Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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A few days at sea with new friends in familiar places

We have been at sea since Friday afternoon, and as I sit here we are docked at Vineyard Haven. It's just about four am, and as has become my shipboard custom, I'm awake and in the big salon of the Grand Caribe after a bout of insomnia. Sleeping on a boat isn't like sleeping anywhere else, there is an inherent aspect of claustrophobia that sends me out of my cabin every night in the wee hours. Mary slumbers peacefully, but I toss and turn and have to escape. Later, I will return and complete my brief night of sleep.

These past few days have been wonderful, however, far exceeding our expectations. We began by a night time visit to Cuttyhunk, walking down the ramp onto the dark of the island and taking a walk to see a few highlights, simply the road that went to the fishing dock, as golf carts motored back and forth. Then we sat on the ferry dock and watched the movie Jaws with a small crowd of locals. In the distance we could see people around a campfire on the beach. The ship departed at 2 am, and the next morning we awoke in Nantucket Harbor.

Nantucket is beautiful in the morning, and at this time of year the yacht harbor was full of mega-yachts and we anchored far out and took tenders to come to shore. With some of the friends we've made on board, we took a bus out to Cisco Brewery where there was a huge crowd of people young and old listening to a live band and hoisting pints. We have met so many people we like in the space of just a few days, as often happens when you travel in tight quarters and get the chance to have meals together where the details of your lives spill out and you find similarities and past histories are shared.

We had a Captain's party in the big top floor lounge, with a bar full of top shelf liquors and hors d'oeuvres like shrimp and mushroom caps. I got a chance to ask the captain, Mike Kiernan, about why he chose to live in Medellin, Colombia. He said he and his wife love it there and during their four-month-long vacation, she preferred to stay there than to come visit the US. I love people's stories like this, and this ship is full of them.

We've met two couples here who told us this is their eighth voyage with Blount Small Ship Adventures. I can see why, as these little ships are intimate, the routes taken are unique (how about sailing from Rhode Island to Chicago via the Erie Canal?) and the staff treats everyone very well, with great food and interesting off boat excursions.

Today we will take the Martha's Vineyard tour, another touristy jaunt that always yields interesting information, camaraderie and laughs. I plan to take our new friends to our favorite island place, Menemsha, and sit outside of Larsen's seafood to slurp oysters and chomp down a lobster overlooking the water.

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