We were supposed to go to Italy with friends this July. We had to cancel the trip because I’ve been suffering from a chronic condition called Poly Myalgia Rheumatica. I didn’t feel up to traveling so far away and didn’t feel I could handle sightseeing every day.
So we headed for the marina, our home away from home. We decided to live on the boat for five days as our ‘vacation’ for the month. I forgot how quickly we fall into a boat routine. We’re less than half an hour away from home, but we feel like we’re in another world. There’s something about living in miniature, on the water, that relaxes us instantly.
I think that part of the reason everything feels so different on the boat is that all the logistics are different than at home. To use the oven, we have to move everything off the countertop, open the cover for the stove and then we can turn the oven on. To find anything in the refrigerator, we usually have to take everything out, shelf by shelf, until we find what we’re looking for. The frig is packed that tight!
To take a shower, we have to remove all the towels and the garbage can from the shower area and move them into the bedroom. At home, the dogs have a doggie door. On the boat, we have to walk the dogs regularly. Good exercise. But it takes some getting used to. We are totally spoiled vis-a-vis our dogs! So life feels truly ‘nautical’ on the boat. Our house also rocks periodically, which is very cool.
This week, we had guests from New York on the boat with us. We also visited with friends on the dock, so it’s been a more social week than we would have had at home. People love visiting the boat. Even if we can’t take a ride, people just love being on the water.
One of our friends stayed overnight with us on the boat. That doesn’t happen often, so it was a special treat. Like camping out with friends! She stayed overnight the night of the local 4th of July Fireworks. We got to enjoy 180 degrees of fireworks! Most of the fireworks were done by local individuals. But the town of Stratford does a 20-minute display done by professionals. It is truly awesome!
Tom loves fireworks and looks forward to this display all year. It’s worth the wait. We have a clear view from our boat and it looks like the display is being done specially for us.
So this ‘vacation’ week turned out to be more fun and more restorative than we had expected. Even the dogs were chilling out (That may have also been because of the extreme heat).
The longer we stayed at the marina, the more distant our ‘land’ life became. We extended our stay by a day. And we may be coming back for a few more days soon. Now it really feels like summer vacation!
Tom and I are going on a nautical road trip with our friend Deb. We all live in southern CT. She bought a boat that is moored in Eastern MA. So we agreed to drive with her, in a car, to the boat and then drive the boat, on the water, back to the home marina in Stratford, CT. That trip would be 128 nautical miles, at about 12 miles per hour, if the seas are calm. We plan to make the journey in two days.
We meet in the parking lot at our marina. Deb has rented a van and packed it with everything she’ll need for the boat, which is basically a small house. Bathroom stuff, bedding, cleaning stuff, tools, food, etc. The kitchen also has to have dishes, glasses, silverware, serving pieces, pots, pans, Tupperware, Saran wrap and baggies, you get the idea.
The drive up is uneventful. When we get our first view of Deb’s new boat, I swear to God, a rainbow appears in the sky! Good omen! Lots of unloading and unpacking. We go out to dinner and get to bed early.
Deb returns the car and does some more unpacking. Tom relaxes and hangs with the dogs while we wait to head out again.
The 6 ½ hour drive is smooth. But it is cold and raining off and on. We’re bundled up in three layers of clothing, including hoodies and jackets. I’m also wrapped in a blanket all day – in June!
We go through the scenic Cape Cod Canal and I take photos of bridges. Mostly in the rain.
When we tie up at our marina for the night, Deb and Tom troubleshoot some of the problems they found on the boat. Something called an inverter, the shower pump, the kitchen drain, the windshield wipers. (Yes, this boat has windshield wipers!)
We marinate our lamb chops and try to start the grill. Guess what? There’s no gas for the grill, the stove or the oven. All that works is the microwave. So we warm up some beef stew and nuke some potatoes. We’re roughing it. In a floating condo.
We go to bed to the sound of strange noises from the water pump every three minutes.
We wake up to no water. Not a big deal, just fill the water tanks. But why are we out of water? We didn’t use up ½ gallon of water overnight. Welcome to owning a boat.
Microwave the eggs and bacon and head out. There’s a six and a half hour drive ahead of us. But we are looking forward to seeing our friends at the other end who are ready to greet us with pizza and champagne to christen the boat.
Cold and rainy again. Deb and Tom drive the boat and I stay inside most of the day trying to stay warm. But it’s hard to stay warm because the heat inside the boat isn’t working.
Major miscalculation! The trip home is 36 miles longer than we expected. So the total trip is actually 164 miles and today’s travel time is up to 10 ½ hours! So much for the welcome home party. We approach our marina in the dark. We’re navigating by all three of us sticking our heads out of the windows and looking for marker buoys. Still raining. Dancing to oldies rock and roll.
We really know how to have fun!
