One more day sail from Onsett Harbor and we arrived back in Newport, this time in thick fog. It’s always a bonus to be going into known surroundings when it’s foggy! We made our way confidently into the anchorage and dropped the hook.

The following morning the fog had cleared and we went ashore for breakfast at the Seamen’s Institute and to catch up with the laundry and internet. That afternoon we wandered up to The Fastnet, in search of some live Sunday afternoon Irish music. Sitting outside, we heard distinctly English accents at the next table and by the end of the evening we had met our New Friends!
Sue and Glyn are both from Shrewsbury, whichever way they pronounce it! Sue’s brother, Alex, lives and works in the US and he and his wife, Judy, have a house here in Newport.

After a convivial evening together, we invited our New Friends to come out on the boat for a sail around the Harbour the following morning. A great time was had by all.

Judy and Alex with his feet up!

Judy and Alex with his feet up!

Unfortunately ex Navy man Alex had a broken foot and was confined to the cockpit, but Glyn took to helm like a natural.

Captain Glynn at the helm.

Captain Glynn at the helm.

Sue and Judy made wonderful Boat Babes and narrowly missed being taken out by the boom when we tacked!!

Sue and Judy boat babes!

Sue and Judy boat babes.

After lunch on board, we rounded off the day at Judy and Alex’s house, with Alex excelling himself at the barbecue. We presented Glyn with his captain’s hat and rounded off the evening with a parlour game….Catch Phrase …..Boys v Girls……. Marcus and Judy getting memorably competitive!!

Best Beef Barbecue in great company.

Best Beef Barbecue in great company.

Captain Glyn receiving his hat.

Captain Glyn receiving his hat.

On Wednesday we met up at The Parlor for an evening of pool. Another convivial evening……..Sue played her first game of pool, Glyn played his first one with glasses and Alex managed to play his first game balancing on his scooter!

Pool at The Parlor.

Pool at The Parlor.

On Friday, Judy and Alex drove us to the supermarket for a ‘bulky shop’ ………a restock on kitchen towels and beer……..never easy without a car! Once again, the kindness and thoughtfulness of the people we meet replenishes our faith in the goodness of mankind.
After stowing the shopping aboard, we spent the afternoon at the Boat Show. Having been succoured into spending too much in the exhibitors tents, we went aboard Ariel ……. the power boat belonging to our pizza partners from a few nights before. The accommodation was luxurious and that, coupled with a walk in and around engine room, we can see the attraction! It is ideal for people who no longer want to travel great distances and who spend their time in cheap fuel areas. The price of diesel here is about 67p per litre!! Who knows……one day we might retire to something similar on the French canals?
We left the boat show and walked up to meet with ‘the Captain and crew’ at the ever popular Corner Café on Broadway and then round the corner to the Firehouse Theater, for an evening of comedy improvisation.

The Firehouse Theatre Comedy Night.

The Firehouse Theatre Comedy Night.

It has been a great stop over in Newport and we leave with four new friends in our hearts and on Facebook!

Rockland, Port Clyde, Boothbay Harbour, Portland, Portsmouth and Gloucester……… Newport to follow!

Crossing the Bay of Maine was a 36 hour trip which passed without event.

Making our way through Maine.

Making our way through Maine.

Once we arrived in Maine waters, however, we were immediately on our toes…….Lobster pot buoys!! We had been warned,but we’re not really prepared for the numbers and the fact that there were even more in the charted shipping lanes!!

Pot buoys evertwhere.

Pot buoys evertwhere.

Apparently lobsters like the deeper water and so do bigger vessels! It took both of us to ‘spot and dodge’ our way through the islands and into Rockland.
Having arrived, it was time to check into the US again! Part of the plan in heading to Canada was to renew our cruising license. After a small hiccup, where it appeared that our fax, that we sent three weeks previously, had gone astray. After a little chase up they located our fax and succeeded in getting permission for the boat to stay in US waters until August 2017.
Six months is the usual allowance on our personal visas, but the kindly services of our visiting customs officer resulted in us being granted nine! We can now safely plan our time to depart, without the pressure of having to be out of the US during potentially bad weather.
Having completed formalities, we left the municipal dock, picked up a mooring and made our way ashore to explore the town. Lobster fishing and tourism are the main employers and the town caters to both economic groups. We found our way into a ‘dive’ bar that had two pool tables. After three days, Marcus had secured a reputation amongst some very good players and came 5th out of 15 in the weekly Saturday afternoon tournament!

In his element!

In his element!

Whilst in Rockland, we ran into the other ‘At Last’ boat that we met in Port Washington. We had dinner with Bear and Virginia and decided we were bound to meet again on our way south.

Our next stop was a day sail away in Port Clyde. Day sails are the only way to travel in Maine and then only in good light and no fog…….the myriad of pot markers makes it impossible to move without good visibility! After five hours of lobster pot watching, we pulled into
Port Clyde and dropped anchor.

Port Clyde's Lighthouse.

Port Clyde’s Lighthouse.

Now this really is a lobster fishing village with Tourism tagged on. Linda Bean, an astute Maine business woman has revived the lobster industry throughout Maine and has ownership of most of the enterprises on the waterfronts in Port Clyde; from the General Store, to the bars and cafes, to the lobster fisheries.

The General store, Port Clyde.

The General store, Port Clyde.

The whole effect is a cohesive well planned and interesting waterfront, with well maintained piers and boardwalks. Whilst here we took a walk out to the lighthouse. This is the lighthouse that Forest Gump ran to when he had reached the Pacific coast and decided to turn around and run across America to the Atlantic coast.

Marcus Gump at the end of the pier.

Marcus Gump at the end of the pier.

As you have probably already gathered, there are a host of lighthouses to be seen along Maine’s coast. Apparently it is possible to apply to become a ‘keeper’ for a couple of months………now there’s a thought!!

Port Clyde at sunset.

Port Clyde at sunset.

On from Port Clyde to Boothbay harbour and a little luxury! A bit of a blow was forecast, so we tucked in behind an island and took one of the BYC moorings and spent two evenings in the yacht club. The first evening, we arrived in time to be fed with the ‘left overs’ from a lunch time function and then asked if we would like to help ourselves from the evening buffet…….it would have been rude to say no! We spent the following day walking around the village. It is definitely geared to tourism, but retains a quirkiness which we liked.

A misty day in Boothbay Harbour

A misty day in Boothbay Harbour

 

Up the creek in Boothbay.

Up the creek in Boothbay.

 

An old tug conversion to restaurants. Quaint and quirky 1......

An old tug conversion to restaurants. Quaint and quirky 1……

.....2....

Q&Q…..2….

Q&Q.....3.....

Q&Q…..3…..

Portland was our next destination; again a day sail spent dodging our way through the pots, which is quite tiring.

Relaxing en route to Portland.

Relaxing en route to Portland.

Portland is a busy commercial port with very little provision for transient sailors. We anchored well out of the town and dinghied in, only to find there is nowhere provided to tie up to. We rafted up to a kindly motorboat and went into town to explore.

