Salem harbour is a huge mooring field of around 2000 boats, which meant we were moored quite a long way out. It was a pleasant enough spot although the scenery was marred by a big factory at the harbour entrance.
We spent two nights moored, which gave us a whole day in town. In retrospect one night would have been enough. Then we could have skipped our visit to the Salem Witch Dungeon. This is billed as a “must see” entertainment, but the the witch trial re-enactment, with only two live performers, lacked the excitement we were expecting and the waxwork dummy extras had seen better days.
The Peabody Essex Museum, on the other hand, was worth a visit and the Witches Cauldron restaurant, recommended to us by some locals on the mooring launch, served good food at a good price.
We left Salem for Portsmouth in the rain and it continued to rain all day. The low of visibility fooled me into taking us too close in before dropping the sails. We were goosewinged and paralleling the shore a few hundred yards out when a squall shifted the wind round towards the shore. We had to either gybe the main (which takes five minutes to do under control) or quickly furl the genoa and round up to drop the main. I chose the latter, but Andrea was not happy that we got rather close to land while furling the jib and then we had to drop the main with a 30 knot wind driving the rain at us, having to motor hard to prevent being pressed into the shore by the wind and waves. The only real worry was that, always when sailing in New England, you are continually surrounded by lobster pots. You don’t want to foul a propeller when you are depending on your engines to keep you a safe distance from shore. All good fun anyway.
Leaving Salem, prepared for a wet day
Visibility was poor all day and this was the best view we got of the famous Thacher Island with its rare twin lighthouses.