It's a rainy day at Tidewater Marina in Portsmouth. We are back on Chesapeake Bay after traveling many miles this "season". Tivoli has performed beautifully. The only issue with the boat since departing from North Palm Beach last May has been a NAIAD stabilizer leak. Of course that started halfway between Bermuda and Nova Scotia and caused some concern. But, it has continued to perform throughout our travels to Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and our return to the States. We will have it repaired shortly.
We have been very lucky with weather. Aside from a couple of rough days at sea departing Lake Worth we have enjoyed unusually calm weather and flat seas. Even in Newfoundland. Little fog, little rain; mostly sunny beautiful days. Of course we pay close attention to a number of weather sources (PredictWind and Buoyweather are favorites and we download grib files from Ocens using an Iridium GO when offshore) and plan accordingly.
Since our last post (sadly, LONG ago) we crossed from Nova Scotia back to Southwest Harbor, Maine. We spent a week there revisiting old haunts then moved to a mooring ball in Northeast Harbor for another 10 days or so. Both harbors have their charms. During this time the succession of hurricanes this season each threatened New England. Hurricane Jose contributed to our decision to run up the Penobscot River to Bangor. I had scheduled a regular doctor's appointment there so we decided to take the boat up to escape any potential high winds and seas on the coast and take care of my appointment at the same time. Fortunately Jose turned east south of Cape Cod and spared Maine. We still ended up spending 5 days in Bangor and enjoyed it. Though transient dock space is very limited it is an easy walk to downtown with many restaurants and easy access to grocery stores and other shopping. We had a lovely run down Penobscot Bay to Rockland where we anchored for a night. In many ways cruising Maine after labor Day is nice; the crowds have diminished, less boat traffic, easier to get slips and moorings, etc. On the downside, many shops and restaurants start to close for the season. Rockland was very quiet.
We ran direct from Rockland to Provincetown, MA. Another calm beautiful crossing. Deanna spotted several fin whales enroute but otherwise no wildlife of note. We caught up with our buddies on Roam and enjoyed a day in town wandering around and having lunch.
Good friends Jerry and Liddy invited us to visit them on Martha's Vineyard so we crossed Cape Cod Bay, transited the Cape Cod Canal (timed for a favorable tide) and averaged 8 knots or better. We initially planned to anchor at Onset but we arrived earlier than anticipated and decided to continue on to Woods Hole. We knew currents in the narrow entrance into Woods Hole can be strong; our charts indicated two knots, no problem. By the time we arrived late afternoon the tide had turned and as we maneuvered through the channel our speed dropped from 8 knots to 4; buoys were half submerged in the 4 knot current. We felt like salmon swimming upstream. Once we turned the corner into Great Harbor the current dropped to a knot or two which still made it a challenge to pick up a mooring, but soon we were settled and spent a quiet evening. Next morning we departed for Martha's Vineyard; a short 10 mile run. The wind and seas were boisterous.
We expected the mooring field at Owen Park Town Dock on Martha's Vineyard to be half empty, like most others this time of year. That was not the case, it was full of residents and we were told there was no space for a transient. To make a long story short, we called several other options in the bay on VHF, no response. As we were exiting the bay one marina finally did respond and indicated they had space so we put out fenders and lines and made a pass at their dock only to discover they were directly in the line of the incoming seas with no protection from the breakwater; we opted out. We stowed the fenders and lines. Then we attempted to pick up a mooring ball outside the breakwater but it was too rough and we gave up after three tries. We finally dropped the anchor expecting to spend a rough night and a wet ride to shore when Jerry called and said he had talked to a fellow at Owen Park who indicated we could tie up to their dock for the evening. Two employees at Owen Park; one tells us no space, the second says sure come on in! So, up with the anchor, out come the fenders and lines again and off we go. What follows is without doubt of the more harrowing experiences we've encountered to date. We are approaching the dock and notice the fellow who was supposed to catch our lines had not arrived. The wind is strong and current is carrying Tivoli toward the dock. I should have turned the boat around and run down the narrow entrance channel to wait his arrival. Instead I opted to turn into a fairway in the mooring field. Mistake! It is TIGHT for a boat the size of Tivoli. We are literally inches away from boats on both sides repeatedly as we negotiate our way in a grand tour of the mooring field. Deanna is screaming "get me out of here"! We bumped a mooring ball at one point but, otherwise, no collisions...it's a miracle. We returned to the dock and finally managed to tie up. I think this was the point when we decided Tivoli needs a stern thruster; or should I say the crew needs a stern thruster? It's on our "to do" list.
Jerry gave us a wonderful walking/driving tour of the east half of Martha's Vineyard; Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown followed by a delightful dinner at their lovely home. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience!
Next morning we backed away from the dock and ran 30 miles or so to Nantucket. Here the mooring field was largely empty and huge. Plenty of space and great mooring gear. We tied up for two nights and enjoyed exploring the quaint community of Nantucket with its clapboard homes, cobblestone streets, maritime history and dozens of shops, restaurants and bars.
Roam and Tivoli departed Nantucket for a two-night crossing to the entrance of Delaware Bay; 270 nautical miles. Once again, the weather was perfect. Full moon, flat seas, 5-knot winds. On previous crossings to Delaware Bay we opted to run into Cape May. This time we chose to anchor on the other side of the Bay at Cape Henlopen. This turned out to be a lovely spot. We will stop here again and spend time ashore. But, we are on a mission to get to Chesapeake Bay so we depart the next morning. With following current we are averaging 8 knots or more and make great progress up the Bay, so rather than stop at Summit North marina half-way through the canal, we choose to continue to an anchorage in the Sassafras River. We arrive near sunset and are soon settled in a beautiful spot near Taylor Creek. Four Nordhavn's in the Sassafras this evening. Calm night, full moon, life is good!
Next morning we say farewell to Roam who is headed to Annapolis while we prepare for a run down the Bay with stops at St. Michaels, Solomon Island, Deltaville, Portsmouth and, finally, Atlantic Yacht Basis for our stabilizer repair and, perhaps, stern thruster installation.