Daily Archives: September 11, 2021

Boston Again!

Tuesday (8/31) – Boston, MA

Snow Island to Boston

Tuesday (8/31) – Boston, MA

Denise was up very early this morning, craving a cup of coffee, but with the generator not working, she was not going to get one.  She would have to tough it out, even though she was sleepy; she had a restless night as she was anxious about the open water passage of today, hoping not to get seasick and concerned about encountering big waves.

The Snow Island anchorage area was as still as it could be and was breathtakingly beautiful.  There was no wind and the water was so peaceful. At 5:30 am the large yacht (“Sattori”) at the north end Snow’s Island pulled up its anchor and soon thereafter headed out of Quahog Bay. About 5 minutes later its wake met our boat and created the only ripple on the water.  

Mark was up early too, and at 7:00 am we disconnected from the mooring, and headed out into Quahog Bay.  We made our way down the bay and into the Gulf of Maine.  We had plotted a direct course that would take us right by the Twin Lighthouses of Thatcher Island, just off the coast of Gloucester, before turning towards Boston harbor.  This meant we would be running up to 15+ miles offshore in some places, just like when we headed north a short 7 weeks ago.

Leaving Quahog Bay

It was an overcast morning with some salt spray in the air, but no fog, rain or high winds. Thankfully, we had flat seas and it was smooth going.  Our course had us bypassing some places we have already been (Portland & Kittery) and missing places we have wanted to go to, but once again cannot make it into our itinerary (York, Isle of Shoals, Gloucester).  There were many boats out on the water today, but most of them were sport or commercial fishing vessels. However, about 2 hours into our trip we passed “Satori”, who was cruising along at 13 knots heading south.

Gulf of Maine – pretty flat out there

Just before 11:00 am we could see the windmills on the shoreline of Rockport, MA, and then we bypassed the Twin Lighthouses of Thatcher Island.

We then changed our course heading more west-southwest and picked up the channel to enter Boston Harbor.  It was here that we faced the roughest water all day, and most of it was caused by the traffic in the harbor.  We passed a large ship at anchor, but the wakes from the barges in tow, the dredge boat, the high-speed tour boat, and other watercraft had us bouncing around a bit. 

Finally, we approached the Charles River and the Constitution Marina, where once again we were able to secure transient dockage for the next week, hoping to leave right after Labor Day.  It was just before 1:00 pm and we had traveled 106 miles without issue; for this we were very grateful.

Unlike in past visits where we were tucked further into the marina, this time our slip assignment was on the outer dock facing downtown. At first we were not too happy with the assignment as it meant we would take the brunt of all the passing boats (mostly recreational) all day long.  We would also have the new (Washington Street) Bridge construction right off the bow of the boat. We were told, however, that after the weekend we would be able to move to another slip. 

IO at Constitution Marina

After settling the boat and checking into the marina, we went back to the boat to get some work done.  We had emails and calls to make, and we made contact with our Back Cove cruising friends Chuck & Victoria (“Argento”), hoping to be able to see them while here.  We spent the entire afternoon cocooned to the boat, only leaving for brief breaks to talk with some of the locals, as well as a cruising couple from Pensacola.  We also watched the motor yacht “Sattori” whom we had passed earlier in the day, pull into the marina on the long dock.

We were tired, and as much as we wanted to venture to the North-end for dinner, we decided to stay in the Charlestown neighborhood where the marina is located.  We walked the half mile to Monument Tavern, a place where Victoria & Chuck took us in 2019 and had a terrific meal there (again).  On the way home, we went for a walk through the marina, checking out “Sattori” and the Fleming boat that was docked by them. Come to find out it was “End Game”, whom we met here in July, and saw again in Southwest Harbor Maine.  However, the owners were not on the boat and it looks like they were away for the weekend.

Once back on the boat we attempted to stream a movie (“Suicide Squad”), but we didn’t get very far into it before Denise was falling asleep. It had been a long day after a short night’s sleep and so we went to bed to get a good night’s rest.

Wednesday (9/1) – Boston, MA

Fully refreshed from a good night’s rest, Denise went for a run this morning, only she took a different route than usual when here.  This time she went north along the Harborwalk Boston path, running past the USS Constitution, up and down the piers around Charlestown Marina, and up to the Spaulding Rehab Center that overlooks the Mystic River. She then turned around and came the same way, happy to finally have some flat land to run on.  Unfortunately, the hills around Boothbay Harbor last weekend wreaked havoc on her left leg and now she is nursing a possible injury.  Here are some pictures from her run:

Benches and corn hole at Pier 6

After breakfast and getting our day organized, Mark worked on the generator impeller issue and was able to get everything fixed.  He was also able to schedule a diver to install a new zinc on the shaft, reducing the opportunity for electrolysis to eat away at the metal. Our previous protection (prop shaft brush) had deteriorated and needed to be replaced, but is no longer made so a substitute was required.  Mark had done the research for the alternatives, ordered it, and had it delivered to the marina.

