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Posted by: nauticalchronicles | October 23, 2011

CHARLES RIVER: 1ST TO THE 4TH

Well, here’s the 2nd in the series. Enjoy…we did!

NAUTICAL CHRONICLES:
Charles River: 1st to the 4th

The new “Half Mine” was ready (the good half belongs to my wife, Louise; I get the broken half…always; I was 50; she was younger; I had never boated until the previous year; she had, with her father & friends). We had picked up our new boat in Portsmouth, NH, two weeks ago, and had blown 1 of the 2, 4 cylinder motors, not once, but twice before getting her to Cove Marina in the Merrimack River. We were at the docks, repaired, and confident, now, that our new 1989, 27’ Carver Montego would be capable of safely & comfortably transporting us to “The Charles River” for the 4th of July celebrations. We can’t remember how we decided to go, or who we were going with. Cove was a new marina to us; the friends we were making were new; this was our 2nd year of boating; our boat was new to us, equipped with a new GPS. All-in-all, this trip spelled ADVENTURE (a word lacking only an “S” and an “I” to spell “DISASTER”).

We were following a 30’ Sea Ray named “Absolutly II” (named after the vodka & the owner’s pest control business), and other boats from Cove; new friends who had coerced us into going on this trip.

While underway, we kept in close contact with Paul, the experienced captain of “Absolutly II” (closer than he appreciated; I used to have kind of a radio fetish but have since matured due in large part to a dampening effect from my friends). He was travelling with his soon-to-be X-girlfriend, Dawn (or Dove or Joy; a dishwashing liquid name). Paul did not know us very well; I’m not sure he knew us at all (we had met him while he was in “party mode” in the Essex River the previous year). He thought our boat name was “Half-a-Mind”, and wondered what kind of morons would name their boat with such a stupid name. Unknown to us at the time, after each of our transmissions, he would ask his mate “Who ARE these people?”

Well…THAT WAS ABOUT TO CHANGE.

We, Louise & I, were traveling with Debbie (she had just broken up with Don, Paul’s best friend…you can see where this is going). We had just about made it to the Annisquam River before losing power to one of our engines. We hailed Paul to apprise him of our situation. He suggested we check our fuel filters. Since this particular incident, we have learned where our fuel filters are, and we have the tools aboard to check them. When we informed him we would stop at Cape Ann Marina for repairs, we don’t think he cared much, but he wished us luck anyway…sure.

We had met an outstanding mechanic located in Seabrook, NH who empathized with our situation and was willing to gather his tools, jump into his truck and meet us at the marina in forty-five minutes so that our weekend trip to “The Charles” would not be spoiled (he has since divorced & moved to Florida; maybe that’s why he was so available; maybe that’s why he is divorced). One hour later, he met us at Cape Ann Marina. He told us he had to “fully survey” both motors to be able to determine the problem. We waited, anxious to get to Boston before dark & before an impending storm which was brewing to the south of us, became a problem. Remember…we’re new at all of this boating stuff. Two hours later, he had solved our problem.

It was the fuel filters.

Underway, again, “Half Mine” was nicely making way through Gloucester Harbor. Unfortunately, there was no longer anyone to talk with on the radio, we had lost our flotilla, and were pretty much on our own. We also noticed fewer boats on the water due to the approaching storm front. Our new GPS was not acting properly (I really do believe it was the GPS & not operator error; that company is no longer in business). We had paper charts, a compass & absolutely no experience using either one. We had been told by various folks, “when you see Boston, don’t go towards it or you will end up in Winthrop Harbor”, so we left it well to our starboard.

We missed Boston.

We did, however, find a lighthouse which we could not identify on the charts (the charts had several lighthouses). How is it possible to be lost this close to our destination? Stupidity. The GPS was junk; the dark clouds were much closer; there were no other boats in sight. So… I called Frank on my cell phone; he was my boating buddy from the previous season & very knowledgeable. He was also at a family cookout in Methuen; how could we possibly have thought he could help us? Really stupid. I should also mention that by this time Louise & I were no longer speaking to each other, and Debbie was very quietly sitting on the rear bench seat. I seem to recall telling them that if they thought they could operate the boat better than I was, and get us there better than I was, then they should do so… now. I was really surprised they did not take me up on the offer.

