Tuesday, 28 July 2015

ARRIVED BACK IN FERNANDINA. TIGER POINT MARINA 19th July 2015

Recovering from jet lag!
Have been frantically getting ready to haul out.

Tuesday 28th July. hauled and washed... let the fun begin

Update long over due but coming.... I promise!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

THE BAHAMAS IS TOO SHALLOW FOR DEEP DRAFT VESSELS 26th April

Since my last post we have sailed north to Nassau again to get new US Visas. We've been out to Conception Island and we've had the Bahamas Family Island Regatta here in Georgetown.
All tracks from vessels over 7' 2"

Before I write further on these events I would like to attempt to dispel a myth we keep hearing. "Boats with deep draft cannot sail in the Bahamas." We have had several yachties tell us that they skipped the Bahamas after seeing how shallow it all is. That is very sad because the Bahamas is an excellent sailboat destination. There is usually good sailing wind combined with calm protected waters on the banks. The water is exceptionally clear and the sand banks are vast flat sand. We draw 7'2" and we have sailed across the banks from Bimini, along inside Eleuthera &  all down the west side of Exumas. We have been back and forth over the Yellow Banks to Nassau. We have not had any depth issues and apart from several cuts we would not attempt because they are quite obviously too shallow we don't feel at all constrained.
Lovely Conception Island.


Conception Island is about 40nm East of George Town. It's a nice day sail and the anchorage is spectacular. The whole island is a National Park. Both in the water and out. There is a turtle hatchery a short dingy ride south of the anchorage which takes you inland through a maze of creeks and flats teeming with young turtles. There is some snorkeling off the cliff near the old steel works from a wreck on the way to the creek. Often the swell makes this site a bit tricky but it's worth a look if at all possible. We searched other locations for snorkeling sites but were disappointed to find almost everything is dead. Never mind the water is clear and warm and the setting is spectacular. Our beach BBQ was great fun marred only by the ferocious sand flies. Once they went to bed we had a pleasant night ashore with Ausie Tactical Directions, and Kiwi cruisers Wyuna and an American Boat. Elan
Our trip to Nassau after returning from Conception to get new US B1 / B2 Visas was a very pleasant run north with a stop in Staniel Cay to catch up with Walter on Marnie, a boat we met crossing the South Indian Ocean in 2012. We had some fun nights aboard each other's boats during time together in George Town. Nassau arrival on a Monday for Visa Photos and paperwork a routine blood test for David and a bit of provisioning on Tuesday, then Embassy all Wednesday morning with a departure on Wednesday afternoon. Another brief stop in Nassau. Beating south was slower than running north but we were back in George Town by the following Sunday. 8 days all up.
This week the Bahamian Family Island Regatta was held in George Town. These spectacular local boats were traditional fishing vessels in days gone by. The craft of building and skill of sailing these boats has been preserved by the running of several regattas around the country every year. The boats arrive on local shipping or are towed in by larger boats, some coming in from several hundred miles away. The crews on the larger boats are big. Up to 16 people, depending upon the wind strength. The photos will give you an idea of the skill required to handle these vessels. The massive sail area and very low boom requires a lot of agility. Sometimes crew fall off! It is a requirement now days though that all boats finish with a full compliment of crew. The cruisers, along with the local spectator fleet, race about in dinghies and small boats following the race. It gets pretty frenetic but the whole thing is conducted with plenty if friendly banter and it would seem the racing, whilst competitive, is still very friendly.
Yesterday a dolphin arrived beside the boat and myself and a couple of other cruisers swam with it for 15 minuets. It was very interactive, swimming just out of reach and making small squeaking noises. Very fun. David as usual has plenty of projects but recent ones have included helping Tony on Tactical Directions with a mast and sail car issue and Tony kindly bought over his dive gear and helped David clean the hull. So what goes round comes round is working well here. Tony's mast issue is just awaiting a part and our hill is clean ready for departure.
Our Passports, with nice new 5 year Visas, arrived in George Town on Friday so now we will top up the fuel and wait for a weather window to head north on. Back to the US. Circuitously probably. 

