Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Flash

Rockland Public Library

The SSB is fixed. At least mostly fixed. After exhausting every other possibility, the technician returned the theory of inadequate ground. He connected a new wire to ground in parallel with the old one and the transmit current jumped from 10 to 15 amps.

The primary ground is a strip of copper ribbon about 4 inches wide that runs from the antenna tuner to the through-hull grounding plate. The ribbon makes a ground connection and also provides a ground plane for radio propagation. The ribbon is old and worn. I found fragments of it in the bilge. Perhaps it was damaged by the work being done or by the lightning.

Anyhow, the SSB is good enough for now. I'll plan on replacing the copper ribbon myself. Meanwhile, we can leave Rockland tomorrow morning. The weather report sounds good. :)

So Very Very Close

Rockland Harbor, N 44 06.664 W 69 05.823

Everything works -- Almost. The new Furuno radar works, and the screen is much better and echoes easier to read than on the old radar. The new Raymarine wind meter works, and it too is much easier to read than the old one. The GPS to PC interface works. The ICOM 710 SSB works, I am able to send and receive email via sailmail. That's how I'm posting this blog.

We even relocated the GPS and the radar. Before they were mounted on the top of the wet locker. The disadvantage to that is that the screens were too far away to read easily and that all operations and button pushing had to be done down below. The helmsman would have to leave his/her station to operate the GPS or the radar. That's not the best practice. Our cure is to mount the GPS and the radar on a swinging arm. Now we can swing them out to the companionway door entrance and view them and operate them from the helmsman's station. We can swing the arm the other way to see them and view them inside when sitting at the navigator's table. It's a definite operational improvement.

The only thing that doesn't work (apparently) is the SSB tuner. The tuner matches impedances between the SSB and the antenna for maximum power transfer. It does this frequency sensitive adjustment on command from the SSB. It doesn't appear to be working because when I transmit, the radio consumes only 6-10 amps of 12 volt power. The minimum is 20 amps and before the lightning strike our old radio used 25 amps. The net effect is that the radio works but only at low power. I can send emails via a station in Nova Scotia less than 100 miles from here, but I can't contact really distant stations. Long distance communications is the whole point of SSB radio so we can't accept it in this state.

The Ocean Pursuits technician was out here 4-5 times today with different ideas for diagnostic tests suggested by the manufacturer ICOM. None of them worked. We'll have to continue tomorrow.

From Libby: I had a great time at the Farnsworth Art Museum, There were some Winslow Homer paintings, along with paintings by N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, and James Wyeth with a tour given by Andrew Wyeth's granddaughter. It is a great collection for such a small town.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

A Cold Cold Day

Rockland Harbor

Today has been cold and drizzly. It feels like late October. But the forecast for the rest of the week sounds OK.

Well, we were gone for 10 days. The break was nice. It was certainly good for Libby and I to have time with the grand children. In addition, John and Cheryl had a good week in Washington, we got to spend a day with my sister Marylyn, and we also got to see friends, Jerry and Phyllis, Bud and Nan, and John and Mary Ann. I even got to spend a few hours at the West Charlton fire house shooting the breeze with the guys.

While we were gone, Ocean Pursuits worked on Tarwathie. They did a nice job installing the new radio, and the radar, and the wind meter. They had to take the mast down and put it back. They had to route cables and they did such a nice job that it is neater than when they started. There is still some work to do, so we'll be here at least one more day.

Should we sail south with Hurricane Ernesto heading North? No. We'll stay close by safe anchorages until it is safely past. We're also in no hurry to leave Maine. We could stop and visit Bath and/or Portland on the way south. We didn't see those places on the way up.

Our plans for September are loose. We had hoped to sail with John and Mary Ann in mid September, but that will be put back a month or so. We also had hoped to sail with Sten-Orjan from Sweden for a week, but he had to cancel also. Perhaps 2007 for him. I guess we'll go back down and spend more time in the Chesapeake. There are still numerous Chesapeake gunkholes that we haven't seen and others that we would like to revisit.

That means we'll be making a 3 day passage from Rhode Island to Cape May NJ sometime after labor day. Anybody want to go for a ride?

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Back On The Water

Rockland Maine

We made it back onboard Tarwathie by 1800 today. It sure feels good to get back on the water.

A longer blog can wait until tomorrow.

Meanwhile, if this blog gets through, it demonstrates that the SSB radio is fixed.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

A week off

South Burlington Vermont

We are in Vermont, enroute to Rome New York to babysit the grandkids for a week.

Tarwathie is in Rockland in the hands of Ocean Pursuits. They will hopefully repair the radar, SSB and wind instruments while we are gone. We also took advantage of the hiatus to take the sails to a sailmaker for mending.

