Mystic, CT – Annapolis, MD

At Sea – Mystic – Long Island – Manhattan – The New Jersey Coast – Around Cape May – into the Delaware Bay – to the “cut through” (Chesapeake and Delaware Canal) and into the Chesapeake Bay
During my time with Janie, we talked a little bit about Face Book and what we perceive are some of the shortcomings of the platform – among them, Janie said was that “Nobody takes a picture of themselves in their curlers”. The point of course being that we usually only show the great days and successes without including some of the human challenges we all suffer. It got me thinking – “Am I doing this in the blog”? Am I being as honest and forthright as I could be or am I varnishing over the tough challenges only to report on the successes? Well, the short answer is of course, yes but I think my motives are mostly pure. My reasons are not really to make people believe that it is all roses out here living in 64 feet in all types of weather and human frailties but rather, given that Im so incredibly filled with Gratitude for the experience, I don’t ever want to be perceived as complaining – even about the tough stuff. So, in an effort to be as honest and vulnerable as I can possibly be, from this point forward, Im going to make an effort to include some of the less than fantastic stuff that happens to us day in and day out.

We left Mystic 4 days ago and traveled 12 hours to the Long Island Sound where we anchored for the night. Believing that we had found the “perfect” anchorage and the best possible conditions for that anchorage, we relaxed our efforts of securing, as much as possible, the boat for the night. Alec and I fell into bed exhausted and both of us drifted off to sleep. The next thing we heard was things clanging and falling and as we jumped up to investigate, the motion became much more severe – rocking Gratitude in the unusual orientation of side to side rather than forward to aft. Making an effort to hold on we both jumped up to see what could be done to mitigate the “damage” – me with closing lockers and securing loose items (the large pumpkin on top of the salon table “flew into” the chair knocking both over) – I will be forever grateful that pumpkin goo wasn’t added to the list of carpet damage we experienced. With the lights out for the night, Alec ran up to the wheelhouse (flew is really a better word) and realizing that he didn’t have wings, plummeted unceremoniously down crashing onto the stairs leading up to the salon and wheelhouse. I heard the wing engine start and Alec attempted to thrust us into the waves bow first and bless him, he really tried everything mechanically possible to mitigate the horrendous roll we were experiencing. “Knowing” that a 64’ Nordhavn can’t “tip over” and “believing” it are 2 very different things as your home, and the items that make it so, are being tossed about like rag dolls. After things calmed ever so slightly I caught sight in the very dim light of something on the carpet – turning on the lights revealed nothing short of an absolute “crime scene”. Apparently, while attempting to fly to the bridge, Alec injured his toe (nearly ripping the tip off) and not feeling the pain due to the adrenaline, he then proceeded to leave a very messy trail of blood from one end of the wheelhouse to the other and back again. Honestly we have never seen anything like this. We now had a more pressing problem and I ran to get the first aid kit and attempt to get the bleeding under control. Convincing Alec to lay down and elevate his bleeding toe was tougher than it sounds. I had, at one point, considered getting the sutures kits that Dr. Mike and Marcie had given us but Alec (preferring to take his chances with gauze and tape) nixed this idea. 2 days, several hours of scrubbing including using the bissell carpet steam cleaner and the carpet is still pretty rough looking. Oh Well – Maybe we can have it cleaned professionally in Annapolis. One of the things that I have learned about myself on this journey is that I have a tough time dealing with physical frailties – myself or other’s. Sorry Alec. Ill have to work on that.

I had an uneventful but nervous nonetheless arrival into the Delaware Bay with a cascade of very large boats exiting or waiting to exit (think 600 foot+) Alec was sleeping and I was very reluctant to wake him given our 4 on 4 off watch schedule. The arrival was in darkness so complete I couldn’t see the bow of our own boat. I have never been in this canal before and forming a picture based on the navigational aids on board while adequate was disconcerting. Once the sun rose, I felt far more reassured and the trip inside the Chesapeake/Delaware Canal became more interesting and less terrifying 🙂
We arrived in an anchorage yesterday at 1400 after approximately 31 hours of non-stop running to spend the night. We all enjoyed a deep sleep but this time, the boat was completely secured before turning the lights our for the night. So, here we are, in the Chesapeake headed to our marina for the night. Our trip here has included many memorable events, among them, a bucket list item of passing under the many storied New York bridges to view up close and on our own boat the beautiful Statue of Liberty which I did and documented in several photos below.