You will find all the Bahamas photos at:
Taipans Bahamas Album.

Monday, 9 March 2015

BAHAMAS March 8th 2015

Opening Night Regatta
Its amazing how time flies. We have been languishing in George Town in the Exuma group of the Bahamas since the 24th of January. Lots has been happening with lead up to the Annual Regatta and then the Regatta which was  a week of silliness and fun. 

I won the design competition for next years Regatta T shirt so everyone will be wearing that for the 2016 Regatta here in George Town. 



We played silly beach and dingy games during the regatta which were pretty hilarious. Blind Dingy rowing with me instructing David and he blindfolded was pretty funny!


The weather hasn't always been fabulous but its getting better by the day now. There has been a lot of very cold weather on the big continent to the north west of Bahamas and so we can blame them for the sometimes inclement and windy weather we have experienced from time to time. Now into March and officially Spring is here so we expect it to be all up hill from here as the northern summer is just around the corner.
Down Wind Dingy Sailing event.

We attempted to get back to the Florida coast to fly back to Australia for a couple of months but the weather windows were all too short to risk the Gulf Stream crossing and so we changed the flights last week to August.
Taipan in Regatta Colours

Today we are anchored with two other boats we did the Indonesia Rally in 2006 with, Silver Fern NZ and Tactical Directions Aus. Amazing. So far away! Of course there will be plenty of catching up to do and notes to compare. Sea Rose another Kiwi boat we knew well in Thailand have just left the anchorage for points south and Cuba and we had a fabulous and long overdue catch up with them here. New boats are arriving and leaving all the time but very few are Australian.
Racing the Leopard. Geniet Lewe.
Silver Fern

The Bahamas is a playground for the Canadian and American yachts primarily. There is a scattering of other nationalities but the majority hale from Canada or USA. 
At the peak of the Regatta there were over 370 boats here. Apparently in its heyday.... before the GFC there were upward of 500 yachts here. It is easy to understand why they come here. Its an easy trip. Most of the boats never have to go to sea all the way from Canada because they use the Inter Coastal Waterway all the way down the East Coast and then make the short crossing of 60 NM to get them across the Gulf Stream to Bahamas from Florida. Once arrived there is an infinite number of good anchorages and relatively warm weather compared to their homes north. One boater told us yesterday they had 12 feet of snow at home in New York State at the moment. So the Bahamas looks pretty good! Many leave their boats in Florida and return north to spend summer. Many others however do take their boats back every year.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

AUSTRALIA DAY IN THE BAHAMAS. 26TH Jan.2015

 
Shroud Cay
Georgetown. There are 260 boats anchored here as of this mornings tally. As far as we can ascertain we are the only Australian boat.! Imoogi, with its new Australian owners Dean and Sally from Brisbane, left yesterday. Our quiet BBQ will be postponed until our English friends Barry and Lindy on Samarang, an Australian yacht, can join us. So its a quiet day here catching up on blog and fixing stuff! Normal day really.
Waderick Wells. Exhuma Land and Sea Park
The Furuno is still defunct. The water maker was leaking and has taken several days to fix. The weather is awful today but we cant complain as we have had some really nice days and good sailing to get here.

Rock sound at the southern end of Eluthera was a neat little spot with a good grocery and nice anchorage. Sadly we fare welled Jo and Paddy from here. They caught a flight to Nassau and returned to Cuba to continue their adventures.

Sailing from Eluthera to Highbourn Cay was fantastic but on entering the narrow and tricky channel the throttle quit! We had to rapidly deploy the head sail to get to a suitable place to drop the pick and repair. Lucky the wind was right. After discovering that the cable had just come loose we were able to re anchor in sheltered water.
At Big Major Spot a family of pigs will swim out for food.
Several short day sails south and we arrived in the Exhuma Land and Sea Park. There are some spectacular anchorages along this island chain in absolutely gin clear water. Shroud Island has some neat dingy trips up the mangrove creeks to the ocean side. No crocs!. Big Major Spot, near Stanley Cay, has a resident population of pigs which have learned to swim out to the dinghies to be fed. Cute.