Portland padlocks.

Portland padlocks.

The town was burnt down twice in its early days and was rebuilt using brick and with wide ‘fire break’ streets. It has a completely different feel to the Maine we have seen so far. Whilst here, we got in touch with the Ocean Cruising Club reps., who we met down in Brunswick; Jack and Zdenka. We managed to meet up with them for a drink and picked their brains about not only Maine, but also Australia and Indonesia, as they have just returned from a seven year circumnavigation. They took us up to the ‘artsie’ part of town, where they have street entertainment every first Friday of the month and we spent the rest of the evening being entertained.

First Friday in the month street entertainment. A ukulele band.

First Friday in the month street entertainment. A ukulele band.

Street art.

Street art.

 

Street juggler.

Street juggler.

 

Our next hop was around to Portsmouth. A small community that provided us with another happy encounter. This was always going to be just an overnight stop, so on Sunday morning, we set off early in the dinghy in search of some breakfast ashore. We were passing a moored local boat and stopped to ask where might be open. They explained the one outlet in the village had suffered a fire and was closed, but would we like to go with them to their house and have blueberry pancakes with them? Of course we took them up on their offer and in very short order, found ourselves in their wood built home that overlooks a tidal creek, eating pancakes and exchanging stories.

Blueberry Pancake Surprise.

Blueberry Pancake Surprise.

 

View from Rich and Bridget's house.

View from Rich and Bridget’s house.

Rich is a video maker and photographic artist and Bridget is an acupuncturist. They were warm hearted, interesting people who have been sailing their steel Dutch built boat for years up and down the Maine coast. If we come back up this way, we will definitely get back in contact.

Gloucester was our next port of call and we both said it felt like coming home. We met up with Skip and Jane on Vagrant Gypsy. The were anchored just behind us and since our last meeting here, had been up to the Arcadia National Park……somewhere we missed out on this time round. We spent a great evening aboard their boat and met two of their friends from St Augustine…….we are now thinking of stopping there for November!
On Thursday we went to the farmers market again and saw Jan in action with her jewellery stall…..cold to resist it; I bought a pair of earrings.

Jan and her jewelry.

Jan and her jewellery.

After hugs and farewells and promises to meet up again down the coast, we left Gloucester for a long day sail down through the Cape Cod canal and into Onsett Harbor to anchor for the night. We went to Big Anthony’s Pizza place for one of their renowned pizzas. It didn’t disappoint, neither did the company! We sat at a long table next to the only other two boaters in there! Miles and Laureen had sailed their yacht for years, between Maine and the Bahamas, but this season was their first aboard ‘Ariel’ a 57’ Outer Reef power boat. They had passed us in the canal and we had both liked the look of the boat, even though it was from ‘the dark side’!

I’ll leave you with some of the lighthouses we have passed!

Lighthouse

Lighthouse

Port Clyde's Lighthouse of Forrest Gump fame.

Port Clyde’s Lighthouse of Forest Gump fame.

 

Lighthouse.

Lighthouse.

 

Lighthouse.

Lighthouse.

 

Portsmouth Lighthouse.

Portsmouth Lighthouse.

 

Gloucester Lighthouses.

Gloucester Lighthouses.

We set off from Lunenburg and sailed for 10 hours up to Halifax. We had a little bird drop in for a rest and a free ride.

DSC05548

Our little feathered friend.

We had good winds on the way up and managed to actually sail for a good part of the.

DSC05553

Entering Halifax.

Our friends, Dave and Corinne, in ‘At Last’ had moved to the dock, so we were able to pick up their mooring buoy that they rent from the Shearwater Yacht Club. We had full use of the facilities…..bar, showers, laundry and workshop…. which was a bonus.

We arrived on Monday 8th August, which happened to be Dave’s first day in a job for a few years. What a shock to the system that must be!

We spent the first couple of days with Corinne driving us around to get phones, formalities and shopping done. Such a help in an environment that demands wheels! We did take a return trip on the bus and connecting ferry to the city for the princely sum of $2 CA each ….about £1.50 in real money!

Dave and Marcus spent Saturday, Dave’s first ‘day off’, taking the fishing line off the wind generator. Needless to say it was not the easy job that they thought……. the line had melted into the workings of the generator and new parts were ordered as the old ones had been persuaded off and were useless.

On Sunday, all four of us and Libby, the dog, went on a trip along the south west coast. The countryside is very sparsely populated and villages along the road don’t seem to have centres. The villages on the coast are a different matter as they congregate around the fishing docks and harbours. We pulled into St Ann’s, which is a fully working fishing village that seems to tolerate the invasion of tourists.

Cape Ann with Dave, Corinne and Libby.

Cape Ann with Dave, Corinne and Libby.

Us and the Lighthouse

Us and the Lighthouse

As you’ll see from the plaque below, these shores are dangerous and the rocks have been worn smooth by the constant pounding of the ocean. The day we visited the sea was calm, but the fog kept blowing in and out and we could appreciate the hardiness of the people who make a living here.

A salutary sign!

A salutary sign!

Even here, at the end of the village there was a familiar sight. How or why it got there we don’t know!

Its not just the place names that remind us of Blighty!

Its not just the place names that remind us of Blighty!

Cape Ann.

Cape Ann fishing harbour.

The following day, Dave and Corinne lent us their car and set off NW to go and explore the bit of land that sticks out into the Bay of Fundy. This bay has the highest rise and fall in tides in the world, so we went in search of the sea!

The whole of the bay leading up to Truro more or less dries out to a flat red dessert at low tide. We decided to take our time and spent a night in a B&B in a place called Five Islands. Again, the area has grown up around fishing, tourism and, historically, wooden ship building. The other big employer is blueberry farming. What I had taken for large areas of flat moorland, turned out to be blueberry fields.

Lobster pots ashore. Maybe they've reached their quota?

Lobster pots ashore. Maybe they’ve reached their quota?

Blueberry fields forever.

Blueberry fields forever.

On the second day of our trip, we went further west to Cape D’Or. The last two miles was on a dirt track and then on foot down to the cliffs. The water here boils and swirls in strange patterns, driven by the incredibly strong currents that flow and ebb around the headland.

Cape D'Or with fog rolling in from the sea......

Cape D’Or with fog rolling in from the sea……

Cape D'Or looking SE.

Cape D’Or looking SE.

Fishing fleet grounding at Five Islands.

Fishing fleet grounding at Five Islands.

 

Busy roads remind me of Ireland!

Busy roads remind me of Ireland!

As time goes by, we have started to visit more museums to try and get a better understanding of how the communities we flit in and out of have changed and developed. The Age of Sail museum was a real gem, located in what appeared to be a deserted valley. It turned out that this site had been home to half a dozen or so shipyards.

Age of Sail museum.

Age of Sail museum.

