Saturday, September 26, 2020

Catching Up, Part 1: California

 It has been a busy few weeks.

Intermezzo, Lisa and I are now in Portsmouth, New Hampshire making our way south. I want to catch up on my blogging, but rather than write one long post, I figured I would break it down into shorter parts. Less daunting to write on my part, shorter reading for you.

I left off writing on September 5 from beautiful Seal Cove just before setting off for Portland from where I would fly back to California for a business meeting and a family visit. We left Seal Cove early in the morning and motored south on a calm chilly sea to arrive at Spring Point Marina in South Portland in early afternoon. 

Spring Point is a nice marina, but there is often a strong surge from passing ships and vessels that gets the boats and docks a rocking. We were offered a space along the face dock, subject to direct hits from the surge broadside or to tuck into an inside slip alongside the main marina walkway which was offered a bit more protection. We chose the latter. Intermezzo rose and fell and tugged on the dock lines with the surge but it was manageable. Boats in less protected slips bounced violently up and down and rocked dramatically from side to side, with water shooting up into the air from the space between their sterns and the dock. Quite exciting to watch happen to someone else's boat.

We took a walk around the pleasant neighborhood near the marina, stopping in a really nice neighborhood market that had fresh baked bread, really nice cheese and fresh produce. Then it was back to the boat to get things organized so I could leave the boat in Lisa's care and get packed for my flight to California early the next morning.

 Spring Point has the nicest marina courtesy vehicle I've ever experienced, a nearly new small GM SUV. The dock hand gave us the keys to the car so that Lisa could drive me to the airport at 4:30 am. No taxi or Uber necessary! Lisa would enjoy the use of the car while I was away and, when another boater was using it, the marina staff would let her use their work truck. Really great service, really generous.

I flew back to a very smokey California from all the wildfires burning. I changed planes in Chicago and from about an hour out and all the way to San Francisco, I saw a layer of smoke below for as far as I could see. It looked like the whole western U.S. was smoldering. Back at home in Sonoma County it was like a eerie, gloomy, depressing pall over everything.

My business meetings were held near Lake Tahoe, where the air quality was quite a bit better. I haven't participated in an in-person since COVID arrived and enjoyed myself, even with all the protective social-distancing measures that we took, masks, meeting and eating outdoors with lots of space between people, contactless-greetings.

Most of all, I enjoyed visiting with my family. I miss them when I'm sailing and I've been sailing for a while now, with many days ahead "away at sea".

Meanwhile, while I was in California with my family, Lisa was enjoying a visit from hers, her mom and sister flying in to stay on Intermezzo for a few days. It sounds like they had a great time. They ate lobster twice a day, cooking them on the dock where some boaters had set up a proper lobster-cooking outdoor kitchen. They bicycled, went on some dinghy-adventures despite the chilly and somewhat rough harbor waters. When Lisa asked about visiting an island across from the marina, the dock master offered use one of the marina's speed boats to take them over and back rather than a cold and wet dinghy ride. Very nice. 

I flew back to Portland from California on September 15. Intermezzo was none the worse for wear and looking nice from Lisa's cleaning efforts.  Lisa's mom and sister had left a high-end box of wine, two personal-sized fruit pies and much-needed lobster crackers as thank you gifts, though her sister had tapped into the wine before leaving. I can relate to that.

The next morning, we said thank you and good-bye to great staff at Spring Point and headed to Portland Yacht Services to get hauled out for repairs to the sail drives.

To be continued...