In the meantime, Mark had previously reserved a rental car, which we will use for the next 2 days. We have a lot to get accomplished, including driving 1.25 hours to visit Denise’s Aunt Judy who lives in New Hampshire on Thursday.  Right after lunch we got picked up by Enterprise and we were able to then spend the afternoon running our errands.

Our first task was to ship our starboard-side window blind in for repair.  It broke late last week and Mark had been working with the Ocean Air people to determine what the best course of action would be: repair or replace.  These are very expensive and customized to fit the angle of the Back Cove windows, so repair was the most likely choice. Of consideration is that they are manufactured for Back Cove as a complete set and to make a single new one would have had color-match and other issues to deal with.  Therefore, we had to ship our current one to the repair facility, and sought out to find a Fed-Ex location to do this. 

As you can probably imagine, the blind is a unique length and finding an appropriate container was a challenge.   We worked with the people at the Fed-Ex not far from the marina, but their largest tube was too short so we had to find a longer shipping tube, or come up with a different solution. We investigated office supply places, Walmart, Target, etc. all in the nearby shopping center, but most of these don’t stock the product; it has to be ordered from their website with a 2-3 day delivery.  However, it was at Home Depot that we found our solution:  the inner core from rugs or carpet sections that people buy pieces of.  We had 2 of the most helpful guys assist us with cutting it to length and then suggesting how to cap the ends for protection during shipment, which is just exactly what we did.  The one guy told us they have people come in all the time that have to ship their custom blinds back to the factory and this is exactly why he saves the tubes.  What a find and what great customer service!  Once we got that resolved, we drove back to Fed-Ex to ship the blind.

Nearby the Home Depot and not far from the Fed-Ex place was the Costco we were planning to visit as well.  So we stopped there on our way back to Fed-Ex and picked up a few things, including alcohol (yes, this Costco does sell it and wine in their store).  Once we were done with shipping the package, we went to the Whole Foods near our marina for a few items, and picked up ‘to-go’ dinners as we were not in the mood to go out or cook.  Mark got fried chicken and Denise a teriyaki salmon dish that was really delicious.  From there we went back to the boat with all our purchases and settled in for the night.

During the afternoon it had begun to rain a bit, first a little bit of drizzle and by 9:00 it was a torrential downpour. This was the remnants of hurricane Ida that we were anticipating and for which we came to Boston for safe harborage.  It was supposed to rain all night and it did. It poured and was so loud on the boat’s roof, that at one point it woke us up.  But it eventually calmed down and by the time we got up in the morning it had stopped and the storm was no more.

Thursday (9/2) – Boston, MA

Today our adventure took us north to visit Denise’s Aunt Judy in New Hampshire, via the rental car.  We left after 9:30 am to let the Boston traffic die down before heading out, and this worked well. We had no issues and made it there as scheduled. After visiting for a while at her house, with the assistance of her home-health-aid, we took her to Newick’s for a late lunch.  This is a local restaurant that is almost tradition for family to go to when visiting Judy, and it is always good.  It turned out to be a nice sunny day and we enjoyed our window view overlooking the water; the top of the Piscataqua River.

After we had lunch, we went back to Judy’s house and visited with her for the rest of the afternoon.  It was great to get caught up on what is happening in each of our lives, discuss politics, religion and our hobbies. But most importantly it was great to see her.  We have been fortunate to get up to NH and see her every year or two, and we really wanted to make this visit happen.  We stayed until we could see she was getting tired, so around 7:00 pm we said good-bye and headed back to Boston.

Taking advantage of the rental car, we stopped at a Walmart for a few things, and then Panera for a late dinner before going back to the marina. We arrived at the boat just after 9:30 and were so tired we went to bed almost immediately. It had been a long but fun-filled day and we were glad that our plans all worked out.

Friday (9/3) – Boston, MA

Although the sun was out in the morning it was quite windy and not a good day to travel or be on the Massachusetts Bay.  We were here for at least 2 more days until the seas settled and allowed for a comfortable passage south.  But the time in port was welcomed as it enabled us to get a few things done, and allowed us to have a little down time which we needed.

In the morning, Denise went to the 7:00 am First Friday mass in the chapel at St. Mary’s. It is as beautiful as the main church, which we always look forward to visiting when here.

After he handled a few work calls, Mark headed out to return the rental car, making a last-minute grocery stop to get our perishable items for the week.  Meanwhile, Denise started the laundry, taking advantage of 3 washers and dryers to get most of it done as expeditiously as possible. However, because our slip this time was so far from the marina facilities, it was a long walk.  She averaged over 500 steps with each trip back and forth, not to mention the gangplank to the docks that were a challenge at low tide. 