The museum celebrates the wooden shipbuilding that employed hundreds of locals in the 18th, 19th and early twentieth centuries. One of their galleries is built like an upturned half hull of a schooner. The winters here are hard and although some fitting-out took place, the main occupation was logging in the surrounding forests. In the spring they floated the logs down stream on the melt water. In the 19th century, the demand for Nova Scotian pine in England was so great that boats were built, filled with lumber, sailed to England, unloaded, totally dismantled and used for building houses. New York’s rapacious growth led to a raft of some tens of thousands of logs being chained together, launched on the highest tide and drifting, as predicted, within towing range of the sawmills in New York! Fascinating stuff!!

Like the US, Canada has two or three churches in every small community and God is called on frequently in general conversation. The churches are built of wood and right on the roadside. Its good to see they don’t take themselves too seriously!

 

Church with a sense of humour.....

Church with a sense of humour…..

......very good!

……very good!

We have loved what we’ve seen of Nova Scotia and have met many kind and friendly people along the way……..the B&B couple actually called the nearby restaurants to make sure they stayed open for us the night we called to book a room…… The restaurant owners came and chatted about their hopes and dreams for their place and were fascinated by our voyage. We left like old friends and returned there the following afternoon for pizza and more chat!! ……..We visited an art gallery in Parrsboro and spent a good half an hour talking to one of the artists, Jill Langdon, who came from Winchester, settled here 18 years ago and loves the community feeling that reminds her of what life was like in her childhood.

If we ever decide to settle on land again, I think I could feel at home here too!

With August marching on it was time to leave Halifax and retrace our steps. We called into Lunenburg for the night and invited Doug, from The Boat Locker moorings and his wife, Robin, on board for ‘sundowners’. Lovely people who live on their classic wooden boat with their dog and two boys and who we hope to see again……perhaps in Antigua next year?

quick overnight stop in Lovely Lunenberg.

A quick overnight stop in Lovely Lunenberg………

……….and then on to Shelburne and the next call out for Hayward’s International Rescue.

It was Sunday afternoon and we were sitting in the cockpit talking to Dan on Skype. Suddenly I heard a distress whistle being blown and a yell for help……..Marcus had been watching a canoe with four people and a dog, making slow headway into the wind and then begin to sink.

Thunderbirds were Go!’, so Dan was left on my iPad in the cockpit and we quickly launched Ikitutu, (the dinghy) a.k.a. Thunderbird II  !!

Luckily we were in the cockpit and heard their cries for help and got to them in under five minutes. They were at least 500mtrs from shore and were trying to swim against the current, pulling the upturned canoe with the dog standing on it!! No one else heard them and they were already cold by the time we pulled them into Ikitutu. I warmed them up on board IK while Marcus went off in the dinghy to retrieve their paddles and shoes that had floated off towards the rocks.

They had a very lucky escape and we had a very lucky reward…….they asked us for a ‘thank you’ supper at Charlie’s home the next day. They produced a veritable feast…….. We had a freshly caught lobster each, moose steaks, moose sausages and home made cheesecake. Moose is definitely one of the tastiest meats I’ve ever eaten and they were some of the most warm hearted people we’ve been lucky to meet. We are now all family!

So you see we continue to have adventures and plenty seems to happen.

All are safely gathered in.

All are safely gathered in. Tom, Charlie, Isaac and Tara.

On their way back to land.

On their way back to land.

Not sinking! A trick of the swell :)

Not sinking! A trick of the swell :)

The following day’s feast at Charlie’s house on the waters edge.

Moose steaks ans Moose sausages! You must try them. Mmmmmm!

Moose steaks ans Moose sausages! You must try them. Mmmmmm!

The feast is set out.

The feast is set out.

The dog photo bombing the lobster shot!

The dog photo bombing the lobster shot!

Cheesecake, by which time we were groaning!

Cheesecake, by which time we were groaning!

Coffee is served.

Coffee is served.

After such a wonderful spread, we didn’t eat until the next afternoon on our way across the Bay of Maine, en route to Rockland, Maine and back into the US.

Farewell Nova Scotia ………. we may well be back!!

The lighthouse in Rockland Harbor Maine.

The lighthouse in Rockland Harbor Maine.

Gloucester to Shelburne, Nova Scotia.

Taken from Main Street, Gloucester.

Taken from Main Street, Gloucester.

We spent two weeks in Gloucester and met new friends!
Norman and Jan, aboard ‘Bandersnatch’ took us under their wing and we spent a lot of time together. Norman had built Bandersnatch, a long keeled Ferro- cement sailing hull, back in the 70s. By the 80s, he decided he couldn’t be messing about with sails, so he never raised the mast and rigging, so Bandersnatch motors up from Florida to spend the summer in Gloucester and back down again in the fall.

'Bandersnatch' in the slings. Always a worrying moment!

‘Bandersnatch’ in the slings. Always a worrying moment!

It is so good to find other cruisers to show us the ropes……laundrette, supermarket, farmers market, fuel, dinghy docks, bars, restaurants etc. and for Marcus……a pool table!
Jan is a Master Bench jeweller and although she no longer does the setting of stones and ‘heavy metal’ work, she produces some fantastically creative pieces in her onboard workshop.

Jan's work shop.

Jan’s work shop.

Jan at work, polishing my necklace.

Jan at work, polishing my necklace.

Together with another new friend, Ana, had a great ‘girls day out’ visiting numerous art and jewellery studios and galleries. One specific area of Gloucester, called Rocky Neck, is an artists colony. Many of the artists live above or behind their studios and are happy to show you their work and talk.

One of the galleries we visited on our girls day out!

One of the galleries we visited on our girls day out!

Brenda's imagine gallery. She leaves a honesty box and book. Very hippy, but it works! She used to be a helicopter pilot!!

Brenda’s imagine gallery. She leaves a honesty box and book.
Very hippy, but it works! She used to be a helicopter pilot!!

Rocky Neck hangs on firmly to times gone by.

Rocky Neck hangs on firmly to times gone by.

It’s a bohemian, quirky place, but like the rest of Gloucester it has a welcoming, working, warts-and-all honesty feel to it…….just like coastal Britain!
We were introduced to a great Azorean restaurant by Ana and her husband, Ralph, and visited their home.

Lunch in the Azores.........restaurant with new friends Norman, Ralph, Anna and Jan.

Lunch in the Azores………restaurant with new friends Norman, Ralph, Anna and Jan.

Ralph is a Portuguese/English interpreter, who in his youth, studied musicology, so being let loose amongst his numerous musical instruments was like being in a sweety shop for me!!
Another new friend was Ernie……he happened past one evening in his rowing skiff. He was incredibly helpful and generous. We now have two paper charts of Nova Scotia and two sailing books and he is educating us, via email, on the finer points of reading weather grins and charts. It turns out that he sailed on the Solway Maid for the same Roger that we knew in Edenbridge years ago…….small world!!
Our reason for being in Gloucester, we had to remind ourselves, was to get the mainsail repaired! After some logistical problems, caused by the shear size of the beast and the thickness of the canvas, the inimitable Josh Bevins worked his magic and we were delivered of a working sail and also a repaired UV strip on our Genoa.

