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08/26/2011, Portland, Maine
We just got back from a three day trip to Portland Maine. Portland was not very high on my list of must see cities, however Sharon went to college and lived in Portland for several years and has a lot of friends there, so it soon became a must see place for me. Portland is a very old seaport with much history from the early days of America. Most of the town surrounds a beautiful wind swept bay and harbor and many of the original old buildings have been rehabbed and turned into shops, galleries, bars and LOTS of restaurants. There is very funky, trendy..almost hippie feel to most of the downtown area. Portland was described in one book I read as having " the soul of an artist, the grit of a lobsterman and the hands of a craftsman", I would say that is a pretty accurate description. Portland reminds me of a combination between San Francisco and Ocean Beach (in San Diego).
Escaping heat and hurricanes?????Steve
08/24/2011, Portland, Maine
The main reason that I left fled the Sea of Cortez in July was to escape the extremely hot summers that the sea is notorious for. Upon arriving at my Uncle's house in Maryland I was treated to 2 weeks of record breaking heat, most days it was right around 100 degrees. Another big reason for leaving Si Bon was due to the possible (although remote) threat of a hurricane. There have so far been no hurricanes or tropical storms in the sea...however we are now on a hurricane watch here in New England as Irene works her way up the Eastern Seaboard. Yesterday morning as we drove to Portland I kept thinking A HURRICANE IN NEW ENGLAND???? are they freaking kidding me or what. When we stopped for lunch at the very beautiful seaside town of Kennebunkport, I went on line to check a few things and saw that there had just been an earthquake....yes an earthquake...in Washington D.C.. The last time an earthquake of this magnitude hit the East coast was in 1944.
It was just about one year ago, that while on a trip to Catalina Island I decided that I needed to feel 100% confident in sailing Si Bon singlehanded. At the time I was single and thinking that I would be able to line up crew members along the way to help me realize my cruising dreams. I quickly learned that crew members may have a situation come up which requires them to leave the boat without being able to give much notice. When you are the owner/captain of the boat you don't have the luxury of just walking away. Sooo I spent the final 6 months of my cruising preparations practicing sailing Si Bon by myself. I took trips around Southern California by myself, I practiced anchoring alone, docking alone, picking up a mooring ball alone and of course sailing alone. When I left the marina and moved onto a mooring ball in San Diego Bay it gave me additional practice of the day to day routines of life on a boat away from a dock without having someone to help me.
New Yawk City (day 3)Steve
08/15/2011, Da city
We got up early and headed to a small New Yawk cafe we had seen earlier, day had breakfast sandwiches for $3.49...which is a steal in da city. We grabbed a couple ah da sandwiches, chugged down some cawfee and headed to da subway. We shoved our way trew the crowd and hopped on the subway to Lower Manhattan to see the 9/11 site and da financial district.
New York City (day 2)Steve
Day two started early, we had booked a harbor cruise the night before and decided to walk from our hotel all the way across Manhattan to the Hudson river, which is where the tour started. The tour we had chosen was to take us all the way around Manhattan. As we left the dock and started slowly edging along the New York waterfront our tour guild began a very informative presentation of the history of New York. We went passed where the Airliner had crash landed in the Hudson River, we passed the site of the 2001 terrorist attacks (more on that tomorrow), we saw Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty (pic). We then turned and continued up the East River going under the Brooklyn Bridge and passed the many different boroughs that make up New York.
NEW YORK CITY! (day one)Steve
On Wednesday morning Sharon's cousin Lara dropped us off at the train platform and about an hour and a half later we arrived at Grand Central Station. I guess I was expecting Grand Central Station (GCS) to be some grungy old train terminal...well was I ever shocked. GCS is a BEAUTIFUL historic building full of shops, restaurants, bars and of course LOTS of people...and I mean LOTS OF PEOPLE. Sharon and I grabbed a quick cup of coffee got our bearings and headed out to begin our exploration of New York City. I had never been to "the city" and when we exited GCS I was at first overwhelmed with the numbers of people rushing around, both on the sidewalks and in their cars. It seemed that everyone was in a MAJOR hurry to get somewhere. After visiting Saint Patricks Cathedral we decided we would go to Rockefeller Center, I was expecting some sorta big office building and was once again surprised to find that "The Rock" had a very large underground mall like area..once again full of shops, restaurants and people....LOTS OF PEOPLE. The Rock has an observation deck that is on the 67th -69th floors where you have a 360 degree view of the entire New York City area. I'm not sure how long we were up at the "Top of The Rock" but it is mesmerizing to look out over the biggest city in America and her awesome array of skyscrapers and buildings. After leaving The Rock we headed over to Times Square to see if we could get some discount tickets to a Broadway show. Times Square is AMAZING...I think we've all seen it on TV at one time or another, but there is no way to truly appreciate the whole atmosphere unless you are there in person. Due to the very long line for discount tickets we decided to blow it off and head to our hotel to relax for a while. As we made our way through Mid-town Manhattan through the mass of people we started to feel more and more comfortable with the New York scene....In fact I think we even stawted tawlking like New Yowkas...ya know wadda I mean?
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