05/20/2008, Portland, ME
Photo: Fish Market dock, Portland
This morning broke clear and cool, 10C, with light winds from the southwest. We left Pepperrell Cove at 0650, and headed NE to Portland. Around 1000h, the wind started to fill in, so we turned off the engine and soon were sailing at 6-7 knots in 15 knots of wind, and dodging lobster pots every 100 yards, it seemed. We're definitely back in Maine.... Clouds came over, and the wind picked up, gusting to 25 knots as we came alongside the fuel dock at Dimillo's Marina in Portland. As the wind was on-jetty, coming alongside was easy, but getting unstuck was a little more difficult once we finished fuelling and shifted to our berth for the night. The wind has calmed once again, and our weather ouija guru says that as of tonight, Thursday looks like our day to start crossing the Bay of Fundy. We may stage at Jewell Island just outside Portland to make our departure a little easier, unless it rains tomorrow in which case we will likely stay put.
We are hoping that we may see some whales during our crossing; the USCG has been broadcasting sighting reports of large congregations (some up to 45 whales) of whales, and we hope they are right whales! They have been reported 100 miles SE of Boston and, as the radio broadcast notes, "whales may not remain in their reported position...". No kidding. Anyway, we hope to see them, just not too close!
The crew has all run ashore for showers (hot showers always rank near the top of the luxury list when cruising), and everyone is pretty much ready and raring to head across the Bay of Fundy. The boat is in all aspects ready, so now all we have to do is wait a bit for the weather window to open, and our last long leg of the trip awaits. As we draw nearer home, time seems to be accelerating, and as much as I and we want to be home, part of me still wants to point the bow south and keep this marvellous voyage going just a little bit longer...I'm not done having fun yet!
Hey! I finally caught up in the blog!
Sunday: Sunny, then cloud, 15C, Wind SW 5, sea 1m
Monday: Cloudy, 11C, Wind W 25-35. !
Photo: Dusk at Pepperrell Cove
After our great night at BYC, we got underway early the morning of the 18th and motor-sailed to Pepperell Cove, not far from Kittery, Maine. We found a mooring and then went ashore for a walk, stopping at the local school playground. We found a football lying on the ground and Steph soon had the art of throwing spirals down pat!
Today brought decidedly foul weather. Rather than sail across a little further up the coast we opted to wait out the strong westerlies that have been blasting through here all day...the anemometer hit 37 knots, with sustained winds of 25 kts, and if the wind turbine spun any faster I think we'd have been readying for takeoff! It could have been worse, of course...at Mount Washington, it was -6C and snowing with fog and 50 knot winds.
Apart from a marathon session of Mexican Train Dominoes, in which Steph won an unbelievable nine straight games, we spent the day getting rocked at our mooring, and trying to stay warm by baking cookies and a cake. The wind howled through the rigging, and the boat shook when strong gusts roared through the cove. Judy and I each poked our heads above deck maybe once each to make sure the dinghy was still attached to the boat, and the boat attached to the mooring. We beat hasty retreats down below, where everyone else complained that the warm air in the cabin had just been sucked outside. We also did some passage planning for our Bay of Fundy crossing. Of course, we want to take advantage of fair winds, the right tide conditions and reasonably behaved seas in order to round Cape Sable Island and Brazil Rock with as little fuss as possible, but nature doesn't always cooperate that way, and this week appears to be no exception. There appears to be a weather system that will pass just to the southeast of NS on Wednesday and we don't want to run into it, especially when the tidal currents are trying to shove ur heads s up on the rocks. After working out the speed/time/distance equations, tide times, and weather forecasts from several sources, we have decided to head up to Portland and jump off from there, which will also take us a little closer to Yarmouth should we feel that we need to sit out any bad weather that would make rounding Brazil Rock problematic. Marblehead racers know exactly what we are thinking, and I find that this crossing makes the Gulf Stream look simple in comparison.
Once in Portland, we hope to top up the diesel and water tanks, and then we'll call the Canadian Coast Guard to file a sail plan (a concept the USCG does not seem to be overly familiar with). While it is always smart to leave a plan with friends or family in case one is overdue, there's a certain amount of comfort knowing that the CCG also has your plan and contact information, and is diligent about following up.
Our final ETA in Halifax is still up in the air, but my best guess is Monday afternoon, a little later than our initial guess of a weekend arrival. We plan stop to visit sailing friends in Bridgewater and Lunenburg, so we hope we will have a straight sail around Cape Sable Island and then tuck into either Shelburne or Liverpool to have a rest before continuing up the coast. In the meantime, we are really excited about a two-night crossing in 4C temperatures watch-on watch-off, dodging lobster pots and hoping that the f-word (f*g) doesn't make an early appearance...
05/17/2008, Marblehead, MA
Photo: All dressed up and somewhere to go!
With the girls having dressed Semper V overall with flags to mark the Opening Ceremony and Commodore's Ball at BYC, we got ourselves gussied up for the event...first time I've worn a blazer and tie since we left home!
The Opening Ceremony just before lunch was short and sweet, with the National Anthem, cannon shot, Blessing of the Fleet, introductions and Commodore's remarks all dispensed with in less than a quarter-hour. New England clam chowder and apple crisp were served afterwards, and we had a great chat with the Commodore at his table. Judy and I found it noteworthy that in his opening ceremony comments, the Commodore made reference to the state of the economy and that BYC would have to pay particular attention to its finances. (We flipped through the Boston newspapers and found plenty of articles about the poor economic state of the US, with several prominent economists predicting worse to come. The listings of foreclosure sales were plentiful, reflecting the trend we have seen all along the coast.)
Later in the evening, Lisa and George and BYC friends Mike and Liz paid a social call to Semper V, after which we proceeded ashore to enjoy a fabulous dinner and then great dancing at the Commodore's Ball. The girls stayed on board and amused themselves with Mexican Train Dominoes and a movie, and they were both asleep by the time we repaired onboard just after midnight. It was a great comfort to know that with the boat alongside at the BYC dock and in plain view, they could come and get us if there were any problems, and vice versa. As for ourselves, we needed the exercise on the dance floor! The first two weeks back at the gym in Halifax are going to be brutal, methinks....