19/09/2007/10:07 am, Boston, MA
Jim and I each had an excellent time visiting with family last week. I even had a special bonus, courtesy of Air Canada. It was one of the rare times when a cancelled flight and layover works out for the best. My Boston to Halifax flight didn't happen, and they rerouted me through Ottawa where both our sons live. Now wasn't that convenient? Liam picked me up at the airport and delivered me to Alex's apartment where there was a bed made up and waiting for me. It felt so very good to wrap my arms around my boys, shower them with kisses, and make eye to eye contact with them to see for myself how they are doing. Within a couple of days I was able to do that with Mary Beth, and with my parents as well. There is just nothing like touch and vision to get that bone deep connection with loved ones. Phone and e-mail contact, and the sending and receiving of good vibrations helps - but it's not quite enough!
Jim and Mary drove to Ottawa in 8 hours. Imagine - it took 3 months to sail this far and 8 hours to drive back home!! He enjoyed 5 great days worth of connecting time with the boys, with friends and colleagues, and came back feeling very pleased to be on a boat.
We left Portland at dawn on Monday morning and after a very long day of motoring, arrived in Rockport around 6pm. Strathspey had reserved space on a floating dock but we planned to anchor. Unfortunately, even though our book said there might be anchoring space, there was none at all in the tiny harbour. Anchoring was possible only outside the breakwater in Sandy Bay, so we circled around a few times in a fruitless search for another mooring, and went back out. We rocked and rolled wildly, and although Jim had planned to fetch Blair and Mary in the dinghy and bring them aboard for a special dinner, it was just too dangerous to go around the breakwater after dark to do that. We cancelled the dinner plans, and resigned ourselves to leftovers.
Blair decided this just wouldn't do, however, and after a call to the harbourmaster, received permission for us to raft to a big motorboat next to them. We crept in just as the last of the light was fading away, tied up in much calmer waters, and pushed ourselves in the dinghy to Strathspey for a relocated dinner. Mary roasted the pork tenderloin in her oven, poured the wine, and even produced a luscious chocolate cake so we were able after all to celebrate my birthday and toast to the year ahead with our good friends and sailing buddies.
Exploration of Rockport must wait for another time because the next stop was Boston!! It was just amazing to motor into this busy city with huge jet planes coming in above our heads for landings at Logan airport, and ships both small and large, sail and motor, cruising by. At one time, we had a tall ship, a high speed ferry, several sail boats and motor cruisers in sight. Our guide book said Boston is harder to navigate than New York City, but the trip in went very smoothly. The channels are clearly marked, everyone stayed in their expected lanes and we cruised right in to the Boston Harbour Sailing Club mooring balls at Rowes Wharf. This was Mary's "find" and a good one it was. We were smack in the centre of the waterfront, with the Aquarium and Faneuil Hall about a five-minute walk away. The view of the lights in the high rises was superb last evening - and now, as I sit comfortably at a little café with my laptop connected, it is a crisp clear morning, the laundry is in the machines, and the bustling old city awaits our explorations. Once again, Jim and I feel like we've found ourselves in a charmed moment in time.
10/09/2007/11:53 pm, Portland, Maine
Enroute from Five Islands, we spent a night at Jewell Island where we explored ruins of old World War II installations and went for a long ramble through the forest. Jim and Blair, the history buffs, crept through tunnels and climbed towers. I joined them for the 8-story tower, but spent the tunnel time playing among the beautiful pebbles on the beach!
As the fog rolled in, and out, and in again, we headed out on Monday morning for the short run over to Portland. We rented a mooring from the Portland yacht Club - a huge facility just outside downtown Portland, where there are almost a thousand mooring balls. We had to take careful note of where ours was so we'll be able to find Madcap again. Jim and Mary rented a car to drive to Ottawa for a short visit with the "kids", I took the bus to Logan airport and flew to Halifax, and on to Amherst, NS and Moncton, NB, for visits with the rest of our family, and Blair stayed with their boat.
The timing feels right for a family visit. We've been gone for almost three months. More news when we are back on board.
10/09/2007/11:31 pm, Five Islands
Five Islands was a fabulous little find! We blew in here on Friday after making an intricate little low tide passage through Townsend Gut - complete with swing bridge, thousands of lobster buoys, narrow channels and great views. As we dawdled in a cove waiting 10 minutes for the bridge to open, a crowd of young people cruised by and raised the "Yeah Canada" cheer! One of the women was from Saint John, NB, and was happy to see us.
This Canadian identity played a part in another one of the fine local hospitality experiences we've had on this trip. As we were busy untangling a mooring line (note: having a very sharp knife and good goggles on board is essential) a couple of fellows cruised by Strathspey and Mike called out, "Hey - you're from Canada? Come on up to my house tonight. I'm throwing a party. My son is getting married!" Never ones to pass up an opportunity like that, the four of us wandered up the hill in the evening to enjoy a wonderful time with these gracious people. Mitch and Alyssa and their families and friends seemed a bit surprised but happy to welcome these "wash ashores" (as Coco dubbed us) into their midst. We shared stories of our sailing adventures and theirs, Blair played the pipes, and we gave our best wishes for the sailing honeymoon and future life of these great young people.
Saturday dawned windy but sunny and beautiful, so we decided to stay put and enjoy one more day in this gorgeous little bay ringed and protected by five granite rocks. Sometimes these extra days seem just like little jewels in this trip. Mary and I were talking about the flow of the trip the other day, and I realized that the flow for me is like beads in a necklace. It isn't a push southward - except when I want to linger a little longer in an area. It's a series of visits - beautiful beads mixed in with simple, plain ones, all making up this fabulous necklace that I will wear for the rest of my life.
This particular day was hot. The Five Islands Lobster Company opened at 11:30 and we were on the dock for lunch. One building - The Love Nest! - offered seafood items from the grill. The other building offered steamed lobster and corn. We each got our favourite dish and sat at the picnic tables in the sun enjoying this good food, the company and the atmosphere. We heard about a farm market up the hill so we trekked along and discovered a perfectly beautiful store with very sophisticated culinary delights - cheeses, meats, fresh produce, interesting oils and vinegars, wine and pie!!
We left on Sunday morning for Jewell Island, carrying warm memories of this pretty bay, its friendly residents and delicious food.