Josh Bevins with sails delivered to Norman and me in the dinghies.

Josh Bevins with sails delivered to Norman and me in the dinghies.

With the sails back on board, Splicer-Marcus, worked his culinary magic on the out-haul line that failed. As you’ll see, old chef’s habits die hard!

Chopping board, knife and sharpening steel. All part of a splicer's equipment.

Chopping board, knife and sharpening steel.
All part of a splicer’s equipment.

The finished article.

The finished article.

Filing off the jagged edges!

Filing off the jagged edges!

We had a farewell party onboard with Jan, Norman, Ralph, Ana and three couples (and two dogs) from three other boats at anchor near us.

Farewell to new friends.

Farewell to new friends.

A good time was had by all and we set sail the following morning for Shelburne, Nova Scotia……a 48 hour passage, which due to very little wind, we motorway!!

Sunset en route to Port Mouton.

Sunset en route to Shelburne.

Dawn breaking.

Dawn breaking.

Chilly morning watch.

Chilly morning watch.

Our first taste of Canada was delightful. We were made very welcome at the Shelburne Yacht Club and enjoyed two days exploring the town.

View from the Yacht Club.

View from the Yacht Club.

Shelburne Harbour.

Shelburne Harbour.

One of the three museums in the village.

One of the three museums in the village.

As with all seaports, Shelburne has seen better days as far as fishing and boat building goes. Government quotas and exorbitant fishing licences have severely reduced the number of young men able to afford to earn a living in the industry, so it seems that even though fish stocks are said to be recovering and lobsters are plentiful, there are not the young men there to take over when the old boys retire…….exactly the same as we saw on the east coast of England!

We decided to break our journey to Lunenburg by staying overnight at Port Mouton (pronounced Port Mutooon) A very quiet anchorage with a remote feel to it.

Port Mouton harbour.

Port Mouton harbour.

Port Mouton anchorage.

Port Mouton anchorage.

Our next port of call was the delightful Lunenburg. This is a working fishing port with shipbuilding and tourism all thriving during the summer months.

Arriving in Lunenburg.

Arriving in Lunenburg.

Once again, we managed to arrive at the right time…….it was the Folk Harbour music festival! We spent three afternoons at the bandstand listening to some great musicians and one evening we actually paid up and heard two bands playing at the Curling Club.

The Bandstand above Lunenburg.

The Bandstand above Lunenburg.

Visiting artist from Oz.

Visiting artist from Oz.

Young musicians take part too!

Young musicians take part too!

Husband and wife...she's a one woman band!

Husband and wife…she’s a one woman band!

Our neighbours at anchor were ‘Kantala’……Michael and Sheila, Canadians who built their own boat and have been cruising the world for the last 28 years. Great company and modestly knowledgeable. We will meet again, as they are travelling south too!

Saying goodbye to Kantala.

Saying goodbye to Kantala.

We set sail for another 10 hour sail up to Halifax and our friends Dave and Corrine on board ‘At Last’.

We like Canada!!!

It is now the middle of July and we have moved on, via Rhode Island to Massachusetts on our way to Nova Scotia.
We spent a great week in Newport, Rhode Island, and met up again with Mel and James. They have friends with a boat yard there, so decided it was a good place to have their ageing rigging refitted.

Entering Newport.

Entering Newport.

We were in Newport for Independence Day and went to hear the reading of the Declaration of Independence on the Colony House steps and the 21 gun salute.

Reading the declaration........they really hated King George, and we can't blame them!

Reading the declaration……..they really hated King George, and we can’t blame them!

All friends now!

All friends now!

It’s the first time I’ve understood what all the ‘independence’ fuss was about! Hearing all the grievances the colony had against King George and all the ‘taxation without representation’ that they were expected to put up with, I don’t blame the instigating their own USexit!

21 gun salute.

21 gun salute.

Missed me!

Missed me!

While we were in Newport we got in touch with Joe and Annie,  friends we first met in Trinidad. They happened to be back in Rhode Island to prepare their house for the market, before moving permanently onto Little Wing and sailing across the Pacific.
We met up with them for a day and the drove around the island like consummate tour guides.We stopped off en route at the garden that Annie had worked in for 25 years. What a special garden with wonderful sea views.
To round off the 4th of July celebrations we invited Joe and Annie and James and Mel  onboard for dinner,  followed by a fireworks display from Fort Adams, right next to our anchorage.
Before leaving Newport, we went to our second baseball game …….. with a difference! We were actually sitting in the netted-off seating area at the rear of the Mudville pub. When the  baseball ground was built it was built around the pub, so we sat and enjoyed the game and got a good explanation of the rules and finer tactics from some of our fellow drinkers, one of whom just happened to be the owner of the local team…..The Gulls.

Marcus getting ready for a 'home run' for the Gulls!

Marcus getting ready for a ‘home run’ for the Gulls!

We enjoyed our time in Newport and may well call in again on our way back south,

View from Fort Adams.

View from Fort Adams.

……..but the summer is moving along and we had to set off on our way to the Cape Cod canal.

We decided to split the journey and do day sails, so we headed for the island of Cuttyhunk, which it is supposed to be beautiful……Despite our good plan, we didn’t actually get to see it! We  arrived in thick fog and, after three abortive attempts to get the anchor to set, we decided to picked up a mooring for the night. In the morning, we were shaken awake….the wind had picked up and the mooring was very bouncy. When we had touched bottom a couple of times we decided it was time to cast off and leave before we did any damage and anyone ventured out to take our money!
Next stop was Mattapoisett, back on the mainland, and our first port in the state of Massachusetts. This was a delightful anchorage. In its heyday the town had been a major ship building centre for the whaling industry. It boasted at least eight  ship yards on the foreshore, each with its own quay. The quays are now used for mooring pleasure craft during the summer months and one houses the ‘transients’ dinghy dock where we tied up.
Today, the town has an unspoilt and under exploited air about it. It is a quiet summer holiday home for the wealthy and a dormitory town for locals who work in the larger towns in the area.
We spent a couple of days here and enjoyed live music in the pub and the park and also got to see a local Square Dance group setting up in the car park for their weekly shindig complete with costumes.

Square dancers getting ready.

Square dancers getting ready.

Square dancing is a bit like a barn dance with callers, but not a wisp of hay to be seen.

Our next stop was supposed to be Provincetown on Cape Cod, but just before we got to the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal, the engine overheating alarm went off. After shutting down the engine and setting the sails, we discovered the fan belt had broken, so the water pump that cools the engine wasn’t being turned. We diverted half a mile east to Bourne, dropped the anchor and got down to the not so simple task of replacing the fan belt. Four hours and a lot of mental and physical effort later, all was replaced and a bracket holding the alternator, that had seemingly come adrift was reattached.
The following day we caught the tide up through the canal and out across the bay to Provincetown. We knew before we arrived that ‘PTown’ is known as a gay town. We are used to the gay and cosmopolitan feel of Brighton, but this was like Brighton on steroids!

Provincetown Harbour.

Provincetown Harbour.

