Maine Cruise 2009
Monday, August 17 -
Barred Islands to Camden
The day started out glassy
calm with a light haze and drifting fog filtering around
the islands. It was beautiful, but we were a
little cranky after a busy night. When the tide
turned at about 10:30 pm, ESMERLADE managed to wrap the
anchor rode around her keel, which had a laying hard
against the rode. After some fussing, we managed
to sort her out, but by the time we were done we were
We spent the morning
reading and relaxing, and finally up-anchored at about
noon. SKATER headed north for Seal Cove, just west
of Bucks Harbor. We decided to head south and east
to catch up with the Bouzaids aboard WAI ANIWA.
Sunday, August 16 -
Merchants Row to Barred Islands
Sunday was yet another
beautiful clear, calm morning. We did the
appropriate thing: relaxed and read. Sandy Wakeman
from the Able 58 PILGRIM came over to say hi and we had
a nice chat. When SKATER hauled up, we decided to
sail off with them up towards the Barred Islands at the
north end of Penobscot Bay. The breeze came up
nicely and and we had a great little sail through
Merchants Row, then ran up the bay in light air.
Cleave and Darcy "sailed"
down to ESMERALDE in their dinghy while Pepper waited to
welcome them aboard for cocktails.
August 15, Day 19 - Merchants Row, Round & McGlathery
lovely, lazy day at anchor in an incredibly beautiful
spot. A bit of boat work, a bit of reading, and a
fun walk around Round Island with Pepper. He had a
great time bouncing around the rockpiles and was every
bit the little mountain goat. A bit too bold for
his own good, but we all had fun. It was clear and
sunny, but early in the day there was little breeze, so
we got quite hot and sweaty.
At the end, we
decided it was time for Pepper's second swim lesson, so
Dad took him for a plunge. He was great! He
paddled around in a circle then made his way towards
shore to shake himself off. He kept himself up
even without a lifejacket...something we'll not test
unless on the beach, but he CAN swim.
time Dad dunked him, he didn't even race right out of
the water, preferring to hang out. Maybe he liked
the cool water.
Dinner aboard SKATER.
Ever had a Harbor Bar? Yum! But only buy one
or you'll be in trouble... Thanks, Darcy!
Friday, August 14, Day
18 - Northeast Harbor to Merchants Row
Another beautiful, sunny
day. After shopping and laundry, we piled aboard
and headed out for Merchants Row, and one of our
favorite spots, a little hole between Round Island and
McGlathery. SKATER had left a couple of hours
ahead, bound for the same spot.
motoring over Bass Harbor Bar, the southwest breeze
freshened. We shut down the motor and set sail, a
lovely beat across to Casco Passage. A Sabre 38
was sailing the same route, and we trounced them
handily. Always fun to do! The breeze was
gusting up over 22 apparent, so we were overcanvassed
but doing fine.
When we arrived at Round &
McGlathery, a bit windblown, there was only one boat in
the hole. We dropped anchor and settled in.
Quite lovely. Breezy, cool, sunny and clear.
Isle au Haut peaking throught the passage between the
arrived about an hour later, having had a longer sail
out around Long Island. Dinner with the SKATER
crew aboard ESMERALDE featured fresh steamed lobster
cocktail as we enjoyed a spectacular sunset. We
bought the lobsters from a boat that was hauling traps
alongside in the anchorage. They went from the bottom to
his boat to ours, and into the pot, in about ten minutes
(after we introduced Pepper to his first lobster...).
Then the main course was meatballs that Bruce had made
on the trip over: yummy!
Thursday, August 13,
Day 17 -
Layday in Northeast.
It turned into a beautiful day: sunny and cool.
Bruce spent some time at the medical clinic in the
morning to have a small ear issue dealt with (he can
hear again!), and then we took the bus into Bar Harbor
to replenish our book supply. After a nice lunch
on the waterfront we made our way back to Northeast,
where I once again tackled the cabin top with cleaner
and wax. Almost there...but ran out of wax and had
to special order some through the hardware store.
It will be in tomorrow.
The evening was our first
on our own, without guests or engagements, in many days.
This has been a very different cruise from what we are
accustomed to. Fun, but different, as we have had
social activities virtually every night, everywhere we
have gone. So to celebrate our solitude we decided
to go out to dinner at the Tapas restaurant in town.
It was VERY GOOD! Very pleasant evening.
Tomorrow morning we will
test the little gift that Pretzel left us: a nice,
freshly scented piddle-pad we will leave on deck...
