Life's Adventure

Making Lemonade In Ptown and OB – Maine Trip Canceled (Again)

We had big plans beginning Memorial Day weekend. Once again I was bringing Mrs. Horne to Maine. This time we were going to set aside eleven days just to be sure we could actually get there and back.

We planned to meet Ben and Becky in Newburyport on Saturday May 30 and I had booked all our stops on Dockwa and made dinner reservations in each port..

  • Thursday – Plymouth
  • Friday – Boston
  • Saturday- Newburyport
  • Sunday – Portland
  • Monday – Boothbay
  • Tuesday- Boothbay
  • Wednesday- Kennebunkport
  • Thursday- Marblehead
  • Friday- Home

Then the forecast went from hopeful, to questionable, to doubtful, to fagettaboutit!

If you look closely at the Gale Warning, you’ll see “Seas 7 feet building to 9 feet” – NO THANKS!

Thank You Dockwa Marinas ❤️

Wednesday morning I pulled the plug on the entire affair and immediately canceled and messaged all the marinas I’d booked on Dockwa.

As you can imagine, 8 nights for a 48’ boat had rung up over $1,500 in dockage fees and all were now inside the cancellation window – meaning per Dockwa, I was in a position to forfeit all my dockage fees!

I hoped some would just give me a refund and others would give me a credit for a future visit. I thought I’d start by asking for a credit card credit via Dockwa messenger and go from there…

Much to my delight, every marina refunded my dockage back to my MasterCard with only Marblehead charging me $12.00 for an administrative fee.

If you ever find yourself in this position, my suggestion would be to cancel via Dockwa even though you’re inside the “no refund” window and then message them (again via Dockwa) requesting a refund.

Plan B

Knowing that Ben still needed to get their boat to Mattapoisett, I called him and tossed out the idea of meeting up in Provincetown and then heading south. Like many marinas, Provincetown offers a discount for preseason guests – 30%!

Ben liked the idea starting Tuesday, with a favorable west wind forecast, so I called Tom – the Dockmaster in Provincetown, and asked if he thought we needed to make reservations on Dockwa ahead of time.

He said “No, we generally don’t start selling out until July 1st.” I also asked him why Dockwa wasn’t giving me the 30% discount and told me that he has to catch it manually.

Since the forecast for later in the week was still iffy, I didn’t want our Plan B to include a lot of travel, so I was thinking Oak Bluffs after Ptown. I called Todd – the Dockmaster in Oak Bluffs and asked him the same question. He said they had plenty of space up until mid June.

I confirmed with Ben and started making dinner reservations. Provincetown is one of those “cosmopolitan ports,” with a year round tourist business. There are a ton of great restaurants, but the top ones sell out weeks in advance.

Our First Tuesday Departure

There’s a first for everything and despite my decades of cruising, I’d never headed out on a cruise starting on a Tuesday. I also never left home with an “open return date. Mrs. Horne had a commitment on June 9, but other than that, we had an open calendar for the next eight days.

Typically, our hard stop is determined by our dog sitter’s schedule, but she was leaving town, so Daisy joined us for our trip…

Daisy

I’m still getting use to Relentless’s higher cruising speed. Despite leaving 45 minutes late, the entire trip from Mattapoisett to provide only took an hour and fifty minutes and we arrived 20 minutes early (11:35)…

Not surprisingly, we arrived before Ben and Becky – Newburyport was at least an hour longer trip and this was to be their first serious trip in their new boat.

We were just about to head to town when I spotted their spanking new Cantius 42 pulling into the marina…

This was our first rendezvous of the season and the first time we’d joined up with Becky, so we ended up socializing on the fly bridge before heading into to town for lunch…

Ben, Becky, and Bernie

The Squealing Pig Provincetown

We visited Provincetown for one night in September and I was very impressed with my old home port (summer of 1971). I knew this would become a very common destination and committed to trying all new restaurants while we were there.

A quick check on Yelp turned up an interesting Gastro pub called The Squealing Pig…

The Squealing Pig Provincetown

I published a full review a few days back, but let me just say, they offer great food, great service, and reasonable prices (considering they’re on the waterfront side of Commercial Street)…

After lunch, I set up our Tern Folding eBikes and hung out on the fly bridge enjoying the glorious afternoon. We dined at Ciro and Sal’s with Ben, Becky, and Bernie…

Bernie is a 13 year-old service dog and he’s very well behaved. You can read my review on Ciro and Sal’s here.

