Divers and sailors Moira and John Coulle took us along on an entertaining travelogue of their cruise down the northeast coast of the US. This expedition started in Rockland Maine where their boat had spent the winter. The talk covered their trip down the New England coast and up the Hudson River.
Sailing in New England at times requires navigating around the lobster pots, but the upside is the lobster! John and Moira described the fantastic food at a number of their ports of call.
New England is loaded with coves and harbours and peppered with artists communities. The area also features magnificent yachts, in one case highlighted by a spectacular fourth of July fireworks display.
Near Portsmouth NH John heroically (and he admits perhaps recklessly) untangled a leatherback turtle snagged in fishing tackle. Other notable wildlife included an ocean sunfish and a right whale.
Their boat, a C&C 42' racer named "Geneveve" served admirably on their cruise. Points along the way included Portsmouth YC (near which was the USS Albacore, a submarine); Gloucester Massachusetts (site of the Crows Nest bar); Salem (lots of anchored boats, and a museum tour diorama reenactment); Plymouth (where it was possible to tour a reproduction of the Mayflower); and the Cape Cod Canal (where the Geneveve hit bottom on cement mooring anchors - so not really "bottom").
Further on the way was Woods Hole Massachusetts, where it became apparent that the price to play was rising as mooring and docking prices were rising. Then, out to the Atlantic, battling a crazy current, and off to Nantucket, where a mooring ball was now $79 a night and a spot on the dock was $289.
This was the land of megayachts, and even the large (and secret service guarded) yacht of John Kerry looked small. A nice feature: pump out craft visited boats where they were moored.
The whaling museum and architecture of Hyannis were interesting, and Martha's Vineyard offered the famous Larsen's Fish Market.
Newport RI took things up yet another notch: the yacht club was nice, "The Breakers" (the historic Vanderbilt mansion) was magnificent, and the history of American high society was on display. The Fastnet Irish pub was the site of a chance pool game with John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin. Fun, but don't forget to fill your wallet.
Eventually John and Moira headed through Hell's Gate, where the current and waves were intense. Passing Manhattan and heading up the Hudson to Castleton on the Hudson made for interesting story telling, especially a near catastrophe in one of the locks where the unstepped mast, lashed to the deck, snagged on the lock wall as the water was dropping.
Eventually the Geneveve headed up to Oswego, finishing the trip at Lake Ontario.
John and Moira complemented their entertaining narrative with beautiful photos -- too many to fully appreciate. Perhaps another visit to Shellbacks will remedy that.
ABOUT JOHN AND MOIRA COULL
John Coull is currently a full time Assistant Professor at The Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto. He has been teaching Film and Video production to 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students since 1974.
John was a “Certified Open Water Diving Instructor” with The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) and more recently held a Department of Transport certification “Masters Minor Water” captains license. Both Moira and John have worked part time on many of the Toronto Harbor tour boats . . . John as “First Mate” on the Empire Sandy for two seasons and owner / operator of their their own 42’ charter trimaran, “Ptarmigan”.
John and Moira have been connected with Lake Ontario Waters for over 45 years. Learning to Sail in Toronto Harbor on a 24’ K-Class Scow resulted in their moving onto Ward Island in the mid 80’s. Members of the Queen City Yacht Club for over 25 years, both Moira and John have held positions on the Board and they both contributed many volunteer hours in support of the club. Moira was active on the board for many years as the ‘Learn to Sail’ chair before becoming Vice Commodore and then, OCYC’s first Female Commodore from 1999-2000.
Moira is presently retired after a 32 year career in Telecommunications with Bell Canada. She also worked for TELUS for five years. Moira was also a certified diver.
John and Moira moved from the Island 10 years ago and are now living in Cherry Valley Ontario (near Picton). They are presently members of Prince Edward Yacht Club. They have done the ICW three times and sailed “Genevieve” to Cuba in 2001. Moira and John have now spent the last two summers sailing the St. Lawrence and the East Coast of Canada.
They shared their experience of the last three summers and focused on their favorite locations, the highlights, lessons learned, and the challenges that they encountered this past summer. Their slide show presents the beauty of the places that they were able to explore. They will describe locations that are a must see on the East Coast of Canada.
The Shellbacks Club will make occasional posts on this blog. If you want something added in a blog post. let us know.