Saturday, October 31, 2020

Bellhaven NC, Weather Cautious

Intermezzo is tied along a dock at Dowry Creek Marina near the town of Bellhaven on the Pungo River. We're watching the weather forecast, which continues to call for stormy conditions and high winds tomorrow through Monday. I'd prefer to wait a couple days than endure unpleasantness.

We upped anchor just before 8 am this morning and headed down the Alligator River-Pungo River Canal. There were a few clouds in a blue sky, the air crisp-cool. The canal is quite narrow with wooded banks. The tallest trees are some sort of pine, the type with brush-like needles. Hardwood trees come up about half the height of the pines, shrubs and saplings filling in the base of the forest. The water's edge is lined with grasses, dead trees, stumps and snags, the banks eroded from the wakes of fast-moving boats, the roots of the trees exposed, the trees sure to tip over in a strong hurricane. 

The water in the canal was perfectly flat; what a contrast to yesterday's waves. Up ahead, the surface was a silver reflection of the sky, to the sides the water ink-black in the shade of the trees. The morning light cast lovely shadows in the foliage and a moving shadow of Intermezzo's mast. A very pretty and relaxing scene.

We left the canal and entered the Pungo River and turned into the marina shortly thereafter, our 29 nm day's travel passing quickly. We docked the boat and then borrowed the marina's courtesy car to visit the nearby town of Bellhaven. 

The Waterway Guide describes Bellhaven as a place "where you will find most of what you need. Many of the the businesses, sops, restaurants and the museum are within a short stroll from the town dock. Victorian homes sit along many of Bellhaven's tree-lined residential streets..."

Sounds nice, right? Well, I'm sorry to say that my impression of Bellhaven is of a poorly planned, terribly executed town in decay. I have rarely seen such horrible architecture, poor landscaping and quality of construction in the U.S. There are a few nice old homes sprinkled around town, but most of the buildings are in poor repair and the town was deserted on a Saturday. The people seem nice and there seems a sincere effort to attract and welcome tourists, but, boy, does this place need help. Perhaps in the summer, perhaps without COVID, it is a brighter place, but it was dreary and depressing for us.

Unless the weather looks better, we'll hang out at the marina and get some chores done until Tuesday.

Sunset at city dock in Columbia NC
Full moon over the Alligator River 


Entering the Alligator River-Pungo River Canal
Bank of the Alligator River-Pungo River Canal

Friday, October 30, 2020

Alligator River, a Windy Day

It was a windy day.

We had to use a bow spring to get off the dock in Columbia NC this morning, the wind pressing Intermezzo's hull hard against the dock face.

We bashed through steep head-on chop as we headed out the mouth of the Scuppernong River into the Albemarle Sound, 25 knots of NW wind on the nose, the bows crashing through the waves, water washing down each side deck.The sky was mostly cloudy, the water grey flecked with whitecaps everywhere, ominous looking.

At the last day marker, I turned Intermezzo northeast, now the steep closely spaced waves hitting us broadside, rolling the boat violently from side to side. The strong beam-to wind blew spray across the boat as the engines throbbed us along at a steady 6-7 knots. The clouds diminished enough to let some sun shine on us, but I got cold and had to pull on another layer of fleece under my foul weather gear.

Once clear of a shoal the extends out from the shore about 8 nm from the river, I could adjust our course more eastward and now we could take the waves off the port quarter, quite a bit more comfortable, but still some rolling and wind blown spray. It would have been nice to have piloted Intermezzo remotely from inside the salon, but there were too many crab pot buoys to make that possible; I could only see them if I was sitting outside at the helm.

I followed the shoreline as it curved southward towards the mouth of the Alligator River, gradually putting the waves behind us and unrolling about half the jib to help move us along more quickly. I wanted to be out of the Albemarle as quickly as possible. The ride became more comfortable and Intermezzo surfed down the waves, hitting a maximum speed of 12.9 knots.

I was a bit nervous as I rolled in the jib and approached the Alligator River entry, wondering if the river bar was shallow enough to cause the waves to mount up and break. Fortunately, that was not the case and I followed the day markers into the river channel, the waves now quartering us to starboard.

We motored to the Alligator River swing bridge, which opened with perfect timing to let us pass through without having to loiter. Once through the bridge, I unrolled the jib to its second rolling reef position and turned off the engines to enjoy a fast downwind romp down the Alligator River. I took a few more turns in the jib when the winds blew a steady 30-35 knots for about an hour. With just the reefed jib, we made a steady 6-7 knots southward under partly cloudy skies, temperature still cool even though we were sailing downwind and the sun was shining most of the time.

The Alligator River is about three miles wide from its mouth at the Albermarle south until it turns sharply to the west and narrows from less than a mile to become a winding creek to its head. The banks are lined with scrubby timber and marsh vegetation. It's not a particularly scenic river, but I like its remoteness.

As I made the right turn to follow the river, I started the engines and rolled in the jib as we pointed upwind. I diverted from the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) channel at the entry to the Alligator River-Pungo River Canal and headed about a mile and a half further up the Alligator where we dropped anchor. It was windy, blowing over 20 knots, but the waves were very small, more like big ripples, quite comfortable.

After the sun set, the wind dropped to five knots and we are lying nicely at anchor under a bright white full moon.

We were never in any danger today, the wind strong and the waves steep and nasty but nothing to be of any concern to an ocean-going boat like Intermezzo. Still, I am tense and alert the whole time sailing in such conditions and, together with the constant blast of the wind all day, it is very tiring. I had had enough sailing for the day when we dropped anchor, thank you very much.

The forecast is for lighter winds until Sunday night, into Monday, when another cold front passes through. We'll sit that one out in Bellhaven. It's also going to get colder. Don't tell Lisa, but I saw forecast data that suggest near freezing temperatures. Brrrr…

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Columbia NC, SItting Out a Severe Storm Alert

Intermezzo arrived at the city docks in Columbia NC around 13:30 this afternoon after a very windy passage from the mouth of the New River across the Albermarle Sound. We're safe and sound, it's very warm out (82 degrees F, "feels like" 90 according to weather app!) and we are being regularly blasted by gusts greater than 40 knots. We have double dock lines out and there are no land objects (like trees or wires) close by to fall on us. So all is good.

