22/08/2016 – A Retrospective.

I wrote another post about three weeks ago but that has been irretrievably lost so now I have to rely on my memory which is not as good as it used to be! We left our comfortable anchorage in Sandy Bay, Rockport, Massachusetts on Monday morning (18/07/2016), aiming for Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In fact the anchorage we chose was across the harbour in Pepperrell Cove by Kittery Point, Maine where we anchored at 3.00 pm. The weather forecast from the coastguard suggested thunderstorms so we sat tight and waited. The forecast was correct: fortunately the wind didn't rise above 20 knots, the anchor held firm, the lightning was about a mile away and quite spectacular, and the storm passed quite quickly. On Tuesday we arranged to pick up a buoy just off Kittery Point Yacht Yard in the well protected Back Channel, booked a hire car, a hotel in New York for two nights and a car park close by. Our trip to New York was in order to collect a 240 volt inverter, carried across by Richard. No, we weren't so desperate that we paid a courier, he was visiting New York to attend a wedding in New York where he spent possibly the hottest Saturday of the summer dressed in a thick tailcoat! We had never been to New York so it was great to have Richard show us around on Thursday. We wandered through part of Central Park, hopped on and off the Metro system, looked inside the New York City Library which is a very grand building, saw many other iconic buildings and finished by visiting the apartment where Richard was staying with an old school friend and his wife. We returned to the hotel to change then retraced our journey to a Wall Street where we met Geraint and Lucy. We had a lovely evening with good company. Friday morning we retraced our track to Kittery Point Yacht Yard. We had dropped off our little Honda generator in Portsmouth on Wednesday morning but couldn't get back before the company closed on Friday evening so extended a car hire for another 24 hours. First thing Saturday morning we headed back to collect the Honda but were too early so spent some time in Walmart where I managed to pick up some more threads which the store in Peabody didn't stock. We then returned the car, caught a taxi back to Kittery and dropped the mooring just before midday to return to the anchorage. Early (for us) on Sunday morning we pulled up the anchor and aimed north and east towards Penobscot Bay. An 8 hour, 50 mile trip, saw us reach Casco Bay, probably the first of the jagged, rocky inlets along the Maine coast where the coast turns eastwards. Portland itself has a number of marinas, some rather bouncier than others as the river has a lot of traffic. We chose to anchor in a fairly sheltered area surrounded by Little Diamond Island to the north, Peaks Island to the east and Cushing Island to the south. Portland gets a good write up in the pilot book we bought but didn't suggest where we could land a dinghy! The only dinghy dock we found was on the south side of the river so we explored South Portland. 'Explored' is probably the wrong word, we made a beeline for a very good supermarket! Tuesday morning we pulled up the anchor and headed east with only a vague idea of a destination in the Boothbay area. We decided to aim for the Pemaquid River which has easy access but our various charts on paper, iPads and plotter all disagreed on depths! We anchored in Pemaquid Harbour with not much water under our keel at low water. We went ashore the next day, first to discover the lobster restaurant which used to be part of the fishing co-operative then crossed to the opposite bank to find the remains of an early British outpost. The museum was informative and all the remains of the town were identified though I think quite a lot of guesswork went into the usage of some of the buildings, not unexpected given the few remaining blocks! The castle was rebuilt in about 1900 and gave very good views over the bay. We went back to the boat for apperatives then straight back to the restaurant. John had lobster, what a surprise, and I had a cup of chowder and haddock. Unlike at home, the haddock was cut into pieces the size of McDonalds chicken nuggets then deep fried in batter so not the best choice for the diet! They stop taking orders at 7.00 pm and do not sell alcohol so it's a case of BYOB. Thursday morning we pulled up the anchor, felt our way out then headed further east to Rockland, the first town you reach in the Penobscot Bay Area which is a huge, wonderful cruising ground. Our reason for choosing Rockland was not the lobster festival but rather a 'gam' or meet of the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) to which all members of the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) were invited. The first event of the weekend was a dinghy raft up behind the lead boat, every dinghy bringing a dish of nibbles to pass and, of course, something to drink. As it was John's birthday we took a bottle of fizz. This was a very convivial evening, we didn't need dinner when we returned to Starblazer. The main event was held on Saturday when we started with a 'potluck' lunch followed by a talk about a cruising area in nearby Canada. On Sunday there was a ladies only event, a potluck lunch in the local museum, held under the banner of the 'Women Who Sail' Facebook group but all ladies were welcome. John went off to find lunch ashore, a lobster roll of course. We had nothing planned for the following two weeks so set about completing some jobs on the boat. John's first task was to remove the Webasto heater which stopped working shortly before we left the UK in 2013. While he did that I started to empty, sort and clean out the lockers in the forward cabin. We had begun to find lots of little beetle type creatures, less than 1/4 inch long, primarily in the forward cabin. I found the source! In Australia I bought bread flour in 5 kilo bags then divided it into smaller bags, the last bag which had been stored aft and was in the flour box was clean, the bags in the forward locker were infested. In another locker I found an unopened bag of rice, also bought in Australia, was also full of them and some had bitten their way out to attack a bag of pasta. Looking on the positive side I suppose it has lightened the boat! Since I cleared out all food with traces of beetles and cleaned all the cupboards with bleach spray we haven't found any more. Fitting the new heater has been a little problematical. Firstly the ducting distributing the hot air is a different diameter from what we had, secondly a significant section has gone missing. It was possibly tidied away when the Fischer Panda generator was fitted in New Zealand or when it was removed in Grenada, either way it's not there. John has had a lot of trouble trying to source new parts, we are not there yet but at least the heater started and put out hot air when he tested it very briefly. Somehow two weeks sped past with doing odd jobs on the boat interspersed with trips to the two big supermarkets, both about a mile and a half to two miles away. We also spent a day at the lobster festival and an evening at a country music concert. The second week there was the Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors Show which we went to. It was actually quite disappointing, not much of use to us and rather expensive though I did buy some Christmas tree decorations. The ice creams there were excellent! After two weeks it was time to move on, just about 11 miles to Camden Harbour where the OCC mini Maine Cruise was due to start. The next log will describe the cruise and explain why we are back in Rockland now! Joyce

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