Friday, July 21, 2017

Day 13: Nantucket to Falmouth

Yesterday, we spent a full day on Nantucket. Getting to shore involved using our dinghy, and tying to a very busy dinghy dock, usually two boats deep, and having to walk on other people's boats.
Our dinghy MD 8790 CS bunched in with all the rest.
The town is lively in the evenings with lots of bars and restaurants. There are no chain stores allowed in Nantucket, so even the car dealership (yes there is exactly one) is family owned. We spent a good deal of time walking around the various streets around town. We saw this woman on her balcony painting a gorgeous scene.
A nice place to paint
Starting at 1:00 pm, we took a 3 hour nature and history tour of the island. Our 4x4 van stopped before we entered the beach area and let out air from the tires, down to 15 PSI. We then drove on the sand of the beach for quite some time. There, we got out and walked towards a lighthouse. On the way, we saw seals in the water, and a couple of unfortunate looking seals who seemed to be stranded on the beach. We were told that regulations require not approaching within 150 feet of the seal. We followed the rule, but some other bozos got right in its face taking pictures.
This guy did not seem happy to be here
On the side of the road, outside the beach area, there was a lone air pump that our guide used to inflate the tires back to 40 PSI.

After the tour, we came back to Sababa, and I grilled veggie burgers for the vegans, and then a real hamburger for myself! It felt nice to eat our own home made food for once, since every other dinner on this trip was in a restaurant. For the most part, we eat breakfast and lunch on the boat and dinner out, although if we're in a town for the day, we might eat lunch out too. Most days, though, we are under way on the boat at lunchtime.
Grilling the lone meat burger once the veggie ones are done
After dinner, we took the dinghy back to shore and walked around taking in the sites of the town. Here are a couple of pictures that sum up the views in Nantucket.
By ordinance, all the houses have the same siding
The definition of peaceful - dusk on Nantucket
It took 11 days, but I finally discovered something I don't like about this boat. The last 2 nights, on the mooring ball, we did not have shore power, so we used the generator. It is a fantastic machine and produces more amps than even our 50 amp shore power connection. But, as it turns out, the generator is on the other side of the wall of the master stateroom, just inches from our heads when we sleep. Luckily, it was cool enough that we did not need the air conditioning at night, so I turned off the generator before bed and ran the boat's fancy blue lights off the house batteries. By my calculations, we burned 40 gallons of diesel running our generator for the two days on the mooring, excluding 8 hours each night while we were sleeping. All the fuel came from the port side tank. At first I was puzzled when I noticed this morning that the starboard tank had substantially more fuel than the port one, and then I realized that the generator had been drawing from the port side fuel tank since Wednesday.

Today, we woke up early as usual, and I was glad to see that the previous night's forecast of a beautiful sunny day was correct. Getting off a mooring ball is so easy. We just take the mooring lines off the bow cleats, toss them in the water, and we're done - on our way. No lines or fenders to secure; no dock to depart. So easy. I charted our trip to Kingsman Yacht Club, just North of Falmouth at about 50 nautical miles, a quick and easy run. We left Nantucket Harbor at 7:45 a.m., and set course for Nantucket Sound.
Our route today from Nantucket to just North of Falmouth

I ran Sababa at a comfortable 22 knots, with a strong wind from 10 O'Clock. I was alone up top on the flybridge most of the way while the kids slept and Ann had breakfast and read her book in the saloon below.
Last look at Nantucket Harbor
On this early morning, with no boat in sight and land barely visible in any direction, I felt about as happy as I can remember. This really has been the trip of a lifetime, and I can't believe that a week from today, we will be back in Baltimore (weather permitting). I really don't want it to end. In particular, I was thinking about the fact that in our normal lives with our typical routines, I am lucky if I get to spend 15 minutes with Elana or Benny. They are either holed up in their rooms doing homework, out with friends, or otherwise occupied. For almost two weeks now, I have had the chance to really spend quality time with them. We eat our meals together, explore new areas, ride paddleboards and the dinghy, and live in very close quarters 24 hours/day. It is the kind of quality time that I haven't had in years with my kids, and which I sorely missed from the days of our sailboat trips on the Chesapeake years ago, when I would drag the family out for a week of sailing that resembled camping, but on the water. Our circumstances have changed, and this trip is much more luxurious and comfortable, but at the core it is still the same forced togetherness, an immersion in each other's lives that does not occur in the real world. It is priceless. I will surely miss these days dearly when Elana goes off to college and Benny gets back into his school routine in the Fall.

As we approached our destination, I slowed to no wake speed in a channel so as not to overturn the other boats. Ann showed up next to me, and we marveled at how peaceful it was at the slower pace. The channel to our destination was extremely narrow and somewhat complex, and I worried about the depth a couple of times, but we made it, and once we pulled in, we fueled up, pumped out (Elana did the pump out, as well as chemical toilet treatment after), and found our slip. There, Benny and I immediately hosed down the boat, which hadn't been washed in 3 days, and we filled our thirsty and just about empty water tanks. Tie up was easy on the outside of a long floating dock, and all systems were back to normal.
Getting to the marina was tricky, but it was a very easy tie up.
I hadn't done any maintenance since we left home, and it was time for me to check on a few things. I went down below in the engine room and checked the oil on the main engines. Perfect levels, although the oil looked a bit dirty, but I'll wait to have it changed until we're back home. The oil was fresh when we left and that's more than enough to last this trip. The oil level in the generator, however, was low, so I added some. Next, I closed the A/C strainer seacock, pulled out the metal filter, washed it on the dock, and put it all back together so it was good to go. Now, Sababa is completely ready for the trip up to Boston tomorrow.

After a quick lunch on the boat, we set out to explore on the dinghy. I let Benny do all the driving, as he was extremely helpful in washing Sababa and prepping the dinghy. I've been teaching both kids more and more of the chores and responsibilities of boating, and it has made life much easier. I'm hoping they'll remember it fondly and that it will be useful to them if they decide to be boaters when they grow up. Not too sure about Elana, but I think Benny is hooked.

We dingied over to a mile long beach island across the way, and when we got close to shore, Ann jumped out and pulled us in. We beached the dinghy and hung out on the sand for a while, skipping rocks and collecting some shells. We then dingied some more, until we found a great spot to swim. There was an unused mooring ball, so we tied the dinghy up for a short while there hoping nobody would mind, and three of us jumped in and swam while Ann stayed on the boat and took pictures.
The water was great, and we enjoyed a nice swim

After we returned, we mounted the dinghy back on Sababa, and Benny strapped her in the way I had shown him. He also washed down the dingy, applied the tilt lock, closed the gas vent, flushed out the motor, put away the life jackets, and earned another chance to drive the dinghy at our next destination! After we showered, we decided to do another homemade meal, and Ann cooked pasta, which we ate up top.

A recurring theme on this trip is that Elana wanted a picture of the sunset. However, every place we went either faced East or the weather was bad, and on Day 13, she still had not managed to photograph a sunset. That changed tonight! Kingsman Yacht Center advertises their amazing sunsets, and they even post the time outside their restaurant. We had a front row view from Sababa, and it could not have been more beautiful.
Elana finally got her sunset
Tomorrow, we head to Boston, our furthest destination and our last two-night stay. The weather looks great, although the forecast for our return on Monday is iffy, but we'll deal with that later. Very excited to see Tamara during visiting day at camp the day after tomorrow.