September 30, 2013

September 30, 2013  Day 131  
Mystic Seaport Museum
Mystic, Connecticut

We stayed in port today and spent part of the day touring Mystic Seaport.  We visited many buildings in the 19th Century Seafaring village, seeing the small boat exhibits (Bill enjoyed seeing the 14’ Thompson similar to the one from his childhood); FDR’s small sailboat, Vireo; the shipcarver’s shop, the chapel, boat sheds, displays of figureheads, paintings, scrimshaw, and much more. We were impressed with the many hands-on learning activities here for children.

We also toured the Charles W. Morgan, a 105 ft. wooden whaling ship built in 1841.  Although it is currently undergoing an extensive restoration, we were able to walk through much of it. It will be launched again in the spring of 2014.  We have barely begun to see everything here and will see more over the next two days.  There are more ships to tour and many more exhibits to see!

The weather is beautiful – sunny and low 70’s – perfect for just walking around.  The leaves are just starting to turn and we are enjoying being outside.
The Joseph Conrad, built in 1882

Tomorrow we hope to rent a car to run errands and do more sightseeing over the next two days.

September 29, 2013

September 29, 2013  Day 130  
Mystic Seaport Museum
Mystic, Connecticut

We left our mooring ball in the Newport Harbor and wound our way through the other boats who were staying longer.  We saw that a large Princess cruise ship had arrived and was at anchor in the harbor.  We made our way back into the ocean and found three foot waves on our beam. This did not make for a perfect ride, but it was tolerable. 

Leaving the Newport Harbor

Another lighthouse we passed today
The busy Mystic River
There were several sailboats out today enjoying their last Sunday in September. It was a warm and very pretty day and being outside was the place to be.  We spotted The Pride of Baltimore on AIS and could see it in the distance.  We saw her last spring in the Chesapeake Bay when we first started our trip.

We followed the Rhode Island coast, and passed Block Island on our port side shortly before we turned into the Mystic River.  The Mystic River was literally filled with boats, mostly on mooring balls, and others, like us who were trying to weave our way through the narrow channel.  We tried to time the entrance to the river to make a bascule bridge opening at 40 minutes after the hour.  But first, we had to wait ten or fifteen minutes on a RR swing bridge to open.  We made both openings and arrived at the Mystic Seaport Museum at 1:45. We passed the Charles Morgan (1841), the Joseph Conrad, (1882), and the L.A. Dunton (1921) on our way to our dock on the north side.  The steamboat Sabino, (1908), passed us as it was taking passengers back to its dock.  We had an excellent dock hand waiting for us and helped us tie up on the fixed dock.  He also provided us with fender boards. 

The RR swing bridge is now open!

Mystic Seaport Museum
The Sabino
We walked over to the dock master’s office and came back with a membership in the museum!  It cost just slightly more to join than to pay for the docking so we did just that.  We do hope to come back some year!  We also came back with lots of brochures and maps to study.  We stopped in a couple of shops but are saving the seafaring village and ships to tour tomorrow.

We liked the price on this sign on Schaefer's Spouter Tavern
A beautiful bride!
We are docked next to the plush lawn of the Latitude 41 degrees restaurant and had the opportunity to watch a wedding on the lawn (from our flybridge). What a fun thing to do!

We grilled chicken for dinner and relaxed for the evening.  We have three more days here and will enjoy staying put for a while and seeing some of the nearby area by car as well.

September 28, 2013

September 28, 2013  Day 129 
Newport, Rhode Island

What a difference a day makes!  We traveled for seven hours under a sunny sky and very calm seas! It was a beautiful, peaceful ride and there were very few lobster pots!  The Cape Cod Canal has a strong current so we left with it behind us and enjoyed the extra speed it provided us.  It eventually opens into Buzzards Bay which was still calm.  We started seeing more sailboats and more fishing boats today.  We even saw a few 12 meter class sailboats, formerly used for the America’s Cup races.  Now passengers can enjoy a two hour sail on these jewels. 

Traveling west on the Cape Cod Canal

Our mooring at Newport, RI  (water is actually calm -
a boat went by and caused this small wake)
We entered the Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay, then the Newport harbor itself.  It is quite an impressive sight and is literally filled with boats on moorings and in various marinas.  We called Old Port Marine earlier to  make a reservations, but they have a first come first serve policy.  We did not have a problem getting an assigned mooring ball (this is nearing the end of their boating season).  They have a “launch service” and come around on their boat to collect the fees. This boat also serves as their water taxi. Rather than take our dinghy to shore we used the convenience of their transportation.

