Monday, August 7, 2017

1983 (9) - South to the Chesapeake

Motoring past Manhattan.  The Twin Towers are standing in the background.

To go to the beginning of this book, Tropic Moon: Memories, click HERE.

We made a late start heading south from Maine, not leaving till October 1st.  We did an overnight sail to Provincetown, MA, then put in for a week of visiting with our friends on Nantucket.  We had decided to head to the Chesapeake Bay for the winter, and to travel along the coast, as neither of us was interested in an offshore passage in late October weather.  That meant taking "the long way around," but it brought us to new harbors, and gave us an intensive course in coastal navigation. 

Cruising down the East River.
* * *
Approaching Manhattan.

Highlights from that trip:  Day sails along the Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut shores into Long Island Sound.  Sixty miles of night sailing through Long Island Sound with favorable current and reasonable weather, deciphering the myriad lights of buoys, lighthouses, shore side lights, and the navigation lights of night-time shipping.  

Ed at the wheel.  It was cold - Ed's wearing his
wool watch cap, and a wool scarf around his neck.
It was a special day for us!

Reaching New York City, and cruising down the East River, enjoying an exciting day of traveling along the famous concrete world of Manhattan.  

Looking back at the bridges, and the way we'd come.
The Statue of Liberty!

Passing the Statue of Liberty on our way to northern New Jersey.  An overnight sail down the Jersey Coast past the bright lights of Atlantic City.  

Motoring through the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal.

A day trip up the Delaware Bay and through the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal.  And, at long last, reaching Annapolis in the Chesapeake Bay on October 31st.  

Oxford Boatyard.  The marina where Tropic Moon spent the winter.

In Annapolis, we checked for dock space for the winter, without any luck.  We moved on, and found a good marina for Tropic Moon in Oxford, Maryland.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

1983 (8) - Maine Finale

Mirage - 1
When we lived on Tropic Moon, we used a 35 mm camera to take slides.  Years ago when I was scanning the slides, I accidentally scanned two slides, one on top of the other.  I liked the result, and played with the image in Photoshop.  Above and below are two of the images I created.

Mirage - 2
Below are the two slides that yielded my "Mirage."

Slide 1 - Taken from Harbor Island
Slide 2 - Which you'll probably recognize from the Great Schooner Race.

During the month of August, we cruised several more of Maine's lovely harbors and anchorages.  We hiked miles, climbed mountains, and found some culture along the way.  We saw a play by Moliere at the Acadia Repertory Theater, and attended the Arcadia Music Festival, where we listened to a flutist perform with a Chinese bamboo flute.  We went on a whale watching excursion, and even saw Walter Cronkite on his boat at Northeast Harbor.

Tropic Moon at anchor below.
Me, picking blueberries, on Mt. St. Saveur.
That night I made blueberry pancakes for supper.

Our time in Maine ended with a haul out on August 25th, during which we had the hull sandblasted to bare steel.  Proposed for a week, it ran to a month, putting an end to our summer cruising.  Because of the haul out, we made a late start heading south from Maine, not leaving Southwest Harbor till October 1st.
Merchant Island, Maine.
To go to the beginning of this book, Tropic Moon: Memories, click HERE.

Friday, August 4, 2017

1983 (7) – Vinalhaven

Maine sunset.

To go to the beginning of this book, Tropic Moon: Memories, click HERE.

Another Maine harbor we enjoyed was at Vinalhaven.  It was an active fishing harbor; most of the anchorage was taken up with moorings for the lobster boats.  That whole area of Maine had once been supported by the granite industry.  We wanted to spend a day exploring.  We packed a picnic lunch, and hiked out to a granite quarry that served as the local swimming hole.  The quarry was a lovely site, with its hacked-out ledges climbing their way down to the water's edge.  I couldn't believe we had the place to ourselves - and we didn't, for long.  In less than five minutes, several cars arrived, disgorging packs of kids.  We gave up on the quiet ambiance, and settled in for a colorful display of flashing swimsuits and noisy games of chicken, as the boys dared each other to jump off higher, and yet higher, ledges.  

Scenic Maine

From the quarry, we walked to a mountaintop park.  We climbed a road bordered with logging areas, trash dumps, and junked cars.  But near the summit we left all the garbage behind, and surfaced on the granite-topped mountain.  There wasn't so much as a picnic table or another person up there.  We had a great view of the bay and islands to the west, with Camden Hills in the distance.  Our return trip took us to the historical society museum, the ice cream parlor, and back to Tropic Moon for a well-earned rest. 

