Monday, September 12th – Wednesday, September 14th, 2016: Monday’s task was to fix the damage to the jib. We dropped the jib onto the deck, and then pulled the Sailrite sewing machine up on to the deck. There, with Moray stitching and me feeding the sail through, we fixed the tear and the Sunbrella which had come loose and Dacron. That done, we hoisted and refurled the jib. As the machine was already set up, Moray then fixed one of the sail bags. It is as old as the boat and over the years, the fabric had worn almost all the way through. Moray shortened the bag, which got rid of the threadbare section.
Later that day, Tom and Joy arrived on Belle Ile, and settled on a nearby mooring ball. We arranged to meet them ashore and go for dinner in a nearby restaurant. Joy is still in a knee brace and on crutches following an accident she had last time we met up with them in Rockland, so once we were all ashore, we took a taxi to the restaurant, where we had a good meal and lots of story swapping. We arranged to meet up the next day on Sol Purpose.
Tuesday’s task was to remove the non-functioning Z-Ion filter, so that we could trade it out for the new part once we got to Newport. While Moray was taking care of that, another boat came into the anchorage and got settled next to us. We had a brief conversation with the captain, and then Moray got back to working, while I sat in the cockpit and read. A little while later, I could hear someone calling to me but couldn’t see them. Then I realized that it was our neighbor, Braden, who had swum over to our boat!
At this point, our plans changed as Tom and Joy managed to get their boat checked in for repairs if they could make it to the boatyard a little further down the coast that day. They got there in time and although it took a while, their boat is now fixed and working well!
Later that day, our neighbor – Braden Toan – came over to our boat and we sat in the cockpit, had dinner and drinks, and lots of chatting and laughter. Braden is a musician and conductor, and is an entertaining, interesting man. So much so, that we had to repeat the experience on board his Hallberg Rassy, Meridian, the next evening!
Thursday, September 15th: I have always wanted to visit Boston, so we left Gloucester and headed to a mooring ball in Waterboat Marina. As we had been at anchor for several days, we needed to run the watermaker and charge the batteries, so we motorsailed the whole way. We couldn’t have been happier when we arrived! The mooring ball was the closest one to the dinghy dock, and the marina was right in the centre of everything.
We went ashore to take a look around, just to get an idea of where everything was so that we could make the most of the two nights we had the space for. We explored South End which was one of the seedier places in Boston till the artists and gay community moved in. It then became a des res area in Boston and is now becoming gentrified. Hopefully it will not lose the cafe/gallery scene that it has now.
Later that evening, back on the boat, we kept hearing a train, but couldn’t make out where it was. Then it dawned on us – it was the subway train, and it was under us! The subway goes through a tunnel under the water to the other side of Boston, and it goes right under Waterboat Marina and the noise resonated through the hull of the boat!
Friday, September 16th, 2016: we started the day early, as we needed to get the laundry done. Once that was done, we started touring the town. We walked along the Freedom Trail and saw several of the important sites along the way – the Old South Meeting House, the Old State House, the Paul Revere House, the Old North Church and Copp’s Hill Burying Ground. The Freedom Trail is marked with a red brick trail so that you can walk from site to site easily. The Old State House was really interesting, with several period-costumed docents to entertain and inform. The Old South Meeting House was very moving with displays about issues that have shaped Boston through the years, not just that infamous Tea Party!
Having seen Chinatown on our walk the day before, we decided to get dim sum for lunch. The restaurant was enormous, in an old Chinese theater, and we were about the only non-Chinese people in there. The surroundings were amazing and the food was fantastic – and it just kept on coming!
After lunch we went back to the Freedom Trail and took a look at Paul Revere’s House and Old North Church. Everything was really interesting, but one of my favorite places was the print shop near the Old North Church. The two printers are dressed in period costume and speak in the manner of the late 18th century. They demonstrate how the printing press worked in the time of the Revolution, and actually print out copies of the Declaration of Independence while you are watching! And yes, you can buy a copy for $17.76!
Friday night, we decided to try out a couple of bars, so we started out with a drink at Dirty Nellie’s, and then walked round to the Bell in the Hand. We had intended just having one drink in there, but there was an excellent live band, the people in there were very friendly, and … we were watching the Red Sox beat the Yankees, in a Boston Bar on a Friday night – what could be better!
Saturday, September 17th – Sunday September 18th, 2016: our original plan was to leave Boston and head for Provincetown, anchor there for the night and then head through the Cape Cod Canal the following day. However, as the day progressed the weather forecasts were changing for the worse, so we decided to make this an overnight trip and head straight through the Canal with the midnight tide. As we approached the Canal, we started to hear Coastguard notifications that there were military exercises going on right at the entrance to the Canal! We could see the exercises going on and could definitely hear them, but they wrapped up about an hour before we got to the entrance of the Canal. We went on through the Canal and started to head towards Block Island, but the weather and the waves were very unpleasant and rather than persevere with a very uncomfortable trip, we turned back and headed into Onset Harbor. We don’t like going into anchorages in the dark, but we had been here before, so we used the track on our chartplotter and radar from our previous visit and anchored quickly and safely.
