From Salem to Sandwich....via Hell!

Melvyn Brown
Mon 27 Sep 2010 08:00
41: 46.24 N 70: 30.22 W

On Saturday we met up with the brother and sister-in-law of the woman for whom I was an au in Sweden back in 1972. The couple weren't at all sure what they were letting themselves in for, but for their sister's sake invited us for dinner. We were all of an age and in the event found we had a lot in common. Lee told us that as a teenager in 1969 she had attended a local music festival with two of her friends, and without her parents' knowledge. It was at a place called Woodstock. Her parents never would have known but for the fact the local paper was celebrating the 20th anniversary and asked readers to submit their stories. Lee responded and rather than the story being buried on the back pages, her picture was splashed across the front page. Her father apparently commented he couldn't remember her having attended Woodstock....! Melvyn countered with his memories of the Bath Blues Festival (with many of the same acts). His visit to the distilleries in Scotland prompted Karl to initiate Melvyn into the delights of Bourbon and moreover to have some appreciation of good, bad and indifferent bourbons. Their considered opinion was that a mid-range Pappy Van Winkle wasn't as smooth as Woodford Reserve, which was cheaper (although it took several shots to establish this). They then repeated the exercise with Tequila trying more expensive, then cheaper, then back to the more expensive brand...all in the name of science you understand. We had a VERY good evening together.

Salem to Sandwich...from a landlubber's perspective:

We left Salem at first light and with the sea virtually a mill pond I had high hopes of the day. I steered the boat out of the harbour playing a tedious game of Avoid the Lobster Pots - of which there are hundreds, if not thousands. This will no doubt account for the very modest price of the Lobster Risotto at the Witch's Brew restaurant on Thursday night. In the event I had Surf and Turf which consisted of steak and two stuffed shrimps. For one I don't think I've ever had a shrimp that was big enough to be stuffed, and definitely not a shrimp that needed to be sliced five times in order to eat it.

Even once we were out of the harbour we still had to keep watch for the buoys indicating the presence of a lobster pot and give them a wide enough berth to preclude the rope getting tangled round the propeller. Life was grand for the first four hours but then the wind picked up and Melv raised the main sail which assisted the motor and would mean we would get to our destination that much quicker. That was good. Then the wind picked up even more and he put up the jib (but not too much because we had to be able to look under it to spot the damn lobster pots). Now we were going much faster and would reach our destination so much quicker. That was good. Then the wind picked up so much he turned the engine off and we were still moving at between 6-7 knots. That was good. Now we were going to reach our destination before we knew it. And it was at that point my sea bands gave up the unequal struggle and I called for a bucket. Soon after that, the bucket and I retired to the cabin where I lay pinned to the back wall (because of the angle of the boat), moaning and praying for death.

Of course with only two on board there is no hope of a damp flannel being proffered or a cup of beef consommé appearing, you are just left there with only the bucket to talk to. However Captain Bligh curtly summoned me on deck to help steer the boat into Sandwich Marina just after 5 o'clock and I struggled up on deck wearing one sock and no coat to perform my duties as Crew. Sandwich Marina wasn't awfully inspiring in the gloom, mostly fishing boats - commercial and private. Even so the overnight berth cost $76(!!), although you do get a very nice shower for your money. Sandwich has the oldest house on Cape Cod...not that we could find it when we went out this afternoon and so we are going to try again tomorrow as the tides dictate we can't leave before 1 o'clock.

An update on the Quest for the Holy Grail....none in Sandwich either. We compromised and bought a Tupperware container for our butter.

Salem to Sandwich....from a sailor's viewpoint

Anne was a great help steering around the numerous buoys and lobster pots through Salem Harbour in very light airs whilst I navigated. The wind slowly increased to the point I could sail with everything up, doing 6 to 6.5 knots. The wind continued to increase when I put the first reef in and we were still doing 6 to 7 knots, occasionally up to 8. At about this time Anne ceased to be of any help, and took to her bed. Even at 3 to 4 miles off the coast there were still numerous lobster pots to avoid but the sailing was really glorious, in small seas the performed really well. The hardest bit was taking the sails down just before Cape Cod Canal. Just before entering Sandwich Marina I called Anne off her death bed to steer while I got ropes and fenders ready. Docking at the fuel jetty took me three tries as the wind was a little boisterous and kept blowing me off the pontoon. After filling with diesel, moved to an easy pontoon on the hammer end with the wind blowing me onto the dock.

Today (Monday) was foggy (see picture below) and so we stayed another day - partly because of the weather and partly to give Anne's constitution time to recover before the next leg which will be to Marion (some 14 miles, 10 of which are canal). The weather for the rest of the week doesn't look good and so we will be progressing in very short hops - if at all. The village next to Marion is Wareham but there is not enough water in the estuary for Zarafina.

The photograph (if it comes across on the email) is of a very atmospheric Sandwich Marina. Those are, I haven't a clue!

Mostly written by Anne, with a sailor's view point dictated by Melvyn