Wednesday, August 12,
Day 16 - Little Cranberry to Northeast
It was gray and foggy when
we woke up, but we conquered that detail with homemade
blueberry-banana whole wheat muffins. Darcy and
Cleave came over to indulge with us. Even Bruce
didn't mind the whole wheat element.
the time we were done, the fog had lifted. Both
boats headed for Northeast, not exactly what we wanted
but it seemed good enough.
of us secured moorings: very nice. I spotted
KINVARA over on one of the floats so I hopped in the
dinghy to say hi. They accepted our invitation to
cocktails aboard ESMERALDE, so the party was set.
It turned into a very
lovely, sunny day. We ran errands, ordered new
hinges for the fridge door (temporarily repaired with a
Sam Adams beer cap), and then I spent a few hours
cleaning and waxing
the cabin top.
had a delightful party on board with the crews from
SKATER and KINVARA, including little Pretzel. Good
for for everyone. The highlight of the evening was
Peter taking Bruce's bet to motor his dinghy under the
catamaran moored behind us...
won the two dollars Bruce wagered, much to Jane's
amazement, and we all had a
great laugh watching the scene! In the photo,
Peter gives the two fingers in the air: Bruce better
come up with the two bucks!
August 11, Day
15, Pleasant Bay to Little Cranberry
The verdict is in: the
weather has informed our decision to head west.
With easterlies, rain and fog in the forecast, we don't
want to hang out in Roque. So off we go towards
First, though, we must
feed ourselves: breakfast aboard SKATER by Darcy
featured pancakes with organic Maine Blueberries and
bacon (turkey, thank you). Once we were well
stuffed, both boats cast off the pennants and said a
silent, enthusiastic "thank you" to Jack and Diane Myles
for their delightful hospitality at John White Island.
through flat calm and smoky haze, SKATER & ESMERALDE
motored peacefully out Pleasant Bay, scooted over Petite
Manan Bar, and enjoyed the views, through the haze and
occasional fog banks, of Mt. Desert looming in the West.
included Winter Harbor, Sorrento and Little Cranberry.
Somehow we ended up headed for Little Cranberry, mostly,
I think, because Darcy was ready to have dinner in a
restaurant, and the Islesford Dock Restaurant has been a
favorite of cruising sailors for many years.
EMSERALDE arrived first and picked up a town guest
had a bit of a peep show when we arrived. The crew
of a boat alongside ESMERALDE was swimming off the
stern...except that they were bathing, stark naked!
Not a scene you see often in Maine, with the stunning
views of Mt. Desert in the backbround.
a strong front approaching with thunder, lightning and
rain, we tucked in, and I buzzed ashore with Pepper for
a quick walk around the island. Things ashore
actually looked quite lively and a little more polished
than I remember from previous years. There is a
new shop on the dock, as well as a new gallery. A
number of houses (tho not all) were spiffed up with
gardens and paint. The store appears to be gone.
I pleasant walk, nice people, and a bunch of puppies for
Pepper to greet.
Back on ESMERALDE we
enjoyed cocktails below, at first then in the cockpit as
the front bypassed us to the south with only a few spits
of raindrops. The sun came out, and we were
treated to that spectacular sunset show that Little
Cranberry is so famous for, with the waterfront glowing
in evening light and the hills of Mt. Desert looming to
the north. Very nice scene.
Monday, August 10, Day
14, Pleasant Bay, John White Island
morning dawned damp and gray off John White Island, and
we were all a bit crunchy, as we rolled most of the
early morning from a combination of surface chop and
lobster boats. Pepper had also barfed in his bed,
and slept in it, so we had a bit of work to do. It
turned into a boat morning as we tackled the dog (a
complete bath, much to his displeasure), the dog bed,
the cockpit cushions, the cockpit, and the bottom scum
from the mooring that had traveled all over the deck.
In the midst of all this,
Cleave and Darcy came over and asked us if we'd like to
go for a ride in the Myles' van to Jonesport to have a
look-see, and do some provisioning. This seemed
like a good way to see Jonesport, given the dense fog we
were facing, so off
went, leaving Bruce and Pepper to clean up the mess.