We left Broad Creek this morning at dawn and I motored at maximum cruising speed the whole way here. Intermezzo's little Yanmar engines did great, maintaining over 7 knots until the headwinds got to 30 knots, then speed only dropping to 6.8 knots. My strategy was to get across the sound and to a sheltered spot before the forecasted gale-force winds started blowing in the afternoon.

I took Intermezzo on a direct route across the sound until I was close to the southern shore then I turned west towards the entry of the Scuppernong River. By sticking close to shore, the waves didn't have much fetch and so we motored against only a light chop the whole way, despite the high winds. It was a breezy 15 nm motor into the wind to the mouth of the river, the apparent wind speed often over 30 knots and I saw several 40+ gusts.

As we turned into the river, a distress call came over the radio for a boat in trouble in nearby Bull Bay. The Coast Guard hailed us to request we look for the vessel, so we turned around and headed back out. Despite scanning the area with the binoculars while navigating windy shallow waters, we saw only one boat and it didn't look like it was in distress. We provided information to the Coast Guard and then turned back on our course upriver. Later we heard over the radio that the vessel in distress had been located and received assistance from a USCG small boat.

My hope was that the Columbia city dock would have space for Intermezzo, but I managed my expectations as there are many vessels heading south on the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) this time of year and I imagined at least several had the same idea as I for sheltering from this storm. How happy we were to find the dock completely empty! It was a bit tricky coming alongside with the wind gusting, but the blows were coming from a favorable direction so I was able to make a very smooth landing.

There is a severe storm risk alert here from 12:30 today until 08:00 tomorrow. I don't understand all the meteorological gobbly-gook, but am intrigued by the statement, "Thus, only (italics mine) isolated damaging convective gusts and/or a brief tornado may occur prior to 21z (21:00 GMT or 17:00 local)." What a relief? I make out that the 40 knot gusts will continue but no sustained damaging winds are expected.

We'll hole up here at least until tomorrow, depending on how the post-storm forecast develops.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Broad Creek NC, Here Comes Zeta

We left Blackwater Creek this morning around nine a.m., later than I wanted to but we had to wait for the tide to rise to give us enough depth to cross the shoal at the creek's entrance. We continued south along the North Landing River under mostly cloudy skies, the sun sometimes peeking out to shine sparkles on the water. The river widened to a become two miles wide of shallow water with a narrow channel dredged through it, our path along the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW).

The river ended at the North Carolina Cut, a narrow manmade channel where we crossed the Virginia border. The cut led us into the North River which began as a sinuous channel about a half-mile wide and then became a wide expanse of water, like a sound. The day had turned sunny and warm, with a consistent 10 knot wind out of the southwest.

We diverted from the ICW channel to the west bank of the river, navigating through consistent nine foot depths to the mouth of Broad Creek. We ventured a short way up the creek to a wide spot with a nice pool of 10-foot deep water and dropped anchor for the night.  This spot is similar to last night's anchorage, though with a few more trees and greater variety of marsh grasses and plants. We enjoyed some downtime on the lanai until we were chased inside by hungry mosquitos which appeared just after sunset. I had hoped it was late enough in the season to be too cold for mosquitos, but was out of luck. I feel a bit like Goldilocks, too hot, too cold, seldom just right.

And now here comes Hurricane Zeta, which is forecast to bring us high winds with gusts up to 30 knots tomorrow afternoon. This changes our planned route. Instead of turning left and sailing down on the inside of the Outer Banks, we'll cross the Albemarle Sound tomorrow morning and find a secure berth in Colombia, NC on the Scuppernong River. The hurricane's winds will be with us for several days, as they clock around from the south to the north. It looks like we'll have to stay put Thursday afternoon and Friday, be able to travel on Saturday and Sunday and then have to hole up again for Monday.

We are at ICW Mile Marker (MM) 60 (statute miles). Hilton Head is at MM 560. We have a long way to go and about three weeks to get there. This weather delay doesn't help and means we'll likely miss visiting Ocracoke, one of my favorite stops on the way north.

Sunset at anchor in Broad Creek
Approaching the North Carolina Cut

House along the North Carolina Cut

Intermezzo's anchorage in Broad Creek

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Blackwater Creek, Along the Virginia Cut

We resumed our journey south this morning after a few days in Portsmouth VA during which I made a surprise birthday visit to my mom who lives in Loudon County, a three-and-a-half hour drive away. It was great to see her, my brother Phil, his wife Pam and their new dog Mia.

We left the marina just before eight a.m. in dense fog, barely able to see the opposite bank of the Elizabeth River a quarter-mile away. We took the southern branch of the Elizabeth to join the Albermarle and Chesapeake Canal about 10 miles south, known as the Virginia Cut route. The fog cleared to a grey overcast sky that persisted all day. Along the way we passed under or through seven bridges and stopped to top off with diesel. The diesel was the cheapest I have ever purchased at $1.89 per gallon.

On the way north last year, we took the Dismal Swamp route along the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). I decided to take the Virginia Cut this time to see what it is like and because it brings us closer to the route I want to sail on the inside of the outer banks of North Carolina.

We entered the Albermarle and Chesapeake canal through the Great Bridge Lock. The lock is very long and wide and can accommodate dozens of pleasure boats, raising or lowering them just a couple of feet. We shared the lock with only one other boat, tied along the south side of the lock against a really nice rubber rendering system. We barely noticed when the water rose in the lock and then the gates opened and we were on our way.

We continued along the canal, with wide expanses of scrubby woodlands and marsh to either side. We didn’t see much in the way of wildlife or waterfowl, though we were treated to a close sighting of a bald eagle which flew over the boat to perch on a tree and preen itself.

We navigated through another five bridges. A couple of the bridges are fixed with the 65-foot minimum ICW vertical clearance, which is a tight fit for Intermezzo’s mast. The opening railroad bridges are normally left in the open position, but the highway bridges only open on the hour and half-hour, so we had to hover and wait 10-15 minutes a couple of times to get through. This will be what it will be like for us taking the “inside” route south for the next couple of weeks.

The south end of the canal joins the North Landing River which we continued along for about 9 miles to Pungo Ferry. Here we turned off the river into narrow, winding, shallow Blackwater Creek where we dropped anchor in a wide oxbow for the night. We could have continued further down the main river, but that would have required us to tie up (and pay) for the night in a marina.

