29 August 2014 | Block Island, RI-White Stone, VA
24 August 2014 | Provincetown, MA-Block Island, RI
22 August 2014 | Marblehead-Provincetown, MA
21 August 2014 | Gloucester-Marblehead, MA
19 August 2014 | Portland, ME-Isles of Shoals, NH/ME-Gloucester, NH
16 August 2014 | Damariscotta River-Portland, ME
15 August 2014 | Damariscotta River, ME
13 August 2014 | Rockland-Christmas Cove, ME
12 August 2014 | Stonington-Rockland, ME
10 August 2014 | Somes Harbor-Stonington, ME
10 August 2014 | Southwest Harbor-Somes Harbor, Mt. Desert Island, ME
06 August 2014 | Frenchboro-Somes Harbor, Mt. Desert, ME
05 August 2014 | Frenchboro-Somes Harbor, Mt. Desert, ME
04 August 2014 | McGlathery Island - Frenchboro, Long Island, ME
03 August 2014 | Broad Cove, Gilkey Harbor, Ilesboro, ME
02 August 2014 | Rockland-Gilkey Harbor, Ilesboro, ME
01 August 2014 | Pulpit Harbor-Perry Creek-Rockland
31 July 2014 | Camden-Pulpit Harbor, ME
27 July 2014 | Belfast - Bucks Harbor-Warren Island
25 July 2014 | Belfast, ME