Its come to my attention that since last year, when we were trawling the net for info on the subject of Foreign Flagged Pleasure boats arrival procedures into the USA, the CBP have put up a new web site which is quite explanatory.


Monday, 26 January 2015

OH NO FURUNO! Jan 2014

We have had a Furuno navnet 3D MFD unit with DSS Radar on Taipan since late 2010. There have been a number of issues. The first problem was with the charts. We had purchased the Navionics MapMedia wide area folio for Asia. The charts were so inaccurate that we had to use the satellite overlay to see some of the islands in Phang Ng Bay. Furuno, eventually supplied replacement Jepperson charts for our unit. Now we will only use the Jepperson MapMedia Charts and have found them very accurate in Asia, Africa, Caribbean, Bahamas and USA.
The Navnet has had a few unexpected shutdowns which are always alarming. Usually at a most inopportune time. The first fright was "HDD Warning. Consult Dealer" I received a lot of conflicting information on this one.... including replacing the hard drive as an option just around $800 to $900 and luckily we were in South Africa at the time where repairs were not a really enticing option. I eventually found out that that is just an error which should not appear and was incorrectly written in the coding somewhere. It should be ignored and will go away if you turn off Tides and Currents. In our experience it does!
If the unit has been on continuously for a long passage we have found that trying to do lots of functions will crash it. If we turn of the main power and then re power and re boot the issue will go away again.
The Radar has failed on route to the Bahamas with a "Tuning Warning" The magnetron still spins but the Radar Display wont come on. David, following various tips on websites, unplugged the plug in the Raydome after confirming that there were no wires preventing the Magnetron from spinning, and replugged it but then we lost everything. Now the GPS is not being seen by the MFD.
We also had to Reset Defaults in the Chart Menu because the purchased charts would not show up any more either.
We spoke to Technical Support via Skype in Maryland and I have to say they were extremely helpful.
Now we are removing the Raydome and the GPS to send them back to the Service Center.


Thursday, 1 January 2015

BOUNCING BOOBY. 31st December 2014Party animals

 
Very narrow passage to enter Hatchet Bay, Alice Town.
Bouncing Booby OR WHAT! We left the anchorage at Nassau fully loaded with gorgeous supplies from the fabulous Solomon s Grocery at the Plaza Shopping Center, East Bay Street Nassau. Fabulous range and quality. Also got SIM card to the iPad at Batelco. 



Beautiful weather and pleasant sailing to Booby Island. Just an overnight stop on the way to Eluthera. Well we bounced around in the current all night and were pleased to leave. Thankfully the weather was calm but the currents are strong.
Now we are tied to a mooring at Hatchet Bay. Paid the $20 per night for the Mooring. Collected by the very charming Francis. This is apparently only a new charge and he doesnt have any paper work. Francias also owns The Porch restaurant and we were off to give his stone crabs a whirl but at $55 per serve  we decided to give it a miss and trotted off round the corner where we enjoyed a nice evening for around $20 per head including tips taxes etc.

A lean lunch!

This is a very secure harbor but anchoring is allegedly difficult.... hence we paid for the mooring on that advice..... Its a short walk to "town" where you will probably find very little.
Lenny Kravitz was allegedly in town night doing a karaoke show and we had to hog tie Jo and drag her home or we'd have all been exhausted before the new year even began!. I should elaborate here. Jo Drummond has a gift, it you can call it that, for sniffing out a party. Any party. Your party wont be immune. If she can get there she'll be there dancing in the  crowd all night long!

 
Party animals prepare for New Year.
Well New Year has come and gone and a fabulous night it was. The Rainbow Resort Gatsby themed evening was full of fun and good food. The Junkanu put on by the local team was spectacular as usual with great music and yes...Jo danced all night!

On New Years Day we sailed south 15NM to Governors Harbor. The sail was easy and the weather good. There is a lovely Atlantic beach an easy 15 min walk over the hill and a quaint little town with good facilities for grocery fuel mail etc. 
Hatchet Bay
Farewell 2014.
It is a neat little town with a nice new small resort called French Leave. Right on the bay. Good prices and nice food.