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Please let me know if this is info you are interested in hearing 🙂 We love you all!

Laurie, Alec and Jack

Onset (2.0), Martha’s Vineyard, Mystic, CT

Onset, MA (2.0)

CAUTION: THIS IS A LONGER THAN USUAL POST –

So much has happened since our last posting – I hardly know where to begin! Right now we have just departed Mystic, CT and we are traveling up the Long Island Sound headed West. Our destination today is Oyster Bay where we hope to spend the night at anchor and leave in the morning. Tomorrow the plan is to travel through the East River passing Manhattan and cruising under all of the bridges that for years we have flown over. For as long as I can remember it has been a bucket list item to pass under these bridges in our own boat, passing “Lady Liberty” close enough to see her, while under our own steam. If all goes as planned, tomorrow we will have that chance. We will be dodging ferries and hopefully NO USAIR airplanes as we make our way past Sandy Hook and down the New Jersey Coast into the Delaware Bay – then through the CD Canal and into the Chesapeake. Below I have cut and pasted a map of our trip over the next 2 days. Keep in mind we only left the Mystic River in CT this morning. We are traveling at 8 kts.

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At the risk of bouncing back and forth too much, when last we posted, we were on our way to Onset, MA where we planned to wait out the storm. We were also awaiting the arrival of Janie and Elizabeth, two friends who were planning to visit us in Martha’s Vineyard. Since we were uncertain of what the week’s weather would bring, we changed the plan a bit and delayed our arrival into MV, preferring instead to have Janie and Lizzie meet us in Onset. They did both arrive on time but Lizzie, not feeling well, departed and went back to Miami. What a trooper to have even gotten on the plane to MA feeling so lousy!!! We had a fantastic evening and short cruise the following day to MV enjoying a lovely lunch on the fly bridge and perfect weather conditions for the short 3 hour trip.

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Arriving in MV just in time for dinner, we found the ever popular (and nearly synonymous with MV) – Black Dog Tavern. Janie treated us to a wonderful meal overlooking Vineyard Haven and we enjoyed a nice ice cream treat while walking around the town. Having lost a few days of our original plan of a week here, we hit the ground running the next day and walked to Oak Bluffs, took a bus to Edgartown and had a terrific lunch there followed by shopping and a trip to the book store. It is amazing to me that the conversation about Chappaquiddick continues today and there was an author of a newly released book Chappaquiddick Tragedy giving a talk at the local book store. For those unfamiliar, Chappaquiddick is a tiny island to the East of Martha’s Vinyard which is served by a constant small ferry from Edgartown. Janie and I couldn’t resist but the boys went for more ice cream giving us time to enjoy the lecture. We stopped in Oak Bluff on the way home to participate in a festival there and then we walked the couple of miles back to the boat. It was a super fun day. The next day we took the bus in the opposite direction to the cliffs and lighthouse on the Western most point of the island.

