South to the Cape Cod Canal
Things are going to be a little out of sequence, because on the other computer I've got text and pictures ready to post about Plymouth but that needs wifi. Meanwhile, let's tell you a little about our travels since then.
Right now were are in a gorgeous little harbour called Barnstaple. We're anchored in the outer reaches of the river, surrounded by sand spits, empty beaches and a large expanse of water that will undoubtably turn into mud and sand flats as the tide ebbs away. It's very reminiscent of parts of the British east coast, but then I guess there's a reason why it's called New England. The sunset tonight was stunning.
We motorsailed down from Provincetown, about twenty miles away on the tip of the Cape, where we spent the last two and a half days. Provincetown is a very interesting place, long a refuge from the restraints of more 'civilised' society, stuck on the far reaches of the far reaches of Massachusetts. From the early days of the 'pilgrims', through a long established portugese fishing community, wayward artists and writers and on to become the most liberal of towns in this liberal state, Provincetown is famed for it's acceptance of just about any lifestyle you can imagine and has a lively and outspoken gay community who make the place their year round or summer home. There is plenty of flamboyance and openness which makes for a very interesting place.
It also makes for a tourist mecca. The town's main drag, if that's not too bad a pun, is a mile long honey trap of galleries, boutiques, coffee shops and all manner of colourful stores. It's a circus and just too busy for comfort, save for the quiet Sunday morning we got ashore early and had a nice coffee and bagel overlooking the water. It was also a good place to get some provisions and fill up with water, and we met a lovely British couple who have been living on board their boat for six years, cruising the USA for the summer but this is as far north as they have got, taking their time a bit more than we do. We have mutual friends from the Caribbean cruising boats, and will probably meet up again this summer. They had stopped here in Barnstaple on the way to Provincetown so were able to give us the run down on where to anchor - very useful in such a shoal harbour.
We also go some quality beach time in Provincetown, finally able to easily get to good sandy beaches and even swim in the water, though a little more shivery than the Caribbean. We built forts, sandcastles, harbors for model boats and other such fun things, and have even bought a good kite which Issie is just learning to fly.
The kids have been a bit unsettled, to say the least, and we think it may be connected to the experience of the squall, having an effect on all of us in different ways. It's been hard to get them to behave, respect our rules and routines and settle in the evenings. We've had to deal with some seriously grumpy people all round at various times but have started to re-establish some regular routines and make some changes to give them some more responsibilities and ownership. Tonight we begin the updated bedtime routine - after dinner bedtime will be declared, at which point they have five minutes to get into pyjamas and brush teeth before joining a parent for stories. If they aren't there, they've missed stories. After stories, they no longer settle and sleep apart but are in their cabin for lights out. As long as the light stays out, that's it, they have to deal with their own disagreements or storytelling or whatever they choose. Let's see how this works out. We've been moving towards getting them to settle together for a while and now seems like the time is right, here's hoping. It's a good thing to do when you live in a house, in the small space of a boat it's even more important for Gesa and I to reclaim our space in the evenings and be able to do our stuff without a child at each end of the boat.
Right now, half an hour after lights out, they are still chatting but at least they haven't turned the light back on....
Tomorrow we get up early and head for the Cape Cod Canal, a seventeen mile cut through the cape that allows vessels small and large to avoid the hazards and distances involved in going outside the Cape. For us it's our route to Martha's Vineyard via Woods Hole and I'm looking forward to revisiting those places some sixteen years after I first came here.
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