It turned out that we had arrived in the middle of Bear week. This is a week when the biggest and hairiest gay men descend on the town from all over the world, all sporting beards and as much body hair on show as possible. The atmosphere was great and everyone was relaxed and friendly.

Some of the Bears heading down to the nightly 'tea dance'?

Some of the Bears heading down to the nightly ‘tea dance’?

The thing that we didn’t know about PTown before arriving was that this is where the Mayflower dropped anchor when she first made land in America. The ship anchored here for 30 days, while they sent smaller boats across the bay to find a better site for their settlement………Plymouth. It was whilst they were at anchor here that they wrote their first ‘compact’ to govern themselves in their new colony.

The Pilgrims tower from the SE.....bike ride!

The Pilgrims tower from the SE…..bike ride!

We spent a good couple of hours going up the tower, that was built to commemorate the founding fathers some 150 years ago, and looking around the museum.

Names of new towns founded in Their new homeland!

Names of new towns founded in their new homeland!

The Pilgrim Fathers came from East Anglia.

The Pilgrim Fathers came from East Anglia.

It’s wonderful to get to know  the history of the places we visit and to understand the part that the British had in developing the colony! Here in New England, it’s not just the place names……Harwich, Plymouth, Boston, Yarmouth that remind us of England, it’s also the architecture and the underlying culture, based around the fishing, farming and boat  building industries that brought British settlers here in the 1700s. Perhaps it’s because of the familiarity that are enjoying the east coast far more than we ever thought we would!!

Jack's wharf. One of the many artist's studios in PTown.

Jack’s wharf. One of the many artist’s studios in PTown.

On our first evening ashore in PTown, we were in a bar,  chatting to our ‘server’ who it transpired lived on a sailing boat in the Harbour with her boyfriend. A few minutes later her boyfriend arrived……..it was Clay Davenport, the young crew/carer of the 92yr old, Vern, aboard ‘Jolly Friends’, who we met and befriended back in Trinidad!!

The last time we saw Clay was around his 30th birthday, when he was planning to escape to Grenada and start to get his sailing qualifications. Here we are, 2 years on and he has his captain’s ticket and is doing the summer season as captain on a day charter yacht in PTown.
What a small place this yachting world is!!

After enjoying four days of ‘people watching’ and digesting the local art and history, we entertained Clay and his girlfriend, Alex, to a farewell dinner aboard IK.

Clay and Alex.

Clay and Alex.

On the morning of St Swithan’s day, we topped up with fuel and water and set off, under clear blue skies, for Nova Scotia.

The Calm before the Storm.

The Calm before the Storm.

After a couple of hours, we saw what we thought was a fog bank coming towards us…….it turned out to be a thunderstorm! Stupidly we thought it would pass behind us, so we continued making good speed away from it with full main and motor……..BIG mistake!!
The storm veered towards us and we were caught with the toe rail under water and  47knts of wind in the sail. Under the strain, the outhaul line wore through and parted company with the clew of the mainsail leaving the sail to flog itself against the shrouds, before we could get up safely on deck to wind it in. The result is three tears in the last third of the canvas. Luckily the clew seems to have escaped damage.

Our poor mainsail :(

Our poor mainsail :(

Needless to say we aborted our course to Nova Scotia and returned to PTown to regroup and try to find a sailmaker.
Having phoned our friends, Joe and Annie back in Newport, they suggested looking for a sail loft further north in Cape Ann. Thanks to the Internet we have found a sail maker, whose grandmother’s surname is Haywood!, in Gloucester on Cape Ann.
We set off the following morning and arrived here last Saturday.

Our first evening at anchor in Gloucester.

Our first evening at anchor in Gloucester.

We spent Sunday  exploring our first proper fishing town…….it’s got real people doing real jobs and there are none of the ‘ersatz’ manicured tourist waterfront properties that we have experienced so far.
Tomorrow our ‘near namesake’ is coming over, on his day off,  to take a look at the damage to the mainsail and help us get the sail down and over to his sail loft……fingers crossed all goes well and we can continue soon.
There are much worse places to be sat waiting for tide and time!!

I’m still having problems loading photos, so rather than delay posting this now out of date entry, I shall upload it sans pics and hope to sort the problem out and update as soon as possible!

We are now a fleet of our own!!
Blew Beyond lead the way and set off from Porstmouth, before White Gold and IK…..we were delayed while Jim, Paula and Marcus tried to mend the leak in the fuel system….I offered the occasional helpful thought in between trips to the laundry room!

Three heads are better than one!

Three heads are better than one!

We eventually set off together, dodging the odd warship and headed for Cape May.
We sailed overnight and dropped anchor in what we thought was a quiet anchorage……it turned out there was a military boot camp next to us. Loud shouting and chorused responses from the squadies, plus early and late renditions of the Star Spangled Banner and bugle calls, were the backdrop to our stay!
Cape May is another picture postcard town that relies on tourism and fishing for its livelihood. We took the bikes and set off like the Famous Five ( or rather Six) and explored the town, bars and sea front.

Bikes aboard and away we went.

Bikes aboard and away we went.

Cape May High Street.

Cape May High Street.

Quaint Cape May.

Quaint Cape May.

Out along the front to the beach. $5 a head to step onto the sand!! We stuck to the prom.!

Out along the front to the beach. $5 a head to step onto the sand!! We stuck to the prom.!

I managed to find a glove puppet……WHY? you may well ask!…..Well, I spoke with an Australian back in Brighton and he said having a puppet was an immediate way to engage with children in the Pacific Islands, where language is a real barrier to integrating with the locals. He said their puppet was a guaranteed introduction to everywhere they went.

Jim entertaining a rather old kid and himself!

Jim entertaining a rather old kid and himself!

 

It is now the end of June and a lot has happened since I began this instalment of the blog.
We left Cape May and made our way up to New York. Timing the tide is as important as in the Solent and luckily we’d left ourselves enough leeway………just before the entrance to the Hudson River, we discovered that the pipe to the water filter, under the sink, had come loose and a fair proportion of our 750 litres of fresh water had been pouring out into the front bilge……the one that we have to manually drain!!! After an hour of fixing up a spare water pump and hoses to reach down into the bottom of the forward bilge and then up and over into the self draining aft bilge, we were on our way.

First glimpse of Manhattan.

First glimpse of Manhattan.

Getting closer!

Getting closer!

It has long been a dream to sail past the Statue of Liberty and one that we have finally achieved twice.

Us & SoL

SoL (2)

Many, many photos later we pulled up to a mooring buoy right at the far end of the 79th Street Yacht Basin, which is right below Central Park.

79th Street Yact Basin.

79th Street Yact Basin.

These moorings are for up to 40ft boats and cost just $30 a night, as opposed to the $200+ it would have cost in a ‘cheap’ Marina!! After claiming that we were a 43’ boat and being told we would have to anchor, Marcus then remembered that we were only 40’!! Luckily the dock master understood his ‘lapse of memory’ and let us stay. Luckily he didn’t venture down to the end of the moorings to check or he’d have been horrified at the extra 9’ we had not admitted to! We stayed for two nights and waved off ‘Gaia’ and ‘Emma’, who were legitimately on the moorings, as they started their Atlantic voyages back to Norway.

