Monday, 9/8/08 Day 219
We had a lot of fun exploring and sailing today. We are now out of Boston and heading south towards the Bahamas. After taking some quick last pictures of the wharf early this morning, we got straight to getting ready to leave. Gregg and Betsy (from s/v Kokopelli Too that we met in the Bahamas) stopped by to see us this morning. They used to live up here and came up for a sailing race at their old yacht club. It was a fun, but short, little reunion.
Before we left this morning, we made one last visit to the harbor seals at the New England Aquarium. While we were looking at them, a keeper was cleaning the tank. She saw us and came over and opened a door to the outside and started talking to us about the animals. The seals came right up and put their head and flippers over the glass. We couldn't touch them, but we were only a foot or so away from them. The keeper is the primary trainer for a seal named Ragae. He came up to her (and thus close to us) and was doing all his behaviors that she had taught him in the hope that she would give him fish. She had no fish, and signaled that to him, but he kept doing them. He would slap the water and get her all wet. It was very funny. He also blew bubbles a bunch of different ways. He got 2 other seals to also start slapping the water and doing tricks.
We left a little bit before noon. Our destination was Georges Island, home to Fort Warren, named after the Patriot General who died at the Battle of Bunker Hill, is on the island. This is the 6th fort in the 1800's coastal defense system that we have seen and the most well preserved, largest, and farthest north. It is so strong and well preserved because it is almost entirely made of granite blocks - a local material. The whole fort is complete as it was when it was built, with the addition of some improvements when it was used in the Spanish-American and World Wars. It was fun to explore because it had many dark places to explore (tunnels and rooms) that were pitch black without flashlights. Someone had told us about this, so we brought two flashlights with us. The fort had fireplaces all over, unlike Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas that had cisterns all over. This is because here, very close to Boston on the main channel, they could get fresh water, but being so far north, they needed to fireplaces to keep warm in winter. In contrast, there was no need for winter warmth in Florida, but being 80 miles west of the mainland, they needed some way to get and store water in the Dry Tortugas. Fort Warren was very, very cool.
After exploring Fort Warren, we sailed on to Hull this evening. Greg & Betsy, from s/v Kokopelli Too, who came over this morning, made arrangements for us to stay at the Hull Yacht Club. That is a special privilege. The people here are all very nice. There were a good number of people fishing on the town dock next to us, and Josh and I went over and checked it out. We got the whole scoop on fishing here for smelt, herring, stripers, and bluefish. We helped them catch bait and may try to do more tomorrow. Today was not anywhere near good.
It was great!!
Tuesday, 9/9/08 Day 220
Today wasn't too exciting. It rained on and off and blew hard all day. We saw 35kts. of wind. Josh and I did school a lot. I worked until lunch because I finish faster.
Lunch was awesome! Hull is home to about ½ dozen lobstermen who have traps in and around Boston Harbor and the Boston Harbor Islands. Around lunchtime, a lobster boat came back. We were hungry, and Dad, Josh and I went to see if we could pick up some lobster at a good price. We talked with the captain of the boat and he was very interested in our cruise. He was very nice. We ended up with 5 lobsters for $20. That's definitely a great deal!
We steamed the lobsters and used a pair of pliers as crackers because we don't carry those. We each got our own lobster, and Dad pulled the meat out of the last one and chopped it up to use for some dish later. He also boiled the shells and stuff for a soup broth.
For the rest of the day, I worked on a fishing project. I completely re-did our box of gear to make it more organized. I've been hoping for a promotion to Commander of Fishing - the person in charge of all fishing stuff and fishing expeditions. He controls the who, what, where, when and how of all the fishing done. I thought that doing this might help. I'll eventually get promoted. Dad just keeps stalling. I'm already halfway in charge. Dad can't stall forever. I'll just have to wait.
Dad met another lobsterman later in the day who is a friend of Greg and Betsy, and they guy gave Dad 6 free lobsters!!! Dad tried to pay him, but he wouldn't take the money. His name is Pete and his boat is Windemere. Dad thought it would be cool to go out on a lobster boat for a day. Pete said that we could come out with him anytime. We have to leave tomorrow though and he is not going out tomorrow anyway. We'll just have to do it next time around.
We watched all the lobster boats come in and unload. Here's how it's done: Early in the morning, the boats go out to their pots with big crates full of baitfish. They go to the pots and empty the lobsters and put in fresh bait. They band the lobsters out there too. They continue doing that for about 500 pots. Then they come back and offload the crates - now full of lobsters. The crates have holes in them, and they get thrown in the water and tied to the dock. When all the lobstermen are back, a big refrigerated van comes and picks up the crates which are marked with whose is whose. Each boat has about 4-6 crates. Then the lobster are graded by length, weight, and shell, and are driven away. I don't know if the lobstermen get paid right then and there or not. I do know that there are between 2 - 4 lobstermen who work on the boat, including the captain/owner. The crew get $100/day. That means that they make about $20,000 a year. That is $500 a week and 40 weeks a year (they take 3 months off in the winter, but still check the pots every once in a while). So that's the life of a lobsterman.
This evening, some guys who were at the yacht club invited us for pizza. We joined them up at the clubhouse with a watermelon one of them had given us earlier. A ballgame was on the television - Red Sox vs. Rays. They are both Yankees rivals, so I didn't root for anyone. We had a good time.
We are going to leave around 8:00am tomorrow for Onset, MA. We will sail all day. Now I'm out of things to tell about. Good bye.