No more blogs this week. If the SSB radio gets repaired, I'll post one on the 28th or 29th

A contestant in the Great Lobser Crate Race

As described in the From The Lobster Fest, one has to be light in weight and fleet of foot to succeed.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Charmed For Lunch

Belfast Maine Public Library

We came into the harbor today and rented a mooring. Belfast is very reasonable and provides good facilities. When you come here be sure to meet harbormaster Cathy. She's a pip.

Our Westsail friends, Don and Margaret met us in town and invited us to their home for lunch. What a treat! They have a charming little cottage in Bayview. Bayview was a former religious retreat with lots of cottages all built around the same time mid 19th century. When Libby and I first set eyes on it, we both exclaimed "Round Lake." Round Lake is a village near Saratoga Springs NY that is also very charming and of the same concept and style as Bayview.

Margaret runs Bayside Cottage Rentals as a business, and Don helps out. They manage weekly rentals for 35 cottages in and near Bayside. It sounds like a rat race. They described for us how they have to scramble every Saturday to turn around the rentals in just 5 hours. One family leaving, clean up, then another family arriving. Their dream is to live the cruising live on Heron, their Westsail 32, much like what Libby and I are doing. Working as hard as they do, it's easy to understand how appealing cruising would be.

Check out their web site. I'm sure that a number of our friends would love one of these Bayside cottages for a vacation.

We heard Margaret and Don both describe how they plan to adapt their life styles and their avocations to accommodate the wishes of the other. Two people that willing to adapt have an excellent chance of succeeding in living their dreams. We wish them fair winds and safe voyages onboard Heron. Hopefully, someday we might meet them in some cruising location.

Margaret is not only lovely but also talented. She does art with ceramics and plastics and she has already figured out how to do it onboard the boat. Perhaps they could supplement their income that way.

Don and Margaret

Is your head swelled?

Do you need a dose of humility? If so, have a look at this picture.

Around Penobscot bay

This schooner is in trouble. See the guy out on the boom?

Part of the tin wall and ceiling. Congregational Church, Searsport

Stained glass window, Congregational Church, Searsport

Don Lacoste on his Westsail 32, Heron
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Monday, August 14, 2006

In and Near Moore's Harbor, Isle Au Haut




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Belfast

Belfast Maine, N 44 44.842 W 68 49.385

Monday, August 14, 2006

Well we reluctantly left Moore's Harbor this morning. Boy did we like
that place. We were driven however by business. I had to check on the progress of the estimate for repairs, and to check with our son John about transportation from Rockland. Our cell phone didn't work on Isle Au Haut (usually a blessing) so we had to leave to find a cell signal. We'll see. Perhaps we can get back there this week.

On the way up here we stopped for lunch at Butter Island. I spotted that on the way to Isle Au Haut last week. Butter Island has something very rare and desireable -- meadows; wild meadows. It's been a long time since we walked in a real meadow on a sunny day, not a hay field, not a lawn but a meadow. Hopefully there would be berries to pick. We anchored, found a trail and hiked up to the top of the hill where the meadow was. It was just as pleasant as we hoped, except that the berries were all picked or dried up. Too late for that. Anyhow, Butter Island is very nice.

After Butter Island we set sail again. The winds were brisk, about 20
knots. I went below for my nap. After the nap Libby said that she and
Tarwathie had been having a great time. We were surging along at more than 7 knots, and Libby said that we passed three larger sailboats as if they were standing still. People keep saying that Westsails are slow. Actually, when the winds are 20 knots or more, she is stiffer and can outperform many boats up to 50 feet long.

Tomorrow I'm going in search of a library in Belfast to see if I can
post these blogs.

Next week we're going to Rome NY to babysit the grandchildren for a
week. Libby really needs grandkid time. Our thought is to leave the
boat in Rockland near the place who will repair her. Perhaps they can
do it while we're gone or upon our return.

My watch is unhappy. It is the kind of watch that automatically
synchronizes with station WWV in Fort Collins Colorado every night.
With nightly synchronizations to the time standard, it is alsmost always accurate to with 0.5 seconds. However, Maine must be too far from Colorado. The watch hasn't succeeded since July 31. Now it is three minutes off. Tsk tsk.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Another day in Paradise

Isle La Haut, N 44 03.223 W 68 38.777

We were supposed to sail to Bar Harbor today but a funny thing happened. The beauty of Moore's Harbor where we are anchored is just too much. We compared that to what we have been reading about the Bar Harbor region -- crowded harbors, watch out for cruise ships, tourist trolleys, crowds. There can be no beauty there that surpasses where we are right now. It was no contest. Once again, and for the fourth time, we will stop short of Bar Harbor because we enjoy it right where we are.

Rowing across the harbor this morning, I saw a seal poke his head up in the dinghy's wake. He must have been wondering what the noise was. He turned around, saw me close, started, and quickly dove back in the water.

