OUR END OF SUMMER – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Summer has a different meaning to Tom and me than it does to most people. We are boaters, so to us, summer simply means ‘boating season’ and it lasts for six months. We start getting our boat ready to go into the water in late March or early April. It’s still chilly and there are no leaves on the trees, but for us, ‘summer’ is starting and our mindset shifts from land to sea.

Similarly, our boat isn’t taken out of the water till November 15. So despite the falling of the leaves as well as the thermometer, and even after daylight savings makes it dark before 5 PM, we still cling to the concept of summer because our boat is still afloat. We often spend time on it when it is mild in October and November, which has been often the past few years.

Our boat, Serenity.

On November 5 this year, we emptied all the food off the boat and in a few days it will be ready for its shrink-wrapped hibernation in the parking lot of the marina. So our summer has finally ended and we’re prepared for our landlocked existence for the next half a year.

Our life is quite different when the boat is the focus of our life and when it’s not. Once the boat is in the water and ready for its close-up, all our social life takes place on the boat – rain or shine. We recently built a lovely patio outside our kitchen but no one ever gets to see it except Tom, because the grill is out there. We never have dinners or parties on our patio when the weather is conducive because we’re always on the boat during these warmer months.

The living room on our boat

We love taking guests on our boat for a ride but often the weather doesn’t cooperate and our friends just hang out with us at the dock (which is quite lovely). We have entertained on board through thunderstorms, pouring rain, gusting winds, and extreme heat and cold. We almost never move the party to the house because of the weather.

During boating season we only travel on the boat. We take short trips (under two hours) to other marinas nearby and stay one or two nights. We also take longer trips to the Connecticut River, Montauk, Block Island, and even Martha’s Vineyard, and live on the boat for a week or more with the dogs. We usually get on a plane only when there’s no boat to travel on. And then we go visit our daughter in LA, friends in Portland, Oregon, and Disneyworld in Florida. Next April we’ll be going to London for ten days. The exception is when we plan a big trip to Europe which only makes sense for us in spring or fall when the weather is great but it’s not prime tourist season so it’s not too crowded.

Dining area on the boat

Another difference in our lives when the boat is in or out of the water is how much ‘together’ time Tom and I spend. Whenever he can, Tom will spend the afternoon on the boat rather than at home. He has the same TV and video games set up in both places and the same Wifi service. So he’d rather be looking out at the water than the woods.

I usually choose to stay home during the week except when the weather is ideal, so Tom and I spend a lot of time apart for six months of the year. The rest of the year we’re in the same house most of the time. I think this bifurcated system works well for us since it dilutes the time we share in the same living space and makes us appreciate being together when we are.

Boat kitchen

So now we are finally transitioning into ‘winter’ mode. We’ll start lighting fires and having friends over to the house. Tom will immediately start pining for the next boating season. On the other hand, I’m a homebody and I don’t mind the cold (I have lots of sweaters) so I’m just as happy with my ‘winter’ existence as I am with my water-based life. Variety is the spice of life!

So welcome to winter and toasted marshmallows!

VACATION AT HOME – BY ELLIN CURLEY

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!

A NAUTICAL ROAD TRIP – BY ELLIN CURLEY

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.

DAY 1

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.

DAY 2

 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.

DAY 3

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!

ATOP BOSTON IN TWILIGHT

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.

ATOP BOSTON | THE DAILY POST WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE 2017

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2017

IF WISHES WERE HORSES

“If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride … ” – Old Proverb

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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.

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Gentle, well-schooled 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

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.

Hyannis Cafe

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.

Hyannisport docked yachts

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.

Dock harbor hyannisport

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.

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“The last lady loved it. She had three little kids and said it kept them entertained.”

Sea Queen Hyannisport

“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.

dock wharf hyannisport harbor

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.

Barnstable hawk sunset

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.

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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.

fishing Hyannisport

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.

Hyannis harbor docks

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.

FROM THE VAULTS – GARRY IN HYANNISPORT

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.

LEFTOVERS – CEE’S ODD BALL PHOTO CHALLENGE

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: Week 28

lobster traps hyannisport docks

This week’s entries are leftovers. Pictures I took and forgot about.

fishing hyannisport

I take a lot of pictures. It’s partly a hangover from the days of film, when every shot cost money to process. I’m thrilled to be able to take a lot of pictures without sending them out for processing.

Who doesn't feel a compelling need to take pictures of the person taking pictures?

Who doesn’t feel a compelling need to take pictures of the person taking pictures?

I take about three times as many pictures as makes sense. But, to contradict myself, I’m often glad I’ve over shot my mark. Those spare pictures come in handy.

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SAILING AWAY ON A GIFTED YACHT

Once again, joining in the fun of Cee’s Share Your World – 2014 Week 21. Some fun (odd?) questions this week!


If you could make a 15 second speech to the entire world, what would you say?

We accept checks, money orders and PayPal. Note the address on the large screen television? Send your contributions there. Thank you very much.

yachts hyannis harbor

If you could take a photograph, paint a picture or write a story of any place in the world, what and where would it be?

Jerusalem and my favorite magical places in it.

If you had to spend one weekend alone in a single store but could remove nothing, which store would you pick?

Locked in a store from which I could take nothing? Unless there’s food, I would be doing my utmost to get out of there before my meds wore off. Now, if I could take at least one really cool thing with me, well … that’s a whole ‘nother story.

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If you were given a boat or yacht today, what would you name it? (You an always sell the yacht later)

I would (of course) name our yacht “Serendipity.” Anyone have a problem with that?

Did I get the yacht with money donated following my brilliant 15-second speech? If it’s big enough — like maybe a houseboat? — we could live on it. Does it come with a lifetime paid up slip in a nice marina? Inquiring minds yearn for clarity!

AUTUMN ON CAPE COD – GARRY ARMSTRONG

So there I was, putting a new strap on Garry’s camera. It was part of his birthday present, but it kind of got lost in all the medical crises. Today, I attached it to his camera and it looked good. On a whim, I pulled the chip to see what was on it … and what to my wondering eyes should appear than more than 300 pictures Garry took last summer on Cape Cod.

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All of these are previously unseen by anyone but the photographer himself. So here, for your enjoyment is October on Cape Cod … from beach to Hyannisport and you can sing along with Patti Page, too.