We spent a few hours walking around the streets near the harbor.  These were jammed packed with people. There are a myriad of shops and restaurants of all kinds on small streets, divided streets, and cobblestone streets that embrace the waterfront.  There are also many tour boats that leave port regularly that attract tourists. 
A beautiful sunset!
Newport is a vibrant city and has much more to offer than we could do in one short afternoon. There are incredible mansions to tour, a beach, lighthouses, an historical area and much more.  We did have dinner at a restaurant near the water, and then we walked back to a cupcake shop we spotted earlier and brought dessert back to the boat.

We caught the water taxi back to the boat in time to see the sun setting over the harbor.  What a lovely day!

Tomorrow we will go to Mystic, CT and spend four days docked at the Mystic Seaport Museum.


September 27, 2013

September 27, 2013  Day 128  
Sandwich Marina
Sandwich, Massachusetts

From Dr. Seuss, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”
“It’s opener, out there, in the wide open air.”

We experienced the wide open air today for almost eight hours as we made our way to Sandwich, MA.  We immediately faced three foot seas under an overcast sky.  Eventually, the sun came out, but unfortunately, the waves picked up also and then we had three to five footers that were fairly close together. 
It was an exhausting, uncomfortable day and we were happy to reach our destination and get tied up at a marina. The Sandwich Marina is just inside the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal (through which we will travel tomorrow). Bill washed the salt off the boat as soon as we docked. A bright note- we saw Gold Loopers (Potest Fieri and Jejuda) here.

We walked to the Pilot House Restaurant/Aqua Grille next to the marina for a quick dinner. They had an extensive seafood menu but all we truly wanted was a good hamburger, and we were not disappointed.

We plan to go to Newport, Rhode Island tomorrow and spend one night.

(We have no pictures today – hopefully tomorrow!)




September 26, 2013

September 26, 2013  Day 127  
Rockport Harbor
Rockport, Massachusetts

Carried Away docked in front of Motif #1
This was our second day in Rockport, and we spent the morning walking around the town and stopping in the little shops. The shops arrange from art galleries, jewelry stores, clothing stores, pottery stores, candy stores, and general gift shops.  We enjoyed browsing and meeting the shop keepers.  We also had time to take many more photos.  Most of the people here were walking around with cameras!  There is no lack of subject material to photograph!

A typical narrow street filled with shops
More shops - note the residences above
Guess what these floats are!
Great view of the breakwater jetty!
We had lunch and dinner on board and spent a quiet afternoon reading, working on hobbies, contacting more marinas to make reservations, ordering parts, arranging for mail to be delivered, etc.  Logistics!

Tomorrow we will make a 56 mile trip to Sandwich, MA and stay at a marina. Sandwich is the oldest town on Cape Cod and we hope to arrive early enough to see some of the town.

September 25, 2013

September 25, 2013  Day 126  
Rockport Harbor
Rockport, Massachusetts

This has been a full day. We left our mooring ball at Portsmouth Yacht Center about 7:30 and drove further up the Piscatagua River to see more of the harbor area. We passed the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard which had a submarine docked behind its protective walls.   We also saw Ron and Lisa’s boat, Outbound, docked at a marina. They are staying for several days.  We turned around to avoid waiting or a bridge and headed back out to sea.
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

We saw water over 300 feet deep but no whales!
We went over 25 miles offshore to an area called Jeffery’s Ledge, hoping to see whales, since this is where they are often seen.  Often, but not today.  We were disappointed, but had a nice ride, although we had three foot waves the last two hours. We set our course to head back to shore – this time to Rockport, MA, and arrived in tpicturesque harbor about 2:45.

Rockport is a wonderful, quaint community on the water and is known for its artists.  There are many galleries, boutiques, shops, and restaurants on small winding streets.  Many residences are housed over the shops below.  We are docked next to the red fishing shack, also known as Motif #1.  Built in 1884, it was destroyed in the 1978 blizzard and was faithfully rebuilt by the town.  It is described as “the ultimate artist’s subject” and has been painted by artists since it was built. We are happy to be docked next to this special structure!  We are on pilings, not a floating dock, and with a ten foot tide we have to watch the lines.   

Rockport Harbor - we are on the other side
 of the red fishing shack

Carried Away at the dock

First Congregrational Church

Loved the flowers in this courtyard!
We knew we needed to stay longer than one night here, so we made arrangements to leave Friday morning.  We went to a seafood restaurant for dinner and then walked around some of the streets. Tomorrow we will go back when the shops are open.  We were here by car in 1971, and Joyce was here with a college friend in 1967; it is nice to be back after so many years.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We will post more pictures tomorrow.

