Friday, July 19, 2013

Kicking off Summer Right!

Well, Summer 2013 certainly has been a BUSY time for the crew of the Zephyr, hence the total lack of blogging! So we figured we'd try and get caught up slowly but surely.We'll start with the highlight to our summer so far, the first day of summer, June 21st, overnight raft up at the Isle of Shoals. I've always loved the solstice, my mom would always remark that it's the longest day of the year and for me being someone who LOVES sunsets and twilight it's just about perfect. The Isle of Shoals is 6 miles off the coast of Portsmouth and it has a long and fascinating history which is definitely worth checking out if you're interested. We made the plan to meet up with our great friends Justin and Kim and raft up on their yacht club's mooring for the night. 

First, we needed to the way, this is the best beer in the world.

We provisioned, prepared, did our check lists and cast off at about 4pm. Winds were around 5-10 knots and the seas were relatively flat for the Gulf of Maine. We had a fantastic sail and we got to use Autopilot for the first time! What a fantastic little device that is! To be able to leave the helm and go forward or grab a drink or just lay back and enjoy the peace of lapping waves - WOW! We cruised at around 4.5 knots and soaked up the sweetness of our new life - feeling very, very grateful. We had the stereo up and the beers were cold. This was our first overnight trip since we brought the boat south from Portland in September. It was quite awesome not to worry about what to pack or if we had all that we needed - our boat is our house so we had it all! Quite an incredible feeling of freedom to know that all you need in this world - dog, husband, 'stuff' is all aboard and you're setting sail out on the water...the opportunities are endless, that feeling was like a drug for me and I can't wait to feel it again! 

It was such a thrill to finally be approaching the Shoals this clump of land that we see all the time from the marina. There's this fantastic old grand hotel out on Star Island called the Oceanic Hotel, now part of the Star Island Corporation which is owned by the UU church. They host lots of retreats and camps throughout the summer out there and Gosport Harbor where the moorings are located overlooks this grand hotel. 
Approaching White Island lighthouse 
We arrived around 7pm, rafted up alongside LIB and the happiest of hours ensued aboard Zephyr with Kim and Justin. Toby got to have his first dinghy ride to take care of 'business' ashore. Toby was nervous but in the end he really liked taking an adventure with his papa. 
LIB and Zephyr rafted up in the waning light of day

Toby & his Papa dinghying into shore

Gorgeous Kim & her fantastic Bag 'O Wine

A very happy bunch of sailors & Toby ringing in the first day of summer! 
The sunset was nothing short of phenomenal...the stuff of watercolor paintings. There was a gorgeous gaff-rigged, wooden sparred, schooner moored off our starboard side and once the sun began to sink behind her rig I was pinching myself that this was our life getting to witness this kind of beauty. 

As the day turned into night we were 'boarded' by Pelicans. No, not the birds, but rather a few of the staff from the Star Island Hotel. They're called Pelicans because they work out on the island all summer and barely ever visit the mainland for 5-6 months. They are fantastically interesting people who were a pleasure to have aboard. The first Pelican, Keith, came aboard via row boat and came bearing gifts - a pitcher of Raspberry Lime Rickey from the Cafeteria & a bottle of Rum, our kind of boat guest! Then more Pelicans came via a little blue dory sailboat. Still more arrived in another row boat, at the height of the night our little raft up had 5 assorted boats tied to it.
Assorted boats tied off to our little floating party 

Pitcher of Lime Rickey, Rum & Heady Topper - what a great spread!


The stars over the grand hotel, the cool summer breeze, the Super Moon, the sound of the waves crashing over the breakwater...absolutely awesome! To be able to experience all this a mere 3 hours from our slip at the Wentworth, even more incredible, and to to think, this is just the beginning for us and our adventures aboard Zephyr! 

In fact, next weekend we depart for a two-week cruise up to Maine and Casco Bay. We are in the planning, charting, provisioning list making phase but we'll be sure to share our plans as they come together. Our first stop on Sunday, July 28th - The Isle of Shoals! Since sailing is inextricably linked to weather we're keeping our plans loose all we know is that we're going to shove off the dock and not return for two whole weeks! We can't wait! 

Our Summer Vacation exploring the many islands of Casco Bay!

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