Monthly Archives: August 2013

Living inside the Postcard

There is no question, that since our leaving Florida in April, we have seen and been seen in hundreds of places and hundreds of situations that are the essence of a good Postcard.  But living INSIDE the Postcard has some other unique characteristics.

Sunset

A Postcard Sunset – Sarah’s Creek Virginia.

you are here

You are HERE

We passed this sign walking today.  “You are here.” This is usually a very big help in figuring your way around a place, but THIS sign really didn’t help very much. Sure we now know that we are “HERE”, but where in the Heck is “HERE”? And where is here in relationship to anyplace else, specifically someplace that I know?

Its all a matter of context. When you have limited input even “Here” can be a strange and alien place.  And so it is with postcards.  Even very familiar places can be totally new when viewed in the 2 dimensional world of a camera lens .

With the exception of a couple of bus rides, this whole adventure has never taken us further than 2-3 miles inland from the coast.  Places that we have visited by car are completely alien and new when approached from the sea. I am not saying that our sailing adventure is 2 dimensional, but the very fact that we only travel by foot or sail, means that we see a very “thin” layer of the places we visit.  This layer is completely different from the layers we have visited before.  The layer we are traveling in now is also a beautiful one.  Rather than feeling like we have to capture the moment or the view, WE are CAPTURED in the continuous unveiling of new postcard quality beauty, mile after mile.

Although nights can be (can be–they ARE) the longest 1/2 of the day, they also carry a subtle beauty that the camera just can’t capture. Seeing the shape and hearing the splash of something big breaking the water a few dozen feet away is impossible to capture on film, but a thrill that begs to be shared… if only there was a way.  Stars that I haven’t seen since I was a child are again becoming friends.

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Southwest Harbor, ME

Sunrises and Sunsets are so glorious and so regular, they have almost become mundane.  Even so, we stop what ever we are doing every morning and every night, to watch that glory one more time.

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Somes Fjord

And how do you share a Fjord?  This is a narrow gut cut into solid granite by a glacier 10,000 years ago. It looks like any other mountain lake, until you UNDERSTAND how it got there… the forces that were involved in its creation.. and the sheer Majesty of it.. its just a postcard.

The ocean too is something like a postcard.  We only see the surface, but nearly all the life happens unseen in the  layers below the surface.  Here in Maine, the tide is 12-18 feet, so we have had the privilege of seeing some of what lies below as the tide recedes and leaves the bottom open for our view. We have also had the opportunity to see whales, and seals, and life that until now we only knew from TV or a book.

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Living In the Postcard

Our voyage IS very thin, like the layer of ink on the postcard, but the details that we enjoy are incredible.. partially because they are SO VERY different from what our life was before.  Today we walked into town again.  This is our third trip in as many days, and everything is pretty much the same, but the things you notice walking this way!  Rio and I sat on a bench outside the pharmacy while Jodi shopped inside.  The first day there was a rather large cigar butt off to the left of the bench.  Yesterday it had moved more to the edge of the pavement, and today I had to look in the grass to see if it was still there.  You may say “so what” but believe me, there is immense pleasure in seeing even these details that live in the layers of our cruising life…. our life INSIDE the postcard.

Dear Diary of Elli

(We were recently asked to host a “Flat Stanley” for Jodi’s 3 yr old niece. This is the character from a children’s  story book that is accidentally flattened, and thus gets to travel by mail. Our job was to take our “Flat Elli” for a week, and return her and her story to Amber. )

Dear Diary Aug 12, 2013
Miss Amber, my daycare mom, mailed me to my host family today.  It was a little scary to get stuffed in an envelop and then leave, but exciting to see new places and meet new people.

Dear Diary Aug 16th, 2013elli dinghy Bar Harbor ME
I arrived in Bar Harbor Maine.  I was worried I would not make it.  The mail truck broke-down in route to my destination.  Miss Jodi and Gary arrived at 11:00 to pick me up.  I had only been at the terminal for 10 minutes.

Jodi explained to me that they live on a sail boat and to get there we have to ride in a dinghy.  Miss Jodi had a lifejacket for me to wear.

After a tour of their boat and my home for the elli boatnext week, we had lunch, then  back into Bar Harbor to take a bus ride to see the mountains.  Bar Harbor is in the Acadia National Park.   When we arrived in town, we ran into their friends, Lauren and Brian who are also living on a sailboat.  They joined us for the tour of the park.

We rode bus #3 to the visitor center.  Then we got on bus #4 The Loop, to go to the  riding stables.  We were given a tour of the stable and horses.  elli busAfterwords we got back on the bus to head to Jordan’s Pond.  At 5:00 we jumped on the next bus to get back to town and went out for pizza.   Once we were done with dinner we said our goodbyes to Brian and Lauren and put our life-jackets on and dinghied back to the boat.

My stateroom (bedroom) is in the forward part of the boat.  I slept in what is call the Pullman bed.  I even have my own head (bathroom).

