Thursday (7/8) – Boston, MA
We had a weather window today to get up to Boston before the winds picked up, and trying to take advantage of the current through the Cape Cod Canal. We left around 7:30 am and headed out onto Buzzards Bay. It was a little windy compared to yesterday, and Denise was very nervous about the conditions we would face once on the other side of the canal. The seas were forecasted at 1’ – 3’ and a northeast wind. Every other time we have come through this way we have had near perfect weather and her anxiety for this passage was high. Although our cruise north should only take about 2.5 to 3 hours, it can seem like an eternity when conditions bring on seasickness, or rough seas.
As expected, cruising the Cape Cod Canal was uneventful, even with the swirls of swift currents wanting to take our boat in different directions. But with many pictures already of this area, Denise was light on the camera and only took a few shots of some uniquely spotted items along the way.
We exited the Canal and headed out onto the Cape Cod Bay on a course that would take us near the channel entrance to Plymouth, one of several bail-out locations we had identified should things get too rough. It was quite bumpy and uncomfortable, but not so rough we couldn’t handle it. There were periodic swells that came from the northeast, and about every 6th or 7th would be a 2-4 footer. But the seas were a bit confused from the shifting wind direction of the prior days and in between the swells there would be a bump or two. As we rounded the point around Plymouth Channel and the Plymouth Bay, things stayed about the same and we felt that if it didn’t get any worse we would press on with Situate as our next potential stopping point. One thing we had going for us was that there was little true wind, so there were no whitecaps or tops of waves rolling into us. Had this been the case it would have been miserable.
We entered the Massachusetts Bay and our course shifted slightly more northwest, making it slightly more comfortable. It also helped that what little wind we did have up until now had calmed down even more. By the time we reached Situate we only had 10 more miles to go before turning into the south channel for Boston Harbor, and we knew we could make it all the way into Constitution Marina on the Charles River. But it was still too rough to try and take any kind of decent pictures.
As we entered the south channel, the small barrier islands created a swirl of currents and chop and we were back to bumpy waters. But they were short-lived and before long we were in the main shipping channel into Boston Harbor. Captain Mark negotiated us around an anchored ship and dodged several sailing schools who were taking advantage of the wind to teach their students. And of course under the landing planes at Logan Airport.
Most unnerving during this time we also heard on the VHF a call to the USCG for a pleasure craft taking on water, who was located just south of where we had just passed by. The USCG launched two vessels to assist, along with a TowBoatUS vessel. As we entered downtown Boston area, the solo-captain radioed that he was able to get his bilge pumps to keep up with the inflow of water and eventually got a tow into Boston Harbor. Our hearts went out that boat owner and we kept thinking how lucky we are that there are two of us to work together should something like this ever happen to us. And then we arrived at Constitution Marina.
Our slip assignment was on one of the inner side-tie slips by the pool and marina office, requiring a tight right, then another right, then a left turn to get to it. Captain Mark did an awesome job of navigating the tight turns and docking our Island Office without touching the boats in front and behind us. Denise worked to secure the boat with the help of the dockmaster (Sebastien) who remembered us and welcomed us back. And then as she turned to see the boat behind ours (stern to stern), and read the name she couldn’t believe it. The boat “Travail” was there, as it had been behind us in 2017 when we first came to this marina. You can read about that story from our blog here. The owner Bob was not on the boat, but was expected back to take it home to NH in a few days. We were excited that we might be able to see him again after all this time.
Once the boat was settled, we ate lunch and mapped out our plan for the stay. We had work to do, a blog to update and plans to make. But more importantly, we had to check on the weather. The forecast called for rain to begin in the evening and Tropical Storm Elsa to hit the area on Friday. This meant we would be here for 2 nights at least. We spent the afternoon doing work for clients, and began planning our next destinations once we leave. We had already decided we would not be stopping in Gloucester, even though we received a partial refund from on our cancellation.
Meanwhile, the threatening rain had not yet showed up and we decided to walk to the North End for dinner. We were going to go to Regina’s Pizza, but a local suggested we got to Ernesto’s instead and we agreed to try something new. Denise was disappointed that the usual walk over the locks for the Charles River was closed to pedestrian traffic, so no “playing” of the “Charlestown Bells” along the route. Instead we were forced back up on the North Washington Street Bridge, which was undergoing a major construction and rebuilding project. Once at Ernesto’s we discovered a small pizzeria with limited seating, but award plaques on the wall with great reviews. We thought the pizza was good, but the atmosphere at Regina’s is so much better and decided we prefer the pizza there too.
