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Boothbay Harbor, Maine

We got spoiled at Dolphin Marina in Harpswell!  They delivered huge blueberry muffins and coffee to each visiting boat every morning!  They were absolutely delicious!

Love the little (and big!) perks the Krogen Express offers, like the stackable washer/dryer unit (that I am really loving today while we’re at the dock in Boothbay Harbor) and a pretty view from the shower (which John enjoyed).

But first I’ll update you on our activities between the muffins and the laundry!

We’ve been exploring various spots within a 10 mile area east of Harpswell and west of Boothbay .

Our first stop was Indiantown Preserve.  This is one of the islands included in the Boothbay Harbor Land Trust.  From our research we knew that there was supposed to be a “guest” mooring ball, but as we approached we spotted two.  I grabbed one and easily picked it up.  A while later a sailboat came in and picked up the other. The next morning we got a friendly visit from “Bob” who, it turns out, owns both balls.  Normally his personal boat occupies one of the balls but, this summer being what it is, he didn’t put his boat in the water.  He was a really friendly guy and we had a very enjoyable conversation with him.

The island has walking trails through lush forests of pine trees.  It was almost magical it was so beautiful!  And….there was a small dinghy dock with ramp provided so which made it super easy to go ashore with the dogs. We all loved the opportunity to walk the trail and get some exercise!

After two nights there, John set his sights on an area called Oven’s Mouth, which again is part of the Boothbay Harbor Land Trust.  He was intrigued by the challenge of the entry into the anchorage and the idea that it was off the “beaten path”.  When we arrived we spotted a cell tower nearby.  Nothing could be better for this captain than a cell tower AND seclusion at the same time!   We launched the dinghy and made a trip ashore for a walk through the preserve, landing at a nearby shelf of rock, easily hopping ashore.  But…. that was at high tide.  Five hours later, at low tide, was another story.  The tides are so severe here that our once accessible landing zone was now off in the distance and we were faced with muck and rock completely covered in seaweed.  I set Zoey down on what I thought was rock but turned out to be muck.  Ugh.  She looked like she had little gray booties on!  I couldn’t help but think of my friend who has a gorgeously groomed Sheltie and how aghast she would be at the thought of having to take her dog ashore through this stuff!  It was a perilous journey to land on the seaweed and back again, but we made it.  And then of course we had to do the same thing again the next morning, 12 hours later.  It’s interesting to watch the process of them pulling up the traps, etc.  Kind of like our own up-close-and-personal “Deadliest Catch”, without the 30 foot waves!

Here are a couple of good photos we captured.  It’s almost like she’s saying “I’m not really into these 4:30 am sunrises!”  And Daystar in the fog!  The fog is really something else.  It’s like your glasses are dirty or you have something in your eye!  It seems relentless, although locals tell us that this much fog is unusual for mid-July.  It’s noon as I write this and my visibility is about half a mile.

We said adieu to Oven’s Mouth and went about 7 miles to Robin Hood Marina and picked up a mooring (so I could have access to a dock when we went ashore!).  This was a pretty spot, but the stay here was sort of a non-event.  We just wanted to try another area, and that we did.

Next stop was Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club.  On the way in we passed this very cool lighthouse called the Cuckholds Lighthouse.  Construction of the lighthouse began in 1892.  In 2004, deemed excess to the United States Coast Guard, the lighthouse was rescued from complete decay and/or destruction by a small group of local citizens.  Over the next 10 years the group raised funds and local businesses donated design expertise, building materials, and other resources to restore the light tower, rebuild the keeper’s house and the boathouse. Following this the lighthouse became an inn with two guest rooms.  It closed in July of last year when the innkeepers, a husband and wife team, retired.

The Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club has moorings available to the public and they provide launch service which was a nice perk!  The Yacht Club is across from the harbor, so we could look over and anticipate our visit into town in the following days.  When we are out in these isolated anchorages with almost no interaction with other people and certainly no retail, coming to a little town like Boothbay Harbor Maine (full-time population of 2,200) is like going in to the big city!  After the night there, we went into Hodgdon Marina for the weekend.

 

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Did I Mention the Fog?

