 5:00 with his
assistant, took one look up the mast, and announced, "I donít see an
antenna up there"! Sure enough, the antenna mast was gone. The ceramic
base is still mounted and the cable appears connected, but the metal
mast itself is gone. I guess I now know where that lightning strike in
Earlier yesterday afternoon I made a
reservation for a dock with the Dennis Municipal Marina for this
afternoon. Iíll call this morning and cancel that, and hope I can spend
another night on this mooring. Chris is supposed to call around noon to
tell me whether or not heís able to find another Shakespeare Squatty
antenna; if so heíll be by to figure out some way to replace it. He was
talking about pulling Chip Ahoy over to the huge three-story
ship-turned-apartments tied up along shore and working on it from the
height. Sounds like a pretty iffy work-around to me, but weíll see. Heíd
go up the mast and replace the antenna, but Iím not sure a C22's 27-foot
mast can hold his weight. Talking with Wally Riddle last night, heís
confident that it would; Chris isnít a big guy, Iíd guess 160-170
pounds, and all his weight would be downward pressure. But before we
figure out the installation, he has to locate a new antenna.
My left chest is still killing me; I
really pulled some rib muscles or something. Even sleeping is difficult.
This has put a serious crimp in my movement. Mostly I regret being
unwilling to attempt climbing down into the dinghy so I can row a bit
out and get some good shots of Chip Ahoy on its mooring with the
Provincetown monument tower in the background. The swing angle and light
are perfect right now Ė but I donít want to risk any further pain or
damage. Iíll just have to make due with the
shots I took from the launch
yesterday and from shore,
the monument from the cockpit. I just took a
Motrin and am considering wrapping up with an Ace bandage or two: thatís
what finally did it when I pulled my right side rib muscles two years
ago in Newburyport when I tried to adjust the dinghy outboard from
leaning over the cockpit coaming.
Yesterday I went ashore via launch
around 1:30 pm (where I got Chrisís business card from the dockmaster).
My first stop was the local TrueValue hardware store, just up Commercial
Street, where I bought a new "all-purpose" bucket to replace the one I
recently broke, and another can of Raid flying insect killer (ah,
rearmed, locked and loaded!). I took them back to Judeís "Outer Cape
Kite Shop" at the end of where my pier hits the main thoroughfare, and
stored my bounty there for a while.
What a display of "spinnie-things," as
I fondly call Barbaraís menagerie of spinning wind-vanes in our yard
back home, Jude has on display around her shop. When we tried to find a
replacement for one that got wind-damaged a year or two back, even an
Internet search proved limited by comparison. I picked one out that Iíd
never seen before, out of many Iíd never seen before: Barbara should
I went back up the street and had
lunch/dinner at the Governor Bradford Restaurant, choosing the outdoors
section in a perfect day. The fish-and-chips was decent, nothing special
but prudently priced at $10.95.
Done with my late lunch, I wandered
around the pedestrian-gridlocked main street (this definitely is a
tourist town) of small shops, boutiques, and bistros. I picked up a few
more provisions then headed back to the kite shop for my hardware
purchases. Muling everything back down to the end of the pier and the
launch dock Ė had to be a quarter mile Ė was a chore (oh my aching
ribs). I left everything there, then went back for a couple bags of ice
at the harbormasterís office. Fully provisioned, I took the launch back
out to Chip Ahoy Ė taking a few photos as we approached. Theyíre
probably going to be the best shots of my stay here, at least until I
can raise and lower myself into the dinghy in a semblance of comfort.
I promised to get back to "Welcome to
Massachusetts: Weíre sorry, best of luck." This state has got to be the
most inhospitable place Iíve ever cruised up and down on the entire eastern
seaboard. Every few years, the Commonwealth attempts to come up with a
new state "slogan," the last of any remembrance was "Make It In
Massachusetts." Each time, bids come in from the big PR firms, and each
time the public is invited to submit their own slogans. Weíve come up
with some doozies in the past (which never make it past the screeners,
of course), but this one says it all!
Nowhere Iíve ever cruised have I met
with such reluctance from marine service providers to assist a cruising
visitor in distress. The "weíll put you on our list, maybe next week" attitude is
unique to our local culture, I believe. "Best of luck" is the usual
close of conversation. Perhaps even more so down here on the Cape, where
out-of-state money flows freely, I suspect and hear. And nowhere have I
been where locals are more interested in talking to each other Ė
ignoring you Ė than talking with someone new from "away." Iíve stood in
the harbormasterís office ignored, while the locals gathered leisurely
jaw on about the parochial rumor mill. I think theyíve become inured of
transients, jaded by the heavy flow of tourism and vacationers.
Itís now 8:10 am and my call to
Provincetown Moorings/Marina assured that I can keep this mooring for
another night, theyíll just tack the additional $45 onto my credit card.
One problem today resolved Ė wonderful, off to a great start! Next Iíll
try again to reach the Dennis harbormaster and cancel my reservation for
this afternoon. If Chris can pull this antenna replacement off, I hear a
big "ka-ching" coming at me Ė but itíll be worth it to get the VHF radio
working again atop the mast and back under way.
Sunday, August 6, 2006; 6:20 am
Provincetown Harbor mooring #208
The coffeeís brewing out in the
cockpit in the percolator on the alcohol stove and Iím getting ready to
move out by 9:00 am or so to my next destination, Sesuit/Dennis Harbor,
just over 17 miles to the south at the curve of the inner Capeís hook.
The ribs on the left side of my chest are killing me, no better than
yesterday morning and perhaps even a bit worse. Sleep last night was
often interrupted by the pain of rolling over. I just took an Advil and
hope it wonít be too difficult of a cruise down to Sesuit by myself. If this
persists, Iím thinking of getting to the canal and instead of taking it,
keep going up the coast and home a bit prematurely.
Yesterday was an utter and complete
waste of time and money, waiting around for Chris Milewski of Cape Cod
Mobile Boat Services Ė who never showed up or even returned a single one
of my numerous phone messages throughout the day. I have no idea what that was all about, why he and I made arrangements for me to spend
another day (at another $45) so he could replace Chip Ahoyís VHF antenna
atop the mast.
I took the launch ashore in the
morning and learned that it was up to me to make arrangements to tie up
alongside the Provincia, an big old freighter attached to the pier now
used as apartments. I attempted to track down the marina owner, Vaughn
Cabral, who could grant that permission but was only able to leave a
note on one of the index cards always in my pocket on the windshield of
this truck. He called a few hours later: permission granted, but he
warned me not to try pulling alongside at low tide.
The dockmasterís office was able to
reach Chris by phone around 10:00 am (I think someone up there has a
different phone number to reach him directly). I spoke with Chris: he
told me everything was in the works, he was waiting to hear back from a
few of his suppliers on whether theyíd have a Shakespeare Squatty
antenna for him, assured me weíd work out something, and said heíd call
me around noon as planned.
At 1:30 pm Iíd still not heard
anything further so I placed my first of what were to be many phone
calls to Chris and left the first of what were to be hourly messages:
"Chris, I havenít heard from you as agreed. Iíd like some idea what your
plan is so I can make some of my own. Held hostage unexpectedly for an
extra day in Provincetown Harbor is one thing, but youíre now holding me
hostage aboard my boat waiting word from you or for your arrival. Please
get back to me soon with some idea of what you plan and when."
At 2:30 pm with still no response, I
called and left another message telling him I wanted to go ashore and
grab lunch, but was afraid Iíd miss him if he showed up. Then I called
the second number on his card, for Mike Milewski Ė and reached an
answering machine at that number too. I left Mike the same message, adding
that I was now going ashore for lunch and to reach me by my cell phone.
Ashore by launch (thank god for the
free-with-a-mooring-rental launch service; I donít think I can yet
handle getting in and out of my dinghy with my damaged rib muscles and
donít want to push anything that might cause further damage), I grabbed
a quick sandwich at the nearby Subway to bring back to the boat, hit the
local drug store for a second Ace bandage, and the package store on the
corner of the next block for a six-pack. Back aboard Chip Ahoy, I had
lunch and wrapped my chest up with Ace bandages. It was time to start
taking this pain seriously, and try to remedy it. From past experienced
with similar rib-muscle strains, Iíve learned the only remedy is to wrap
my chest and give it time to heal.
"Time to heal" unfortunately isnít a
serious option at the moment while singlehanding Ė but I decided
against doing some of the tasks Iíve been meaning to perform that require
any strain or reaching awkwardly, such as putting the buss cover back
over the positive connections down in the bilge, removed back up in
Marblehead when we connected the new outboardís electric starter. Damn,
I should have done it back then, but everything was so hurried and I
figured Iíd have plenty of free time soon.
Mike Milewski returned my call while I
was ashore. He promised to relay my message to Chris. That was the last
I heard from either.
At 4:00 pm I called Ed at the Dennis
harbormasterís office and officially cancelled my slip reservation for
the night. He happens to know Keith Gattozzi pretty well, he told me, a
member of our C22 discussion group.
Iíve been in contact by cell phone for
a couple days with Keith Gattozzi ("Lorraine B") from the Catalina 22
discussion list, down in Dennis. He keeps his C22 by the West Dennis
Yacht Club, and we hoped to get together while Iím down his way. He had
plans to take me to his YC clambake last night, but of course that
couldnít and didnít happen.
Iím out of Provincetown this morning
and should reach Dennis by early to mid afternoon. Keith will meet me
after I arrive and plans to take me to the local West Marine where I can
hopefully pick up another antenna. What Iíll do with it if I find one is
still up in the air, but at least that half of the battle will be won,
if we get lucky. He wants to check out how Iíve got Chip Ahoy rigged for singlehanding, and Iíd like to get a look at his
"Lorraine B" since weíre
this close together.
Later this morning while underway,
Iíll call Ed again at the harbormasterís office with crossed fingers and
a prayer, hoping thereís still a slip available for me. Iím sure ready
for another shower Ė but getting to the one here by launch is a bit of a
hassle; and the water temperature in them is not adjustable Ė only hot,
"moderate" the harbormaster called it, so you come out par-boiled if you
can endure it. I also need to refill the port gas tank; itís getting
pretty low. Iíll probably need to switch the full starboard tank over
before dropping my mooring here. (Oh my aching ribs!)
According to NOAA weather (thanks to
my handheld VHF radio) the weather for today should be pretty decent if
not perfect. Partly cloudy with temperatures reaching the high 70s (67
degrees here now). NE winds at 5-10 knots turning SE late this morning
or afternoon. Seas one foot or less.
Small-craft advisories are already in
effect for Monday morning through afternoon: SW winds 10-20 knots
gusting to 30. Showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon and overnight
are expected as a cold front moves in from the west. That looks like a
good day to hang out in Dennis, maybe heal my ribs a bit more with any luck. My
motto for today is, "First do no further harm" Ė if possible. In other
words, think before I act then act smartly.
Sunday, August 6, 2006; 8:40 pm
Sesuit Harbor, East Dennis Town
Marina, Slip #70
left Provincetown this morning at
10:20 am under sunny skies but with little wind. I called and spoke with
Ed, the Dennis harbormaster. He assured me that Iíd have a slip upon
arrival, so I was doing well so far.
I hoisted sails before leaving the
harbor entrance under a light NE breeze, but according to the GPS I
wouldnít arrive at the 2-3 knots I was making until around 8:00 pm. I
started up the motor but left the sails up, and began making 4-4Ĺ knots,
sometimes 5. The sea was virtually flat, almost oily, the wind had
changed to SE, until I approached Sesuit, about 5 miles out. Then the
wind picked up directly from the south, the very direction into which I
was sailing. I furled the jib and sailed under the main with motor until
I approached the breakwater.
