Stop, hey, what’s that Sound?

Yesterday morning we remembered that Newport is a really cool town, but we can’t loiter anyplace else and still get to Port Washington by the 3rd so we left.  During the night Zuiderdam replaced the Sapphire Princess.  The same kind of clowns were buzzing around in the tenders but we snuck past them before they could jack with us.  How do you say “Ha ha” in Dutch?

At some point between Newport and New London we passed a fort.  Doug looked it up, made no notes, forgot what he found, and now we can’t identify it again without more of a commitment than we can muster.

He did make at least a mental note, however, when we later encountered Judith Light.  Not the Judith Light who played the mom who hired Allyssa Milano’s dad in the quite mediocre show Who’s the Boss?, of course, but the one out on Point Judith.

Just off Fishers Island sits the Latimer Reef Light.  And sat scores of fishing boats and sailboats that we had to dodge, although only one showed up in the photo.

Right about then, we heard the Mayday call about a man overboard.  For the next hour or so we were riveted by the drama.  After a bunch of well-intentioned radio misdirection, we learned that a dive boat reported that two divers had gone down, but only one had surfaced.  While the Coast Guard dithered through what seemed to us like incredibly inappropriate red-tape given the need for immediate action, very competent dudes on fishing boats took charge of calculating drift in the strong current and setting up a search grid.  Very impressive.  Just as we reached a UConn satellite campus, the diver washed up on the rocks back on Fishers Island, apparently safe.


Relieved, we hooked around campus and turned up the Thames River for New London.  Wait a second.  We get that someone with naming rights pined away for Mother England.  That’s fine.  But if it’s New London, shouldn’t it be New Thames?  Or leave the “New” off altogether.  All we ask for is a little consistency.

Actually we also ask for floating docks.  New London is a huge boating town, but the wonders of floating docks seem lost on them.  Lots of pilings though.

New London is in Connecticut.  Connecticut is the last new state we’ll see by boat this go round.  Unless we go to the west coast at some distant point in time, the next new state probably will be Wisconsin if we cruise up to Lake Superior, and right now we have no plans to cruise up to Lake Superior, what with The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and all.  So mostly we’re done with new states, but we’ve boated through 23 of them—plus D.C. and five Canadian provinces—which we think is pretty solid.

Anyway, we turned to port at the sunk and abandoned sailboat.  On our travels we’ve seen a bunch of derelict boats which appear to have gone down in just about the exact spot we need to pass.  It always creates a touch of worry.

The great family folks at Burr’s weren’t sure where to put us, but after some visible head-scratching while we sat in the current, they finally told us to slide in along the inside of the fuel dock.  So we did.


New London is supposed to be a neat town to explore.  The Coast Guard Academy is here.  We love the Coast Guard, although they didn’t show too well in the missing-diver incident.  But no time to tour the Academy.  Or to visit Defender Marine, where one can purchase almost anything boat related.  There’s also a submarine base around here.  By the time we deployed the fender boards and set lines for the tide swing and walked Oscar and ate dinner, we didn’t have the oomph even to call an Uber.

We’d wanted to stop at some other towns—like Mystic—but all those weather delays finally became an issue.  So today was just a long slog through Long Island Sound.  Everybody look what’s going down.  At least it was a pretty decent day to travel to New York.

To be precise, we’re in Port Jefferson, right near the action.  Which is a good thing because Oscar is all about being near the action.

Next stop, City Island.  Then Liberty Landing.  The East River hopefully will be our last challenging stretch, but we’re excited about passing under the Brooklyn Bridge and seeing some other new New York stuff.

All the News that’s fit to see

Yesterday, New Bedford.

Today, Newport.

Tomorrow, New London.

Sunday, New York.

Lots of News in New England.

We wanted to leave yesterday, but Buzzards Bay still was rolling five-footers so we didn’t.  Because today was our kind of nice, however, we left one busy harbor and headed for another.  Mostly it was just easy cruising under a clear blue sky.

About halfway we passed a yellow marker unlike any we’ve seen before.

That’s because we’ve never plowed through a sailboat race before, at least as far as we know.  A bit later we saw the pack off in the distance, however, so it’s not like we caused problems or anything.


We’ve now been cruising basically nonstop for 19 months.  One might expect us to have learned—after all this time—to anticipate things we need to photograph.  Nope.  We tend to wish long after the fact that we’d been more prepared.  Like today.  As we were admiring the mansions along the coast approaching Newport, we remembered that the one where Robert Redford (but not Leo DiCaprio) wooed Daisy and then got shot in his own swimming pool—even though Daisy was driving the car that fateful night—was along there somewhere (and not in West Egg).  The place is called Rosecliff, and it’s visible from the water.  As Google Maps sadly shows, however, Rosecliff was out of sight before we thought to take a picture.

Fortunately, just as we rounded the corner we managed to catch one side of The Breakers, which is the famous Vanderbilt home where no classic movies were filmed.  It’s obviously not as cool as Gatsby’s house, but it’s something.