We are nestled in a huge expanse of marsh grass, the air and water perfectly still. Fish sporadically pop above the surface with a small splash and occasionally a duck quacks. It’s very pretty and peaceful, though reminders of nearby civilization are ever-present, the dim sound of traffic, a dog barking, lights glowing off in the distance.  I’m glad to be here in the cooler weather as I can imagine the mosquitos and other insects could be fierce in the summertime. Funny how after complaining about cold weather I am now lauding it.

Fog lifting at the Glimerton Lift Bridge, with the Norfolk and Southern Railroad Bascule Bridge beyond

The Great Bridge Lock

Photos, Passage to Norfolk VA

 Just posting a couple of photos from Intermezzo's passage from Montauk Point NY to Norfolk VA.


Sunrise in Intermezzo's wake on the Atlantic Ocean

The USS Mitsher barreling through the channel past Intermezzoat 20 knots

Friday, October 23, 2020

Arrived Norfolk

Intermezzo is tied up to the dock at Tidewater Yacht Marina in Portsmouth VA, just across the river from Norfolk. We arrived  at 17:25 this evening, 58 hours after weighing anchor in Lake Montauk on Wednesday morning. We sailed (motored) a distance of 353 nm for an average speed of just over 6 knots.

After our foggy night, the sun rose this morning blotted out by thick overcast skies with patches of fog lingering. By noon, the sun was peeking out as we approached the entrance to Chesapeake Bay, the sea an olive green, the swells tightening up and becoming choppy in the more shallow water. 

As we entered the bay, I heard one side of a radio transmission between a US Navy warship and a research vessel. Warship to research vessel: "We are going to begin gunnery exercises in 30 minutes and are interested in your navigation intentions." I couldn't here the research vessel's reply, but if I were it's captain I would answer, "What my previous intentions were are now irrelevant. My intentions now are to navigate away from where you will be shooting, if you would be so kind as to share that information."

As we proceeded towards Norfolk, the sky cleared, the sun shone and it became another lovely day for shorts and no shoes.

As we crossed over the tunnel of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, I had my own encounter with a Navy warship. The USS Mitsher, an Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer was barreling towards us at 20 knots. It was quite a site to see as the ship passed just a 100 yards on our starboard. 

Of course, such a large vessel traveling at such a speed in a narrow channel throws quite a wake behind it. I slowed the boat down and turned into the four foot high waves and, to my horror, remembered that I had opened the hatches to air out the boat. Oh no! I steered very carefully and fortunately was able to ride over the wake without shipping any water over the deck and into the boat. A much better result than my recent mishap with open hatches.

The last miles of the trip were uneventful as we passed by half a dozen aircraft carriers and a variety of warships at the Norfolk navy base in the warm sun.

We're pretty tired from the passage. I'll post a few pictures from the trip tomorrow.

Approaching Norfolk, Foggy Night

08:00 October 23, 2020
40 nm NE of Norfolk VA


It was foggy last night. Hard to tell the visibility as the navigation lights were diffused by the mist so much that I couldn't see much past the bow of the boat from the helm station. From up on the bow, the forestay cast a shadow that told me visibility wasn't zero. When I turned off the nav lights and looked back at our luminous wake, I guess I could see about a quarter mile or so. I'd bet actual visibility was a mile or more. But what matters is how conditions appeared to us and to other vessels in the area.

So, we turned on the foghorn, set the radar to a short range and set the gain for maximum sensitivity, set an alarm to go off if AIS-equipped vessels got with a couple of miles. And we kept a very close watch, poking our heads out frequently into the gloom to listen for the sounds of other vessels. I donned foulies and gear for standing watches outside in the very moist, literally dripping, air. Lisa stood her watches inside, vigilantly staring at the radar display on the iPad for hours and waking me up if anything of concern appeared. We only had one non-AIS vessel to keep track of on the radar all night, so it was mostly staring at nothingness while I caught catnaps between going out to the helm station to maintain my "situational awareness" of not being able to see a thing and being covered by moisture from head to toe.

Thank goodness for modern navigation instruments. It would be very tricky to know our position without GPS and electronic charts, instead relying on dead reckoning and paper charts. It would take a lot of practice to get competent navigating that way, hats off to those who did so in the past and do so skillfully now. And without radar and AIS, nobody could "see" us, nor we them. Some may say it's become too easy, taken the challenge out of sailing, reduced sailors' skills. I appreciate the enhanced safety and relative simplicity of modern navigation, preferring to practice dead reckoning and celestial navigation as a hobby rather than a life-safety necessity.

The sun rose around 07:00, though we can't actually see the big star. It is overcast with patches of fog. The fog will go away as the air warms up. Not sure if the sun will shine, though. The swells from Hurricane Epsilon show up every so often in the form of 6 foot-plus long swells from the southeast. We passed a ship that had turned 180 degrees while we were watching it. I radioed them to find out why and the deck officer told me they were going back and forth, waiting for the hurricane to dissipate before heading out to sea towards Europe.

Not much further to go. Our current ETA to the Chesapeake Bay Entrance sea buoy is 13:08 this afternoon. It's about another hour or so to the Elizabeth River and our marina rest stop in Portsmouth VA for the next few days.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

En Route to Norfolk, Beautiful Day

18:30 October 22 2020
28 nm ENE of Ocean City, MD

What a beautiful day!

It was sunny, warm, light breeze and gentle long-period ocean swells. I wore shorts and was barefoot for most of the day! I took a shower outside off the stern. What a difference compared to the cold past few weeks.

My only complaint is not having enough wind to sail. The upside is we are turning 6 knots on one engine and will arrive in Norfolk tomorrow mid-afternoon, about eight hours ahead of my original estimate.

I tried fishing. The fish here must have sharp teeth. One lure lost its hook, tho other lure (expensive one) gone completely. Fish won today. They deserve it.

Feeling grateful for today.
A beautiful sunrise with pinks and purples in the sky and reflected on the thick oil-like surface of the water.
Sun and warm weather.
Good sleep.
Tea and cookies at 16:30, an emerging Intermezzo tradition.
Delicious fresh haddock dinner.

Looks like we'll miss the Hurricane Epsilon swells; the storm generating 42 ft waves as it passes Bermuda!

One more night and then we're on the home stretch.

En Route to Norfolk, Passing Atlantic City

Intermezzo is about 35 nm off the coast of New Jersey, passing by Atlantic City. It was a beautiful dawn and sunrise, pinks and purples reflecting on the thick oil-like water, a few wispy pink clouds up in the sky. Conditions are very calm, the wind is clocking northwards, as forecasted, but is very light. The boat is covered in dew and it's damp in the cabin. Hopefully, the sun stays out for a while and dries things out a bit.