The entrance to Sesuit Harbor was
clear, but quickly it looked more like the Annisquam River: shifting
sand bars on both sides of a narrow, winding channel Ė an unmarked
channel no less Ė beach folks within talking distance, kayaks and
jet-skis beached, other boats coming and going trying to slowly squeeze
by each other with no room to maneuver on either side.
Having little idea where I was
supposed to be heading, and with no response from the harbormaster
either on VHF 16 or 66, nor an answer at his phone number, I was
suddenly on my own. (I later learned that heíd responded to a heart
attack victim.) At the first curve I slowed to idle speed Ė or tried to.
The new Honda outboard stalled and wouldnít restart, electric or pull. I
was drifting and asked a nearby passing boat for assistance, but before
he could react I got the motor running Ė only to run aground, in sand
fortunately and gently at that, stern out. Moments later Ed the
Harbormaster was on-scene ready to assist, take a tow-line from me. But
I started drifting off the sand (swinging the rudder port and starboard)
and finally got the motor running at last, headed back out, turned, and
came back in.
Ed gave me better directions to the
town dock alongside the launching ramp (second one coming in) and after
a bit of looking I located it and got myself tied up. $108 for two
with electric isnít bad by comparison, down here on the Cape anyway. But
I had to move Chip Ahoy immediately to its slip from the ramp dock, wasnít allowed to even
wait for Keith Gattozzi to arrive in fifteen minutes to assist.
After I found my slip and got
Ahoy tied up and settled in a bit, pup tent up,
Keith met me there along
with his young son, Keith, Jr. At my request, they took "Chip Mate," my
dinghy, around to the
dinghy dock Ė canít keep it behind or alongside me
for some esoteric parochial reason trying to be enforced by Dennis local
authorities. Thank goodness for the assist: my ribs are still hurting
too much to climb down into that dinghy from the cockpit.
Keith called around and tried to find
a West Marine or Boaterís World where I could buy a new VHF antenna with
no luck: I arrived too late, everything was closed for Sunday.
Afterward, Keith and Keith Jr. took
me over to his yacht club on the other side of Dennis Ė or was it to Dennisport? Ė whatever, the other side of the Cape, the ocean side, the
West Dennis Y.C. On the way there, he showed me his C22, "Lorraine B,"
from shore then treated me to a nice cheeseburger, baked beans, and
salad dinner Ė with my requisite frozen Margarita too! From the yacht
club he drove me to a CVS, where I picked up some Tiger Balm and a
package of "Heatwraps" (Iíll give anything a shot at this point!)
which I applied to my chest just before beginning this entry. Before he
dropped me off at the docks, Keith told me to call him if there was
anything he could do to assist further. Another great guy, and a new
C22 ownerís face to match to the list subscribersí names!
Back aboard Chip Ahoy, I hooked up my
extension cord and adapter to the shore power box, set up the battery
charger, and plugged everything in for a good recharge. Nice: this
laptop is now running off shore power, instead of the 12/110 volt
inverter, Iím working under cabin lights instead of the oil lamp Ė even
got the AM/FM radio on tuned to a local channel.
Iím settled in through at least
tomorrow, when the cold front moves in and things get a bit nasty out
there (small craft advisories have been posted for all day tomorrow).
Sesuit is a well-protected little harbor, once you creep into it and
find a slip, so tomorrow I expect will be a good R&R day to hopefully
recuperate my rib-muscles problem. Damn, this is annoying, and in a few
days Iím going to have to make a decision: through the canal and onward,
or back north up the coast and home in a few days. Damn, címon body,
Monday, August 7, 2006; 7:45 am
Sesuit Harbor, East Dennis Town
Marina, Slip #70
Itís sunny with wind out of the SW
this morning and picking up. With a small-craft advisory in effect
through tonight, seas building to two-three feet, and showers and
thunderstorm forecast as "likely" for this afternoon through tonight,
itís good to be sitting out the day here. NOAA just reported a band of
showers moving our way east from Providence, RI and Worcester, due to
arrive within the next hour.
Iíve got the coffee brewing, but just
ran out of spare alcohol in the gallon can; I'll have to try to find more
today while up at the marine supply store here looking for a replacement
VHF antenna. Without alcohol, thereís no morning coffee Ė which is
almost as calamitous as singlehanding with torn rib muscles. No
improvement with that this morning; another rather painful night of
sleep. I just took another Advil and will re-wrap my chest and add the
second (and last) pair of "Heatwrap" packets later this morning after
taking a shower Ė presuming and assuming that there are showers nearby.
I didnít think to ask during all the confusion upon my arrival and
Iíve added my
Piranha Max15 depth
finder to the list of damaged equipment likely from the probable
lightning strike. Itís been noticeably unreliable for most of this
cruise: often apparently accurate, but just as often clearly and
obviously not. When in waters charted as 200 or so feet, itíll read
crazy; 587 feet or drop down suddenly to zero. I shut it off for most of
the trip down yesterday Ė itíd become merely a distraction.
Iíd found the puck transducer had come
loose from its epoxy bond earlier this season before launching Chip Ahoy,
and re-epoxied it back in place. I crawled up to where itís mounted in
the v-berth aft compartment to make sure it was still secure, and it is.
Since the unit itself is never connected if Iím not aboard, lightning
wouldnít have affected it Ė but it could have done something to the
power wiring, even the transducer cable I suppose. If I was more mobile
and flexible, Iíd crawl around and attempt to find the problem.
The big plans for today are: find and
take a shower; walk over to the marine supply store up in the lot and
see whatís available for antenna and alcohol, and; plot my course to
Sandwich for tomorrow. Thereís a restaurant on the grounds, so Iíll
likely have lunch there at some point. (Thereís little if anything else
nearby whatsoever.) Iím going to try to take it as easy as possible,
give these aching ribs a chance to heal. At Sandwich Iím going to have
to make The Decision: continue on into the canal or head home to
recover. Even heading home will take another good two, probably three
days on the water, likely in discomfort.
7:4o pm Ė
Overall a quiet, relaxing day. I got my much-needed shower this morning
then walked over to Northside Marina to see if they had an antenna
available. They didnít have one in stock, made a call, and will have it
for me sometime tomorrow morning, but canít possibly mount it for a week
(!) so half the battle should be over tomorrow: at least Iíll have an
antenna in my possession if I can ever find someplace and someone with
the means to stick it on the
mast. (I called here during my phone search from Provincetown and was
told the same thing. It was Kristen here who gave me the inspiration for
a new motto for Massachusetts: "Weíre sorry, lots of luck!") The woman
behind the counter got the accurate replacement model number, at my
request, by going to the Chip Ahoy website where Iíd actually noted it!
Ed the Harbormaster told me that Iíd
have no problem spending another day here, just see him tomorrow morning
to pay for Chip Ahoyís slip. Laying over another day wonít kill me,
considering that Iím still hurting. Iíd like to put this pain
problem to rest finally, and at least let things heal enough, or more
anyway Ė maybe even go away.
I had a late lunch at the local
on-property restaurant, The Sesuit Harbor Cafe: very basic fare
reasonably priced. I tried it Ė itís set up for mostly outside dining Ė
but it was just too windy, kept pushing my cardboard container across
the table so I took my tuna sandwich inside to a counter and finished it
there. It was interesting to look down on the channel at low tide which
I entered yesterday, from just above where I ran Chip Ahoy aground.
After lunch I returned to the boat, read for a while, then napped for a
The wind is howling out there,
flapping the cockpit pup-tent relentlessly; I just added a few more than
the usual four bungie cords securing it. The SW blow is coming from aft,
as Iím tied up at the slip, so I also tied off another stern line to
make sure I make it without a sudden and rude awakening through the
approaching line of thunderstorms overnight as a new high pressure area
moves in. This truly turned out to be a good day to lay over, repair,
and avoid those small-craft warnings.
Tuesday, August 8, 2006; 8:00 am
Sesuit Harbor, East Dennis Town
Marina, Slip #70
Well now, slept a little late this
morning, but I was on the cell phone late last night with Paul Taylor
("Respite") in Oregon, whoís administering the C22 discussion group list
in my absence. I filled him in on where I am and what Iím doing; he
filled me in on how the list is going (perfectly) and gave me some
advice with my problems. Iím lucky with how I always find a good
replacement when I take my annual cruises, Paul this year, Chris
Hallinan last summer. Heíll post a "Chip Sighting" as he called it to
the list later this morning, bring the other member-subscribers up to
I was battened down for nasty
thunderstorms before I turned in last night, but if they ever arrived I
must have slept through them! I awoke at about 4:00 am and, while the
wind was still blowing out of the SW, broad, dull flashes visible in the
distant sky, the dramatic thunderstorms that were predicted apparently
bypassed here to the south.
This morning itís mostly sunny, with
wind from the northwest at 8-10 over Cape Cod Bay though not much of a
breeze here. Installing that forward hatch this spring was definitely
worth the effort: itís open now with a fine circulation of air coming
through the cabin. Yesterday, with the wind blowing in over the transom,
I kept it closed in case the storms arrived while I was ashore; besides,
it simply wasnít necessary or useful. Without it today, I know from
experience that itíd be a bit stifling down here. Itís warm, 75N
or so, and supposed to reach the mid-80s this afternoon.
Apparently the new high pressure area
has arrived, or is still settling in (NOAA weather is calling for "a
slight chance of showers and thunderstorms through the morning"), and
the weather is supposed to be great through at least the weekend, with
the wind coming out of the north at 10-15 knots for the next day before
going back to SW on Thursday. Itíd be a perfect conditions to run for
Sandwich Harbor, if I was ready to do it and hadnít already made plans
to spend another day here.
My ribs are still aching, but I slept
pretty well last night. Today, along with still considerable discomfort,
some pain, Iím feeling a sort of an itch in those ribs Ė healing, a good
sign? I added the last two new "instant heat pads" to my "Heatwrap" last
night, along with first rubbing down my aching ribs with Tiger Balm,
then wrapping the whole mess over with an Ace bandage. Taking yesterday
"off" and another down day today might do the trick, but itís sort
of driving me nuts. Thereís so much I could, should, be doing
during a layover like this Ė if I wasnít babying my injury. Iíd love to
check out the wiring on the depth finder, see if anythingís obviously
wrong, but canít go through the necessary contortions to get to the
wires beneath the dinette seat compartment without doing further damage,
Late yesterday afternoon I plotted a
course from the east end of Cape Cod Canal up to Plymouth Harbor, about
20 miles, just in case heading home turns out to be my decision upon
reaching Sandwich Harbor: it had to be done eventually anyway. Getting
into Plymouth Harbor is quite tricky, with lots of turns, a narrow and
shallow winding channel. Iíve done it once before, the first season I
sailed Chip Ahoy, so I created a very detailed route in/out: over a
dozen waypoints, buoy to buoy from entrance from the sea to the inner
harbor and marina. The last time, with two friends aboard relatively
familiar with the harbor, we came in after dark and it was a real
challenge I vividly recall (spotlight deployed on the bow even, to find
and pick out buoys!), taking all three of us to navigate successfully.
Tuesday, August 8, 2006; 1:15 pm
Sesuit Harbor, East Dennis Town
Marina, Slip #70
Yahoo, I have a working 25 watt VHF
radio again! Installing the
new antenna on the stern pulpit stanchion
was a compromise, but it works. Just not as well as it would atop the
mast, the trade-off.