On the outskirts of town we passed one of those old replica sailing ships.  A lot of the towns along the New England coast seem to have one of them hanging around for tours and such.  Generally they’re pretty cool.  As for this one, we suspect the rigid inflatable dinghy hanging off the stern probably isn’t historically justifiable.


Because of the mansions and the America’s Cup and the golf and the tennis and the shops and stuff, Newport is quite the tourist attraction.  Which means cruise ships like the Sapphire Princess stop here to clog up the works.  Which means Doug’s gotta bust out the drone.

But hey, we learned something new about cruise ships today.  We of course were aware that they anchor pretty far from shore, and that they use tenders to ferry passengers back and forth.  What we didn’t know is that piloting the tenders requires no boating expertise or boating etiquette.  The only employment criterion is that the applicant must be a complete jackass.  One guy cut us off at a blind corner.  One guy stopped in front of us when we were thirty feet from docking.  The no-wake zone doesn’t apply to them.  And on and on.

Yeah you, dipshit sticking out of number 18, we’re talking to you and the rest of your ilk.

Okay, that’s out of our system now.  We don’t let things like annoying cruise ship employees ruin the rest of our day, particularly when it’s one of the last warm days we’ll see up here.  Dana patronized the shops.  Doug flew the drone around the harbor.


Then Dana and Oscar napped on the bow.  We’ve been here before by car so didn’t see a reason to get overly adventurous.  Good dinner.  Good Sunset.

Not too many of these days left before we put Misty Pearl up for the winter.  We’d better enjoy them while we can.

Going up?

Yesterday the nice weather continued (after overnight showers), so we took off along the western shore of Cape Cod Bay with blue skies and flybridge-quality warmth.

Initially we’d planned to swing by some of the towns on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, but we’ll try to catch them next summer.  For now, we’re just trying to finish the Down East Circle.  Which meant cutting through the Cape Cod Canal.  Starting at the rather industrial north end.

Along the canal we passed a mural depicting a solitary sailboat—with full sails—gliding along peacefully.  Quite picturesque.  Except this is a commercial canal.  Sailing strictly is prohibited.  Hmmmm.

Driver’s Education, on the other hand, is allowed in the canal.   Which is a good thing since the Massachusetts Maritime Academy uses it for training.  Ranger is one of the school’s training boat.  We assume there was a competent instructor aboard, but we still gave them a wide berth just like you do when passing a slow car with the telltale “Student Driver” sign on it.

The canal’s very existence was a bit of a surprise when we first learned of it, because we always assumed that Cape Cod was, well, a cape.  Capes usually are connected to land.  When the canal was completed in 1916, however, Cape Cod became an island as clearly depicted by our course to New Bedford, since we stayed aboard and afloat the entire time.

In case anyone wants to see what transiting the canal looks like when the water is bouncy, here’s the time-lapse.

We’ve been though lots of scenic canals.  This ain’t exactly one of them, but at least it was easy.

New Bedford sits a mile or so up the Acushnet River.  The Port is home to some five hundred commercial fishing boats and generates over $10 billion a year in revenue.  They’re not going to let stinking hurricanes come in and ruin all that, so they built doors to keep them out.  Literally.  We took a photo going in, and then later got a drone shot for perspective.

Obviously those gates won’t stop the wind, but it’d take a pretty massive surge to drive water over the wall.  All we could think about was some poor slob traveling at trawler speed minutes ahead of The Perfect Storm but arriving just after the doors closed.

Thankfully the doors were open for us.  Despite some wind issues we made it to Pope’s Island and hid Misty Pearl amongst a bunch of other white boats.

Now some more about New Bedford.  Portugal dedicated a statue of Prince Henry the Navigator here.

Which is sweet and all, but also puzzling.  Prince Henry did develop some sailing techniques that still are used today and he did do some epic exploring, but he never made it to New England.  The plaque lists a bunch of Portuguese settlers so that’s probably the explanation, tenuous though it may be.  What is very clear, however, is that New Bedford has a long history with boats.

Although Herman Melville wasn’t from New Bedford, Moby Dick brought attention to what was the whaling capital of the U.S., if not the world.  And the place still is all about whaling in one form or another.

A dead whale or a stove boat?  Wow that seems unnecessarily dramatic.  How about you don’t kill the whale AND your boat stays intact?  That’s a pretty obvious win-win, at least nowadays.

We visited the whaling museum but in that same vein found it more than a little disturbing as well.  We get that customers wanted whale oil and venders from New Bedford needed to make money, but they’re a little too proud of their role during the age of slaughter for our taste.

What New Bedford actually should be proud of is the oldest continuously-operating elevator in the country.  The town still pays an operator to take people up and down in the ordinary course of business at City Hall.

The elevator has seats and a 360° view of the inside of the building.  Doug rode up with a clerk and down with a mailman, who said it takes about 20 trips a day to deliver all the mail.