29 August 2014 | Block Island, RI-White Stone, VA
Those of you who have struggled through these trip notes may recall that when we were last in Block Island, we didn’t get a chance to go ashore, as our autopilot was on the blink. Well, today Debi has a plan to go ashore and check out every store on the island. And we did just that. We walked and walked, but no complaints, as we really needed the exercise. Back on board River Rat in the afternoon, we refueled and then cooked steaks on the grill for our last meal before we planned to head out into the wild blue sea for our trip home. Before hitting the sack, I sent Kelley and Ashley our Float Plan for tomorrow through Wednesday, with instructions to call the Coast Guard if they haven’t heard from us by Wednesday evening.
It’s 0515, still dark, but River Rat is on her way out of Great Salt Pond on Block Island, bound for White Stone. Debi is on the bow, shining a spotlight to guide us out of the skinny, fast current harbor entrance. Our trip will be mainly (3 days and 2 nights) in the ocean, passing Long Island and the New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia coasts before heading into and up the Chesapeake Bay to the Rappahannock River and then into Carter’s Creek. The winds are light, so the seas are calm. It’s a good day for seeing what’s’ on the surface of the ocean. Six or 7 hours into our voyage we saw 7 sea turtles, bottle nosed dolphins and several whales. One curious Finback whale surfaced alongside River Rat, scaring the hell out of us. This big whale broke the glassy ocean surface about 70-80’ from our hull. She was only in our sight for maybe 10 seconds, but she was an awesome sight; something most folks will never see. I set out my line and trolled for many hours, and finally had a strike from a pretty big fish; a strong fighting fish. It finally broke fee, but not until after it became airborne several times. Debi caught the fight on her camera, so we have a record of me fighting what we now know was a 3-4’ dolphin (Mahi). As the sun sets, we continue our voyage, into an area filled with commercial fishing boats zigging and zagging in the darkness. Radar and AIS help to guide us through all the activity. Debi turns in at 2000. She’ll take her watch from 0000 to 0300 tomorrow morning, while I catch a few hours of sleep.
The sun also rises off the coast of New Jersey. More particularly, it rose this morning at about 0618. Debi’s sound asleep, but at about 0800 she’ll awaken and spell me for a while. The wind has picked up a bit, but we’re still motor sailing to keep going at least 6 kts., so we can arrive home before dark on Wednesday. Two poles are out now, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a strike. I’m below and Debi screams out that something’s on the line; and something’s on the other line too. Debi’s fish breaks free and I haul mine in. It’s a 4-5 pound Skipjack (we only know it from our fish book and the picture we took). Since the book says Skipjacks are not particularly good eating, we release her to fight another day. Dinner, unfortunately, is not fresh caught fish. But, Debi puts together a great meal of pork loin with a rub (that I cook on the grill), dirty rice and frozen cucumbers. Another night of watches is on our schedule. Before Debi takes her leave and I start the evening watch (2000-2400 (or is it 0000????)), she whips us some fresh baked store bought frozen cookies and coffee. The sun sets as we pass the entrance to Delaware Bay, and Debi starts counting sheep. At 2400 Debi relieves me and I catch 3 hours sleep. Then at 0300 I relieve her and she’s off to dreamland until about 0800 tomorrow. Thank goodness for my reader (Nook). On the trip home I’ve alternated between reading a trashy novel and a book about Winston Churchill. The trashy novel is finished, but Winston has lots of pages left.
At 0300, River rat is rolling side to side. The seas are not cooperating, and Hanna’s pissed. The Admiral is in our cabin, fast asleep. We’ve passed Delaware and Maryland and are most of the way down the Eastern Shore of VA as the sun rises. It a couple of hours we’ll be in the Chesapeake Bay, just a stone’s throw (if you have a strong arm) from home. I’m sad that our adventure is almost over, but all good things must end. Let me summarize for you who want to just get the highlights. Maine is the prettiest and most ecologically beautiful place we’ve ever sailed. For those of you considering a cruise up north, this is a must (maybe a must many times). The water we sailed in is cold and clear. Curious seals pop up often, and whales breaking the ocean’s surface are waiting to impress you with their mass gliding through the clear blue sea. The coast is comprised of rocky cliffs, or cliffs covered with Balsam trees, or farmland. The rivers and bays are very deep (100-200’). We anchor frequently in 25-30’ of water. Old time lighthouses are everywhere, and they’re not just for looks. Granite rocky ledges and islands must be avoided, else down you and your boat go into Davey Jones’ locker. Fog is so thick at times that you can’t see the buoys that you can hear gonging, the lighthouse that is blasting a fog horn or the ferry that is asking you on the VHF radio to steer clear. Lobster pots are everywhere (rivers, bays and the ocean more than 10 miles off shore). I’ve had 2 wrap around River Rat’s propeller shaft, and since I brought my wetsuit and tank, I’ve found myself cutting pots off of the props of other boats. But from those pots comes gifts from the cold water. We ate lobster as often as we could, and in so many different ways…. Lobster Mac & Cheese, Lobster Reuben Sandwich, Lobster Grilled Cheese, Lobster Sushi, Lobster Stew, Lobster Chowder, Lobster Rolls (at least half a dozen times), Lobster, Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Pizza, Lobster Risotto, Grilled Lobster, Steamed Lobster (twice), Lobster with butter or Champagne Butter Sauce, Lobster Boil on the Beach covered with seaweed, Lobster over Braised Beef Ravioli with Wild Mushroom Sauce, Lobster Bruschetta with Basil Pesto and Fresh Parmesan Cheese, and Lobster Cakes!!! I’m sure we’ve forgotten a few more ways we consumed this delishish crustacean. As we approach our turn north toward home from the ocean to the Chesapeake Bay at 0830, we’re greeted by a half dozen bottle nose dolphins surfing the waves. It’s as though they are welcoming us home!
Maniacs (a term used for folks from Maine) are wonderful people. Special thanks to Jerry from Belfast (the truck driver who delivers Maine’s delicious wild blueberries to California weekly), who helped me fix my wind generator on his day off, my cousin Kirk, who fixed my wiring on my wind generator (and didn’t laugh at me for wiring it wrong), and to April and Mike, the lobsterers who supplied us. Thanks also to all the fine folks from the Corinthian Yacht Club from Marblehead, MA, who took us under their wings and allowed us to tag along with them on their summer cruise to Maine, and to my brother Dirk and sister in law Diana, for sharing their love, home and lobsters with us. Most important, our summer sailing adventure up the coast to Maine and safely back home would not have been possible (and certainly would not have been any fun) without the love, affection and assistance given daily by Admiral Debi (my beautiful bride of 33 years). That’s all folks!
Afterthought. Those dolphins must have sent word up to our friends on Yopps Cove Road, for when we docked in the early evening, we saw balloons and a Welcome Home sign on our dock, and in our home there were flowers, a tomato pie, cards, a filet mignon stir fry and a special treat in the heat and humidity of the Northern Neck, the AC turned on in our home.


