SOUTHERN STAR -Halfway around the world. 
Her slow journey back ???

Portland to Boston

Portland to Boston

We spent a quiet night at an anchorage around from Boothbay. The trip south from NE Harbor was okay but we had a 6ft swell and were worried it might find its way into the anchorage. It didn’t, and justified our decision to anchor out, instead of taking a marina at Boothbay. We had called them for the end of season discount that others are now offering, and they offered a measly .25c off their usual $3.50/ft. Too expensive for us.

We had another lumpy ride south from Linekin Bay to Portland, where Spring Point Marina had slashed their rate to $1/ft. More like it. We had some wind coming, and another hurricane swirling around in the Gulf of Mexico, a long way south but still could make conditions uncomfortable in a few days. We took the weekly rate of $5/ft, and tucked in for a few days.

I had really wanted to get to Boston to celebrate my birthday on 11th Oct. I had originally hoped to get to Gillette Stadium to watch a NE Patriots home game, but the price of two of the cheapest tickets would have paid for a month in a marina! And that was if I could even get tickets, which looked impossible now the Patriots had starting winning games again.

So I resigned myself to a birthday in Portland. We discovered a bus which left from right outside the marina and went into town, so did that on Monday, when no cruise ships were in port. Portland is a very cool little city, lots of restaurants and retro/collectible shops. It had turned very cold and we found a local department store which had great prices, so I bought a jacket and jersey, and Ted found some new Columbia walking/hiking boots. We sat down in the store and Ted changed his shoes while I put on my new jacket under my Gill jacket. It was cold!

We wandered down to the waterfront and looked at the main city marina which most people stay at. Still a lot of tourists about, even without a cruise ship in town. We had passed a restaurant called Taco Escobarr and went back for lunch. Amazing tacos, and I had a great salad which was so huge I took half home and we had it for dinner later that day. Hopped back on the bus to the marina.

The marina had a courtesy car available for our use so we took that the next day and went out to the Maine Mall. I had booked a long overdue haircut, and thought I’d do a bit of birthday shopping with the money I’d been earning from 4 weeks remote work at AMP in NZ. Shopping was disappointing but the bigger issue turned out to be our phones.

Ted had amended his AT&T monthly plan now that we didn’t need Canada coverage any longer. What we didn’t realise was that in doing so, they cut off both his phone and my phone. So we lost each other in the Mall and couldn’t communicate. We both wandered around for a while looking for each other. Ted went to an AT&T store and they said they couldn’t help him, he then spent an hour on the phone with AT&T. When I finally found him he was so angry he could hardly speak.
The AT&T “helpline” had hung up on him. We went back to the AT&T store and found a young guy who finally managed to sort us out and save two customers. See Ted’s separate blog post on being Incommunicado.

When we left the Mall and returned to our car, we were hit by a massive temperature change – it was now 80 degrees and hot. We got back to the boat and both put on shorts and t shirts again. We had left the reverse air heating on in the boat, and it was so clever it had switched itself to air conditioning! This weather continued for the following day – we had sundowners on our flybridge both evenings and watched the cruise ships depart at sunset. On Wednesday night we went down to the salon, boat doors and windows were all open, and within 20 minutes the wind died, then shifted and the temperature dropped 20 degrees. Boat closed up and heating back on.

Thursday was my birthday, and it was grey, cold and raining. Such a shame after the two beautiful summer days, but it had been predicted. I made French toast and enjoyed reading the many birthday wishes that were coming into Ted’s Facebook for me. We took the marina car again and went back to TJ Maxx which we’d missed on our last shopping trip. Still didn’t spend anything!
Back to the marina, still raining and we’d decided to have a late lunch rather than dinner. There was a restaurant at the marina and we went in there for a very nice meal, paid for by our good friend Gordon who had left a card on board with $100 tucked into it. He’d also left a bottle of NZ bubbles which we enjoyed that evening, while reading more good wishes from around the world.
I had talked with one of my besties Jill, the previous day, and had a long chat with another, Elizabeth in the morning. She had sent an email with a bunch of old photos from our Inmarsat days together in London. And I got messages from many of my old Inmarsat friends – Catherine in Dublin, Lisa and Maria both in NZ, Jenny Ray in London, and had a lovely email exchange with my amazing boss and good friend Olof, who has had a challenging 12 months but remains an inspiration and mentor from afar. I wish I was closer to all these amazing people I have had the privilege of knowing and working with. But I love hearing from them, even if it is only occasionally. They all remain great friends, despite being scattered around the world.

My brother and his wife in NZ sent me a video of him reading a poem he had written about me. He had done one previously about the time we spent together in Fort Lauderdale when I flew over from Eleuthera while he was in hospital. I was amazed at the things he knew or remembered about my life, and how he wove it all together in a rhythmic story. He is not well, and I am so touched he took the time to write something for me.

We spent one more day in Portland, took the car to do some provisioning, and left early on Saturday morning for Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This was a midway point between Portland and Boston, which was just too far for us to do in daylight hours. We had booked a slip at the marina where Grace of Tides was located, and found that our friends on Roam were also underway from SW Harbor and planning to overnight in Portsmouth.

After a comfortable journey of about 45 miles we pulled into the marina around 3pm, by a fluke coinciding with slack tide. When Roam pulled in next to us 2 hours later the current was raging and we helped them tie up.

That evening we went up to the Marriott Hotel adjacent to the marina with Dee and Jerry, Clark and Michelle, and their friend Peter who has just sold his N60 Tanglewood, and is in the process of building a new N68. We had a lovely evening over drinks and snacks, so much fun that we all happened to wind up there for a night before going on our separate ways the next day.

The conditions were a bit choppier the next day when we all left at first light, Roam for Provincetown at Cape Cod, Grace of Tides with their faster cruising speed made for the Cape Cod Canal, and we did the 60 mile coastal journey south to Boston. Conditions improved as we rounded Cape Ann and gained protection from the westerly wind chop as we picked up the channel markers into Boston Harbor.

We arrived at our marina, Constitution Marina and tied up.
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Southern Star in North Palm Beach
Southern Star in North Palm Beach
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York River Yacht Haven, Gloucester Pt. VA
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Southern Star off Staniel Cay -Feb 2017
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