All posts by Cricket

With a little ‘what do I want to be when I grow up’ Cricket finds a consistent theme in her life that she shares with her friends and family, it is her love of the ocean, real estate and photography.  Following a trip to the Bahamas on board Hun Bun III with her husband Frank and Siamese Sailor Henry, Christa and Frank came home, sold the sailboat and purchased a 1990 42’ Grand Banks Trawler to cruise the New England Coast and other destinations.
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I Met A Man From Nantucket….

IMG_1468 This summer we had a first when we hopped over from the Vineyard to Nantucket Harbor.  The current wasn’t very favorable but the seas were calm.  As you can imagine a pretty popular island for tourists and boaters alike, it was above our budget to get a slip and no moorings were available.  No Mooring – No Problem.  Nantucket Harbor has great space to anchor up.

DSC_1667This leads me to my first story…….I Met a Man
From Nantucket.  Tom Hulholland is a “Master Falconer” that lives in Sconset on the island.  He is a wealth of knowledge on the ancient art of falconry.  I thought why not and picked up the phone and gave him a call.   Went back to the boat and convinced Frank he and I should go on this little adventure.  Before I knew it we were on a bus heading his way.  We met up outside the Sconset Cafe (great sandwiches by the way), jumped in Tom’s pickup  truck, (delivered a few bills and stopped at a couple of his jobs), ending up at his quintessential cottage home.

DSC_1609What happened next was amazing to me.  Shaka Zulu was first.  A beautiful red-tailed hawk joined us in the yard.  Red tailed hawks are probably the most common in North America.  DSC_1627There’s a pair in Scituate often seen soaring above the open fields near the marsh, circling presumably looking for movement below to satisfy their appetite.   Having the opportunity to be so close to and hold one was an experience for me.  So majestic and beautiful; a rich brown with a beautiful, warm red tail.  You could tell Tom and Shaka had truly bounded.  Medieval Hawking or Falconry was a sport of hunting small wild game.  Kings and Lords would have hunting parties.  Falconry goes back thousands of y
ears and Tom is a wealth of knowledge.

DSC_1651Houdini was next.   A Falcon that Tom has had for over 25 years.  Shaka is still used for hunting, but Houdini is ‘retired’.  While hunting, another bird attacked Houdini and injured his eye.  We spent a few hours sitting with this man who reminded me of a wizard, talking birds, family, life, politics and anything else on his mind.  Thank you Tom for a great, unexpected afternoon and for inviting us into your world of Falconry.

 

 

 

 

 

Belted Cows

Fall into New England in Maine

A lover of the rocky, pine tree laden coastline of Maine brings me to this beautiful scenic area even after the Cricket is pulled out of the water for the season.

Haulout in Scituate
Haulout in Scituate

Seeing the boat hauled in anticipation of another New England winter is bittersweet as I jump in my car and head north to experience the onset of the crisp air and zen of the fall foliage we are so fortunate to experience.

For the Love of Maine

Exploring some of Maine’s quaint little towns with some girlfriends is a sure way to swing into another one of our beloved fall seasons.  Base yourself in the harbor community of Camden and enjoy the short side trips you can take to numerous towns that are the epitome of Maine’s heritage.

Belfast StrollBelfast is at the mouth of the Passagassawakeag River estuary right on Penobscot Bay.  Easy to park in the town center to take a pleasant stroll along the bay and through the charming streets and unique shops.

 

Colonial Theatre BelfastStep back in time as you approach the old Colonial Theatre under the supervision of Hawthorne the elephant with his regal trunk raised celebrating his place of honor atop a theatre that has been a mainstay to the community since the early 1900s.    Standing in front of the Colonial the art-deco style which I love makes me feel good.  South Beach in Miami is a hot spot of 1930s Art Deco architecture. Great place to visit for Art Deco lovers.

Food, glorious food! Lunched at Chase Daily – farm to table. YUM!!   A plethora of color and taste all in one place!  Wonderful bakery too!Farm to Table - Chase Daily

Take some back roads to Owls Head passing through Thomaston and you can visit the Belted Galloway cows at Aldermere Farm on your ride today.  A playful calf runs across the field, baffling elders.

Stop by the Owls Head Transportation Museum.  A wonderful history of transportation with a little something for everyone (focusing on transportation before the 1920s)…….bicycles, race cars, luxury cars, impressive collection of old aircraft and a great ride in an antique car around the property makes this museum worth a visit.

DSC_9143_2While in the area, don’t miss Owls Head Lighthouse.  A short walk from the park area it is located in, enjoy the vistas, seeking out the mariners at sea looking back at you, confirming their bearings by the site of this lighthouse that has stood since 1852.