Lights out at 9.

Dear Diary Aug. 17, 2013

We got up at 6 and readied the boat to set sail for Canada.  All items that we out, had to be stowed so they will not fall over while under sail.  Miss Jodi said I didn’t have to wear the lifejacket on the sailboat unless it was rough seas.  We pulled the anchor at 7:15 and put the sails up and headed out.

We passed several lighthouses on the way. elli lighthouseThe lighthouses help guide the sailors into port or to miss rocks that are sticking out of the sea.

12:52 we entered Canadian waters at the Bay of Fundy.  We spent the night in Seal Cove which is an island in the Atlantic Ocean.    In Seals Cove they have salmon fish farms or weirs as they are called.   I am now 1,120 miles from home.elli chart

Jodi called customs to check into their port to let them know we are in their country.  We told them we were only spending the night and then going back to the states.

Lights out 9:30.

Dear Diary Aug. 18th, 2013

We got up early to pull the anchor and head back to the states.  We put the sails up and headed south.

elli humpback

Humpback whaleelli buoy

About 2 hours into the sail we saw dolphin and whales. These mammals are hard to get a picture of so Jodi sent a picture from the internet.

We have to keep an watch out for the lobster buoys, we do not want to hit theses as they will wrap around our keel.  We missed one and it got caught, so Gary had to put the boat in reverse to unwrap it.

When sailing you use charts instead of maps – there are also channel markets we had to look for, red should be on our starboard side (right) and green on our port side (left).

We arrived in SouthWest Harbor at 6 PM and we picked up a mooring ball for the night.  A mooring ball is just that a ball that is anchored to the bottom of the bay.

Lights out 8:30

Dear Diary Aug 19th, 2013

Gary had to work this morning,elli Coast Guardmen so Jodi and I washed the enclosure windows.  Later in the day we went to SW Harbor to look around the dock area.    We met 2 Coast Guardsmen at the station, Sammy & Steven (on the right) who takes care of all the lighthouses, he makes sure that they light up. He has 26 to look after.

When we returned to the boat, we saw a seal in the channel.  it was so cool.  His head was the only thing above the water. Then he was gone.

It is low tide this afternoon.  elli sunsetThe tides are ruled by the moon.  With an almost full moon tonight it was really low.  The moon and sunset were beautiful.

Gary and Jodi have internet on the boat so we were able to watch a show tonight “McGyver” .

Lights out 9:00

Dear Diary Aug 20th, 2013

We awoke to a very warm morning.  Sun was shining with not a cloud in the sky.  We went to the main town SW Harbor and walked around all the neat little shops.  We even stopped by library, post office and had pizza on the sidewalk.

Low tide ---  High tide

Low tide — High tide

It was high tide when we were in town today – so we took a picture to show the two tides.

Today was bath day.  Country Dance has 200 gallons of water on board.  We take a shower with 2 gallons of water.  Get wet, soap up, wash hair, rinse off.  We will get more water when we go to the fuel dock to get diesel (gas).

July 31st 2013 Our Anniversary

8 years ago, Gary and I said our vows to become husband and wife.  Who would have thought that we would have done some many things together in those nine years.Jodi and Gary

We moved from Tallahassee to Seminole Florida, bought a house and remodeled it from top to bottom.

Sold our little sail boat and bought Big Dancer.  Made major changes to her.  Pantry, new galley flooring, shelves, storage and lots of waxing.

We set sail in April to travel the world.  Three months into our journey we have sailed the entire East Coast.  Our goal is to make it to Canada then back down the coast to the ports we missed on the way up and winter in Mexico.

Today we are anchored in Portland Maine and to celebrate this wonderful day we are making our gifts to each other.  IMG_0975smallWe gave up buying things and opted to create them instead.

We decided on a teak serving tray and fid bookshelf holders.  Gary  routed the wood and I stain and seal them..glove up and begin.  Once the pieces are dry we commence to put them all together for the finished product.

Apple baked pork chops for dinner with a salad and tomatoes from our plant.

Happy to us!!

Kittery Maine/Porthsmouth July 10th 2013

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A riot of colors and flowers

Kittery Maine/Porthsmouth July 10th 2013 – We arrived in Kittery and had a great first few days, as stated in our earlier post. We met Gary’s cousin Ruthie and Jeannie for dinner and Dan for a walk in the park.

Now on with the story:
We entered the mouth of the Piscataqua River in the fog. Being from Florida we have not sailed much in fog at least not this thick.

Pea soup

Pea soup

The saying “thick as pea soup” is appropriate. We could not see 10′ in front of us, as we are trying to dodge lobster buoy’s which are everywhere. I stood on the bow of Dancer and directed Gary right or left to miss those little floating objects.