Full moon rising.

Our stay at Vinalhaven had started off with an invitation for drinks on a boat called Piper.  A young fellow came by on a windsurfer to say, "The captain of that black boat over there invites you to cocktails at quarter of six."  Fine, we were always game!  Gordon greeted us at the boat.  His son, Colin (the windsurfer), joined us when the wind died down.  Gordon played the bagpipes (hence the name of the boat).  Gordon was a retired executive from IBM.  He had, at one time, raced cars (Jaguars), and owned a horse farm in Nova Scotia.  He'd bought an old fisherman's home on Vinalhaven and was fixing it up for his retirement.  All these varied and sundry facts were documented in photographs hanging around the salon.  A battered, two-foot high wooden statue of a Scot playing the bagpipes dominated the salon. 

Tropic Moon waiting for us while we were off on one of our walks.

In discussing places to eat, Gordon and Colin recommended the Sands Cove as their favorite local restaurant.  They warned us it was a bit on the rustic side.  The evening after our hike, we headed back in to shore to give the Sands Cove a try.  We found an old shack (the kitchen) about a half-mile out of town.  The picnic tables and sawed-off log benches were set behind the shack, where they overlooked another picturesque cove.  A big wood fire burned in a rusty oil drum that served as the grill. 

Pretty to see, but we had to be careful not to wrap one around our propeller!

I thought the menu was great - it gave a choice of two dinners.  The steak dinner included a whole crab, a whole lobster, a 10-oz. steak, a baked potato, fresh salad (from their garden), homemade bread, and tea or lemonade.  Or you could have the steak dinner and omit the lobster (Ed's pick).  The second dinner was the clambake that included a whole crab, a large basket of steamed clams, and a whole lobster, corn on the cob, salad, bread and drink.  Or you could get just a lobster or a steak, and order ala carte.  I opted for the lobster, and ordered shrimp cocktail, coleslaw, and a breadbasket that came with two slices each, of three kinds of homemade sweet breads.  The owners caught the seafood, including the shrimp, and baked all the breads.  Instead of a nutcracker for opening the shellfish, we were each given a stick.  You put the claw or tail or leg on the table, and hit it with the stick.  Very effective!  Large garbage pails graced the end of each table.  There was a hose to wash down the tables (and the diners) when the dinner was over.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

1983 (6) – Painting Tropic Moon’s Bottom

Aquarium.  An art quilt.  30" x 34"

To go to the beginning of this book, Tropic Moon: Memories, click HERE.

It had been over a year since we’d painted the bottom of the boat; the hull was covered with a weedy, green beard.  Ed had seen too many pictures of people who took their boats in to a shore at high tide, and painted the boat's bottom while the tide was low.  He decided we would try this with our 20-ton sailboat.  My protestations that Tropic Moon would fall over made no difference.  I was somewhat mollified when Ed found a tripod of logs by the marine store, where they told us we could lean our boat.  

Aquarium.  Detail.

The next day was an auspicious one with high water at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., and good weather predicted.  We tied Tropic Moon to the tripod, set out bow and stern anchors, and ran ropes into the trees.  We felt quite sure she had nowhere to go. 

We were wrong. 

Tropic Moon went down - the front of the keel sunk about three feet into the mud we hadn't known was there.  The rear of the keel and the rudder and propeller were high and dry.  As the tide went out, we worked from the dinghy, scrubbing off the green weed, and hand-sanding the hull.  With the water gone, we continued the job standing in the mud.  Ed had less trouble than me because his boots fit, while mine were a size too big.  With the mud up to my ankles, when I'd try to move, my foot would come out of the boot.  

Aquarium.  Detail.

By the time we were ready to paint, the water had started to return.  It was a frantic race with the tide, rolling on the quick-drying paint before water covered an area.  As the water rose, we had the paint can and roller pan in the dinghy.  It felt like I had a lively dog at the end of a leash, hanging on to the rope as the dinghy pulled with the tide.  With my other hand, I was using a brush to paint the waterline freehand. 

I started to worry that the water would cover my boots, but then quit worrying.  By the time we were ready to climb back into the dinghy to finish the stern area, the water had reached my hips.  I would occasionally feel something on my leg, and lift it up to pick off a water bug.  When I finally walked out of the water, there was a snail clinging to my boot.  It was an unusual way to paint the antifouling, but, on the whole, it went pretty well. 