Northside Marinaís store came through
with the Shakespeare "Squatty Body" 5215 this morning. I now have an
antenna thatíll eventually get back up on the top of the mast Ė but that
just isnít going to happen any time soon, at least not on this trip.
("Weíre sorry, best of luck"!) So I wandered around their store
collecting my thoughts, looking for inspiration, trying to devise an
alternative; some way I could put radio and antenna into use, today not
later. I came up with a plan.
I also bought 15' of coax cable (whoa,
I guestimated that awfully close Ė or accurately; less than a foot was
left over), two new connectors, and a hose clamp. Back aboard Chip Ahoy,
I attached the antenna mounting bracket to the port side aft stanchion
for the stern pulpit with the hose clamp, then screwed on the antenna
with its retaining nut. Next I attached one of the connectors to the
coax cable and fastened it to the antenna. Then I led the cable through
the aft air vent scoop and up from behind the aft dinette seat bulkhead,
up the aft cabin bulkhead, then across the overhead. After attaching the
second connector, I screwed it into the VHF radio and voila, it
When you need them, thereís nothing
like having spare parts and tools along on a cruise. I had everything I
needed but for specific parts I bought to do this job "on the road." Granted
it wasnít a major project, but the nylon clips, the plastic ties,
screws, string to make sure I didnít lose parts overboard, etc., along
with the proper tools, made it possible to do while away and abandoned
by the indifferent "marine service" pros hereabouts.
Tuesday, August 8, 2006; 6:50 pm
Sesuit Harbor, East Dennis Town
Marina, Slip #70
What a busy day for an anticipated "day
off"! Finally I found a way out of here short of moving Chip Ahoy.
Thanks to Keith Gattozziís return phone call, I called a taxi company
which he recommended to take me to the "local" CVS for more "Heatwrap."
The assistant dockmaster, John, told me there was no bus or taxi
service available, there was no way out but by boat or POV Ė privately
owned vehicle for those of you without a military vocabulary. Jackís
Taxi took me out to the CVS, waited, and took me back for $35 Ė but as I
explained to him on his apology over the cost, that was less than what
Iíd pay for a visit to the doctor. Everything is relative. I gave him a
$5 tip, even though I had to awaken Jack himself, strenuously, when I
came out of the drug store.
Back aboard Chip Ahoy, a couple of
older gents (hell, I should speak?) in the sailboat Pegasus of Chatham,
a Tartar 30 just aft of me on the next dock, called over inquiring how I
was and was doing. Apparently they saw me come in,
chest wrapped up with
Ace bandages, and recognized that I must be struggling, hurting.
Pete Schimmel and Karl Bertelsen invited me over for a beer and some
conversation. Always the "social butterfly," I accepted of course. Aboard
"Pegasus" we exchanged experiences, and Pete gave me some good practical
tips for the trip ahead through the canal and Woods Hole should I
pursue it. When they were ready to debark their boat, I was ready to run
to the marina to grab a bag of ice before tomorrow morningís departure,
making it just as it closed at 5 pm.
Again back aboard Chip Ahoy, I
finished up my navigation plotting Ė if I decide to cut this short and
head home Ė then uploaded the changes to my to GPS units. Bob Keim Ė my
designated "notified back-up" for the cruise Ė got back to me via cell phone and
I brought him up-to-date.
I take back the too-general
statement(s) Iíve made about the overall attitude down here on Cape Cod.
Kudos to Judy at the Northside Marina who got me my new antenna; she was
friendly and efficient. Same said for John, the assistant harbormaster
filling in for Ed today apparently. He and I spent some time this
afternoon in the office just chatting about our experiences while I
waited for a taxi. Jack the cab driver was a breath of fresh air,
blue-collar and simply a "regular guy." Then there was Pete and Karl,
Pete and "Pegasus" a permanent slip resident just aft of me. I suppose if you stay
anyplace long enough, you get accepted into "the community." Geez, I
guess Iíve been here too long --- I'm making friends: it's
time for Sandwich tomorrow, where Iíve reserved a
Wednesday, August 9, 2006; 9:50 am
Sesuit Harbor, East Dennis Town
Marina, Slip #70
Wow, now that was exciting: out
almost to the entrance buoy ("1S" Bell) and back again within an hour,
deciding that discretion is the better part of valor. I did the same
thing last year when trying to leave Scituate Harbor one rough morning.
("Youíre getting wiser," that harbormaster told me back then!) Three foot
seas are a bit too much for a Catalina 22 if they can be avoided:
intentionally heading out into them is foolish.
I was up just after dawn this morning
and began "breaking camp," taking down the "pup tent" over the cockpit,
stowing the battery charger and charging equipment, the laptop and its
accessories, I didnít even bother brewing coffee. I wanted an early
start on what NOAA was predicting would be a perfect day. Wind from the
north, turning southwest later this afternoon, seas one to two feet,
pressure high and steady, clear skies with temperature in the high 70s.
It doesnít get any better, I thought.
I recovered my dinghy from the dinghy
dock and tied it back to Chip Ahoy, started the motor, cast off my dock
lines and backed out, and was on my way to Sandwich. I stopped on the
way out of the channel at the Northeast Marina fuel dock and topped off
one tank ($3.99/gallon, yikes!) then was on my way out.
12:30 pm Ė
Oops, a minor interruption here as I made arrangements to spend another
night here, changed my slip reservation in Sandwich to tomorrow (no
charge, though usually they do charge for cancellations if not made
within 24-hours prior, I was told, but I hadnít even made it
24-hours ago), and "set up camp" here all over again.
Picking up where I left off, this
morningís decision was one of those few we must make from time to time: sort of macho vs. practical, tough it out or turn tail. Personally, I
hate turning tail Ė but sometimes itís the smart thing to do to survive.
This morning appeared to be one of those. As Chip Ahoy plunged ahead,
its bow lifting out of the water to slam down into the next approaching
wave, spray all about, it was time to seriously consider if I wanted to
keep punishing the boat and me. Again, as when coming out of Scituate
Harbor, I decided to run for the entrance buoy and decide there Ė and
again, as in Scituate, I didnít need that long to make my decision.
The conditions were simply too bad.
Chip Ahoy was taking a serious
pounding even with the keel down, and it wasnít letting up. "Screw
this," I thought and jammed the tiller all the way to starboard, spun
the boat between incoming waves, and surfed back in between the jetty
with some effort, concentration, and applied power.
Once back inside Sesuit Harbor it was
calm Ė youíd never know what was out there less than half a mile away. I
went back to my old slip #70 and retook it at least temporarily. I
finally contacted the harbormaster (today itís Bob) and arranged for
another nightís stay.
Iíve spent the last hour or so
"recamping" Ė getting everything I broke down this morning set up all
Lunch today was again at the only game
in town, the Sesuit Harbor Cafť for its scallops plate special, $9.99.
This time I remembered to bring my camera along, and got some shots of
where I ran the boat aground coming in the first time (and apparently
chewed up the bottom aft corner of Chip Ahoyís rudder).
7:10 pm Ė We
can put the lightning strike "theory" to rest, add it to the facts
category. After a bunch of various radio checks this afternoon, I
definitely narrowed the problem I was having with transmitting over the
onboard VHF radio (Icom M402) since replacing the antenna down to
finally the radio itself. When you think of it in hindsight, it makes
sense that if the antenna was struck then the radio would be affected as
Having made up my mind that the radio
was still a problem, my new buddy Pete from "Pegasus" on the dock behind
me offered a ride to a West Marine in Hyannis to buy a new one. Iíd
called around looking for another M402 that would mount right in,
connect right up, but Ė doesnít it figure with my track record of luck?
Ė ICOM doesnít make the M402 any longer; I could get an M302 or the new
and improved version. Northside Marina had one for a few cents under two
hundred bucks; West Marine had four in stock for $169, but was God knows
how far away. The M302 was almost exactly the same dimensions, so I went
Pete handed me off to his sailing
companion of the day, Mariette Vigeant, who owns an OíDay 32 docked next
door at Northside Marina. She drove me to the Hyannis marine store and
back Ė actually quite a distance away Ė lovely lady that she is. Thank
Back aboard Chip Ahoy, I opened the
box and, naturally, the wiring for the new M302 was different from the
old M402: the new unit had no plug for attaching its DSC capability to
my GPS, only two small wires, no connector. Okay Ė whatís new? Ė so I
called ICOM. There I was told by "Rick" that I should have a
"professional" install it. I explained to him that if I waited around
for "professionals" Iíd still be sitting on a mooring in Provincetown
waiting to have Chip Ahoyís antenna replaced. Donít these "customer
service" people ever go outside into the Real World?
I cut the old DSC coax cable plug off the
M402, spliced it onto the new M302 wires, pulled out my butane soldering
iron, and Ė realized I had no solder aboard, aarrrgh! So I twisted and
taped them up as best as I could and plugged in the DSC/GPS connection.
Iíll deal with the details when I get home Ė if I donít get hit again by
lightning in the meantime.
Damage to the old radio was obvious
when I removed it: the ground wire
connection was burned, the antenna
connector on the radio end
was carbonized, blackened like soot. Iím
almost glad I didnít realize the strike Chip Ahoy took Ė probably during
that incredible storm that produced golf ball-sized hailstones. Almost
glad, but I sure wish I saw these headaches coming before I set out on
my annual cruise; the accumulation is driving me to distraction Ė and I
donít know if Iíve come across them all yet. As I told Barbara, "Iím not
a happy camper: all my favorite toys are broken."
I told todayís harbormaster-de-jour,
Bob (who was kind and concerned enough to come down after one of my
radio checks with Pete aboard "Pegasus," to see how I rigged my new
antenna), when in days ahead Iím asked where I spent my vacation, Iíll
have to proclaim, "Mostly in Dennis on the Cape"!
Tomorrow I intend to "break camp"
again early and shoot for Sandwich Harbor, again. The sea outside the
breakwater reportedly calmed around noontime today, and tomorrow the
wind is supposed to be out of the southwest. After that, all bets are
off when it shifts to the north again. Passing on the Cape Cod Canal leg
and heading home instead is looking more and more likely. The ribs are
not noticeably improved, though I think they must be healing, got
to be. Nonetheless, Iím actually getting tired of nonstop adversity Ė
weather, body, and especially equipment. Cumulatively, itís very
draining. The fun part has gone out of this trip I regret to say.
Thursday, August 10, 2006; 4:45 pm
Sandwich Marina, East Boat Basin, Slip
Whoa, what a ride today was
since getting out of Sesuit Harbor. It was almost one of those
"discretion" moments again, but Iíd worn out my welcome and
wanted to move on badly Ė there was no
turning back, no slip available for another night. Besides, when you
start to actually make friends you know youíve been in one spot for too
long. And then there is "breaking camp" and "setting up" all over again
an hour later": enough of that already.
So at 9:00 am I was ready to cast off;
fortuitously the dockmaster-de-jour, Bob again from yesterday, stopped
down to see how I made out with my new radio. He invited me to call him
when I got outside and settled, then gave me a needed hand casting off.
I never got to give the radio a try. I became much too busy just holding things
Once outside the harbor and channel, I
plowed on toward the entrance buoy in building seas in a southwesterly
wind blowing at 10-15 knots. By the time I reached the buoy, seas had
built to two-to-three feet and Chip Ahoy, even with its keel deployed,
was doing some serious rocking and rolling. It was much too difficult,
and windy, to even think about hoisting sails. At the buoy, I turned
onto my route to Sandwich, directly into the wind. The pounding began,
the spray over the bow, the ducking it. I tried unfurling the jib, but
it was useless and beating itself to death; I refurled it and kept the
motor running Ė all day.
