Friday, August 30, 2013

P-Town, Cape Cod or ….

Provincetown, located out at the eastern end of Cape Cod welcomes ships with its pretty standard looking lighthouse. This is the last standard looking commercial building you see. P-town, as it is known by the locals and those of us in the know, is one of the most tacky places you can imagine. It has a population of 3,000, except in the summer tourist season when it grows to 60,000. The 60,000 are made up of what I like to refer to as LGBTH crowd – that’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transvestite and Heterosexual crowd. Chris just does not seem to understand why I think this place is so tacky; she thinks it’s fun. I doubt it was this tacky when the Pilgrims stopped by in 1620 – but they even decided to settle across the bay on the mainland in Plymouth.
ptownIMG_3105 Flags are an important part of the decor.

Store front advertising

Chris said I had to stay out of this store.

OK, not all is tacky. This was a private metal art garden and stoneworks exhibit off the main drag.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Boston Tea Party

We picked up a mooring in the downtown Boston waterfront from Boston Harbor Sailing School. What a deal. $47 for the night with the water shuttle included in a world-class city.  I like Boston because you have two ways to get around the city. Take the Boston T train, aka subway, or just look down while you walk and follow the line in the sidewalk. Its the Freedom Trail and takes you to a bunch of old history stuff and past most of the Starbucks in Boston.
We took the Freedom Trail and stopped at the Old North Church made famous by the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem about Paul Revere:
Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea…...
Of course in those days the church was known as the North Church, not the Old North Church.
bostonIMG_3076 Paul is buried here – or at least somewhere within about 100 feet of here, as they have a tendency to move the headstones in Boston when they get in the way of the sidewalks and walkways. Paul’s birth year is engraved in the headstone as 1734, but Wikipedia knows better. Apparently there was some change in the calendar between then and now and in our calendar it was actually 1735.’
Paul Revere was born in the North End of Boston on December 21, 1734, according to the Old Style calendar then in use, or January 1, 1735, in the modern calendar
I’m thinking of using the New Style calendar for soliciting dates on Facebook – makes me look younger --- and the Old Style for applying for Social Security.
Paul Revere was born of a French Huguenot father. Dad spelt his name Rivoire. The French were really pretty key to the success of the Revolutionary War – not withstanding Freedom Fries.
 bostonIMG_3058 This is the organ that Mr. Revere and his compatriots ran past when they headed up the stairs to the church tower to signal the British were coming. Not sure if the yellow Don’t Tread on Me flag was hanging at the time.
bostonIMG_3066 Copp’s Hill Burying Ground (1600’s) – where a bunch of real old dead people are, including Paul Revere. The location was selected because it was well-protected from the “three great annoyances, of Woolves, Rattle-snakes and Musketos”.
bostonIMG_3055Here’s Chris turning the crank of the Benjamin Franklin designed Glass Harmonica. I guess the monkey who normally handles the crank was off on a banana break. Fascinating sound.
bostonIMG_3074 And Benjamin himself gracing the front of the former city hall and the site of the oldest public school in America built by Puritans in 1635. Attended by Benjamin, Sam Adams and John Hancock. It’s now a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Lucky Ben was not a vegetarian.
The Old State House, apparently before they leveled the streets.
A historic recreation in period dress of the Boston Tea Party from the deck of SV Georgia in Boston Harbor.
Revolutionary War Guinness flag.
We left Boston passing close by the Boston Light. The second oldest lighthouse in the US. This one was rebuilt in 1783 from the ruin of the 1718 light. Kinda cool to think of all the trans-Atlantic ships that have passed by here in the last few hundred years. Another lighthouse at the entrance of the harbor sits on a ledge known as The Graves; that’ll get your attention.

Friday, August 23, 2013

In Cod We Trust

gloucesterIMG_3020 We continued south and stopped in Gloucester, Mass, for a few days. Gloucester is the oldest fishing port on the East Coast. They are famous for being involved in massive Cod fishing industry of the past three centuries, leading to the over-fishing of the great banks offshore here. Today, the fishermen are still at it – those that are left. It is a tough business and getting tougher.
gloucesterIMG_3022 There’s a fair amount of conflict between the government fish managers, the Gloucester fishermen and the fish farms. The conflict is most clearly seen in the in-depth presentation available on bumper stickers,as in this store-front window we passed:
Tilapia is not fish
National Marine Fisheries Service: Destroying Fishermen and their communities since 1975
 and, my favorite
In Cod We Trust
The Perfect Storm (2000) Poster
Gloucester is probably most famous these days as the home port of the star boats that were in the 2000 movie The Perfect Storm. That’s the Andrea Gail heading up the face of that impossible wave.
gloucesterIMG_3028 We caught these tourists visiting the 1925 memorial to the thousands of lost crew and ships of Gloucester.
gloucesterIMG_3021 When we arrived at the dinghy dock we were greeted by our old friends Larry and Lena. They are our favorite token power boater friends (and incidentally sailboat circumnavigators), on their trawler Hobo. Our blog reader might recognize the renown black dog Captain Morgan pacing the dock – known for his famous 2011 Panama Canal Transit so ably documented on this blog.
They sure grow them big here, lobsters that is.
Gratuitous Maine boat porn picture