Wednesday, 9/10/08 Day 221
We left Hull, MA pretty early this morning. We sailed all day. It was cold. The warmest part of the day was between 5:00 and 6:00pm when the wind died and the sun came out. That was the only time I took off my sweatshirt. Early in our sail, the autopilot gave out for no particular reason. We had to hand steer all day. We sailed for most of the day, and only turned on our motor as we neared the Cape Cod Canal. We traveled all the way to Onset. During the day, Mom and Dad got really tired and I took the helm for about one hour while they slept in the cockpit.
During our sail, Josh and I made a quick olive bread. Actually, I made a quick olive bread, and Josh just helped out a little. Because it is a "quick" bread and has no yeast and does not rise, it is pretty much a giant biscuit. Everybody loved it and I think I'll make it again sometime soon, next time with cheese!
We arrived in Onset around sunset. For dinner, we had Lobster Bisque and olive bread. After supper, because it was near high tide, Dad let us fish for Striped Bass. They were popping up all over the place and scaring the baitfish. I got a bite, but no fish. Soon they went away and we stopped fishing.
We learned from friends that it looks like Hurricane Ike is going to hit Houston/Galveston and the surrounding areas as a Category 4 storm. They are going to start a mandatory evacuation of Brazoria County, including Pearland, tomorrow morning if its track stays the same. I hope everyone is okay. I hope our house is okay. Houston is overdue for a hurricane. At least it is not going towards New Orleans. They have been getting a double dose of hurricanes. At least we are safe in Cape Cod. Today was okay. Golly, why do I always end with "Today was wha, wha, wha, wha, wha."?
Thursday, 9/11/08 Day 222
We left Onset and sailed/motorsailed to Cuttyhunk, MA. Cuttyhunk is an island at the very end of the Elizabeth Island chain. The sail was about 4 ½ hrs. We did school during that time. The weather was beautiful. We anchored in what they call a pond. That's a lake in the middle of the island or other land mass that has a cut or channel to the sea. They actually dredged a square area of this pond so that boats could anchor there.
We went to shore to the town of Gosnold (the island's only town, with a population of 20 people who live there year round), named after the island's discoverer. We met Dr. DiMare, one of the island's few year-rounders. He offered us a tour of the island on his golf cart. That was special. He showed us around the whole island - the town hall, church, school, infirmary, beaches, highest point, his house, walking trails, generator, etc. He also told us the island's entire history. I noticed that the islanders did not have cars, only golf carts. Dr. DiMare told us that this is because golf carts don't need to be registered and they don't use gas, which makes them cheaper. But, my job is to tell you about what I did with a bit of island background. If you want Cuttyhunk's history, Google it!
After our tour with Dr. DiMare, we dinghied to a beach he recommended. We walked on the beach and then up some trails that led across the island to another beach. It was fun walking on the trails that were cut through the brush and forest. The beach we came out onto was made totally of stones. We sat on a ridge for quite a while chucking rocks into the ocean and seeing who could throw the farthest. We also spent a while taking big stones and using them to break other smaller stones. It was fun.
Dr. DiMare told us about some great spots for striper fishing. So, after a quick supper of sandwiches, Dad, Josh & I set out for a cut full of rocks and white water. Josh and I cast out our lines and let the current take them out far. In doing that, I got a hit. This fish was fighting like crazy, and it doubled over my heavy duty spincasting rig. I fought it for a while, but then it just spit the lure out. I can't believe it. The lure should have been set in its mouth with that fight. Dad said that stripers do that a lot. In the end, we didn't catch anything. That's all for now folks.
Friday, 9/12/08 Day 223
We were going to stay and enjoy Cuttyhunk today, but the weather started to get bad, so we decided to go straight to Block Island, RI. Because the weather was getting rough, and the sailing was hard and fast-paced, and we had to hand steer, we diverted our course to Newport, RI because it was a better course of sail. The sail was uneventful.
The rest of the day was also uneventful. We anchored next to a million other boats at anchored and on mooring balls. It is crowded because the Newport Boat Show is going on. There are a few other boats here that we know, such as Blue Yonder (Boston) and Melekai (Atlantic Highlands). Then is started raining, so we just crashed. In the evening, we watched the movie Ratatouille. I never get tired of that movie. I love it! So ... Today = BORING (for the most part).
Saturday, 9/13/08 Day 224
There is nothing to tell about until lunchtime. At lunchtime, it stopped raining, so we went into town. We ate at Gary's Handy Lunch, a little diner. We all had great burgers and BLTs. Then we walked around town and then all the way to Wal-Mart, West Marine and Stop n' Shop. At Wal-Mart, we picked up a ton of movies for cheap. Josh and I got sets of 31 Bonanza episodes, 48 Rin Tin Tin episodes, 15 Lone Ranger episodes,12 Cisco Kid episodes, 15 episodes of The Roy Rogers Show, 6 episodes of The Range Rider, 3 Death Valley Days episodes, 3 Rifleman episodes, 2 Bat Materson episodes, and a last episode of The Adventures of Champion. We also got twenty 1-2 hour long John Wayne movies. It is really awesome. I love this as our TV. It's better than the stuff back home.
We came back to the boat and watched an episode of Bonanza while eating dinner. Today was good.
Sunday, 9/14/08 Day 225
It rained all day. We pretty much watched movies all day. Josh and I watched 3hrs. of Bonanza in the morning. Then we played on the computer for a while (a couple of hours). In the evening, after eating quesadillas for dinner, Josh and I watched an episode of Rifleman, a John Wayne movie, and 2 episodes of Bonanza. Mom and Dad watched How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. That all makes today okay.