When I left off, we had just been to “The Basin” anchorage.  From there we went to “Snow Island”, about 12 miles away.  These islands are very beautiful and thick with pine trees; but they are not very “user friendly” for taking dogs ashore.  Occasionally we’ve had a pebbly beach to pull the dinghy on to; but for the most part we pull up on rough shorelines with rock, seaweed and some muck!  And of course the tide, whether high or low, changes the landscape of the “landing zone”.  It goes like this:  we stop in 1-2 feet of water.  Dogs leashed, I carry one – through the water – to shore, put her down, walk back to get the other one (and then reverse the process when we leave).  John places the anchor, being mindful of the constantly changing water level, ie. we don’t want the tide to go out and strand the dinghy on the shoreline, nor do we want the tide to come in so that the dinghy is floating in 4 or 5 ft of water.

One evening, as we approached a little island for dog-walking, we looked up and saw an eagle sitting in a dead tree!  And then he flew right over us! PICTURE  It was very cool.  Unfortunately we weren’t fast enough to get a picture of the fly-over!  We’ve also seen loons (and heard their distinctive call), osprey, and seals (who disappear as quickly as they appear!).

The fog continues to baffle me….how it suddenly appears in the middle of the day, why it stays even when the sun is out, why it doesn’t burn off more quickly!  But it comes with the territory, and it’s just something Mainers are used to.  This is a pretty typical morning view (especially last week when it was very cloudy and a bit rainy ).   But then here’s a different view from the same anchorage when the sun finally came out!  It’s beautiful, isn’t it?  It’s something I really appreciate up here, and probably take for granted at home in Florida.

Before we left Snow Island (when the sun had finally appeared!) John donned his wetsuit and did some waterline clean up.  The water was chilly, and took some getting used to, but it was good to get that job done.  This is a picture of John doing the same thing last year in the Bahamas; except he was standing in 5 feet of water!!  After lunch we pulled up the anchor, and off we went.  This was our view as we exited.  See what I mean about the fog?  This was at noon!  It’s almost mystical!

After 2 nights at Snow we departed for Harpswell’s Dolphin Marina.  We passed a lot of these rock islands which fortunately are on the chart.   These pictures do not nearly portray the potential threat these things pose!  They are quite imposing and we give them a very wide berth!

We also passed Eagle Island State Park, formerly the home of Admiral Robert E. Peary, the Arctic and North Pole explorer.  Although he died in 1920, his family continued to live in the home until they donated it to the state in 1967.  It is now a National Historic Landmark.

Just outside the marina grounds is Erica’s…..a fabulous and pretty typical little fish shack with picnic tables and the most fabulous lobster rolls! I imbibed two days in a row!

After a night on the dock and two at one of their moorings, we then set off for Boothbay Harbor area.

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Freeport, Maine

We loved our time at the dock in Freeport!  We had a delicious dinner at the Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster Company (me, a lobster roll and John, fish and chips).  We washed the dogs, loaded up on groceries, and had a successful shopping trip to LL Bean so John could get a new pair of water sandals.   “Daystar” and “Twinkle”, our dinghy, scrubbed clean, I could hear them both breathe a collective sigh of thanks!

When we departed Freeport it was an absolutely gorgeous day, sunny and clear.  Heading south into Casco Bay, once again dodging lobster floats, sailboats, and small islands of rock while also trying to identify markers, I said to John, “I’m so glad we are not trying to do this in the fog”.  I spoke too soon.  Getting farther south into Casco Bay and away from land, boom, the fog descended upon us.  On went the radar and running lights.  Binoculars went from the counter on to our laps.  But then, as we headed north again towards land, sure enough, the fog dispersed and we had perfect vision.

We had identified a great anchorage called “The Basin” just north of Sebasco and off the New Meadows River (see map) for the next couple of nights. The entrance is only about 100 feet wide.  After a quarter of mile or so, there’s a hard turn left into the basin.  It’s very much like being on a lake!  We are surrounded by pine trees and rock outcroppings along the shore.  It’s very serene and peaceful.  You never know what you’re going to find in terms of other boats when you approach an anchorage, so upon arrival we were pleasantly surprised to see that we were the only ones (with the exception of a few weekend day boats)!

Last night we had the most dramatic “son et lumiere” (French for “sound and light”) show I’ve ever experienced on the boat.  The skies were cracking and lighting up, and the rain was pouring down!  And this morning it looks like serious rain for the next 48 hours at least.  Just a couple of days ago the Portland Press Herald newspaper wrote this:  “An unprecedented lack of rainfall in late spring has pushed almost half the state into drought conditions, and there’s little relief in the forecast……”  So much for forecasts!  It’s raining so hard that even if we were at home, and I had my much missed “back door and yard,” our dog Zoey would not even consider going out!  She does not like the rain! Period.