We spotted a solitary boat heading across our bow & in the opposite direction. We hailed this “no name” boat and asked if we could follow him…the storm was now seriously threatening us. We asked where he was going, but really didn’t care at this point, as long as it was toward land.

We really enjoyed our 1st visit to Marina Bay in Quincy (the lighthouse turned out to be Scituate Light). What a great stop. We docked, dined, danced & drank; it was a great night, a great relief, and one heck of a storm.

Early on the 4th, we left for Boston. We had been given explicit directions; there was no way we could miss the Charles River this time. We were again, able to raise Paul on the VHF (much to his dismay and, we suppose, to his displeasure). From Boston Harbor, we asked him for directions; from under the Route 95 bridge we asked him where his boat was in the river; from the locks we asked him how to get to his boat; and from the Longfellow Bridge we asked him which side he wanted us to tie up to (this was pre-911 when we could still tie up to the trees along the river bank near the Esplanade). We had hailed him four times since entering Boston Harbor. He asked his soon-to-be X girlfriend, “Who ARE these people?”

What an experience. The fireworks were great; the concert was outstanding; the 1812 Overture led by Keith Lockhart was inspiring, and the cannons were a surprise. The Giant Glass yacht broke anchor & threatened numerous boats, ours being one. We met many new friends. John & Linda’s boat hosted her cousin, a local media personality, (who we’ll call Tom). He provided an over-abundance of entertainment for all of us that evening (he has not been invited back to their boat since that “performance”). We had never been in a dinghy, so Paul let us learn how to drive his (nothing is quite as much fun as learning something new). That year, we were still allowed to dinghy up & down the small waterways adjacent to the Esplanade, and we spent the afternoon in battle with squirt guns & water balloons.

And somehow…Paul ended up with Debbie. They spent way too much time “among the missing” in his dinghy (several hours as we recall; possibly they went to Methuen to see Frank). They have since, returned…and are still together. I never asked Paul, but I am willing to bet that his trip back to Newburyport with Dawn (or Dove or Joy) was…uncomfortable. He did, however, need to call us after we returned; he had lost Debbie’s phone number. But Captain Paul has never asked anyone since that weekend, “Who ARE these people” on the “Half Mine” (although he has used “Half-a-Mind” as the boat’s name on several occasions since).

“Half Mine” returned to Cove Marina and continues to reside there. The return voyage was not eventful which was fine with us. We have made seven return trips to the Charles River for the 4th, and every one of them has been an adventure and another story waiting to be written.

Captain Robert Brown
First Mate Louise Brown

the little man

2nd Halfmine what are we getting into Captains consulting

Their 1st dinghy ride Capt Paul with 1st Mate Debbie Rail bridge opening after Zakim Bridge

            Longfellow Bridge What we do best in the Charles

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Responses

  1. i have anxiously been awaiting the next installment since reading the last one!! i thoroughly enjoyed this trip down memory lane!! good times…..
    can’t wait to read the next one!! i did have a couple of questions that i will ask the young wife!!

  2. And all is well with the world….Nautical Chronicles continue! You are too freakin’ funny B.B.!! xo

  3. Great job! Very entertaining.

  4. Ah days of yore and the adventures of the new Mariner! Can’t waite for the Nantucket voyage Logs; green Sea’s, white water and more?
    The Nautical diaries kindle memories of learning curve and novice good fortune.

  5. INSPIRED BY YOUR CLARITY OF EPISODES LONG PAST AND MOSTLY FORGOTTEN; I WENT SEARCHING FOR MY OLD LOG’S!
    I WISH I HADN’T; WHILE SOME WERE HUMORUS, MOST CLEARLY POINT TO POOR DECISIONS, A LACK OF PRACTICAL NAVIGATION SKILLS, AND PURE GOOD LUCK. A PLUG FOR BUDWIESER AND AND THE SKILLS OF WELCRAFT AND SEARAY BOAT BUILDING, WITHOUT WHICH, I WOULD NOT HAVE MADE PORT AND RECOVERED FROM THE GOLLY WOBBLES! kEEP UP THE GOOD WORK; i’M SURE WE CRUISED THE SAME WATERS. REGARDS


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