Last night was calm and peaceful, cool but not cold. The night sky was clear, lots of stars, a few planets and the Milky Way visible, despite the glow from New York City on the western horizon. Hard to imagine, when you are alone on the ocean, just a few dozen miles away there are many millions of people living close together. The light, noise, bustle on land so different than the peaceful, quiet darkness on the water.

We set up an inside navigation station using the iPad to display the chart plotter and radar in the salon. It worked great. We had to dodge a couple of sport fishing boats heading out from New Jersey at high speed early this morning.

Crew and captain getting decent sleep, despite being short-handed.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

En Route to Norfolk

21:30 October 21 2020
75nm SSW of Montauk Pt

Motoring steadily under clear starry skies towards a crescent moon. The moon lights a sparkling path on the undulating water surface ahead. Cool, almost chilly air with a 10 knot headwind that feels gentle, refreshing.

We're making good time, almost 6 knots on one engine.

En Route to Norfolk, Passing Amagansett, Long Island NY

12:30 21 October 2020

We weighed anchor early this  morning in Lake Montauk and motored slowly in very foggy conditions into Long Island Sound. Visibility in the lake was so poor that I had to follow our GPS track to find my way out.

We rounded Montauk Point around 09:30 and got on our rhumbline for Norfolk. The sky is white-grey overcast with fog limiting visibility to less than two miles. The sea is calm with gentle swells from the east, glossy grey fading to white in the distance. Virtually no wind blowing, what there is is coming from the north. It's cool, not cold, a bit damp.

We have the fog horn blowing its long blast automatically every two minutes and we're watching the AIS and radar carefully.

Lisa just came on watch. We're doing six hour watches during the day, three hours at night. I get to rest/sleep until 18:00.

Just downloaded the wind/wave models and our weather routing. Looks like it will be a calm passage, motoring the whole way, perhaps a bit of sailing tomorrow afternoon and some bigger long-period swells.

Satellite tracking is active; you can follow our progress online at:

Don't let big red swirling Hurricane Epsilon get you worried. It's many many miles away and heading away from us, towards Bermuda. We will see the swells from this storm though.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

One Cruise Ends, Another Begins

Yesterday around 11 am, we passed through Plumb Gut and by Orient Point Light, crossing our wake from the start of our cruise on July 14. We crossed from the end of the north fork to the end of the south fork of Long Island to anchor in Lake Montauk after topping up the tanks and filling jugs with diesel.

Yesterday marked the end of Intermezzo's Maine Cruise. We sailed almost a thousand miles there and back. It was a most enjoyable and memorable cruise with lovely anchorages, small towns to explore, foraging for shellfish and buying many cheap delicious lobsters. Nothing major broke, nobody got hurt, we had no major mishaps and we got some major repair work completed. COVID required us to take precautions, limited dining and access to museums and other indoor attractions, but didn't have a major impact on our trip. In fact, I found being on a sailboat and visiting mostly small towns and remote anchorages is a good way to spend a pandemic.

Tomorrow we start a new cruise to Hilton Head, South Carolina. We leave tomorrow on our only "outside" ocean passage to Norfolk, Virginia. After Norfolk, we will be traveling on the "inside", following the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). Along the way, we will stop at some of our favorite places we visited on the trip north last summer- Manteo, Ocracoke, Oriental, New Bern, Cape Beaufort NC and Charleston. Between Beaufort and Charleston and from there to Hilton Head will be new territory for us, as we sailed on the outside last time.

On the eve ending one journey and beginning a new one, I'm reflecting on the five years of sailing that got me and Intermezzo here.  Here's a recap of the major legs of the voyage so far:

Voyage, Interrupted

The voyage began on October 5, 2015 when Intermezzo departed from the turning basin in Petaluma, CA. Renee and I sailed down the coast of California, learning quickly how to sail Intermezzo on the ocean and getting initiated into life on the sea.  We enjoyed being part of the 2015 Baja Ha-Ha fleet and the company of a third crew member, Jeanne and yumming up her delicious chicken and rice.

We cruised and fell in love with the Sea of Cortez until December, when we crossed over to mainland Mexico and headed south. Renee flew back to the US to welcome her granddaughter Maddie into the world while I spent Christmas on my own in Puerto Vallarta. I had company after the New Year when my ex-partner Carol, my daughter Hannah and her friends Maddie and Jaqueline came to visit and do some sailing.

Renee re-joined Intermezzo in mid-January and we continued our journey south, accompanied by friends Marc and Marci as far as Manzanillo. We enjoyed a couple road trips inland along the way.

We left Mexican waters on March 15, 2016 and headed to Bahia del Sol, El Salvador. It was here that Renee learned that her mom had fallen and headed home to be with her. At the time, we didn't know how serious the situation was, but it turned out that she had suffered a stroke and Renee's support would be needed for quite a while. Our planned voyage to New York was interrupted.

I sailed the boat single-handing to Nicaragua and enjoyed an extended road trip around the country.  My daughter Hannah joined me for the sail to Costa Rica, where I left Intermezzo for the summer and returned to the US. I didn't know where I would be heading in the fall.

Panama, Then Back to Mexico

Renee was able to return to Intermezzo in September 2016 and we enjoyed sailing down to and exploring Panama, including navigating a jungle river to Pedregal and some lovely isolated offshore islands. Then we turned around and headed back to Mexico, stopping in Costa Rica for fuel and nearly not getting out. We arrived in Puerto Chiapas on November 19 2016, where we left Intermezzo on the hard for three months.

La Paz and the Sea of Cortez

Renee and I set sail from Puerto Chiapas on March 5 2017 north to the Sea of Cortez. We sailed the Sea or Cortez until May, roughly following the route of John Steinbeck's Western Flyer, chronicled in his book Log From the Sea of Cortez and getting as far north as Bahia Los Angeles ("L.A. Bay"). My son Luther joined us in Santa Rosalia towards the end of the cruise. I went from being in love with the Sea of Cortez to seeking a long term relationship. We hauled out Intermezzo in Puerto Escondido on May 17 2017 for the hurricane season.