And mark that one on the list of things I never need to do for a second time…

Thursday, July 27, 2017

1983 (5) – Buck’s Harbor

Tropic Moon, posing for her glamour shots.  Buck's Harbor, Maine.

To go to the beginning of this book, Tropic Moon: Memories, click HERE.

We arrived in Buck’s Harbor on a Tuesday, which happened to be lecture night at the yacht club.  We saw a notice on the bulletin board that read, “Talk on Whales, 8:00 p.m.”  The speaker was from the College of the Atlantic, located in Bar Harbor, Maine.  He gave an excellent talk and slide show on how to identify the different types of whales in the Gulf of Maine.  He passed out sighting forms to everyone so that when a whale was sighted, we could circle the particular part of the whale we saw.  An example would be a humpback’s white flippers.  Then mark your location, and mail in the form.  He said they got a lot of help with sightings from yachtsmen. 

We were anchored in a cove at the far end of Buck’s Harbor, to avoid the hustle and bustle of the yacht club.  A seal visited our little cove daily.  I was sitting on deck one morning when I heard what sounded like a sneeze.  Looking down into the water, I saw the whiskered face of a husky seal staring back at me.  He sunk below the surface when I called Ed.

Tropic Moon (I was rowing around in the dinghy.)

Dave and Doris Baardsen (Ed’s brother and sister-in-law) visited us for a long weekend while we were at Buck’s Harbor.  They drove down from New Brunswick, Canada, on a Friday.  On Saturday, we sailed/drifted to Holbrook Island.  On Sunday we sailed back to Buck’s Harbor.  They got right into the spirit of life on the boat.  Dave and Doris were so completely relaxed; we practically had to pour them off Tropic Moon when they left on Monday.  They were quickly, and rudely, brought back to reality by a dead battery in their car.

We kept an eye peeled for interesting places to eat for the occasional dinner out.  Ed and I supped one evening at the Buck’s Harbor Inn.  The Inn offered one entrĂ©e nightly.  A typical week’s menu would run something like:  Tuesday – Leg of Lamb, Wednesday – Roast Beef, etc.  Reservations by 11:00 a.m., and bring your own drinks (no liquor license).  We reserved on a Thursday – Fish of the Day.  We picked up a bottle of wine at the market. 

Yes, she was very photogenic.

The innkeeper, on our arrival, told us all the hotel guests were visiting friends or relatives.  That night, all the dinner guests would be boat people.  There were two tables besides ours - an older couple from Kennebunk, and a young couple, with a small daughter, from New York.  The others were vacation cruisers, rather than live-aboards.  One of the men told us they’d read about people like Ed and me in Cruising World.  We were able, in the small dining area, to carry on a conversation through the evening.  We answered many questions about the cruising life.

The food was delicious.  A clear soup with rice and fresh peas, a tossed salad, flounder in a butter-lemon sauce, boiled potatoes, steamed carrots and spinach, and warm rolls.  The portions were adequate, but not overly generous; everyone was pleased when the innkeeper came in to offer us all seconds.  Dessert was a pound cake topped with vanilla ice cream and capped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.  Everyone just groaned when we were offered seconds on the dessert.
Buck's Harbor.  That's not Tropic Moon, just a boat on a permanent
mooring.  If you squint, you can see the main anchorage in the distance.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

1983 (4) – The Great Schooner Race

Sunset, Pulpit Harbor, North Haven

To go to the beginning of this book, Tropic Moon: Memories, click HERE.

We heard that the annual "Great Schooner Race" would be starting at 10:00 a.m., July 8th, from the main harbor on North Haven.  We decided to anchor in Pulpit Harbor, and walk across the island to watch the start of the race.  North Haven looked pretty narrow on the chart, about 2-1/2 miles across. 

Ed, waiting for the start of the Great Schooner Race

Three people left Pulpit Harbor on foot just before us.  As we didn't have a map, and assumed they were also going to the race, we just followed them when they made decisions at the forks in the road.  Fairly close to our destination, we caught up with them - an older couple and their grown daughter.  They were running out of steam, and were hoping to be offered a ride.  The man said something about the unlikelihood of five people being picked up, so we took the hint and started to pull ahead.  I turned back to say there was only half an hour left till the start of the race.  I got a "What race?" in reply.  The man couldn't believe they'd start a race of the big windjammers from little North Haven.  He bet me a nickel I was wrong.  A short time later they passed us in a truck that had stopped for them. 
Another shot of the Great Schooner Race

As we approached the town, we could hear the roar of cheering from the harbor.  I asked the first person I saw where the race would be.  She led us along a dirt road to a public boat launch.  We had a ringside seat, gazing out on the twenty or so large wooden schooners taking part in the activities.  (The people we had met on the road watched the race from town, and I never did get my nickel).  We had binoculars and camera with us, and lots of time to catch our breath, as the race started an hour late.  A booming cannon signaled the start, at which point the captains rowed out from shore in their dinghies, to board their ships, and begin the sail to Rockland, a couple hours away.