Fire boat saluting something......maybe Gaia on her way to the Azores?

Fire boat saluting something……maybe Gaia on her way to the Azores?

We left in their wake and headed south again, past the Statue of Liberty, to round the bottom of Manhattan and headed up the East River, through Hell Gate…..

Hell Gate bridge.

Hell Gate bridge.

 

9.6 knots of current......get the tides wrong at your peril!

9.6 knots of current……get the tides wrong at your peril!

………and on into Long Island sound and Port Washington which lies on the north shore of Long Island.

Sights on the way to Long Island Sound.

Manhatten (18)

Concorde!? We had no idea Manhattan had one of them!

Concorde!? We had no idea Manhattan had one of them!

Street or Avenue?

Street or Avenue?

A passing barge, with our name on it!

A passing barge, with our name on it!

Literally!!

Literally!!

 

From Port Washington there was a 40 min train service into the centre of NYC, so we had the best of both worlds…..a quiet small town with free anchorage and the city to visit at will. Unlike England, the trains run throughout the night, so there was never that 9 o’clock rush to get home!
We met up with Blew Beyond and White Gold, who are both bound for Newport, Rhode Island and joined in James’ birthday celebrations at Hooters!!

Hooters waitresses singing to James!

Hooters waitresses singing to James!

For our wedding anniversary, we took a day to sight see some of the city and went up the Top of the Rock, to Times Square and Grand Central Station and generally strolled around Manhattan.

 

 Our wedding anniversary outing. 32 years........you get less for murder!

Our wedding anniversary outing. 32 years……..you get less for murder!

Top of the Rock looking over Central Park

Top of the Rock looking over Central Park

Times Square.

Times Square.

TimesSquare......both of us on the big screen!

TimesSquare……both of us on the big screen!

Times Square. Marcus on the big screen.

Times Square. Marcus on the big screen.

Inside Grand Central.

Inside Grand Central.

We also met up with ‘Jenni’s Cara’ and she took us to the High Line; a mile and a half of disused elevated railway that used to run between the Fashion and Meat districts of the city. The track has been turned into a park with water features, shrubs, aromatic raised beds and sculptures and is a great example of what can be done with an ‘eyesore’.

With Carla on the High Line.

With Carla on the High Line.

Every one was out and about on the High Line!

Every one was out and about on the High Line!

Cara was our own tour guide and took us around the area where she works, which is more low rise and tree lined than we expected for NYC!

Doing lunch with Carla.

Doing lunch with Carla.

Sunset in Port Washington.

Sunset in Port Washington.

Although we are now in Newport ourselves, we delayed moving with ‘the fleet’ so that I could fly back to Blighty for my mum’s 97th birthday and a trip with her and my two sisters to Suffolk to celebrate. We had a great time, despite some bracing winds and it was good to reconnect.
Two weeks was really too little time, but with the pressure of needing to move the boat at the right times and seasons, meant that this was a fleeting visit. I managed to visit Nigel and Bridget and Dan. Again it was good to see them and catch up with their lives……hopefully next trip will be long enough to visit all our other friends and family!

After rounding Cape Hateras in perfect conditions, with dolphins playing at the bow, we arrived in Hampton, which is opposite Norfolk, just up from Portsmouth!! We certainly have left our stamp on this part of the coast, but with a completely different geography!

This is home to the biggest US fleet and all the support services it needs. We had to stay 100m from any naval ships and patrol boats were out enforcing the rule.

Just a few of the fleet harboured here.

Just a few of the fleet harboured here.

We stayed one night at anchor and then went 12 miles down the Intra Coastal Waterway to meet up with White Gold and Blew Beyond, in Portsmouth for Jim’s 50th birthday.

The day started with James cooking us all breakfast on Blew Beyond.

Birthday breakfast buffet aboard Blew Beyond.

Birthday breakfast buffet aboard Blew Beyond

We then went shopping for seafood for Jim’s birthday dinner in the local street market and then on to a large supermarket, that had a bar!! Needless to say we blocked the isle with our trolleys whilst we sampled their fare!

Birthday drinks in a supermarket bar!!?

Birthday drinks in a supermarket bar!!?

Come the evening, we all went aboard White Gold for a seafood feast of soft shell crabs, prawns in garlic butter, scallops, lobster tails, smoked salmon and spider crab legs. Mmmmmmmm……….

A veritable fish frenzy birthday dinner.

A veritable fish frenzy birthday dinner.

It’s amazing what truly good friends Jim and Paula are. After only knowing them for what is actually a very short time, they put us up for what turned out to be a week, while our boat was lifted and the bottom scrubbed and painted and new anodes fitted. They made us very welcome and were great company.

During the week we explored the area on foot and by bike, making the occasional refreshment stop en route.

Gershwin's Bar staircase.

Gershwin’s Bar staircase.

This was a first…….a bike maintenance station!

What a great idea.....hope they don't introduce these people n Birmingham, Dan!!

What a great idea…..hope they don’t introduce these people in Birmingham, Dan!!

The echoes of the British occupancy linger……..’though I think the pillar box came in well after independence!

A little bit of Britain!

A little bit of Britain!

New experiences are what we are travelling for and the cinema in Portsmouth was an unexpected one…….. Dining in the stalls……what a great idea for old cinemas!

A night out at a he pictures.

A night out at the pictures.

With six of us, hiring a car was affordable and warm!!. We took a trip down to Virginia Beach and on down the outer banks towards Cape Hateras

Virrrrrrrginia bbbbbbbeach!

Virrrrrrrginia bbbbbbbeach!

Some of the sights along the way……..

Shiny Diner....... Classic!

Shiny Diner……. Classic!

Cape Hateras, by land this time.

Cape Hateras, by land this time.

Quirky lunch stop, Cape Hateras.

Quirky lunch stop, Cape Hateras.

Socialising has taken up quite a lot of our stay with the two other British boats! The second Sunday brunch here was delightful and very reasonable………the first, the week before at the Brick Anchor was memorable for all the wrong reasons!!

Sunday Brunch at Freemasons Abbey, Norfolk.

Sunday Brunch at Freemasons Abbey, Norfolk.

Tipping over here is de rigeur. Waiting staff are paid just $3 an hour so they make a living wage through tips. 20% is the norm, as out of that the waiter has to pay 8% of the bill’s total to the management. If we don’t tip, they still have to pay the 8%!! No wonder the service is good over here.

As you can tell from the photos, we had some pretty chilly and damp days here, but the company was always sunny!

Bike tour of Norfolk discovers a Japanese garden.

Bike tour of Norfolk discovers a Japanese garden.

Just testing it out!

Just testing it out!

We are all now back on our own boats, IK having been put back in and moving through the water like a hot knife through butter.

