Mon 16 Jul 2012
Docked in Smith Cove, Gloucester, MA
[photo: fresh lobsters cooked and served within minutes]
Bruce wanted to get going at 0800 to run the many errands we needed to accomplish, and it was very good that he generously chose to drive rather than just give me directions. We made a few more stops than hoped because certain places were not open yet and some could not accommodate our needs, but we finally got to the auto supply, marine, and liquor stores, plus we got the 10 pound boat propane tank and the SCUBA tank refilled all with 90 minutes.
Duane needed a bit of rest for his upset stomach before tackling the last of the bottom scraping, but by was in the water by 1100. It took over an hour to do the final 60 percent or so and it was hard work. The tank is almost empty again, so Bruce may get a chance to let me refill it before we leave Wed. All three times that I have come out of the water, there were little (1/4 inch long) squirmy creatures all over my gear and clothing, skin and body hair. There was no stinging or itching, thankfully, but I wondered what they were. Bruce says they are lobster larvae. Even though there must be many other predators of these little guys, I was responsible for the demise of at least 100.
We had a nice lunch on the porch, and then Anne and Diane went downtown to stroll around and Duane took a much-needed nap. At 1700 we assembled on the porch for happy hour. Anne got the side dishes ready and Bruce cooked the lobster and we had a wonderful meal al fresco.
Some may call us crazy, but Diane has suggested that we skip seeing Boston. I have seen it several times and liked it, but we feel that we may return to this area by car in the next few years to charter a boat and explore the Maine coast for a few weeks, so that will be a good time to visit Boston.
We plan to leave Wed morning to start our journey home.
Sun 15 Jul 2012
Docked in Smith Cove, Gloucester, MA
[photo: Bruce and Ann help us celebrate the farthest north position of our cruise by displaying our PGIslander Cruising Club burgee at the Fisherman's Memorial]
Clyde has definitely reverted to his old ways now that we are land-based (he knows not for how long). At first light (before 0500), he make a couple of loud meows while standing near our heads on the bed, hoping to rouse one of us to let him outside. He stops after a very short while if we don't get up, but he surely likes to take almost every opportunity to get outside now that he has soft, green grass and lots of tall plants to hid under in the shade. We are watching him every moment, when he is outside, of course.
Being Sunday, it was not a good day to make the rounds to a marine, auto store, and dive shop, so we will attempt that excursion tomorrow. It was a good day, however, to try to get traction on three projects. The first was to determine why we are getting so much sea water past the "dripless" seal on the prop shaft when the prop is turning. That was resolved by moving the prop side of the seal further aft on the shaft to increase the seal face pressure.
The second project was to replace the fresh water pump with the spare and see if that solved the problem of frequent cycling. It was a bit of a pain with all the things I had to move and reconnecting the electrical wiring, but two hours later it was all done and working well. Lastly, a minor issue was the galley sink faucet having very low output when switched to the filter position. It proved to be some debris in the internal passages that I could blow out and that is back to normal, too. There is no question that all three of these fixes will make the admiral much happier (and me, too).
We were going to take or hosts sailing today, but the forecast and current conditions are what the locals call the "dog days" and there looks to be little to no wind for that. We will see if tomorrow or Tue offer some promise. Following lunch, Duane went back under the boat to scrape/scrub the bottom of the hull. Near the keel it was worse than anything he could have imagined ever seeing on Diva Di, but the air ran out less than halfway through, so a refill will be needed to finish the job.
After a short nap, we got together for cocktails and then headed to the famous Gloucester Fisherman's Memorial. The plaques list every known fisherman lost at sea from this port. Fortunately, the list for the last 50 years is greatly reduced from those of bygone years. Next, we went to a terrific restaurant called The Windward. All our meals were fantastic, but Duane followed Bruce's lead and had the absolute tastiest fried clams by far. They were large, meaty, and juicy, and breaded/fried to perfection.
Back at the house, there was more chatting and laughing and enjoying the music floating across the cove from the restaurant there. It was another relatively early night to bed .