Deciding to Resume The Voyage

I returned to Puerto Escondido and Renee and I launched Intermezzo on November 15 2017, getting there by sailing on Mystique in the 2017 Baja Ha-Ha rally from San Diego. We sailed together until December, flew home for the holidays and then again for part of January 2018. Then I was on my own, during which time I contemplated my future with Intermezzo. I considered keeping the boat in La Paz, sailing north and selling the boat in California or resuming The Voyage. After a few pleasant months of living on the boat in La Paz, I decided to resume The Voyage. I hauled out in June 2018 in La Paz for the hurricane season and launched again in November, joined by a new crew member, Roy, who would prove to be one of Intermezzo's finest.

The Voyage

Roy and I departed La Paz to begin The Voyage again with a third crew member, Pete, on January 8 2019. I planned on completing The Voyage in six legs with breaks to fly home and crew changes along the way.

Pete sailed with us on Leg 1 to Ixtapa, a pleasant trip with lots of sailing and not many stops.

Roy and I left Ixtapa on March 5 2019 and continued to Puerto Chiapas on Leg 2, with a long wait in Huatulco for a weather window to cross the Golfo de Tehuantepec.

John and Kim joined us in Puerto Chiapas on April 1 2019  to sail Leg 3, to and through the Panama Canal with only a couple short stops along the way. We battled some pretty ugly weather getting to the canal entrance, but the passage through the canal was pretty easy.

Josh joined Roy and I for Leg 4 to Isla Mujeres via Providencia and Grand Cayman, departing on May 10 2019. It was a sad day for me and Intermezzo when Roy announced that he had "a job offer so good, he couldn't refuse", and left the boat.

Christine from La Paz, her friend Lisa and a long-distance cyclist, Forrest, served as crew on Leg 5 to Florida. We were welcomed to the US in Dry Tortugas with a ticked from the National Park Service for not following the rules.

Lisa served as crew for Leg 6 as far as New Bern, joined by Katherine from Port Canaveral to Charleston and Amy from Charleston to Beaufort NC along the way. And then Renee was back on board to finish up The Voyage in Mattituck, Long Island NY on August 16 2019

And Now What?

I'll leave Intermezzo in Hilton Head for the holidays and Lisa will go back to her land life after spending four months on the water. When I return at the beginning of the New Year, I'll sail down to Florida and The Bahamas. Then, if the COVID situation is okay in Mexico, in March I'll load Intermezzo onto a ship to bring the boat back to La Paz, which will be our home port for some time. A long loop will have been closed. What an amazing trip it's been and there is still more to go.

Lake Montauk on a foggy evening


Montauk Lighthouse

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Old Saybrook, Mishap and Cleanup

Intermezzo is on a mooring ball in North Cove, Old Saybrook CT. I'm here to visit my sister Alison and her family and provision the boat for our upcoming passage to Norfolk VA.

It was a beautiful sail here from Block Island for the first two-thirds of the trip. The wind was blowing a steady 15+ knots from the south-southwest, putting us on a nice close reach through light wind waves. It was sunny, the sky clear, the water blue and a comfortable temperature despite the strong breeze. I had fun altering course in increments 20 degrees up and downwind, trimming the sails and seeing how fast I could get the boat to go. I'm trying to develop an upwind polar table for the boat so we can sail more efficiently.

I got my first taste of what the last third of the trip would be like as we passed the east end of Fishers Island. I noticed steep waves with whitecaps ahead. Since the wind speed hadn't changed and the water was plenty deep ahead, I knew the rougher seas had to be due to current. I took a look at the chart, and sure enough, I was in a stretch of water called The Race. The current was only flowing at about a knot, but still heaping up the wind waves into a nasty chop. A couple of hours later, it would be flowing at over 3.5 knots. Glad I wasn't trying to get through then!

It was a navigational oversight for me to not have checked currents along our route. I haven't had to deal with them much lately, other than in rivers, but Long Island Sound has some areas that can get pretty nasty if you are there at the wrong time. I studied the remainder of our route and it looked okay, except as we approached the Connecticut River which would be ebbing against the wind and probably kick up the seas a bit.

The boat felt very damp this morning, so I had opened a few hatches to let the breeze air the cabin out. As the wind increased and the waves got a bit bigger, I closed all but the small starboard midship hatch. As we got closer to the river, the wind was blowing 20 knots and we were bashing into a steep chop. Somehow, I forgot about the open hatch until a big wave crashed over the bows, breaking against the forward salon hatches and then running along the side decks. I cried out, "Oh no!" as I turned my head and looked down into the starboard hull to see gallons of water pouring through the open hatch.

I jumped below and secured the hatch, but there was a lot of water on top of the lockers where we store dry goods and sundry other items that don't like getting wet. I mopped up the water as fast as I could, then started handing the locker contents up to Lisa. Meanwhile, the boat was bashing like crazy, there was water all over the cabin sole and Lisa was getting seasick. Fortunately, we had a lot of sea room and there were no other vessels about, so I was able to let the autopilot steer and work down below to get most of the water mopped up as Lisa retired to her cabin, quite green around the gills.

I navigated the rest of the choppy waters to the Saybrook inlet without further incident. I felt a bit nervous about entering the narrow inlet between rocky breakwaters with a strong ebb running against wind. The chart warned of strong cross currents, too.  I scoped out the entrance with the binoculars and it looked a bit choppy no a big deal, but what about those cross currents? Fortunately a power boat was leaving the inlet and I watched it exit without any problem. So, I soldiered into the entrance, the engines at nearly full speed to keep speed up against the foul current and give plenty of control through a few sets of small but steep waves.

Once through the inlet, it was an easy passage to North Cove, a protected basin about a mile up and a half mile in from the Connecticut River's west bank. We picked up a free town mooring ball and then set to cleaning up from my flooding mishap. We freshwater rinsed and dried all the surfaces and stuff that got wet from saltwater, including the cabin sole and insides of the lockers. Then we had to re-stow everything that was taken out.  It was quite a bit of work.

That's it. I'm never sailing upwind with any hatch open, ever again.

Block Island, Better

Yesterday (October 14) was a beautiful day.  The sky cleared, the sun came out, the wind dropped and it was warm.

We took the opportunity to hike the trails of Block Island. We covered over ten miles in a loop through the southeast of the island. The trails reminded me of walking the public footpaths of England, public easements through or between private land. Most of the trails are in forested areas, some through fields bordered by stone walls. It felt good to stretch my legs, work up a sweat and enjoy the warm sunshine.

Block Island is all but closed up for the winter. The floating docks have been hauled out of the marinas. All but a few stores and restaurants are closed. There is very little traffic on the roads, mostly vehicles loaded with stuff heading to the ferry. Even the soda vending machines are empty and unplugged.

