My Off-Key Isles of Shoals Adventure

Isle of Shoals Lighthouse
S.A.Leys Photography

This is a picture of one of the Lighthouses off of Isles of Shoals (Isles of Shoals are a group of small islands located about 6 miles off of the coast of New Hampshire). Some of the islands are considered to be a part of New Hampshire while the northern islands belong to the State of Maine.

Long, long ago, it was a stop on the way to Maine for our family during a vacation which involved cruising from Rhode Island to Maine in our sailboat. We anchored overnight at Isles of Shoals as anchoring inside the inlet of the islands allowed us the ability to stay offshore and have a smoother tack (point of sail) when we continued our sail towards Maine the next day. The last time I was there, we started our day sailing from Provincetown MA and arrived and anchored at Isles of Shoals around dinner time.

Grilled Swordfish, Sweet Corn on the Cob, and fresh tomatoes and cucumbers from Dad’s Garden. It does not get any better than this! (S.A.Leys Photo)

Mom cooked the best swordfish, sweet corn on the cob and fresh tomatoes from dad’s garden. It was an amazing dinner after a beautiful day of sailing which included seeing some whales along the way.

The next day consisted of the long sail up to Christmas Cove. So after dinner and dishes mom said “if we all go to bed, we can get a good start in the morning and arrive early.”

[In the middle of every sail to Maine with them, mom would usually flag down a lobsterman, attach a $20.00 bill with a clothespin to a quahog rake, extend it to the lobsterman’s boat and take however many lobsters he was willing to give us].

Anyhoo, we had all climbed into our bunks and had fallen asleep when just around 10:00pm, into the harbor came the tour boat with a guy singing Frank Sinatra songs very, very, very (did I say – very?) off-key. Within a few minutes I transcended from a restful, sound sleep to being fully awakened by the worst rendition of “Strangers in the Night” I have ever heard in my life. Followed by “Witchcraft”, “New York, New York” and my favorite “Emily” – which just about killed me because of how off-key he was.

And of course, mom woke up, as did dad and in a matter of minutes we were all laughing hysterically because of how bad the singing was. As it took quite awhile to get back to sleep, the next day began with a late start – (but yes, we found a lobsterman and still had lobster for dinner shortly after our arrival in Maine).

Needless to say, every time I’m near, (or hear about) Isles of Shoals, I think of that story and that time and laugh at how bad that guy was.

Earlier this summer when I had some time, I decided to head back to see Isles of Shoals. On this day, I was actually a little more awake and not so physically drained from a few days of long sails so I boarded the tour boat in Portsmouth, Hampshire and headed out on a beautiful sunny, mid-summer morning.  The Isles were beautiful and filled with tourists and sailboats like ours that were anchored in the small inlet. Luckily there was no off-key Frank Sinatra wannabe guy serenading us, but there were whale sightings along the way and a thoroughly researched lesson about the history of Isles of Shoals.

If you’re ever in the area, my recommendation is that you take the earlier tour that does not have the tacky singer. Get some lobster while you’re here and enjoy!

You can sign up for an Isles of Shoals Cruise Tour by clicking this link.

Isle of Shoals Sailing
S.A. Leys Photography
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