Poor Chip Ahoy took a pounding for
most of the morning in short, high seas, but handled it well if noisily.
I kept thinking about how much a Catalina 22 is expected to take for an
extended period. The constant spray coming over the bow soaked me and
everything in the cockpit.
About halfway to Sandwich Harbor the
ocean calmed to one-to-two feet, but the wind kept blowing, the spray
kept shooting over the cockpit. Thereís little more thatís eventful
enough to report, or even recall. I couldnít find a comfortable position
for any length of time, thanks to my bad ribs.
A good lesson learned the hard way: When
rinsing out an "all purpose bucket" it is imperative that you first
secure its hauling line to a cleat! I dumped my brand new one, purchased
during my layover in Provincetown, enroute to Sandwich. When I reached
over the side to rinse it, a wave unexpectedly grabbed it in a death
grip, instantly filled it. I thought I was about to lose the bucket to
the seaís determined grasp but hung on for dear life, despite protesting
ribs. The bucket was acting as a drogue; it took all my strength just to
stabilize the situation and cleat the line after a struggle. Then I
pulled the top of the bucket against the hull, slowly emptied it, and
got it aboard at last. I was amazed that the handle to which the hauling
line is attached held up under that force.
As I approached Sandwich Harbor, then about
four miles out, I called them on my cell phone. Good that I did, as
the Sandwich Marina Ė it turned out Ė is not in Sandwich Harbor, but
just inside the Cape Cod Canal! So much for all my careful reading of
cruising guides and my careful navigation plotting, sheesh. Fortunately I had
the entrance buoy for the canal plotted into my GPS system. As soon as I
learned where the marina is actually located (the old "harbor of
refuge" just inside the canal, now privatized, that the Army Corps of
Engineers used to operate), I was able to do a quick "Go To" on
my GPS and find the "Canal-01" waypoint easily, I'd stayed in the
"harbor of refuge" a couple of decades ago on another boat so knew where to find it,
about three-quarters of a mile inside the canal on my port side.
the dock, I ran into the
same problem with the new Honda outboard that I ran into coming into Sesuit Harbor: turning the throttle down too much kills the motor.
Thankfully, there was another boater on the dock with his boat. He
grabbed a line I tossed while I restarted the motor and pulled alongside
the dock. I still owe him a beer, if he comes back down this evening.
This marina is another one of those
"not close to a damn thing" places. Even the showers are a hike and a
half to reach, on the other side of the marina on the other side of the
harbor. Nonetheless, a shower is
in my immediate future, this evening.
Iíve decided that Iím heading north
from here: Plymouth, Scituate, back to Marblehead. All the pounding did
little good for my ribs: the worst part was trying to hold on without
straining anything worse. The weather is quite strange: lots of high
pressure, but high winds and seas too.
Tonight weíve got another cold front
coming in. Showers and thunderstorms are again forecast by NOAA for
tonight; more wind, higher seas overnight, even small hail warnings Ė
but Iím hunkered in for it as planned. I asked to stay tomorrow night as
well, as the wind is supposed to be blowing 15-20 knots from the Ė where
else? Ė north tomorrow, the direction I intend to head next, before
changing to SW by Saturday. Small-craft advisories are already in effect
on NOAA radio for tomorrow. They tell me here that theyíre booked solid,
will let me know in the morning. If Iíve got to move, I donít know
where. I really donít want to do any more pounding like I did today.
Oh great, I just did a little more
harm to the ole ribs, helping get in a 54-footer under duress. The dockmaster was alone, and getting that beast against the dock against
this wind hitting it broadside was beyond him singlehanding dock lines, so I
jumped in; damn, Iíd just unwrapped my chest for a shower. What a fight
that was, even with the sloopís bow thrusters the "Sea Pearl" out
of Newport, RI has. Speaking to the captain afterward, he told me that
coming up the canal from the west the wind was difficult even under
power (no sailing allowed in the Cape Cod Canal), and I can only imagine
whatís powering that beast. Bet its more than a Honda 8hp! And they
caught the railroad bridge coming down on top of everything else.
I finally caught a shower Ė though it
was a good hike to reach it. Thereís nothing like a shower during a
cruise to make everything alright again!
When I got back to Chip Ahoy, there
were two grey gunboats alongside me on the fuel dock, crew in Coast
Guard camo fatigues and combat
boots, .50 and .30 caliber machine gun mounts. Oh, oh, whatíd I do now?
Barbara had called me this morning just as I was casting off my lines in
Sesuit Harbor to tell me something about a "Code Red" terrorist alert.
Since the Dennis harbormaster was with me waiting to assist, I asked if
heíd heard anything about it. He filled me in with what he knew about
the Heathrow Airport attempted skyjackings. According to the Coast
Guardsman I just spoke with, a part of its "harbor security," no they
werenít overtly on patrol over that Ė just doing what they normally do.
I wished them well and thanked them. Very impressive Ė intimidating Ė
boats, but hard duty aboard them: theyíre like big Boston Whalers with
no cover whatsoever.
Friday, August 11, 2006; 8:45 am
Sandwich Marina, East Boat Basin, Slip
Itís blowing like stink from the north
this morning, 20 knots gusting to 30, so Iíve luckily arranged, it
appears, to stay here another day (at least), though Iíll have to move
Chip Ahoy a few slips down when itís vacated. Now Iím just hoping that
it is vacated Ė personally, I canít see the owner of that 20-foot
I/O with open cabin being in any more rush than I to depart in these
conditions for anywhere, but his weekís reservation ends today. Maybe
heís trailering out; thereís a busy launch ramp at the end of the
marina, at least it was yesterday.
Seas outside the canal in Cape Cod Bay
are reportedly running three feet, more than Iím ready to willingly take
on. The young fuel dock attendant, Jay, and I watched a few of the local
sport fishermen head out, be gone long enough to get outside the canal,
and return after having had a taste of the conditions.
We also watched as a 40-foot sloop
pulled out and immediately ran aground at the marinaís entrance while
cutting the corner into the canal a bit too close. The dockmaster called
this a "double star" low tide, one of the lowest, and the tide had just
begun coming back in about an hour earlier. We thought he was going to
blow up his engine trying to plow through the rock bottom wide open. The
skipper was going ballistic screaming at his mate, who had nothing to do
with anything poor guy. The harbormaster finally came out and pulled
them off. A few more gathered on the gas dock to watch the drama, and we
all got a good laugh when the skipper screamed at his mate, "Shut up and
just do what I tell you Ė I know what Iím doing!" As one of the
observers among us pointed out, that boat now has more damage than the
Last night the cold front came through
at about 9:30 pm with a nasty thunderstorm and downpour; I had two or
three inches of rain water in the dinghy this morning to bail out. Then
I refilled the gas tank I switched yesterday before coming into the
canal; it took four gallons to top off, meaning that I used those four
gallons between Sesuit Harbor and the canal fighting yesterdayís SW
headwind and two-foot seas, but still actually had two gallons remaining
and could have made it in without the exercise. Better safe than sorry
Last evening I walked up to the Aqua
Grille for dinner Ė a bit gourmet-tony for my taste but the only place
around. There I ordered a cup of chowder, a bacon-cheeseburger, and of
course my traditional and celebratory margarita. My bill came to
surprisingly only twenty bucks.
The restaurant is just in front of an
apparent major U.S. Coast Guard station; they keep a few 41-footers
and other boats stationed here at their dock, constantly coming and
going. It was jarring late yesterday to hear Evening Taps over their
loudspeaker system Ė took me a few moments to figure out where it was
coming from. I havenít heard that since my Army days, thirty-five years
ago Ė when it was routine every evening. Then this morning started off
with Reveille at about 6:30 Ė or should I say Zero Six-Thirty hours; wow
I thought I was back at Fort Jackson, South Carolina Ė waiting for my
bunk to be booted by my DI.
10:00 am Ė
My luck held out, my guardian angel came through again! Iíve got this
slip for another
two nights, and now plan to leave on Sundayís canal
current for Plymouth. Apparently Ė with good cause Ė nobodyís leaving
anywhere to go anywhere else today, the domino effect. The guy whoís
slip I was to hopefully move into asked to extend his weekís stay, while
the guy who had reserved the slip Chip Ahoy is in cancelled. Since the NOAA weather report is for not much of a change overnight and tomorrow,
I grabbed Saturday as well Ė and it too was available. I donít have to
move until Sunday at noon. By then, the wind should change to NW then SW
later in the morning Ė favorable at last for my 20-mile trip north to
Plymouth Ė and the seas are supposed to diminish to 1-2 feet, manageable
especially under sail.
Now that I know Iíll be here for a
couple of days, Iíll pull out the battery charger, 50' extension cord,
and shore power adapter for it from the v-berth locker and connect
everything up, part of "making camp." I go through this exercise only if
Iím stuck someplace long enough to make the effort worthwhile. This has
become one of those times and places. Funny how many places Iíve begged
to stay that I didnít want or intend to be in for more than overnight;
where little if anything is convenient or nearby. This is one of those
One thing interesting about being
stuck here is that it has given me a good opportunity to observe the
canal current and how to exit this marina safely I hope. Iíve seen it
done correctly and Iíve seen it done poorly resulting in a grounding.
Iíve watched boats racing out with the current, flying Ė more powerful
than Iíd envisioned Ė and big power boats fighting against it heading
west against it. Iíve developed a lot more respect for it quickly and am glad I
decided to head back north to home instead of having to deal with it.
Still, itíll be fun dealing with it when I leave Ė even for just the
mile or so out to Cape Cod Bay, and in the future.
must be very bad out there: everyoneís ducking and hiding. "SeaEsta"
pulled in an hour or two ago Ė about a 30-foot power boat with family
aboard, home port of Marblehead, small world. To make that world even
smaller, it turns out they keep the boat on a mooring not far from Chip Ahoyís on the Salem Harbor side of town. They made it east up the canal
from Buzzards Bay and decided to pull in here rather then go on
pounding. Johnís wife Andrea is renting a car to drive back to
Marblehead with their two young daughters; Johnís going to stay with the
Then "Better Bite" out of Portsmouth,
NH Ė about a 25-foot sport fishing boat, just pulled up to the gas dock
looking for refuge. The skipper and his buddy coming through the canal tried sticking their noses
out into Cape Cod Bay, turned and ran back into here. "I wasnít sure I
could even turn the boat around without broaching!" he told me. He is on
his way up to Salem as well, or was; he just got a slip here for the
Slips that were fully reserved this
morning are suddenly open and available apparently. Nobodyís moving from
where they were last night, it looks to me Ė and those who did are
looking for shelter ASAP, regretting the move from wherever they were
last night. What a day, what conditions. It must me horrendous out
there. I got lucky, real lucky.
Another good thing about an unexpected
layover is that it gives you time to work on the boat (if youíre
physically able, which hasnít been the case much lately). I canít take
the motor dying when the throttle handle is turned all the way to the
idle position. After the motor unexpectedly shutting down coming into
Sesuit Harbor, causing me and boat to run aground, I played with the
throttle friction adjuster, a new concept for me on this new Honda 8. I
loosened it a bit so at least it wasnít so tight it felt like it was
binding; with some play in it, I could better keep it from "locking
into" stall. Still, coming into the dock here, at the critical moment it
stalled again. Fortunately, there was assistance on the dock and I was
close enough to toss the bow line then jump onto the dock with the ready
After calling my insurance company to
initiate my lightning strike claim/report as recommended, I called Ryan
Marine Services, where I just bought this motor brand new a couple of
weeks ago. Kerry, one of Markís technicians, called me back, assured me
that if I start messing with the motor I wonít void any warranty, and
recommended that I tighten down the carburetor idle screw a quarter turn
or so to keep it from stalling. (I'd thought of this, but was concerned what opening that cover Ė
breaking the seal, if you will Ė would mean down the road; or what Iíd
even find with the cover off.)