We spent most of the day reading books, and beachcombing. I found a collection of lobster trap buoys to give to someone for decorations. I also found lots of pieces of strong rope on the shore. I used some of them to practice splicing, then I made up a new strong painter for the dinghy out of several short lengths spliced together. I also made a small shell collection to show to the grandkids. It is great fun wading in the shallows because of all the plant and animal life that lives there.
This evening after supper I was sitting out in the cockpit. I heard a splash behind me. I turned my head to look and I saw a osprey lifting off the water with a fish in his claws. Just as he flew behind our stern, I heard a sharp screech and the osprey dropped the fish and the eagle swooped by. Then the eagle flew off to the shore, perched on the top a tree, and gave out several more screeches. I think that it was a dominance thing. The eagle didn't want the osprey to have that fish.

Heaven aside, the word paradise is used most frequently with reference to tropical places. I love the tropics but I think that the colder climes offer much more beauty. Maine is wonderful. Lake Champlain, and the Baltic in Sweden and Finland, were also wonderful. Norway was stunningly beautiful According to the tales, the waters of British Columbia offer even more of a paradise. I hope to sail there sometime, and to sail to New Zealand too. I vote for temperate paradises over tropical paradises. Nevertheless, we'll soon head south to avoid the cold of winter.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Never Say Never

Isle La Haut, N 44 03.223 W 68 38.777

Saturday August 12, 2006

We sailed down to Duck Harbor on Isle La Haut today in search of beautiful nature. We found it. Most of this island is part of Acadia National Park and it is wild and unspoiled. Duck Harbor is very small and narrow, and it took me three tries to anchor satisfactorily. We rowed ashore and set off on the hiking trail. In just a few minutes we came upon a clearing and Libby spotted berries. Not just any berries but wild raspberries. We enjoyed ourselves greatly picking berries. That's the first time since living in Sweden that we picked berries.
We chose the trail for Duck Harbor Mountain. It was an easy climb and it took us less than a half hour. That's my kind of mountain. I remember climbing Camels Hump Mountain in Vermont. On those climbs I was tired after the first 25% of the way up and wished that we were at the summit. This mountain was more modest. The reward for achieving the summit was a spectacular view of the island, of Penobscot Bay, the sailboats plying her way, and of the mainland and the mountains behind the bay. Since this was a low humidity day, the air was clear and visibility unlimited. It was a very rewarding moment. Rewarding enough to justify the journey up here from Yucatan to see it.

When we returned to Tarwathie the wind had picked up and blew straight in on the narrow harbor. That made me feel very insecure so I decided to move us to a more secure anchorage for the night. That turned out to be not so simple. We raised the anchor and started out but just a few hundred feet out I heard the unmistakable sound of something fouling the propeller. I quickly put it neutral and stuck my head over the side to see what. Sure enough we had the line of a lobster pot wrapped around the propeller. Oh no! One should never say never. We had been telling everyone that we weren't afraid of the lobster traps because of Tarwathie's full keel and skeg rudder. It made it nearly impossible for a trap line to foul our propeller. Indeed, we had numerous times that we heard the trap floats scraping down the length of the hull only to appear harmlessly in our wake. Well famous last words -- this trap proved me wrong.

I jumped into the dinghy to see if I could dislodge the float and the line easily. No luck. The waters were very choppy and the stern heaved up and down several with each wave. One time it came down on the dinghy and half swamped it. It was filled with two feet of water and nearly sunk. I scrambled back onboard. Libby asked if we could use a sail. "No!" I said, "We're on a lee shore. The sail would drive us into the rocks. Besides the lobster trap should anchor us." "Well," she said, "We're drifting toward those rocks behind you." I looked and she was right. We were now only 100 feet away from a huge boulder sticking out. The depth was 60 feet -- too deep to anchor within 100 feet of shore. Nevertheless, I rushed to throw out an anchor with 100 feet of rode. That's far too little scope but more rode would have let us drift into the rocks. Then I scrambled below to fetch my mask and snorkel, ran back up on deck and jumped into the cold cold water.

Back at the propeller, I Iooked astern. The rocks were only 50 feet way. Then I looked down. I could see that the trap line was wrapped around the shaft with 5-6 turns. I braced my feet on the hull and pulled with all my might on the line, but nothing budged. Then I pulled my switchblade knife from my pocket and began sawing at the 6 turns of line. Boy was it fortunate that I had a snorkel and mask and that Tarwathie's propeller is shallow enough for me to work with the tip of the snorkel still above water. The boat was still pitching violently fore and aft so I had a wild ride. It took about 10 minutes to saw through the turns and to pull all remnants of the line loose. In reality it might have been 5 minutes or 20 minutes. It's hard to estimate time under those circumstances. When I was done I looked back at the rocks. Good! We hadn't drifted any closer -- the anchor held.