Hungry again?  Day wouldn’t be complete without checking out the much talked about Burgers at the Owls Head General Store.  Confession — YES, IT IS the best hamburger I have ever had as the juices dripped down my fingers with every bite!  Even though I tried, they wouldn’t give up their secret combination of beef that made this burger so glorious.

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A two day trip and saw and did plenty!  Be an explorer.  Go today.

Cricket

Cruising With Cricket

Cruising with Cricket

Cruising on a 1990 Grand Banks Called the Cricket

 

Here I sit almost midnight with my cat on my lap.  Several stories to tell.  Lots of things running through my mind.  First and foremast is to master blogging and share the pieces of my life’s pie with the world.

Pursuant to the terms of the Purchase and Sale Agreement we accepted the 1990, 42’ Grand Banks.  After looking in RI, CT and Florida we found her in Chelsea MA.  We retained the services of Nathan Tynan from Windward Power to perform our engine survey for the two caterpillar 3208’s and on the water sea trial for the engines and George Gallup, Gallup Yacht Survey for the survey of the non-engine components and structure.  Was very pleased with the professionalism and thoroughness of both men and companies and would highly recommend their services.

Breakfast time

After a need for an 8-hour fuel throttle replacement and some cleaning and redecorating and renaming of the boat, we were about ready to give her a summer of sea trials.

Hi There….I am Christa and live with my husband Frank and Henry, our Siamese Sailor Cat (who is now forced over to the dark side)…Call myself a ‘Generalist’ as don’t really like to commit to being any one thing.  My husband asks me everyday “who am I talking to today”, as he never knows who is going to wake up beside him.

We sold our 32′ sailboat the Hun Bun, but leave a link on this website to our very much loved sailing trip down to the Bahamas.   Hope you enjoy our new adventures and that you

On Board on the ICW
On Board on the ICW

will be inspired to embark on your own travel journeys.   You will also find a few other stories of sea related places of interest and some general life musings and adventures.  I am frequently asked how the name of our boat was chosen — first and foremost, it was my father’s nickname for me and is also appropriate as crickets are lucky.  They also hop around from place to place.  Combined, the name seemed the perfect fit.

 

Bugs in Love

Appledore, Isle of Shoals -The Garden is Worth the Visit

This trip to the Isle of Shoals was to visit a garden originally planted by Celia Thaxter. Her father was a lighthouse keeper on White Island and eventually built a large hotel on one of the other Isle of Shoal’s islands, Appledore. Celia married at 16, had 3 sons, and was also known for her poetry. She was hostess at her father’s hotel, which at the time drew many artistic and literary folk. She had a cottage on the island, which burned down along with the hotel in 1914. Celia loved Appledore and had a great love of flowers and gardens. Thanks to John Kingsbury of the Shoals Marine Lab, the garden has been recreated and includes some of her original plants.

We drove to Portsmouth (Jan, Barbara, Patty and I) and took a marine lab boat out to the Shoals. We explored the garden, cemetery and a beach cove. Lunch was provided as well as informative tour guides for our walking tour. These tours run annually and fill up quickly.

After returning we stopped in downtown Portsmouth for a drink on the water and quick walk around before heading back. All in all, though approximately $100 each, I found the cost worth the tour and knowing the funds were being given back to maintaining the beauty of such a remote island home.

 

Thank you to my adventurers today…..Jan, Barbara and Patty.

 

 

Hungry Osprey

Lighthouse and Osprey Weekend

Mission AccomplishedLeft the boat at home again and took a road trip up to Maine’s coast.  Met up with some ‘bird watchers’ and lighthouse fans and had a little photography weekend shooting the returning Osprey and some of Maine’s great lighthouses.  Had a great time with Charlie MacPherson on his Osprey/Lighthouse tour.  Went to King Elder’s Pub Friday evening for a quick bite and libation.  We moved along like the secret service caravan style to a couple secret spots for capturing Osprey in action.   Visited lighthouses and fishing villages along the way and had a great time and got some great shots.

Testing the new LensAlthough a great lens for birding, I wouldn’t want to have to carry it around everywhere.

Looking across the grounds of Marshall Light, the little orbs of light dance in the sun around the gravestone honoring those fisherman lost at sea.    The spirits of those not wanting to leave their first love, the ocean.

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Paddling for Pause

DSC_0113How often are you invited to do something spontaneous and you say no?  For the rest of the day do you wonder what it would have been like if you had said yes?

At times life is a 24/7 endeavor without time to pause.  With today’s technology and fast paced demand for instant response I checked my computer to prioritize my work day.   An email invitation from a friend of a friend to join in a kayak journey on the South River the following day was unexpected. There are 100 reasons not to go.  Too out of shape for such a paddle;  a client will be upset if no response at their precise moment of need.  Should do something with my husband as work hours are long.  My two cell phones for work ring simultaneously while the house phone shows my mother chiming in on the caller ID.  Suddenly type ‘would love to’ and hit ‘send.’  Technology overload needs to be unplugged.  Be spontaneous.  It’s the journey.  Stop feeling guilty.

