BACK TO LIFE ON LAND

November 30, 2016
It has been almost 2 months since my last post.  The change from life on the water to life on land has once again been hard for me to get use to.  After all this time I am just now pulling myself back to reality. 
YOU GOTTA HAVE EYES











On Oct the 4th we pulled It's Perfect out of the water and left her on the hard at the Chesapeake Boat Works in Fishing Bay, Deltaville, Virginia.  It was a mad dash to get her ready for storage and offload to the rent car.  Hurricane Mathew was coming north.  Once It's Perfect was secured we drove straight to Green Cove Springs where we left the motor home in storage some 6 month ago.  On arrival we quickly offloaded to the RV and returned the rent car.  Leaving Green Cove Springs behind we headed inland for Tallahassee.












We arrived on Oct the 8th along with countless other RVs, pickups, moving vans and cars full of people who live and work in the path of the hurricane.  The people of Florida seem to take the arrival of a hurricane much more calmly than
we did.  I guess they have had a lot more practice.  Mathew hit as we watched the news pictures of wind, waves and rain blasting the coastline we had just left.  After 2 nights with all the other refugees  the party broke up, they headed east to check for damage and we headed west for Texas. 

We made a quick trip through Texas seeing friends and family.  Our plan to live on our mountain property in High Rolls, New Mexico was about to  begin.  Nothing had changed on the mountain, we were soon parked and hooked up.  We arrived in mid October the weather was warm and nights cool.  Our list of things to do long. 
WATER DELIVERY











We have been busy since we arrived.  Hard work and vision has begun to change the view completely.  Rod spends his days trimming dead wood from trees and hauling it to the dump.  He has had a 3000 gallon water tank installed and a full truck of 2600 gallons of water delivered.  The next thing accomplished was the water pump installed and working.  The RV now has a 120 gallon propane tank of it's own  and a  porch.  Almost all the comforts of home.

ROD'S NEW RIDE



While Rod is busy I have spent hours laying pavers for the patio and lining flower beds and walkways with rock.   By the time we leave in March or April there will be many more changes to what we will someday call home.  The days and weeks have flown by. 

We spent Thanksgiving in Las Cruces with Rod's sister Lydia, husband Charlie and their family.  Holidays with family is something we have missed.  Living in the mountains is certainly different than living aboard in the Caribbean.  The weather here is changing.  The temperature during the day is now in the mid to upper 30's and the lows in the teens.  We had our first snow this week.  Next week the forecast is calling for a low of 2 degrees and more ice and snow.  Who's idea was it to move to the mountains anyway? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

THE END OF THE SEASON

Sept 25, 2016
NEW YOUR FROM
THE DECK OF ITS PERFECT
OFF SHORE TO THE CHESAPEAKE

On September 21 about 1:30pm we left our anchorage in Manhasset Bay headed for the East River and New York City.  Our late start was intentional.  In order to enter Hel Gate with the best results you must be there at slack tide just before the tide turns.  We arrived right on time and passed thru with no trouble. This is the second time we have traveled the East River thru New York City and past the Statue of Liberty.  The experience leaves one almost speechless.  It is an incredible passage not to be missed.  
 
TRAFFIC ON THE EAST RIVER

COAST GUARD ON DUTY









THE UNITED NATIONS







As we turned in the East River and passed Manhattan the Coast Guard and Police boats were patrolling the river in force.  With the United Nations in session and President Obama in the city everyone was on high alert.  We were joined by 5 other sailboats passing the Statue of Liberty and the outgoing current spit us all out into the Atlantic.
HEADING OUT INTO THE ATLANTIC

COUSIN RICK ON THE HIGH SEAS
TUNA FOR DINNER
















The winds were light as we settled in for the night. The next morning the wind picked up and we were in for a bumpy ride all the way into Mob Jack Bay, VA.  Rick is a big fisherman so of course we were trailing fishing lines.  He had two hits, the first was a tuna, not very large but he put up a good fight.  Of course we had him for dinner and he was delicious.  The second was a Mahi Mahi that was not very large.  Rick decided he needed to grow a little more before someone had him for dinner.   Maybe next year he will pass our way again.

About noon we turned into the Chesapeake Bay.  The wind was up and the water choppy.  As it grew dark we turned between the channel markers into Mob Jack Bay for the night.  The anchor was down just as the sun set.  The crew of It's Perfect was happy to have the 400 mile offshore passage behind us.  Having cousin Rick as extra crew made our passage much easier.  We stood watch for 2 hours on and had 4 hours off.  The night watches passed quickly.