To get to the van, we dinghied to the Myles' dock and
walked up some paths to a little john-boat arrangement,
an aluminum skiff set up with an outhaul to the mainland
about 70 feet away. The tide was out, so we could
walk across, but we would need the john-boat on our
return, as the tide would be in. Jonesport was
bleak. The economy is not soaring, and as a couple
of locals on the town dock told us, lobster is cheaper
than hamburger. We provisioned at Manneford's
supermarket a few miles from the waterfront, then drove
down to Cape Split/Eastern Harbor to see about motoring
up there for the night. Couldn't see a darn thing
through the fog. Back at John White Island, the
sun was out, so for the time being it seems a good idea
to stay put. Plans for Roque are on hold, as there
is an easterly wind forecast and we don't want to anchor
beach in those conditions. We can't
anchor on the north side because Pepper can't go ashore
there, and Lakeman's only has room for maybe two boats
(especially since we are on rode, not chain). So
we don't know what our next move is, but that's just
A lazy, sunny afternoon
merged into a lovely evening. The SKATER and
ESMERALDE crew joined the Myles clan on their float for
sundowners. What nice folks, what a beautiful
Sunday, August 9, Day
13, Burnt Coat Harbor to Pleasant Bay - John White
day started with an early trip ashore with Pepper, who
was denied his late-evening pee because of our evening
with Cleave and Darcy. It was a perfectly still,
clear, cool morning. We walked out to the
lighthouse, which is in the final stages of a
restoration. Last time we visited, the
lightkeepers house was crumbling. Now, the point
is a public park and National Historic Site, and the
keeper's house looks wonderful, although not quite
complete. The island kids are still using the
access road for drag racing, as evidenced by the rubber
on the road, but otherwise it is a lovely, pleasant spot
and we look forward to seeing it complete on our next
Today we're headed east.
No wind, sunny, clear for miles and miles. We left
Burnt Coat in tandem with SKATER, looped through
Frenchboro for a peek, then pointed for Pleasant Bay,
where Cleave and Darcy have friends who have a small
cabin on an island just north of Cape Split. We
motored for a bit, then, as the breeze filled in, both
boats put spinnakers on. It started out slow and
lazy, but within an hour we had a perfect breeze: 10-14
kts, right on the quarter. Esmeralde rolled along
effortlessly at 7 - 7.5 knots. Views of all of Mt.
Desert, Schoodic Point, Frenchboro and Swans Island
entertained all day long. A GREAT SAIL: it doesn't
get much better.
Eventually we passed Petit
Manan, then turned northeast up into Pleasant Bay,
headed for Jack and Diane Myles cabin on John White
Island. Putting the pole out enabled us to carry
the spinnaker dead downwind the rest of the way.
The Myles maintain a CCA mooring, but it was already
occupied when we arrived by other acquaintances of
& Debby Gebow aboard UNDINE, a Hallberg Rassy 43.
We picked up a neighbor's mooring, which left our stern
about a boatlength from the rocks in 11 feet of water.
After a quick shower, and
as the evening turned damp and cool, we all dinghied to
the Myles wonderful float and granite pier, and followed
the pine trails to their charming, self-sustaining cabin
looking down Pleasant Bay. We enjoyed cockails
with them before having dinner aboard ESMERALDE with
Cleave & Darcy.
Saturday, August 8, Day
12, Northeast to Burnt Coat Harbor, Swan's Island
We're on the move again,
and what a lovely day to move. Another clear,
cool, breezy day, a nowrthwesterly that took us briskly
out of Northeast and Western Way. We got a call
from Cleave as we headed out of the harbor, and agreed
to meet in Swan's Island, Burnt Coat Harbor. He
and Darcy were sailing over from Pulpit Harbor. We
put on the sails, and had a lengthy discussion about
whether to put on the Code 0 or 2-A spinnaker.
In the end, with gusty and shifty breezes, we decided
that either one would be frustrating, so we just
unrolled the genoa and off we went. Good call, as
the apparent breeze pulled well forward as we headed
roughly southeast towards Swan's Island.
What a delightful sail it
was! The breeze held at 13 - 18 apparent, at 35 -
90 degrees as it wrapped around the islands and we
worked our way through the various rockpiles and islands
to the back tickle into Burnt Coat. The only
problem with the sail: it was much too short.
We dropped sail as we
appoached the eastern entrance...a "tricky tickle" as
the guides say, where we bumped on a ledge the first
year with this boat. Happily, we made a safe entry
into the main harbor, and could just see the menacing
ledge lurking below the surface of the water as we
passed by. Only two yachts were in when we
arrived, so we anchored with plenty of room outside the
mooring field. I hopped in the dinghy with Pepper
to walk to the store. Somehow, between the
dairy cooler at Pine Tree Market in Northeast, and the
entrance to Swan's Island, the milk I picked up had
Since we plan to be cruising the
islands without resources for the next week, we needed
milk. Fortunately, the new store on Swan's Island,
built after the old one was lost to fire in 2005, was
open. Off we went.
