Mile 1,500, July 13. Day 60. Temperature 70s First sight of a seal 7 miles out!
We left Boston and were originally going to anchor on an apparently beautiful Island just outside Boston however the sailing was so good we decided to sail on to Salem and anchored there.
We took a tour of the House of Seven Gables, a book I haven’t read, so am reading now. Its quite good but dated. I love going through these houses. Most of the history North East USA relates to the late 1700’s whereas Chesapeake last year was the late 1800’s so it’s an interesting aspect but means I have to read more history books.
Salem is now very much a touristy place with lots of shops selling witchy things and museums of witchcraft, but the issue was really a sad case of 200 people been accused of being witches, and 20 of them executed before it was stopped. One man crushed to death during ‘interrogation’. Crimes were such as ‘making a neighbor constipated’ however there was also a dispute about land which obviously the neighbor acquired after the death of the ‘witch’. One of the museums did point out that in times of fear conspiracies are rife and there was a lot of plague, infection and weather disasters at the time.
We popped into the very fancy Boston Yacht club for a refreshment, as you do, and apparently our club was not quite at that level of membership but we persuaded them that we would behave and they let us in. It reminded me of my misspent youth gate crashing parties. As you can see in the above picture. even the launch boatmen have to wear ties in the heat.
We were going to leave Salem but the following day was so nice and anchorage so pleasant that we decided stay and dingy over to Marblehead which is the neighboring village. What a difference! A beautiful, quiet, genteel place. Sailors who had seen us dock our dingy gave us a lift into town and told us the best places to go.
We had a very pleasant sail into Portsmouth.
This is an old Military prison occupied from 1908 to 1974. They had up to 3,500 prisioners and 40% of them were in for crimes of sodomy. This overabundance of prisoners convicted of homosexual activity led to changes in policy in the 2nd world war. They chose the Island to build it on because of the speed of the tidal currents like Alcatraz which I did happen to notice as we were sailing in. It’s in the top three speed of all tides in the USA. The building remains as it is now too expensive to tear down. One developer tried to reconstruct it but he died and now it just sits there!
I’d definitely recommend Portsmouth town. Beautiful ‘Down Town ‘ shops and very active in the Arts. There was an outdoor stage beside the harbor where they had ‘Footlose’ playing and a movie on the Monday. Strawberry Bank Museum consists of about thirteen houses, all of different years beautifully kept.
We met a very entertaining couple Lynne and Al on our fist night and joined them for dinner the following night. We will no doubt be meeting up with them when we sail along New Jersey on our way back.
The only downside to Portsmouth was finding a grocery store. Not in down town and Google Maps sent us to two which had closed down and another called Tuscany Market which was a restaurant. I walked for about three miles to a ‘Gourmet’ grocery store. The only thing ‘gourmet’ about the place was the name. All I needed was butter and milk and possibly some nice bread. The diary fridge was ‘out of order’ and the grumpy man at the till told me to go into the beer store. I found the milk but searched and couldn’t find butter. No need for bread then. When I told him I couldn’t find it he tutted and more or less told me I wasn’t looking and then said he would bet money that it’s there. As he limped (Yes that might of been why he was grumpy) his way to the store I was tempted to stop him and challenge him to a bottle of wine if he finds it.
He couldn’t find it and was a little less belligerent towards me saying that he’s glad he’s not a gambling man.
Portsmouth may have one of the highest tides but Kennebunk Port tops it with challenging entries. We had a very brisk sail from Portsmouth. We reefed but also the sea was horribly lumpy with 5ft waves so I was looking forward to entering the Maine haven. Well the entrance was tiny! I had carefully calculated to come in at the ebb of low tide but I didn’t take realize just how low it got. This was at spring tide and tides were over 12ft. At one stage I had just 1ft of water under me. The middle photo is high tide. I would say however that it is a place well worth visiting. It doesn’t suprise me that the Bush’s compound is there although they don’t frequent it as much since George Snr and Barbara have left dock.
The Bush compound and the beautiful in door and outdoor church theyfrequented
We took a wee stroll and as usual it was miles. Hot weather I wanted to hitchhike back but Pat refused saying it was ‘just around the corner. I loved all the weather vanes.
More about Kennebunk later. We are now near Portland where we leave the boat to go to Orlando for a week.