Oh my aching ribs: lifting and tilting
that motor is what caused the problem in the first place, but there was
no other way to get at the carburetor. I lifted and tilted it three times,
adjusting the idle screw a bit each time until Iíd turned it a good full
turn and a half. It now seems to be idling properly. Iím still
recovering from the ribs problem, still aching; Iím hoping I didnít just
set myself back, though I was careful, thoughtful, doing it each time.
Even if I did, having a motor thatíll idle properly Ė idle at all! Ė
might well be worth the pain.
Saturday, August 12, 2006; 7:30 am
Sandwich Marina, East Boat Basin, Slip
Another cool morning, in the low 60s
with the wind still coming out of the north. Yesterdayís high
temperature reached only into the mid-70s and overnight dropped down to
the upper-50s. Yesterday I dug out the jeans and replaced the
shorts-style Iíve been wearing since leaving Marblehead. "Unseasonably
cool for August" by about 10 degrees, NOAA weather reported this
It appears that NOAA and I made the
right call yesterday when I kept this slip through tonight. Today the
wind will continue blowing out of the NW at 10-15 mph gusting to 25;
seas 2-3 feet. I began doubting I need to stay here another day when the
wind died down around sunset last evening. Now Iím glad I committed, as
it sounds like thereís little change outside the canal, though in here
itís not blowing anywhere near as it was at this time yesterday. Thereís
but a light breeze this morning, though itís been picking up.
Tomorrow the wind is supposed to still
be coming out of the NW but begin turning to W sometime later tomorrow,
at 5-10 mph with gusts up to 25 all day. Seas are supposed to be around
two feet, easing to 1-2 feet later. At least I wonít be beating directly into them as I did to reach here, though not by much.
Sunday night it should change to the SW at 5-10 knots with seas dropping
to 1-2 feet by Monday.
Without the antenna mounted on the top
of the mast the NOAA weather channels keep breaking up here in the basin
at low tide Ė itís aggravating having to listen to chopped off bits and
pieces through many cycles to finally get all the details. What a
difference that mast-top mount makes with VHF line-of-sight reception.
But better to have an antenna at all even if mounted on the stern
pulpit stanchion Ė and a radio that should and seems to broadcast as well as receive, even if only line-of-sight from about five
feet above the water.
Since I "made camp" and settled in
here yesterday after making arrangements to stay through tonight, I
brewed my first pot of coffee this morning since Sesuit Harbor and am in
my relaxed dockside mode. If I must "break camp" in an early morning to
get underway, Iíve got enough to do taking everything apart and stowing
it all without brewing coffee and cleaning up afterward, stowing the
coffee makings and stove. Usually there isnít enough time pre-departure
to bother, so Iíll get my caffeine fix from a Coke. Itís not as
satisfying, but this gets me on my way sooner.
9:50 am Ė I
just spoke with the fuel dock attendant (Chip Ahoy is the first boat
inside the fuel dock so I get to see all the comingís and goings of
other boats fueling up at the busy dock Ė and to question other skippers
about conditions outside the canal). I mentioned the difficulty I was
having with the weather channel breaking up; he suggested I walk up to
the harbormasterís office and have them print out a copy of the NOAA
forecast, which I just returned from doing. He also told me Iíll have a
favorable current for leaving the canal tomorrow if I leave before 1:00
pm Ė so I plan to leave at about 11:00 am.
Watching a sailboat flying out, I
asked him what the current runs at Ė I thought 3-4 knots. "More like
4-6," he informed me. After observing the speed of boats racing along
with the current yesterday, Iím now wondering if Chip Ahoy even belongs
on the canal trying to make it all the way down it. If that railroad
bridge ever lowered, I donít know Ė even doubt Ė that my 8hp Honda could
hold its own against a six knot current until the bridge was again
The train rolls past here blowing its
whistle at the nearby crossing each time. Iím estimating that this
whistle blows over a dozen times a day, which means that the railroad
bridge lowers each time the train passes back and forth across it. I
recently learned that the only purpose for the train is as a
dinner-and-sightseeing coach Ė sort of a train ride to nowhere and back!
All this angst, inconvenience, and risk for canal travelers just for a
The NOAA weather print-out tells a
slightly different story from the snatches of weather forecast Iíd
pieced together from the radio earlier this morning:
Today: NW winds 10-15 knots. Seas
around 2 feet.
Tonight: NW winds around 10 knots with
gusts up to 20. Seas 1-2 feet.
Sunday: NW winds around 10 knots with
gusts up to 20. Seas 1-2 feet.
Sunday night: W winds 5-10 knots. Seas
1 foot or less.
Monday: W winds 5-10 knots, becoming
SW 10-15 knots with gusts up to 20 in the late morning and afternoon. Seas 1 foot or less, then 1-2 feet in the afternoon.
Monday night: SW winds 10-15 knots
with gusts up to 20. Seas 1-2 feet. Patchy fog after midnight with
visibility 1-3 NM.
Tuesday: SW winds 15-20 knots with
gusts up to 25; becoming W 10-15 knots after midnight. Seas 1-2 feet. A
chance of showers and thunderstorms. Patchy fog. Visibility 1-3 NM until
Wednesday: W winds 5-10 knots;
becoming S until late evening; then becoming W after midnight. Seas 1
foot or less.
Winds and seas higher in and near
This changes my plans a bit. Tomorrow
(Sunday) looks good to reach Plymouth (about 20 nm), where I planned to
spend two days. Instead, I just made a slip reservation at Brewer Marina
for only overnight tomorrow, then Iíll head directly to Scituate (about 16 nm) on
Monday morning. Iíd like to stay there until Wednesday morning, then
head home to Marblehead (about 24 nm) on what appears will be a perfect
11:50 am Ė
The wind here has really picked up, flags flapping right out all about.
I just completed my navigation plotting for the course from Plymouth to
Scituate and uploaded it from the laptop into my two handheld GPSs. Iíve
called the Mill Wharf Marina there; Iím waiting for a call back to see
if theyíve got a slip available for the two days, starting Monday. If
not, Iíll try the Scituate town marina, aka, the Cole Parkway Marina Ė
where I stayed coming down Ė and see what theyíve got available. I
didnít like the corner where they stuck me the last time, but tricky as
it was, after all I did manage to get out of it by myself in the end and
on my way to Provincetown on my schedule.
1:00 pm Ė
Either theyíre more daring than I or more foolhardy. Three guys in their
very early-20s if that in a 24-foot sloop, "Pelican" out of Portsmouth,
NH, just pulled in to fill up their boatís portable gas tanks. "Pelican"
is your basic trailerable sailboat with little added on Ė I didnít see
even a VHF antenna. The weight of the three of them climbing aboard noticeably lowered
its waterline. The young skipper told me they came down from Gloucester
today Ė which I find hard to believe unless they were sailing all night,
but they were flying a large skull-and-crossbones Jolly Roger flag from
the backstay and who can believe a crew of pirates?!?
He said he was new at this, his first
cruise Ė and was impressed with how Iíd set up Chip Ahoy, took a good
look over it, said he wouldnít be ready to singlehand, "solo" he called
it, until he had a few more trips under his belt. I told him the biggest
trick is to rig the boat for singlehanding first. "I can see youíve done
that," he replied, "Iím jealous." I told him it took a few years and
bucks to get Chip Ahoy rigged the way I wanted and needed it.
Daring or foolish, off the three of
them went heading down the canal to Buzzards Bay with the current and
perhaps a 4hp outboard tops. They reminded me of my matesí and my own
foolish risks a couple of decades ago, not knowing enough yet to play it
smart, not appreciating the oceanís potential or our lack of knowledge.
At least we were playing with much bigger and more forgiving boats back
then. I was standing by and just in time helped fend them off the edge
of the fuel dock they had to round into the wind on their way out. I
wished them luck and a safe trip. In my humble opinion, they will need
it. Iíd admire their daring, but I think itís more the naivetť of youth:
they havenít experienced yet an angry ocean Ė though they were out there
today and I wasnít: wouldnít be if I can help it. For their sake, I hope
and pray that the railroad bridge isnít lowered as they approach it
pushed at five or six knots.
Sunday, August 13, 2006; 5:50 am
Sandwich Marina, East Boat Basin, Slip
I was up before dawn and prepared to
prepare to depart here for Plymouth around 10:00-11:00 am this morning
toward the end of the east-flowing canal current. 11:00 will be perfect,
but I want to be in Plymouth Harbor as early as possible. The coffeeís
brewed and Iíve got a couple of hours to kill before getting busy
"breaking camp" here.
Yesterday I secured reservations at
the Mill Wharf Marina in Scituate for Monday and Tuesday nights, having
rearranged my schedule a bit due to the weather forecast. Though Iíd
originally intended to stay two nights in Plymouth, one in Scituate
before heading out on the final stretch home to Marblehead.
According to the 4:00 am NOAA radio
weather forecast, today should be decent, mostly sunny with NW winds at
10-15 knots diminishing to 5-10 knots by tonight, with seas about one
foot. Since Iím heading pretty much in that direction, I wonder how much
sailing vs. motoring Iíll have to do. Iíve got two full gas tanks, so
Iím ready to motor if need be.
Tomorrow (Monday) for my
Plymouth-Scituate leg, the wind should be out of the W at 10-20 knots,
with 1-2 foot seas.
Tuesday is supposed to be mostly
cloudy as the current strong high pressure area is pushed out by another
cold front. I intend to sit this out in Scituate. Itíd be a rough one,
with winds from the SW at 15-20 knots gusting to 30 with seas around 2
feet. Showers and thunderstorm are expected as well later in the day
until midnight as that cold front moves in.
Wednesday should be mostly sunny, but
now with the wind from the N at 5-10 knots, seas around 2 feet. It this
is so, Iíll be motoring most of the way home against a dead-on headwind
and probably pounding all the way. What happened to yesterdayís forecast
for perfect sailing weather for me, with wind out of the west and seas
one foot or less? Itís ironic how I have such good luck in a pinch when
I need to remain at a dock in rough weather beyond my scheduled stay,
but such bad luck when it comes to the weather itself Ė so often running
into a headwind nose on.
Iíll go back up to the harbormasterís
office when it opens and get another NOAA weather forecast computer
print-out. That differed yesterday from the radio forecast Iíd copied
down earlier that morning.
It was very cool last night, cool
enough that, along with the jeans I wore all day, I pulled out the heavy
sweater I always carry aboard and put on socks; couldnít have been more
than the low-50s. I even put in two cribboards and closed the hatch
before retiring. The down-filled sleeping bag kept me very comfortable,
though the sore ribs still awakened me off and on. Itís hard to believe
itís mid-August Ė but this is New England after all.
Just before sunset yesterday I walked
across to the Aqua Grille again and had a bowl of their great clam
chowder, then came back to Chip Ahoy and read for a few hours before
turning off the cabin light. Though still sore, I think my ribs are
gradually healing; Iíve still got my chest wrapped with an Ace bandage.
Iím just back from the harbormasterís
office with a print-out of the wunderground.com weather report; pretty
much the same as the NOAA radio forecast:
Today Ė NW winds 10-15 knots,
decreasing to 5-10 late. Seas 1 foot or less.