Tomb with a View

 Our walk back to Pulpit Harbor was more leisurely.  We stopped several times to take pictures of scenes we'd noticed on the way over.  I was particularly drawn to the beautiful old cemeteries that were set in incomparable scenery.  One cemetery overlooked a lovely cove, and was surrounded by the piney woods.  I started taking shots of these cemeteries, and was toying with the idea of a series called "Tomb With a View."  The road across the island was lined with thousands of daisies, and passed through heavily wooded hills.

Tomb with a View

Monday, July 24, 2017

1983 (3) – North to Maine

The anchorage at Monhegan Island, Maine

To go to the beginning of this book, Tropic Moon: Memories, click HERE.

Our winter, working as weavers at Nantucket Looms, was followed by a marvelous summer of cruising in Maine.  We left Nantucket on June 11th, crossing Nantucket Sound, and putting in at Hyannis Port on the southern coast of Cape Cod.  Traveling west along the southern Cape, we spent two nights at Hadley Harbor near Wood’s Hole.  Our next leg took us up Buzzards Bay to Pocasset, where we spent another couple nights before motoring through the Cape Cod Canal.  After crossing Cape Cod Bay, we entered the harbor at Provincetown.  We were there for almost a week, waiting for the fog to lift.  Leaving Provincetown, we headed into the Atlantic, motoring for 24 hours, to reach Monhegan Island, Maine, on June 22nd.

Monhegan Island.  We're the sailboat out in the anchorage.

Though we anchored in over twenty different harbors and coves, we explored only a small section of the Maine coast, which included both the Penobscot Bay and Mt. Desert regions.  The summer was filled with sunny days, blue skies, little fog, even less wind, spectacular scenery, and friendly, small towns.  Seeing the wildlife, exploring small islands, and hiking on hilly trails was our excitement for the summer.  

Monhegan Island

There was very little wind and, for all our cruising, we only had three sails either of us considered decent.  We took up a new sport - drifting!  We'd go from place to place when the tide was favorable.  More than once, the 1-2 knot current was the only thing moving us along.  We spent the summer sailing slowly, drifting lazily, or, as a last resort - resorted to fairly frequently - motoring to our destination.  I think the lack of wind had a lot to do with my serenity, peace, and contentment.  The scenery ranged from very nice to spectacular, and the wildlife was plentiful.  We saw whales, dolphins, seals, osprey, cormorants and eagles.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

1983 (2) – Spring in Nantucket

Mickey and Minnie in the Daffodil Festival parade.

To go to the beginning of this book, Tropic Moon: Memories, click HERE.

When spring arrived, Ed was spending all his free time working on Tropic Moon.  So many boat problems cropped up, Ed was starting to wonder if we’d ever be able to leave Nantucket.

Daffodil Festival Parade, Nantucket

Sending out samples of the wall covering fabric worked a charm.  By early April, Nantucket Looms had orders for 1500 yards of the linen/ramie material.  We had planned to leave our jobs at the end of April, but Ed offered to continue weaving through May, on a rainy-day-only basis (when he couldn’t work on the boat).  The owners gave Ed bonus checks, as enticement to continue with the project.

The three children were daughters of Nantucket Looms staff

At the end of April, Nantucket held their annual Daffodil Festival, which was a series of events to celebrate springtime awakening on the island.  Included was an antique car parade.  Nantucket Looms was open on Saturdays, so while we were all there to work, not much got done as we spent most of the morning watching the parade.  A tailgate picnic in Siasconset followed the parade.  Bill and Andy (the owners), locked up The Looms, and we all took food we'd prepared out to 'Sconset for the picnic.  We had about twenty in our group.  There were several hundred people at the picnic.