We dinghied over to Kent's
wharf and had a delightful walk. It's about 15 -
20 minutes to the store, just north up the road, past
the post office and the lovely lily pond, then left onto
North Road, past the little white church, and up just a
couple hundred yards on the left. It's a tiny
little store, but has pretty much everything you might
need, and appears to be the social hub of the island.
Pepper sat outside, and was a hit with the locals.
Everyone loves a Scotty! There
is also a little take-out restaurant in a trailer that
appears to be a busy little spot. Hot dogs,
burgers, grilled cheese, fried seafood, ice cream, all
the good stuff.
Pepper and I sniffed around but
managed to restrain ourselves, and enjoyed the nice walk
back to the boat, weighed down with three quarts of
Cleave and Darcy arrived
around 4:00. We made arrangements to have drinks
and dinner with them aboard SKATER.
a fun evening. The Great Occasion was that Darcy
has just secured a contract to publish her first book, a
project that has been in the works for a number of years
now. Congratulations Darcy! What a terrific
accomplishment. The book will be published by a
small, niche British company and will appear in print in
The evening was good fun,
as always. Lots of great food, and plenty of
liquid refreshment to wash it all down. Pepper had
a delightful time playing with Cleave and Darcy, and
chasing down food wherever he could find it.
Bruce, Pepper and I ultimately tumbled safely back to
ESMERALDE a little too late, and had a quiet rest.
Friday, August 7, Day
11, Northeast Harbor, Layday #4
We woke up to a beautiful
crisp, clear, sunny "fall" day. A fresh northerly
was blowing, and Northeast Harbor was quiet: everyone
off sailing in remote parts (except us!). After a liesurely breakfast aboard of homemade banana blueberry
bread, we headed for the free Explorer bus and rode to
Jordan Pond with Pepper. Pepper LOVES the buses.
He charges up the steps when the doors open, greets
everyone who comes aboard, and watches every movement
and responds to every sound. The doors spook him a
bit when they open with a "whoosh-bang", but he's
fascinated by them none-the-less.
At Jordan Pond there was
no shortage of explorers, but it was quite a lovely walk
around the pond, a little over three miles. Pepper
had a blast! He charged along ahead of us with his
head up, exploring everything.
Except for an
occasional squirt on some unsuspecting shrub, he never
slowed down. What fun for all of us. Towards
the end he did get a little tuckered out, so rather than
doing the hike back down the the harbor we took another
bus home. It was a lovely way to spend a few
Back at the boat, a few
squalls threatened, along with some spits of rain, as a
front passed through. The Espar parts were waiting
for us, as was one last pile of laundry and a shopping
list. We divied up the chores and off we go.
One the shopping list: a
Little Notch blueberry pie :), and for Bruce, those
scary looking bright red hot dogs...
Finally: a very lovely
evening, cool and crisp, clear and pleasant.
Thursday, August 6, Day
10, Northeast Harbor, Layday #3
night was great fun. We had cocktails aboard Emily
with the Gaynors, Lloyd & Pat Hamilton, and Tim & Bev.
We started out on deck, but drizzle started and we all
tucked in below, enjoying the carefully planned and
hard-sailed Emily. The Gaynors are delightful, and
we talked about all the sailors we know in common, about
the Bermuda Race, regulations, rating rules, people and
sailing. Very nice evening. Pepper was
included, and spent most of the evening shredding a
sponge he selected out of the galley cleaning stores,
and also chewing apart the leather laces on Edwin's
don't know how Edwin was able to keep his shoes on this
morning when he dressed, as I collected many bits of
leather lace off the cabin sole as I got ready to leave.
Today was a beautiful
clear sunny northerly. Waiting for Espar parts,
Bruce and I decided to explore a bit. We took the
free propane-powered bus over to Bar Harbor and wandered
around the town, and had lunch on the waterfront.
Glad we're not staying in Bar Harbor, but it was a fun
visit. On the ride over and back, we saw that the
park system is really stressed by the number of visitors
and cars. At Jordan Pond, cars were parked on both
sides of the park road for a mile or more, and there was
a traffic jam at Jordon Pond House. Thousands of
bikers. Pretty amazing.
