From Newport News to Mystic

From Newport News, VA, to Mystic, CT

By Paul Gray

In early fall, my friend Al Bezanson used to sail Green Dragon, a small wooden schooner he’s had since 1963, down south to the Chesapeake for the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. After spending the winter in Norfolk, Virginia, Green Dragon would head north to cruise the Massachusetts and Maine coasts all summer long.

One year I joined Al and Jay Irwin for the return trip north. We planned to leave Norfolk early on a Friday, round Cape Charles, sail directly to Montauk and head into Mystic, Connecticut, sometime on Sunday, sailing nonstop for about 60 hours.

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Tips for cruising the Bahamas

Tips for cruising the Bahamas

By George Shaw

Depending on who is counting, the Bahamas consist of about 700 islands, limestone cays and rocks. A dozen have a significant population; others house a couple of families or a few fishermen.

The area is one large plateau of sediment brought in by the prevailing equatorial current as well as limestone deposited over thousands of years by sea creatures who made the area their final home.

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From Cancun to Punta Gorda

Sailing from Cancun to Punta Gorda

Sailing trip around the Dry Tortugas puts book learning to the test

By Dannela Varel

After many years of boating experience—living aboard, running a marina, working for a cruise line, being a member of two squadrons and completing all USPS courses—I decided to put my boating knowledge to the test.

A local boat, Calypsa, was offering passage from Punta Gorda, Florida, to Belize and back, but I could only join for the Cancun to Punta Gorda leg, so I arranged to fly to Cancun to meet Calypsa at the Hacienda Del Mar Marina.

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Sea Rays trek to Sleeping Bear Dunes

Sea Rays trek to Sleeping Bear Dunes

By Tim Healey

I had recently bought a used 2005 Sea Ray 200 Sundeck, a near carbon copy of my buddy Pat Flynn’s boat, except mine was red and his, blue. Earlier in the summer, we’d made a few short trips to Long Tail Point in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and my Sea Ray had handled the chop when the wind picked up in the bay.

Although both native Michiganders, my wife, Amy, and I have lived in Green Bay for 20-plus years. Pat and his wife, Mary, are both born and bred cheeseheads. Mary had seen the “Pure Michigan” TV commercials featuring Charlevoix, Sleeping Bear Dunes and other picturesque Michigan scenes. When I heard that she put a bug in Pat’s ear about visiting, I said we should consider a trip with the two boats.

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The Charm of Battle Island, Lake Superior

The charm of Battle Island, Lake Superior

by Boni Thibert

Lake Superior’s real charm lies hidden among its many islands. Of the lake’s ideal anchorages, one in particular—Battle Island—stands out. With a safe harbor, good holding ground, free moorings and a small concrete dock, this exceptional spot welcomes boaters with a tranquil breeze and magnificent views.

To enter the little harbor on Superior’s northern shore you must pass between two small islands that blend in with the shoreline. You get an uneasy feeling as you head toward the rocky coast looking for the little opening that appears on the chart but can’t be seen until you are upon it.

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Tidal extremes in the Bay of Fundy

Tidal extremes in the Bay of Fundy

By Arnold M. Bucksbaum

Our last stop on a cruise of the states and provinces north of New York City was Saint John in New Brunswick, Canada, on the Bay of Fundy. Although I’ve taken many United States Power Squadrons courses and studied tides in Advanced Piloting, I wasn’t prepared for what I encountered on the Bay of Fundy.

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Cruisers charter catamaran in Thailand

Cruisers find adventure in Thailand

By Marie Genteale

When new sailing friends asked Chris and me to join them in chartering a 46-foot catamaran in Phuket, Thailand, we said yes. The vessel had four staterooms and four heads, a large common area inside and out, and was a stiff sailor. A dinghy and two double kayaks would allow us to go exploring.

We arrived in Phuket four days early, checked out the vessel and took in the countryside. One day we rode elephants through the jungle and kayaked on swollen rivers. Another day we toured Phuket, visited the great marble Buddha overlooking the harbor and shopped. Our hotel, the Supalai, sat high on a hill above the sea.

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Sucia Island

Sucia Island, jewel of the northwest

By Linda Newland

In the northern San Juan Islands, the 564-acre Sucia Island State Park features incredible scenery, 77,700 feet of shoreline and solid holding ground, making it the area’s premier anchorage.

Named in 1791 by Spanish explorers, sucia means “dirty” or “foul,” referring to the reefs and hidden rocks surrounding the island. With this in mind, keep your charts current, pay particular attention to the reef on the north shore, keep a close eye on the depth finder and charts, and you should have little problem safely navigating the area.

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Couple falls for Vancouver marina

Couple falls for Vancouver marina

By Jim West

During the middle of the September, Cheryl and I set off for the Canadian Gulf Islands. We ended up spending two nights in Ganges, three nights in Ladysmith, and one night in Montague Harbor. Ladysmith was a new destination for us, and we fell in love with the marina, the town and the area’s beauty.

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Explore Florida’s rivers by kayak

Explore Florida’s rivers by kayak

By Joe Belanger

Fifteen years ago, my wife, Lee, and I began an RV retirement trip with a twist. Our goal was to see the country; the twist was to volunteer for two-month intervals in different locations. Several cross-country trips landed us in deserts and mountains, beside lakes and along coastlines.

Volunteering took us to Habitat for Humanity disaster relief sites, to an outward-bound 4-H camp, a West Texas Elderhostel, and more than 40 national and state parks. Our assignments included building homes, shooting cannons, reburying Native American remains, tagging sharks, and guiding night hikes and canoe and kayak trips.

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Flag burning in small-town America

Flag burning ceremony in Mich. town

By Boni Thibert

I save old, torn, worn-out American flags. Most years, my husband, Phillip, and I bring the flags to a friend who resides in the small village of Grand Marais, Mich., where they are burned in a solemn ceremony every Fourth of July.

Located on the southern shore of Lake Superior, Grand Marais started as a lumbering and commercial fishing community, but these days the town mainly caters to the tourists who keep it alive.

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