04 March 2016 | Puntarenas Costa Rica
02 March 2016 | Arenal Volcano
01 March 2016 | Arenal Lake
28 February 2016 | Monteverde Cloud Forest
28 February 2016 | Coastal Costa Rica
26 February 2016 | Manuel Antonio National Park
20 February 2016 | Golfito Costa Rica
13 February 2016 | Isla Contadora
11 February 2016 | Fishing in Las Perlas
09 February 2016 | Carnival in Panama City
08 February 2016 | Panama Canal
02 February 2016 | Panama
29 November 2015 | Shelter Bay Marina Panama
21 November 2015 | San Blas Islands
18 November 2015 | San Blas Islands
14 November 2015 | Ustupu San Blas Islands
11 November 2015 | Isla Pinos San Blas
06 November 2015 | Cartagena Colombia
05 November 2015 | Bogota Colombia
Welcome to Maine - Fog and Lobster Pots
14 July 2018 | Kennebunkport ME
After our time in Gloucester, we headed up to the first ports of Maine. Our first stop was the "border" city of Kittery, Maine which shares a large harbor with Portsmouth New Hampshire. We had quite a challenge picking up the mooring ball which we assigned by the Kittery Marina because the pick up "ball" would not budge at all. The current entering the river and harbor was strong so that added to our challenge. Finally Linda realized to her chagrin that the mooring "ball" which she had been attempting to pick up was actually a ball marking a lobster pot set right in the middle of the mooring field. Thankfully we were able then to secure ourselves to the actual correct mooring can...and even though we worried about it all night as the current changed, we didn't catch the lobster pot line or marker on rudders or propellers.
It was quite a dinghy ride but we were well-rewarded when we visited Portsmouth New Hampshire and enjoyed a wonderful harborside dinner.
Our next stop was the famous little town of Kennebunkport Maine - family home of course to the US President George H.W. Bush. We had a lovely marina spot and marina staff even drove out to the location of the Bush family home. There was a flag flying which indicated that GHW was in residence. Our visit was however after the sad death of Barbara Bush, a classy and very down-to-early First Lady. We also toured the lovely little village of Kennebunkport before returning to our boat in the marina to watch the strong current flowing out reduce the water level drastically. We studied the tide for our next morning departure and knew we had a short window to leave in order to ride a high tide out the harbor mouth. The next morning, we awoke to thick fog and normally we would have stayed put safely in the marina, but due to the tidal forecast, we carefully set out and thankfully were safely outside the harbor in no time. Unfortunately the fog never lifted and the incidence of lobster pot mooring balls increased as we motored carefully past Portland ME and on to the protected harbor of South Freeport. It was an exhausting 8 hour day, keeping a sharp lookout in the fog for lobster makers to avoid. Thankfully we have great headsets to communicate with each other, so Linda stood on the bow pointing all the lobster pots to avoid while Dave hand-steered and used the radar and AIS to avoid other vessels as well. Sometimes people ask if crossing the Atlantic was difficult and frightening. We are sure that coastal cruising with fog and lobster pots and many other small and large vessels coming and going is MUCH MORE DIFFICULT than crossing oceans!
Marblehead and Gloucester Massachusetts
09 July 2018 | Massachusetts
After the sibling reunion, we motor sailed north to Marblehead and then to Gloucester.
In Marblehead we picked up a town mooring and enjoyed a walking tour of the village. This town has an interesting history which includes being the birthplace of the American Navy during the Revolutionary War.
Gloucester was our next stop. It is nicely protected from north winds which were predicted for the next several days. This is the fishing location which was the basis of the movie "Perfect Storm". There is a moving statue of a fisherman and a detailed monument listing all those lost at sea since 1771, year by year. Dave was surprised to find several Witham names on the monument. His father was from Maine, so the Witham name is not uncommon in this area.
Sibling Reunion - Hull Massachusetts
06 July 2018 | Boston
After July 4th in Boston, we sailed about 10 miles south to the marina in Hull. Linda's brother, Mark and wife, Ellen, and Linda's sister, Judy, all joined us for a fun weekend together.
We enjoyed some bike riding around the area. Toured the nearby Adams National Park, which is where John and Abigail Adams were born and lived and raised their son John Quincy Adams. It was very informative and interesting to learn about these 2 Presidents and the history of their era.
On Sunday, some of the group took a ferry back to Logan airport for flights home. Mark and Ellen drove back to their home in Maryland after a few nice days to relax in Newport RI en route.
We stayed in Hull at the marina for one more day to do laundry and clean up after a fun several weeks.
July 4th Part 3 -- Boston Pops Fireworks Concert
04 July 2018 | Boston
After the "dinghy debacle" of July 3rd, we determined that our only recourse to see the fireworks and hear the concert, was to join the 500,000 other people and WALK there. We took an Uber from a hotel near the marina to the Cheers Restaurant. Some of you readers old enough will remember the Cheers sitcom, and this is the actual location for most of the filming. The current restaurant certainly takes advantage of its fame with a huge gift shop and two floors of restaurant and bar locations. We were fortunate enough to "only" wait about 15 minutes and enjoyed a fun dinner.
After dinner at Cheers, we walked with the huge moving throng to the Esplanade to pass airport-like security. We had two small beach blankets which we sat on during the wonderful concert. We were much too far away from the stage but the mega-sized screens displayed the stage in crystal-clear high def. The speakers played as loud as if we were in the front row.
Finally at 10:30 pm the fireworks started, and the display was definitely worth the hassle. It was amazing and lasted for 30 minutes solid., definitely the greatest fireworks we had ever seen.