An Unexpected Wednesday

Wednesday began slowly. It was too foggy (and cool) for a bike ride, so I let Mrs. Horne sleep in walked the dock snapping some morning photos…

Around ten we invited Ben and Becky over for a Banana Bread Boat before they shoved off for their return to Mattapoisett…

After banana bread Mrs. Horne and Becky made one short shopping trip before heading to Mattapoisett…

Mrs. Horne and Becky
Bye Bye Ben and Becky

Cruising The National Seashore

If you like biking, you’ll love the National Seashore trails in Provincetown…

We started down Commercial Street going easily with the one way traffic. Commercial Street is unusual in many ways, but one is that it’s one-way for cars, but bikes travel in both directions.

Shortly after reaching Herring Cove Beach, we took a right along the seashore…

We then followed the Bike Trail signs into the dunes…

The trails are great, but like all paved bike trails a little narrow at times…

We ended up out at Race Point Beach with full panoramic views of the North Atlantic…

In case you missed it, there was a big story about a massive shark spotted in Provincetown about a month ago thanks to this video.

It turned out to be a very large Basking Shark which is scary, but harmless. Still, since this beach juts 30 miles out from the mainland, Great Whites do visit nearly every summer…

We got a little lost for a while and ended up biking for over twenty miles. We’d built up quite an appetite and headed back to town to find a late lunch around 2:00.

Just before we left the marina, Mrs. Horne made a new friend named Krisann (more on our new BFF’s later). At some point in their conversation, the topic of good local restaurants came up and Krisann mentioned that The Canteen was very good and very casual…

So we chained up our bikes and headed in for what turned out to be an unexpectedly magical afternoon. Not only did we have a great lunch in a tropical setting, but we also enjoyed several hours basking in the old fashioned, pre-pandemic “normal.”

A few days ago I told the whole story here – Post Pandemic Bliss – The Canteen in Provincetown.

We left The Canteen around 4:30 and when I went to unlock our bikes, I discovered I couldn’t find the keys! After a quick search of the area and the bar, Mrs. Horne said “Did you need the keys to lock up, maybe you left them on the boat?”

Of course I did!

We walked back to the boat to fetch the keys and when we got there, Mrs. Horne spotted her newest friend Krisann and her husband John hanging out in the outdoors lounge. I told her I’d bring the bikes back and Mrs. Horne joined them.

As I was stowing the bikes for the forecasted rain, I heard Mrs. Horne call down. “Can we come down and hang out on the fly bridge? John plays guitar and they love music.”

John and Krisann

John plays guitar, but feigned any singing, so I did a half a dozen songs, but definitely heard John doing a very solid vocal backup. I’m sure he could sing one day if he worked on it.

With the late lunch, bike lock incident, and concert on the fly bridge, it was 6:45 when I started thinking about dinner. I had 7:30 reservations at Ross’s Grill and called to change it to four. No luck, who’d thought any restaurant in Provincetown would be sold out on the first Wednesday night in June?

I hit up Opentable and discovered Pepe’s had a table for four at 8:00, so I announced the plan. As Krisann and John hustled off to get ready, it hit me – they live on their sailboat!

They live in Boston, but decided to spend the summer on their Island Packet 31 moored in Provincetown Harbor. Pretty cool…

Pepe’s Waterfront

I’d scoped out Pepe’s before and it looked promising as a waterfront eatery. By 8:00, it was getting cool and I really didn’t want to eat outdoors. They gave us a table on the patio, but it had tight plastic curtains and it was warm enough.

Pepe’s is a very interesting venue…

I may never review Pepe’s, but I give it a “Thumbs Up,” particularly as a great spot to find a table in Provincetown if all the trendy spots are sold out.

Pepe’s Arugula Salad
Pepe’s Truffle Flatbread
Pepe’s Lemon Grilled Swordfish
Pepe’s Lobster Ravioli
Pepe’s Chicken Milanese

The food was all quite good and the service was provided by Jared, who was excellent…

Jared at Pepe’s

By the time we decided to take his picture it was pretty dark and the glow from his iPad gave him an eerie look!

Dreary Days Return

We woke up to cool, fog, and clouds on Thursday morning. The good news was that the weekend and beyond looked fantastic, but Thursday and Friday were fairly lousy.

Mattapoisett was halfway to Oak Bluffs and we talked about heading home and then heading to OB on Saturday morning, but Mrs. Horne said “Let’s just hang here and watch movies…”

At 9:00, Accuweather said there was no rain for four hours so I unpacked my eBike thinking I’d go for a ride. No sooner did I get it unpacked and it started to rain – oh well!

As much as I love warm sunny days on the boat, there’s something very relaxing about just hanging out reading, writing, and watching movies…

Of course, rain or shine, a man’s gotta eat! With all the great restaurants in Provincetown, we enjoyed doing just that…

Ross’s Grill…

The Mews…

Sabre didn’t make a lot of 48 Fly Bridges. So it was quite surprising to have Deplorable tie up next to us for the night…

Friday…

The rain stopped Friday morning and heading out for a ride around town and down to Truro…

Here’s a nice panoramic video of the Truro Beach…

Along the way I passed The Provincetown Theater…

My late brother Charles was once the director here.