I climbed back on board and told Libby that we could use the engine to keep off the rocks. Then to the next task. 60 feet is too deep for anchoring. One has to pull up the full weight of the chain vertically. I had 40 feet of chain plus 20 feet of rope out, and the wind was still blowing and the boat still pitching in the waves. I had to winch up the rode inch by inch using the windlass and it was very hard work. Perhaps it had caught on a mountain of old lobster traps below because it took much more than normal force to break it loose from the bottom. I think that took longer to raise the anchor than it took to cut the line off the propeller. During that time Libby labored to use the motor and the rudder to try to hold us stationary and bow into the wind.
Finally we were free and we motored away, this time keeping a sharper eye than ever out for lobster traps. Libby said that this event put Tarwathie in more peril than anything we've ever done before. Perhaps so.

We didn't have to go far to find a secure anchorage. Only a mile away we sailed into a tranquil cove. In an instant we moved from peril to idyllic nature. In short order we saw dolphins, a seal and an eagle. 5 minutes later we were anchored securely and looking a picture perfect cottages on the slope above and small children rowing around in a skiff. I was chilled to the bone so I went below to change and to huddle under a blanket for an hour. When I returned above decks after an hour or so the eagle was still there and there was a rainbow in the eastern sky. Maine really is beautiful.

I just resharpened my knife. I'm very glad for my policy of always having a sharp knife in my pocket. It is the single most importand emergency device one can have.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Andrews Island

Andrews Island, Penobscot Bay, Maine N 44 80.796 W 68 42.114

Friday, August 11 2006

Tonight we anchored near an upopulated island, went ashore, hiked around the perimeter, then cooked supper over an open flame. Years ago that was our favorite activity when sailing on Lake Champlain or in the Stockholm Archipelago in Sweden. Curiously, this is the first time we did it on tarwathie. The key is population density and geography. One needs unpopulated islands, with shores steep enough to anchor in close, and firm enough that one can walk on the shore. Ideally they should have rock beaches. Some of the Maine islands, like this one, fit the bill. It was a great pleasure. The hot dogs that we roasted over the fire are the best tasting hot dogs anywhere.

It also reminds me of the fun I had sailing with my friends in Finland. To them the sausages they cook on the open fire on the islands are the food of the gods. I can't disagree.

The sky was particularly beautiful today. There were widely scattered cumulus clouds. A few of those clouds had rain skurs below them. We could see the rain from 50 miles away. As we came toward sunset we could see three or four of those distant rain clouds backlit by the setting sun. At midday, I was sitting on the deck sewing the jib when it rained on us. The rain only lasted for 10 minutes, but the whole 10 minutes we also sat in brilliant sunshine. It was a unique setting.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Rendezvous in Searsport

Searsport Harbor, N 44 26.982 W 68 55.290

Thursday, August 10 2006

Did you know that the little town of Searsport was once home to 10% of the sailing ship captains in the USA? We learned that today at the Penobscot Maritime Museum. A fine museum she is too. It is a collection of homes and churches on one block of one street that was at one time the home of wealthy captains. Today, Searsport appears to be a small place with less than 1000 people.

Being captain of a merchant ship in the 19th century could be a very profitable profession. The ones who came back alive were able to live very comfortable lives. The built and furnished fine homes that are still in excellent shape today 150 or more years later. They also built a magnificent church with stunningly beautiful stained glass windows and, since 1902, sheathed with ornamental tin from ceiling to floor. The tin preserved the building much better than plaster so that even today, the First Congregational Church stands in mint condition.

The museum's buildings are full of great artifacts and exhibits. Libby and I both learned much about history and about seafaring at the museum. On a scale of 1 to 10 I rate the New York State Museum, built with unlimited millions, as 5. The Jamestown Settlement, which also appears to have unlimited millions behind it, I rate at 6. The Herreshoff Museum, done with private money, as 7. The Penobscot Maritime Museum, obviously done with much less money, a 9. If you are ever up in this region, visit it.

At lunchtime we returned to Tarwathie to rendezvous with Don on his Westsail 32, Heron. We learned about Don on the Westsail Owners Association web site, and we promised to meet with him when we got to Maine. Don and his wife Margaret are on the verge of retirement and looking forward to the cruising life. Don has been working on Heron for two years. He did a wonderful job. Heron is one of the finest Westsails we've seen, second only to Tarwathie. Don said that when he bought her, she didn't look good. Kudos to Don for a fine restoration job. We'll be meeting Don again before leaving Maine.

After our lunch with Don, we went back to the museum to study and learn still more.

We're also enjoying the natural beauty of Penobscot Bay. It makes us realize how much we've missed seeing mountains near the shore. That's a sight we haven't seen since leaving the Hudson River last years. The southern states are so flat that there is very little visible from the water.

