Once again we saw the Isles of Shoals as we headed out to sea. The rain was steady, but did not affect visibility. We hoped it would clear as the day wore on, and that the sun would work its way through the clouds. There was a mild wind coming from the west. Two hours into our trip the wind continued to increase in intensity. The water was choppy but it was still early so we continued to be hopeful for improved conditions. After another couple of hours the wind had increased again and so had the waves. By now they reached heights of six to eight feet and growing. By noon time a serious change of course was in order. We decided to head closer to shore to try and mitigate the deteriorating conditions. We were now south of Boston Harbor. Our thinking was that closer to shore there would be less “fetch”. I had learned that fetch is the area of open water over which the wind has to gather strength.
It wasn’t long before we realized it was time to find a place to pull in for the day. Fortunately we weren’t far from Plymouth, Massachusetts. I looked through the cruising guideto see our options. There was the Plymouth Yacht Club, a marina and the town’s mooring field, all very promising. We traveled close to shore until we reached Plymouth Harbor. Upon entering the harbor, the waves died down. Duxbury Pier Lighthouse greeted us and I began to see lighthouses in a whole new way. Instead of being a pretty landmark, it was a sign of safety. With the aid of the lighthouse and the channel markers we worked our way to the marina. Tim radioed for a slip. None were available. Next try was the town’s harbor master for a mooring. That yielded a positive result and so we were safe for the night.
It was a brisk 40° out but the sun had finally made an appearance. Next on the agenda was getting Tigger to shore. That meant using Rose, the dinghy. We carefully lowered it into the water, keeping it attached to Little Prince with the davits on the swim platform. Once it was in the water it was time to set up the outboard motor. Tim lifted it off its mount and onto Rose. He adjusted the controls, put it in neutral and gave it a pull, nothing. A few more tries netted the same result. It was time to look at the manual. Being the proper quartermaster, I was able to retri
eve it right away. Tim was in the dinghy (still attached to Little Prince) and I was on the deck, manual in hand, and reading instructions when the Harbor Master came by.
“I see you with the motor and your wife with the manual and I’m thinking this could get ugly. Let us know if you need a ride to shore.”With that, off he went.
Those pesky “Small Craft Warnings” keep messing with our plans. We tried to leave the next day from Portsmouth even though it was gray and a bit foggy. There was a small craft advisory but reading the conditions it didn’t seem that bad. It was. As planned, we headed out the next morning. Yikes, there were some good sized waves out there, 5′ – 6′ is our guess. It didn’t take too many times going up a hefty wave and crashing back down the other side to tell us, this was a bad idea. As things began to get flung around the cabin, we opted to turn around head back to our safe harbor in the Piscataqua River.
Before we tried to set out, we needed to take Tigger for a walk. We pulled up to the dock, went for a stroll and headed back to the boat. As Tim and I were arranging ourselves to lift Tigger and pass him to whomever got on board first, Tigger had other plans. He tried to jump onto Little Prince and splash, into the drink he went! I quickly pulled him with the leash, a little soggy but unharmed we toweled him off they best we could and were underway. No more getting on and off the boat without his PFD!
Returning to the river we had some time on our hands. We decided to explore a little. There are several islands in the river. Seaver, New Castle, Clarks, and Badgers to name a few. Some are connected with low bridges so we couldn’t go too far around those. The current in the river is quite strong so I didn’t feel comfortable when Tim started talking about anchoring. We decided to stay at a full service marina.
I had prepared a lot of meals for our trip and loaded them into a cooler with a block of ice and wrapped in a space blanket (thanks Kevin!). To prepare dinner all I had to do was microwave something. That is if we could figure how how to get power to it. There’s the batteries, the generator, the engine, and there’s the inverter. All our systems have been checked and re-checked so the problem was the nut behind the wheel (that would be me). After any number of combinations, I finally got it running. The generator had us stymied. We thought if we stayed at a full service marina someone there could help us understand how to work some of these things. There was also the issue of not understanding how to turn the heat on.
It was a good plan and it worked out beautifully. After we had spent enough time exploring the area we decided on Badgers Island Marina. They have two places, one on either side of the Memorial Bridge. Tim called and got the information we needed, including calling the bridge tender and asking for an opening. Yes, when you complain about a drawbridge delaying your travels you can blame the likes of us.
After we’d pulled into our slip and plugged into shore power, Tim asked George if someone could help us out with our boat. George gave us a phone number to call and we waited for help to come. Being on shore power was a first as well. We should be able to be even more comfortable, if we only knew how to make everything work.
It wasn’t long before Darren came by and was as helpful as could be. He spent some time with us and showed us how to work some things. We hadn’t yet had occasion to use them and we were struggling with, the heat, the stove and the outlets. He also clued us in on the proper way to run our power cords. I felt exonerated when I was confused by one of the configurations and Darren responded with, that’s a very good question, you’d have to ask the manufacturer why they set it up that way. When evening rolled around I was able to cook meatloaf in the oven. Not only that we had the heat turned on too. Cozy warm and well fed, what more could a person ask for? Things are really starting to click.
Another day and another “Small Craft Advisory” gave us a day to explore Badger Island and Kittery, Maine’s Warren’s Lobster House. With the marina being right by the Memorial Bridge, it was fun watching the traffic on the river. Weather permitting, tomorrow we’re off to Sandwich, Massachusetts.