Tag Archives: Inspiration

Cruzin Down the NJ Coast

We finally feel like we are making some progress. Along the way we’ve been hit with some pretty rough water. Buzzards Bay, on the other side of the Cape Cod Canal on the way from Sandwich, Massachusetts was fine for a while but as we went further along the waves started getting larger. Our plan was to go to Mystic, Connecticut. We didn’t make it. Instead we headed up the Sakonnet River in Rhode Island to escape what was becoming a very uncomfortable ride. Entering the river, the waves were pushing us along. It’s not quite as fun in a boat as it is on a boogie board.

We spent three days in Tiverton, RI. It was a rather rustic marina but the owner was very nice. We were docked near the fuel dock so there was a steady flow of activity. Most interesting was when the owner fell into the water when handling the lines for an incoming boat. Tim happened to be nearby and managed to push the boat off the dock so Ken could get up the ladder. Even though it was a very chilly day, Ken continued with his work fueling the boat, soaking wet. Just another one of those hearty New Englanders.

When we finally got a day that didn’t have gale force wind warnings, we set off for Mystic. Again, it was just a window of decent weather. We hugged the shore to ward off the larger waves but it was a bumpy ride. More bad weather was predicted. Mystic was a good place to be stuck so we were determined to get there. Also some dear friends live near there and it would be great fun to see them. Other friends were passing through the area at the time and we got top visit with them as well. Mystic was a great stay.

When the weather cleared we started making our way. Once again we were walloped by waves. The NOAA forecast had called for 1-2 foot waves. No such luck. It was more like 4-5 foot waves and not a lot of fun. We didn’t make it to our destination. We had thought once we entered Long Island Sound things would calm down a bit. We were wrong, at least on this leg. Regardless, we had a pleasant stay in Branford, CT.

Hurray! Good weather with calm seas, finally! We crossed over Long Island Sound and stayed close to shore until we arrived in Manhasset Bay, Port Washington, NY. It was such a treat to have a nice boat ride and not clinging on to grab bars for hours on end. We were now well positioned to hit Hell Gate in the morning. The wind started kicking up in the morning so we decided to wait another day before moving on. We were no longer in New England, that was a milestone. Hell Gate, where Long Island Sound meets the East River, was to be our next challenge.

When we left the marina it was about 11:00. A good time as far as the tides were concerned. It was going to be a little breezy, but not bad enough to cause another delay. Our first landmark was the Throgs Neck bridge. There weren’t a lot of boats going through when we did which helped. Wakes from other boats along with the currents makes for a bumpy ride. Going passed Rikers Island was interesting. It looked to be it’s own little city. We passed the United Nations building and then headed towards the battery. We went under several bridges along the way. The best part of the trip was passing by the Statue of Liberty.

Going back out into the ocean and down the New Jersey coast could be difficult. We wanted to be going in the morning when we were fresh so we needed to find a place to stay. Atlantic Highlands has a town marina and it’s close to where we wanted to leave from. The other wonderful side benefit was seeing two old friends. One friend was from grammar school and one from college. Renewing old friendships is such a heartwarming event. The perfect ending to a great day.

Today, we made it down to Point Pleasant, NJ, and into the Manasquan River. We have all our lines securely tied. Sometime around midnight a nor’easter is going to hit us. Never a dull moment on this adventure.

Plymouth Rock ‘n Roll

Our goal for the day was to reach Sandwich, Massachusetts. The course we set was about seven miles off shore. That way we had a straight shot down the coast without a lot of course changes for the various capes and rock outcroppings. In hindsight, perhaps staying closer to shore might have been a better alternative. We were fine for the first hour but then things started to get cranked up. Rolling waves turned ugly and white caps were getting more and more plentiful. When things started flying around the cabin and we were holding on to the grab bars good and tight, we called it quits. It was time to head towards the shore.

Fortunately, we were near Plymouth Harbor. As we got closer to shore the waves subsided but we’d had enough at that point. I was also determined that when we hit rough water I would have things securely placed. Really though, I was hoping to not be in conditions like that again. I know that was wishful thinking but eventually we will be in calmer waters.

