It has been a long time — far too long — since we really went cruising. We’re about to cast off the lines again.
October 10, 2021
We are sitting aboard the Esmeralde in our slip at New England Boat Works in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. It is early evening, very dark, and raining. Our two new puppies, now five months old, are beginning to learn boat routine. They have adapted wonderfully. We are optimistic.
We had hoped to get under way today for our first real cruise since we arrived home eighteen months ago, in April, 2020 as Covid-19 descended on us all and shut us down. Yes, we have used the boat since then. We have cruised locally, visiting Provincetown, Nantucket, Block Island, Cuttyhunk, Martha’s Vineyard, Mystic, CT, and other local haunts, but no real long range cruising at all. Not even Maine. So we are looking forward to getting under way. We need some change. We need some sunshine and smiles.
Esmeralde is in great shape, in spite of a major setback last winter and spring when a boat yard interior refinishing job went dramatically wrong. Fortunately we were in a good yard and they stepped up to the plate, fixing the problems they had caused. But it wasn’t fun and we lost most of our summer to the repairs.
We have new crew this year. Sadly, painfully, we lost both Pepper and Mattie this summer, within three weeks of each other. Only dog lovers can truly understand the pain we endured. Needing to fill the gaping holes in our hearts, we brought two new bundles of joy onto the team. Ollie and Maisie are on board. They are delightful, challenging, full of beans and endlessly entertaining. We are looking forward to sharing life aboard with them.
Our plans for the upcoming six to eight months are similar to our previous winter trips south. We will bash our way down Long Island Sound in between fall gales, run along the New Jersey Coast, and press up the Delaware Bay and through the D&C Canal into the Chesapeake. If weather permits we will lollygag in the Chesapeake for a bit and enjoy some cool off-season cruising as we make our way south towards Norfolk and the ICW.
We will visit favorite destinations through the Carolinas, enjoy Thanksgiving on board in some pretty random spot, then push on to Florida in time for the holidays. Hopefully after a trip across Lake Okeechobee we will find good weather for Christmas and New Years around Sanibel, Captiva, Cayo Costa and Boca Grande.
After the New Year, we plan to descend on Key West where we will pause, relax, and enjoy ourselves for a couple of months, before getting under way again and heading east and north. We may duck over to the Bahamas. And we may not. COVID may impact our decisions. And it may not. So many unknowns. We will roll with whatever comes our way.
We are looking forward to being on the move once again. As usual, getting out of New England in October requires patience with the weather. We had hoped to leave today. Then we had hoped to leave tomorrow. Now it looks like Tuesday, October 12, as we wait for the gale spinning offshore to pull out to the east. Narragansett Bay is benign, but Rhode Island Sound and Block Island sound are be feisty. We would rather pick a quiet day for our first run, so we can properly sort out the boat and the crew and begin to re-establish solid boat routine.
It will be good to be on the move once more.