SUNSET IN MOB JACK BAY
Yesterday we picked up the anchor and beat into the wind and waves of the Chesapeake all the way to Fishing Bay our final destination.  We dropped the anchor in our usual spot. There were 11 other boats anchored in the bay when we arrived more than we have ever seen here.  We will be aboard for just more than a week preparing It's Perfect for her winter stay here at the Chesapeake Boat Works.  The sails will come down and lockers sorted and emptied. We hope leaving her farther north with less heat and humidity will make getting her ready to go back in the water easier.

We have spent 7 months living aboard this year.  Sailing from Green Cove Springs, Florida, north to Portland, Maine.  This is farther north than we have ever taken It's Perfect.  We loved the cool weather and the beautiful coastline. There is a lot to be said for sleeping in the cool 60 degree weather at night.  Because the water is so cool that far north the whole boat stayed very comfortable.

Our time aboard has flown by. I am having a little trouble getting use to the schedule of living aboard part time.  We are not sure what next year will bring, maybe we will travel further North or turn South to the islands that we loved.   The time has come to leave It's Perfect for this season and travel back to the reality of life on land. 
FISHING BAY, DELTAVILLE
 




A WHALE OF A TALE

SEPTEMBER 12, 2016
LEAVING PORTLAND BEHIND
It's Monday September 12 and Rod's Birthday! We are leaving Hull Bay after 2 nights at anchor heading for the Cape Cod Canal. We left Broad Cove on Friday about 9:45 just as the fog was lifting. Portsmouth was our next stop.
LOBSTER ANYONE???
We are constantly on the lookout for lobster traps and find them miles offshore by the droves.  When the seas are choppy the markers are almost invisible as they move up and down in the water.  The day was uneventful until early afternoon when off our starboard bow Rod saw a large area with the water boiling.
DOLPHIN EVERY WHERE

As we drew closer we could see a large pod of dolphin feeding on a school of fish. Around and around they went keeping them in a large circle. This turned out to be the largest dolphin pod we have ever seen. There was somewhere between 20 and 30 working hard for the lunch. It's Perfect came up beside them and they passed just across our stern.  They were still working the same school of fish. Getting to see the marine life up close is some of our most exciting times underway.

SUNSET IN KITTERY POINT
Just as the sun began to set we turned into Kittery Point, Maine to anchor outside the mooring field where we stayed on our way north.  We picked up an empty mooring ball on the outside of the field. There was a large Island Packet on a ball not far away, so Rod jumped in dinghy to get the scoop on the mooring field.  Turns out the ball we picked up was not part of the Portsmouth  Yacht Club Mooring Field.  So we stayed hooked up to see if anyone knocked on our boat to request a fee. 


We left Kittery Point about 6:45 in the morning headed for Hull Bay outside Boston.  We motorsailed out into the Gulf of Maine and Scantum Basin.  It was a perfect day on the water.  The winds were light, the skies blue and the seas calm.

WHALE OFF THE BOW!
About 2pm  Rod saw the first whale of our passage south, it was about a 1/4 mile ahead. We slowed It's Perfect down and came upon 2 whales, one very large.  Wow I have to have a better camera.  They were lying just on the surface and I could see the large whale completely.  His tale was huge!   As we drew closer they began to move across in front of us. Once they were clear of the boat they dove and turned towards us. We stood on the starboard deck and watched the long dark shadow of the largest whale pass under water just 20ft off the boat. He swam passed leaving only his wake on the top of the water. As we got underway we saw our final whale sighting of the day.  Another whale surfaced and dove in front of the boat.  Seeing whales up close and personal is an amazing experience. 

We were just off Boston when the wind picked up and the seas got very rough.  Lobster pots were everywhere and very hard to see between the waves.  Because of the danger of floating lines and buoy's we try hard to avoid them.  The conditions in the harbor made this very difficult.

LIVE ABOARD CRUISING IN THE USA

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016

SUNDOWN IN BROAD COVE
JUST UP THE HILL
AWESOME LOBSTER

It has been almost 2 weeks since the last of our  visiting friends departed.  The days living aboard in the cool waters of Maine have finally settled into a relaxing slow pace. We had been off the boat for 10 months when we returned in the spring, it took us a long time to settle into the slow, quiet way of life aboard.  Our days aboard now feel much the same as when we were in the islands, only cooler.  The cruising life is good but much different.