We were able to get a mooring through the Plymouth Harbor Master. The next step, after tidying up was to get to shore with Tigger. It was time to try out the new dingy. The smart thing would have been to try it out before we left but time got away from us. Times have changed since Tim last used an outboard motor. Apparently the kill switch was now needed to start the engine. Problem is, it was back in Falmouth! When we determined that was the reason it wouldn’t start, the oars came out. Tim called Judith, his cousin in Falmouth and I called my brother in New Jersey. She’d ship the kill switch to him and we catch up with him when we get there.

It turned into a very nice stay in Plymouth. We wandered around the next day reading all the historic plaques. Of course we had to see Plymouth Rock. We were also looking for information about William Brewster, a distant relative of Tim’s mom. Just what the relationship is, we aren’t sure but I was looking for information about Grandpa Brewster. In our travels we were able to get a couple of cups of coffee, which was much appreciated on such a chilly morning.

Back on the boat we were once again heading out. This time for a shorter distance and closer to shore. We pulled into the Sandwich Marina and settled in for the night. We checked with the folks there about what tide we should attack the Cape Cod Canal. They assured us that we’d have no problem leaving first thing in the morning. Gale force winds were being predicted for later in the afternoon.

We got off to an early start and it was quite calm and lovely. We knew it wasn’t going to stay that way so we pushed on as far as we could before it started getting bad. This time only two items got thrown around in the rough seas. It was another trip where we were hanging onto the grab bars. As a result we are sitting tight until we get a good weather report. The gale force winds should subside by Thursday or Friday. Patience is key here but I’d really would like to get beyond New England!

Day 1 Greetings from Portsmouth Harbor

We finally left Falmouth, Maine and headed south. But with all good plans, snafus happen. We were supposed to leave last week, then yesterday, but small craft advisories kept us from home a few more days. We’d hoped to get the first launch out at 9:00 a.m. but it wasn’t until 10 that we got it all together. Chuck took us out to Little Prince and shared a few insights from his cruising adventures. We were really good to go now. With all the delays we felt even better about tying up lose ends and being ready to go. Then, as we were getting ready to cast off I tried to push a neighboring mooring ball away from the back of our boat. I couldn’t. Somehow it was tangled up with our boat.

We lowered the dingy to try and get a better angle on the problem. Some pulling here and tugging there isolated the problem. Tim took a knife and cut through the tangled line. A few good pulls and the other end came through. A quick knot and that mooring ball was back in working order.

We were now free to head out through Hussey Sound and into the Atlantic. There were three foot waves just as predicted and it was a bumpy ride. We moved a little closer to shore and the waves lessened. As we continued south the waves lessened even further. It turned into a very pleasant ride. Not only were the waves minimal, it was in the high 70’s. Unusually warm for Maine in October.

Our first stop, Portsmouth Harbor. We’re staying on the Maine side but it’s from renting a mooring from the Portsmouth N.H. Yacht Club. When we stopped at the dock so I could walk Tigger, I found it reassuring to see all the New Hampshire license plates on our walk. New Hampshire will always have such a special place in my heart.

It’s always so curious to see familiar places but from this different vantage place. One morning when I lived in Hampton Falls I got up before the sun to watch the sunrise over this very harbor. The lighthouse that marks the entrance of the harbor was the subject of a couple of paintings as well, Whaleback Lighthouse. It’s one of those rugged ones, not a pretty white one. Tonight, it’s sitting out our starboard window, diligently flashing ever 4 seconds. Maybe I’ll get some more sunrise pictures in the morning.

Getting Home

Newburyport, Massachusetts is home to a lively old town

Day two of bringing Little Prince home to Maine was a very pleasant outing. Having figured out the automatic pilot, we were one step closer to enjoying our new boat. This was especially true during the last leg of our trip because it was farther out to sea with no obstructions. Before we got to that point, we needed to get back down the Merrimack River. It’s one of those places where local knowledge is key and instinct deceives. The middle of the river is not the deepest section.

We’d gotten out of bed and had some muffins we’d purchased the night before for breakfast. We were concerned about what tide it was and when we should leave. Did we need the extra water from a higher tide? There wasn’t much activity on the river at first but then we saw a couple of boats start to head out. One was a rather large pleasure boat going at a fairly good clip. Tim turned on the engine and headed out after them. Clearly, they knew the way and would be drawing more water than Little Prince.

Six miles off the coast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire is a small group of islands called the Isles of Shoals.