Monday Ė SW winds 5-10 knots,
increasing 10-15 with gusts up to 20 knots late. Seas 1-2 feet.
Tuesday Ė SW winds 15-20 knots gusting
to 30. Seas around 2 feet. Chance of showers and thunderstorms.
Wednesday Ė NW winds around 5 knots.
Seas 1 foot or less. (An improvement over NOAAís report.)
I figure to cast off around 10:00 am.
Brewer Plymouth Marina, Plymouth, MA
Sunday, August 13, 2006; 6:30 pm
Here I am,
right alongside Plymouth
Rock Ė just a very short walk away. Iím starting to feel like Miles
Standish or something!
I got antsy this morning Ė a product
of getting up too early, or maybe too much coffee. I had Chip Ahoy ready
to roll out this morning shortly after 9:00 am, all systems go. At 9:20
I couldnít restrain myself and cast off out into the canal on an ebb
tide near low. Itís good that I watched other boats over the past few
days Ė especially the one that ran aground, as it taught me exactly
where not to go. I had no problem getting out into the canal
current while keeping away from hazards.
The problem came when I reached the
mouth of canal where it dumps into Cape Cod Bay: there the water became
extremely turbulent, chaotic, with four foot anyway chop Ė more when a
following very large cruiser blasted by really churning up the
slop. It was sort of like the mouth of the Merrimack River on an
outgoing current with in incoming tide, only worse: just hang on for
dear life and ride it out.
Once out on Cape Cod Bay under motor,
I first hoisted the roller-furled genoa. As I was pretty much heading
into the wind, I was at first reluctant to hoist the main, but after a
while saw the advantage. The
2-3 foot seas were buffeting Chip Ahoy so I
figured the main sail would stabilize the boat better. Once hoisted, I
kept the boat as close to the wind as possible while maintaining my GPS
route; I was able to keep it quite close, needing to tack once to bring
boat and me back on track.
Surprisingly, I found the wind for
most of the day to be not north or northwest, but more from the
north-northeast. Seas were 2-3 feet most of the way,
rollers instead of choppy. Also surprisingly, I found that my ribs
handled it well; Iím on the mend Ė or maybe it was the Motrin I took
I had the main and genoa deployed and
catching breeze smartly, but when I shut down the motor to idle/neutral
Chip Ahoy dropped to 2- maybe 3 knots and according to the GPS wouldnít
make Plymouth until late. I dropped the gear shift into forward again
and maintained 3-4 knots, sometimes 4Ĺ knots in the gusts.
I apparently fixed the problem with
the new Hondaís idle speed. No more stalling-out today, yahoo!
Coming around the Manomet Point "12"
whistle, I headed more westerly toward Plymouth, and picked up speed
with the northeast wind. I hit the entrance buoy to Plymouth/Duxbury at
about 2:30 and was soon after turning off to port toward Plymouth
Getting into Plymouth Harbor required
patience, or a .357 Magnum. First, there were the power boats blasting
by in both directions in a narrow channel (whatís with those powerboat
guys anyway, penis envy?) rocking and rolling Chip Ahoy unmercifully,
especially the tourist tanks.
The channel in is long, narrow, twisting
and winding. Even after I dropped sail, I left the keel down in an
effort to offset this, cranking it up only as I approached the actual
harbor and dock itself.
As usual approaching a strange marina,
once close I had no idea where I was supposed to be going. Nobody
answered at their phone number Ė but an answering machine, nor initially
on channels 9 or 72, which supposedly they monitor. Finally I heard Chip
Ahoy being raised on my handheld VHF and responded. Brewer Marinaís
crew were great once I reached them on channel 72: they guided me to
their dock among a vast field of moored boats, and were there to lend a
hand with my docking. I arrived and tied up at 4:00 pm.
As I pulled into the dock where Iíll
spend the night, I got to speaking with the folks who were on the boat
that would be behind me,
Bob, Doris and Obie aboard "Intuition," a
Catalina 32 out of New Boston, NH. They loved the name of my boat! I
promised that Iíd tell them the story later. Iíve heard the story
now about how they named their boat (they bought it in the final year of
paying for their daughterís college tuition!), but havenít told them
mine yet. Weíll get around to it later this evening or tomorrow morning.
Bob lost his coffee percolator overboard and canít find another to
replace it. When they heard I brew in the morning using one, Doris told
me to guard mine. I invited Bob over for coffee anytime after 6:00 am,
Iíll have it ready. I also thought at last to have him take a couple of
pictures of me and Chip Ahoy Ė something Iíve been
meaning to do
at past destinations but keep forgetting until itís too late.
They just got a ride from Bobís cousin
Obie from Halifax, MA into town, and at my request will bring back a can
of coffee and a small container of CoffeMate for me, both of which Iíve
almost run out on this trip. Really nice people Ė like so many Iíve met
on this and other cruises. Interesting how, for the most part, we are an
instant community comprised of total strangers doing the same thing.
Brewer Plymouth Marina, Plymouth, MA
Monday, August 14, 2006; 6:00 am
It looks to be
another good day today,
and finally warming up into the mid-80s later. The high temperature
yesterday only reached the mid-70s, falling into the mid-50s again last
At dawn itís dead calm under cloudless
skies, but the wind today is supposed to begin coming out of the SW to
start at 5-10 knots, increasing to 10-15 and gusting to 20 knots by late
morning or early afternoon, seas at one foot. There are showers and
thunderstorms forecast after midnight through daybreak tomorrow, but by
then I should be tied up in Scituate. Small-craft advisories have been
issued for tonight through at least tomorrow morning, when winds will be
20 knots gusting to 30. Iíll still be in Scituate tomorrow, fortunately.
Wednesday sounds good as of now for making Marblehead: winds out of the
W at 5-10 knots and seas at one foot. I couldnít ask for better, if it
only holds until then.
After settling in aboard, I walked up
to the marina office and took a shower. Bob and Doris had come back
while I was showering and left my can of coffee and small canister of
CoffeeMate in the cockpit. When I went aboard "Intuition" to pay them
for it, they refused to take my money. Theyíre heading for the Cape Cod
Canal today, so I gave them the official Army Corps of Engineers canal
current schedule for 2006 Ė I picked it up from the Sandwich
harbormaster yesterday, but donít need it any more. Bob liked it much
more than the Eldridge East Coast Tides and Currents book (as I did) as
it targets the one spot heís interested in; he doesnít have to leaf
through hundreds of pages to find what he needs. I found it much clearer
to read as well.
After the visit, I went up to the 14
Union restaurant for a late dinner, the marina restaurant overlooking
the docks and apparently a night spot. The food was decent, if a bit
expensive, but the reggae band was much too loud and the crowd too
boisterous. You could hear the band back down on the docks when I
returned to Chip Ahoy at about 10:00 pm. Not that it mattered; I was
asleep almost immediately.
Scituate is only about 15 miles north
from the Plymouth/Duxbury harbors entrance buoy, but getting out to it
will take most of an hour. It should be an easy leg Ė if I depart here
by 9:00-10:00 am as planned, I expect to be in Scituate by 3:00 pm,
where Iíll "set up camp" for two nights, put up the "pup tent" for the
coming weather and hook up to shore power.
I didnít bother "making camp" when I
arrived yesterday as Iím here only for the night. I just tied off the
boat and secured the dinghy behind it. I hooked up the 110v inverter to
the cigarette lighter adapter thatís usually used just to keep my cell phone
charged, attached directly to "Battery 1" by clips. The inverter is now
powering the laptop and the battery charger for my small digital
cameraís battery. The boatís battery switch is set to "Battery 1" for
any 12v current Iím using, e.g., the cabin lights briefly last night and
the VHF radio which Iím using to listen to the NOAA weather forecast.
When I depart, Iíll switch it back to "Both" and let the motor recharge
them, but "Battery 2 " hasnít been used since I arrived and should be
fully charged. So far, Iíve never run down "Battery 1" noticeably using
this method, but "Battery 2 " is fully charged if needed.
I did brew a pot of coffee this
morning, which Iím about to finish off. Iím not in such a rush this
morning that I had to spare the pleasure, or the time to relax and write
a little, take a couple of photos of the sunrise. It looks like a
beautiful day and a short leg ahead.
Marina at the Mill Wharf, Scituate, MA
Monday, August 14, 2006; 4:15 pm
I arrived right on prediction Ė
incredibly: 3:10 pm. It was one hell of a sail all the way. I turned
off, lifted and tilted the motor as soon as Chip Ahoy cleared the
entrance buoy from Plymouth/Duxbury harbors and sailed all the way to
the entrance into Scituate Harbor.
This morning, again I couldnít wait
and cast off from the dock at 9:20 am. Bob and Doris gave me a
hand with the lines and pushing off Chip Ahoyís bow (and a new pair of
shorts that don't fit Bob). Just before I left,
I warned them about the low water at Brewer Marina Ė how we had helped a
grounded boat just off the dock the last time I was here, a few years ago. They wished me
a good trip, and I replied, "Yeah, if I donít run aground." "Ah, thatíll
never happen," Doris replied offhandedly.
Three minutes later, sure enough, I
ran aground gently while trying to cut through the mooring field: the
rudder and outboard hit the, fortunately, sand and silt bottom. It took
me about five minutes of eternity to free myself while fending off the
nearby moored boat with a tilted outboard that looked like a spear ready
to pierce Chip Ahoy. I had to raise the motor while it was running, work
the rudder loose then pull it up, then reverse out and finally lower the
motor before it cooked.
The Catalina 32, "Intuition," passed
me just as we were exiting the entrance heading out to sea. I yelled across to ask if Bob
and Doris saw my fiasco Ė but theyíd missed it. I told them I couldnít
figure a way to contact and warn them Ė but I guess they found the
channel and had no problems.
Once outside the harbors entrance I
headed on my course north to Scituate with a nice westerly breeze, maybe
5-10 knots. I shut down and raised the motor for the rest of the day.
The breeze picked up all day, and my turn at the Farnham Rock buoy made
the wind even more favorable for my direction. I was
cooking along at
4-5 knots for most of the morning and early afternoon, pretty much
leaving it up to the tiller-pilot with minor sail trim adjustments on my
Then those "gusts up to 20 knots"
arrived, and whoa. The first one caught me by surprise Ė I wasnít paying
attention. I loosed sheets as the rail went under, just in time. From
then on I was paying attention: once I was alerted, I learned to see them coming
Ė the rippling of the oceanís surface between land and boat, I could
almost map them as they approached. I got real good at timing them,
loosening the sheets a moment before they arrived, tightening back up
when theyíd passed. I hit over 6 knots often this afternoon and it was
But I recognized "it was coming"
whatever "it" was, and the sooner I got to my berth in Scituate Harbor
the better, so I went for the gold early on, squeezing every knot out of
the conditions that I dared. By the time I reached the entrance buoy for
Scituate Harbor at about 2:30 pm it was blowing a pretty steady 20 knots
and the seas were building to two feet or better. It was becoming, well,
intimidating. I was glad to arrive.
Just before heading into the Scituate
breakwater, I happily lowered sail and ran with the motor. Even that
became a chore by then. Once inside the breakwater and into the channel
things calmed down, somewhat. It was still blowing hard.
I called Mill Wharf Marina on my cell
phone and reached a clueless young lady who had no idea where I was
supposed to go. No offense against young ladies, mind you: thatís the
usual response when pulling into a strange port. They think like locals,
as if you know where slip 19 is on dock B, in a harbor youíve never been
into and donít know where youíre heading to get to a marina.
