Friday, August 8, 2008

Fishers Island NY to Portsmouth NH

We left Fisher Island and went to Cuttyhunk Island, Mass. to experience the "...quintessential New England Cruising Experience...". Cuttyhunk is in the Elizabeth Islands near Martha's Vineyard. We were warned to get there early because the mooring fills up. We arrived at the boat "parking lot" and found wall to wall boats. We finally found an open mooring ball and performed our first pick up of the loop attached to it through which a bridle (rope) is run to hold the boat to the mooring ball. The mooring balls are attached by chains to heavy blocks so are a very secure anchor. Around the town moorings are some private ones that can be grabbed without charge, as long as you are prepared to leave if the true owner arrives. I thought these folks were a little ambitious when mooring their dinghy!

 Cuttyhunk is a bare bones place where boaters just go and hang out, swim and hike the Island. It's a dry island with some dockside shops - including fresh seafood -a "cafe" and a raw bar boat that comes around selling seafood at rather steep prices. There is also the Cuttyhunk Fishing Club founded in 1894 and host to President Theodore Roosevelt. We heard that their breakfasts (the only meal offered to non-guests) are spectacular, but due to its location we didn't make it there.
Joe actually got in the water and scrubbed the boat's water line. It must have taken him 15 minutes to gradually work his way in. Wimp; all the locals claimed the water was an incredibly warm 72 degrees. I didn't go in -wasn't even tempted. I did spend a few hours one day walking the island - covered pretty much the whole thing. There are few cars - mostly golf carts and four wheelers. The 350 resident's houses are packed together on the hills. Some seemed not be on any street, maybe just on a sidewalk that ran off a street. I guess the golf carts can go most anywhere. There is a small church that changes religion depending on what time you go - and beautiful views any way you look. The generator water pump quit working so Joe changed out the pump impeller that had broken apart and the generator was back in action. The trick on this repair is putting together the jigsaw puzzle of broken pieces to be sure you've gotten them all! While at Cuttyhunk we experienced a severe thunderstorm and were glad we were secured to the mooring as several anchored boats came loose and were scrambling to avoid the rocks and other boats. We left Cuttyhunk after two days and traveled up Buzzards Bay to the Cape Cod Canal. Wow, was it a rough approach. The 4 knot current was against the 15-20 knot wind and seas were verrrrry frisky. The white thing to the right of the bicycle is the top of a sport fisher - the rest is lost in the waves. There were even two capsized boats in the channel and Joe had his hands full at the wheel. We ducked into a little town off the canal called Onset and picked up a mooring ball that the harbor master gave us for free for that night. It is a cute little town and we enjoyed a brief evening walk around it's waterfront parks. We left the next morning to catch the "proper" tidal movement and sped through the canal at a new record "12.8 knots" for Carolyn Ann , we were flying! We emerged into into Cape Cod Bay and proceeded up the coast out in the North Atlantic. We decided to overnight in a small village, Scituate, which is just south of Boston, to escape the threatening thunderstorms and stage for the run to Portsmouth NH. I had been feeling badly for more than a week so Joe dragged me to a doctor who wrote prescriptions for my bronchitis. The doctor visit required a rental vehicle (Scituate has no taxi service) because the walk in clinic was 10 miles away in another town. Enterprise Rental, in a town in the opposite direction, came over and picked us up to rent the only vehicle they had left. A Ford Superduty 4X4 crew cab pickup. Joe whined about the high price and they gave us a break only charging us for a full size vehicle. Of course we'd had to ride back to their town to do paperwork, then drive past Scituate to the clinic in Hanover - arriving shortly before closing. Folks in Scituate were great. The harbor has mooring balls (the norm in New England) and included in the mooring fee is free water taxi service to the town dock where every store and restaurant needed was within three blocks. Joe had expressed concern that we might not get back before the 10:00 pm shutdown of the water taxi so the Harbor Master made arrangements to get us to our boat even if late. He even came by boat that night at closing to tell Joe that if we needed anything (in consideration of me) that he had the local USCG station on stand by and for Joe to call them. They all were very kind and considerate - except the launch drivers nicknamed us the plague boat! Joe took the opportunity to change the oil in the generator and get a hair cut. I basically just slept, took pills and a very vile medicine all which seem to be helping get me on the mend. The weather kept us in Scituate until Thursday (Aug. 7) . We left that morning and made it to the small Portsmouth City Dock at Prescott Park right downtown Portsmouth just ahead of another advancing line of storms.
On the way into Portsmouth we passed this abandoned building - which was once a Navy Brig built on an island to take advantage of the strong currents to discourage escape attempts.
Prescott Park is on the water in a historic section of Portsmouth, NH - adjacent to Strawbery Banke which has more than 30 structures re-creating their looks during specific time periods over the last four centuries. The park itself has some beautiful gardens. They also have a stage with nightly performances and other musical events on weekends. We've been able to watch a musical of "Beauty and the Beast" from the boat and also enjoyed a concert of "roots" music Saturday afternoon. Portsmouth has been a nice stop - we've explored some and visited with several relatives who we don't see nearly often enough. We even got our first lobster dinner of the trip - thanks, Aunt Sally and Uncle Paul! Joe decided that I didn't seem to be recovering much, so before taking off to possibly more remote areas he sent me back to the doctor. I've gotten more prescriptions and am ready to hit the seas when weather permits. If you'd like to see more pictures, follow the link to our picasa albums: (it's not always updated at the same time as this one, but I catch up eventually!)

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