It's like a ghost town, or a town cleared out as a hostile army approaches. On a cloudy, blustery day, it felt a bit sad, the fun of summer gone, like a circus dropping its tents and leaving town. On a warmish, sunny day, it was nice to have the place mostly to ourselves.

Farm on Block Island along a hiking trail

Monday, October 12, 2020

Block Island, This Weather Is Normal?

 Guess what?

The wind is blowing hard again and we're stuck sitting at anchor again.

This is getting a bit tiresome. Two days of crappy weather, two days of decent weather seems to be the pattern. I was wondering if this is normal or unusual. Based on my research, it's normal. According to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management's climate webpage:

Rhode Island lies in the “prevailing westerlies”, the belt of generally eastward air movement which encircles the globe in middle latitudes. Embedded in this circulation are extensive masses of air originating in higher and lower latitudes and interacting to produce storm systems. A large number of these systems and air mass fronts pass near or over Rhode Island in a year.

The procession of contrasting air masses and the relatively frequent passage of “Lows” bring about a roughly twice-weekly alternation from fair to cloudy or stormy weather, usually attended by abrupt changes in temperature, moisture, sunshine, wind direction and speed.

Now I know what to expect and am motivated to hasten my departure from this cold, windy place. Threading the needle between it getting cold here and blowing hurricanes south is tricky.

Intermezzo is lying at anchor in the Great Salt Pond on Block Island, right close to where we anchored when we visited here in late July We sailed here from Newport yesterday with my sister Alison and nephew Griffin joining us.

It was a nice downwind sail in 15-20 knots wind, partly cloudy skies on a blue sea with following wind waves and a gentle ocean swell from the south. Alison, Griffin and Lisa talked while I sailed the boat. We (I) sailed the whole way here, not turning on the engines except to depart and enter anchorages.

When we were anchored here, we enjoyed a late lunch, then headed to shore. The wind had piped up quite a bit, so it was a somewhat wet ride to the dinghy dock. From there we walked the 1-1/2 miles to Old Harbor where Alison and Griffin caught a ferry back to Port Judith. It was a great day, great to have family on board Intermezzo. Walking felt good. I hadn't been off the boat, save for a short stroll on tiny Bassets Island, for five days.

It's blowing 25-30 knots in this well-protected anchorage, the boat is riding comfortably but it's a bit chilly. (Lisa would say it's freezing.) It looks like we're going to have to hole up here until at least Wednesday, maybe Thursday. Time to get some boat projects and housekeeping done, read, shiver and lament the weather.

I've been running weather routing on PredictWind for our ocean passage to Norfolk. It looks like a weather window my open up on Monday, a bit earlier than what the models were predicting a few days ago. We're heading to Old Saybrook to borrow Alison's car and do our provisioning for that trip on the weekend.

I enjoyed cruising these waters when it was warm, but I'm not sorry to be leaving them as it has grown cold.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Newport and Here We Blow Again

Intermezzo is lying in Newport Harbor, anchored not far from when we were here in August. (It was warmer then.) We are sitting out yet another cold front that starting blowing this morning and is supposed to continue into the night. The wind is currently blowing a steady 25 knots with gusts over 30. The forecast calls for gusts up to 40 knots. This time I am ready!

The passage here from Hadley Harbor started out, as Lisa described it, "Quite sporting." As we left the shelter of the anchorage and ventured out into Buzzards Bay, the wind was blowing 20-25 knots from the north, right into the Woods Hole inlet. I think there must have been a current flowing against the wind, as the waves were steep and square. It was a very bumpy and wet ride.

Once I turned east and we were out of the effects of the inlet, the seas calmed quite a bit. We were able to sail most of the way to Newport, though the wind was fickle towards the end and we had to turn on an engine a couple ways to maintain speed.

An exhausted land bird landed on Intermezzo along the way. First it tried to cling to the leech of the jib, but got shaken off. Then it tried perching on the stack pack for the main, but I don't think it felt safe there with limited visibility. The it tried hanging on the the aluminum foil for the jib, but slid down the slippery metal like a fireman on a pole. Finally, it just sat down in the sun on the trampoline, its feathers all fluffed out for warmth. It rode with us for about an hour, got rested and warm and took off back to land. I'm guessing it got blown out to sea by the previous night's gale and had been flying for a long time. Glad to have helped the little critter out.

There were lots of boats out sailing as we entered Narragansett Bay, the wind piping up and people enjoying an afternoon's sail on all sorts of boats, schooners, big racing sloops, small dinghies and learn-to-sail rental boats. I had lowered the sails as I entered the bay as I sensed the wind was dying. I felt conspicuously nonsailor-like as  I motored up the bay to the harbor while everyone else was under sail.

When we arrived in the harbor, we went to the fuel dock to fill up with diesel and then to a nice big spot in which to drop our anchor.

This time I let out plenty of chain right at the start to give us a nice 7:1 scope.  Then I rigged up the backup anchor and a backup anchor bridle. If it blows 40 knots, I'm more than ready.

For those interested, here's how I set up the backup anchor (see the photos below):

  1. I set the Fortress FX-37 anchor on the bow roller, securing it with a sail tie with a quick-release knot.
  2. I attached 25 feet of 3/8" G40 High Test chain to the anchor with a 7/16" Crosby shackle. I flake the chain into a sturdy canvas bag which sits on the trampoline close to the anchor.
  3. I attach 275 feet of 3/4" Novablue double braided polyester anchor rode to the chain with another shackle. (I use polyester rope instead of nylon for anchor rodes due to its lower stretch and problems reported with three strand nylon unraveling and/or heating up under load.)
  4. I cleat off the anchor rode to the center cleat in the windlass locker, flaked out to the proper length for the depth of water we are in.
  5. Now the anchor is ready to deploy by just releasing the sail tie and letting it fall from the bow roller with the chain and rope rode following it.
  6. I stow the remaining length of rope rode in plastic tub on deck with the bitter end tied to the base of the mast with thin stuff. We can easily let out more rode if needed or, if the shit hits the fan, cut and run.  I would quickly tie a fender onto the rode if we did this so I could come back and get it. (The polyester double braid is expensive!)