After the event, we had hoped to catch an Uber back to the marina....but most of the streets were now either closed or jammed with traffic leaving. So we walked...and walked....and walked. Luckily Boston itself is small and we finally arrived back to the marina.
What a delightful and adventurous July 4th! (Sorry for the lack of photos -- fireworks don't photograph well!)
July 4th Part 2 - USS Constitution 22 Gun Salute
04 July 2018 | Boston
July 4th dawned beautiful and warm. The Rain from the prior night was finished. About 9 am we were relaxing after breakfast on our mooring and suddenly there was a huge commotion coming down the harbor right past us. Two Boston Fire Dept fireboats were parading past spouting huge columns of water -- red white and blue columns! They were escorting the famous USS Constitution from its berth to the Fort for a 22 Gun Salute.
We sat in amazement at our good fortune to have a front row seat as it passed....and then Dave realized that we could drop our mooring and motor out to follow along. Which we did! So we motored with many many other boats to follow the parade of the two fireboats and the HUGE USS Constitution to the Fort at the mouth of the harbor where the 22 Gun salute and return salute was so loud that it vibrated one's sternum.
What a wonderful start to a perfect July 4th!
July 4th Part 1 - Locked out of the Lock
03 July 2018 | Boston
July 4th Celebration in Boston sounded like a very special event, so Linda's siblings planned a reunion near there.
First Linda's brother, Paul and his wife, Meg, met us in Boston harbor where we had reserved a mooring right in the Harbor at Long Wharf. We all enjoyed touring Boston on foot using the audio guide to see the commentary on all the historic sites.
Planning how to see the special fireworks and hear the concert of the Boston Pops, however, proved to be a challenge. Everyone told us that there would be a crowd of over 500,000 and to see the fireworks, we should camp out early at the Esplanade near where the Boston Pops concert would perform. We really didn't want to sit on the grass all day, so we thought we might be able to take our dinghy up the Charles River to hear and see from the water. To test our plan the evening before (July 3rd), Paul and Linda and Dave took the dinghy the mile and half from our moored boat toward the Charles River (Meg stayed on the boat because she wasn't feeling well and thankfully she was on board to close up all the hatches because it poured rain during that time.) It was 7 pm when we set out and knowing it would be dark in an hour, we took the dinghy nav light and a high powered flashlight.
Turning up the river in our dinghy, we were surprised to see the river blocked by a huge structure of wood -- locks. We hadn't planned on encountering this and pulled off to the side of the river to contemplate what to do. Just then a small power boat came up and the lock gates opened up, so we followed the boat into the lock. The boat owner was friendly and said that the locks would be very crowded the night of July 4th.
Past the locks, there were 3 different bridges, one of which had a very low clearance so it was clear that we could NOT use Frisky itself to come up to the July 4th fireworks.
When we came up to the area where fireworks and the concert were to be performed, we found that the Boston Pops was giving a July 3rd "advance" concert, so there were about 15 medium sized power boats anchored just off the river. A friendly man on a pontoon boat said we could tie up our dinghy to him and we sat in the dinghy hearing the music which started out with the National Anthem. A friendly couple in a kayak pulled up and hung onto our dinghy. Our little "raft-up" was enjoying life....until the rain started. After getting quite drenched, the pontoon owner invited us to climb up onto his boat under cover. The concert stopped during the rain and by now, it was quite dark. The kayakers and other boaters told us that the next night on July 4th, the lock on the river would be CLOSED until 2 am....Yuck! That would mean we would have to sit in our dinghy for 3 hours AFTER the concert ended at 10:30 pm. Our dinghy plan for the next night was starting to sound impossible. The rain slowed to a drizzle but the concert wasn't restarting, so we decided to head back down the river to our boat out in the harbor.
Unfortunately, when we returned to the River Lock, there were no other motor boats transiting, and we were faced with the challenge of trying to contact the lock master. The sign near the lock said to signal with 2 long blasts and 2 short blasts. We didn't have a horn with us in the dinghy. Dave and Paul tried their best to make very loud "horn sounds". Nothing.
Paul shone our high powered flashlight on the sign to see if there was some other way to contact the lockmaster. VHF channel 13 but we didn't have a VHF radio on us. The sign also said to stay back 100 feet until the lock opened and there was a green light. We waited and debated. Suddenly the lock opened and a small motor boat came OUT toward us. We debated speeding into the lock but we didn't get a green light....and the lock gate quickly closed.
We felt that the lock master had seen us (from wherever his office was) and he was now punishing us because we were not following protocol.
After much more debate among the 3 of us, we resorted to an act of desperation. Along one of the wooden walls outside the lock, there was a ladder. So we offloaded Paul (who borrowed Dave's sandals since Paul was barefoot) onto the wooden platform to climb up the ladder. Hopefully he could find the lockmaster's office and respectfully ask for the lock to be opened.
Paul negotiated a nearly rotten wood platform and was half way up the steel ladder to the street when SUDDENLY the lock opened and we got a green light. Now we had to speed up in the dinghy and enter the lock, abandoning Paul. The lock slowly filled and the gate opened depositing us at the other side. A loud voice (like a voice from God above) said: "Next time do NOT shine a bright light at me. Next time use the VHF radio." We felt duly chastised.
So now we are on the downriver side of the lock but where is Paul. To shorten the story, we saw him standing on another derelict dock waving his arms and shouting at us. (During this whole time, traffic in the nearby bridge is so loud that it is difficult to hear anything....except the voice of God the LockMaster.) Paul had been able to get advice from some friendly police stationed nearby to find the dock where he was standing.
We dinghy-ed back to Frisky to contemplate how to see/hear the July4th celebration the next day.