June 18, 2014, Shelburne, NS, by Amy
We sit in Shelburne Harbour attached to a mooring ball hobby-horsing, while the boat creaks and moans. The wind howls and rain pours down in sheets. We don’t complain. It is the life we chose. If only we could choose the weather. Now to add to the racket the halyards have started banging on the mast. The French radio we’ve tuned into adds to the cacophony in a nice way.
Two other boats have come in out of the gale to join us in the mooring field. They are very tough looking vessels, so it must be pretty rough out there.
When we arrived yesterday morning the sun was shining and the water was glassy. We enjoyed a walk through the sleepy town of comfy looking wooden homes and historic buildings the most imposing of which was built for the filming of The Scarlet Letter. Shelburne probably looks the same as it did two centuries ago. The people are friendly and speak with soft open “o’s.” ‘Sorry’ sounds like “sorey.” Nobody is in a hurry.
As is our custom, we had lunch at the Sea Dog shortly after our arrival. It’s right next door to the Shelburne Harbour Yacht Club on the water. In the early evening we went to the Yacht Club for Tooney Tuesday, which means beers cost $2, but they had to charge slightly more than that to be in accordance with Canadian liquor laws. We go to the SHYC every time we visit Nova Scotia. SHYC, along with the Quantico Yacht Club are the friendliest clubs we’ve ever had the pleasure to visit. We unexpectedly ran into a cruising couple (Maeve and Brad on Sympatecho II) we’d met in Annapolis and had a nice visit. We didn’t recognize each other at first, but we finally figured out that we had indeed been acquainted through mutual friends.
They gave us some tips re/ sailing in Newfoundland – like it’s very difficult to find any diesel fuel and which towns have been closed by the government and consequently abandoned.
Our crossing from Gloucester, MA, to arrive here was quite lively. It started out rather lovely with the wind off our beam and the seas fairly gentle. Later in the day the wind picked up rather suddenly, so we shortened sail and just in time. Choppy waves started slamming into us from a variety of directions creating a rather unpleasant motion and making it difficult to move about the boat without holding on for dear life. Kenny just mumbling, “higgledy-piggledy…higgledy-piggledy.” After about 12 hours of being slammed around, I resorted to taking a small dose of Sturgeron, a seasick pill. It did the trick. Any queasiness I was feeling evaporated.
About 30 hours into the trip the seas started to calm down and eventually the wind died too and we found ourselves once again resorting to motoring. This time we didn’t complain. The noise of the motor was less sleep-depriving than the booming sound of waves and the creaking of the boat in heavy weather. In any case, it was all over in 45 hours.
Although I’ve never given birth, I think cruising must be a bit like having a child: in its glorious moments, you forget how painful it was, so you do it again. This is the life we chose.
Before crossing the Gulf of Maine to arrive in Nova Scotia, we spent a lovely week in Gloucester, MA, catching up with our friends Lisa and Raffi on their charter sailboat, Windfall. (insert link) It was the site of our nuptials and thus full of fond memories. Lisa and Raffi are two of our best friends and they spoil us rotten. They did grocery shopping for us, wined and dined us, let us use their shower… Raffi and I even played a little tennis. Raffi is a master of other racquet sports, but had never tried tennis. He was a little horrified to discover how different it was from racquet ball, but he quickly caught on and we had some very nice rallies. We let a lone player named Lou, join us and had a lovely threesome.
Going backwards from Gloucester (Kenny wants me to cover all the bases) our ports of call included: Provincetown, MA, on the tip of Cape Cod; Onset, MA, on the southeastern end of the Cape Cod Canal; Mattapoisett, MA, in Buzzards Bay; Fisher’s Island in Long Island Sound; Port Jefferson, Long Island; Atlantic Highlands, NJ, just south of Manhattan; and of course Atlantic City which was the site of our previous blog.
We never did end up gambling in Atlantic City, which is a shame cause I was counting on that as a source of income, so anyone who wants to donate to our voyage of self-indulgence and self-discovery should feel free to send checks. Perhaps it was to save us from the temptation of gambling, that Kenny’s cousin Mickey and wife Sandy, whisked us away from Atlantic City and drove us back to Cape May.