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Island Time, Maine Style

Sequin Island with the second oldest light house in Maine sitting on top. The original light was authorized by George Washington.
Today the light keepers house operates as a place for the volunteer summer caretakers to live and as a small time B&B. The B&B is cute, but the night life and restaurants are pretty limited --- in other words if you want anything beyond your breakfast muffin you have to pack it in from the mainland, along with packing out your own trash.
You can’t anchor in the bay here because of cables on the bottom that feed electricity to the island. Here’s Georgia and Kokomo rafted together on the Coast Guard mooring.
We packed a Victorian picnic lunch and hiked up the trail to the top.
It would have been a lot easier to just take the tram up. This thing is still in use to move supplies up the hill, but they wouldn’t let us take a ride. Some story about how the lighthouse family and dog and supplies in 1949 were being towed up when the cable let loose. The father and son jumped off, the mother threw the baby into a bush and the dog and mom crashed. She got severely hurt and the dog died. The baby that survived unscathed actually returned to the island with a TV film crew this summer for the first time since 1950. True story or not, we had to walk instead of ride in style.
seguinIMG_2975 The first order Fresnel lens is still in use. It now uses an incandescent bulb instead of having to have the mantle lit each night by the lighthouse keepers.
Next stop was Jewell Island where they have my favorite tourist stuff – rusty things. These are World War II lookout posts and gun batteries that were used to protect the Maine coastline from German U-boats. There were two of these multi-story cement spotter towers.
The view the WW-II soldiers had of the coastline while on watch.
Chris tried to steal some lobsters from a local’s pot and they threw her in jail.
I immediately took cover and blasted her free – good husband that I am.
While a bored Jewell Island caterpillar watched.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Monhegan Island

monheganIMG_2940We visited Monhegan island, which is about 10 miles offshore guarding the entrance to Penobscot Bay. It’s an island of hardy lobster fishermen during the non-summer months. In tourist time it has artists, beer brewers and small inn keepers and restaurateurs. They don’t lobster here while the lobsters are growing into their new soft shells.
monheganIMG_2901 Georgia on a tight mooring in the Monhegan harbor (with Kokomo in the back right). This is the first time we’ve actually paid for a mooring in Maine – the cheap cruisers that we are. The bottom here is supposed to be full of 300 years of junk, making anchoring a dicey operation.
The island is covered with good hiking trails that take you along the cliffs.
One hike takes you to the wreck of the tug Sherman, rusting away.
Monhegan trail critter – aka muskrat- munching fresh dandelion greens.
Free range island chickens hanging by their ride.
The K through 8 Monhegan School, perched on a hillside overlooking the harbor.

I just never knew they had blonde mermaids. I should have paid better attention in school.
Lobster gear waiting to be setup and wrap around the keels and props of unsuspecting sailboats.
Lobster traps waiting for the Monhegan season. When you see how dense the lobster pots are put down in Maine and you know the history of the fishermen of the area wiping out the Cod fishery on the banks, it seems like the last lobster will be caught anytime now. But it turns out that they aren’t really catching free range lobsters from the wild. It is far closer to lobster farming. They put great lobster treats in the traps. The small lobsters willingly jump in and get a great meal. Then when the traps are lifted, the undersized lobsters are thrown back in. They get hungry, find another trap and chow down. Eventually, in a few years, they get big enough to harvest. Sounds a lot like farming to me.
After all this hard tourist work, we stopped at the only outer island brewery in Maine for a cold pint of their ‘Lobster Cove’ brew.
Downtown Monhegan as seen from the harbor, one of our Maine favorites.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Lobster Pot Floats

One of the nice things about cruising Maine is that they offer you a wide variety of colorful lobster pot floats to run over. There is one of any primary color combination you’d like. Getting the pots wrapped around your propeller shaft is a bad thing. You’d think that sailing, instead of motoring, while traveling through these mine fields would get you by unscathed.
stoningtonDSC_0198 But no, here I am diving to cut off the float remnants off the shaft. We picked up two different pots sailing through Penobscot Bay – so far. The stuff on the right is what got cut off. Water temp was 62*F.
camdenIMG_2828 The weather has been pretty good up here in Penobscot Bay. We have caught both days of their summer. Or, as they say up here, If summer comes on a Sunday, they have a picnic.
After clearing the prop, we went into the fishing village of Stonington. Had a good visit at the Stonington Granite Museum– surprisingly interesting. These islands are made out of the tops of old mountains, solid granite. Then, after educating ourselves, we found ‘the’ open restaurant where we could get a beer on the patio.
Fortunately we didn’t stay for another beer, because when we got back to the dinghy dock we found the granite seawall trying to shred and/or sink Kokomo’s dinghy.

Sign at a local restaurant…You figure it out???? It must be a Maine thing. After ten, smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em.

The next morning we picked up anchor at Stonington to head to Mount Desert Island (pronounced dessert- it’s a French thing), which is part of Acadia National Park. At first, we just went around in circles, as we’d snagged some steel cable that was laying in wait on the bottom. A 20 minute extraction and we were off.
There are ‘windjammers’ all over the bay. These guys sail the heck out of these boats – gotta keep the customers happy. They sail through passes that we are nervous to motor through.
We anchored on the west side of Mount Desert Island. We saw a lobster boat picking up pots near by and took the dinghy over for some negotiations. Five lobster for $20.
And this always makes Becky happy. John and Lisa were pretty pleased too.
I don’t think the osprey do lobster. But they’re always out here fishing.