Well here we are, back at Billings Diesel & Marine, Morgan’s Cloud’s “home” boatyard in Stonington, Maine—1000 nm, 5 overnights, and 21 days since leaving Charleston [I wrote this on April 21st]. We really thought that, after all the work we did on the boat over the winter, we’d be able to sail directly to Nova Scotia from Block Island without a stop in Maine, but the pull was too great! A small question about the new engine (which turned out to be nothing serious) was all it took to turn the bow towards Stonington. Not to mention the pull towards the good friends we’ve made here and the lure of hiking in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, about 20 nm from Billings.
Though it’s great to be back in Maine (despite the freezing rain we woke up to the morning after we arrived!), we really enjoyed our winter at the Charleston City Marina.
Being tied up inside their 1/4 mile-long concrete Megadock meant that we didn’t worry about the weather (a nice break in the vigilance of living full-time on a boat). The staff at the marina couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful—they didn’t even complain about the hundreds of UPS parcels arriving in our name, including the one containing our new 125 lb. SPADE anchor! And the marina has a very reasonable winter rate that they offer from December 1st to March 31st—a big draw for us cheapskates! Best of all, we made some good friends among the live-aboard community.
We loved watching all the birds: herons perched on docklines at dusk, peering intently into the water, ready to lunge; pelicans plunging clumsily into the harbour after fish, then bobbing back up to the surface, shaking their heads, looking stunned; graceful white egrets striding through the reeds on their long thin legs. And the sight and sound of dolphins swimming around and even under the Megadock was a cherished daily event, sometimes even a shock when one would come up for air right next to us as we were walking along.
As for Charleston itself, if you’ve never been there, we highly recommend you go. The beautiful architecture and peek-a-boo gardens, fantastic restaurants, Southern hospitality and friendliness, and Lowcountry culture, make it a charming and interesting stop. We really hope to get back there someday, maybe even next winter!