Saturday morning, we began our trek south and the eventual return to Mattapoisett. Weather is the never-ending challenge in planning a voyage of this length.
Armed with over half a dozen weather and marine data apps, I feel confident about accurately predicting tomorrow’s sea conditions, maybe even 48-72 hours out, but that’s about it.
I generally do a forecast update over my first cup of coffee in the morning – particularly on a day when we’re heading to sea. And on Saturday morning, I looked out 72 hours and realized I needed to tweak our itinerary.
I planned to spend two nights in Portland and then make the 60-mile run to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on Monday, but Monday was looking rainy and potentially gusty.
I briefly considered cutting Portland to one day and riding out the storm at Wentworth-By-The-Sea, but there’s not much to do there on a rainy day, and if you want to leave the Marriott, you need to take an Uber.
On the other hand, Portland is the biggest city in Maine, and there’s always something to do there, so I got the crew together over breakfast and gave them the new plan.
We would spend three nights in Portland, one at Wentworth-By-The-Sea, and make a 120-mile run home on Wednesday.
Mrs. Horne objected! She really wanted to see another new port, so we discussed options. We started targeting Scituate, but they couldn’t fit us and ended up at the Hingham Shipyard Wednesday night.
Dodging Lobster Pots
The Maine Coast is spectacular to behold from the ocean, but not so much if you’re piloting a 50’ boat at over 30 mph through the endless sea of lobster pots.
Forget the autopilot; it was more like running a 75-minute slalom race. Not only was it a little nerve-racking, but it was difficult to shoot photos.
But I did get a few.
The entrance to Portland is rather grand. It’s about four miles from the lighthouse to the waterfront district, with lots of sights to see and plenty of deep water.
We were down to our last 100 gallons of diesel, and knowing we’d want to make a hasty retreat, I wanted to add 300-400 gallons before tying up.
I hailed Demillos on Channel 71 and discovered their diesel pump was out of order. They directed me to Spring Point Marina, and we made a U-Turn and headed back toward Bug Light.
Spring Point Marina is an excellent spot to fuel up.
It’s well protected with a long fendered straight dock for tying up.
As we approached, a young man waved us in and helped tie us up.
His name was Kennen, and not only was he 100% professional, but he, and their high-volume pump, loaded us up with 330 gallons of diesel in about 15 minutes.
DeMillo’s is a big deal here in Portland. Not only do they host our marina, but they’re also a major Sabre/Back Cove dealer and operate a trendy restaurant.
As you may know, I love Yelp. Between the rankings and the ability to see why someone gave a restaurant a negative score, it really provides everything you need to know about a restaurant.
Without Yelp, I never would have considered Luke’s Lobster. On paper, it looks like a typical seaside tourist trap – featuring waterfront dining and lobster.
Much to my surprise, it’s ranked #1 within walking distance in Portland.
We had no reservation but landed the best table on the mezzanine over the outdoor patio.
I was delighted to find Maine Lunch IPA on draft.
We started with a pot of steamers.
It’s a perfect portion for one person with about 15 clams and is intelligently priced at $16.00.
Peter went off the reservation and ordered Lobster Bisque instead of his customary Clam Chowder.
Both Peter and Mrs. Horne ordered the Junior Lobster Roll, which is an attractive option at $26.00 (versus $37.00 for a 6-ounce portion.)
I got my lobster with bacon in their LBLT for $19.00
Great food, harbor views, and smaller portions at appropriate prices; Luke’s Lobster was a great find, thanks to Yelp.
The Relentless Book Club
After lunch, we hung out on the flybridge. Mrs. Horne is reading Hotel Nantucket. She met the author when we visited the island last month. I decided to read Charles Thayer’s murder mystery – Death and Due Diligence, set in Boothbay.
Thayer offers an interesting book for me because it’s full of references to Boothbay. Kim plays a prominent role and so does the Red Cup Cafe.
I’d say Portland is a cross between Boston and Newport. Commercial Street is a pure waterfront avenue, but go up a few streets, and you’ll swear you’re in the Back Bay of Boston (with hills.)
We had dinner reservations at David’s, and I shot some of the upper streets on our half-mile walk from DiMillo’s.
We had reservations for bar seating, but they put us in the corner facing the open kitchen, and no one was happy about it.
We were already hot from the walk, and Mrs. Horne took matters into her own hands and got us moved to the proper bar.
Eating light on the road, we went Tapas Style. Mrs. Horne ordered the mussels.
I ordered the vegetarian pot stickers with beef.
This was a unique preparation. It was almost an Asian salad with potstickers and little slivers of beef tossed in. Very flavorful.
And we shared the Brussels Sprouts.
Also excellent; crispy with strong balsamic and Parmesan overtones.
Peter went with the Duck Breast which was perfectly medium rare and bathed in a sweet and savory sauce.
Simply a wonderful restaurant with a dozen other dishes that all sounded delicious.
After dinner, we adjourned to the flybridge, where we were treated to our second fireworks display in three days.
Tomorrow: Biking around Portland.