September 24, 2013

September 24, 2013  Day 125  
Portsmouth Yacht Club
New Castle, New Hampshire

After having been in eleven ports in Maine, we said goodbye to that beautiful coastal state today.  The ocean was calm and we had a great ride 3 miles off shore from Portland to Portsmouth.  The trip took a little over six hours and we were on a mooring ball at the Portsmouth Yacht Club by 2:30.  We had to contend with wind and current while catching the mooring ball but we succeeded fairly easily. 

Leaving Portland, Maine
Another Portland Lighthouse
We saw several lighthouses, dolphins, and of course lobster pots on our trip today.  Most of the boats were lobster boats, but we did see a 400+ foot boat that was going into Portland.

Sunset over Portsmouth, NH
We cooked steaks on the grill for dinner and planned our trip for tomorrow.  We are going on our own whale watching trip. We will go 25 miles offshore to Jeffrey’s Ledge, which is known for whales. So we are hoping we will have a successful day!  We will then go another 25 miles to our destination of Rockport, MA.

September 23, 2013

September 23, 2013  Day 124  Casco Bay
Portland Yacht Services
Portland, Maine

Approaching the Portland waterfront
We had another short trip today and were in Portland by 10:15.   We are at Portland Yacht Services, which is a marina near downtown.  There are several marinas that dot the waterfront and a large dock for the cruise ships. The Carnival Glory was here when we arrived (we saw it in Halifax) and left after dinner.

Guess what is displayed on top of this building!
There is a narrow gauge railroad museum next to our marina and Bill toured it this afternoon.  After lunch we walked downtown and browsed through some of the shops. On the away back we stopped at another marina to greet Richard and Shannon who were just arriving on Esmeralda. We visited for a while and then returned to our boat.  (Joyce is trying to get most of the laundry done!)
The Narrow Gauge Railroad

We had dinner on board and then watched television.  We plan to go to (or near) Portsmouth, NH tomorrow, which will be a full day of travel. 


September 22, 2013

September 22, 2013  Day 123  Casco Bay
Mooring Ball at Brewer Marine
South Freeport, Maine

This is just a short post. We stayed at Brewer Marine on the mooring ball and did not even get off the boat today. It rained all morning and was very windy.  We got some organizing and planning done.  We have planned stops for the next week, so we will see how those materialize!

Bill's carving of the Loon!
When the sun came out, some people took advantage of it!
Bill finished his first bird carving project today – a Loon.  He has enjoyed this first one and will start another bird soon.   Joyce made beef stew for dinner and brownies for dessert and we watched TV this evening.

We will go to a marina in Portland, ME tomorrow.  After five nights on mooring balls we need to fill the water tank.  That will also be our last night in Maine.  The time is starting to go by very quickly!  



September 21, 2013

September 21, 2013  Day 122  Casco Bay
Mooring Ball at Brewer Marine
South Freeport, Maine

We waited until the morning fog lifted and left our mooring ball at 9:45, still under an overcast sky, but the water was calm. We had a very short distance to travel today – just 6 miles to Freeport which is on the Harraseeket River on Casco Bay. We were on an “inside route” and saw many small islands which add to the fun of traveling and looking for the unexpected.  We always wonder who lives in those houses on such tiny islands!
A little house on a little island

We arrived at Brewer Marine and one of the dockhands met us in a small skiff and led us to the mooring ball – there are so many here! We felt like this was the north forty!

After lunch we dinghied to shore and called a taxi to take us into town.  Freeport is a small, pretty town but has lots of tourists who come shopping here.

Although there are many stores, including several outlets, our destination was the LL Bean Flagship Store, with three floors, a cafĂ©, a bookstore and a coffee shop.  It is part of the LL Bean campus that has a Home Store, a Hunting and Fishing Store, a Biking and Watersports Store, a park, etc…  LL Bean is open 24/7 and we heard there are no locks on their doors!  We did some Christmas shopping and had some success!  Next we walked to a local market and bought a few things; then it was back to the boat by taxi.

We cooked dinner on board tonight and relaxed with television, reading, and our computers.  We plan to stay here again tomorrow since rain is forecast.  We will plan our next few stops before we go anywhere.