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There is much anticipation on my part as my bright yellow kayak splashes into the not very user friendly entry to the South River. Shaking my arms out telling them they can do it. Bolstered by the other women in my company. Goal – conquer the less kayaked end of the South River and be at the tide change to cross the unknown entrance waters to the ‘spit’ prior to the rising of the full Bull Moon. How long would it be again before time, tide and the universe would align like this day. Good karma flows through and around me. At one moment I am a secret stealth spy, with my spy cohorts moving gracefully through the tall marsh grasses sneaking up on the unknowing birds and hopeful fisherman that wondered how we arrived without their seeing. At another moment I feel fortunate to have been asked to come on this journey. Feeling special to have been considered and included. Then in another moment I am taking deep breaths in and long sighs out, feeling my chest rise and fall, and my heart thumping. I close my eyes and am alone. I stop paddling and float. My mind is quiet. The soft breeze is kissing me. The caw of a black bird wakes me to see old Glory behind the perfectly perched raven. Proud to be an American. Sad for those who sacrificed and still sacrifice.

The remnants of the outgoing tide we are racing spills over the marshy, earthy smelling mud and the water droplets are a symphony with the lilies dancing along the river’s edge. Someone ahead yells ‘are we half way there yet’ and know again there are others with me. Forcing my achy arms to push harder to catch up. We move closer to civilization. Homes, marinas and people close the beginning chapter and introduce the next. The sky darkens as the sun sets. We celebrate our day as we pull the kayaks up onto the hard packed sunset soaked sand and wait. Growing up the moon was always ‘someone’ I talked to. Staring at her. Closing my eyes and asking for her strength to be transported into me. Fifty years later there is still that draw and this evening is like being with an old friend.

The rising of the Full Bull Moon was mystical. It’s light led us up the river to Damon’s point where we haul out. Paddling for pause on the South Shore is just one way to free your mind from the day to day. The North River and Scituate Harbor are also great paddling for pause locations as well as kayaking over by the Powder Point Bridge. What is your way to ‘pause’. How often do you say yes to spontaneity? How is your soul enriched by making time to be in the moment? Open your eyes and block your ears and nose, what do you see. Close your eyes and block your nose, what do you hear. Block your ears and close your eyes and what do you smell. Put the salt water to your lips and taste. Where do you find yourself ‘pausing’ on the south shore? Be spontaneous and invite a friend to share your secret place to pause tomorrow.

 

Kent Narrows Bridge

St. Michaels Through Kent Narrows

Heading to Kent Narrows
Heading to Kent Narrows

The morning at Swan Creek started like most others, except for one small thing.  The night before the women decided to abandon their ships and all come aboard the Hun Bun with Christa.  Frank was thrown overboard and luckily Billy picked him up in the Bonnie Christine.  Birgitta, Dunc, Linda and Christa set off for St. Michaels as other women with their men watched as we yelled ‘ladies day’ and knew they were jealous as they yelled back at us cheering.  The first of many laughs was on the men we left behind — no galley wenches made their breakfasts this morning and no sandwiches were left for their lunch.

Linda read us a small story (one eyes, two eyes and three eyes) as we attempted to sail, but ended up power/sailing due to wind direction and speed.  She also brought some delicious homemade carrot soup we all had for lunch.  Playing Creedence Clearwater we sang along, navigated by gps and chart and anticipated our calling for a bridge opening to go through Kent Narrows.  Captain and crew were inspiring.  A fisherman was passing and hooting at us and wanted to come aboard.  But we forged on with our destination in mind.  After passing through Kent Narrows and continuing on we didn’t notice that Billy and Frank had passed through before us and were tied up along side a restaurant having an afternoon cocktail and sandwich…funny thing though, we took photos as we passed and later saw their boat (they did fess up so we weren’t able to to tell them how we knew). After Linda did a superb job on anchor, we sat and waited for the men in the other two boats to come along and anchor beside us.

That evening it wouldn’t have been the same if we didn’t go crab banging again at the Crab Claw Restaurant.  Billy got crabs from a woman there that night (her leftovers in exchange for a beer).  P9300202

So much to offer.  The next day started with a walk with Linda in the morning through town.  There was a farmer’s market where we bought some fresh vegetables – ran into BIlly and he took them back to the boat for us.  Two separate religious groups raising religious awareness sang songs of god in harmonizing melody.  Made me sad.  As we continued along Talbot Street we came upon a brew pub.  Although it was only 11:30 AM — a flight of five various beers and a bowl of popcorn became lunch.  The ‘Duck Duck Goose’ which had a hint of coffee and chocolate was a heavier, but delicious beer.  Had a great time talking with the bartender and other visitors who stopped in.  Later in the day we went to the Maritime Museum which was holding a small boat show of mostly hand-made boats.  The various designs and precision workmanship was something to admire.   I liken St. Michaels to Cape May, as Cape May had been one of my favorite stops (still is) but St. Michaels rivals for top billing with all their town has to offer the transient boater and vacationer seeking the charm of a nautical community. DSC_0935

Staten Island Ferry

Cruising into New York City

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Seeing the Statute of Liberty off in the distance made me wonder how the immigrants  must have felt.  I know how I feel so I can’t imagine the emotion that stirred within them.  A symbol of freedom.   I appreciate being a citizen of the United States.