Sat 14 Jul 2012
Docked in Smith Cove, Gloucester, MA
[photo: Clyde the cat really enjoying his temporary land-based abode]
Other than our sojourn by rental car to NJ and PA, we have not slept off the boat since 1 Apr except for last night in the garden cottage. We have to say that it was delightful. Clyde spent most of the night in the bed, too, as far as we could tell.
The entire morning was overcast and very comfortable for outdoor chores. Diane started the laundry and then left with Anne to get all the non-perishable provisions. I started scrubbing and waxing the deck and cockpit. With that done and Diane back to assist, I got in the water (quite comfortable at 70F and very clear) and we got the hull cleaned of its stains. Next, I scrubbed the waterline of its nasty scum, while Diane stowed things below.
Then it was time to get out the SCUBA tank and go under. What I saw was not pretty; the rudder and all of the hull that I could see near the propeller was covered in heavy slime and small barnacles. No wonder the boat speed is reduced! I started by dressing the nicks in the prop with a file, then scraping what very little growth there was on the prop hub. After that, I cleaned the prop shaft and scraped/brushed the rudder. Finally, I scraped what I could of the hull at the stern until it seemed like I had done enough for one day. It is doubtful that I can finish the hull with the air remaining in my tank, but I will try again tomorrow.
A nice warm shower in the cottage was a real treat. Having this luxury is not something I craved or desperately needed, but it is very nice to enjoy it. Diane, of course, had been looking forward to it for a while now. It is a nice bonus on top of the great pleasure of seeing our friends in their "other life."
After a brief nap by all, other friends from Punta Gorda, Steve and Penny, arrived after attending a memorial service not too far from here. Bruce and Anne were terrific hosts and Anne prepared a delicious meal of fresh haddock, garlic smashed potatoes, and asparagus with hollandaise sauce. Enjoying it all on the porch with the beautiful view made it extra special.
Steve and Penny departed to drive several hours back to their summer place in New Hampshire. We had enjoyed a few beverages along the way, so it was an early night to bed for the rest of us.
Fri 13 Jul 2012
Docked in Smith Cove, Gloucester, MA
[photo: Diva Di at our host's dock]
We really hope it gets repetitive to say what a pleasant night it was. We delayed a bit so as not to get to Gloucester too early in the day and rob our generous hosts of all their time alone. It was less than a 3 hour run, and that included stopping for fuel at the nearby marina. By 1100 we were tied up along their private dock with Anne catching our lines.
Diane went ashore immediately to be with Anne, and Duane took care of some boat chores and then joined them just as Bruce was coming home. We had a nice chat over iced tea and then we made a few trips from the boat to their lovely little garden cottage next to the main house. Clyde was curious and skittish at first, but grew quickly to like this place that doesn't pitch, roll, or make engine noises.
Once settled in, we had a nice lunch on the porch overlooking the Smith Cove portion of Gloucester Harbor. After that, Bruce and Anne drove us around and we got a terrific tour of Cape Ann. Bruce's family history here goes back a ways and Anne has been here, too, for a fairly long time. They met at the Gorton's fish factory here, where they both worked.
This is a lovely part of New England, and while Gloucester is very much a working man's town and very active with fleets of fishing/lobster boats and even a large fish processing factory, there are many beautiful mansions and innumerable quaint, historic homes in the area. Diva Di looks quite at ease at the end of the dock, even though her Florida-style Bimini and large RIB dinghy on the davits makes her pretty unique in the harbor. While Bruce and Anne applaud our accomplishment in coming this far, it is really just a simple task of taking one day at a time, and paying attention.
After brief naps for most of us, Bruce took us out at cocktail hour for a narrated tour around the inner harbor and some of the outer harbor, as well. It was nice to know a bit about all the things we were seeing from a long-time local's perspective. Dinner was delicious marinated chicken, grilled to perfection by Bruce and equally delicious rice and carrots prepared by Anne. Eating on the porch with the sun dropping in the sky was terrific.