Once we cleared the mouth of the river and headed out to sea we set our course for the Isles of Shoals. That was another place I’d often heard about but had never been. It’s several small islands off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine, six miles out to sea from Portsmouth. We weren’t planning on stopping there but we could at least get a look. The islands are no longer inhabited for the most part except for visitors during the summer staying in the hotel on Star Island. Before the days of air conditioning, it was a popular vacation spot for people from Boston and New York.

Eastern Lighthouse

Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth, Maine is home to two lighthouses, this being one of them.

In clearing the islands we were then in Maine. We still had a ways to go, but just having made it to Maine was an accomplishment. Our other accomplishment for the day was riding in the flying bridge. We had stayed in the cabin the day before but we were going to be a little braver on day two. We had some trouble figuring how to shift all the controls up there, but we could steer so that was enough. Occasionally we had to do a little steering to avoid a lobster buoy but by and large, we just sat back and enjoyed the ride.

This trip was clearly a good starting point in seeing what we needed to think about and prepare for when making our way down to Florida.

 

Scheduling

Every morning I get my schedule through Google mail, and every morning it says “Nothing Scheduled”. Of course that isn’t true but that’s what it says. The fact that I don’t write down what I need to be doing has a lot to do with it.

It seems like it would be a perfect world if I planned my schedule, a month or even a week at a time and followed it. But it never seems to work that way. I’ll be working away at a project, say a painting, some design work or work for the Monadnock Area Artist Association and then suddenly something comes up and everything changes. Now that’s no excuse for not writing down what my plans were, as oppose to keeping that in my head, but some degree of flexibility is required. Although if I had a plan, maybe things wouldn’t sneak up on me.

Take last Friday for instance, I was planning to continue work on a web site I am designing for a client. Thursday I had developed a banner and Friday I could work on some page layouts. But then a deadline attacked me. There was a posting on Facebook by a friend about sending Christmas cards to men and women in the service. I copied it to share but was thinking in the back of my head that this same thing had come around last year and there was a problem with the address. I thought about researching further but didn’t. When another friend commented that she’d gotten letters back from doing that last year, I did the research. It turns out it was the wrong address. I re-posted the correct address but, as happened to me last year the deadline was the next day.

As is my want to do, I always have to make things more complicated than they need be, but I like to make the extra effort when I can. As with last year I wanted to make some hand painted cards. I just figure it’s something I can do to show service people they are appreciated. So instead of continuing with my design project, I painted three cards and rushed to the post office and brought them to the desk to make sure they were postmarked for December 1oth.

Now if I am ever going to reach that goal of writing down schedules and being organized, I should jump on my google calendar for next year, say, December 1 and tell myself to start painting Christmas cards  – done, scheduled December 1, 2011, Holiday Cards for Heros (http://www.redcross.org/holidaymail); I’ll be sure and remind you too.

Why, You Ask?

It’s great re-connecting with old friends, and being originally from New Jersey and telling folks I now live in New Hampshire, I often get the question why. All people seem to know of New Hampshire is that it’s cold and it gets a lot of snow. And in truth we like to complain about that here too. It’s what we talk about when we see friends and neighbors at the town dump, oopse, recycling center, the post office and the grocery store. And we do nothing to dispel such perceptions, preferring to have people think we are rugged and capable of handling anything nature throws at us which in part is quite true, using the term “us” loosely.  Although I must say, I think I have adapted to life here quite well, I pride myself on my wood stacking abilities and I’ve tended to farm animals, hacked ice off the eves of the house and even held elected office here (it too is part of the New Hampshire experience).

Aside from all of that though, there are days in Autumn when we say this is why we live here. Yesterday was such a day. Days like this, the air is crisp and fresh, the sun is warm and the sky being the most spectacular shade of blue is only the beginning. The trees absolutely glow with brilliant color. So instead of blathering on and on about how friendly people are here, which they are, and what a great place it is to raise children, which it is I’m just going to share some pictures of “Our Town” – which it also is, with you.

A farm on Windy Row in Peterborough

What I see when I setp out my front door and look up.

At the end of my road is the Contoocook River, always full of color in Autumn.
The Contoocook River down by the plaza

More of the Contoocook.

Walking the dog this morning, my road

 By way of follow-up, this is my studio all ready for company. “Like I said out of chaos comes order”