The hardest 22 miles yet

Trip Start Jun 22, 2007
Trip End Sep 25, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Massachusetts
Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Our friends fixed us a great breakfast and yes a shower with unlimited hot water was a treat.  After over 7 weeks, Im getting used to a shower in a 30" square so this really was a treat.  Dick and Kathy live in a wonderful home in a city about 50 miles west of Boston.  What a spread...over 6 acres of beautiful wood land and a perfectly decorated home full of antiques.  This was luxury.  We loved every minute.

After a trip to the grocery store and a long overdue haircut for me, we head back to Boston and by 1pm we are making our way out of the inner harbor.   The weather forecast was for good weather so we expected a fairly smooth run.  We had done well coming into Boston and felt confident in our ability to reverse the course.

We had gone about 2-3 miles when the visibility dropped to half mile and then a quarter mile and then...500 feet.  We were in the pea soup again.  By this time, I had flicked on the radar.  I heard lots of ship traffic on 16/13 and could not understand any of their reference points.  I hugged the sides of the shipping lane. 

We heard lots of boats just identify their position in an attempt to avoid the "real bad day".  This is trough stuff.   We are both in the wheelhouse glued to the instruments and we hear a poor devil in a 40 foot sailboat being told by a ship "don't you seem me....I'm the large piece of iron bearing down on you".   The fellow goes on to replay that he lost his radar the day before and was trying to get back.  I felt glad I was not part of that discussion.

I briefly considered going back...but where? And, we were almost out of the harbor.  Then I see a small "target" on the radar...very visual,  Its small...must be radar noise...I dismiss it.  Soon, I see the fishing boat about 100 feet from us and nearly on a collision course.  It passes our starboard thing we all slowed down. 

Sue and I are glued to the way to see anyone.  We see a few boat wakes go buy, but no visual.  This is very distressing as we see wakes but not the associated vessel.  My palms sweat and my heart beats hard.  This is really intense and no relief in sight.

We look at the cruising guide...."do not recommend you enter Marblehead in fog" what?   I look at the charts and conclude its the usual over reaction of the guides so we head in.  Its coming up very fast now.  I hail the harbor master for a mooring....I can only see 500 feet ahead but I am sure we are OK.  It takes faith in both radar and plotter. 

Finally the harbormaster calls back and tells us to hover inside the Marblehead harbor and they will send a launch out to guide us to a mooring...I take the wheel back...and make a radio call too clarify where they will meet us.  I cant even see boats let alone moorings.  Im on the radio and then I see a cliff wall coming out of the fog dead ahead...we were way out of position.  What the hell....I see a red buoy...we are very close to this big wall.  I look at the depth and see 20 feet, but we are yards of a rock wall.  Sue screams....i swing the wheel hard to port and we get back in the channel.  The harbor at Marblehead is much narrower than it appeared and again I got distracted with the radio.  I would not say "near disaster" but damn near a "near disaster".   This was the second time this has happened. 

We finally see the launch meeting us and he escorts us down a narrow channel very near the rock ledge and we finally get to our mooring.  Picking it up was easy.

I switch off the big diesel.  It's only 4pm but I'm pouring a really big vodka gimlet.  This was intense.  It was too intense for my taste.  We discuss this and hope this will not be the rule in getting up to Maine.  If so...maybe a change of plans is in order. 
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