Dunmore Town

We hired a car and drove north to Spanish Wells and Dunmore Town. Both small villages at the top end of Eluthera Isl on their own islands. Spanish Wells was all closed down and everyone was in church with the doors shut. So we left by way of the ferry which bought us and went by another ferry to Dunmore Town a short drive away. Quaint but quiet on a Sunday. The little houses are cute and many are old, dating to the 1700s. We ate, walked and swam before returning to Governors Harbor for a delicious dinner, courtesy of Jo n Paddy, at the French Leave Resort. The weather has been fabulous although a front is forecast so we may move further south to more shelter in Rock Sound. 


 Photos of  Jo and Paddys Visit to the Bahamas



Saturday, 27 December 2014

BOUNCING ALONG... BAHAMAS IN SIGHT! Dec 26th 2014

Hope you all had a fabulous Xmas and that Santa was bountiful and that the booze and food was flowing freely.
We arrived in Nassau Capital of Bahamas, at 8pm on Xmas Eve having left from Fernandina on Thursday 18th Dec to sail non stop to Deerfield 300nm.
Midday on Saturday we made Deerfield and we spent 2 nights with cruising buddies to break the trip from Fernandina Beach. Had a great party at their home and met lots of lovely people. Taipan spent the night rafted to a boat belonging to friends nearby. Monday afternoon we set off south again tacking to and fro all day and well into the night. It was only 37nm but we must have done 70 to get there. There is up to 4 knots of current flowing north and the wind was on the nose!
We needed to clear out of the USA by phone so had to hang off the coast south of Miami for a frustrating hour while the Customs n Immigration got all their ducks in a line ! Someone had tampered with the phones and the calls had all been diverted to a closed office. I guess it went pretty quiet at Customs and finally someone twigged and fixed the problem and we were able to get through. Not the most reliable sort of service ....Phones!.... no email facility so if you arrive there you better have somehow got yourself a USA cell phone!

We got clearance and left Miami at 1pm on Tuesday morning. We spent a long night making a Gulfsream crossing, being carried steadily north again. It was pretty uncomfortable but at least it was finally warm!. Once on the bank a large area about 5 meters deep. It was blessedly flat for the day as we motored across. Nightfall and we were back in deep water and deep doo doo as it got rougher and rougher. Eventually we abandoned the course east and motored south back onto the bank, taking another route. It was a long slow slog with lots of converse current and a converse wind and we were enormously pleased to see the lights of Nassau on dusk.

Didn't get cleared in to leave the boat till after lunch on Xmas day. Had a lovely evening with Jo and Paddy and a great Boxing Day Parade starting at midnight. Tried to message from Jo and Paddy's hotel but doesn't look like it went out there.

We will have frustrating times getting connections here so if there are gaps in our communication We apologize in advance.
 
Jo and Paddy are aboard and we plan to head to the islands. They will be with us till around the 9th of Jan and we are planning to have a big New Year celebration in leu of Xmas.


Saturday, 13 December 2014

NOW WHAT! HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? 11th December 2014

Away at last.
Happily motoring along the Inter Coastal Waterway between Fernandina Beach and Jacksonville. Testing systems before we head to sea......There is a bit of a leak in the stern seal. ...Well the leak is getting worse!.... by this afternoon it became necessary to really find out what the problem is. David got down and dirty and discovered that the vulcanizing on the face plate of the Manecraft Stern seal has come away from the rubber housing. This is the second time this has happened and this one is only 2 years old.  We are limited in the type of seal we can use because the space into which we must fit it is very limited. All other seals we have found are too long. We have ordered a new one from the UK and now we must back track, fortunately only 20 miles, to Tiger Point and re-haul and replace it. We have done this job in the water before but not in water this cold and dirty!!!
This morning I went aground while David was dealing with pumps down below.... "they put the channel markers on the wrong side here and I got confused..." lack of recent practice...oops!! Fortunately the tide was still rising so we were able to motor off in 15 minutes or so. Red face me!!
We are now tied up at the nice free dock in near the St Johns River and will back track the 20 or so miles to Fernandina over the next couple of days ready to haul when the seal arrives. The leak is fairly non threatening while we are stopped. Oh well that's boats.
 