There we visited a zoo which was a nice place to walk around and chat while geezing at some fauna. It was a white-collar zoo, so the animals didn’t seem to mind the incarceration too much. The male peacocks were in fine form showing off their plumes and shaking their fluffy booties.
After lunch at Lucky Bones, we visited a local tavern in the pedestrian strip in downtown Cape May and purchased a smile on a stick, which is a nice alternative to the “I’m with Stupid” t-shirt. Sandy and Mickey are great company and extremely lively and fit. They are both retired physical education teachers but they haven’t retired from the physical part. They both look ab fab. At the end of our day together, they took us to a grocery store so we could add to our food inventory. Thank you Mickey and Sandy!
That night we were treated to a lovely dinner at the home of our Atlantic City friends Paul and Colleen. Paul whipped up a hearty meal of ham, potatoes and green beans. They gave us a lot of leftovers, which we continued to enjoy for days. The last time we were in Atlantic City, they invited us to a family birthday party for Paul’s sister and brother. It was on that occasion that we were initiated into their arcane family tradition of butt darts. To play simply place a small mixing bowl or an empty coffee can on the floor. While remaining fully dressed, hold a quarter between your butt cheeks by squeezing hard. (Tight jeans not recommended). Continue to hold the quarter in place while mincing over to the coffee can and try to score a point by releasing the quarter into the can. Though initially skeptical, Kenny and I quickly caught on and participated with vigor. We still play whenever we get a chance.
The day after our dinner at Paul and Colleen’s we headed north up the Jersey coast motoring all the way and lamenting the dearth of wind. After a short stay in the anchorage off Atlantic Highlands, NJ, we motored up the East River past Manhattan all the way to Port Jefferson, Long Island. Two days later found us in Mattapoisett, MA, where my sister Molly picked us up and brought us to her place for two glorious days. It’s a pretty long schlep from Mattapoisett to Molly’s house in Littleton, so we appreciate her taking the time to come and get us. I enjoyed playing audience to her eclectic collection of piano students who were preparing for an upcoming recital, while Kenny worked hard on migrating all of his website clients to a new server. Molly and I also had some fun jams with me playing drums.
Provincetown, MA was another fun stop. After a pretty walk around town, we treated ourselves to dinner at a fancy burger joint called Local and a show. Dina Martina is a one-woman show that’s laugh-out-loud funny from beginning to end. She is a large guy in drag (“the stage puts on 80 pounds,” says Dina) with one of the most bizarre outrageous acts I’ve ever seen. She talked about being on a show for hoarders and how she re-discovered her living room couch. Why she even found her daughter, who said “Mama, I’m hungry.” He daughter had the cutest little goiter, which they used to adorn with little mirrors and such. It was so adorable, but finally the daughter wanted to get rid of it, so Dina tied a string around it and attached the other end to a doorknob and slammed the door and the goiter just popped off. It was the cleanest cut you could imagine. Dina couldn’t bear to part with it, so she saved it in the freezer. It came in handy later on as she used it for a pinata at a birthday party for her daughter….
This ridiculous monologue was intercut with hilarious original songs and video clips of famous movies with Dina Martina’s head superimposed over figures such as Toto and Shirley Temple. It was brilliant.
Kenny just told me the weather in our home waters (Chesapeake Bay) is record-breaking hot, so we don’t feel quite so bad now bouncing around in our cold, noisy boat. Thanks to all who have helped us along the way and those who helped us during our long land-based stint over the winter.
Thank you Kai-lee’ and Rory (Kenny’s daughter and her husband) for providing us with that lovely apartment in Annapolis for two months after Kenny’s heart surgery. Thank you, Tim, Viki, and Annie, for hosting us in your lovely home in Riva, MD, for three months and for handling all of our mail! Thank you, Debbie, for lodging us in your lovely abode for three weeks. And thanks, too, to Wayne and JoAnne for looking after Mary T during the brutal, cruel winter of 2014.
It takes a village to keep a cruising couple sailing along!