During one of these trips she stopped to talk to the captain of the yacht “Sattori”, who was washing the tender for the yacht that was docked in the corner of the finger pier we had to walk down to get to our boat. They talked about cruising down from Snow Island and he recognized our boat name as he had been tracking our AIS signal as we passed him. The yacht has a South Florida hailing port and they discussed the operations of the yacht, cruising from Florida and how the owners were coming aboard for the long weekend in Boston, then they would be staying on through Tuesday before heading south. She left him to get back to work, then returned to our boat, just in time for lunch.

We spent the afternoon handling some work items, reviewing upcoming weather forecasts and putting together a tentative itinerary for next week.  We also talked with a woman who lives aboard her boat in the marina, who informed us that later in the evening there would be fireworks in Boston Harbor.  They usually have them on Thursday before Labor Day, but because of the storm they had postponed them to Friday evening. She told us we would have perfect viewing from the bow of our boat.

Our dinner decision for the evening was easy: we headed across the bridge and over to the North End for a delicious pizza at Regina’s Pizzeria.  When we were here in July we let someone talk us into trying another place, but it we didn’t like it as much and we were anxious to get back to Regina’s.  We went early and timed it perfectly as we got a seat at a table right away.  Naturally, it was delicious and we had plenty to take some home for leftovers. When we left and saw the usual long line outside, we were glad we came early.  On the way home we were tempted to stop at Bova’s (24 hr.) Bakery and pick up some goodies, but we resisted the temptation and headed back over the bridge and back to the boat.

North End signage
Italian District – Endicott Street
At Regina’s Pizzeria

At 8:00 pm, the fireworks started in the harbor, but they were high enough we could see them over the buildings across the river; they were directly in front of our boat. We didn’t even need to go out on the bow as we had a terrific view just sitting in our helm chairs. It only lasted about 20 minutes, and it reminded us that on Labor Day weekend 2015 we were also treated to Fireworks in Chicago when we were on the Great Loop; you can read about that here.

Saturday (9/4) – Boston, MA

The morning started for Denise with a run down the Charles River near MIT; a route she has now taken many times.  However, unlike in July, this time there was no “Nancy” to run with. But, she was happy for a flat and familiar route that required no thinking about where to turn.  Although it did not bother her during the run, her left leg was very sore the rest of the day and now she is concerned with a possible injury. This is not good as she is supposed to run a Half Marathon in October and this could impact her future training long runs.

Morning run along the Charles River

We spent the entire day hanging around the boat, talking with some locals, and spending time on the phone with friends and family. It was a good day to reconnect with folks who were afar, but unfortunately, we were not going to be able to meet up with our Boston friends Victoria & Chuck on this visit. We will have to try and schedule a meeting with them when they are back in Delray Beach, FL for the winter.

In the afternoon we walked to church for the 4:00 pm mass at St. Mary’s.  This is really a beautiful church and we enjoy visiting it when here. Sadly, we have yet to attend a mass when it is even half full.

Inside St. Mary’s
St. Mary Catholic Church

For dinner we decided to venture to the North End and eat at an Italian Restaurant (Giacomo’s) that we had been to in 2017.  We thought we were sufficiently early to not have to wait (they are FCFS only), but by the time we walked over the bridge and got to the restaurant, the line was at least a 45-minute wait.  We checked out another place we had heard was good, but their first available table for non-reservations was seating for 8:30 pm.  That was just too late for us, and the lines at all the nearby places were getting long too. Plus, by now we were hungry.  We figured we could not go wrong anywhere on Hanover St., so we walked up a few blocks, checked out the Google reviews and settled on “Bencotto”. There we had to wait only 15 minutes before a table opened up for us, and then we were seated inside.  It was a delicious meal that was reasonably priced, and we were happy with our choice.

At Bencotto

On our way back to the boat we had decided to stop at Bova’s Bakery and pick up some cookies to take with us for our journey south. But once we saw the line here, we decided it was not worth the wait, and we really didn’t need the calories.  Just like the Charleston Bells by the locks (closed to pedestrian traffic due to the bridge construction), this too would be missed on this stop in Boston.  We made our way back to the boat and prepared for an early departure in the morning.  We had our sights set on a long day on the water, and hopeful to make it further south.

During our time in Boston on this visit, the “indoor” mask mandate was put in place, but only if you are in the city limits.  It has become a huge joke here as many of the surrounding towns are not requiring it and many people come into the city from those communities.  The Whole Foods near us required it, but the Costco we were in earlier in the same day did not because they are outside city limits (but only 3 miles apart). On Hanover St, some of the restaurants are enforcing it, and some are not; they are very vocal about having the government tell them how to run their establishments.

Here are a few more pictures from our stay in Boston this time:

Sailboat race in Boston Harbor
Bridge construction at sunset
USS Constitution