Our last scary hurdle is Buzzards Bay, which apparently is under a perpetual Small Craft Advisory because of waves.  We plan to tackle it tomorrow on our way back to the Guilded Age of Jay Gatsby, or at least whatever’s left of it in Newport.

This one will not make the Rock Hall of Fame


Almost exactly 399 years ago, a band of unhappy Leidenites left Plymouth, England, anxious to start a new life, free from persecution for their religious beliefs and free to persecute any heretics who had the temerity to disagree with those beliefs.  Most school kids learn that the Pilgrims sailed aboard the Mayflower directly across to Plymouth Rock.  Actually they cruised up to Plymouth, Massachusetts, only after ransacking some Indian food stores and graves further south.  Still, as we rounded into Plymouth Harbor after leaving Boston we could imagine how relieved they must’ve been to see the welcoming lighthouse.

Yes, we know the Pilgrims passed a lighthouse on their way in because we found a picture, painted just as Massasoit saw things through his fashionable tortoise-shell glasses.

We figure there’s no way the local ophthalmologist who sponsored the artwork would be deceptive, although there are no lenses in the glasses.

Both of us admit to imagining Plymouth Rock as a majestic natural monument to the courage and fortitude of Miles Standish, William Brewster, and the rest of the gang, who used it as the first giant step for American mankind.  As it happens, the structure around the Rock in fact is rather grand.

The rock, however, not so grand.

Actually Plymouth Rock is kind of puny.  Plus, there’s no real evidence anyone stepped on it at all.  Even worse, at some point the Rock was moved, and broken in half, reassembled with glue, and then plopped where some unknown person guessed was an historically-appropriate spot on the shore but nobody knows for sure.  The concept is cool, but the production is on the sketchy side.  At least we know the rock dates back to exactly 1620, of course, because some unknown person at some unknown time chiseled “1620” right there on top.

Anyway, it was pretty lucky for Plymouth that the Mayflower stopped here.  Certainly the tourism industry has benefitted greatly.  Plymouth does Pilgrims like PEI does Anne of Green Gables.   Most of the tacky stuff we skipped, but we enjoyed the walking around part.  For example, we visited Burial Hill and William Bradford’s spot in it.

That’s pretty cool.  A bunch of other Pilgrims are up on the hill there as well.  Yet others apparently were just dumped together under another marble monument closer to what then was town.

img_9239None of the original buildings from the settlement have survived, but we’re still glad we stopped off here even though we only stopped off here because the marina refused to waive the cancellation penalty.

A couple of nice Plymouth sunrises are in the books, so we’re heading out tomorrow.

Boston Strong

Yup, we made it to Boston.  Beantown.  Home of Paul Revere and Whitey Bulger and that closet genius Will Hunting.  Full of people who don’t seem to care about how utterly offensive those cheating Patriots and their dirtbag owner are to real Americans.

The short cruise down from Salem was uneventful, just as we like it.


The Salem ferry zoomed up from behind at thirty knots.  We got out of the way.

The Waterway Guide warned that entering Boston Harbor is scary and dangerous with boats and confusing markers and such.  Meh.  Piece of cake.

 On our way back from the pet store we stopped at Bunker Hill.  There’s quite a monument here despite the fact that the good guys lost the battle, perhaps because the loss rallied the revolutionary spirit and we kicked the British back across the Atlantic shortly thereafter.  Although we didn’t see anything connecting the hill to Archie and Edith or Meathead’s wife, we still went up and down the 294 steps, which seemed at least double that number to us because we were carrying sacks of canned dog food.  (We might’ve left the bag unattended at the entrance but folks around here are a bit touchy about that sort of thing.)


Since we’re tourists after all, we also stopped by the Old North Church.  The place that gave us “One if by land, two if by sea.”  There was a large number of other tourists milling about in our way, but it’s a great bit of history anyway.

The story we learned as children is that Paul Revere was watching from his house for the lantern signal, then leapt on his horse for the midnight ride to rally the troops from the countryside.  After seeing how his house is surrounded by Italian restaurants and condos that completely block the view of the church steeple, however, we find that story a little implausible.

The marina where we’re docked is part of the old Navy Yard, and the USS Constitution is just down the street.


The Constitution is a commissioned naval ship still in active service, although it’s made of wood and the cannons are plugged so it probably won’t be of much use in WWIII.  Well worth the tour of the museum and the boat anyway.

We didn’t actually plan to visit a place where everybody knows our name, but found ourselves in such a place by accident.  Sort of.  Doug would’ve had a beer just to say he had a beer, but we were tired and ready to go home.  Plus this is just a replica Cheers so why bother?


Unfortunately the places made famous by Al DeSalvo and the Tsarnaev brothers were too far away to walk.  And after what the M.T.A (now known as the M.B.T.A) did to poor Charlie, we weren’t taking any chances on the subway.*  We wouldn’t have had time anyway after Dana waited what seemed like hours to get cannolis from Mike’s.

Boston is a fascinating town and the view from down our dock is awesome.  We’d love to stay longer but we’re moving on to Plymouth tomorrow.


* Everybody sing along!