Lovely evening aboard,
after fueling up at Clifton Dock. One more day,
parts, and repair the Espar. Then we'll be off
Wednesday, August 5,
Day 9, Northeast Harbor, Layday #2
We're beginning to think
that we may have been hit by lightning sometime earlier
Last night, after a
delightful dinner with Tim and Bev at the Tapas
restaurant, we returned to the boat in the cold, damp
fog and fired up the Espar to take the edge off the
night. No Espar!
This morning Bruce dove
into the project, and after multiple telephone
conversations with the tech guys, ordered parts.
Overnight delivery to Mt. Desert is actually two day
delivery, so we're here for two more days. At
least it's a nice place to be. We could take off
and return to pick up the package, but we decide to hang
around. We've been invited aboard Emily tonight,
for cocktails with Edwin & Elizabeth Gaynor as well as
Tim and Bev. Nice invitation and it promises to be
Tuesday, August 4, Day
8 - Northeast Harbor Layday
in Northeast today: laundry, propane, boat clean-up, and
lazy hours. Early morning had dense fog at ground
level, but sunshine overhead. Through the day the
fog came and went in the harbor, but it was pretty clear
that outside, the fog remained thick. We did our
chores early: Bruce to re-fill the propane tank, me in
the laundrymat with Bev off September Song.
When I got back to the
dock where Bruce and Pepper were waiting, he told me he
had had quite an hour. Apparently, on board a
Sabre we had oogled the day before, a couple was leaving
the harbor and the man had a stroke. The wife sent
out a mayday call on the radio, which Bruce heard while
he was in the Mooring Agent's office chatting.
They went running down to the town dock as the
harbormaster took off in his boat. The Sabre came
alongside as the ambulance arrived, and the captain and
wife were rushed off to the hospital. Bruce and the
mooring agent helped drop the sails which were still up
and tidy the boat up, and the harbormaster towed the
boat back to a mooring. How really depressing.
This evening we'll go out
to dinner at the Tapas restaurant with Tim and Bev,
which should be fun.
At the moment
(mid-afternoon) the fog is as think as ever, even in the
harbor, and it feels a bit like it might rain.
Nice day to be in town.
Monday, August 3, Day 7
- Wooden Boat to Northeast Harbor
Monday morning brought
another damp, foggy day. I fired up the cappuccino
machine, and responded to Bruce's request for blueberry
cornmeal pancakes and bacon (only I forgot to cook the
bacon and got in big trouble when I served the pancakes
without it!) We took Pepper for a delightful walk
through the Wooden Boat school and out the access road
to the main drag, and back again. He was happy.
we returned to the boat, the fog lifted nicely so we
decided to press on. Waving good by to our pals
from the evening before, we headed out the reach, and
down Jericho Bay, bypassing our favorite Buckle in order
to press on to Northeast Harbor. We drifted along
under sail for a short while, but eventually the wind
pooped out entirely and the tide turned against us, so
we fired up the engine and had a pleasant trip through
Casco Passage. Half-way across to the Bass Harbor
Bar the fog socked in. ZERO visibility, and lots
of lobster boats, pleasure boats and lobster boats.
It was a very busy few miles on approach to the Barr,
then around to the entrance to Western Way.
without warning and as fast as a curtain coming up on a
stage, the fog evaporated and Mount Desert appeared,
clear, warm, sunny, and blue sky. Even the fog
offshore to the south simply dissolved. I have
never seen so much fog disappear so suddenly and so
thoroughly, not to return at all for the rest of the
We picked up a mooring in
Northeast and wandered ashore. We'll stay two
days, refresh our propane, do laundry and some basic
provisioning, then maybe head east to Roque & Cutler.
While we relaxed in the
cockpit, we spoted Bev & Tim arrive on the Sabre 386
September Song. We'd been trying to catch up with
them, and here they were! They came aboard for a
chat, and we will have cocktails this evening aboard
September Song. Good fun!
Sunday, August 2, Day 6
- Bucks Harbor to Wooden Boat
a nice quiet evening in Bucks, we woke to very thick fog
blanketing everything in sight. Nothing better to
do than take Pepper for a nice walk "into town", as it
were, for a hello to the neighborhood at the Bucks
General Store. Pepper was a hit, greeting all the
locals and summer folk as they came and went, gathering
morning coffee, newspapers, bread and milk. Bruce
went in and made a few "unapproved" purchases, plus our
first local Maine blueberries of the cruise, and we all
headed back to the boat.
at the boat, the fog was still think but showing some
signs of lightning. So we hauled up the anchor and
headed out, and as we passed through the harbor entrance
the fog lifted all around us, and gave us clear but gray
views up Eggemoggin Reach. We turned left, and
headed down the reach to destinations unknown.