Another enjoyable thing about Maine sailing is seeing so many classical schooners, and fine old wooden yachts. There seems to be far too many of them to all be tourist day sail cruisers. They are beautiful to behold with all their sails up.

The weather in Maine has been splendid. Cool air and low humidity have prevailed on most days. We're expecting some storms tonight as a front passes but after that, the forecast is for several more sunny days with moderate breezes, low humidity and high temperatures around 68F (19C). We're hoping to see some of the numerous seals that inhabit the bay too.
The lobster fishing must be good here too. We've been observing the lobster boats hauing out the traps and we can see them pulling out the lobsters. The other day we heard a burst of hooting, whooping and yelling from a nearby lobster boat. They must have found the mother lode of lobster giants.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ma! Put the kettle on, we have company

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Sailing Days In Port

Rockland Harbor
 
Tuesday, August 8, 2006
 
We found a suitable dealer here in Rockport. Ocean Pursuits is a marina on the north end of the harbor.  They can handle the SSB radio, the radar, the wind instruments.  They also have a diesel mechanic.  We stayed in port yesterday to let Ocean Pursuits inspect the damage to make an estimate, and we're staying here again today to do the diesel work.  Murphy's law, no surprise, struck in that both yesterday and today look like excellent sailing days.  We could be out in the bay.  Oh well.  Hopefully it will be just as nice tomorrow.
 
We watched with interest yesterday as one of the big sailing schooners that take tourists out for harbor cruises appeared to be in trouble.   The schooner was in the harbor, and lying still facing into the wind . The sails were still up, or at least halfway up.  Probably something got broken or fouled.   A crewman climbed out to the end of the boom and was working on something.  That maneuver was not without risks.  On that boat the boom must be 35 feet long and the end sticks out just past the stern.  If the bow of the boat fell off the wind in those conditions the boom would swing wildly to leeward.  The man on the boom would risk being dunked in the water, and/or being catapulted into low earth orbit.  
 
Later in the day Libby spotted that same schooner being pushed in by a tugboat.  They must have been unable to fix the problem and they must not have an auxiliary engine.  Then Libby noticed that the schooner and the tug appeared on a collision course for us.  For some reason, the tug appeared unable to push the schooner far enough to starboard.  I don't know why.  However, I scrambled to start the engine and move us forward 100 feet.  The two boats passed just astern and the tugboat captain gave me a friendly wave of thanks.  What would have happened if we didn't move?  Would they have run over Tarwathie?  I can't say for sure.
 
Later, just after dark, I heard a loud engine.  I looked out and I saw a lobster boat going at high speed.  He passed much too close to us -- about 3 feet.  As I watched, he almost collided with to other sailboats at anchor or on moorings.  I suspect that the driver must have been drunk.  Some hazards are alike, ashore and afloat.
 
 

Sunday, August 06, 2006

From The Lobster Fest

Ron's Sculptures
A pair from Windjammer Barbershop Chorus

Down goes the Lobster Roll

The Crate Race
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The Lobser Fest

Rockland, Maine N 44 05,831 W 69 05.786
We rowed in to the Lobster Fest this morning. It was more than and less than what we expected. The fest is primarily a carnival -- similar to those that travel to small towns all across America. However, there were some unique points that we enjoyed.
We met Ron Cowan and chatted with him for a while. Ron is a sculptor who creates chain saw sculptures on logs. Unlike most such sculptures, Ron's are delicate and finely featured. Both Libby and I were enchanged by them. Ron's web site is www.gardenfaces.com. I told Ron that we live on a boat and that I was safe from Libby buying expensive things because they don't fit onboard. Ron said that he could carve us a figurehead to mount under the bowsprit. We talked about that but I concluded that any figurehead with boobies big enough to make me happy would make Libby unhappy.


We went to the show by the Windjammer Barbershop Chorus. It was great. Besides sounding great, those men were such performers (some would say hams) that we could plainly see how much fun they were having doing the show. Not only that, but their music was superbly rehearsed and refined to the point that a false note could nere be heard. That was fun.
Next we watched the kids cod carrying contest. Small kids have to dress up in a man's foul weather gear then pick up and carry a codfish that weighed half as much as they do across the stage.
Libby had a lobster roll for lunch and she said it was delicious. Since we had a lobster dinner last week we didn't buy one today. Nevertheless, it was lots of fun watching the Mainiacs (people from Maine) attack a lobster. They make short work of it. In the lobster eating contest a 7 year old boy won with a time of one minute 12 seconds.
The big event of the day was the great crate race. Thousands of people jammed in to see at the water's edge but Libby and I went out in the dinghy and had the best seats in the house. I'll post pictures later, but let me attempt to describe this race in words. The contest uses 50 wooden crates used to pack lobsters. The crates are made of wooden slats with large air gaps between the slats. They float, but barely. The 50 crates were strung together to form a sort of bridge across the bay. When you step on a crate it immediately begins to sink under your feet. The heavier you are, the faster it sinks. To cross the bridge, you have to be small and light, and you also have to be very sure footed and very swift. To pause or slow down makes you fall in the water immediately. Most contentants slipped and fell or sunk immediately within tow or three crates. A few made it all the way across. The winner was an 8 year old boy who crossed the bridge once, twice and nearly three times before falling. Needless to say, the audience including us, had great fun watching this spectacle.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Rockland

