Charlestown Marina

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Charlestown Marina was an excellent home base for the six weeks we spent in Boston. We chose it mainly because we could get a good long-stay rate there compared to the other marinas closer to downtown, but the marina worked out very well for touring around Boston and we’d happily return.

The marina itself was completed only last year, and has great services, such as complementary in-slip black water pump-out. Access to downtown was convenient through Uber, harbour ferries, public transit, or the tender. And several times we just walked the short distance. Reasonably priced water taxis also are available. An added bonus was several convenient ZipCar lots—we picked up cars for a couple of more distant medical appointments and to do some shopping and longer-distance exploring. Charlestown and the surrounding Navy Yard district also have several good restaurants and pubs within easy walking distance, including the excellent Navy Yard Bistro and historic Warren Tavern.

We loved the views to downtown from the marina, and had a great vantage for the Harborfest fireworks. We also enjoyed watching the large ship traffic pass close by en route to terminals along the Mystic and Chelsea rivers. The LPG tankers heading to the Distrigas terminal on the Mystic River were especially interesting with the large security detail escorting them through.

The marina also had convenient access to the frequent flights at Boston Logan airport for James’ to return to Seattle temporarily for work for three weeks and for Jennifer to visit on weekends.

Highlights from July 8th through 30th follow. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at

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Coast Guard

A Coast Guard patrol made a slow pass by Charlestown Marina this morning and closely inspected the outermost boats. We wondered what they were up to.
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BW GDF Suez Everett

Shortly after the Coast Guard inspected the marina, a whole flotilla of enforcement vessels passed by including police, fire department and more Coast Guard vessels. And a few minutes later we learned why. The 908x142ft BW GDF Suez Everett was passing by bound for the Distrigas terminal adjacent to the Mystic Power Generationg Station. Laden with LNG, these ships effectively are giant bombs and appealing terrorist targets, so they get a major security escort when navigating the harbor. A helicopter also was patrolling overhead and police sharpshooters apparently are stationed on rooftops.
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Tobin Memorial Bridge

The BW GDF Suez Everett turned around east of Tobin Memorial Bridge and backed under, the same way BW GDF Suez Boston did in this video shot from the ship’s bridge: It sure looks tight. The bridge is closed to traffic for security reasons when LNG ships are passing under due to the explosive risk of such large quantities of LNG.
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Boston Medical Center

At Boston Medical Center for more routine medical tests. Boston sure is an excellent place for us to catch up on all things medical.
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Charlestown Vet

Spitfire also is due for routine medical work. Here Dr. Alexander of Charlestown Vet, with Ryan assisting, is giving him a health exam, followed by vaccination injections. Spitfire never likes the process, but always aces the tests.
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Number 93

On the Number 93 bus from Charlestown to downtown Boston for an appointment and to run some errands. The bus ride downtown is barely 15 minutes, with a stop close to the marina.
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Suffolk Dental

Today was Jennifer’s turn for a routine visit to Suffolk Dental. We’re both really impressed with the quality and thoroughness of the care that Dr. Hsu and his staff provide.
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G A Chapman Co

At G A Chapman Co in the Diamond Building in downtown Boston to have some rings resized. On a floor full of diamond retailers, George has a small shop packed with equipment. The whole building felt a bit like stepping back into the 1950s.
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Tavern at the End of the World

A quick lunch at the Irish pub “Tavern at the End of the World” after stopping by nearby Charlestown Vet. The pub is so named because there wasn’t much out here when they opened about a decade ago. Sadly, they did not have Jennifer’s favorite Irish beer, Kilkenny, on tap. Kilkenny is surprisingly common in British Columbia where we’ve spent a lot of our cruising time, but harder to find in the US.
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Sullivan Station

Taking “The ‘T'” subway downtown from Sullivan Square Station near Charlestown Vet. Boston has excellent public transportation.
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Jennifer getting her annual haircut–the last one was a year ago in Darwin. Vildan at Cut-Splice in the Charlestown Navy Yard did an excellent job.
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Shoe Repair

At Beacon Hill Shoe Repair to pickup a repaired shoe. Boston has been a great place to knock off everything on our to-do list, from routine medical to minor repairs.
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Grove GMK7550

James is temporarily back in Seattle for work and Jennifer has been visiting on weekends. Near our hotel, we spent a ridiculous amount of time today watching the Grove GMK7550 crane on the right disassemble the construction crane way up high on the left. The Grove GMK7550 is the flagship of the Grove crane fleet, with a 550-ton lift capacity. It’s a real beast.
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The boom from the construction crane being lifted onto a truck by a small crane after the Grove GMK7550 lowered it from the building-top. The Grove GMK7550 operator had an incredibly light touch and was able to move huge pieces of equipment like this in very tight quarters over long distances with hardly a twitch of the load.
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At the Edgewater Hotel waterfront bar to watch the cruise ship Norwegian Jewel depart Seattle for Alaska. The ships come so close to the bar as they leave you can practically touch them.
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Bell Harbor Marina

