Since we last posted. We have been to many great ports, including Booth Bay, where we were joined by our newest crew member,
Shelly a soft red stuffed lobster. We also visited the amazing Maine Coast Botanical Gardens, in our experience second only to Bouchard Gardens on Vancouver Island, Canada, and on par with Kristenbosch in Cape Town, South Africa. A fun part of this were the many trolls that one has to find as you walk around the gorgeous place. What was most fascinating to us there was the Caterpillar House where an expert explained a million things about them and where we all got to walk around and see them on plants for real. So cool!!!!
We saw a whale breech outside Harpswell Harbor and a magnificent complete rainbow after a squall passed. We visited Portland, ME, Portsmouth and Gloucester, MA both wonderful seaports with lots of history and art. Of course the first thing we do is find either a walking tour or a museum to visit.
In Gloucester, one of our favorite stops, we had a fabulous literary walking tour. The docent earned his tip! We spent several days here because Allen left his credit card at a restaurant in Portsmouth. The hostess sent it via overnight post, but the USPS messed up and sent it to the wrong post office so we had to wait through the weekend to get it sorted. Fortunatly Gloucester is a really great town. We took long walks, discovered an artist's colony, saw amazing museums and just had a great time with our extra time in town.
For a long time, I spoke to Allen about stopping at Salem, Mass, or what everyone calls "Witch City." We went to Salem , catching a 30" bluefish on the way. While we felt the Witch Museum was a disappointment, it was good in explaining the death of 19 accused witches in a crazy time period in Salem History. The problem was that I expected to see what I saw as a student reading Arthur Miller's The Crucible and Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. That was almost 50+ years ago, and boy the place has changed. No more witches (wise women) walking around that town any more, but some cool shops and a place to visit if you have not already done so. We also visited The House of Seven Gables and I just finished reading the book. Hawthorn himself made it clear that there was no actual house of seven gables, but that did not stop some enterprising folks to find an old house with seven gables, in a fabulous and scenic location and create a museum there, complete with a "Hawthorne House" next door.
Next, we visited Boston, where Allen spent a week among the islands of Boston Harbor while Norma flew to Seattle and then then on to Minnesota to facilitate a tribal governance training institute for 9 TCUs (Tribal Colleges and Universities). All play and no work makes Norma nervous. Allen did some single-handed sailing and visited Fort Warren, an amazing fortress covering what was for a very long time the only deep water channel into Boston. The fort is huge with many gun emplacements and some very dark passages inside. Allen would have loved to explore them but the National Park Ranger at the entranceway did such a great job telling the story of the "woman in black" that it actually frightened Allen to go into the dark alone! It was a surprise how large Boston Harbor actually is with many beautiful islands that have been brought into the National Park system. It is easy to spend a week exploring the harbor.
Next, We went to Plymouth, MA, where we saw what they are calling "Plymouth Rock." Allen recalled in grade school imaginging an immense rock, like the rock of Gibralter. But you gotta give the tourists something to look at, right? It is housed in a Greek Revival edifice with pillars and looked really, really small. It is also cracked from when they moved it in the mid-1800's, and was repaired with cement. Funny though, the museum has another piece of it which looked like dark gray basalt and was smooth, but the big stone (smaller than expected), caged by pillars and heavy wire and watched over by cameras, was a totally different color. Hmn, Allen has his doubts and so do I. On leaving the bay, we looked at the great cliffs out at the entrance and speculated, though not a rock, perhaps that is what the pilgrims originally called "Plymouth Rock" .
We saw the Mayflower 2 replica and the exhibits were worth the admission. And the Plymouth Museum , the oldest continuously operating museum in the country, is great. Especially the art and especially since they truly recognized and honored the Native Americans who originally lived, and still live, on the land. It's so interesting to see all the different depictions of the landing... who was there and who was not. Myth? History? Allen believes that this museum should be a model for America's historical musuems. Let's have more than a small exhibit of arrowheads at the beginning and a little plaque stateing "For over 10,000 years, people lived here" (then Europeans arrived and history began... see the rest of the museum.) Musuems need to show how the people coexsted, and still do! Not just the massacres either. Here and at the Fischers Island museum we begin to learn that when the Europeans said they "bought the land", the way the indiginous people saw it, the newcomers were paying rent and it was expected these payments would continue. Instead they got a "Now get the h--- off our land!" Paying tribute was more in line with how the people shared the land with clans and tribes who lived there or used it as part of their annual migrations.
After Plymouth, we visited New Bedford, MA, and their famous whaling museum on our anniversary. It was an interesting visit with shows about seaweed gathering, whaling, and other aspects of the whaling trade. Huge whales bones , original skeletons were so dramatic as was the entire room of scrimshaw. There was even a 1/2 size replica' built in 1919' of a whaling ship.
We stopped by Woods Hole and saw the NOAA aquarium and science museums for two of the major ocean institutes. In Martha's Vineyard we heard some great music during the Beach Road weekend. Next we went on to Block Island for a night then some provisioning and a bit of family time in Mystic, CT.
We had a short stop at Avery Point in Groton, CT, Enjoyed an amazing sunset and sunrise, and then a truly amazing 40 close-haul mile sail with the current in Long Island Sound where we logged a maximum speed over the ground of 10.9 knots. Best sail of the year!
Bookends of the night, Sunset and Sunrise at New London, CT
We are writing this now from New Haven, CT, where we are anchored for the night before a morning transit to our next destinatio