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Days 4-5: Scituate, MA - Gloucester, MA - Annisquam River

After a good nights rest in Scituate, the next leg would be a much shorter 20 mile run due north to the historic fishing port of Gloucester, MA. Getting to Gloucester, and then through the Annisquam River with it's current, tight turns and low bridges was always a sort of watershed goal that was present since we had left Warren. From here it would only be one more long run into Maine.

I left around noontime, to catch the fair tide into Gloucester Harbor, and finally it would seem that the wind REALLY came up! I pulled out of the harbor and pointed the bow 0 degrees true north, the fresh breeze putting me on a broad reach where I sped along in flat seas at 6+ knots touching 7.2- nicely making way. Just a few days later in these same waters off of Scituate I read that a ferry bound for Provincetown had been hit by a twenty foot rogue wave and got roughed up pretty good. Today fortunately was not that day, as we pushed north.

Now, you'll hear me use "we" quite a bit, and just to be clear even though it's just me on board, this boat and I are in it together, real thick like thieves. When things are going great like this and we are flying along I know she's having just as much fun as I am, and when things get rough I'll say things to her like "c'mon now, this is what you were made for!" and she always pulls through in fine style, knifing through swells like nobody's business.

Since this leg would largely be about 15 miles offshore in a couple of hundred feet of water, leaving nothing (hopefully) to run into, the main task of the day would be crossing the Boston shipping lanes, which are very busy. About 2 hours in, I spotted a large freighter making it's way to Boston from the east. I took a bearing and monitored it over the next 40 minutes. I concluded that it would be reasonably close but at the speed I was making we would pass safely. You don't want to play chicken with these boys, and since they are a working vessel it's up to me to stay out of the way. We passed through without incident, but close enough to get a good look at her massive size. I continued north, towards my target until I arrived just outside the breakwater. By this point in the late afternoon, there were some squalls rolling through which left some decent size rollers in the bay. This made dropping the mainsail quite challenging - you've always got to make sure you are holding on to something! For particularly snotty weather I also carry a safety harness that I can clip in for added security.

Exploring Airman's Cave

On Tynan

We sat in the tiny passageway, exhausted. Our muscles were fatigued from overuse. We were over a mile deep into the cave, hours away from the surface, hours away from food, and hours away from water. Had our curiousity finally gotten the best of us? For the first time ever, I was worried for my life. I couldn't imagine dying, but making it out of the cave seemed even less likely.

It started months ago. After exploring the small caves at Enchanted Rock, we were eager to tackle something a bit more challenging. A search on the internet led us quickly to Airman's Cave - perhaps the most well known cave in Austin. What we didn't know at the time was that it was also an advanced level cave. Few members of the caving community in Austin would attempt the cave. With an average ceiling of 18", Airman's cave was a full 2.5 miles long. But we didn't really know that either. In fact, we knew nothing of caves or caving.

To access the cave, we had to take a hike down a dry creekbed and search for it. After wandering around for a while we spotted a large opening on the hill. That was it.

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