Monday, September 19th, 2016: we contacted various fellow South-bound boaters to find out where everyone was, and to see whether it was going to be possible for us to meet up somewhere. Clare told us that while they had been approaching the Canal, she had heard Braden on Meridian trying to hail us on the radio. So we contacted him and found out that he was moored in a very pretty place called Hadley Harbor. The weather forecast for the day was not too good so we hadn’t planned to move but the idea of meeting up with Braden again, and the added attraction of being able to use a free mooring ball during bad weather, was very tempting, so we took the three hour trip and found an empty mooring ball. Shortly after we arrived, the heavens opened, so we settled down to spend a quiet afternoon, reading and listening to the rain. Around 5pm, the rain stopped, so we took the dinghy over to Meridian, where we spent a great evening with Braden and Kyle.
Tuesday, September 20th – Thursday September 22nd, 2016: the next morning, the weather was clear, so we dropped the mooring ball, said goodbye to Hadley Harbor, RI. We had ordered some parts which were waiting for us in Newport so we planned to anchor there for a few days, to pick up the parts, make the repairs and if necessary, ride out some bad weather. Within an hour or so of our arrival, the fog rolled in! It was quite creepy, as there was a cruise ship anchored nearby and its foghorn was LOUD!
By Wednesday morning, the fog was gone so we started the day’s tasks. We took the dinghy to the mariners’ center, and then, carrying bottles of used oil and empty propane tanks, walked to UHaul to rent a truck. While Moray went to pick up the parts, buy new oil and drop off the used oil, and refill the propane tanks, I went grocery shopping. I took full advantage of the fact that I wouldn’t have to carry everything!! Moray picked me up and we drove back to the mariners’ center where we loaded everything into the dinghy. Remembering what happened the last time I was in Newport (when I couldn’t get the motor started), I was nervous, but I took the dinghy back to the boat, unloaded all the purchases and then made it back to the mariners’ center to pick up Moray! Yay!
Thursday was a work day – Moray made the repairs that were needed to the watermaker, while I baked bread and made soups for the freezer, so that we would have plenty of food for overnight trips to come.
Friday, September 23rd, 2016: the fuel dock opened up at 8am, so at that time we were waiting at the dock! We filled up with fuel and water, and headed out for an overnight trip to Port Washington. We knew that Sofira and Stephanie Dawn were already there, making use of the free mooring balls but that they were intending to leave on Saturday. They had been unable to leave earlier, as the East River in New York had been closed, for the security of the United Nations Assembly. We made really good time, and arrived at 4am, so we grabbed a mooring ball between Sofira and Stephanie Dawn, and settled down for a few hours’ sleep.
Saturday, September 24th – Sunday, September 25th, 2016: we had planned to stay a couple of nights in Port Washington, but after looking at the weather forecast and talking with Bob & Clare, we decided to leave with Sofira and Stephanie Dawn at 3pm. The New York chapter of TMCA (!) went through Hellgate and down the East River, through New York Harbor, arriving at the Statue of Liberty at sunset! We had a great photo session!
That done, we passed under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and out into the Atlantic for an overnight passage to Cape May. It was a lovely night and we had a great motorsail all the way to Cape May. We arrived at the anchorage in Cape May around 1pm, which proved to be very good timing. It appears that many people were finally heading south after being held up in New York, and by nightfall there were many more boats in the Cape May anchorage. Sofira was also in the anchorage, but Stephanie Dawn took a slip in one of the marinas, because at this point, the TMCA northern chapter was about to split in two! Stephanie Dawn’s plan was to head offshore down to Portsmouth, but the weather wasn’t looking good for that passage for a few days, so they decided to stay in the marina until a weather window opened up. Sofira and Sol Purpose were going to take the inside route, up the Delaware River, through the C&D Canal, and then down the Chesapeake.
Monday, September 26th, 2016: after refueling at 7am, Sofira and Sol Purpose headed out from the Cape May anchorage, and motorsailed up the Delaware River. There were a lot of boats headed up the river and we were concerned that, like us, they were all heading to Reedy Island. This is a little inlet, just off the river, right before the opening to the C&D Canal. We needn’t have worried, as when we arrived it appears that all the other boats had either decided just to keep on going or had found other spots to stop for the night. We both tucked in behind the little island and spent a perfectly comfortable night in breezy conditions.
Tuesday, September 27th, 2016: at 8am, we set out to catch the current that would help us through the C&D Canal. As yesterday, it was a fairly busy day on the water, but we had a pleasant morning of motoring through the canal, and by 2pm we were at Worton Creek. We decided to stop here for the night, rather than push on to Baltimore. Within five minutes of anchoring, Moray was swimming!
