|SAILING LOGS :: EQUIPMENT AND STORAGE :: MISCELLANY|
Day 1--August 8, 2001
I loaded the boat in the morning while my wife was at work. I loaded 60 lb. of ice into the icebox--40 lb. of block, and 2 bags of cubes for drinks. With this much ice, I could just fit in our fresh food for the 4-day trip. Admittedly, this was overkill on the ice, but it was nice to know we wouldn't have to worry about it melting too quickly. After all, the forecast was for temperatures well into the 90's, at least for a couple days. Amazingly, I incorporated all the junk we planned to take into the storage lockers on board. As usual, we overpacked. I added about 8 gallons of diesel to the unknown quantity already in the tank.
We got aboard late in the day, preparing to spend the night either on the mooring or at a nearby island. That morning, I had noticed that the QE2 was in Portland harbor, and had been tempted to motor down then to have a look, but didn't. We missed it last year because Glissando was still on the hard in our backyard at the time. Therefore, we decided to motor down the 5-6 miles to Portland and have a look. It was a pleasant evening.
Well, we had barely gotten halfway to Portland when Heidi, sort of off-handedly, said "Did the ship just move?" I said, "Don't even say that!" But she was right--there was a tugboat at her bow, and, sure enough, she must have just weighed anchor. Movement was slow at first, but it became rapidly apparent that we weren't going to get there in time--we were still about 2 miles out. Then, just like that, the huge liner disappeared behind the islands in the ship channel, and was gone. We turned around, and unrolled the jib for what turned out to be a thrilling 1-1.5-knot sail back. After a while, we turned the engine back on. I had some questions about whether the engine was charging the batteries or not, and had taken the time earlier to print out some troubleshooting guides from the Ample Power website. I planned to work on this a little during the cruise.
Day 2--August 9, 2001
The day dawned (sort of) glassy calm and mostly cloudy, with a strange filtered light. By 0730, it still seemed so dim out that it was more like 0530. Odd. The weather was warm and humid, and they were predicting temperatures as high as 100° during the day. Unfortunately, they were also warning of a string of severe thunderstorms that might come through during the morning. I was a little worried about the forecast, but figured I'd keep a weather eye out and be prepared for any eventuality. We raised the main--I like to always raise the main when setting out on a longer passage under power, for a couple reasons: it helps steady the boat in a seaway, and it makes it easier to get under sail later on if the wind comes up. At 0751, we were underway. Our rough target for the day was Five Islands, in the Sheepscot River east of Cape Small. Cruising speed at 2650 RPM was 5.25 knots. I activated my pre-programmed route on the GPS, and away we went.
The trip was generally uneventful. At one point, about 45 minutes after departure, it looked like we might get hit with a boomer--the sky to the northwest was dark and foreboding. However, shortly thereafter the sun finally broke free of the odd low cloud bank surrounding the horizon, and the dark quality of the clouds disappeared. The wind remained nonexistent, and we powered outside of Quahog Bay and the New Meadows River with a gentle swell on the beam.
At 0947, we passed by Bald Head Ledge, off Cape Small. This is a nasty ledge, although easy enough to avoid. What makes it particularly scary looking is the odd daymarker installed on the rock. For as long as I can remember, the marker has been bent and twisted, giving it a particularly evil appearance. Even the moderate swells on this flat day boiled and churned over the ledge. There's what looks similar to a wagon wheel on top of the marker, with the standard Osprey's nest haphazardly hanging off at an angle.
After passing between Cape Small and Fuller Rock, we changed course for the Sheepscot River. The passage brought us inside of Sequin Island--a high, Irish-moor looking island with one of the few remaining Fresnel lenses in the lonely lighthouse. Nearby to the north (left) is Ellingwood rock--my wife's maiden name.
We passed by the mouth of the Kennebec river, with its attractive lighthouse nestled on a small island, and an old wartime fort on the mainland behind, near one of the last good beaches as you head downeast.
Next, the wide mouth of the Sheepscot river opened up to the north. Several miles wide, the mouth is so open that it is actually called Sheepscot Bay. We had a pleasant trip the few miles up the bay to our destination--Five Islands. This is a neat little harbor surrounded by, as the name implies, five bold islands. Space inside is tight, and there's no room to anchor. However, the so-called Five Islands Yacht Club provides several free moorings for use--what a refreshing idea! Thanks! By 1315, we had picked up one of the moorings in the picturesque harbor, and were enjoying lunch. We spent the afternoon reading, rowing around the harbor checking out the local scenery, and generally relaxing. A nice seabreeze came up right as we arrived, which kept the temperatures very comfortable--little did we know how everyone inland was sweltering in record heat.
We had kind of a fun experience during the afternoon. Ever since arrival, Glissando seemed to be swarmed by resident Swallows in the harbor. We don't really know why, but they seemed to like the boat. At one point, we had, I think, 13 of them perched on the jumpers and the nearby masthead! This photo shows several of them alighted on the jumpers, and a few more in flight attempting to land.