We lingered there for the full sunset and then basked in the glow of the twilight as we observed the water traffic moving about. Anne says Bruce gets "mesmarined" by the view and we can see why. By 2100, we had enjoyed a wonderfully full day and retired to the cottage for a brief bit of TV and then bed.
We will be at the halfway point later this morning, but here are the statistics so far:
Statute Miles Traveled 2,180 (avg 21.2 per day)
Engine Hours 363
Diesel Fuel 225 gals (9.7 statute miles per gal)
Water Used from Tanks 580 gals (approx)
Anchored 41% (of the time)
Provisioning (food, beverage, household supplies) $2,405
Meals ashore $1,915
Repairs $1,280 (some portion of the total was not included in this 'cruise" report)
Land Transportation $340
Total $11,408, Daily average $111
Thu 12 Jul 2012
On mooring ball at Marblehead, MA
[photo: a sea of masts as you enter the harbor]
[note: You might notice the numbering of the days has changed. Somehow a few days got lost a month ago.]
I know it is redundant, but we are thrilled to say it was another gorgeous night for comfortable sleeping. We took our time getting ready and departed at 0800. It was a quick run out the channel to the open water of Massachusetts Bay, which is really the Atlantic Ocean. The weather was perfect for power boats with almost no wind, and what little there was coming from the S, directly astern.
Our passage under engine only was uneventful. It was nice to see the lobster boats out plying their trade, but we noticed for the first time that instead of a single buoy for every lobster pot, this one boat was employing the "trot-line" method we saw used by crabbers in the south. A buoy marked the ends of a long line that had lobster pots tied. To deploy them, the pre-baited pots were simply hauled out one after another as the line grew taught, where everything sinks to the bottom except the end buoys. That is far superior from a boating standpoint that having to dodge a buoy for every trap.
The details of the land and the man-made objects grew more distinct and we, once again, could see why cruising up here is so scenic and pretty. When we rounded the peninsula forming the large, deep harbor, we were somewhat amazed to see well over a thousand boats (over 2,000 per the cruising guide) in front of us.
The first place we called (Marblehead Yacht Club) had no moorings open for tonight, but the Boston Yacht Club did. We had to circle around the mooring field for 20 minutes until the launch came over to direct us to a spot. To say the harbor is crowded with boats is a major understatement, but we got one spot just for us for $45 per night, including launch service. We didn't see a single anchored boat and have no idea where you could even find room to anchor. We had a light lunch aboard then got cleaned up and called the launch to take us and our bikes ashore.
Much of the waterfront area of the town can be done just walking, and there are enough hills to make our single-speed bikes a chore to pedal, but we are glad we brought them. We rode about 3 miles at a sedate speed to enjoy the many historic homes, waterfront parks, and the downtown areas; we say that in plural because there was one section of shops and establishments in the older section of town and then another closer to the center. The hills were getting to Diane a bit, so we did not bike over to the "Neck" and explore that.
We did manage to bike just a little past our closed-circle route to get to the Pub for a beer. Duane decided to get a lobster roll to split, even though it was only 3 hours since lunch. It was tasty, but for the $18, it was only half the size of the $20 roll in P'town. We had quite a few people remark about the curious design of our bicycles and that made for some nice conversation. One woman on the launch found out we were from FL and it turned out that she rents a home in Punta Gorda most winters.
Speaking of the launch, we can now say that we have been underway in a Hinckley (a very expensive and quality vessel made in New England). Back on Diva Di, we relaxed with our books until the stronger winds forced us to close up the dodger. At sunset, the Boston Yacht club fired its cannon, and we lingered with a beverage for quite a while as the light faded. The closer you are to the equator, the more quickly the light fades; up here in these latitudesit takes noticeably longer.
Tomorrow, we will have only a 2.5 hour run to Gloucester, our turn-around point. We expect to be there approximately 5 days (with Bruce and Anne) to attend to various boat projects and allow Diane and Clyde (Duane, too) to get to sleep in a land-based bed for a few days.