after a bit of provisioning, gathering of our small crew, and a few more jobs and sea trials to do on cricket we were off to sea, for the long haul south west from rockland, me to our old familiar chesapeake bay. we’ve made it to nantucket island after three days and two nights of exhausting sailing
i took cricket out for my first solo run! we (cricket and i) headed across the beautiful penobscot bay, around a few of the smaller islands that surround vinalhaven island, and back to our little mooring in rockland. it felt amazing to be able to sail this boat by myself, and the weather cooperated quite well. cricket did an amazing job, and i never felt like things were out of control thanks to the great way she sails! i even was able to get her to the mooring under sail! fantastic!
while in rockland i had a rental car for a few days, so i took advantage of it by driving to some beautiful spots in the area, and taking walks to soak in maine’s beauty one last time. i even got a chance to hike 1,385 feet up mount megunitook to soak in the awsome vistas of camden harbor, and west penobscot bay. it was good to keep some semblance of being in shape.
kurt joined the crew about a week and a day ago. kurt is a good friend that we met in deltaville, and is brave enough to go this long haul with cricket and me. while we were still in rockland harbor we got to experience what the weather can do in the fall, in these parts and waited for a good blow to blow by while we were at the mooring. sad to say, cricket was rocking and rolling enough to make me terribly seasick, and i had to give up the coffee i had drunken into the sea... this wouldn’t be the last time of this trip that the ocean would receive my previously ingested food. kurt was feeling a bit queasy too. what a fine crew we were going to make! we both put on little sea-sick patches behind our ears and got ready to gut things out with the waves. the patches seem to work better for kurt than for me, but hopefully in a week or so we’ll both get our sea legs (and sea guts).
we did have a very nice shake down sail across the bay to the fox island thorofare, around to seal bay for lunch. we even got to watch a sweet seal swim right past the stern of cricket while we were anchored for lunch! nice! we were met with contrary winds on the way back, and the sun was about to set, so we prudently decided to anchor for the night in a sweet little spot called pulpit harbor. we then motored our way back to rockland to have the last little bits of work done before we set out for the big one.
we waited for what we thought was a good weather window, and set out on the first leg . we sailed 10 or so nautical miles to the south to take a mooring on a cute little island called matinicus. this is a small “working man’s” island full of lobster boats. we got to the island just as the island’s working crew were pulling their moorings out of the water. we picked up a mooring that would have been pulled out within an hour of our arrival! what a stroke of good fortune! we talked to the harbor master, josh, from the deck of cricket to the deck of his lobster boat and arranged for him to bring us a couple of live lobsters for dinner that evening.
i went ashore to explore a bit. it was fun to walk the little gravel roads and see the one small church on the island, and the tiny school house in which all the island kids attend (k-12). it’s amazing to think about what life must be in this small community. when i got back kurt had the lobsters all cooked up and we had a great feast! kurt not only is wonderful crew, but is turning out to be a genius cook as well (even though he would humbly deny the fact).
from matinicus it was the first long haul southwest to nantucket 162 nautical miles, as the crow flies, away. of course, we couldn’t go the way of the crow... mostly on account of the wind blowing... yup. you guessed it... southwest! we beat to wind for the first day and night, making very little way. it’s kind of discouraging to make only 50 of those miles in the first day and a half. but noaa promised that the winds would build, and become west, and sure enough they did! we were still beating into wind, but now we were at least beating in the general right direction! wow! the winds were heavy, blowing between 25k-32k, and the seas built themselves up to 10-15 foot waves! cricket was a trooper! she danced and pranced her way through, but her crew was a bit green around the gills. a full day, and a full overnight, and a full day was enough to tire us out. we would take 4 hour shifts over night. 6-10 was kurt’s. 10-2am was mine. 2am-6am was back to kurt, and 6am-10am was me. it’s pretty light sleeping when the boat is a rockin’ and a rollin’ in those waves. it was quite an awsome sight to see the moon shining on those 15 foot waves! very humbling. we were happy to get to the harbor in nantucket just as the sun was setting! the sea seemed to try to keep us from going into safe harbor by piping up real good while i tried to take the sails down. whew! it was a lot of work pulling the wildly whipping main and staysail in in 32 knots of wind and 8 foot seas! but we finally made it into harbor, but the wind wasn’t done with us yet! it seemed to say, “if you want some rest, you’re going to have to really work for it!” it took quite a few tries to catch a mooring in those kind of winds! but finally we had cricket safe on a mooring, and i can’t tell you how relieving it was to know we could get a solid night’s rest! and now we’re waiting for the next weather window (looks like tomorrow), and while we wait, we rest, knowing that the next leg is even longer. we’ve got our clothes out on lines drying out in these 20-30 knot winds. nantucket is a beautifully, historic island, but we’re simply watching it from cricket on a mooring, taking it easy for a day.
note: it’s been wonderful not to have to worry about our electrical system, which we had worked on by ocean pursuits in rockland maine. it’s been working flawlessly! but i must say... i totally miss the best captain there could ever be upon cricket. i miss cap’t pam!!!