Thursday, February 6, 2014

Reliving Our Summer Cruise: Part 1

So after another foot+ of snow fell on us yesterday and I'm battling another winter cold I thought it was a prime time to finally blog about our amazing 2-week summer cruise. I've been saving the pics and the stories until I needed to relive them and since my SAD and cabin fever has set in in a big way I think now's the perfect time. Since there's a lot to share I'll split it into a few blog posts...today's: preparations and casting off. 

The first step in planning a two-week cruise is mapping out the route. We looked at our charts, did some online charting and chatting with friends and fellow boaters and laid out our route. As is the reality in all sailing adventures, plans are like sand at low tide - ever changing. Weather, boat issues and winds determine more of your plans than anything else. But, we planned to cast off on Sunday, July 28th, we'd planned to sail east to the Isle of Shoals for an overnight just to kick off the trip and then point north into Maine. 

So, first we had to provision the boat. I'd done A LOT of reading of other bloggers provisioning lists, The Boat Galley cookbook's list and about a million other lists and created our 4-page master spreadsheet. 

 Seeing that over 6 months later we're still eating some of the provisions, I think it might have been overkill. Oh well, you can never have enough cans of black beans! The pink section of the spreadsheet - "Ditch Kit" is what we had put aside in case you know, we had to ditch out on the boat! It's important to have some non-perishable snacks and lots of water on hand just in case the worst happens. It was a lot of fun to plan out what we might eat day in and day out but the reality is that it's not like we were in some remote anchorage with no shore side services most of the spots we planned on staying at had restaurants and bars right on the water that we could dinghy into. Lesson learned, less provisions, more beer money! :)

That's a lot of food! Miraculously we stored it all away safely, this boat has LOTS of great storage. 
Labels come off of cans in the moisture of a boat
so instead of playing the guessing game, we mark them
Hammock fulla snacks. My co-worker Phil gifted us this hammock from his
 family's boat when they sold it. 
So after stowing the provisions, fixing last minute things, checking engine we were finally ready to go - and that's when the pea soup fogged rolled in. We made the decision to stay put with the fog and some big seas and the fact that we didn't really have to leave on Sunday to stay on track for our trip we sat put. 

The next morning we cast off the lines and headed to the Wentworth Fuel dock, well almost, as we approached the dock we stupidly went to the inside of the red nun and OOPS - we ran aground! Yup, about 10 feet off the fuel dock we were stuck. The saying goes that any boater that tells you they've never run aground is lying. So here was our first and most likely not our last experience. Spencer, the Wentworth Manager hauled us off the mud with the launch. They told us, "If this is the worst thing that happens on your 2-weeks, you're be doing great!" With red faces and a bit humbled we passed the breakwater and set off from Little Harbor at 11:15am. 
Still quite foggy but flat seas
2KR marks the entrance to Portsmouth Harbor

















video
Sailing with the Auto Pilot & Chief Engineer, Toby on duty 

We made way at about 2 knots until we reached Gerrish Island and then decided to turn on the "iron genoa" so we could ensure we'd make it to Cape Porpoise, Kennebunkport in time for happy hour - priorities. We connected with the Harbormaster to see about any free moorings and there was one! We were in luck and it was FREE! Baird #47, my lucky number! We hooked the mooring at 4:30 and within 5 minutes of settling the VERY thick, pea soup fog rolled in and blanketed us. We couldn't even see the harbor channel we'd just passed through! 
The entrance to Cape Porpoise Harbor

Captain and Chief Engineer relaxing as the fog rolls in
Blanketed in by fog all around us 

Zephyr moored next to a lobster dock as we dinghy into shore, there were other boats around us, but the fog was so thick you couldn't see them!
We decided to dinghy into shore to walk Big Guy and explore the town a bit, maybe grab a happy hour drink or two. The harbor is so quintessentially Maine from the briny lobster docks to the fisherman's co-op to the dinghy dock full of old steel dinks. We wandered around Cape Porpoise which is gorgeous and decided to play fetch with Toby in a lot behind the local grocery. Well, Toby found the real treat behind the lot -- a mud pit. He came out and looked like a black lab. Our first night of the cruise and we've got a stinky, smelly, filthy dog on our hands - sweet! The local church's hose was a God send - literally. 
Cape Porpoise is so quintessentially Maine, worth a trip! 

Toby looks quite satisfied with himself - mud is always worth it! 
We walked a bit more and then hit up The Ramp, a fun, funky waterside bar that's part of

a nicer restaurant. Adirondack chairs on the harbor and cold beers, sweet! Toby waited for us tied on the dinghy dock while drying out from his mud fest. We then ventured back to the boat to cook up a feast of grilled chicken - we love our stern mounted propane grill and fresh corn. Asleep on the mooring, away from the docks was fantastic. 

The fog started to lift as we dinghyed back to the boat for dinner
Next up...the fog lifts and Tim celebrates his 34th birthday in the islands of Casco Bay. 

(And I was right, reliving this fantastic trip has totally helped get me out of my mid-winter funk and gets me excited for next summer, so stay tuned for more!)




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