XO and I left the Dodgers (actually they left me and went to LA when I was still quite young) in Brooklyn in the company of three other boats: HOBO II, H2OBO (Water Hobo) and EXCALIBUR. The plan was to go direct to Nantucket Island. We of course knew that if the winds were unfavoable we could hit the USA anywhere from Grand Manan (an island still in Canada) all the way along the Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts coast.
Our first event was Bob on Excalibur lost his engine. He changed the filters out and got it restarted but believed that he had water in his fuel and was concerned about continuing. He decided to turn back to Brooklyn. This was a particularly hard knock as Bob had been in Brooklyn for over a month trying to get things sorted out and was delighted to actually be back underway. It reminded me of my frustration over getting my outboard motor fixed which essentially kept me in Key West for the entirety of last winter. We have dropped him an email but have not heard back yet how things worked out.
As our group proceeded down past Cape Sable Island we got a wind shift and some higher seas. We decided that we would proceed up to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and take refuge until the winds calmed and shifted back in a favorable direction. This was not an inconsequential detour (about 50 NM when all is said and done) but we all agreed that we had made the correct decision. We stayed in Yarmouth for about 36 hours. Our plan was to depart at midnight to take advantage of the favorable tides and wind shift.
Symmetry is a wonderful thing. It can bring joy to the eye. That is why, when the clock struck midnight, the fog was as thick as pea soup. (You may remember that when I came into Canada at Yarmouth the fog was as thick as pea soup!)
While in Yarmouth the s/v Meridith arrived. I had met Connie and Bob at the St. Mary's Thanksgiving Gam last year. They were also on their way back to the States. We discussed their participation in our group but they decided not to leave with us at midnight. They were headed for Plymouth (they knew what we did not, which is the ports of entry into the United States!)
Once out we were hit by tide rips. Al thought we expected it to be lumpy it is never fun. The further we got from the Nova Scotia coast the more the waves converted into longer period rollers. After about a day on a beam reach, broad reach, and run we got the call from Hobo II that set us all on edge. Jim, who was single handing, reported that his autopilot had failed. He declared that he was going to head for Gloucester, MA. We had already decided that we would head for Cape Cod to position ourselves better for the next leg so this was a diversion North about 75 miles. Apparently, since the distances were about the same, Jim felt that the autopilot or the boat could hold a better course to Gloucester. It is a very strange and scary experience to watch another boat in your company disappear off the AIS and then off the radar and be GONE! We still had over 100 Nm to sail so we sailed on.
We arrived in Providencetown, MA in the early evening. High on the list of things I hate is getting into a new port after dark. US ports are well marked and the charts are very accurate but it is still a nail biting experience. Since I had lost my boat hook overboard during the transit from St. Pierre to Halifax I was not really big on trying to pick up a mooring by myself in the dark. So I called in to find out the slip rates. - /RANT ON I am not even going to try to tell you the ways that the Providence Marina fails at life. They quoted me a rate over the radio. The next morning they told me that actual rate was three times the amount. They have internet. It took 12 hours for them to enter my MAC address so that I could use it. Then I went to take a shower. The showers require you to purchase tokens to use. I was surprised that the toilets were not pay toilets. I will never, ever, come to this place again. /RANT OFF.
When I arrived I called Customs and Immigration. Guess what, Providencetown is not a port of entry. So I could not check in (nor could H2OBO. The good news is that the C&I officer accepted that we had the "right to innocent transit" since we had come into port to avoid bad weather. We could come into port, but we could not leave our boats until we had voyaged to a port of entry and been checked in. So I spent the day on board, and Bronco and Maggie spent the day on a mooring ball.
Just before leaving Brooklyn my inverter went nuts. It drew the batteries down to about 25% power in about 30 seconds. So I spent the day debugging. What I found was a lot of arced wires. I decided that I could no longer trust the inverter so I removed it from Reboot. Since I was already in a bad mood from my experiences with /RANT ON the f.....ing useless marina /RANT OFF the fact that I was going to have to drop a big dime on a new charger inverter didn't go over well. On top of that my fresh water supply pump has not worked (I am waiting for a replacement to be shipped) so I was in a foul mood.
The good news is that the weather has been warm. For the first time in about 1 1/2 months I am actually sitting in shorts and not freezing. XO got to sit out in the sun and bake.
Tomorrow I hit the fuel dock at 8 AM for the transit to Groton CT and the Navy Sub Base. I talked to Squeak on POW-MIA and he is going to try and make it to Long Island Sound to hook up. And, after not hearing anything from Jim on Hobo II I asked my friends at the Maritime Mobile Service Net to see if he had made it into port successfully. They contacted both the Canadian and US SAR Coordination Centers and finally located Jim safe in port.
So as I sip my small glass of Oban scotch and prepare for tomorrows departure I am content to know that we are all safe. Life is good.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
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