As I sit inside, drinking my hot cup of morning coffee, I’m watching these fishermen out there in the pouring rain, hauling in their catch.  God bless them.

This is one of the times I am especially thankful for our covered aft deck.  After we’ve been ashore in the rain, we can get back on the boat and be covered while we take off our dripping wet rain gear coats and pants.  Otherwise we’d be entering directly into the salon, dripping water all over!  And I’m also very appreciative of a dryer for the many wet towels we accumulate on days like this.  Zoey loved being wrapped in a warm towel for her after-outing nap!

 

 

By the way, here are some pictures that portray the extreme tides here, 9 feet!  These were taken at our anchorage a few days ago.  This particular day low-tide was in the morning.  The wind was super calm.  By afternoon, at high-tide, the wind had picked up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But this is my favorite picture of the trip so far.  This is our nephew Jack and his dog Tucker coming out to Brandt Point to watch us (on the right of the picture) enter Nantucket Harbor a few weeks back.  (His mom and dad were also there, taking the picture!) 

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Fog, Fog, and More Fog (In Maine)

We left the Saco River mooring on Monday morning in the fog and continued northeast in the fog around Cape Elizabeth into Casco Bay in the fog.  It’s a very weird experience, cruising in the fog, particularly when it’s all new territory.  We could not see farther than 200 feet, and for the most part were totally reliant on our radar.  Fortunately there was very little boat traffic and we were able to keep tabs on the lobster floats.  Our destination, Jewell Island, was approaching and we were struggling to see even the outline of trees on the islands surrounding us.  But the sky was very bright.  It seemed like the sun was so close, yet so far.  At one point, I picked up my binoculars, looking for buoys and identification points.  As I took them off my eyes, suddenly the sun appeared and the area was totally clear!  It was the wierdest experience!  We were able to easily enter the anchorage and get set before the fog returned.  And return it did!  The next 2 days were thick fog, altho we did have minutes of clarity.

Casco Bay covers 229 square miles, has some 785 islands, and is home to 7 lighthouses.  Many of the islands are managed by various land trusts which are part of the Maine Land Trust Network.  In fact, Maine has the lowest percentage of public land among all the states in New England.  On the islands we have been on so far, there are trail markers and leftover camp fires; but I have not seen one piece of trash, not even a cigarette butt!  Visitors appear to be very respectful of them, and of each other.

Jewell Island was no exception.  It offered several different trails which we enjoyed, despite the 2 dreary days there.  Did I mention it was foggy?!  It was relentless.  Wednesday morning, after our 2nd night there, we departed – once again in the fog – for Lower Goose Island.  Upper Goose Island is to its north, 2 islands – The Goslings – are to its south.  There is a mooring field here, so we helped ourselves, as borrowing a mooring ball is common practice here in Maine.  (It was the easiest, most effortless pick-up I’ve ever done!)  We took the dogs ashore to one of The Goslings (pictured) and then settled in for the evening.  The air cleared and we had one of the prettiest skies of the trip so far.  Truly, it was a sign of good things to come.  As you know, “red sky at night, [cruiser’s] delight!”

When we’re at an anchorage or a mooring, many times there is no dock in which to land the dinghy when we go ashore.  That has been the case the past few days.  Instead we land at a beach, which means we hop out of the dinghy in the water and carry the dogs a few yards to the beach, and then reverse the process when we’re done.  The water looks cold, but it’s really not that bad!  I’m so appreciative that, when we return to the boat, we can spray off our feet with warm water from the transom shower!

In fact, there are so many things I’m appreciative of on the Krogen Express!  To be honest, I’ve never been a camper.  That was not my parent’s idea of a vacation; nor is it mine.  I like a nice bathroom (aka head), a roomy kitchen (aka galley), a warm pilothouse or enclosed bridge when underway, a tv, a roomy bed, lots of places to put things, big windows that open on a breezy 70 degree day.  The list goes on!

At the end of the week we are going to a marina in Freeport.  That means a trip to the grocery store, and maybe even to LL Bean’s flagship store!  That’ll be a big outing for us! LOL!  A retail sighting for the first time in almost two weeks!