Mrs. Horne and I headed out for lunch and gotten taken in by the sidewalk “barker” in front of Tin Pan Alley…

The food was quite good and it’s very close to the marina…

Tin Pan Alley – Tri Colored Cauliflower

It’s flash fried and tossed with Sriracha and Lemon-Agave Sauce, Diced Tofu, Pickled Red Onions.

Tin Pan Alley – Fish Tacos

TPA offers a Tofu Banh Mi. I love Banh Mi, but hate tofu so asked if they had any other Banh Mi sandwiches. They didn’t.

I spotted something called Katsu Chicken and the description sounded a lot like a Banh Mi so I ordered it…

Tin Pan Alley – Katsu Chicken Sandwich

Katsu means coated with Panko before frying. And while the chicken was prepared that way, the rest of the sandwich was pure Banh Mi.

Final Evening in Provincetown

We ended our four day visit to Ptown on Friday night by hosting our new BFF’s John and Krisann for cocktails on Relentless followed by dinner at Front Street…

Right after the fun started, a friendly fellow named Jim on the dock started talking to Mrs. Horne and she invited him in to join us along with his buddy Ernie…

Jim and Ernie

There are many things to love about Mrs. Horne, but one of my favorites is the way she turns strangers into friends. It really turns a marina visit into a social adventure…

Dinner at Front Street

I recall hanging out in the kitchen at Front Street with the owner and my brother Charles in early 70’s. He was also the chef and he gave us a sampling of the best dishes on the menu. Of course I had to go back…

It’s got the same feel as Ciro and Sal’s, but with a more general menu…

Our server as a woman named Holly who was funny and rude at the same time – kind of like the old Durgin Park in Faneuil Hall.

We enjoyed what I suppose would be called New American Cuisine…

Burrata
The Bread Service at Front Street
Lemon Roasted Duck – Front Street
Peppercorn Roasted Duck – Front Street
Four Cheese Gnocchi- Front
Gorgonzola Stuffed Filet – Front Street

It was a great evening that ended back on Relentless with a few more sing alongs.

Living La Vida Krissangria

I mentioned earlier that our new BFF’s John and Krisann live aboard an Island Packet 31 sailboat. It’s called Krissangria and she’s a beauty..

They keep her on a leased mooring and have dingy they use to get to and from the marina. Krissann has a bike at the marina and she cooks aboard the boat.

I never got to tour Krisanngria, but I did do some research on the internet and found some nice photos of her sistership…

They really thought this through. Beyond the dingy and the bike, they also have a seasons pass on the Provincetown to Boston ferry (for quick returns home), and they do grab a slip at the marina when the seas get choppy as they did that week.

By the way, John works full time from the boat using a laptop, iPhone, and a hotspot.

I’ve known many people who dreamed of this life, but John and Krisann are the first I’ve met who actually did it!

Saturday– Oak Bluffs Bound

Saturday morning was clear, warm, and beautiful. It’s 60 miles through the canal to OB and with a forecast for strong winds later in the day, we took off around 9:00.

The 28 mile run across Cape Cod Bay was “747 smooth” as I like to say aboard Relentless…

The Reality of Boating

My loyal readers probably get the impression that every moment aboard Relentless is pretty much living out the lyrics of a Jimmy Buffett song.

And while much of the time this is true, the reality is that Relentless is a big as a house and far more complicated. “Getting from point A to point B” depends on flawless performances from her two massive 600 hp diesels and underwater “pods” each have two counter rotating props and with the joystick engaged, operate independently via computer to simulate thrusters.

But that’s just the beginning. She has a generator that runs whenever we’re off shore power and four heat pumps that seamlessly extract heat and cooling from seawater.

Then there’s the water pressure system for all the sinks and black water holding tanks that must also function flawlessly to keep everyone happy!

Now add to all that the fact that every October, she gets hauled out of the water, partially disassembled, winterized, stored in a big barn for 6 months, and then reassembled!

Yeah, the reality of boating is far more complicated than owning a home. Yet we expect everything to operate as reliably as the family car.

Boating Reality Strikes Relentless

Problem #1 – The Saturday morning forecast called for patches of fog and as we entered Buzzards Bay from the canal, I thought that I spotted some in the distance. I fired up the radar only to see the message NOT AVAILABLE across the screen…

I texted Ned (MBY) and Scott (SK Marine Electronics) who both replied very quickly. Scott gave me some diagnostics to run and we quickly determined that the radar was nowhere to be found on the marine electronics network.

