Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bigelow Bight

As I pulled into Rockport's Sandy Bay to anchor a guy yelled over from a boat which came in to anchor right behind me.

“I read your book! I loved it. Especially the part about the… Maybe we can get togther later.”

Jim’s boat is also a Cape Dory 27, with a radar mounted like mine on the pole at the stern. But there the similarities end. His boat has a wheel, cushions in the cockpit and a teak floor in the cabin! My floor is white fiberglass.

Jim and his crew were all from the Tufts Medical School, two professors of Public Health and a recently graduated student. A fine ship with a friendly crew.

Yesterday, sailing here, I wished I had a crew. Before setting off I had sent out an email to about a dozen sailing friends, but all the responses I got were for the return trip or the later cruising in Maine segements. I was to have picked up one old friend in Portsmouth, NH today, but his band scheduled a gig and that was the end of that.

Yesterday morning as I passed Plymouth and moved along the coast toward Scituate the wind really began to blow. Fortunately it was all from astern, but I still reefed the main sail so Autoleena could steer. A broad reach is her weakest skill. The rolling swell didn’t help either. With a fluxgate compass and a computer chip for a brain your options are pretty limited, not that Autoleena isn't a wonderful instrument. I could not be out here alone for days on end without her. Autoleena is my auto-tiller and has been like an extra right arm to me for nearly 8 years now.

So while I was struggling to get the boat to sail herself and the forecast was getting more ominous, I remembered just how hard this it. It's scarry sometimes alone out here, living with that last decision: the poor anchorage selection which leaves you tired, the realization you’ve gone too far and it is going to get dark or stormy before you can tie up again. Guess that's why I love it.

This morning I left Rockport a bit after 6 am, probably just about the time Nancy’s alarm is going off at home. Again I had the main up and the kettle on as I raised the anchor. It was calm so I could go below and pour the breakfast tea while we motored. The sea is glass, the sky hazy and humid. Now at 8:30 am I am 8.5 miles NNE of Rockport - steaming at 4.8 knots. I just went over an underwater hill. The depth went from 320 feet to 179 in the space of 1/4 mile. Moving on out now over the deep Scantum Basin.

A small brown bird has landed in the dinghy I am towing. I often see creatures land. Yesterday in all that wind a monarch butterfly managed to settle on the sail. These little passengers are welcome. I try not to disturb them.

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