The immediate priority was to be sure the boat was prepared for 10 days away from any provisioning. Our next passage south would only take a few days, but we’d do it slowly, and gunk-hole along the way, making the most of weather windows. So I’d need provisions for 10 days (minimum). Suddenly I had to switch my mind into a planning mode that has decayed from lack of use over the summer. Kyle always laughs that I have enough food aboard for 6 months even before I set foot in the grocery store, but I like to have fresh fruit and veggies, and options, and I also like a big enough variety that I can experiment and dabble with food dishes as the mood takes me.
Lynn and Robin again came to my aid. Along with farmers' markets for fresh local veggies, I was whisked to a warehouse/bulk store (BJs) where I was able to source a year’s supply of such things as giant bottles of Tabasco not normally found in standard supermarkets (along with several $100’s of other items). I even manage to pick up a major off-shore flare kit that I'd been attempting to acquire for some months. I find it hard to rationalize how excited I can get at finding a well-stocked normal supermarket, let alone a warehouse store. The secret, I find, is getting it all stowed away before Kyle realizes just how much I have purchased (much easier than explaining why we need it, and him eventually accepting we do indeed, but worrying the boat may sink). Transferring that kind of shopping expedition from car to dinghy, to boat is quite a workout too.
Transporting, loading and unloading the dinghy - so much easier on a nice calm day!
Eventually I had a plan for groceries, laundry, etc, and realized that I did indeed have time to spare, and the weather actually cooperated too – a day in Bristol to do what I should have done much earlier in our stay – the Herreshoff Museum.
Non racing-sailors may not have come across the Herreshoff family, but they were boat building legends. An impressive pair of brothers (one blind) who designed and built a rash of sleek, fast, boats at the time when money was no object (row, sail and steam power); including 8 consecutive winning defenders of the highly competitive America’s cup (from 1893 to 1934). They even designed and patented America’s first sailing catamaran in 1876/1877. And they had done all this in Bristol, those very boats launched from a yard in view from our anchored Begonia. The museum houses a host of boats (large and small), a photo time line of the America’s cup story, and a couple of films depicting the boat building history and the America’s cup race history. (Oh, and I also learned that Herreshoff is pronounced Herrers-off, no ‘sh’ sound in there!).
Within Bristol itself, I took time for a last wander around the local stores, have tea in some of the cute little coffee shops, a few more restaurants, and generally enjoy the working waterfront. It is a great little town and I was happy to have spent time there.
[Kyle]For my last “weekend”, which was really just one afternoon and the next morning, we made a point of having a big lunch with Andy, Robin and Lynn at a nice waterfront restaurant. Andy and Robin were in the last stages of replacing one of Sotitio’s digital engine controllers, so they went back home to finish up and Maryanne and I had one last stroll around Bristol.
[Kyle]Bristol is not that big, so we arrived at Sotito to see the last of the day’s work. Sotito’s floorboards were up. Robin was sitting on one of the big engines with a manual and Andy was doing the wrench turning even farther down. Everything was looking good. One of my favorite things about the scene was the juxtaposition of Robins toenail polish with the fuel filters in between. That’s a sure sign of a real catch if I’ve ever seen one.
[Kyle]In no time, Sotito was back in entertainment mode and we were having one last evening aboard before moving on. We ate so much! Robin made one of her delicious dinners, then we had the last of the chowdah from The Black Pearl, then we had dessert, then we had drinks (okay, we were doing that all along). After that, it was time for big, bear hugs all around and wishes of Bon Voyage.
A few 'just in time' fixes and Sotito departs Bristol
[Maryanne]We dined with our friends and said our farewells. It was especially hard to say farewell to Sotito, and to Robin in particular who has become such a wonderful companion. Sotito left Bristol a few days before Begonia, and I was able to join with Lynn at the dock to wave them off on their trip back to Weehawken. They sweetened the departure by offering me use of their car for my final chores – a very nice sweetener indeed.
[Kyle]After work, I got the treat of being picked up from the Providence airport by Maryanne in Robin’s powder blue Thunderbird, which she had left behind until there was a convenient time for Lynn to drive it to Weehawken. It was a beautiful day and Maryanne had the top down, and we drove back to Bristol Marina through the beautiful Colt State Park. My life is odd. Sometimes I feel like a homeless waif, spending my time transiting between work and home on foot and through dodgy bus stations. Suddenly, I’m in a convertible on a sunny day. It reminded me of our wedding day, when Carlos lent us his little blue convertible for the trip to our hotel.
Two Cute Blue convertibles that we've been lucky enough to enjoy - thanks folks!