We survived because the fog never materialized.

Problem #2 – As soon as we tied up in Oak Bluffs we started heating a high pitched beep every thirty seconds. After a quick search, I isolated it to the Carbon Monoxide Detector in our cabin.

Having suffered from CO poisoning in my youth, I knew it was nothing to fool with. I quickly asked the Harbormaster if they had a handheld detector. They did not, so Mrs. Horne called the Oak Bluffs FD and they sent a lieutenant out with a tester.

He said we were “all clear.” While he was working, I did some research and discovered this…

I found the manufacturer’s label and sure enough, the CO Detectors were manufactured in March 2016. The good news is that you can push a button on the side and suspend the EOL warning for 72 hours.

Problem #3 – After five days at sea, Mrs. Horne decided it was time for a little house cleaning. She ran a load of laundry and while it was drying, she fired up the Central Vac and started vacuuming.

Twenty seconds later, all the power went out!

My first instinct was to check the tower on the dock. I met a dockhand we quickly concluded that wasn’t the problem. Having experienced a number of onboard breaker trips on Vigilant, I knew what came next.

For some foolish reason, Sabre located the shorepower breaker on the hull on the far side of the starboard engine…

That space between the engine and the deck above is a mere 12 inches – too narrow for even my head, let alone my body. I did manage to stretch over the starboard transmission and feel the breaker, reset it, and confirm that it wasn’t tripped.

Just then Todd the Dockmaster showed up to see if he could help. I invited him down into the Engine Room and recruited him to help me troubleshoot.

I could see the green light in the breaker which meant we were getting power to that point and I noticed a similar box to the left of it labeled TRANSFORMER.

I pointed it out to Todd and asked him if he could reach it. He found a way to slither around the forward side of the engine, reached the transformer, and reset it.

And just like that the AC whirred up and I knew we had our power back. NOTE TO SELF: Don’t vacuum while drying clothes with all for AC units on high!

OB – Welcome to Vacationland!

At this point I can hear Mrs. Horne’s voice in my head saying “This story is too damn long – no one’s going read it.”

I agree, so let me wrap it up with photos rather than words and share the OB summer experience visually…

Lunch at Coop deVille
Emanuel – 16 Year Old Host at The Coop
“Single” at The Coop
The Cardboard Box Back to Normal
Huge Pasta Bowl
OB Sunset
Tom and Terry’s Clan at The Lookout
The Lookout Burger
Jonah – The Bartender at The Oyster Bar 02257
Cab Ride From Edgartown
Classic Burger with Blue Cheese at The Atlantic
Jaryl – Bartender at The Atlantic
Scott and Ava from Miami

POSTSCRIPT: Woods Hole with No Radar

All’s well that ends well!

We left OB around 9:30 Tuesday morning to bright sunshine and light winds. Mrs. Horne was busy playing games on her iPhone as we approached Woods Hole.

As you may have guessed, I’ve gotten good at spotting fog from a mile away and that’s exactly what I saw as we approach Nobska Lighthouse.

I will no longer mess with Woods Hole in the fog even with radar, so I’m certainly not going through without it!

As soon as we entered it, my visibility dropped to a few hundred feet. We were just outside the big ferry ship lanes when I knew I needed to take evasive action.

I turned right and ducked into a cove on the south side of the lighthouse and turned on the Skyhooks to hold my position.

I was going to drop the anchor, but Mrs. Horne suggested we just use the Skyhook so that we can get out the way of another boat in a hurry.

After about 15 minutes a TowboatsUS drove by. Just as he was heading back into the fog I said to Mrs. Horne “I think we have a Platinum Rescue agreement with them.”

I hailed him on Channel 16 and he circled back…

After I gave him my credentials, he agreed to escort us through Woods Hole and back to Buzzards Bay (Ned had confirmed that there was no fog in the bay).

We hadn’t gone a quarter of a mile when we popped out of the fog…

Once we got back to Mattapoisett Boat Yard Ned figured it out. SK had installed a backup video camera on the mast over the winter and it had the same connector as the radar.

When the boys erected the mast, they plugged in the new camera, but missed the radar!

SECOND NOTE TO SELF: Always test the radar when you inspect the engine fluid levels.

As I said – All’s Well That Ends Well!

Categories: Life's Adventure

3 replies »

  1. Thank goodness you are a skilled mechanic. Radar…breaker…CO detector. Never vacuum again!

  2. What a story! You are right, all’s well that ends well!! You and Susan make a great team! Keep enjoying. See you later this summer.

  3. Hi Susan and Dave! Thanks for the kind words! Next time our paths cross we’ll give you the full tour of KrisannGria! John and Krisann

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