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Leaving MV we traveled for 10 hours to reach Mystic, CT. If Im totally honest, I could have given up the trip to MV and spent another week in Mystic. We only had 3 or 4 days there but they were non-stop adventure, fun and learning. Just down the Mystic River and two very cool bridges later, you will come to the Mystic Seaport Museum. This “Museum” is located on the river and it completely depicts a mid 19th century whaling village. There is a fully functional boat yard which is currently in the midst of a 2 year project to restore the MAYFLOWER II just in time for the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ landing on Plymouth rock. On our first trip to Onset on the way north, readers of the blog will remember that we visited Plymouth and were disappointed to discover that the Mayflower had been moved for renovation. Not to be deterred – the plan was set in motion to see her in Mystic. She is 1/2 way through her renovation and we were able to see it happening live! One of the very cool things about this boat yard is that it is not only fully functional but it is also open to the public. At all phases of the renovation, guests are free to interact with the artisans carrying out this beautiful work. The Mayflower II was a gift to us from England for our role in WWII. It was built with an effort to, as closely as possible, depict the original ship and here at the Mystic seaport, the carpenters and boat specialists are carefully replicating this process, using only those tools which would have been used initially if it is on a piece that can be viewed. Not only is the Mayflower II here, but having just visited the Whaling Museum in New Bedford, MA, we learned all about the Charles Morgan and the important history of “Whaling” in not only our country but also world wide. New Bedford is called the “city that lit the world”. Back in the mid 19th century New Bedford was the whaling capital of the world. Their ships and crew would leave port for 3-5 years at a time traveling the world fishing for whales. The whale oil would be extracted at sea and large casks filled and placed in the hold. The Charles Morgan is a ship built in 1841 and housed here at the Mystic Seaport Museum. Below is a picture of her and just behind and to the right you can make out our boats. The very cool thing is that after the gates are closed and the last visitor departed, we remain free to roam the “streets” of this 19th century village.

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Other highlights of the week included being given a private tour of the incredibly vast collection of artifacts and valuable boats, motors, scrimshaw, art, and even silver. So comprehensive is this collection it includes over 400 boats, many with 1/2 models, log books, photos and artistic renderings of the boat and relevant awards if any. Im sure it is the most comprehensive collection of it’s kind in the world and it is housed in a building (called the vault) apart from the museum. To say that it was memorable would be a gross understatement.

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And for Jack a Mystic highlight included the trip to the Mystic Aquarium. The thing that I appreciated the most was that the collection was made up of either animals which are nearly extinct and they are breeding them in captivity or animals which were rescued with the goal of rehabilitation and release. When release was not possible, the animal remains at the aquarium as an ambassador. At every turn and as a part of each exhibit, the goal was to educate about ecology and the environment. We all found it to be an incredibly worthwhile trip and included 2 Beluga Whales (None of us had ever seen one) and South African Penguins (endangered and we have never seen them) We also saw poison dart frogs (on Jack’s bucket list believe it or not) and sharks – always a highlight for Jack. For a short stop – we never stopped! All of this and Alec and Jack managed to get the school work done each day. So you see why I haven’t gotten to the blog! We have had super fun filled days and have fallen into bed exhausted at the end of each one!

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We are headed to the Chesapeake next but specifically where, we aren’t yet sure:-) We still have a couple of days travel before we get close so we have time to figure that our. One goal that we have is to take the train or bus to Washington DC for a couple of days and stay in a hotel to do some sightseeing. Since the trip on the boat would involve a couple of tough sea days traveling up the Potomac, we would rather just take the bus an hour and spend the time enjoying the city. More on that later though.

Lots of love!

Laurie, Alec and Jack

Dolphin Marina, Harpswell, ME

Dolphin Marina, Harpswell, ME

The plan continues to evolve and we with it.

We were originally planning to spend my birthday here at the Dolphin Marina and my dear sister and friend April arranged for there to be an ice cream cake at the ready for our dinner the night of our arrival. Well – and I thank God it wasn’t my idea – our plan changed and we ended up arriving 3 or 4 days later – I lose count of days these days.

We did have a smooth day of travel leaving Southwest Harbor but the fog was pretty thick as were the lobster pots. We went for 8 hours to a small anchorage for the night – going much further would have been not only unsafe with the lobster pots but we were all getting pretty tired with the constant course corrections to avoid traps. In fact, Alec and I usually take 4 hour watches but with the work involved in this passage, we opted for 2 hour watches to prevent either of us getting to fatigued. Typically we would have preferred to go all night rather than stop for the night but we couldn’t do that with all of the these traps in our path.