24 August 2014 | Provincetown, MA-Block Island, RI
The dinghy is dropped into the water and we head into P-Town to have a look around, and to find a hardware store to find parts to repair a leaky connection on the forward head. Very interesting place. There’s a fundraiser at one of the outside dining restaurants on Commercial Street, which is the street that parallels the waterfront. They’re having contests (best dressed, most talented, etc.) and there’s a crowd gathering to watch the festivities. Everyone at the fundraiser is in drag. Some look like they’re in drag just for this event, and some look so good that it’s clear that they dress in drag on a regular basis. The cruising guide touts the diversity in Provincetown, but what the guide is trying to say, diplomatically, is that Provincetown is a Mecca for gay, lesbian, transgender, etc. folks. After the fundraiser breaks up, the participants pose for pictures (Debi took several) and then everyone continues to wander up and down the crowded street. Lunch is at the Squealing Pig. This place is great, and we split a lobster BLT and some Tuscan fries. After lunch we wander and gawk some more as we head back to our dinghy and then to River Rat. It rains lightly and the Admiral rests for a bit. It’s dreary outside, so we spend the evening on board, watching TV and eating cookies we’ve burnt in the oven.
There’s a storm forming in the Caribbean. Not a big deal, but it might mess up the weather late next week. We decide to make a long run from Provincetown southwest across Cape Cod Bay, through the Cape Cod Canal, east through Buzzards Bay and to Block Island. The trip takes 13 hours, motor sailing at an average of 7 kts. Our current plan is to spend Sunday in Block and to leave Monday morning for a long trek home (about 62 hours) via the Atlantic Ocean to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and then up the bay to the Rappahannock River. We’re cutting our trip short by about a week, considering the uncertainty of the weather, and lots of other things we’ve put on our plates in September. We arrive in Block at about 1900, take quick showers and take the dinghy into a marina and have drinks and dinner at The Oar, a waterfront open deck restaurant. The place is packed on this Saturday night, and the bar we’re sitting at seems to be swaying because we’ve got sea legs. Debi has some kind of lobster and tuna Sushi and I order the lobster grilled cheese sandwich. It’s the last time we’ll have lobster up north, so we want to take every opportunity we can to enjoy this gift from the sea. Both dinners are great, but now we’ve got to head back to River Rat. She’s anchored among the many, many boats in the harbor. The cruising guide says it’s not unusual to have over 2,000 boats in the harbor on a summer weekend. It’s windy and dark and we’ve got to head across the harbor to search for our floating home. Debi is in charge of the flood light as we bounce across the waves. At last, there she is. It’s so nice to arrive home safely after a night out on the town.


22 August 2014 | Marblehead-Provincetown, MA
Dirk drove us to his club and sent us on our way at about 0815. Back on board River Rat, we immediately faced Hanna, who was not happy with us for leaving her alone overnight. She came around after a healthy breakfast of Special Kitty cat food. Off we headed SE across Massachusetts Bay toward Provincetown, MA, which is at the tip of a hook on the northerly extension of Cape Cod. Our hope was to see whales on the way, and our hope was fulfilled as we saw about 5 of them. They were a fair distance away, but Debi got some great pictures of 2 different types; one of which was definitely Humpback and the other I think was Finback. The seas were very calm, so the sightings were pretty easy. We anchored in the harbor in 27’ of water and settled in for the evening. Nearby was a power boat named Lady Patricia I. As we glanced her way we couldn’t help but notice that there was a man and a woman (presumably Patricia) on the swim platform. That’s not unusual, but they were naked. That’s also not unusual for cruisers, but they then swam naked in 60 degree water in Cape Cod Bay, which seems unusual to me. The man was not in good shape, but Patricia looked good enough to keep his blood running hot. After our neighbors retired into the boat, Debi prepared dinner and shared her left over lobster which we dipped it in a little bit of our friend Lisa’s champagne butter sauce. A fresh salad topped off our dinner. In a little while, our skinny dipping neighbors popped out of their cabin for another dip in the chilly salt water. Thinking nothing of it now, we watched the sun set and read ourselves to sleep.


21 August 2014 | Gloucester-Marblehead, MA
Today our friend Lisa is giving us a car tour of Gloucester and Rockport, MA, and we’re going to see Lisa and Raffi’s house in Rowley, MA. Lisa ought to get a job as a tour operator, as she drove us all over this area and showed us beautiful homes, exquisite water views of coves and ocean vistas. It was great. Then, after lunch we took our dinghy to the other side of the harbor and walked (shopped) around the town. Back on board River Rat, I stretched out on deck and read (napped). We went to dinner with Lisa and Raffi and their friends at The Causeway, a packed Italian and seafood restaurant. The food and company was great. Tomorrow we’re off to see my brother Dirk and Diana in Marblehead.
Off at 0750, headed for Marblehead to see Dirk and Diana for a day and night. Not a lick of wind, so we’re motoring the whole way, but it’s just about 2 hours southish. We stop for fuel before we raft up on Dream Again’s mooring, and then pick up Dirk and head for a Corinthian mooring he’s arranged. The launch brings us ashore, but Hanna is left behind to fend for herself for the night. I’m thinking we’re going to relax at Dirk’s house, but he has other ideas. After lunch we return to the harbor and take the launch to Dream Again to see if we could fix her broken bilge pump. The pump motor ran fine, and its impeller was OK as well. We snaked the water discharge line as far as we could, and that was fine. We traced the discharge line to an inverted u-shaped air lock thingamajig and I took the intake and discharge lines off and found a red packing plug in one side. Why was that plug in there? We’ll never know, but once we removed and put everything back together, the bilge was pumped dry and we felt brilliant. As a bonus for our good work, Diana stopped by their restaurant and got us all 2 pound lobsters, all cleaned and looking pretty, and Dirk wrapped them in foil and cooked them on his charcoal grill. Delicious! Debi saved a good batch of meat for lunch tomorrow. I hope she’s in a sharing mood. All in all, we had a great visit, and got to do laundry to boot. Sleeping in a real bed that doesn’t rock was really an unusual feeling.