I told her that I was coming into
their gas dock, would be prepared to dock on my starboard side and would
like assistance. She said okay, whatever. She was waiting for me as I
arrived and started pointing out where I was supposed to dock. I told
her forget about it, Iím landing. She grabbed my bowline as I tossed it
from the cockpit; I jumped on the dock with my stern line and tied it
off. As long as I was at the gas dock, I figured I might as well top off
the fuel tank.
This is the first place Iíve ever been
where not only do they not encourage if not insist that the boat-owner
fill his own tank and hand you the hose, but she just took over and
filled it Ė it turned out, over-filled it. When I put it back
aboard, gas was bubbling out the vent. A Coast Guard boat pulled up, so
I called the crew over and asked them, "What do I do now?"
"Looks like a personal problem," one
of them responded.
"Wonít be when I dump out some of the
extra gas into the water," I replied, "Or if I hit the start button and
the boat explodes."
"Hey, my carís up in the lot if you
want to get rid of it there!" another offered, obviously officer
I used my handy-dandy gas transfer
siphon-pump to pump out about a quart of perfectly good and highly
expensive marine gas into a bucket the young lady provided, until the
installed tank in my boat no longer was leaking gas. When I finally got
to my slip, I let the motor run at idle (what a luxury a working idle
speed is!) for about half an hour to make sure, and opened all hatches
and vents, while I went to work "making camp."
Getting into my slip for my planned
two-night stay also was somewhat of a challenge, taking me two tries. The wind
was really howling by then (NOAA is now calling for "gusts up to 30
knots," and small-craft advisories are in effect through tomorrow). I
was off on my first shot in and had to quickly reverse out, line up, and
give it another go. I made it into the slip the second time, aiming for
the one on my windward side, and the young lady was waiting for me to
toss her my bow line; I jumped out with the stern line and Chip Ahoy was
quickly secured. After I caught a breath, "making camp" began and is now
completed. Iím ready for almost anything for the next two days, and itís
on its way. But no more lightning strikes, please.
Marina at the Mill Wharf, Scituate, MA
Tuesday, August 15, 2006; 7:30 am
Well now, apparently I needed some
rest. I didnít awake this morning until half an hour ago; post-dawn is
very late for me. Itís
pouring rain out there, but itís comfortable with
the companionway hatch open beneath the "pup tent." The coffeeís brewing and Iíve got
a day ahead of doing nothing but relaxing.
NOAA and I called this one right.
Small-craft advisories are in effect until 3:00 this afternoon, winds
are W at 15-20 knots with gusts to 30; seas are two feet. Thereís a
lobster boat on a mooring just across the harbor channel from me with a
high whip antenna. It has a large American flag atop thatís flapping
straight out, the whip bent back.
I spent much of last evening "reaching
out" on the cell phone. I learned from Paul that my C22 discussion group
list is functioning just great in his able hands without me, thanks
Paul. And that Dick, though again hospitalized last week, will be coming
home tomorrow too and seems to be improving. Best of luck, Dick Ė you
might want to keep that C22 Sport after all! By the time I left Chip
Ahoy, close to 10:00 pm, theyíd rolled up the sidewalks nearby.
So I came back and ate a package of
granola bars to hold me over. Iíd planned to walk up to the nearby
Dunkin Donuts this morning and pick up a breakfast sandwich and a couple
cups of coffee, but itís raining too hard to bother. I brewed a pot
under the pup tent and will eat later, or hold myself over with
something from the "food pantry" aboard.
My onboard "food pantry" Ė a large but
shallow plastic container with cover filling the space the sliding
galley used to occupy Ė is stocked with basics. In it I keep a few boxes
of granola bars, a number of canned goods such as baked beans, canned
potatoes, soup, Chef Boyardee pastas, and other simple things that will
fill an empty stomach in a pinch; canned meat and tuna; a jar of peanut
butter; a box of peanut butter crackers in individually wrapped
packages; a loaf of bread; chips and other snacks; condiments such as
salt and pepper, ketchup and mustard; a can opener, etc. With its
contents, I can hold over, or make myself a meal, though certainly not
gourmet. I have two pans aboard to cook in: a small regular pot, and a
small frying pan, both with their covers. Itís all Iíve ever really
needed while "camping out" like this, considering that usually I eat
I have two collapsible plastic five
gallon water jugs aboard, overkill. I keep one filled and use it
primarily for making coffee in the mornings Ė though usually I fill the
pot from a dock hose. Iíve used about a gallon from it so far this trip.
(I brought along a case of bottled water for drinking.) I used it his
morning, as I didnít want to venture out into the downpour just to get
water to make coffee.
I decided to unwrap my chest early
yesterday, remove the Ace bandage; my ribs were feeling much better. It
seems I might have been a bit premature, as the ribs are aching again
this morning. Maybe it was the Motrin I took in the morning. I just took
another, but wonít pull out the Ace bandage, yet. What a nuisance that
injury has been over this entire cruise.
Man, is it ever raining now at 8:10 am
Ė couldnít rain much harder!
As an after thought yesterday after
settling in, I pulled Chip Mate, the dinghy, alongside Chip Ahoy and set
out a fender instead
of letting it trail tightly astern. This was a smart move. When the bow
of Chip Mate strikes the stern of Chip Ahoy, the dinghyís rub-rail
usually hits the swim ladder on the starboard side, sometimes gets stuck
there. This explains the missing rubber boot that was once attached to
the support which rests on the transom if the ladder is deployed. I
bought a package of four replacement boots while in Sesuit Harbor, to
replace the missing one. Now I know how it went missing. With the number
of boats (and wakes) that have passed since Iíve been here, moving the
dinghy was a very smart move. No wonder I slept so
Tomorrow sounds good for reaching
Marblehead and home. According to NOAA weather, we should be back to
winds from the west at 5-10, seas one foot, and a perfectly sunny day. I
couldnít ask for much better. Well, please, let there not be man-eating
house flies awaiting Chip Ahoy out in Boston Harbor Ė but Iím ready if
there is, armed with a brand new full can of heat-seeking Raid!
I just found my cell phone dead.
Apparently I knocked a cigarette lighter battery connection clip loose
when I connected the battery charger clips to the battery posts. Better
to find out now than later, I guess. Sorry for the abrupt disconnect,
Barbara Ė but now we know what those weird beeps mean!
Wow, is it raining hard out there, and
starting to blow more, the wind shifting from the west more to
southwest. Iím so glad to be here and settled in for the day with a good
book. I should have covered Chip Mate with its custom-made cover last
night, but I was too burned-out, aka lazy: Iíll be bailing out the
dinghy later when this deluge is over.
The one drip into the cabin that my
"pup tent" hasnít cured is water running down the boom from the mast,
beneath the tarp. It has now become a nuisance. I may have to close the
companion way hatch completely if this keeps up. Iíve got a towel
beneath the drip, but itís pretty steady in that one spot. This year, I
brought clothes-pins along. At least I can now hang towels to dry along
the lifelines. That drip is steady, the towel is soaked. Thereís got to
be a solution, and Iíve got all day to consider it.
The solution is, raise the topping
lift so rainwater flows forward before dropping into the cabin.
Actually, it was collecting mostly in the exposed main sail forward of
the "pup tent" then running aft and down along the boom. Very little of
the sail is exposed aft of the "pup tent."
I just returned from dinner with old
friends Norm and Joan Paley of Scituate, fellow taxpayer activists and
longtime members of our organization. I invited them down to the marina
for my treat. We dined on pizzas at the Mill Wharf Restaurant, outside
overlooking the harbor. I finally enjoyed my traditional margarita, even
if a day late.
The rain finally let up early this
afternoon and the sun peeked out. Soon after, I bailed a good three
inches of rainwater from the dinghy, cleaned out my coffee pot, and had
a light lunch of leftover turkey wrap from a meal in Sandwich.
I read for a while, napped, then got Normís call that he and Joan could
make it for dinner, would meet me here at 5 pm. It was great to get
together with them again; I felt guilty for not calling them on the way
out, but time was too short.
Ah geez, NOAA weather is now
predicting winds directly from the north tomorrow Ė nose on again Ė
turning northeast later in the day, about when I will be doing likewise;
one foot seas. What keeps happening to that westerly wind they keep
promising then changing? Thursday is pretty much more of the same. Now
theyíre promising a westerly breeze on Friday Ė but who knows three days
out. I can motor home from here if need be, but itíd be so much more
satisfying to have a good last vacation cruise day at sea sailing
home. I can probably also spend another day or two here in Scituate and
wait for a westerly breeze.
Marina at the Mill Wharf, Scituate, MA
Wednesday, August 16, 2006; 7:30 am
I was awakened by a brilliant sunrise
flooding in through the companionway: Chip Ahoyís stern is facing
directly east. Iíve got the top cribboard in just to block the sun so I
can see what Iím writing on the laptop, then opened the forward hatch to
catch the light SW breeze. Itís already pretty warm, and heading up into
the mid-80s today.
I walked up to the marina office to
see about staying another day or two, but nobody was in yet. The young
lady manning the nearby fuel dock didnít think theyíd be any problem,
but she couldnít give me approval until she talks with her boss, who
wonít be in until around 8:45. That must be Rich Warner, who I spoke
with for a while yesterday up at his office on the dock. He and I just
chewed the fat about past boating experiences; he was especially
intrigued with the lightning strike on Chip Ahoy and the complications
From there I walked across to the
local Dunkin Donuts and bought a large coffee Ė no sense going through
the brewing ritual then cleaning up with good coffee so convenient.
Especially if I have to "break camp" quickly if I canít stay here for
another day or two.
If I have to leave, itíll mean
motoring most if not all the way back to Marblehead into the wind. Iíve
got two full gas tanks, so thatís not a consideration: Iíd just prefer
not to spend my last day at sea motoring all the way. The weather is forecast
to be beautiful through the weekend, so there are no storms to consider
Ė only wind direction. The NOAA weather forecast for Boston Harbor is:
Today (Wednesday): Winds N at 5 knots,
turning NE later in the day. Seas one foot. Mostly sunny.
Tomorrow (Thursday): Winds NE at 5-10,
turning E later in the day Ė then turning SW overnight. Seas one foot.
Friday: Winds NW becoming SE at 5-10
knots. Seas one foot. Partly cloudy.
Today appears to be the least
favorable of the next few beautiful days. Even tomorrowís predicted wind
direction will be slightly more favorable to my direction, so I might
give it a shot if I can stay another day. If I have to "break camp"
quickly this morning, I can still be out of here within an hour, even
though it means disconnecting and stowing everything, coiling the shore
power electric cord and stowing it along with the battery charger,
moving the dinghy from alongside to astern, etc.
Iím good for another night here, I
just learned. ($44/night Ė $2/foot Ė with electric) Iím pretty certain
that I want to leave tomorrow: as things currently stand, the winds Ė
northeast early turning east later tomorrow Ė ought to be favorable
enough to sail home with an early start. I just checked at the
harbormasterís office and found that seas are reported 1-2 feet outside
the harbor, winds from the NW at 5-10 knots.
Iíve got no big plans for the day: do
some shopping at the local supermarket, take a shower at the
harbormasterís office next door, relax and probably finish the book Iím
reading. Iím hoping that Iíve got one more change of clean clothes. I
stow them in a large water-tight plastic box with cover in the
compartment behind the aft dinette seat. With the ribs problem, getting
in there to check is near-impossible: itís more reach-and-grab. Iíve
made it through this cruise without having to do a load of laundry, and I
have only a day left before getting home. Itís nice being aboard here
for another day, extending my cruise a day longer before reaching
Marblehead and finding myself back in reality. Iíd rather be out there
sailing, but this is a good second-best alternative.