Our home port in Seattle, Bell Harbor Marina. Two Nordhavns were there this weekend, a 43 at the center of the photo and a 47 at the right.
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Bainbridge Island

Arriving into Winslow on Bainbridge Island by ferry from downtown Seattle. We’ve haven’t been to Winslow for ages, so we took a quick day-trip over to enjoy some sunny weather there.
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Herban Legends

Shortly after we left Seattle in 2012, Washington passed an initiative to allow recreational marijuana use. After decades of marijuana being illegal, it sure seems strange to see signs like this.
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Spitfire enjoying some outside time after Jennifer returns home from a weekend in Seattle. Spit got really sick one time after we boarded him in Australia, so we decided not to take the risk on boarding him after that, particularly given he’s 13 now. Spit is fine for a 2-3 days alone on the boat, so Jennifer has been flying out to Seattle on weekends to visit James so that we can keep Spitfire on Dirona and not have to board him.
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Iris Leader

NYK’s 652-ft car carrier Iris Leader towering over the boats in Charlestown Marina. A week earlier, the newly-built ship made its first US port of call at Jacksonville, FL. This also was the first ship to arrive at Jacksonville after passing through the newly expanded Panama Canal locks. Panamax, which refers to the maximum size of ships that can pass through the original locks is 965ft long by 106ft wide by 41.2ft deep. New Panamax, the maximum size allowed through the expanded locks, is 1,200ft long by 161ft wide by 50ft deep. The 111-ft wide Iris Leader is New Panamax and can only pass through the expanded locks. The ship is 15 feet wider than previous NYK ships with an additional car-carrying capacity of 1,500 cars.
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Virginia Inn

A drink at our favourite seat in the Virginia Inn, at 1st and Virginia in Seattle, with a view to Elliott Bay.
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International Fountain

We took a walk through Seattle Center and paused to watch children (and adults) playing in the water at International Fountain. The fountain was built with Seattle Center for the 1962 World’s Fair, and was restored and expanded in 1995.
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Anthony’s Pier 66

Enjoying the views to Mt. Rainier and Elliott Bay at Anthony’s Pier 66 restaurant before Jennifer leaves to fly back to Boston. The bar, above our old home port at Bell Harbor Marina, is one of our favourites.
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Paper garbage

Jennifer scanned in the remainder of the hardcopy manuals that we couldn’t find online and produced a large pile of paper garbage.
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At Whole Foods in Charlestown with a ZipCar to stock up for the big trip to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.
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Stop & Shop

A final shopping run to Stop & Shop for fresh produce before we leave Boston.
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Hydraulic fluid leak

James returned to Boston this morning after three weeks back at work in Seattle. On inspecting the engine room prior to our departure for Canada tomorrow, he found a hydraulic fluid leak that he chased to somewhere aft of the engine on the starboard side. Here he has removed the oil we store aft of the generator to inspect the hoses there.
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Leak source

The source of the hyraulic fluid leak is this o-ring, circled in red. Hydraulic pressure has partially forced it out, likely due to hardening, through main engine hydraulic one-way valve where it joins the junction block.
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Damaged o-ring

A close-up to the damaged o-ring–it’s really chewed up.
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O-ring replacement

Looking for a matching o-ring to replace the damaged one from one of four boxes of spare o-rings that we carry. We found the right size and that stopped the leak.
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Water pump

When servicing the hydraulic leak, we also noticed a saltwater leak and found that the raw-water cooling pump for the hydrualic system had just started to leak saltwater from the shaft seal. We replaced this pump in Vanuatu in the fall of 2013, so they seem to go about three years or 3-4 thousand hours. We replaced it with a spare and we’re back to no leaks again.

Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at


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2 comments on “Charlestown Marina
  1. kay emmons says:

    To a retired cruiser, your blog is exceptional.
    Love your grocery bags, what brand please
    thank you

    • Thank you Kay.

      The grocery bags are Earthtote Reusable Bags from We love them–they last super-well (we’ve never replaced one yet), we can pack them right to the top, and they can handle very heavy loads. When transferring groceries to the boat (and sometimes to the dinghy first), it’s much more convenient to have a few large sturdy bags than many smaller ones that might rip and risk dropping items in the water. They’re also great for loading up our folding cart to maximum capacity: //

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