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A Typical Day on the Water

About our days on the water, moving the boat, some of our friends and family ask, “what do you do?”  For sure, it’s not like being at home!

Here’s how today went, as we ran the boat from Kittery Point to Saco, a 34 mile trip:

The sun rises early here in Maine, really early……..5:03 am today, to be exact (which means it starts getting light about 4:30!)  I got out of bed about 5:30’ish.  Fed the dogs.  Made a cup of coffee; and then spent an hour or so reading, pondering, praying.  The dogs went back to sleep.

One of the things I miss most about home is the back door so I can just let the dogs out in the backyard, unattended, to do their thing! But alas, they are accustomed to our boat ways, which means 3 outings each day when we are not at a dock……morning, after lunch, after dinner.  (When we are tied up at a dock, it’s an easy hop on/off at any time.)  Our morning run ashore is about 7 or 7:30.  Sometimes I take them alone, sometimes John does, sometimes we go together.  Upon return, breakfast for the humans is usually a piece of toast or half a bagel…..and a 2nd cup of coffee!

This morning we dropped the mooring line around 8:30.  But times of departure can differ depending on how far we’re going, currents, and water conditions.  Then we settle in for the ride, often accompanied by John’s eclectic playlist of music….including Johnny Cash, Suzy Boggus, Queen, Billy Joel, Zach Brown, Nat King Cole, Ray Charles, Boston, and more!

On this Maine trip in particular, we are especially appreciative of our double Stidd chair on the bridge so that we can sit side by side and look out for lobster trap floats.  For the most part they are colorful and easy to see (which is more than I can say for the crab traps in the Chesapeake!).  It’s just that there are a lot of them!

Besides enjoying the scenery, we read, we “google” stuff like “Maine lobster industry”, “lighthouse near me”,  “open haircutter near me”, “grocery store near me”, “Maine fog”.  We talk about what we’re going to have for lunch.  Then we talk about what we’ll do for dinner!  And since this area is all new to us, we spend a lot of time researching our destination, what we will find, what it offers, where to take get the dogs ashore. This morning I had a one hour “Snapchat” training session with my nephew.  In reality I don’t know how much I’ll ever use it, but he and I had a lot of fun and laughs!   I also had a text exchange with one of our former owners who summers in the area and has good local knowledge.  Then it was time to make lunch!

Around 12:30 we pulled into Wood Island Harbor which leads to the Saco River and viewed this classic Maine lighthouse, one of many we will see along the way.  We pondered our options……mooring or anchor?  Moorings are more prevalent in the northeast.  They allow for an increased density of boats, particularly in areas where tides are high.  Here in Maine the tides are 7-8 ft versus Florida where the tides are 2-4 ft.  Because of the method in which moorings are secured they use a much shorter scope than when anchoring.  For instance, our swing here on a mooring is 20-25 ft.  If we were on at anchor, our swing would be 200 ft.  Therefore 2-4 times as many boats could be  accommodated in a particular area.

We cruised into Camp Ellis (altho it’s not a camp, but more like a seaside hamlet) on the Saco River where there were supposed to be 2 free moorings. Both were occupied, but…….then I spotted a third…. and it was available!  John made a quick u-turn, I grabbed the line, secured it, and we were set!  Lunch completed, we lowered the dinghy and took the dogs ashore for a walk. It was an unbelieveable 85 degrees, so the walk was short.  But it allowed us to spot a good take-out dinner spot for the next night!

Up on the next blog……fog!  But these pictures give you an idea.  One also shows the severity of the tides!  See those mooring balls sitting on land?!

 

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Maine or Bust

It was hard to say goodbye on Wednesday to our friends and family after a wonderful week in Nantucket, but it was time to move on.  Looking back as we cruised out of the marina, we waved goodbye, proceeding then past Brandt Point Lighthouse proudly wrapped in the American flag.

 

Waters were pleasant on Nantucket Sound which we appreciated, as it can get quite rough out there.  Thursday we dropped the anchor in a quiet spot in Onset Bay, just south of the Cape Cod Canal.  We were surrounded by a fairly dense fog when we got up at 5 the next morning.  Dogs walked, dinghy stored, and anchor pulled by 6 we set off for the canal.  Things cleared nicely making for a visibly manageable trip.

