Monday, July 18, 2011; 1:40 pm
On the mooring, Salem Harbor off Village Street
It’s been an inauspicious beginning to a delayed-by-a-day cruise. Packed
up and ready to go late this morning, the sky opened with rain and the
I’d thought I would be good if I could get out to the boat ahead of the
major weather event by 2:00 pm – thought I was ahead of the weather,
even if behind by a day on my cruise plan.
Oh well, after a short I’m here now; more or less settled in for my
week's cruise down
to Scituate and back. It’ll get nasty later from everything I’m
hearing, but tomorrow should be golden.
I called this morning, rescheduled a mooring for tomorrow. Scituate
thought this was a good decision on my part; it’ll be waiting tomorrow.
Last evening after most of the boater traffic had
diminished; I came out to Chip Ahoy with the clothes bag and computer
‘briefcase,” left them aboard. That was half the load that needed to be
brought aboard. Today it was just my sea-bag filled with everything I
need (up to the last minute) and the collapsible cooler filled with ice
and what I’ll
need for a day or two.
Just shut down and
dogged the forward hatch, pulled out the sliding hatch over the cabin.
It’s starting to rain. For once the forecast seems to be accurate; two
o’clock the worst was supposed to arrive. Nothing impressive yet, just
showers – the leading edge.
another situation I’d have the “pup-tent” up, the cabin and cockpit
covered. But I want an early start tomorrow morning so the less I need
to do the quicker I can be out.
It was gratifying coming aboard today after the short deluge and
climbing into the cabin, finding it dry. This year’s ‘windows project
revisited’ seems to have worked! I didn’t trust it enough to leave
anything (but the cushions) beneath. All’s well that ends well – but
we’ll see after tonight.
A nice sunset, not much of a breeze, and comfortable temperature, about
78-80 degrees. But for a few intermittent showers (one spell of heavy
rain forcing me to close up the cabin) the thunderstorms that were
warned never happened. I read a bit, had one of the two ham and cheese
sandwiches I made this morning for lunch, napped, hooked the 5-Mile-Wifi
antenna to the stern pulpit, and checked the weather on the VHF,
eventually the radar map on my laptop Accuweather account. The worst of
the weather passed south of Marblehead. Good that I sat it out though or
I’d have run into it before reaching Scituate, but not by much.
With the threat of lightning removed I ran the 5-Mile-Wifi antenna up
the mast, am getting a much stronger signal from the Palmer Cove Yacht
Club with it up there than bungied onto the stern pulpit; can pick up
“Beacon Wifi Network,” public and unsecured, probably across in Salem
too, with 4 bars strength as well now. First time I’ve come across it.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011; 6:30 am
On the mooring, Salem Harbor off Village Street
National Weather Service forecast for
COASTAL WATERS FROM THE MERRIMACK RIVER MA TO WATCH HILL RI OUT TO 25 NM
NW WINDS 5 TO 10 KT...BECOMING S THIS AFTERNOON. SEAS 2 TO 3 FT. PATCHY
FOG THIS MORNING WITH VSBY 1 NM OR LESS.
SW WINDS 5 TO 10 KT...BECOMING N AFTER MIDNIGHT. SEAS 2 TO 3 FT.
A beautiful sunrise this morning after a comfortable night aboard. I got
the stove going, a cup of coffee within reach, listening to the NWS
My plan is to be out of here and on my way at 8:00 am – there’s supposed
to be patchy fog outside the harbor, and this looks likely from here.
Reportedly it should lift about that time. It appears today will provide
good conditions until the wind shifts from the south this afternoon –
but of course. That’s the direction I’ll be sailing, into it. Pretty
normal when I head for Scituate.
The temperature under a sunny sky is supposed to reach the high-80s
today; comfortable, I expect.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011; 5:00 pm
On a mooring, Scituate outer harbor
I dropped the home mooring this morning at 8:10 am, arrived here in
Scituate’s outer harbor at about 2:30 pm and picked up this rental
It was a decent day at
sea – if you don’t count light wind if any; man-eating flies attacking
almost as soon as I left Salem Sound into open Massachusetts Bay,
unrelenting all the way and still, and; visibility akin to but not quite
fog for most of the way. Haze I suppose it's called.
Once I realized early on that the first few flies weren’t simply
coincidence I remembered to shut up the cabin completely. When the
attack became more serious, I had to remove the cribboards to jump in and
grab ammunition, one of the two cans of Raid Flying Insect spray I
always carry aboard since the second bad experience with the buggers,
when I almost emptied the only can I had aboard, after my first bad
experience with them the year earlier.
Even those few seconds in-and-out let a few inside, but back at the
tiller the war was engaged and waged for the entire crossing. I got
bitten probably a dozen times, mostly shins and calves, but the
attackers’ body count mounted; I blasted probably about 75-100 of the
fast little meat-eaters. It’s eerie seeing the swarm clinging to sails
and rigging like vultures, waiting each’s turn to attack.
The weather conditions didn’t help, with virtually no wind, a shifting
and puffy little breeze. Leaving Salem Sound into Massachusetts Bay I
hoisted the genoa to join the main sail. With such light air the genoa
was doing nothing, couldn’t decide whether it belonged on the port or
starboard side. I furled it after about an hour of helping it decide to
Leaving Salem Harbor
under motor and main sail, it became the best option for the rest of the
trip, and the main sail wasn’t contributing much. Most the other
sailboats I saw along the trip were under power and bare poles, a couple
doing the power and main sail thing too.