Free Dock at Jacksonville.
Captain Brown Altman ( Ph. 9046080025) the self appointed unofficial "Greeter" popped by this afternoon to see if we needed anything. Shops, repairs, lift to the airport etc. What a nice surprise. This was a first in 10 years of cruising foreign places. The dock itself is one of the best docks we have ever been on. Floating Concrete with huge concrete piles. Great big cleats and excellent bumpers. There is water supplied but no power. Ashore there is a shower and toilet block. And its all  free for the first 72 hours courtesy of the city of Jacksonville. 30 23.8988 N 081 27.5329 W 

16th Dec Up on the hard again for the past 2 nights. Splash again today. Replaced seal.
 Dec 17th Splashed again. Seal all good. Lets get out of here!

Friday, 5 December 2014

IN FOR A DUNKING. TIGER POINT MARINA. 5th December.

Just after we launched.
 Monday arrived and we were unceremoniously dumped into the water without so much as a photo. We anti-fouled the bottom and found things to do to keep busy on top. Including hoisting the main on the new Tides Marine Sail Track which we had installed to facilitate the dropping of the main. It has been catching coming down since we had the new one made in South Africa. With this system the UHMW PE Track was installed into the existing groove on our Mast.  The system comes with beautiful Stainless Steel Slides,  Intermediates,  Reef,  Batten,  and Headboard Slides,  Also included are new Batten Luff Boxes.  It is a very nice system and super slick VERY low friction. The sail drops really fast now!

We have been on the hard so long David starting hunting for jobs! He found some 12v light globes to renovate!. Solders new terminals on because they wear or melt off in the light fitting....You will notice the wine. That's for cooling the soldering iron I'm told.

On Monday the 24th we were supposed to splash but it seemed a little pointless to splash then race off to Virginia for Thanksgiving so we delayed a week. We had intended to splash the previous week but a misunderstanding with the office and their schedule and the inconvenience of a Tornado warning combined to cause us to delay another week. In Tiger Point Marina there are a limited number of days in which we can launch a boat Taipan's size. The tide has to be slack and high and that tide has to occur during working hours. Between 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday. So we missed a whole week as tides didn't coincide. if we had missed the December 1st date we would have had to wait another week.

We set off towards Madison in Western Virginia on Monday 24th and got to Florence for the first night. The next day with time up our sleeve we detoured to Beaufort North Carolina to say farewell to our old sailing cruising friends Martha and Bryce on Silver Fern. They had just launched and were heading to the Panama and on home to New Zealand. Having driven for 6 hours in pelting rain we were looking forward to a night with them but were rudely awakened by a text from Robert at Madison to let us know that snow was forecast and warning us to make haste to them to avoid being caught in hours of snow and icy driving conditions. Not to mention Thanksgiving traffic.
Only a dusting by local standards but thrilled the socks off us!
Coffee and a quick chat and we were on the road again. We made it as far as Peterberg and had to call it quits. More pelting rain and horrid traffic and too tired to continue we had 2 hours to go in the morning. The rain had slowed but continued to drizzle intermittently and traffic got progressively heavier. At Charlotsville we stopped for a Starbucks and lo and behold!! !...it started to snow.! We continued our way fascinated as we watched the world turn white. We found detours and back roads and manged to turn 2 hours into 4. Initially we were a little apprehensive but a few practice stops and starts and 4 wheel drive on we just enjoyed the ride!

Judith and Roberts beautiful cabin in the mountains was warm and welcoming and we settled in with them and Roberts sister Marilyn for the Thanksgiving festivities. A little local tourist thing the next day to craft art markets and still some snow laying around so it was cold outside. The last Thursday of November is always Thanksgiving and we were hosted by Chrissy and Eileen at their cabin nearby. What a sumptuous feast in an adorable setting with fabulous company. Couldn't ask for more.