Rockland, Maine N 44 05,831 W 69 05.786
Saturday, August 5, 2006
We enjoyed splendid weather today. It was sunny, about 75F (24C), winds 5-10 knots. Very nice weather for a relaxing sail. So we left Boothbay and set sail for Bar Harbor.
How ironic. Three times before on vacation trips we set out for Bar Harbor by car. We never made it that far. All three times we found too many interesting things on the way. Today, about halfway there, Libby suddenly said, "Can we go to Rockport instead? The Rockport harbormaster has showers." "Sure," I said. I went below to plot a course for Rockport but I got Rockport and Rockland mixed up. The two places sound alike and they are close to each other. I plotted the course for Rockland instead.
About halfway there, I was reading the guide book, and I realized my mistake. But before changing the course, I suddenly remembered that there is a Lobster Fest in Rockland this weekend. "Can we go to Rockland instead?" I said. "Sure," said Libby. So here we are. Tomorrow we go to the Lobster Fest. Monday I'll check out a marine electronics guy here for the job of replacing the radio and the radar. Libby still wants to go to Rockland. I also talked with another Westsail owner who lives in Bayside, about 10 nm further north. We'll go there first. We may also stop in Southwest Harbor where there are other radio/radar experts. All this interjected enroute to Bar Harbor

Will Dick and Libby ever get to Bar Harbor? Stay tuned for the next episode of the dickandlibby blog.
p.s. Penobscot Bay lives up to the raves of people who told us about it. It's beautiful. It somewhat resembles the Stockholm archipelago. Approaching Rockland, we were admiring the unspoiled natural beauty, when we rounded a point. I looked up and was shocked to see an aircraft carrier right in front of me. It is the USS Wasp, not the WWII Wasp but a newer one. She is here for the lobster fest.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Concert

Boothbay
Thursday night

We just returned from a concert on the lawn of the Boothbay Public Library. (Woops, they pronounce it libary here.) What fun we had!

The Woodbury band has been playing on that lawn for 57 years. 57 also appeared to be the median age for band members. It was sort of like a geriactric junior high school band, both in composition and in quality of the music. Nevertheless, they played lots of John Phillip Sousa and songs from the Music Man and turn of the (20th) century standard tunes. It was very enjoyable.

The lawn was packed with ordinary people. The kind of people that looked like they should be our friends.

A special attraction was that the band invites all the children in the audience to take turns coming up to the podium and directing the band with the director's little wand. The kids were wonderfully cute and they had great fun doing it. Most adorable was a young retarded girl; the type like we know from ARC. When the music played she swung her arms and her head and her whole body. When they asked for kids to conduct, she was first in line.
When she conducted the band she had a huge smile on her face.

A man next to us brought his dog -- a golden labrador. When the music played the dog would roll on his back and beg for his tummy to be scratched.



I must say that was the most enjoyable show that we've seen since the day that Bob and Carol deMello took us to the amateur theater in Essex, NY to see Little Shop of Horrors.


Rowing back through the harbor after the concert was also very nice. It was totally still. The lights of all the buildings surrounding the harbor made it pretty. We rowed slowly just gliding along amonst the moored boats. At 2100 the church sounded two bells. Aha, the church keeps ship time, just like we do on Tarwathie. How charming.


I take back what I said about Boothbay earlier. It is not entirely given over to tourism, there's still a lot of charm here.


My plan is to leave here tomorrow, but we're somewhat reluctant to leave because it's so nice. We also haven't decided to sail to Bar Harbor or to Portland. Libby also wants to visit the so-called outer islands where it is said that the whales frolic and the puffins occupy the land. We've never seen a live puffin. Maybe we'll sail tommow and maybe not.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Black Smoke