Bill, one of the owners of Nantucket Looms
When May 1st rolled around, The Looms’ had orders for 500 yards of the linen/ramie that were due June 1st.  That meant six warps, with Ed doing one or two of them, and another four weavers taking on the other four warps.  Only Ed wove fast enough to do two of the warps in one month.  Ed’s salary went from $6/hour to $14/yard.  (The wall covering sold for $100/yard.)  Since I’d stopped weaving, I’d go in to The Looms to wind bobbins for Ed.  In 45 minutes, I’d wind enough bobbins for Ed to weave for three hours.

At the 'Sconset picnic.  Andy, the other owner of Nantucket Looms,
is on the right, Sam is in the back, and Philip is bent over the food.

The extra money Ed earned was much appreciated.  As we well knew, Tropic Moon embodied the definition of a boat:  a hole in the water into which you pour money….

Winner for Best Window Decoration during the Daffodil Festival

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

1983 (1) – Nor’easter

Tropic Moon, in the Nantucket marina.  An early winter photo.  That's snow
on the decks, and some ice in the water.  Faith Jones is on the left in the photo.

To go to the beginning of this book, Tropic Moon: Memories, click HERE.

In February, Nantucket was hit by a nor’easter.  We didn’t know how much snow we’d gotten, but guessed it was around two feet.  No one could measure the depth.  The wind was so strong there were places completely blown free of snow, and other areas where the snow had drifted to six feet. 

After dinner on the night of the storm, Ed went to the marina to spend the night on Tropic Moon.  When he got there he discovered that our neighbor, Faith Jones, a 50-foot wooden boat, had broken loose.  It was banging against the pilings between the two boats.  The force had shifted one of the pilings, so our ropes had slackened, and Tropic Moon was hitting the dock.  Faith Jones had ripped out part of her deck and cap rail.  There was a big, gaping hole near the stern that matched the hole on the other side of the boat caused during an earlier storm. 

Ed got someone from another boat to help.  (Faith Jones’ owner was in California, and a local person was supposed to be watching the boat.)  The two of them worked to get Faith Jones retied.  It took them till 2:00 a.m.  Ed didn’t get much sleep that night because he was checking on things all night long.  That was a Friday.  We had Saturday off from work because of the storm, and Ed slept most of the day.

It was two or three days after the storm when Ed went back to the marina to check on Tropic Moon.  He noticed that Faith Jones was sitting very low in the water.  The waterline was six inches under water!  There was an old man on a barge houseboat nearby.  When Ed pointed out the problem to him, the man agreed that the boat was sinking – and then went about his own business…. 

Ed walked to the Chandlery and told Pete, the owner of the marine store.  Pete came to look at Faith Jones, but wouldn’t call the Coast Guard.  Instead, he phoned the local guy who was supposedly watching the boat.  When that man arrived, they called the Coast Guard, who came with two pumps, and pumped out the boat.  A hose inside Faith Jones wasn’t connected to anything, and had started taking in water.  The boat was definitely headed for the bottom.  Ed gave the man one of our wooden plugs to stop up the hole.

During the storm, another sailboat, unattended, had banged into the dock until it broke off a six-foot bowsprit.  There was quite a bit of damage around the harbor.  Thanks to having a steel hull, Tropic Moon only lost a little paint on the rub rail.  But she was suffering the effects of a long, cold winter.  The teak on the cabin top had contracted in the cold, and the varnish had lifted off in sheets.  The hull paint was peeling; Tropic Moon was looking a little shabby.  With a long list of boat projects, we had our work cut out for us, before we’d be able to leave in the spring.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

1982 (15) - Jean's Weaving

After finishing this small weaving, I added the flowers using cross stitch.
I had dyed the yarns.

As I mentioned in the last post, these are some examples of my weavings from our time in Ann Arbor.

Airy-Fairy Weavings (my name for them...):

Small wall hanging.
Large Wall Hanging
Weft-faced Weavings:
In these weavings, the warp threads are spaced far apart.  When you weave, and beat down the weft yarn, the warp is totally covered - hence, 'weft-faced.'

Large wall hanging; hand-dyed yarns
Large wall hanging; hand-dyed yarns
Large wall hanging; hand-dyed yarns
Large Wall Hanging.  Purchased yarns.

Warp-faced Weavings:
In a warp-faced weaving, I would double up on the number of warp yarns I threaded on the loom.  When I wove, the weft would be totally covered by the warp, and disappear inside the weaving.

Warp-faced table runner.  Hand-dyed yarns.
Warp-faced table runner.  Hand-dyed yarns.
Next post:  back to Nantucket.