19 August 2014 | Portland, ME-Isles of Shoals, NH/ME-Gloucester, NH
Our goal today is to help the economy of Portland, by seeing how much money we can spend in this neat town. Portland is filled with bars, restaurants, art galleries, breweries, fish markets and shops, so it’s just the kind of place Debi loves. First its coffee and a scone, followed by a haircut, and then shopping, lunch, dropping off packages on River Rat, shopping again, then a beer on the pier, wine and cheese at two cool bars and finally, back safe on River Rat by about 2000. We’re planning on a long day tomorrow, as we head SW out of Maine waters and into New Hampshire.
The water is like glass in Portland Harbor at 0600. The Admiral is asleep as I drop off the mooring and head out. Another sailboat keeps me company and a 150’ yacht passes us by as we head into Casco Bay and turn SW. A couple of hours later, Debi rises, but she’s not yet shining. As is often the case, the wind is light, so we’re motoring. We call our friends Lisa and Raffi, who live in Gloucester, MA and sail on Windfall. We met them many years ago at a marina in Florida, and we’ve sailed with them a couple of times in the Bahamas. We plan to meet them for dinner in Gloucester on Tuesday evening, so our plan today is to sail to Isle of Shoals, which is a group of 9 islands off the coast of Portsmouth, NH. Five of the islands belong to Maine and 4 belong to New Hampshire. The narrow entrance is between two granite islands: Smuttynose (Maine) and Star (NH). We pick up a mooring and take our dinghy ashore to tour Star Island. Star Island has a huge wooden hotel on it that was built in 1872. It’s now owned by an association of Unitarians and Congregationalists and is used as a retreat and conference center. This is one very beautiful place. Seagulls are nesting now, and we’re advised to stay clear of their nests or they will attack. After our tour of the island, we tour the area by dinghy, meet some folks on a nearby mooring, who have been watching our cat Hanna try to figure out how to catch the seagulls. Debi makes meatloaf for dinner and we watch the sun dip below the shoreline of New Hampshire. Good bye Maine.
It’s a beautiful morning in Maine and New Hampshire (I’m not sure which state we’re in), and we’re off our mooring heading south with a brisk NW wind. The sails are up and I’m lovin’ this day already. It’s about 30 miles from Isles of Shoals to Gloucester, MA, so we hope to be there by shortly after noon. Debi is up as well, and sitting topsides, she hears something different; a sniffing sound. It’s a small whale off our port quarter. We only see her for a second, but she’s our first whale sighting this trip. We lose sight of her and keep sailing at about 5.5 kts. We pass the breakwater into Gloucester Harbor and as we head to the anchorage, we pass our friends Lisa and Raffi on Windfall, who are heading out for a 3 hour cruise with a charter party. We get settled, go ashore and walk to the local Stop & Shop for some stuff. Debi cooks lemon chess bars and I cook some salmon on the grill for an appetizer and we’re off at 1800 to have dinner with Lisa and Raffi on Windfall. Lisa is cooking her famous lobster with champagne sauce, and Raffi is busy whipping up Caesar salad dressing from scratch. The meal is completed with corn on the cob just picked from a local farm. What a feast! And, more important, what a wonderful visit with good friends.


16 August 2014 | Damariscotta River-Portland, ME
It was sad to leave family in Maine (particularly sad to leave my electronically superior cousin Kirk), but we’ve got to keep a move on, so at 0845 we dropped off the mooring and followed Oceanquest down the Damariscotta River into the ocean. Our goal today is to reach Portland, ME, via a short stop at Eagle Island. The wind is not cooperative, so we’ve got to motor sail, and the seas are following, so it’s rocky rolly. We arrive in Portland Harbor at about 1630. This harbor is large, with ship, tug and ferry traffic, so it’s not our cup of tea. But, the city is supposed to be interesting, so we’ll pick up a mooring and stay here for a couple of days and explore. Ravioli and salad for dinner on board, followed by Chunky Monkey ice cream, then it’s off to bed. Shortly after we closed our peepers, a tug was towing a fireworks show around the harbor, and that was neat.
Vessel Name: River Rat
Vessel Make/Model: Hunter 45CC
Hailing Port: White Stone, VA
Crew: Captain Carl, Admiral Debi, First Mate Hanna Isbrandtsen

Who: Captain Carl, Admiral Debi, First Mate Hanna Isbrandtsen
Port: White Stone, VA