Friday the water was unbelievable……flat and smooth, like a lake.  Hard to believe we were in the Atlantic Ocean!  As a result, we changed our plans and kept going to Marblehead.  This is a charming town with homes from the 1800s.  It has a rich history in fishing and yachting and was once a major shipyard.  It is often referred to as the birthplace of the American Navy.  As is the case with much of the New England coastline, it is bordered by rock.  The town was named Marblehead by settlers who mistook it’s granite outcroppings for marble. During our walk around town we came across a gift store that had some kitchen towels in the window, and this one really made me laugh! Any boating couple can really relate to the quote…..”Sorry for what I said while docking”.  Fortunately John and I don’t have too many moments when we regret our words, but there can be tense times on occasion.

Our position in the Marblehead mooring field was right on the outside of the field, barely tucked into the harbor.  So, combined with some swells from the ocean and the lack of courtesy from speeding boats, we rocked and rolled until almost 9 pm. (Picking up the mooring upon arrival and launching the dinghy were no easy feats, either!)  Fortunately we were able to have a decent night’s sleep.  Needless to say, we were more than happy to move on and will not be returning to Marblehead, not even to purchase that cute towel!

The ride today (Saturday) was also very comfortable, and before we knew it we were in Maine!  In New England it doesn’t take long to go from one state to another.  I’m going to try to come up with other adjectives than “quaint” and “charming” on this blog; but it might be a challenge!  Everything along the coastline in these historic, coastal towns is “quaint” and “charming”!  Kittery Point is no exception!  The Whaleback Lighthouse greeted us as we approached.  This is the view up the Piscataqua River off our stern.

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Nantucket

NANTUCKET

We previously wrote about a visit to Nantucket (see blog in September 2012); and frankly our current visit is not much different than that!  We’ve spent a lot of time with friends and family who summer here.

We arrived from our stay in Martha’s Vineyard where we anchored for 5 days.  In total it had been about 10 days since we’d been in a marina, so it was delightful to be able to tie up to a dock and just hop off to walk the dogs, do a couple loads of laundry (yes, on board!), and refresh our pantry.  Our family greeted us at the dock and welcomed us in!  That was the best feeling in the world!

We are stern-to on a shopping walk-way, so there are lots of gawkers!  Afterall, the Krogen Express is a head-turning vessel!  Sometimes we feel like we are an exhibit at the zoo!  People stop and stare. They call on the radio. They watch as we dock or pull into an anchorage or mooring field.  It’s flattering, but it can also be a bit intimidating, especially when you’re trying to have a smooth docking or a perfect mooring pick-up.

Nantucket is a charming island and village, and in many ways very folksy.  One day during our visit the town had a big parade in honor of the high school graduates.  The fire department and police, along with an array of cars decorated with blue and white balloons, honked and blew sirens!  People stood along the side of the road clapping and cheering!

Today the island is distinguished by its unpainted cedar-shingled buildings, gorgeous flower boxes/pots, and cobblestone streets; but between 1690 and 1840 it was the foremost whaling port in America.  Today it has a year-round population of 17,200 residents.  In 1830 it was the third largest city in Massachusetts!

As I write this at 9 am on June 15th it is 56 degrees with a NE wind of 19 mph.  The “feelslike” temperature is 53.  I now know why the regulars here refer to June as “Juneuary”.  I will say, however, that this is the coolest we have experienced in almost a week.  Typically the average daytime temperature for this time of year in Nantucket is the mid-60s.  Fortunately that’s been the norm for us during our visit.  And, fortunately I brought the right clothes for Juneuary!

With the winds what they are, we are so thankful that we are tied up at the marina, and not being thrashed around in the mooring field.  Nantucket Harbor is very vulnerable to north winds. While it is enclosed, the land to the north is low-lying which provides only  minimal wind protection.  In addition the harbor is large.  Consequently there is a lot of fetch, and it can get very choppy.  There are whitecaps out there now.  A dinghy ride ashore would be miserable in these conditions.

We have a couple more days in Nantucket, after which we will head north into (for us) “uncharted territory”!  More boating adventures await us!

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Martha’s Vineyard

Well, Martha’s Vineyard proved to be a great “port-in-the-storm,” or rather an “anchor during the wind!”   Lake Tashmoo is surrounded by big trees and banks, and it’s a very protected spot to drop the anchor.  In fact we loved it so much we stayed 5 days!  After moving up the coast fairly quickly, we enjoyed the opportunity to relax, do some boat projects, take walks, and read (something we never seem to have time to do).  John likes espionage and “whodunnit” books. I prefer biographies and fiction-based-on-fact books.  In fact, I read “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid” by Bill Bryson.  It’s an autobiographical book about a guy who grows up in the 50s and 60s, the peculiarities of his family and his adventures, etc. etc.  I laughed out loud so many times; and when I would try to read a section of it to John I could hardly get the words out I was laughing so hard!