Boothbay Harbor, N 43 50.821 W 69 38.105
Uh oh. Tarwathie's stern surrounding the exhaust is covered with black soot. When we run the engine, traces of fuel come out the exhaust and go into the water. We're polluters!
A study of the troubleshooting guides says that the likely problem is one or more bad injectors. We have spare injectors onboard. However when I study the instructions in the book and look at the tools I have, I'm doubtful of my ability to change them successfully. Because we keep our freezer full of food we're dependent on running the engine every day to keep the battery charged. The solar panel does the job almost, but not entirely. Two solar panels might be enough.
I went in to the Boothbay library today. They have free WiFi. It's very friendly, they have a table with a plug strip and otherwise bare. There were six other people sitting around the table with their laptops when I was there. The library needed only two regular PCs for non WiFi customers. It's a good tradeoff for the library. Only 26% of all libraries have WiFi, but they all should. Anyhow, I posted a bunch of pictures.
I talked with ICOM, the SSB manufacturer. When I described the lightning hit and the symptoms, the ICOM man said, "Yep. It's fried. No use trying to repair it." I also talkes with the Furuno radar technician. There's a better chance there to get it repaired rather than replaced. Trouble is to find a vendor to do the diagnostic work and to install whatever new equipment we get. The insurance company seems relaxed. The man said that it was a minor strike compared to what he's used to. They'll write a check for the total when it's done minus my two thousand dollar deductable (OUCH!)
THU morning
This morning we're waiting for a diesel mechanic to return our call. If we can't find one here we'll try at the next port of call. While waiting we did engine maintenance, and oil change, and a new secondary oil filtere. I find that the transmission fluid levels and the lube oil levels have been constant for some time. Good, we're no longer leaking either oil or fluid, but we are leaking some fuel and salt water into the engine compartment.
We hate changing the secondary fuel filter. It's a devil to get out and in, and if it's not in perfectly, it leaks fuel rapidly. With both Libby and I working at it and with a couple of hours fiddling and three attempts, we finally got it right. Fortunately that job only needs to be done once every 500 engine hours.
Last night a catamaran came and anchored near us with a couple and two small kids. The were too near I thought. A while later he was nearer still, so I hailed the captain and asked how much scope he had out for his anchor. He said, "60 feet of chain." "60 feet!" I thought. That's not nearly enough. The water here is 35 feet deep at high tide. One needs 4:1 scope minimum and 5:1 when it might be windy. I resisted calling him an idiot, but I did point out that I had 140 feet out and that our two boats would not swing in coordination but rather swing in intersecting circles and collide. I suggested more scope. The captain said, "OK let me see what I have." I couldn't believe it. Sixty feet was all he had. Catamarans are used to anchoring in three feet or less depth. The captain was from Colorado and he was ill equipped for New England. He didn't have the training (knowing that 2:1 scope is pitifully inadequate), nor did he have the equipment to anchor in a place like this. He looked for another line to try to add to his chain but before he found one a big thunderstorm suddently came upon us.
The wind howled and I was worried that Tarwathie was coming too close to a power boat in the mooring field. Then I looked out and saw the catamaran only one foot away! They had dragged more than 100 feet in less than 5 minutes. We both ran out into the storm and started our engines to make an emergency maneuver if needed. The catamaran skipper raised his anchor and eventually he motored away without a collision. That's the good news. The bad news is that after the storm he came back and anchored too close to me again and tonight there are more severe thunderstorms possible. Oy vey. Must it always be inappropriate to scream at the guy saying, "You blanking idiot. Get the blank away from us?"











At the Entrance to Boothbay Harbor

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Familar Territory

Boothbay Harbor, Maine
Boothbay is the place where we honeymooned 41 years ago. As we approached the land we began seeing familiar sights.
First there was an island offshore with a lighthouse. We fished there 41 years ago on a day fishing trip. Libby caught an enormous cod fish. She and everyone else (except me) also got seasick on that trip.
Then there was the Newagen Inn. It was an ancient and noble looking place even back then. We stayed one night there.
Entering the harbor I spotted the harbor master's boat and hailed him. He came over and I asked about anchoring. He very nicely told us where to go in the harbor to an approved anchorage. That's very hospitable. Four other boats came in to anchor near us. Last night at 1230 a thunderstorm came through. We had bumped into another boat. I had to run up on deck, in the rain and nearly naked, to see what happened. It was the other boat who misanchored. He offered to move but I said no. The wind was moving us apart again and we didn't bump again.
Now we're in the village searching for the lobster shack where we had our first lobster dinner.
We're tourists here and enjoying it very much.

I fixed the running lights and contacted the insurance company. They said to wait for an adjustor before doing any repairs.


Northward

At Sea, N 43 28 W 70 04
This morning we attempted to meet up with the family again. They were going to have brunch at a place called Wentworth By The Sea which is located in Litle Harbor just south of Portsmouth. We motored over to Little Harbor and called the Wentworth By The Sea Mariina on the radio. We asked for a place to tie up while we went to their restaurant. They said no. We looked around the harbor for a place to anchor, but there wasn't any. Every possible place was filled with moorings. We had to phone the family and tell them we couldn't come. Too bad.
We set sail for Boothbay Harbor. That's about 60 nm away. In a good wind we could be there in 10 hours, but today the winds were 0-5 knots. It will take us 24 hours or more to get there at this rate.
We also discovered more damage from the lightning. Our wind instrument, our navigation lights and our anchor light all failed. It makes me wonder if there is someplace where the wiring bundle is melted. I really hope it's not too bad. A man in Kittery on the next mooring told me that his boat was struck by lightning too and it took three months in a boatyard to rewire the whole boat. That's scary. We are live aboards and I don't know what we would do if Tarwathie was laid up for an extended period.
RIght now we're sailing illegally without running lights. When we get to Boothbay, my first priority will be to try to make those work.