 David, Eileen, Lauren, Chrissie, Judith, Marilyn and Robert.
Next morning we all went hiking in the Shenandoah Mountain foothills. Very pretty and very different to Australian bush! All the leaves are missing so you can see for miles.

Unfortunately, because we had to get back to launch Taipan, our visit was too short. Lovely to spend time, even briefly, with my cousin Judith and her husband and family. Headed back towards Fernandina on Saturday. The highway was packed. 3 lanes each way on the Interstate 95 all busy at 70 to 80 MPH. Like driving fast on Riverside Drive at peak hour for 6 hours. It took us 2 days and we had done over 2500km. But we had a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Smoke!! Tonight the 2000W, 4 year old Victron Inverter started to smoke! No! The fuses are all OK! Its on the bench now. Tune in soon to get the latest on that saga.  

We are trying to get out of the marina and make our way to Nassau for Xmas with Jo and Paddy our good ol' friends and stalwart sailors from Sydney, currently lurking in Mexico and having a fat time by all accounts. So many ambushes when you have a deadline! Now the captain is not stuck for jobs!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

LIFE ABOVE GROUND. 19th November 2014

Since returning in the Cadillac, from the outward bound tour of the Eastern States, its been a mixed bag of boat jobs on the hard at Tiger Point Marina, Fernandina Beach, Florida! 

Taipan was waiting patiently for us in the work area when we returned, having been retrieved from the long term storage yard across the road. Still snug in her cradle she squats right outside the main office and close to the great amenities here. The amenities I refer to are the WC and shower. The only amenities relevant at this temperature. A pool would only serve as a reminder of the need for another jumper. The first job was to reinstall the in-hatch air conditioner. Oh dear... that was an anti climax. It has been used once for several hours only, and today I removed it so I could more securely shut up the boat.
 
Within a few days the temperature started to rocket downward and the heavy duty cold weather clothes and the heater were unearthed from the deep darker recesses after consultation with "The Book." (The Book is a small note book with an alphabetical index into which we write all the items aboard the boat..... in a column nest to the item we put its current hiding place, in pencil as it changes all to frequently.) The heater has not been turned off now for a week. This is Florida... this morning it was 26°F outside ... thats about -4°C.

Jobs commenced with the replacement of several thru hull fittings... I hear you say we have done them before. Its true we have looked at some and checked them and moved on. This time we bit the bullet and actually removed some. They were  fine. The new ones don't look as good. We put some new ones in and put some of the old ones back. All good and we even managed to glass in a couple so the number of holes in the hull is gradually decreasing. I think we started with 22. Now we are down to about 16. We also installed a new speed impeller with temperature sensor.

While the thru hull stuff was happening I put the clears and covers back on and did a few sewing repairs. The canvas lady from St Augustine had to come back to pick up the Boom Bag  because she had sown up the batten pockets when she did some repairs so its still not back aboard.

Just hauled out.
Next job of course is anti-foul. The boat was a mess when we pulled it out. We had the bottom cleaned by divers before we left Jacksonville about a week before we hauled out here, but it was not a pretty sight out of the water. The worst looking bottom we have ever had. We had noticed that the anti-foul appeared to be wearing off after only 6 months. Way down in the Caribbean David had to start diving on it and cleaning it frequently. The whole bottom was covered in small barnacles and the remains of long hairy growth which the bottom cleaners had missed. When the high pressure cleaner had finished it was evident that not much paint had gone onto the boat in South Africa. That was the first and last time we get someone else to put on our anti-foul. What it means is that the whole hull had to be heavily sanded with machines to get rid of the barnacles. About doubling the work required before anti-foul can commence. We had to have that done by contractors because the environmentalists insist on the use of fancy tools with air extraction. Finally we were ready to start painting.