On the way back to the boat, we had to walk past Bova’s the bakery that is open 24 hours a day. Naturally, we had to stop and get a box of various Italian cookies; our favorite thing they sell. And as we made our way back across the North Washington Street Bridge it started to lightly sprinkle, but didn’t last long.
That night we began watching the second season of “Lupin” on Netflix; a great robbery crime-drama that has English dubbed over French, but is very well done. We were so happy to finally have a good Wi-Fi system and that we could again stream a show in the evening without burning up our hotspot hours.
Friday (7/9) – Boston, MA
We woke up to the constant pitter-patter of rain and looked out on a gloomy looking day. It had started to rain during the night and continued throughout the morning, and the wind picked up, although neither were quite as strong as forecasted. Meanwhile, the area around Cape Cod was getting pummeled by Elsa and we were so glad we were no longer there. Again, we made the right call!
Off and on throughout the day it was so foggy you could barely see the buildings downtown across the Charles River, let alone the tops of the taller ones. We spent the entire day holed up on the boat, working and getting the last blog update done and pictures downloaded and cataloged. We also spoke to family and friends, many who were concerned for our well-being (thank you!). Additionally, the every-direction-changing wind pushed water into places that funneled into the boat. We knew there were leaks, we just have not been able to find out where they originate. So far all we can do is use towels and catch basins to collect the water. It is a rare occurrence, but irritating nonetheless.
In the afternoon, the rains finally stopped and we had a chance to connect with Bob (“Travail”) who arrived on his boat mid-morning during the rain. We chatted for a while and made plans to get together for drinks and dinner, which we did. Again we walked over to the North End, only this time we went to an Italian restaurant he knew of called “Limoncello”. It was located right near Paul Revere’s house and was delicious, and yes, Mark got his usual (chicken parmigiana) and during dinner, the sun finally came out.
Afterwards we went to “Caffe Vittoria” for a cappuccino (Denise) and spumoni (Bob), as per Bob’s tradition introduced to us in 2017. During the time together, we got caught up on each other’s lives and Bob suggested places in Maine, but most of them we had already been to, or are planning on going to this trip.
We ended the evening watching more of season 2 of the “Lupin” series and deciding that we would spend Saturday night in Boston as well. This would allow us to be able to attend church here on Saturday evening, and allow for us to go all the way to Portland or the surrounding area on Sunday morning as the weather looked to be favorable for that.
Saturday (7/10) – Boston, MA
This morning Denise was so happy! She was heading out for a run along her now-familiar route along the Charles River when she met up with another woman also heading out for a run. “Nancy” did not know the area and so Denise took her down the Charles River to MIT. During the run she learned they were on a sailboat in the marina and also heading to Maine. They talked about all things running and places to go in Maine and learned a little bit about each other. Denise was elated to finally have someone to run with!
After the run, showers and breakfast, we both got down to doing some boat chores. We had a chance to meet some of the other transients in nearby boats, including Lon and Pat (“End Game”) from Ponte Vedra, FL. They were on a Fleming 55, hull #200 and we discussed all things boating. They were planning to do the Down East Loop and because of Canada not reopening, they too are now headed directly to Maine. We hope to see them in the future.
In the afternoon we walked the quarter mile up to St. Mary’s Catholic Church for 4:00 pm mass. It is a beautiful church and the closeness to this church is another reason we love Constitution Marina. From there we walked another quarter mile to Whole Foods to pick up a few things for our trip. This is our last true provisioning before Maine and we wanted to make sure we had enough fruits and veggies for a week.
We returned to the boat and talked briefly to Bob (“Travail”) and Lon & Pat (“End Game”), as we all were heading out in the morning to our respective destinations. We then ate dinner on the boat and finished watching season 2 of “Lupin”. Then we went to be early as we planned for an early departure (6:30 am) so we could be at Harbor Fuels when they opened at 7:00 to top off our fuel tank. Off we will be to Maine, finally!