Our next trip was up to Cape May. Blew Beyond scouted the way and White Gold and IK followed on, after a quick repair to our fuel pipes.

To be continued……….

Apologies for lack of photos……. something is wrong with the internet connection and photos won’t upload just now :(

We left Brunswick on Thursday morning, with a little apprehension as gusts of 45 knots were predicted!

We have been out in worse, so with the wind coming off the land we knew the waves would be short, but not steep and decided we’d go for it.

Brunswick bridge left behind but visible for miles.

Brunswick bridge left behind but visible for miles.

We had a great sail for the first day, sailing on the stay sail, third of main and a scrap of genoa and making a steady 7.5 knots under a clear blue sky. At night we reduced sail and speed, so we didn’t have to go on deck in the dark to handle sails.
Friday we motor-sailed, as the winds had dropped. Thankfully the forecast rain didn’t materialise and we made enough distance north to be able to watch an all night electric storm display to the south and east of us…….lightning is our biggest worry out here. Storms build up every afternoon in the summer months and a lightning strike on a boat, if not terminal, is very costly as it tends to knock out all the electronics. At the first sign of a storm, we put the iPad, phones, kindles, laptop and the Garmin GPS into the oven, which we hope works as a faraday cage and isn’t us just being eccentric……..I hope we never have to test it!!

Our trip, needless to say, was not without a hitch…..We had to refill the oil twice en route, as the so far undetected oil leak got progressively worse. Luckily conditions were relatively calm for the pourings!
Arriving in Beaufort at eleven o’clock on Saturday night, we made fast to a long floating pontoon next to the docks and had a good night’s sleep. No one seemed to be around to take our money, so we cast off and made our way up to the historic part of town to a marina, it being my birthday and all.
Beaufort is a charming small town that makes its money mainly from tourism based around its age, the infamous pirate Blackbeard and the passion that people round here have for fishing. The town is old by US standards and there are streets of beautifully maintained clapper board houses, complete with stoops or verandas, established trees and shrubs and well manicured lawns. The one surprising trend is for ‘wild flower meadow’ strips of common ground and some front gardens, but that adds to the olde worlde charm.
Blackbeard was scourge of this coast, until he was captured and killed here. His severed head was hung from the bow of the British vessel that captured him, as a warning to others of the zero tolerance for piracy. Bad news for Blackbeard, but good news for the local pirate tripper boats!
There are very few deep draft yachts around here as the Outer Banks area around Hatteras is very shallow. The majority of boats are for fishing, either in the shelter of the barrier islands, or the bigger ones go out some 20 or so miles where the sea bed drops away and the Gulf Stream sweeps past. There are some huge fish to be had and the prize money for one competition next month is $1,000,000! Luckily we arrived well in advance or we wouldn’t have found a space at the marina!
On Sunday we took a stroll around the town and in the evening we went to the office to ask for the number of a taxi to visit Jim and Paula, who were cooking my birthday meal on board White Gold in a marina a couple of miles down the road. The guys in the office said not to bother with a taxi, but to borrow one of the marina cars overnight……now that’s real southern hospitality! The car was an iconic Buick Roadmaster station wagon which must have been at least 40 years old, but drove like dream.

On Monday we set about finding a mechanic to come and help find the oil leak that had us totally baffled.

Enter Brooks Heyland, a local heavy machinery and marine mechanic/magician! He found the source of the leak……a badly holed pipe from the turbo charger which he found by hanging upside down in the engine compartment. While there he noticed the engine needed its tappets adjusting……..off came the rocker box cover and the rattling tappets tightened for the first time in 25 years! He then took the broken mount for the 24v alternator away overnight to weld it together and then returned in the morning to refit it and rewire it, so now it is actually working and we can recharge the bow thruster batteries.

Finding Brooks was a godsend. So many mechanics are charlatans and aren’t worth their weight or wages, but when you find a good one they are like miracle healers, leaving you with a feeling of awe and well being and a grateful willingness to part with your hard earned cash.
We set off on Tuesday afternoon, as there was a good forecast for rounding Hatteras. Cape Hatteras has a reputation for throwing up very rough conditions when winds are from the north. This is the point where the warm Gulf Stream waters pass closest to the coast as it sweeps north and meets the cold currents flowing south from Canada. Get the weather wrong at your peril!
Thankfully we got it right and had a beautiful sail under clear blue skies, riding the current accompanied by several pods of Dolphins…….we never tire of watching them play on our bow wave.

Dolphins paying us a visit.

Dolphins paying us a visit.

Late on Wednesday evening, Marcus caught his first edible fish using his new rod. Previous attempts have snagged the occasional fish, but they have managed to escape with lures, or have broken hooks and lines. Normally I disappear when there’s a fish on the line, but after Marcus ‘played’ the poor thing for about half an hour, I took the rod and walked forward so the fish came alongside and Marcus could hook it on board with the gaff. I left Marcus to do ‘the deed’ by tipping rum in its gills and then he gutted and filleted it. Later we sat down to a very tasty supper and thanked our fishy for giving us five delicious meals……..(four in the freezer that has now been pressed into service) Although I don’t like the process, I can appreciate the result. What I don’t agree with is fishing for trophies rather than food.
We arrived here in Norfolk, Virginia, and are anchored for the night, before heading down to the top of the Intra coastal waterway for another birthday bash on board White Gold, this time for Jim’s 50th. It’s all go!

Our plans for Cuba are now officially shelved until the end of the year!

Marcus had an email from our leasee at the restaurant and he flew back to Blighty for a fortnight to meet up with her re the sale of the restaurant. It was very strange being alone on the boat, but it gave me uninterrupted time to get some sewing projects started. As with any job on the boat space is the thing in least abundance, so having the luxury of being able to leave things out from day to day was a definite bonus.

I started with what I thought would be the easiest task; the water and diesel jerry cans. The sun has already started to degrade the plastic, so although they weren’t on my original ‘to do’ list, I decided they would be an easy shape to ‘pattern’ first.

Fuel Jerry can cover, belted to the side gate.

Fuel Jerry can cover, belted to the side gate.

Having cut my teeth on the cans, set about designing and cutting the small outboard engine cover, which had it’s moments and the cover wasn’t the only ‘blue’ on the boat!

The sweat shop.

The sweat shop.

 

Small outboard engine covered.

Small outboard engine covered.

 

As I said, it was a luxury to be able to work through, without having to clear away every evening. After my first two efforts, I moved onto my first attempt at setting a zip!!! No problem! The bike bag replaces a completely shot piece of black nylon that was hanging in shreds from my steadily rusting bike. I made it a little larger than my bike, which looks and rides like a child’s bike, in the hope that I may get something a little bigger in the future. At the moment, when we go cycling Marcus pedals serenely ahead of what must look like a demented woman, peddling like fury chasing him!

 

Bike bag completed!

Bike bag completed!

With Marcus’ return, we were ready to stock up and head north. We had been in Fort Lauderdale for 5 months and were beginning to feel like locals……we could help anyone with directions, times of buses and where the best food stores  and bars were to be found!