Taped and painted with 5 gallons of  Marine AG 45% copper Ablative Black things started to look better. The scheduled dunking was postponed due to tornados and tides. We are off north again into the seriously cold weather for Thanksgiving so Taipan will remain on the hard until we return in the first week of December for relaunching.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

MAINE SOUTH




Marsh on the seashore at Kenerbunkport.
We accidently stumbled into the Bently Bikers Bar Campground on a Saturday night!  http://bentleyssaloon.com/  It was getting late and the State Parks were closed. We decided to stay in spite of the hundred or so bikes parked out the front. After pitching came we wandered down to the Bar. The music was good and the bar was packed. Not much sleep happening! The bikes were working out all night, just outside our tent. We recon there were a few headaches in the morning. The bar puts on a Sunday Breakfast and it is buffet style. This breakfast  made up for the total lack of sleep. The bonus was a shared table at breakfast with a lovely couple who live in Kenerbunkport and we now have new best friends in Ki and Bill.
Dropped into Boston to see the old Naval Vessel USS Constellation No luck. It's being worked on this week so it's closed to the public.  A visit to Faneuil Market instead but didn't really need to shop so moved on south to the Cape Cod Peninsular. 
Tuesday we drove out the Cape Cod Peninsular. It's Roughly 100km from the Cape Cod Canal which cuts through from Cape Cod Bay to Buzzards Bay. Province Town at the very end of the peninsular is the first site in the US where the Mayflower anchored. The Pilgrims aboard first set foot in the New World at Provincetown. They only stayed briefly, realising quickly that there is no fresh water. Province Town was a pleasant surprise. It's very cramped, with tiny streets and lots of shopping for tourists. There are more galleries here per kilometre than anywhere we've ever been before. It's obviously a very busy destination in the summer but right now it's pleasant even when its drizzling.


Kennerbunkport is a pretty place with one of the few ocean front drives on the entire coast. There are some very large mansions set on headlands and vast grounds. Allegedly the playground of the rich and famous for a few weeks in the summer. Most of the coast is privatly owned so you can't drive along the foreshore! We were also able to follow the coast some way next day south towards Boston. 
So many neat houses in Maine! So cheap!

We stopped at a neat little cottage, overlooking the ocean for the night  and caught up on lost sleep in comfort and warmth. It is getting very cold at night. The leaves are still great and several locals have told us that they are the best they have ever seen.

Steady days driving south from Maine. Very sad to leave. But it's too cold to camp in Maine for this little wood duck!

The night camp was a motel at Falmouth and a nice dinner at an English Pub. Heres to the Pilgrims!
Province Town at the end of Cape Cod.

Click here for

Saturday, 18 October 2014

MAINE MID COAST 17th October

We have done over 5000 miles and we have had to put in a litre of oil. There is an annoying electrical problem.......twice now.... Without reason the battery has discharged. We started the car this morning.... Drove a hundred meters... Went for a shower... Came back.... Flat battery!!... Weird! There is room for another battery so well buy one as a spare!! Minor problem we can always use batteries! A nice man from the national park bought his car along an jump leads and started us this am.

This hen of the wood mushroom was a whopper

The leaf colour is still lovely down here as its a bit later than where we were. 44deg N our furthest north.
The Moose are eluding us. They get some sort of tick which causes them to scratch off their fur, then they freeze to death in winter so numbers are down. They still hunt moose for meat and heads to hang on the wall! There is also a referendum coming to try to stop bear baiting and trapping. They call it hunting to bait bears with food then trap them and shoot them!! The two camps are strongly opposed to each other. Don't ask me how that could be called hunting!!
Gun shops are amazing.
As we headed south we came upon Camden....so we sort of got stopped again ... So many interesting boat yards an ship builders an harbour masters to talk too! Lovely old houses and nice coffee





Good lobster too. We ended up camping there 3 nights. Our longest stop to date bar New York. A Shaker furniture showroom and workshop caught my eye just north of Lincoln so we went back to vistit. Windsor Chairmakers.   windsorchair.com.  Huge old barn with people making handmade chairs and tables mostly ...but lots of stuff. The Two farm houses have been joined together and added to with a lovely big exhibition space at the back also filled with their furniture.  So many beautiful timbers to work with.
From Camden we Stooged south another 100 odd km to a campground near Freeport Maine. Tomorrow we will explore Bath. 

For Sale for around $250,000. So Cheap here.


