Smooth seas, cheap fuel, and surviving a cult

Delivering Gizmo, a Duffy 37, with her owner Ben Ellison, who serves as Senior Electronics Editor for Power & Motoryacht and the AIM Marine Group, we found day three would be a lay day in Plymouth, Massachusetts, courtesy large seas and strong winds, which ended up being a blessing in disguise. I got to go ashore and reconnect with my land-based responsibilities and Ben took to cleaning and prepping Gizmo for the next leg of our trip.

In the evening we reconvened ashore for dinner. We settled upon KKatie’s Burger Bar, just a short walk from the boat and both determined it was the home of the best burgers we’ve ever had. If you’re cruising in the area, take note!

Fishing boats

Cruising conditions on day four stood in stark contrast to the last two days; after a few hours of easy cruising atop flat seas we made it to Gloucester, Massachusetts, an iconic fishing town that was cast into the spotlight by the events and later the book and the film of The Perfect Storm. It was there that Ellison—who suffers from a condition known as being a sailor—set out to find the “most affordable” fuel in New England. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scratching my head as Gizmo, a pristine and elegant yacht, was squeezed into a tiny space between a wrecked schooner and a fuel barge named Capt. Dan to save a few cents per gallon. Ellison would get the last laugh as we ended up paying $2.36 (without tax) per gallon of diesel. This is down from the $3.36 they were charging in Plymouth.

Gizmo getting fuel

With Ben now wearing a proud smile, we continued on through the Annisquam Canal to the Gulf of Maine. From there I got a decent stretch of time at the helm and with the electronics. As I had hoped, I began to become familiar with the once-dizzying helm, to the point where I found a particular setup that I preferred.

As swells started to build, we sought shelter in the lee of a group of islands off the New Hampshire coast called Isle of Shoals. Owned by a private religious organization, the island gave off a strange vibe (for movie buffs reading this, the place looked like the island featured in the Leonardo DiCaprio film Shutter Island). As Ben and I got settled in, a small ferry departed the nearby dock. A group that had gathered dockside to see the passengers off began to sing/chant in unison, “You will come back, you will come back, you will come back.”

rocksMy eyebrows rose in a sign of shock; and my first instinct was to cut the mooring line and head straight for the mainland before being force-fed Kool-Aid.

Ultimately our curiosity surpassed our fear and we rowed ashore to explore the rocky Star Island. It would prove to be a fascinating small island with a chapel, old homes, and a massive hotel that all date back hundreds of years. The only sign of modern technology was an expansive fleet of solar panels; it was a strange juxtaposition to see it next to a jagged, rocky coast. We were both glad to have visited the island, sans Kool-Aid.

Up bright and early tomorrow for the final leg to Camden. I’m sure it’ll be just as memorable as the last few days.

One thought on “Smooth seas, cheap fuel, and surviving a cult

  1. Reblogged this on globemarine and commented:
    A sailor finds curiosities off the coast of Massachusetts, no less! We’ll take credit for the smooth seas and cheap fuel, but not the cult. **Oooh-ooh, New England!**

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