Family Day

Kittery Point Maine, N 43 04.963 W 70 43.431

Saturday, July 29 2006

What a great day this was. Janet and Gordie picked us up and drove us to Brian and Lee's camp. The camp is located on a small lake in New Hapshire (I can't remember the name of the lake). There we met with Dot and Art my aunt and uncle, and Brian's chilcren Vanessa and Ryan and Shawn, my cousin Warene with her husband Richard, and my sister Nancy with her family Karl and Lena and Alex. There were also a couple of friends of the kids there to make a total of 19 relatives and friends. This group had never gathered before except for weddings and funerals, yet here we were for an unplanned and spontaneous reunion.

It was great fun. We all got to swap stories. Brian and Lee treated us to swimming, and rides on the Sea Doo and wake boarding behind his speedboat. Brian also cooked a turkey and we had a great barbecue. We all continued until after sunset when we reluctantly parted again. I'm certain that everyone there, young and old, enjoyed themselves thoroughly. Thank you all for the hospitality.

My aunt Dot is 88 but her mind is still sharp. She told me about some family lore, about visiting her grandfather (my great grandfather) George Donovan at his farm at Cape Breton Nova Scotia. He was a fisherman, a farmer and a storekeeper there, apparently a mainstay of that community. Now, the family lands have been sold to the state. It was the first I had ever heard of these ancestors of mine.

Uncle Art is 93, but in very good shape for his age. Art told me about some of his exploits in the South Pacific during WWII. Art served in the Phillipines, and Guadacanal, and on Corrigador. His favorite story was about the day when General MacArthur came ashore on his celebrated return to Corrigador. Art saw him approaching walking through the water, but he didn't like the general because the general had declared the place as secure whereas Art and the others knew that there remained a lot of japs and that the place was dangerous. Art said that he pretended to wash his face, covering it with his hands and bending over. When it was done his buddies told him, "Art, you just mooned General MacArthur!"

My other uncle, George, who was not there today, also has interesting war stories. He was on the second tank to cross the bridge at Remagen Germany. He said that they fully expected to not reach the other side of the bridge alive, but they did.

Struck By Lightning

Kittery Point Maine, N 43 04.963 W 70 43.431

Friday, July 28, 2006

We sailed back down the Piscataqua River this morning without event. We were very conservative in choosing the time so that we did not have strong currents. We learned from a book that the Piscataqua River is the second swiftest commercially navigable river in the USA. What's the swiftest? Maybe the Mississippi. We rented a mooring for two nights at Kittery Point. The location is near the mouth of the river so that we could get in and out easily.

Around three in the afternoon we greeted our guests. Warene and Janet, my cousins, and Richard and Gordon, their husbands. We make a merry group. Janet, Warene and myself are not only cousins but we were childhood playmates. Gordon as it turns out is an experienced boater. He used to be a lobster fisherman here in Portsmouth, and he once sailed from Plattsburg, NY to Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Our plan was to take an evening cruise, but the forecast was for severe thunderstorms so I decided to stay in port. Not all of us were experienced sailors. Warene had thought to wear high heels on the boat. As it turns out, the decision was wise. As the six of us sat below eating dinner, a furious storm came by. It blew up to 42 knots. It rocked Tarwathie enough that everyone had to grab their plates to keep them from sliding off the table. Worst of all was the lightning.

I followed my standard practice and put computers and GPSs and radios in the oven to protect them from lightning. Soon after I did that we suffered a hit. I heard a loud "crack" sound of a spark, and some of the audible alarms on the instruments sounded. I never did hear any thunder. Luckily all six of us were fine. Nobody experienced even a shock. The spark sound came from the neighborhood of the mast where I have a thick copper cable that leads to an under water grounding plate on the hull.

I checked the instruments and stuff. At first I thought that we escaped totally unharmed. Then I discovered that the SSB radio and the radar both appear to be fried. Oh dear. I sure hope that the insurance policy will pick up the bill for that. It could be as much as $6000 to replace those two. I'll find out on Monday.

Sorry blog fans, but I'll be posting much less frequently until the SSB radio is replaced or repaired. The SSB radio was my tool for transmitting blogs from onboard.

We weren't the only victims of the storm. In Portsmouth, across the river, the steeple of the North Church being rebuilt was blown over. In Melrose, where Nancy lives, they had a furious storm and lost power for the first time in years. Apparently the line of storms raged across the whole New England Coast.