We arrive at our marina at 9:45 PM and dock the boat in the pouring rain. Unload quickly and drop Deb off at her house. Tom and I find a diner that’s open and get a late, light dinner. Home by midnight. Greeted effusively by ecstatic dogs.
Great adventure but it’s good to be home!
Happy Deb and her new boat!
I have to mention that these are the ONLY pictures I’ve ever taken on my cell phone. There I was, on the 60th floor of this amazing building and there’s this view. And I’m wearing an evening gown, more or less. And the only camera I have is in my evening bag — and we know, my women friends that you cannot fit anything much inside one of them. They are the most useless bags in the world.
So there’s a view to die for. It is stunning.
I had the cell phone. The view was waiting. I took pictures. I so very much wish I had a camera, but this is what you get with a Samsung. I played with them because I had some issues with reflective glass in the windows.
We live in a low slung town. I think the map says we are just 700 feet above sea level … and probably, that would be from a hill somewhere. I’m not sure what hill that might be, but no doubt we have one.
Fortunately, we travel occasionally. This is Boston. From the 60th floor on State Street, overlooking the harbor.
I do not know what a wish looks like, though I think it might look like a rising sun over a glassy harbor. Beggar that I am, I wish for a horse to ride and one more.
Gentle, well-school mounts so Garry and I can ride together again. And, I wish all of us the best life can give us — many sunrises on the shores of bright summer days.
SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015 #13 – ON OLD CAPE COD
Wednesday – July 8, 2015
It’s Frisbee Wednesday again. We’ve passed the big summer holiday weekend. The fireworks have been shot. The band played on. Time to move along and get down to the serious work of summering. In a word, that means vacation.
You have an obligation to have a good time and doing it at home is the coward’s way out. To have a proper good time, you have to go somewhere crowded. Popular. If parking isn’t difficult or impossible, you’ve clearly chosen the wrong place to be.
In this spirit, let me welcome you to Hyannisport. A beautiful harbor. Magnificent yachts. Blue sky, blue water. Happy people.
Yummy fried clams. Acid reflux comes free with each order.
Enjoy the beautiful white sand beaches, the birds gliding over the ocean and the harbor.
Although everything is ridiculously expensive and you’ll have to fight your way through throngs of tourists, it’s part of the experience. Of course, you could go off-season as we have done for many years … September or October, even November … but that might lessen the experience.
A LONG WEEK ON OLD CAPE COD
It was 76 miles as the road goes, but it took us three hours to get to Hyannis from Uxbridge. Not bad, considering it was a snail trail all the way. No matter. We were in a festive mood. No screaming and cursing from us as we crawled to Cape Cod.
We made it. The moment we saw the place, we got a that sinking feeling. You know what I mean. The asphalt in the parking was in shards. You can’t find the office because there’s a backhoe parked out front. Somehow, you know your room is right behind the backhoe.
“The last lady loved it. She had three little kids and said it kept them entertained.”
“We don’t have kids. I prefer not to spend my week on the Cape up close and personal with a back hoe.” Humor was lost on our hostess. I had a headache.
The only other available unit was on the second floor and of course, there was no elevator or assistance to haul our luggage. I had asked for a room with handicapped access. “Well,” she said, “You’d have to talk to your exchange group about that.”
It was late. We were tired. Fighting was futile. We had paid in advance. It’s good to know when you’re beaten.
Garry had that look he gets when he’s mad as hell, but knows there’s no point in fighting. He knows a dump when he sees one. As he pointed out later as we haul our tons of stuff up the steep flight of stairs … “We’ve stayed in worse.”
Sad, but true.
In Montreal, we shared our room with hot and cold running cockroaches. That was worse.
The mattress on the bed was long past its prime. By the time we encountered it, it was a weary, used up, bitter mattress. Lumpy. Unforgiving. Hard as a rock.
The bathroom was so bad it was funny. “It has,” Garry said, “A certain ‘Je ne sais quoi.’ ” I was laughing hysterically as I pulled out a camera and took a few shots. Too awful. A dump. But, for one, joyous vacation week, our dump.
When you can’t fix it, soldier on.
The weather was with us. We had been to beautiful places and spent a whole week watching the rain pour down. This time, it was a crappy hotel, but the weather was perfect.
When you are on vacation, great weather beats luxury accommodations. Especially when you are a photography enthusiast, even more if you are a couple and both of you are enthusiasts. We grabbed our gear. And took hundreds of pictures.
Sometimes, when I go looking for a picture, I find more than I bargained for. In this case, an entire file of pictures Garry took in Hyannisport. I downloaded them, but apparently that’s all I did. Only two of them ever made it into publication.
Last night, while the Boston Pops played a bunch of drivel instead of the patriotic, inspirational music I expected, I went through the file and realized these are great pictures. And here they are! Summertime on Cape Cod.
At the dock in Hyannisport, by Garry Armstrong.