We came into New York up the River on a Sunday.  The ferry and boat traffic was incredible and the throngs of people everywhere one looked was mind boggling.  Heavy security was prevalent.  Coast Guard boats with automatic weapons came alongside our boats.  Helicopters hovered by the United Nations.

and the Pursuit of Happiness
and the Pursuit of Happiness

The trip today invoked an array of feelings and emotions.  The exhilaration I felt as we passed under Throggs Neck Bridge and headed down the East River to the City lifted my spirits high.  Going down through the infamous Hell Gate and up the East River we passed the prison on Riker’s Island and it made me reflect upon  all the bad people in there and why were they so bad.  Planes flew out of the ground into the air at LaGuardia.  Children played basketball and soccer along the shore while families enjoyed picnics.  There were ruins and traffic and the noise going under the bridges from the cars and trucks overhead was like thunder up close.

New York City
New York City

The construction of the new tower where the twin towers once stood was impressive to say the least.  Billy, Linda and I went into the city up the Hudson where we imagined Sully landing “we’re going down in the Hudson” and what it must have been like for those people standing on the wing knowing they were alive.  We  circumnavigated the site of the 9/11 attack and talked about what it would have been like and couldn’t fathom what the people went through.  Tickets to actually get in weren’t available but the city adventure was well worth the $3 per foot to dock the boat for a couple hours.  The memorials are heartbreaking.  The air feels thick.  There is security and police everywhere.  The construction of the new building made me ponder the resilience and perseverance of the New York people.  Ladder Co. 10 adjacent to the site and the firefighter memorial made you stop, stare and be there almost trance like without realization.  Trying to mail some post cards there were no street side boxes.  Sitting for a sandwich, when I asked a couple people if they could drop my postcards in the mail at their office, they were hesitant and not trusting of me.  The third person I asked was a couple women sitting beside us.  They took the post cards, with hesitation.  Come to find out one of them was in town from Marshfield, the town right beside Scituate.  Today was a day that exhausted you from being happy, exhuberant, exhilarated to saddened, contemplative and appreciative of what you have.  A big high to a big low — but bringing yourself back up in true admiration of these people we call New Yorkers.

 

 

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Joppa Flats

DSC_0007Joppa Flats in Newburyport on a foggy Wednesday morning was the destination for my sister in law Barbara and I to experience a Wednesday morning ‘birding’ expedition put on by the Audobon Society.  Having arrived half an hour early we did a quick run through downtown Newport.  I wanted to check out if “Oldies” was open.  Oldies is just full of everything everyone is looking for.  It is quite an adventure just walking through the door of this antique warehouse, situated right alongside the Merrimack River.  Unfortunately only open on the weekends until later in May.  But came upon a real find when a little shop was open that sold door mats from the Maine Float Rope company.  This was a real score as they are my favorite doormats and I lost mine in a December storm.

DSC_0010Surprisingly to us, there were a lot of avid ‘birders’ that filled the parking lot of the Audobon upon our return for the 9:30 start.  Breaking up in different vans and suvs we were on our way.  Our driver, Dave, would mimic the songs of the various birds and there was much excitement when one was discovered.  The area itself is a beautiful preserve.  The birds are abundant and we saw the largest flock of comerant I’ve ever seen.  Barbara and I met many folks that day, but I took a liking to a young gentleman named Ider Batbayar.  He is a travel manager for Nomadic Expeditions that say they are “Pioneers in Exceptional Adventures to Mongolia and Beyond”.  The last couple photos of the slideshow below, entitled “Joppa Flats” you’ll see Ider.  I promised I’d forward him pictures of the day and he was very grateful and appreciative.  He told me I had to go to Mongolia and he would get me to ride the Wildest Horse and Wildest Camel he could find.  One day I would like to go there just to take him up on it.

The birding trip lasted approximately 3.5 hours.  Great way to be out in nature and feel the excitement of seeing a Green-tail Towhee, Red Winged Blackbird, Cowbirds flying through the air as well as Yellow Legs and Blue Herons.  Ihaven’t figured out all the birds I saw, but hanging in coastal Newburyport and the Joppa Flats area for a day was well worth the morning rush hour traffic through Boston to get there.DSC_0047