Monday, 13 October 2014

NEW HAMSHIRE TO MAINE



North after Cape Cod, inland through Conrad we drove  for 2 Taipan days to get to the White  Mountains. Franconia Notch Campground. A Taipan day involves every back road and laneway......And no freeways. It was beautiful but freezing overnight, down to minus 4 deg. Seems everyone is going south, especially the geese and the campers.  We are still going north today another two days stooging Taipan style .....we went searching for moose. Found lots of tracks but no moose so far. Trip to LL Cote in Errol for some serious warm clothes. Man! The Guns! What a display! It's hunting season just started and the store was busy. Probably all the moose gone for cover as trophy hunters abound. The moose are a rootin an the hunters are a shooting! David had his picture took by a lassie who'd never seen an Australian before!! It's very outback up here. Drills for drilling holes in ice to catch fish. Snow mobiles. Huge piles of firewood. The campground at Deer Farm Campground just north of Kingfield Maine, is almost abandond. Beautiful leaves, amazing colours. 




Sunday and we headed south east East through some cow country, but mostly poor and abandoned places or for sale. No work up this way. Properties for $ 20k up.  Fall Colour still lovely. On the coast now near Ellsworth, Maine. We have booked for 2 nights to take a look around.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

NEW YORK, CONETTICUT, RHODE ISLAND MASSACHUSETTS. Whale of a time! 7thOctober



Well we have been flat out! Such a lot to see and so much research to do to find it all!
We were in NY camped at Battle Row campground on Long Island from Thursday night to Sunday night inclusive. We took the train from Farmingdale to Penn Station in Manhattan each day and didn't return to our tent till about 10 each night,  Its just another city really, but a BIG one! 



The 9/11 memorial on the Twin Towers site is very moving. Very still! There are two huge ponds with water falling into the foundations of each tower. The area of the site is 8ac, the ponds are huge. The water falls are 30 feet high right round the perimeter of each hole. There is another hole in the center where the water disappears. All the names of the victims are inscribed around the edge. The place was packed! Must be the most visited attraction in USA! The statue of Liberty was smaller than I thought it aught to be! We went round it but not up inside. 

The Rockefella Centre is a big shopping complex and would be the delight of some of my friends who will remain nameless. We did go to Maceys in Manhattan and David did buy a nice Ralph Lauren Polo vest!! Looks just like a Thomas Cook job. Proofed cotton outer but a bit more trim!

On the train into town on the first day we met Linda. She helped us sort some things to do and subsequently we were invited to her home for Bagel an lox on Sunday morning. We went along and had a great morning with Linda and her sister.

Gugenheim
Central Park is beautiful and was very busy on Sunday. Lots of buskers and music.  A very impressive group of break dancers and gymnasts.The gugenheim museum was smaller than I thought it would be and only 2 of the 5 floors were open so that was a bit of a let down. 

Carriage Rides in Central Park


We didn't notice lots of security around the city, but the cops we did see were very friendly and helpful.

The subway is pretty antiquated and the trains are fairly old. They still have ticket inspectors!!
Monday We drove East along Long Island to Orient at the end of the North Fork and caught a car ferry to Connecticut New London. 

Bit of driving up the coast.. North.... Now we are in New Bedford. Big whaling Center. Biggest fleet of Yankee whalers in the 1800s. Spent some time with the curator Michael who is married to an Aussie and has on display in the Museum, a piece of skrimshaw done by an Albany guy called ? Tomkin. It is a depiction of the incident where Ches Stubbs got his leg whipped off by a whale harpoon rope off Albany aboard one of the Cheynes Chasers. New Bedford Museum is very good and has an awesome collection if scrimshaw. Took all afternoon. We are now camped at a lovely State Park called Shawme Cornell. The ferrys to Marthas Vinyard and Nantucket Isl. We will probably not go though because it's an expensive tourist joint and we are running out of time to get north to view the leaves changing we are Leaf Peepers!! It's the time the leaf peepers come out to play! 




The architecture is amazing and the old New England style homes and mansions are absolutly stunning. Prices are pretty Darn good too. Water front homes 3 story colonial with jetty $600k amazing! And the list goes on!

Another weekender.
click here for more photos. New York