Saturday, August 18, 2007

Cape Porpoise

On Monday the 13th we motored in light winds to Gloucester. An expanding cumulonimbus bore down on us from the north, and it was a good thing we were motoring because it hit with 50kt winds, the peak gust being 58kts. Lightening was crashing down close so Kathy and Rachel stayed below away from the mast while I monitored the helm which was on autopilot so I wouldn’t have to be holding the metal wheel. I was comfy with the full cockpit enclosure up, and it was good that the sails were down or we would have been knocked down (where the mast touches the water) by that amount of wind. Visibility was down to 200 feet in the driving rain so we were going slow until it passed as quickly as it had come. Then we entered the Gloucester harbor and anchored in tight with minimum rode among the mooring balls. A quick trip to the store was made in between rain showers. Several large wooden schooners were at the docks.

The next morning we sailed to Kittery Point, a small town at the entrance to Portsmouth Harbor. I caught an 8 pound Bluefish on the way which provided 2 dinners for us. We shopped at the Kittery Market, the oldest in the US, which was conveniently located at the end of the town wharf. Usually we have to walk several blocks with the groceries so this was nice. We didn’t chain up Whitefoot since I had already taken her to shore, but she decided to jump ship and swim to shore anyway. Upon arrival back at Stardust to find her gone, we quickly spotted her in a rowboat headed our way with a friendly local. His granddaughter had said, “Look Grandpa, a seal!” as Whitefoot swam towards their backyard. We’ve seen a few seals, and can see how this mistake could be made.

Wednesday, Nelson and Julia Howe brought their 2 sons Silas and Henry out to the boat for a sail. A teacher friend of theirs, Rob Schneider, also joined us on a sail to the Isle of Shoals. It was a great hour sail over to the scenic islands where we hiked and skipped rocks. After another great sail back, Nelson treated us to a lobster dinner at an outdoor café. Thanks Nelson! It was great to see our old hanggliding buddy again, who showed up wearing a Wills Wing hat instead of his Southwest Airlines hat. The day was much to short to catch up with each other since we hadn’t seen Nelson and Julia for 8 years. They brought mail and Rachel’s new school books with them.

Rob came aboard the next morning with his daughter Jordan to give us some veggies and blackberries from his garden. We talked about stopping back by to give an “adventure” presentation to his high school class in a few weeks.

Next, we visited Fort McClary which overlooked our anchorage. This fort was begun in 1808, and construction continued on it until 1868 when new weapons made these types of forts obsolete. The remaining blocks of granite lie where they were when the construction ended.

After visiting the fort we hoisted anchor, bound for Cape Porpoise, next to Kennebunkport. I tried to fish, but there were so many lobster pot floats that I gave up trying to swerve between them and keep the lures from snagging the floats. On this 25 mile leg, we passed several thousand floats. Entering the harbor through a narrow gap in the rocks with a 3kt outgoing tide, the hundreds of floats in the channel didn’t help matters either. If we snagged one on the propeller and lost the use of the engine in a spot like this, the situation would be critical. We’ve been here in Cape Porpoise for 3 nights, going on 4, due to a flu bug which hit Rachel and I. This is our first illness on the boat, and we don’t know where it came from, but we’re over it now. Kathy, as usual, was a great mom and nurse. When I went ashore the first morning here, a lobster fisherman told me if I needed to get to a doctor to take his truck. Then later, when I docked at a private dock close to town for some grocery shopping, the owner there told me I was welcome to use his dock all I wanted. Everyone around here is super friendly, even the folks in the post office. A man in a huge twin engine black rigid inflatable with the words “US SECRET SERVICE” on the sides motored close by us and as I took his picture and said “nice boat!” he said he was admiring ours and would swap if he could.

We just returned from a visit to the lighthouse island just across from Stardust. The late afternoon light following the cold front passage last night was clear and wonderful. Now we’ll have our first real dinner after 2 days of soup, so gotta go!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We were all in the same area at about the same time!!! Believe it or not..... I was on LI Sound August 1st on the Port Jefferson Ferry. I saw a sailboat and thought of you. We were in Boston from Aug 8-12 and I was at the JFK Library on Aug 11th! Richard was kayaking in Bar Harbor in late July. We should have checked your blog earlier..... Thanks for birthday card! Judith & Richard (back in Norway)

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Dennis said...

Belated birthday wishes for the Captain...
All those rocks are certainly imposing, but that is what makes the coast so interesting in that area.
If you go further north, it will be in water I have never visited.
Best wishes!

7:36 AM  

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