September 20, 2013

September 20, 2013  Day 121  Casco Bay
Mooring Ball at Dolphin Marina
Harpswell, Maine

We had a full morning on the mooring ball in Bath, Maine waiting for the current and tide to be favorable, so Bill changed the engine oil and Joyce did some interior cleaning.  We waited until 2pm to leave, and along with Outbound went down the Kennebec River. It is a scenic river with many trees along the shore and a few islands popping up in the middle of the river.  

The Kennebec River
An hour and twenty minutes later we entered the Atlantic Ocean and headed southwest.  We were so happy to have another beautiful sunny, calm day to travel. We know we don’t always have these, so when we do, we are grateful. 
Lisa and Ron continued on to another destination 20 miles farther away, and we saw them eventually disappear on the horizon. We entered Casco Bay and went to Dolphin Marina and Restaurant, located on Basin Point in Harpswell, Maine. It is surrounded by small islands and is one of the most beautiful places we have been.  We had already arranged to have a mooring ball, and as we read in Active Captain, one of the staff (a “Launch Operator”) came out by skiff to meet us and actually handed us the mooring line!  Doesn’t get any easier than that!   

These homes are at the entrance to the Kennebec River
and overlook the ocean - what a view!

Check out these kayakers on this island
extending into the ocean!
A true island home!
A beautiful moon tonight!
Since it was already 5:30 and since we had read rave reviews about their restaurant, we decide to eat there.  It was one of the best seafood dinners we have ever had (they are known for their fish chowder, and rightly so.)  Their pan seared scallops were also fabulous.  The restaurant is on a slight hill above the marina, and has the most incredible panoramic view of the little islands that buffer the bay from the ocean.  When we were walking back to the dinghy we saw a huge orange moon rising – it really was a perfect evening.

Tomorrow we have a very short trip to South Freeport where we will probably stay two nights. We will go, as do many people, to LL Bean. Stay tuned!! 

We will take more pictures here before we leave and include them in tomorrow’s post.

September 19, 2013

September 19, 2013  Day 120  Kennebec River
Mooring Ball at Maine Maritime Museum
Bath, Maine

We only had to cruise two hours today (13 miles) so we did not leave Boothbay until noon.  We decided to take the inside route which was shorter, but more challenging.  We left the harbor and entered Townsend Gut and waited about 20 minutes for the Southport swing bridge to open.  That took us into the Sheepscot River, lined with many homes. We then turned into Gooseneck Passage which had a much stronger current and a “ledge” to avoid – rocks at the surface in over 80 feet of water! 

Leaving Boothbay

Entering Townsend Gut
The swing bridge opens every thirty minutes
A lobsterman at work
From there we made our way to Robinhood, and called the dockmaster at the marina to confirm our timing was right for the next section of water. We were about to head into Lower Hell Gate with white water rapids and strong current – and we needed to arrive at 2 hours past high slack tide to minimize the impact.  A tour boat arrived just as we were about to leave Robin Hood and we let it go first – it is faster and this is its regular route.  It did a zigzag maneuver to avoid the rocks and to get through the pass and we did the same at an increased speed!  We came through just fine but timing is everything!
Entering Hell Gate

Calmer now but narrow - approaching Upper Hell Gate
From there we proceeded to Upper Hell Gate – a narrow passage but without the rapids. We passed under another bridge and entered the Kennebec River and arrived at the town of Bath.  We immediately faced the enormous Bath Iron Works, a major shipbuilder of destroyers and other ships.  We turned to port and arrived at the Maine Maritime Museum where we had reserved a mooring ball.  (It is next to Bath Iron Works.)   We picked up the mooring ball with no problem even though the wind and current were opposing each other. 

Bath Iron Works on the Kennebec River

Outbound was already moored here when we arrived at
the Maine Maritime Museum
Our mooring fee also included admission to the museum and all the buildings on the grounds. A good deal!  There was more to see than we could accomplish in one afternoon, so we may go back in the morning.  We toured the Maine Maritime History Building that has many displays in it.  We also toured a working boat shop, the shipyard owner’s home (built in1840 and renovated in 1890), the historic boat collection, and a shipyard including mould loft, mill and joiner shop, and more.  That was a lot to pack into 2 ½ hours!

We went back to our boat and had dinner on board. We had wonderful leftovers (lobster, shrimp, and crab casserole that we had frozen), a salad, and fresh steamed broccoli.  

Moon rising on the Kennebec River
We will go to a marina near South Freeport tomorrow.  That will give us a shot hop to South Freeport on Saturday. (the LL Bean Store -open 24/7- is beckoning), in the morning.  We will not leave here until 1:00 because of the current.