Category Archives: Little Prince

Chapter 3

Before we could get to Newburyport, Massachusetts, we needed to deal with Cape Ann, home of the City of Gloucester and the Town of Rockport.  Cape Ann was first mapped by the explorer John Smith, of Jamestown Colony fame, and colonized in 1623. When Captain Smith showed his map to Charles I, then King of England, he invited the king to name the cape. Cape Ann is named after Charles’ mother, Ann of Denmark. Going around the entire cape, into the Atlantic, would add time and miles to our trip. The other option was to proceed up the Annisquam River, which separates the cape from the mainland and connects with Ipswich Bay. We opted for the river as the  more prudent route. We entered Gloucester Harbor and looked for the draw bridge to enter the Annisquam. Using binoculars, I was able to make out the narrow entrance, and a line of boats waiting. I pointed it out to Tim, and he headed in that direction.

As we waited for the bridge to open a line of spectators started forming along the fence on the street above. It seemed to be a rather curious development. With warning bells ringing and guard rails coming down across the road, the bascule bridge slowly started rising, revealing a line of boats waiting to enter Gloucester Harbor. Once the bridge was fully raised, the boats on the other side had the right of way. Traveling with the current they moved easily between the concrete walls of the bridge, but they did create a good amount of wake, given the limited space for the displaced water to go. When it was our side’s turn to move forward, it became very clear why there was a row of spectators. There were three elements that made this passage dangerous: going against the tide, the narrow opening and the wake from the previous boats.We watched the boats ahead of us speed up considerably as they approached, headed towards the opposite wall of the bridge before turning right to enter the river. With each succeeding boat we saw their bows leap skyward when hitting the wake and then making the turn. It was fortunate that we were not first in line and were able to watch those with local knowledge go before us. Tim followed in kind and we made it through to the calmer water on the other side.

Newburyport

“Are you the launch?” Tim had called to the small boat pulling away from the dock, knowing that it wasn’t.

“No but I can be,” was the response as the boat’s operator  pulled back to the dock.The ride from the dock to our boat’s mooring was only about two minutes in duration. However, during that time our captain announced himself as none other than Bob Crowley, somewhat of a local celebrity. Crowley was the winner of the 17th season of the TV series, Survivor. In addition to winning the $1 million first prize, he won an additional $100,000 as player of the season. We subsequently learned that Bob is a retired school teacher, who lived on a small island in Casco Bay, and sold yurts on the side. That’s the thing about travel: you never know what—or whom—you’re going to encounter along the way.   

Chapter 1 (excerpt)

… It’s good we had a hearty breakfast. We made our way back to the boat, it was still a fair distance to get home and the weather wasn’t getting any better. We left the town dock, once again calling for the draw bridge to open and we were on our way down the Kennebec River. While that sounds all well and fine, we were still low on diesel and looking for a marina down river to get fuel. Not only that, we were traveling against the tide. The gray weather turned into drizzle. It was time to break out the rain jackets. I used an app on my phone to try and locate fuel. There were a couple of marinas, but they all had gasoline for the predominant outboards that cruise the Kennebec, not diesel.

Were it not for the lack of fuel and the rainy weather it would have been a great route. As usual, my camera at the ready, I took pictures along the way. I hoped to someday see it all on a sunny day but knowing that may never happen I wanted to capture all the views that were so striking, even on a rainy day. There were little lighthouses on private docks, crisp white church steeples; houses with multiple out buildings stacked up along the river banks, in all colors shapes and sizes.  Nature competed for my attention, osprey nests with their occupants were perched upon channel markers and seals popped their heads out of the water, just long enough to be seen but not photographed.

The rain grew steadier and I tried to stay positive. Traveling against the tide was sucking up what fuel we had faster than usual, and cutting down on our speed considerably. The needle on the gas gage was bouncing around, as though at a loss for how to display this small amount of fuel. Casco Bay was just ahead, but navigating this section of the river was precarious. There were multiple warnings in the cruising guide but Tim was familiar with these waters so I tried not be concerned. The narrow channel funneled the tidal water up into the river with more velocity than we’d already been fighting. Ledges and small islands turned the route into an obstacle course as the rain continued to increase. Regardless, there was a sigh of relief when we were past all the danger areas.

It was then that Tim said, “We’re going to have to be a sailboat for a while”, concerned we didn’t have enough fuel to make it home.

My optimism was now on the decline. The rain was steady now and it was chilly. We raised the sails and were moving along well, for a while. I stayed in the cockpit with Tim, though the dry space below was calling. It seemed the least I could do, keeping him company, given my lack of ability to do anything more helpful. From time to time I did duck below for a reprieve from the rain, each time bumping my head on the semi-closed hatch. Before long, the wind died and it was very slow going. As we moved haltingly along, getting wetter by the minute, I watched a motor boat go by traveling in the opposite direction, farther out in the bay. I longingly stared at the enclosed cabin and the brisk speed at which they were traveling. It was in that moment, with rain dripping off the visor of my hood, that the charm and beauty of sailing began to fade. …