The anchor is up at 6:30 AM in Gosport Harbor, Isles of Shoals. Today, we leave Maine and enter New Hampshire en route to Scituate, Massachusetts, 51 miles to the southwest. Logistically, overnighting in Scituate Harbor positions Cutter Loose to transit the Cape Cod Canal tomorrow. Our southerly course takes us past Cape Ann and through Massachusetts Bay with the Boston skyline on our starboard beam. Scituate is less of a tourist attraction and more of a suburban village within commuting distance of Boston. It offers a grocery store, a handful of restaurants and an abundance of retail shops geared towards local consumers.
The dynamics of the voyage change dramatically once south of Portland. The remote rocky ledges, whales and seals of northern Maine give way to the more urban and crowded harbors of southern New England. Every passage through the nooks and crannies of Downeast Maine requires meticulous attention to navigational detail. Since leaving Booth Bay, our course takes us five to ten miles offshore in deep water where the autopilot earns its keep. Once the waypoints are entered, our task is simply to watch for traffic and the occasional lobster float. This provides valuable downtime for reading and catching up on correspondence.
One downside of returning to the Chesapeake Bay is that our southwest course frequently conflicts with prevailing southwest winds. We are powering, not sailing our way to the Chesapeake Bay. This increases fuel consumption and reduces boat speed. But motoring is beneficial in the sense that the house battery bank on Cutter Loose remains fully charged. The solar collectors are highly efficient on sunny days. But on foggy and rainy days, the panels are less productive. Successive days on anchor in Downeast Maine increased our reliance on the diesel generator to keep the house batteries charged.
Air and water temperature have increased south of Portland. Unlike Maine, there has been no need for fleece in August in Massachusetts. Warmer water temperatures mean less condensation in storage bins below the waterline. In Downeast Maine, the relative humidity is frequently 100%. Nothing is ever completely dry. Storage areas must be routinely inspected, ventilated and cleaned with a bleach solution to combat musty odors, mildew and mold. This is especially true of bins below the waterline which remain cool and damp because the fiberglass hull of Cutter Loose does little to insulate the inside of the boat from the cold water temperatures. Visiting Downeast Maine requires extra care and attention, especially with the ubiquitous lobster floats. But the rewards are well worth the effort.
Tomorrow’s weather forecast sounds promising in terms of our plan to transit the Cape Cod Canal.