Here in Maine living aboard is easier than in the islands.  Being stateside everything is much more metropolitan.  You are never far from groceries, hardware or marine supplies.  The trip into town is usually much shorter than we were use to.  There is usually a laundromat not far from our anchorage and fuel is always available at the marinas.  Marina docks are not as accommodating here as in the islands, probably because there are so few live aboard cruisers in these waters.  

OUR LOCAL LOON

The Maine anchorages are beautiful and quiet.  The seals, loons, geese and jumping fish are here to keep us company.  Some mornings you see a seal jumping and diving around a lobster trap, having a wonderful time playing with the marker.  It's a shame they don't jump on cue so pictures can be taken.  Lobster boats checking their traps, a few pleasure craft or kayakers are all we see on any given day.  We have met a few locals and fewer cruisers.  Our days are relaxing and go by quickly, sometimes with nothing but a good book to keep us company.  Very nice indeed.

IT'S PERFECT AT ANCHOR
I miss living aboard in the Caribbean.  All the cruisers from far away countries and the people of the islands added so much interest to the everyday life of living aboard .The one thing  I don't miss is the heat.  Living aboard in the USA doesn't seem much different from living in a new state or town where you are a stranger.  Although we must have the best view and more privacy than anyone on land.   Even with all the conveniences, the flavor of life aboard is much more bland here in the USA.

Just as we have gotten back in the rhythm of life on the water it is time to turn south.  I am trying to get my mind around leaving It's Perfect once more.  People we have met live aboard 6 months or so a year and love it.  Having spent 3 1/2 years aboard with hardly a break it is taking some time for me to get use to the idea. 

THE MAINE SEA SHORE
We have refueled, checked the engine, filled the water tanks and put things away down below.  It is time for us to go. When we have a good 3 day weather window without fog, we will be off.  Falmouth, Maine will fade in the distance as we move south.  The fields of lobster traps lined up across the water makes day sails our only option.  We will make a stop in Kittery, Maine, Hull Bay outside Boston and Onset Bay, Massachusetts.  After that we will make our way up Long Island Sound stopping in Clarks Cove, Orient Harbor, Port Jefferson and Manhasset Bay. 

With good weather we hope to be ready for the final part of our journey for this year by mid to late Sept.  Our final passage will take us back thru Hell Gate and the East River off New York City, past the Statue of Liberty, out into the Atlantic.  Our offshore passage should take 2 days and 2 nights before we turn once more into the Chesapeake Bay.

IT'S SO PERFECT IN MAINE

AUGUST 26, 2016
It has been about six weeks since we arrived in beautiful Casco Bay, Maine.  As in many places we have visited, we picked an anchorage that we like and call it home.  Broad Cove is very large with little traffic and almost no lobster traps.  With the mud bottom to anchor in, It's Perfect sits safely on the hook.  This anchorage is close to the town dock where we can get water or leave our dinghy.  Falmouth, about 2.5 miles away is the nearest town.  When we are in need of groceries or parts we put on our walking shoes and we are off.
TOWN DOCK

GATHERING LOCAL KNOWLEDGE
WITH BETH ATKINS
The locals are friendly and have been helpful in pointing out other anchorages.   We have taken It's Perfect into the islands and necks (what we call peninsula's) to explore new parts of Casco Bay.  Sometimes for days at a time, always returning to Broad Cove.  Casco Bay is about 20 miles long and 7 miles wide. The shores are made up of Necks that we call peninsulas with small islands dotted in between .  Spending the summer on the boat in the  cool waters of Maine has been an experience we will never forget.
WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'M SWIMMING AS
FAST AS I CAN!

PATTY PERKINS MELANDER
Last weekend we had more visitor's.  On Saturday Patty Perkins Melander arrived about noon to take us on a tour of the nearby towns.  Patty has been a friend for years and we met when she was visiting her mother who lived next door to us in McKinney.  She has lived in Maine over 35 years and she seems to know everyone.  We drove up the coast to Freeport, home of L.L. Bean for a lunch of lobster.  Then it was on to Bodoin and her home in the country.  She and her husband Earl bought 30 acres to build their home on.  Earl was very handy and built the house, barn and bunkhouse.  In the summer in between work he grew all kinds of vegetables and tended a field of small spruce trees.  In the winter people came to cut their own Xmas trees for a fee.  After an tour of the grounds and a long visit we drove back through the wooded hills of Maine.  At the end of the day we were back in the cockpit in time to watch the sun set over the water.  Who knows next time we are in Maine we might take Patty up on her invitation to stay at her home for a few days.
ANTHEM OF THE SEAS
PREPAIRING TO DOCK
LUNCH AT THE DOCKSIDE GRILL
Our morning started early on Sunday.  First we went in and did laundry at Handy Boat Marina.  We are doing it about every other week and there were 4 loads to be done.  That finished we just had time to get dressed and meet Larry and Pam Shelton for lunch at the Dockside Grill.  While we finished It's Perfect on the dock at Watergate Marina in Kemah, Texas, Southern Girl, their Catalina 470 was across the dock.  Boat work continued while our friendship grew.  They have since taken their boat as far as the Virgin Islands where she awaits their return.  It was great hearing all their news and the news of the people we left behind on the dock.  Larry and Pam arrived in Portland, Maine aboard the cruise ship Anthem of the Sea.  They went aboard in New York and will travel north to Nova Scotia before turning south to disembark in New York.  Their timing couldn't have been better.  They arrived in Portland and found us just about 10 miles up the coast waiting for them.  In November they will return to Southern Girl to continue their sailing adventure in the Caribbean.






