October 14, 2013
We arrived in Provincetown, MA in darkness, carefully monitoring our chart and using our previous track to anchor at the same location we had stayed on our way north in July.
After setting the anchor and making sure all was secure, we retired for the night, planning to depart for the Cape Cod Canal in the morning. When morning dawned, we began to raise the anchor but soon discovered that some kind of line was snagged on the anchor chain. With our telescoping boat hook in hand, Bradley was able to free the line, but without knowing exactly what or where it was, we did not want to risk using bow thrusters or going forward as there was the possibility of catching whatever it was on a thruster or main engine prop. So we carefully backed away before turning and heading on our course. Only then did we see that the anchorage was peppered with lobster pots! This had not been the case back in July when we were last here and as we had entered in the dark we had not seen them the night before. Lobster pots are traps that sit on the bottom and allow lobsters to enter but not exit. Fishermen drop the traps from their boats and attach them to a line and a float that rises to the surface to mark their location. Later the fishermen will return to check the traps and retrieve any lobsters inside (crabs are also caught this way).
These pots pose a risk to boaters as the lines can become tangled in your propellers, causing big problems! The only way to navigate around these pots it to see them. Our main engine props are equipped with “cutters”, designed to automatically cut any lines that get wrapped around our props, but it is never desirable to use them! As we navigated out of the anchorage dodging pots, we wondered if we had run over any during our entrance – most likely we did! But all was well and we emerged with a clean anchor chain and freely spinning props.
It was a short run to the Cape Cod Canal which we passed through uneventfully. This canal has traffic control, so you are supposed to call and check in via radio, but there are no locks to pass through and on this day there were no large vessels passing through. We did pass one cruising boat that called us on the radio to say hello – it turned out to be the brother of Kristina from Summer Star! After passing through the canal, we continued on into the Sakonnet River. Bradley and I were flying out from Providence to attend a memorial service for Bradley’s dad in FL so we planned to leave the boat at the Nordhavn dock in Portsmouth. As we had a few days before our flights, we decided to anchor out for a couple of nights. We chose a nice looking area just south of Sandy Point and, soon were secure for the night.
In the morning I found an email that had come from someone on shore. She had seen us anchored right in front of her house, had googled us, and sent an email welcoming us. I replied and ended up inviting her out to visit us. She had a friend with a rowboat and soon Kathy and Nancy were rowing out to see us. We had a delightful visit with them which Kathy describes beautifully on her blog.
From there we headed on to Portsmouth and contacted our friends Dennis and Linda. Dennis is a big Red Sox fan and as they were on the verge of clinching their division championship I suggested we go to a game at Fenway Park, a place I have always wanted to go. Dennis said we’d never be able to get tickets, but a quick check of Stub Hub showed plenty of seats available at reasonable cost, so off we went! It was a great experience. Fenway was of course fabulous. We saw the Red Sox pitcher go 7 1/3 innings without giving up a hit before surrendering a home run, one of three we saw clear the Green Monster. The Sox won and the home crowd was happy.
We spent several days at the Nordhavn dock in Portsmouth and two guys from the factory in Taiwain were visiting to inspect another boat that was there. They came aboard Shear Madness and remembered her from when she was being built. They enjoyed the chance to see how well she has held up and we were able to show them many of the things we love about the boat as well as sme of the things that have been difficult to access for maintanence. It’s great to see the guys from the factory getting out to see boats on the water and talking with owners. That sort of feedback is critical to making continuous improvements in the design and build process. As usual, Ben, Dave, and Jen from Nordhavn were very helpful and made us feel very welcome. Also at the dock was Fotini, a brand new 68 foot Nordavn who we had met in Florida. It was good to reconnect with Andre, her captain, and Faith who along with husband Peter built and own her. We enjoyed watching some America’s Cup races together – what an incredible series. And though we were not initially fans of the super fast race boats, by the end we were marveling over what had been accomplished from an engineering perspective.
Our trip to FL was good – the memorial service was very well done – a great combination of humor and touching tributes with many people in attendance. It was followed by a Celebration of Life reception where we all remembered Ted. His final tribute will take place on December 11 when he is interred at Arlington Cemetery with a full military ceremony.
Upon returning to the boat, it was time to head south to the Chesapeake Bay. The weather looked good so we departed on Thursday 26 Sept for the ~375 mile trip. We arrived at the mouth of the Bay at 7 am on
Sat. September 28 and were feeling good, so we continued on to Deltaville, VA where we anchored in Fishing Bay. It was just about one year ago that we rode out Hurricane Sandy in almost the exact location where we were now anchored. Once again, the evening brought an email from a local resident who could see us from her house. We had no opportunity for a visit this time, but may meet when we pass by again in a few weeks.
Next it was on to Solomons, MD and we raised anchor and were soon underway. Upon entering the main waterway, we saw an AIS target appear on our radar and chart (AIS is a transmitter carried onboard larger boats that transmits identifying information and provides data on speed, closest point of approach, etc). When a target first appears, it shows up with an identification number only, with the ships name appearing only when you get a bit closer. As I watched the target I saw the name appear – it was Sweet Hope, the Nordhavn that guided us down the ICW after our lightning strike in 2011 and who we last saw in Halifax! We were going to pass very close to each other and had a chance for a nice radio conversation.
We arrived at Solomons Yachting Center and docked without any problems. We’ve had a chance to catch up with some friends who live here. We joined Amy and Barry for a wonderful dinner at Jerry’s Place, a great local restaurant with outstanding seafood and had a great dinner onboard with my old elementary/middle school friend Karen and her husband Mark. We also met up with Joe and Dawn, sailing friends who are at nearby Calvert Marina. We went out for Chinese food and also attended a local wine festival at Sotterly Plantation. There were over 20 wineries offering tastings and we had a great time sampling some of the up and coming MD wines. We returned to the boat to watch the Denver-Dallas football game as Dawn is from Texas and is a big Cowboys fan. It was quite a game, with 99 points scored and a last second field goal to win the game for Denver.
We found a local bridge club in nearby Lusby, MD and have played there a couple of times, meeting some nice people. We have also visited Calvert Cliffs State Park where we enjoyed a nice hike and I ran in the Calvert Medical Center 5K run/walk for breast cancer, placing 9th in my age group out of 97. Sounds impressive, but most of those 97 were walkers, not runners; nevertheless, it was a fun morning.
Now we are off on some more land travel – I to Colorado and Nebraska for my niece Robin’s wedding and Bradley to Florida to attend to some family issues. We will return in a few days and stay at Solomons through the end of October. Anyone in the area who is interested in visiting while we are here, please let me know! There is a 9-minute video of our passage availble by clicking here. Click on any photo to enlarge.