Kittery ME is on the north side of the Piscataqua River and Portsmouth NH is on the south side. This is the first port as you enter Maine. We originally were headed to York where there is another 470 owner. When checking for anchorages I found none in that area so we picked Kittery instead. As we entered, the fog lifted and we could see lighthouses on either side and forts to the left and right of us and one straight ahead. sunsetWe anchored in front of Fort McClary and what a view this offered every morning and wonderful sunsets every night.

We met up with Pam and Dan Thursday night for dinner. They took us out for mussels, crab cakes and lobster. What a great time getting to know our new friends. They own Optimistic a 2003 Catalina 470 sailboat. They bought their boat 2 months before we bought ours. Though their boat is 3 years newer they are the same with a few exceptions. It is so cool to see other 470’s and what has been done to each to make it their own. Dan has added a remote to the auto pilot so he can change coarse from anywhere on the boat, Gary is so envious.

The next day Gary and I dinghied to Kittery and walked around the quaint town. Kittery is not very big and took about an hour. So we still had a full day to explore, we dinghied the 2 miles to Portsmouth NH. In the river there are several islands which can only be reached by boat or ferry. One of these islands is where the Naval Shipyard is and also houses the old prison. The prison is huge and abandon. It looks like a castle with barbwire fencing around it. Per Dan, they closed years ago. I would have loved to walk about that place. Gary and I found a spot to pull the dinghy up and walk to town. While in town I found a farmers market. Since we have started this adventure I have chosen to try new foods each night. ufosSo at that market I picked up Patty Pan squash, they look like UFO’s. We stayed in town about 2 hours then back to the boat.

When we arrived the fisherman were collecting their catch of the day. I flagged down the skipper and asked if they would sell a few lobsters. Skip replied sure, I asked how much, he said four fifty. I said what do you mean, he said $4.50 each. So I bought 2.

Now I have to keep these crustaceans alive crusteanstill dinner, so I pulled out my 5 gallon wash bucket with the hole in the lid to house them for the next 6 hours. Floated them behind the boat on a line. It worked. Now we had lobster and UFS’s to cook for dinner. We boiled the lobster and grilled the squash.

We invited Pam and Dan for dinner on Friday so I had to get more lobster. I had not seen Skip Friday morning so I made Gary dinghy me over to another fisherman’s boat, he wanted $5.00 each, our trapI bought 8. His were larger than the last ones, about 2 1/2 pounds. Now I have a problem, they won’t fit in my 5 gallon bucket. So I ran down below and retrieve the 2 milk crates we have on board. Gary and I zip tied these together to make our own lobster trap and float them behind the boat.

Pam and Dan arrived and the chatting began. I did stuffed mushrooms for an appetizer. Pam brought over a very large pot to boil the 4 lobsters, as mine would only do 2 at a time. I

Pam usually had her eyes open, but this is the only shot I got.

Pam usually had her eyes open, but this is the only shot I got.

made mashed potatoes with Parmesan cheese and acorn squash to accompany the lobster. After dinner we decided to re-christen the boat, since we were having such bad luck lately and the 470 group thought this was in order. They brought over a bottle of champagne just for this purpose. I pulled out the crystal wine glasses, pulled off the protective covers and the christening began. The next thing we knew it was 11:30 p.m.

Our new friends offered us a car to use for the week. What a treat. Gary and I are now mobile. So we are off the next day to find a few items we need. As I was getting into the dinghy I leaned over and in to the sea went my phone. So we add AT&T to our list. While out and about we came upon garage sales and of coarse I had to stop. Then I spied another farmers market, another new vegetable to try, a long skinny egg plant and zucchini.

Pam and Dan took us sailing on Saturday to IMG_0879Star Island. This island houses an old hotel and owned by the Star Island Corp. When we landed at the dock a young deckhand greets us (they are called Pelicans) and orients us to the island. Pam and I wandered, while the guys hung on the dock with Rio as he was not welcome. We move on to another island called Smuttynose where Rio could get off and do his thing.

Sunday we met up with Optimistic for steak dinner on their boat. With Monday being a work day for them, we made it an early night.

We are ready to move on but I have a problem, I still have 4 lobsters in my makeshift trap. So we Googled how to freeze lobster. Par boil them for 60 seconds, dip in ice water for 15 minutes, then freeze. So we have 2 more lobster dinners waiting for us in the next port.

We had a great time with our new friends and look forward to seeing them on the return trip. 10 great days in Kittery and we have our SSB back and installed again. Thanks to Dan and Pam for an address to receive mail. I made wine glass covers for Pam as she liked the ones I had on my crystal.

We departed Wednesday morning the 24th for Portland. It was extremely foggy that morning and we had to cross the river to the Yacht club to fill up with water. Gary was securing the anchor, when he yells “hard right”! DSCF0003A trap appeared out of no where and I had to avoid it. NOT – I caught it, luckily it didn’t get our prop. I watched it pull behind us for 10 seconds or so, then off it came. Whew!!! Sailed through fog for about an hour, then sunny skies for the rest of our trip to Portland.