It’s about a 25-minute walk to the nearest town, Vineyard Haven. But when you have two dogs with you who like to sniff everything, it’s more like 40! Our walk there was pleasant but there wasn’t a lot to do as not much was fully open.  Another day we walked to John’s Fish Market for another clam-chowder taste test in our never ending quest to find the best!  Our opinion:  Lobster House in Cape May is still number 1.

We said “adieu, Lake Tashmoo”  this morning and had a delightful ride southeast to Edgartown.

According to “Mr. Wickylickypedia,” Edgartown was one of the primary ports for the whaling industry during the 1800s.  Ships from all over the world would dock in its sheltered bay and captains would build grand mansions for their families with ornate top floor rooms called widow’s walks, which overlooked the harbor. A myth developed that wives would watch for months from these tiny rooms, hoping to see the sails of ships that would bring their husbands home from the sea. There is little or no evidence that widow’s walks were intended or regularly used for this purpose. They were frequently built around the chimney of the residence, thus creating an easy access route to the structure, allowing the residents of the home to pour sand down burning chimneys in the event of a chimney fire in the hopes of preventing the house from burning down. As more economical alternatives became available the whaling industry began to decline. By the beginning of the 20th century, its influence on the tiny town which had made its fortunes through the industry, was ended. Today the town is more known for tourism, as well as the site of Chappaquiddick, where Ted Kennedy’s fatal automobile accident took place in 1969.”  The locals refer to Chappaquiddick as “Chappy”.

Residents here have beautifully restored old captain’s homes. Local shops and hydrangea boxes line the streets.  Diners gather at outdoor patio restaurants on the harbor.  It’s a charming village.

This patriotic sailboat sailed by our bow this evening!  I couldn’t resist taking a picture.  As you have probably figured out, I am a big fan of the American flag!

And this was the view from our stern.  Not a bad place for a spaghetti dinner, don’t you agree?

 

The next week or so we will be in Nantucket spending time with family and friends.  Stay tuned for more cruise-news from Daystar!

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Mattituck to Martha’s Vineyard

Mattituck to Shelter……err, Block …….Island, and then Martha’s Vineyard!

Mattituck is a darling little village that we absolutely love to visit. (And it has the best homemade donut shop in the world!)  The anchorage is about 20 minutes down the inlet off the north shore of Long Island Sound (see picture of red building).  There’s room for about 4 boats there; but this time we were the only ones!  Nothing was open in town so we just hung around the boat, took short walks. We have friends from home who have a summer house near here, so they came to visit us, and we had a great time catching up as well as discussing all the ins and outs of world events.

The plan was to spend two nights there, then head to Shelter Island (which we’d never been to before) for a couple of days, then we’d head on to Block Island.  But after a double check of the weather we decided to implement Plan B…..go directly to Block Island.  When I say “check the weather” I don’t mean sun, rain, and temperature!  I mean wind, wave heights, currents.  Those factors, combined with open water, are something that we have to heed and respect.

Making itinerary adjustments is something that boaters have to do from time to time. My captain is very good about studying the conditions in order to provide a comfortable, safe ride.  But also the Krogen Express gives us options……extra power to get through messy inlets, extra speed to beat/get out of bad weather, or arrive at a bridge for it’s scheduled opening.  Sometimes 6 hours on the water is enough!  Get to your destination and enjoy yourself.  But if you want sip fuel you can run at a displacement speed; and she’s happy doing that.

We arrived at Block Island mid-afternoon. Typically at this time of year Great Salt Pond is host to over a hundred boats, anchored or on a mooring.  We counted 10!  Ashore, we did see a few people and cars; but everything was closed.   Nonetheless, the “Welcome, Boaters” sign made us smile, as if the sign was meant just for us!  At the dinghy dock, we looked back and got a clear shot of Daystar way off in the background.  Typically there would be so many boats, there would be no way to see her.