IT'S PERFECT WITH GUESTS ABOARD

AUGUST 15, 2016
WATERS OF CASCO BAY


Much has happened since returning to Broad Cove with my sister Judy.  We settled into the slow pace of life on the hook.  Sleeping late, breakfast, boat chores, nap time, happy hour and dinner made up most of our days.  We took Judy to the Town Dock for the short walk up the hill to the Town Landing Market.  We restocked with wine, milk and bread, in that order.  Judy tried out their famous Crab Rolls and I must say that it was some of the best crab I have ever tasted. 





As part of Judy's Bucket List she decided to take a dip in the 60 degree waters of Maine.  Well, she said it was very refreshing and not that cold.  Not convincing enough for us.  We prefer the warm waters of the Caribbean.






BURRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Before we knew it her visit with us came to an end and we took It's Perfect back to the mooring field at Handy Boat Marina.  She and Rod had left It's Perfect about 3:30 am in the dinghy to meet the taxi to the airport.  It was a very early morning flight.  Of course this was the night that we were covered with fog so thick you could see just a few feet in front of the dinghy.  Rod plotted the course from It's Perfect on the ball into the Handy Boat dock on his iPad and soon disappeared into the fog.  He followed his course slowly around boats on mooring balls and into the dock without incident. Judy was just in time for the arriving taxi.  Rod arrived back on It's Perfect just in time to go back to bed.  By the time we got up the fog was lifting.

The same morning we got off the mooring ball and anchored back in Broad Cove.  Our next company Rick and Leslie from Tyler, Texas arrived at the town dock for a 4 day visit.  We picked them up in the dinghy and were soon settled in below decks on It's Perfect.  Rick and Leslie are not new to life on It's Perfect.  They visited us in Cartagena, Colombia and Portobello, Panama. 

SUNSET IN BROAD COVE
We took them to Maquoit Bay for a couple of nights on the hook.  The view was beautiful, the weather cool and the days were slow.  Rick was behind the wheel on our way back to Broad Cove, dodging the lobster pots all the way.  The next morning we took the dinghy to the Town Dock and made use of their rent car for a trip into Portland.


It was only about 20 minuets by car to the Waterfront of Portland, Maine.  The city is much warmer than it is out on the water aboard It's Perfect.  After walking some of the city streets we spent some time people watching from a local tavern on the docks of the waterfront.  The town of Portland was much as I imagined.  There were wonderful historic buildings along busy streets and sidewalks full of pedestrians.  Not many traffic lights and very little parking.  This was our first look at life in the city in Maine.
ON THE WATERFRONT


WAITING ON LOBSTER
TOWN LANDING MARKET



FRESH LOBSTER Yummmmmmm!


















Back at the Town Landing Market Rick bought lobster for dinner and we were off to It's Perfect.  Our Lobster dinner was exceptional and so was the wine.  Sunday was their last day aboard before returning home to Tyler.  After dinner we watched as the seals gathered.  They herded fish together from below until they were boiling out of the water.  Then we saw seals racing just under the mass of fish chasing their prey.  Sometimes they would jump completely out of the water to catch their perfect fish.  There were more seals hunting their dinner around the boat than we had ever seen at one time.  Might not sound exciting but we watched their every move amazed until the sun began to set.  That night there were about 12 seals gathered on Anderson Rock sleeping off their dinner.

Early Monday morning we said goodbye to the last of our company for now.  They were off to Baltimore for their flight back to Tyler.  Now we are turning our thoughts to our trip south.  Time to refuel, fill the water tanks, do laundry and pick up a few groceries.  When we get a 3 to 4 day weather window we will be off.