Maybe Wooden Boat, maybe Buckle, maybe Northeast.
It was a pleasant motor up
the reach, especially as we began to see a veritable
parade of lovely wooden boats proceeding northwest up
something was up at Wooden Boat. We decided to
duck into the anchorage to see what we might find, just
as the fog rolled in thick, wet and impenetrable.
There were still many of the Wooden Boat Regatta fleet
anchored in the fog, and we spotted our good friends
Dean and Kathy Mendenhall on Briar Patch. We also
found the guest CCA mooring was available, so we
continued in, waved to Dean and Kathy, and picked up the
moorning. Why fight the fog with such good company
and Kathy came over and joined us in our cockpit.
They are in the last month of a 13-month cruise on their
lovely McIntosh cutter that Dean built himself, in his
own back yard, with trees felled from a neighbor's
property more than 20 years ago. They were
repeating a cruise down the waterway and a winter in the
Bahamas that they had shared together 17 years ago.
What an adventure! They invited us to dinner
aboard with their good friends Paul and Joyce, who had
sailed their wooden Ketch ???? around the world in the
mid-1990s. It was a delightful evening in good
company, warmed by Kathy's wood-burning galley stove and
Dean's incredibly charming hand-built interior. We
just barely managed to find our way back to Esmeralde in
fog so thick it was essentially raining. A good
night's sleep lay ahead!
Saturday, August 1, Day
5 - Isle Au Haut to Bucks Harbor
We got pummeled by rain
yesterday throughout the evening: a great cleaning for the
boat, and the dinghy floorboards were floating this
morning. We were happy, though, tucked in below
with a nice dinner of pan-seared pork tenderloin and red
wine. Bruce chatted with ham and sideband pals,
including Cleave. We missed Eric. Early
bedtime. I poked my head out of the hatch at about
0300 and saw nothing but stars. Could this be a
the morning, it was clear and the sun was shining
through a moderate ground fog: very beautiful. I
took my half-hour to wipe down the decks, rails,
stainless and cabin top, then went back below to put the
porridge and coffee on the stove and feed Pepper.
Lovely morning routine. The Thoroughfare was
mainly asleep, and beautiful.
Once the crew was up, fed
and watered, we all went ashore for a pleasant walk
along the shore. Pepper met some new friends,
and was very happy. He loves visiting these new
spots and is very animated. We hope he is having a
Back on the boat we took
an hour to do boat routine. Bruce cleaned and
waxed the transom, while I cleaned the cabin sole,
galley stove and head. Nice and tidy. All is
We decided we'd do the
lazy thing and wander just around the block to one of
our favorite spots, the little hole in Merchants Row between Round and
McGlathery. We decided against exiting through the
thoroughfare on a falling tide, with our 7' draft, so we
motored out into East Penobscot Bay instead, to find was a lovely westerly
breeze. We decided it might be a nice
run up to Bucks, where Pepper could say hi to the
Scotties at Bucks Harbor Marine. It was indeed a
lovely trip, with clear views of the Camden Hills and
lovely panoramas wherever we glanced, but we ended up
motor-sailing most of the way, as the breeze failed us
and the ebb tide was strong against. Regardless,
it was most pleasant. We anchored in the eastern
cove with spectacular views down Penobscot Bay.
Caused a bit of a ruckus when we went ashore and all the
Scotties greeted one another, but it was fun.
Returned to the boat where it was flat calm, sunny and
hot. Enjoyed a lovely siesta, waiting for the cool
evening breeze and the sunset.
Friday, July 31 - Day 4
- Tenants Harbor to Isle Au Haut
Woke up this morning
and looked out the overhead hatch to see crystal clear
blue sky and felt a cool, dry breeze wafting down.
Could this be...Kansas? No! This is Maine!
In the summer of 2009!
in Tenants turned out to be lovely. As we tidied
up the boat and showered, the rain that had welcomed us
tapered off, the skies cleared, and the warm, pleasant
sunshine emerged. It was a beautiful summer day,
and we soaked it in. Oh, to be in Maine in July!
We're grateful for whatever we can get this year.
After the obligatory lobster rolls and lobster stew at
the Cod End, we both had a great restful night.
I should note that
while we were able to pick up a mooring at 8:00 a.m.,
and there were plenty of rentals available until 3:00
pm, by 3:45 all the Cod End moorings were taken.