Tomorrow the wind is supposed to be from the northeast at 10-15 knots, with gusts to 20. Perfect for sailing to Block Island if the forecast is correct. If it is, my sister Alison and nephew Griffin will be joining us for the trip. They visited Intermezzo when we were here in August but had to settle for a dinghy tour of the harbor and its megayachts. This time they'll get the real deal. 

I've been using my time productively while waiting out (yet another) blow. I just finished checking and lubricating the steering system. All looks good.

Back to ticking things off on the unending to-do list.

Our cold, weary, feathered hitchhiker getting a rest

The backup anchor, chain, and double braid rope rode, ready to go

The desired length of anchor rode cleated off in the windlass locker, the remaining flaked into a tub, the bitter end tied with light line to the base of the mast

Thursday, October 8, 2020

It Blew

Well, it blew.

Most of yesterday, we had a strong breeze and some 25 knot + gusts, but nothing to be worried about. Then, just after dinner, thunderstorms rolled through in the distance, the wind picked up to a sustained 30+ knots and we were hit by several 40 knot gusts.

That got my attention.

When we anchored I let out the normal 5:1 scope of anchor rode. Even though strong winds and gusts were forecast, I got lulled by the moderate conditions during the day and didn't let our more chain as I would normally do for storm conditions. A mistake on my part.

With wind blowing in the high 30's, the anchor bridle was bar-tight and the chain was being lifted right out of the water. I could see the angle of pull and I didn't like it. We were anchored in a tight spot with rock-lined shores. A weather buoy near Provincetown reported a 51 knot gust and the weather service was warning up to 65 mph gusts. Dragging anchor would really suck.

I considered letting out more chain, but that would require maneuvering the boat to detach the bridle, something that I didn't really want to do in such high winds. So instead, I prepared a second anchor ready to deploy if we dragged and set an anchor drift alarm to let us know if we did. I also made sure I knew how to steer us out of the anchorage if things really got hairy.

Fortunately, our trusty Rocna anchor and heavy chain proved themselves again. We didn't budge.

When the wind died down a bit, we let out a bunch more chain so that I could sleep with far less to worry about. The winds blew hard through most of the night and early this morning, but we lay to anchor comfortably and confidently.

Lesson learned. If high winds are forecast and I have the room, let out lots of chain before it starts blowing. Also, setting up a second anchor in advance will be my normal practice in such conditions from now on.

We waiting out the rest of the blow here in Hadley Harbor in windy but sunny and pleasant conditions. I got a lot of boat chores done this morning.  We had our lunch on nearby Bull Island and then took a dinghy tour around the harbor. Now more work to do, including putting away the backup anchor rig.

Tomorrow the weather looks good for us to make our way to Newport, although we will be beating into the wind.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Sitting Out Another Blow

Intermezzo is safely anchored in Hadley Harbor, a snug anchorage near Woods Hole MA formed by several small surrounding islands. I believe one of the islands is owned by the Forbes family; it must be the one with the giant mansion at the top of the hill.

We're sitting out another cold front. The wind is currently blowing here in our sheltered harbor at a steady 15 knots with gusts to maybe 25. Out in Buzzards Bay, the weather buoy is reporting winds at 25 knots with gusts to 28. I'm glad we're here versus there, especially as winds are forecast to be stronger tonight.

We motored here from Bassets Island against headwinds yesterday. Before we left, we took a nice walk along the beach of the island. Lisa picked up another dozen oysters, even though it was high tide. We ate the oysters remaining from Monday's find as an appetizer last night, we'll eat yesterday's dozen tonight. Yum.

This is a nice place to sit out a blow. The small surrounding islands are covered in trees. The waters that weave between them are flat despite the high winds, reflecting the blue sky overhead. The only boat traffic are small ferries that come and go several times a day from (presumably) Woods Hole carrying a few passengers, sometimes a vehicle, sometimes building supplies or other cargo. Today's high temperature is 70 degrees, which is pleasant, and it is forecast to only to fall to 50 tonight, which is acceptable.

I'm getting a lot of work done.

Hopefully, this front is past us by tomorrow morning and we can continue on our way. I'm trying to plan our route so that we take advantage of forecasted winds, or at least are not taken advantage of by them. Right now, Newport looks like our next port of call. A good place to take on relatively cheap diesel.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Cape Cod Canal and...Oysters!

We up-anchored and left Provincetown harbor this morning under cloudy skies, with a light breeze from the southeast, motor-sailing towards the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal about 20 nm to the southwest.

After running an engine for about an hour to put some amps in the batteries, I shut it down and we sailed most of the way to the canal. The swell and wind waves came from two directions, the southeast and the east, and when the waves got in phase, Intermezzo was rocked suddenly a few times, would settle down for a several minutes and then get rocked again. I ended up steering slightly east and off course to ease the unpleasant motion.

By mid-morning, the sun was shining through partly cloudy skies. As we drew near the canal entrance, I saw a mola-mola, an ocean sunfish, floating flat on the surface (click on the link to see pictures, they are strange looking fish). It was a small one, a only about 4 feet by 3 feet. Mola's can get huge, 10 feet or more, and a couple of thousand pounds. They float on the surface so that birds can eat the parasites that grow on their bodies.

We entered the Cape Cod Canal just before 1 pm as an ebb current was beginning to flow which and help push us along, It did indeed; we hit a top speed of 10.1 knots with just one engine running at 2,500 rpm. The canal is plain but pleasant. Trees line its banks, along which people strolled on footpaths. The trees here haven't begun to change here yet. Maybe it won't be as cold now.

With the current pushing us along, it only took an hour to pass through the canal and out its west end into Buzzards Bay. We continued a few more miles and then turned south to round a point of land, head back east up a narrow channel and then wind our way into a small cove on the east shore of Bassets Island, located west of the small town of Pocasset.

We took the dinghy to the island right after getting anchored. It was low tide and as I stepped onto the wet sand beach, I was amazed to see it littered with oysters! Many hundreds of them, just waiting to be collected. No wading in water, no prying off rocks, just the tough job of deciding which one to pick up. We collected about four dozen and ate three dozen for dinner, saving the rest for tomorrow's appetizer. They were delicious- a nice balance of brine and meat, the perfect size and the cool water temperature made them ready to eat, no chilling required. What a stroke of luck!

This is a very calm and quiet place. I can't feel Intermezzo moving as I write this, the water is so still. That hardly ever happens.

We're making good progress towards the jumping off place for Intermezzo's next cruise, close to where we began this one in July. I really enjoyed sailing in Maine and I feel a bit sad leaving those waters behind. But it's getting cold, the sailing season is ending here and it's time to move on.