 

So day 2 we left the anchorage and arrived in Dolphin Marina in Harpswell, ME. It was the sweetest little marina and the staff there exemplified customer service, even arriving in the morning with coffee and fresh warm muffins. The restaurant was lovely and after dinner, the server promptly arrived at our table with a very large, very delicious ice cream cake. So the birthday celebration continues… and based on the size of this cake, it will continue for some time.

 

We left Harpswell this morning with a plan to go to the Wentworth Resort and Spa in New Hampshire for a few nights. Looking at the weather forecast for the next several days, together with the likelihood that we may have to deal with the remnants or possibly worse weather of Florence within the week – we decided that we really needed to make a plan for where we would like to be for the next week – 10 days and what would be the safest harbor should Florence pose a real threat to us.

Midstream (so to speak) we called Anne Thyrre, our sister in law who together with Peter is in Onset aboard the stunning MY Aries. You may remember that we stayed in the same marina with them on our way up. We asked her if she could make inquiries as to dockage availability for the week there with them. We feel like there is no better place to weather out a storm than with loved ones so we have adjusted course and we are headed directly to Provincetown, MA. We hope that we can get there before too much light has passed (eta 2030) to make navigating the lobster pots a problem but at least they aren’t nearly as bad as in ME. April K is close in our wake and we will be together with them as we all wait to see what the weather will bring in the next week. Plan now is to anchor off of P-Town and head into the Cape Cod Canal tomorrow with the tide pushing us downstream to the Onset Marina. Hoping for an arrival before dinner tomorrow night.

Thanks for reading!
Lots of love,
Laurie, Alec and Jack

Southwest Harbor, ME (2.0)

Moving on from Maine

When last I wrote, we were leaving Halifax and as yet, undecided as to whether we would make it to ME or stop short in Lunenberg to await better weather. The weather did improve as we moved West allowing us to continue to Maine and we arrived in good spirits. After an uneventful visit from the US Customs and Border Patrol to clear us in, we all went to sleep for a nice 11 hour slumber.

The week in Maine was perfect in terms of weather and fun. Milt and Judy loaned us their car which we took to the Jordan Pound trails and enjoyed a 6 mile hike to the top of Penobscot mountain where we dined on a picnic lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with apples while sitting in the clouds. We were rained on and wet and tired and dirty when we emerged hours later to finish the hike around the beautiful pond, hiking on logs and rocks the remaining mile to the car. Rock jumping and hiking is Jack’s favorite, and anything to do with water is Alec’s favorite so we all finished the day incredibly happy and well.

Later in the week we took the bikes on the free LL Bean shuttle bus back to the Acadia National park in order to ride on the carriage paths built in the early 20th century by John D. Rockefeller Jr. Miles long and closed to all but foot or bicycle traffic, these carriage paths were built and later donated by the Rockefeller’s to be used exclusively by carriages. Readers may remember that when we were here last with the Lovett’s we took a carriage ride and learned a great deal about these paths, the park and the 16 stunning bridges that flank and connect these paths. The bridges are built from artisan stone workers and built to harmonize with the natural surroundings. I had hoped then that we could return with our bikes and spend a day enjoying the freedom of riding without concern for motorized traffic colliding with the 8 year old. Return we did and we had an amazing time enjoying the park in this way. The trees are just beginning their metamorphic change with the earliest red leaves just emerging. It was a great time to be in the park.

Another highlight of the week in Mt. Desert Island was the celebration of my 52nd b-day. Alec, Jack and Paul and April and I went to dinner at the lovely Asticuou Inn which has an outdoor patio overlooking Northeast Harbor. The weather was perfect for the entire week and we enjoyed high 60’s and low 70’s every day. Alec had several trips to Bealls for his favorite crustacean dinner and we managed to solve a couple of maintenance puzzles with the help of Paul aboard April K. All in all, the week couldn’t have been nicer. In fact, we were supposed to leave on Friday and we decided to stay a few days more – this time it wasn’t my request! It was April who wanted to stay and so we did – and none of us was disappointed. Next stop – The Dolphin Marina in Harpswell, ME.

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