About half a dozen boats arrived after that and had a
tough time finding a home for the night. Some
anchored, some went to Long Cove, and one or two found
that elusive other-than-Cod-End rental.
This morning, as I
said, we woke to a lovely Maine summer day. We
took Pepper in for a nice long walk on a country road,
where he found several kitty cats to chat with, and his
first rooster. After a stop at the General Store,
we returned to the boat and pondered the day's plan.
We're relaxed, and we simply want to enjoy whatever is
available. With light winds and afternoon showers
forecast, we elect to head off to Isle Au Haut. It
is a pleasant, quiet, motor-sail passage, with lovely
views of the Seven Sisters to the North, then Vinal
Haven Island, then into East Penobscot to Isle Au Haut
thoroughfare. Uneventful, easy, nice. Just
what we had in mind.
we arrived, there were no visiting yachts so we had our
choice of rental moorings. Rain was in the air by
the time we were tied up and stowed, so we hopped into
the dinghy with Pepper and headed ashore for a quick
walk. The center activity was the store, as
always. All the locals were there chatting.
I noticed that their inventory has definitely moved
upscale. They still have the basic canned baked
beans and spam, but they also featured some upscale
cheeses, condiments, greek yoghurt and Pete 'n Gerry's
free range eggs. Some things do change, even in
By the time we got back
to the boat, the rain had started. We really
didn't care. We parked ourselves in the cockpit,
poured some cocktails, and enjoyed the setting.
Nothing to complain about at all. It was quite
as an afterthought, just to prove this is Maine 2009,
I'm including a photo of the rain from our cockpit...
The plants and ducks are happy (and we are now snug
below, all three of us, having a nice evening)!
scroll down for
Thursday, July 30 - Day 3 -
Gulf of Maine to Tenants Harbor
3 started just as Day 2 ended... Rolling along on
a near-dead-run in the Gulf of Maine, 20 - 25 knots of
breeze, in very black, damp night. It wasn't
comfortable, but it wasn't too bad. Pepper was
unhappy but was snuggled up hard with one of us at all
times, which kept him calm. He's a good little
dog: a good trooper. The dinghy was hanging in
there. What a great boat the Trinka is. We
have the 10-foot sailing version, and it's a terrific
tender. It has a self-bailer that we leave open
whenever we tow, so even if she takes water aboard, it
empties right out. We didn't like putting the boat
through the abuse it took surfing down the waves and
getting yanked as our stern yawed back and forth, but
took it she did! No problems at all. Next
we'll rig some sort of little drogue to tow that will
hold her back a bit, and hopefully keep her a bit more
fully in line with Esmeralde.
relieved Bruce at 3:00 am after a bit of sleep, but not
much. I found a very black, wet night waiting for
me, with thick, thick fog. The good news was that
the powerful thunderstorms had passed by to the north,
leaving us untouched. I kept her going as we
pulled abeam of Monhegan. Bruce and Pepper emerged
from their nap as we passed Mosquito on the final
approach to Tenants. We shared lobster-pot watch
duty, and noted that while the entrance to Tenants was
still pretty thick with them, it didn't seem as bad as
turned around Southern Island, the wind came into our
faces, and the rain began to fall. The three of us
became thoroughly soaked as we entered the harbor and
dropped our sails. We had ourchoice of moorings,
and were relieved to pick one up, tidy the boat, have
hot showers, and finish it all off with the traditional
scrambled eggs and bacon breakfast!
We left Cuttyhunk at
7:00 am Wednesday, and were sitting at a mooring in
Tenants by 8:00 am Thursday. Not bad for our
scruffy little crew!
Wednesday, July 29 -
Day 2: Cuttyhunk to Gulf of Maine
A long day ahead: the
plan was to get an early start, hit the Canal with the
change of the tide, fuel up and pee Pepper at Sandwich,
then head straight for Tenants Harbor.
There was plenty of fog
in Cuttyhunk as we made coffee, but not as bad as the
day before. At least we could see the shore!
We cast off just before 7:00 (and also before the
morning mooring fee collection team came around,
although that wasn't our intent) and headed for the Cape
Cod Canal, some 20 miles north up Buzzards Bay.
arrived just as the tide turned at about 10:00 am, and
the fog, which had reduced visibility to 1 mile in the
bay, lifted to reveal a bright sunny day. Pepper
was thrilled with his first trip in the Canal, and
eagerly watched every person on the bike path and every
dog out for a walk.