Our next adventure is sailing to Hilton Head via Norfolk VA and the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). We'll wait for a weather window to sail a direct ocean passage to Norfolk and then stay "inside" the rest of the way to Hilton Head, where I'll leave Intermezzo for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. We'll be revising some of the places we sailed on the way up to New York last summer. I'm looking forward to that. Hopefully it's not too chilly sailing this time in late fall.

A few of the four dozen oysters we picked up off the beach on Bassets Island

Entering the Cape Cod Canal

Exiting the Cape Cod Canal

Bassets Island

Yesterday's Provincetown sunset


Yesterday was a beautiful day in Provincetown, sunny, clear skies and not chilly.

We walked to the grocery store and then hauled 50 lbs of groceries back in two large bags slung over the back of a I returned to the boat to stow the provisions, phone calls and a bit of work. Lisa biked. I had a nice evening run along the shoreline.

We're now on our way to and through the Cape Cod Canal. It's cloudy and grey, but at least we're sailing, downwind in easterly winds.  Swell and wind waves are coming from the east and southeast and when they combine, the boat gets shaken up. Annoyingly unpleasant...but a least we're sailing.

The weather will determine our itinerary and progress over the next week. A cold front with possible gale force winds is forecast for Wednesday and Thursday. Then it looks like another system passes through over the weekend. I don't think we'll make it to Block Island or to my sister's this week; probably hole up in Newport for the weekend.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Salem MA

We enjoyed two easy days in Salem MA on a mooring ball at Hawthorne Cove Marina.

I think I have finally come up with a good way of attaching Intermezzo to mooring balls. We run a line from the cleat in the windlass locker out through the bow roller near the center of the cross beam. We then run the end of this line through the eye of the mooring pennant and back through the bow roller. Now we have a two part purchase to haul the pennant through the bow roller for the desired length, at which point we tie our hauling line again to the cleat in the anchor locker. The boat is now secure and mooring ball is close to the boat to limit rubbing on the bows and how far it can travel under the boat between the hulls.

Now I tie a bridle line to the mooring pennant a few feet forward of the bow roller with a rolling hitch run each leg to a bow cleat, snugging them tight. This reduces how much we can swing, chafing of the pennant on the bow roller and further limits the mooring balls movement relative to the boat.

This system seems to work well, but I need to test it further in more challenging conditions to be sure or tweak it some more.

With the weather cold and damp, we haven't been able to do laundry so dirty clothes were building up. We took advantage of the nice laundry facilities at the marina to take care of this. Afterwards, we walked around town for a bit, mostly along the historic waterfront, and then had a big, filling Italian dinner.

On Friday we visited the Peabody Essex Museum, the oldest continuously operating museum in the United States. The history of the museum is particularly interesting, summarized as follows on its website,

The roots of the Peabody Essex Museum date to the 1799 founding of the East India Marine Society, an organization of Salem captains and supercargoes who had sailed beyond either the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn. The society’s charter included a provision for the establishment of a “cabinet of natural and artificial curiosities,” which is what we today would call a museum. Society members brought to Salem a diverse collection of objects from the northwest coast of America, Asia, Africa, Oceania, India and elsewhere. 

The range of art and items on display is pretty amazing. I particularly enjoyed the maritime collection, especially the ship models of the Queen Elizabeth and Joshua Slocum's yacht, Spray.  I also enjoyed the "Salem Stories" exhibit, 26 vignettes of Salem in alphabetical order. Did you know that Parker Brothers, the creators of board games Monopoly, Clue etc. was founded in Salem? I do, now.

As I've come to expect, the weather was all over the place yesterday. Sunny, warm, rain, cold. The day ended with a crisp, clear calm evening and then the night turned quite cold.

We're now moving Intermezzo south with purpose, on our way to Provincetown today. My goal is to be in Old Saybrook to visit my sister next weekend and then get ready so we can push off for Norfolk VA as soon as it looks safe from hurricanes and we have a good weather window.

New Holland Lines poster from the maritime collection at the Peabody Essex Museum. Just like on board Intermezzo.


Thursday, October 1, 2020

Rockport MA, The Town

We motored in nice weather against moderate headwinds to Salem MA today. We took a mooring ball and are getting some laundry done at Hawthorne Creek Marina. We'll grab an early dinner on shore and do some sightseeing here tomorrow.

Rockport was such a nice town that I want to share some of its highlights. 

For me, the most interesting parts of town are its two walled harbors, the main Rockport Harbor and the small Back Harbor. Both are constructed with large granite blocks and are accessed through a narrow gap between the sea walls. At low tide, the top of the harbor walls are more than ten feet above the water. The main harbor is crowded with mostly lobster boats. The tiny Back Harbor has a short dock for small power boats and is where we landed the dinghy when going to shore from where we were anchored in Sandy Bay.  I like their sturdy old New England construction, how they provide snug protection for boats in all types of weather.

Between the two harbors are a few narrow streets and small historic buildings. It is touristy but low key and high quality, nice to wander around for a little while. There are lots of benches around the perimeter of the main harbor where you can sit to enjoy the view or have a picnic lunch.

The dominate structure in the downtown area beyond the harbors is the Rockport Music-Shalin Liu Perfomance Center, which is unfortunately closed due to COVID. From the outside, the building looks like a giant's version of the homes on either side of it. From the sea, the facade is dominated by a huge expanse of windows. These windows and the panoramic view of Ipswich Bay serve as the backdrop for the performance stage. We couldn't go inside, but from pictures it looks magnificent. I've posted a picture from the center's website below.  It must be a great place to listen to music.

Surrounding the downtown area are modest residences. It seems like a well-kept, friendly town. There is a station from which you can take trains to and from Boston. I think this could be a nice place to live, although I expect it is quite blustery and cold in the winter. 

One of my favorite spots is a pond, nestled in a hollow near the center of town. It's a little jewel-box of a city park, a nicely landscaped, peaceful spot to stroll through or sit and relax.

We didn't eat at any of the several restaurants in town, but they all looked good.

Rockport, a nice place to sit out a gale.

The main harbor at Rockport
Street and shops between Rockport's two harbors
House and garden along path to Rockport's pond

Fall blooms in Rockport

Interior of Shalin Liu Performance Center (photo credit Intermezzo anchored 200 yards beyond those windows.