Wednesday, September 28th, 2016: after discussing amongst ourselves and with Sofira, we had decided to head to Anchorage Marina in Baltimore for a week. The weather forecast was appalling for a couple of days at least, and we wanted to spend some time in Washington D.C. also. So we left at around 7am and were safely in our slips by 11am. This was a good thing as by 1pm, the rain was coming down hard. It was nice to be safely tied off to a dock, with electricity!
During a short break in the rain, we took a quick walk around the area to see what was around, before heading back to Sol Purpose. After dinner, Moray headed out to meet up with Dana, a friend he hasn’t seen for about 6 years, but who happened to be in Baltimore on business – what a small world! I get annoyed with Facebook from time to time, but when it helps us keep in touch with friends like that, I love it!
Thursday, September 29th, 2016: the heavens opened with a vengeance, so it was a quiet day on the boat, watching TV and relaxing. In the evening, Bob and Clare came over for dinner, and we had a great evening catching up with what we had been doing over the past weeks, since we had been together in Belfast, ME.
[Moray’s note: she cooked a beautiful Salmon En Croûte!]
Friday, September 30th, 2016 – Saturday, October 1st, 2016: there was hardly any let up in the rain either day, so we just spent the time reading, working a little on the boat and relaxing. The highlight of Saturday was watching Alec Baldwin’s impersonation of Donald Trump on the season opener of SNL!!!
Sunday, October 2nd, 2016: the weather finally cleared up, so we decided to take a walk around Baltimore. We walked down to Fells Point and then to see some of the historic sites, for example, the cemetery where Edgar Allen Poe is buried. Later, we headed back to Fells Point, where there was a two day street festival, with vendors and live music. We had hoped to go on Saturday, but had been put off by the rain. On Sunday, the festival shut down at 7pm, but we had a good time and saw a couple of good bands.
Monday, October 3rd, 2016: we got up early and walked into town, where we jumped on the free bus to Penn Station. There we took the train for the 45 minute ride into Washington D.C. We started our sightseeing at the Capitol, where we took a tour with a great guide. We saw the Rotunda, with all the statues, learned about the artists who created the friezes and heard various anecdotes about former congressmen and presidents! When the tour was over, we picked up passed and went to the Senate Gallery. Unfortunately, they weren’t in session, but we were given lots of interesting information and managed to get a feel for the place. Next we took a brief tour of the grounds, though it was somewhat abbreviated because several parts are being prepared for Hilary’s inauguration so they were out of bounds.
After that, we lookd around the Library of Congress and walked along the Mall to the Washington Monument. This is incredibly impressive, though I think Moray was a little disappointed that we couldn’t go inside as it is closed for repairs. (Between you and me, I was relieved that I didn’t have to go up that high!).
Next we continued our walk to the White House. At first, we thought that we weren’t going to be able to see anything, but as we continued our walk around to the Pennsylvania Avenue side, we got a great view!
Our next stop was the Lincoln Memorial. This again is huge and very impressive. It was a wonderful view from the Memorial Steps, over the Reflecting Pool, to the Washington Monument and finally up to the Capitol. After taking it all in for a while, we made our way back towards the Capitol, stopping for a short while at the World War II Memorial where we were able to find the section for Texas.
After all this walking, we were hungry, so we headed to Indigo, an Indian restaurant just behind Union Station, which Moray had found through Trip Adviser. What a find! We both had vegetable samosas, then I had chicken with mangoes, ginger and garlic, while Moray had lamb curry – both were amazing! After a great dinner we headed back to the station and got the train back to Baltimore.
Tuesday, October 4th, 2016: another early start saw us back on the train to Washington D.C. Once we got there, we took the metro and then a bus out to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. We walked through the door and Moray looked like a kid at Christmas! So many planes, with the very first one being a Blackbird! The museum offers free guided tours, led by docents who are incredibly knowledgeable. Our tour lasted over 2.5 hours! During that time we saw so many aircraft I can’t name them all, but the highlights were the Blackbird, the Space Shuttle Discovery, Concorde and the Enola Gay. After the tour we saw a very good IMAX 3D movie about the D-Day landings, and then went to the Observation Tower to watch the planes coming in, while listening to air traffic control. After 5 hours at the museum, which really could have been more, we started the long trek back to Baltimore.
Wednesday, October 5th, 2016: we had originally planned to stay in Baltimore for a week before heading south towards Portsmouth and then New Bern. However, with Hurricane Matthew heading towards the East Coast of the US, we decided to stay put for another week. While it doesn’t look as though the hurricane will come here, we don’t want to be sailing towards it. We have a long list of tasks that we were planning to do when we get to New Bern, so we will spend the week getting some of those done. It’s irritating but there are a lot worse places to be stuck!