The time came at last to up anchor……not the easiest or cleanest job after being anchored in the same spot for 4 months. The newly repaired deck wash pump and hose came into its own and the barnacles and thick mud of middle river were vanquished! We made our way down to the fuel dock to load up with fuel and water and then set off out into the Atlantic again bound northwards for Brunswick. Friends of ours had told us about a marina that seemed just too good to be true…..free laundry, free wifi, a friendly clubhouse and free beer every evening! Guess whose decision it was to come here!!

If only all marinas were like this…..reasonably priced, especially if you stay for a month or more, with great facilities and even free bikes to ride into town!

Barbecue and seating area at the top of each of the docks.

Barbecue and seating area at the top of each of the docks.

 

Brunswick Landing club house.

Brunswick Landing club house.

 

Book swap and computers. Free laundry around the corner.

Book swap and computers. Free laundry around the corner.

Books are a very important part of a cruisers life. We tend to get through a couple a week at anchor and maybe double that when on passage.

Meeting room in the clubhouse.

Meeting room in the clubhouse.

We are so impressed with the set up here, that we have booked in for September and October when we think the worst of the hurricane season takes place at this latitude. We could have stopped further north to avoid even more chance of hurricanes, but the weather here is warmer in the winter and the beer is certainly an incentive!

We’re planning to leave tomorrow morning and sail up to Beaufort, just below Cape Hatteras, where we will meet up with our friends, Jim and Paula on White Gold…..hopefully in time to celebrate my birthday on Sunday.

 

As some of you will already know, who have seen Marcus back in Blighty, our plans to go to Cuba have been put on hold again!
We had an email from the woman who is buying the restaurant saying that she would be in England in April and would like to meet with Marcus, if possible. As this is a very safe anchorage, and international airports in abundance in the vicinity, Marcus decided it was safe to leave me in charge for a fortnight!

Our good friends, Stamen and Durita, left at the beginning of the month and are making their north by stages.

Yet another fond farewell to Gaia.


We waved them off, thinking that we might catch up with them in New York, before they cross back over the Atlantic to the Faro Islands.

We spent another ‘first Sunday of the month’ at the Jazz in the Park and enjoyed the eclectic mix in the audience.

A very Colombian looking  Marcus with anApollo lookalike. and an 'Apollo' look alike.

A very Colombian looking Marcus with an Apollo lookalike.

Little girl with Jazz loving snake? Anything goes!

Little girl with Jazz loving snake? Anything goes!

 

Jobs are still to be found aboard. We have been looking for a bookshelf for months to take the cruising guides and technical, radio and cruising logs that regularly spill on the floor when on a starboard tack. Our search has turned up nothing, so we started looking for something that could be adapted. Bingo! We found a bamboo shoe rack that ‘Chippy Marcus’ cut up, fashioned, glued and screwed and then stained, to produce a very fine bespoke bookshelf.

Craftsman at work.

Craftsman at work.

Before.........

Before………

......After.

……After

Project complete, we were contacted by friends, Jim and Paula on ‘White Gold’, who were up in Cape Canaveral in are Marina overlooking the launch site for the Falcon 9 rocket to supply the International Space Station on the 8th. They invited us up, and as the bookshelf was complete, we had nothing to stop us! We hired a car and as Marcus’ flight was from Miami, it seemed a good idea to hire it for a week and put me on the agreement. Funny how the ‘worst passenger in the world’ suddenly allowed me to drive when the prospect of public transport reared its ugly head!

We spent a night with Stamen and Durita, who were a few miles north of Cape Canaveral……so much for seeing them next in New York!

View of the shuttle maintenance 'hanger' from Gaia, Titusville.

View of the shuttle maintenance ‘hanger’ from Gaia, Titusville.

We all drove down to Jim and Paula’s plus two Norwegian friends in the same anchorage. After picking ourselves up off the floor having been quoted silly money by a taxi company, we decided that we could fit all six of us in our hire car, with me sitting in the footwell!. We arrived just in time to watch the rocket launch.

In real life it is much smaller than ‘on the telly’, but the sound and the vibration were impressive.

And we have lift off. Look hard and you'll see the flare from the rocket!

And we have lift off. Look hard
and you’ll see the flare from the rocket!

Separation. The launching rocketed returned safely to a barge in the Atlantic.......amazing!

Separation. The launching rocketed
returned safely to a barge in
the Atlantic…….amazing!

We then retired to ‘White Gold’ for a barbecue. We met up with their neighbours, Mel and James on ‘Blew Beyond’ and spent the evening and night in good company.

A veritable feast! Mel and James enjoying a great barbecue.

A veritable feast! Mel and James enjoying a great barbecue.

Fire! Man must cook meat.

Fire! Man must cook meat!

Despite some sore heads, I t was up early the next morning to go and pick up Hugo, a young Dutch boy from S&D’s anchorage, who we had promised to take with us to the Kennedy Space Centre.

KSC without kids would be like Xmas without them! Our very enthusiastic companion, Hugo.

KSC without kids would be like
Xmas without them!
Our very enthusiastic companion, Hugo.

The KSC ( not to be confused with KFC ) is located on the island where all the space launches take place and we took a bus tour of the site.

The 'Crawler ' that takes the rockets Out to the launch pads at 2 miles and hour.

The ‘Crawler ‘ that takes the rockets
out to the launch pads at 2 miles and hour.

Alligator moving at 0mph!

Alligator moving at 0m

Scorched heat shield.

Scorched heat shield.

Once back at the centre we spent the whole day looking at the Saturn and Apollo exhibitions. The following photosare especially for Paul who it turns out is a bit of a space-aholic!

Saturn control centre.

Saturn control centre.

Saturn V rocket on its side.

Saturn V rocket on its side

All that rocket just to get the Capsule in the nose up to the moon and back.

All that rocket just to get the
Capsule in the nose up to the moon and back.

Apollo space capsule back safely from the moon. Awe inspiring.

Apollo space capsule back safely
from the moon. Awe inspiring

The loading bay that took all the materials up to build the International Space Station.

The loading bay that took all
the materials up to build the
International Space Station.

In the Atlantis centre. The Shuttle is much bigger In real life!

In the Atlantis centre.
The Shuttle is much bigger
In real life!

Pre flight checks!

Pre flight checks

Proud Brits. All the flags of the nations involved in the Space Station are on display.

Proud Brits.
All the flags of the nations
involved in the Space Station
are on display.

This was an inspiring and educational day and well worth the entry fee. We didn’t feel as though we were cash cows being herded through their honey trap…… Sorry for the mixed metaphors!

We returned to ‘Gaia’ for another happy evening with friends.

After all that excitement, things have returned to a much slower pace. I am coping with being on my own and apart from a rather scary thunder storm the other evening and having to deal with the bank over the cloning of my card, all is well.

With Marcus away I have uninterrupted space to get on with some sewing projects; making covers for the outboards, the fuel and water containers, making new bike bags and a spare Hydrovane blade cover, so I won’t have time to get bored, although I am missing him!