The ribs are still sore until I take
my morning Motrin fix. Itís good stuff; the ache is forgotten an hour
after taking one. I wish Iíd remember to take one before falling asleep
at night, but I usually read until my eyes start closing, awaken cold in
the wee hours and half-consciously pull out the sleeping bag. The broken
blister about the size of a quarter, caused by apparently overdoing the
HeatWraps, is as much a nuisance now as the gradually healing ribs.
Iíve got towels hanging by
clothes-pins around the lifelines drying out; the saturated piece of carpet that
is usually on the cabin sole just inside the companionway is drying out
on the cockpit seat. Yesterdayís rain soaked a lot, but todayís low
humidity and cloudless sunshine will cure that soon enough.
Regardless of what NOAA weather is
reporting, the wind is blowing steadily from the SE at 10-15 knots or
better here in Scituate Harbor, according to all the flags waving almost
straight out all around me. NOAA is still reporting the wind is N
turning NE in Boston Harbor; the Scituate harbormasterís office had NW
posted on his chalk board when I was up there a while ago. Itís very
confusing, except for what my own eyes see. Iíll bet the seas outside
the breakwater are running 2-3 feet by now.
Finally NOAA weather has caught up,
reporting the winds in Boston Harbor are coming out of the SE. Earlier I
walked back up to the harbormasterís office and asked whatís with his
posting of NW winds Ė pointing out the flags obviously blowing from the
opposite direction. He called it "an afternoon sea breeze," told me that
they base their chalk board reports on the weather service. NOAA is now
calling the wind change "sea breezes" as well. I wonder what ever
happened to simple direct observations?
NOAA is sticking with this morningís
prediction for tomorrow, forecasting winds from the NE early tomorrow,
becoming E later, at 5-10 mph all day (why donít they consistently use
either knots or mph?) with seas running at one foot. Weíll see tomorrow,
but if not thatís why God made motors.
I took a shower ($2.00 for transients)
early this afternoon at the harbormasterís office, took a nap and
finished the third book Iíd brought along; bought a fourth at the
supermarket that Iím about to start, and got my very minor grocery
shopping done this afternoon. It turned out that I had exactly one
change of clean clothes remaining, gratefully Ė but I forgot thereís a
convenient laundromat right next to the nearby Dunkin Donuts, maybe 100
yards across the parking lot, had I needed one.
Coffee again at Dunkin Donuts tomorrow
morning; Iíll have enough to do "breaking camp" without making coffee
first then cleaning up. The alcohol stove, percolator, cup, and makings
are already stowed, for the last time this trip. With the rising sun
pouring in my companionway like an alarm clock, Iíll be up no later than
dawn. I should be out of here and on my way home decently early in the
morning, a trip of about 24 nm which should easily bring me in before
Marina at the Mill Wharf, Scituate, MA
Thursday, August 17, 2006; 6:10 am
Iím back aboard with a large Dunkin
Donuts coffee and a donut. Another brilliant dawn is beaming through the
companionway; Iíve got the top two cribboards in to block it so I can
see to write.
NOAA weather is holding fast on
todayís weather forecast: sunny, winds out of the NE turning E later in
the day at 5-10 knots, seas 1-2 feet. The wind here right now is blowing
out of the east at about 10 knots, which means beyond the jetty I expect
the seas will be 1-2 feet already. I plan to be out of here by 8:00 am
and on my way home.
It was cool last night, jeans, socks, and
sweater were donned again, but it seems to be warming up already. Itís
supposed to be in the high-70s to low-80s today and mostly sunny.
When Iím done with my cup of coffee
and this journal/log entry, Iíll begin "breaking camp." I remembered
last night to take a Motrin before going to sleep, though I read until
about 11:00 pm. I slept much better, waking only once. I just took my
morning dose of Motrin. The ribs are still aching but much improved.
I awoke last night when I heard
strange beeps and sounds. It turned out that the cell phone had become
unplugged from its cigarette lighter recharger somehow and had gone
dead, giving its last gasp warnings. This wasnít all that surprising,
considering the jumble of wires, chargers, laptop and electrical
equipment taking up the starboard aft bench around the shore power
extension cord and its multi-plug and the battery charger. I plugged it
back in at 4:00 am Ė the phoneís still dead but charging.
Iíve also got the handheld VHF radio
topping of its charge for the trip. I must have knocked the cell phone
loose while hooking up the handheldís charger late last evening. The
handheld uses 110v power to charge: the cell phone will continue to
charge even after I disconnect the extension cord from shore power, as
its 12v charger is connected directly to "Battery 1" by alligator clips.
(Iíve got a 12v cigarette lighter adapter to recharge the handheld
stowed aboard in the waterproof "electronics" box if I ever really need
it, along with the 110v inverter.)
I didnít use my new Nikon digital SLR
much on this trip Ė as much as Iíd anticipated. But then, I didnít get
to use the dinghy much either due to the ribs problem, and thatís when I
most expected to use the Nikon Ė those usual shots of Chip Ahoy from the
dinghy. I plan to have it out and handy today, after all, it was the
nearby whale sighting the last time I returned from Scituate last season
that most motivated me to buy it. The small Olympus point-and-shoot
digital just didnít recycle fast enough to get the good shots, while the
Nikon will shoot something like a million frames a second so long as I
hold down the shutter release. Iíll keep it relatively handy, out of its
Pelican case, but still protected in the cabin. The also-new
waterproof/shockproof Olympus has been and is always within reach.
Itís 7:10 am and time to begin
"breaking camp" and heading home!
Thursday, August 17, 2006; 5:30 pm
At about 3:00 pm this afternoon I tied
up to my mooring, the 2006 cruise was officially over. Itís kind of a
bummer that itís ended, but itís real good to be home again. At least I
got an extra layover day in Scituate yesterday,
NOAA called it right on the mark
today. Winds were north when I took off from the dock at 8:50 am.
Outside the Scituate breakwater they remained north, but gradually
turned northeast as I approached Minot Lightís offshore buoy. By the
time I hit Boston Harbor, the winds had switched to easterly, as
Seas were running about 2-3 feet
coming out of Scituate. They soon diminished t0 1-2 as I headed north,
and turned to
one foot or less for the rest of the trip. There was wind,
but not a whole lot Ė I had to
run the motor to keep up 3.5-4 knots all
afternoon, and steerage to my next waypoint. Though I had the Nikon at
the ready (and took a few shots using it), I sighted no whales this
Getting out of my slip this morning
was a bit tricky; I was looking for assistance with the dock lines. But
I was also looking to get out rather early. The wind was blowing from
the north, pushing Chip Ahoy over toward the next slip. Singlehanding,
this is always a tough call: go for it alone, or look for help and
not screw up Ė you canít be at the bow line and stern line
simultaneously going out, nobody can. Grrrrr. So I looked over the
situation while finishing my cup of coffee and decided that if I
repositioned the dock lines (as I did the last time I was in Scituate
Harbor before casting off for Provincetown), I should be able to pull it
off. I did, it worked perfectly and I was on my way.
When I hit the sea buoy a few miles
off Minot Light the seas seemed to be calming somewhat, the wind
direction changing slightly to the NE. My course took me a bit more
northwest so I tried hoisting sails, putting the motor in neutral, but
Chip Ahoyís speed dropped to a knot-and-a-half, my ETA home suddenly
went from about 2:30 pm to sometime after 6:00. I put the motor back in
gear and brought the boat up to 4-4.5 knots.
At the sea buoy in
Boston Harbor, my
course took me more to the north, but the winds had definitely switched
to the NE by then at about 5-10 knots, seas were 1-2 feet but
diminishing. Still I couldnít squeeze more than two knots out of the
sails alone still heading into the wind, so left the motor engaged and
remained at 4-4.5 knots over the water. At the first sea buoy for
Marblehead, the wind had shifted to E still at 5-10 knots, seas about a
foot. I was able to idle down the motor as I headed up along the coast.
Just outside Marblehead Harbor I dropped sails and prepared to reach my
mooring under power. Coming into Salem Harbor I cranked up the swing
keel and started looking for my mooring ball Ė strange how foreign even
your home anchorage looks after being away for a couple of weeks.
Tied up to my mooring, I called
Barbara to let her know Iíd arrived then started packing up everything
which I wanted to take ashore with me: the Pelican case and Nikon
camera, the laptop and its backpack, my box of books and other
accessories, my sea bag filled with electronics, Olympus camera, the
"spinnie thing" wind vane Iíd bought for her in Provincetown, etc. There
was a large power boat tied at the Village Street dock, I observed
through binoculars, that left little if any room for Chip Ahoy to pull
into, so I waited patiently as thereís a half-hour limit on tying up. An
hour and a half later, "Smooth Operation II" of Marblehead, a Sundancer
390, was still there and my patience had run out.
I called Barbara and told her I was
leaving my mooring and heading for the dock to unload, asked her to
drive down the hill and meet me at the ramp. I cast off my mooring and
motored into the dock, was just able to squeeze Chip Ahoy behind the
power boat with a little help from another boater waiting for the
launch, then read the riot act to the guy scrubbing and cleaning the
power boat, apparently just a hired hand. Before Iíd finished unloading
and muling everything up to Barbaraís CRV, "Smooth Operation II" was on
its way out.
Once Iíd transferred everything ashore
that was going ashore (I forgot my clothes, both clean and dirty, my
foul-weather jacket, the bag of extra "good" tools, and my extra pair of
boat shoes, damn),
I took Chip Ahoy back out to its mooring, then took Chip Mate back to
the dinghy dock. I was done; the trip was officially over Ė though the
ground was still rolling beneath me, even when I got into my house.
Home Ė Marblehead, MA
Friday, August 18, 2006; 7:00 am
Conclusions: It was a fun adventure and for
the most part the weather was decent if not perfect; but then it never
is. I didnít make it through the canal as planned or any further than
its entrance, but I hadnít counted on blowing out my ribs nor the
continually unfolding effects of the lightning strike, both of which
unexpectedly changed my capabilities, thus my plans.
In my exhaustion after arriving home,
I made something quick and easy for dinner then went to bed to read Ė
but fell right to sleep. I didnít think to take a Motrin and awoke to
the ribs ache in the middle of the night, and for a moment didnít know
where I was. Ah, itís nice to be home again after two weeks away aboard
Chip Ahoy Ė though I miss the adventure already. This morning I didnít
need to turn on the VHF radio and check the NOAA weather forecasts Ė
which had become a habit, a ritual.
Itís funny how quickly you adapt to a
new lifestyle, such as living aboard for just two weeks. Being home is
still a bit new to me, I'm trying to get rid of my sea legs. Catching up after being away is a bit
overwhelming Ė the mail, e-mail, and phone messages. My plan today is to
not be overwhelmed, just decompress and adapt to my "new" situation
gradually Ė get my land legs back.
The trip was another challenge,
another one-on-one; me and Mother Nature and her ocean. Iím satisfied
that Chip Ahoy and I performed well and we now have another extended
cruise behind us, another 143 nautical miles together. Crossing from Scituate to Provincetown was the
furthest out to sea and the longest out of sight of land weíve been Ė in
the middle of Massachusetts/Cape Cod Bays, we were fifteen miles
offshore in the nearest directions. On the way back yesterday I tried to
come up with the next destination for next year. I came up
empty Ė unless I give the canal and Cape Codís south side another shot,
or unless I cruise back up to Portland, Maine and visit our friend the
former state representative on Great Chebeague Island just to the
northeast, where she has a summer place to which I have a standing
invitation to visit. But I've got plenty of time to think about