The sun rises earlier in the northeast than we’re used to in Florida.  On the boat we get up around 5:30.  (By 10 you feel like it’s time for lunch!!) We had dinghy’d to shore, walked the dogs, secured the dinghy, and pulled up the anchor by 6:45.  It was a couple of hours to Point Judith across Block Island Sound where we filled up the tanks at a commercial fuel dock, and we also purchased right-of-the-boat swordfish and a quart of lobster bisque.  (We’ll be eating right tonight, I’d say!)

Filled up and dogs walked, we made the trip to Martha’s Vineyard, arriving around 2.  It was a bit of a beamy ride, but we knew the winds were going to pick up even more and wanted to get settled in quiet Lake Tashmoo near Vineyard Haven.  It’s a lovely, peaceful setting; and the sun has finally come out at 5:30 pm.

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Staten Island to Port Washington

PORT WASHINGTON – (USUALLY) A FAVORITE STOP

The marina in Staten Island provided a good port for a couple of nights.  It’s not fancy, but the local boat owners there are so darn nice!  And they’re very patriotic!  There were American flags flying everywhere.  It seems to me that Staten Island gets a bit of a bum rap.  It is the “forgotten borough” of New York, but it actually has a lot to offer; and this view off our stern might make you think you were in England or Ireland, not 10 miles from Manhattan!

We’ve made the trek through New York Harbor and the East River countless times (actually 36 for John) and it’s always fun and exciting, watching out for water taxis, ferries, and moving barges.  This year it was a little different, even eery.  We saw only a handful of traffic, and when we got up near LaGuardia airport, over a period of 30 minutes, not one single plane passed overhead.  Normally they’d be coming in/out every 30 seconds or so.

Port Washington on the north shore of Long Island has always been one of our favorite stops.  If you’ve read my previous blogs you’ll know why…….there’s a huge grocery store AND a HomeGoods!  Seems like a shopper’s paradise if you’ve been out on the water for a few weeks.  Plus it provides a good opportunity to pick up things we may have forgotten or, of course, things we don’t even need!!  (If you’re a HomeGoods lover, you know what I mean! Wink wink!) But as you can probably guess, there was no visit to HomeGoods this trip.  Sigh.  And to make it worse, we discovered during a walk that there is now a TJMaxx!  Sigh.  It just about killed me to see these stores dark and shuttered, especially since retail was just opening up in my home state just prior to our departure.  Sigh.

Ok, so back to the boating part of this entry!  The wind was picking up as we entered the mooring field of Manhasset Bay at Port Washington.  John and I have a tried and true system for picking up a mooring ball pennant.  He is at the bridge and I am positioned in the stern at the lowest part of the boat.  I grab the line with my boat hook, walk it forward, pulling it up as I go, loop it on the forward cleat, and done……..all accomplished with no yelling!!  This time the First Mate wasn’t feeling up for that technique, so we decided to put our Yacht Controller to work.  This enabled the Captain to assist.  A Yacht Controller is a wireless, remote control to assist in operating the boat.  It allows the operator to move about anywhere on the boat enabling him/her to control the bow and stern thrusters as well as putting the engines in/out of gear (forward or reverse).  We accomplished our mission with a high five, and again, no yelling was necessary!

The following morning we spent time prepping the boat because we had visitors coming!  Bob Loudon (whom many of you have met), our General Manager, had been talking with a couple interested in purchasing a Krogen Express.  They drove over from Connecticut and we had a good time sharing the attributes of the boat.  I think people appreciate the fact that John and I do extensive cruising and are intimately knowledgeable about the boat and the crusing life.

After our visitors bid us adieu we set out to find some Asian takeout for lunch, discovered a great place, and then found a park bench nearby in which to enjoy it.  Even with plastic forks and styrofoam containers, it tasted really good!

The next day brought the real excitement……..a trip to the huge Stop and Shop grocery store.  (There’s even a very nice dinghy dock directly across the street from it (see picture) which makes it super easy for transporting the bags from the store.)  At home, going to the grocery is, for most, a dull and dreaded necessity.  On the boat, it is something you look forward to.  Even in the midst of a pandemic and the bother of having to wear masks and follow arrows in the aisles, filling up your boat pantry and fridge is a big deal.  When you’re done, you have such a sense of accomplishment, the feeling that all is well in your world, and it’s now safe to progress with the trip.

Dropping the line to the mooring ball, we said goodbye to Port Washington and continued east along the north shore of Long Island.