The ocean was literally flat, hardly a ripple on its
surface – like sailing on a sea of oil. I think these are the perfect
conditions for those ocean man-eating flies – but where do they come
from way out there in the middle of nowhere with land to the west so far
off it’s a dim outline on the horizon, and nothing in sight to the east?
Approaching the Boston Harbor shipping channel (some 15
miles across), I noted one large freighter coming out of Boston, kept my
eyes on it, but also what ahead looked like thick fog. I could see the
Boston skyline way off to the east, but the shore further south seemed
to fade as if shrouded in fog – but not quite as thick. Ahead and to the
east, it appeared thick fog was present. This morning’s weather forecast
called for early fog dissipating and by then (about 10:30 am), under the
bright morning sun and building heat, I hadn’t expected this.
I’ve cruised blindly in thick fog by GPS only, but this
was fog like I’ve never seen before. It was more a thick haze over the
water – evaporation maybe?
the tiller pilot steering and me navigating by GPS and chart, I spent
most of my attention on battling the man-eating flies. Single accurate
shots with the can of Raid instead of bursts or shotgun sprays conserves
ammunition, I’ve learned, and is more effective in the long run. Moving
faster than my 5-6 knots would have been a far better advantage, but you
work with what you have so I moved as fast as Chip Ahoy could manage.
A few miles offshore of Cohasset Ledge and Minot Light,
ahead half a mile or so, I spotted a whale rolling its hump through the
breaking surface, a small boat slowly following it. I got my Olympus
camera turned on and at the ready. As we closed, the small boat wasn’t
something official tracking the whale, as I’d suspected, but a family
out for the day. We exchanged waves as we passed closely, but the whale
and they were slowly heading inshore. I had to decide between a good
photo or two of the giant mammal or a longer fight with the circling
flies. I doubt any of my “whale photos” will show much, but it was worth
a try, again.
The remainder of the trip was otherwise uneventful. I reached the ocean
buoy at the entrance to Scituate Harbor, called in to EZ Rider
moorings, arranged to meet them inside the harbor so they could lead me
to my assigned mooring. Picking up the mooring was a challenge in the
tight mooring area, took two tries before I could grab it. I’m glad I’ve
gotten good at backing up Chip Ahoy; if not, it could have turned a bit
I’ve just got
settled in, the “pup tent” up over the boom, cabin and cockpit. That sun
is sure baking strong – what a difference that pup tent makes, and
especially that forward hatch I put in a few years back. How did I live
without it? When I opened it to get some hot air circulating, I left the
screen off/open; better to perhaps encourage a departure of the small
fleet of man-eating flies that made it into the cabin before I could
shut it up, or when I had to open the companionway to grab something
This mooring is located pretty far out in the boondocks of Scituate
Harbor, its furthest reaches though among many others. I ran the
5-Mile-Wifi up the mast, hooked up my laptop, and even with the system's
could pick up only a good number of weak signals – not even the
harbormaster’s I've used in the past. Almost all of them were secure, a password
required. An EZ Rider moorings and launch service driver, Jamie,
didn’t think I’d pick up anything this far out; thought I’d have to take
the laptop ashore.
signal is available, “Mill Wharf,” and tracking it down was a real
challenge – nobody I called, even the harbormaster, knew who it might
belong to. There are all sorts of “Mill Wharf” establishments along the
waterfront. When I learned that Mill Wharf Marina’s new owner a year ago
dropped the service, I called the Mill Wharf Restaurant. Sure enough,
the network is theirs, and the lady who answered the phone was happy to
provide me with its password. It’s working for me now, more or less.
Still not what I want but we’ll see later.
Guess where I’ll be eating dinner tonight, once ashore!
Wednesday, July 20, 2011; 1:30 am
On a mooring, Scituate outer harbor
After a good steak dinner – actually more like a very late lunch – at
the Mill Wharf Restaurant (now apparently called “Chester’s” which
explains the Wifi password!) later yesterday I picked up a couple bags
of ice from the harbormaster’s office before taking the launch back to
Chip Ahoy. Back aboard I busied myself with organizing the boat for
overnight and the coming few day’s stay here.
Done with that, or most of it, I turned on the laptop and checked the
Wifi connection – still problems staying connected. By 7:00 pm I’d had
enough, needed a nap. I awoke at 9:00, but only long enough to call
Barbara and check in. After reading for a short while, I was back asleep
until about an hour ago. Uh oh, wide awake soon after midnight, now
So I moved the Origo stove out into the cockpit, made coffee, and went
back at the Wifi problem. I think the problem is solved. With the
5-Mile-Wifi system, one needs to turn off the built-in network card,
disable it, for an IP address to work with the 5-Mile system.
The weather forecast for the coming days (radio and now online since the
Wifi works) sounds oppressive. While no dramatic events, today will
reach the 90s – tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday probably 100 degrees. I
have no fixed plan how long I’ll remain here, but heading back on Sunday
when the temperature drops into the mid-80s is looking like a good idea.