We pulled into the
Sandwich Marina to fuel up and to give Pepper a quick
squirt, then at 11:45 headed out and set a course for
Tenants Harbor: 143 miles, about 140 degrees.
There was a brisk 15-knot southerly at first, but it
quickly went southwest, dead astern, so we motorsailed
with the main only.
the afternoon the breeze quit completely. Very
pleasant, actually, clear, sunny and warm. A nice
Our course took us
directly over Stellwagon. Bruce was asleep, and I
was half-watching, half-reading in the cockpit, scanning
the horizon for whales every now and again. And I
got the best whale show I HAVE EVER SEEN! Just
about 10 boat lengths from us, a large whale completely
breached the surface: his entire body, from the head to
the flukes, came soaring out of the water then came
crashing down with a tremendous splash. My heart
was in my throat! I ran for Bruce, and when we
came on deck, the whale did it AGAIN, and AGAIN and
AGAIN! The last few times were within four or five
boatlengths of the boat. (Don't worry, we didn't
chase him, we just idled the motor and kept clear).
It was an incredible show, and naturally, no pictures.
It was too exciting to even think about a camera!
As evening approached,
we organized for a potentially eventful evening.
The forecast included strong thunderstorms, lightning
and heavy rain, along with s-sw winds 15 - 25. On
Sirius Weather we were watching a huge, powerful wave of
thunderstorms march across NY, CT, MA and NH, and
wondered what they had in store for us. All our handheld
electronics went into the oven (who knows if this works,
but we thought we'd at least try), harnesses and wet
weather gear came out, the boat got fully stowed, and we
had a yummy pesto, tortellini & chicken dinner.
Aside from lightening,
we had two concerns: Pepper, who had never done
something like this before, and the dinghy, which we
knew should not be towed across the Gulf of Maine in a
25-knot southwester, but we had no real alternative.
After dinner, Bruce
took 6-8 and the breeze filled in for a delightful sail.
I took 8 - 12, and the
wind built throughout, topping out at a solid 20 - 23,
gusting to 25-26. This was fine until the seas
built, then the dinghy, as we expected, became a bit
unruly and Pepper was unhappy. We spent the rest
of the night trading watches every few hours, the
off-watch person on duty snuggling with Pepper, which
kept him calm. There wasn't much we could do about
the dinghy other than tweak boatspeed.
The fog came and went,
and the moon even made an appearance to shed some
welcome light on the entire adventure. I said
good-by to Day 2 at midnight, turning the yacht over to
Bruce as I went below to hang out with little Pepper.
Tuesday, July 28 -
day 1 - Newport to Cuttyhunk
This is one of those
days that will go down in the books. All you
sailing pals who think we're absurd with maintaining our
boat will get some vicarious fun out of it.
It started out just
fine. Good night's sleep in our air conditioned
house, then a reasonable start to the boat, all packed
up and ready to go. ESMERALDE made us proud: she
was spit 'n polish fine, all systems ready to go, clean
and organized and well stowed. We were ready!
Hopped aboard, Pepper
in tow. Cast off from our slip in Portsmouth at
10:30. Perfect timing. Headed for a relaxing
evening in Cuttyhunk (we would have headed straight on
through the canal, but there was no way for us to make
the current, and a nice evening and good rest seemed to
At 10:50, Bruce went
below and found our bilge full of hot, fresh water, and
our starboard water tank empty. Stop the boat!
Shut everything down just south of Prudence Island, and
the immediate diagnosis was a failed pressure releif
valve on the hot water tank. Not such a big deal,
as we could grab one quickly at any plumbing supply
store, but it did totally disable our water system so we
wanted to deal with it immediately. Head back to
Then I had to tell
Bruce what I had observed while he was diagnosing the
water system failure: our autopilot kept shutting off,
was a bigger problem, and a surprise, as we had just
replaced the autopilot control head two weeks ago.
A phone call to Bruce's pal at Raymarine Tech Support,
and a diagnosis of a failed drive. Another quick
call the Cay Marine, which had a replacement drive in
stock. We were headed for the dock anyway.
Add that to the list.
Back tied alongside by
1130. Bruce ripped out the old drive, and while I
carried it up to Cay for the replacement, he pulled out
the pressure relief valve. I returned with the new
drive, and exchanged it for the pressure relief valve.
While I drove to the Plumbing Supply store, he installed
the drive. When I got back with the new valve, he
was finishing up the drive installation.
Our boat, which had
been spotlessly tidy just two hours before. Was
totally ripped upart!
the valve, and fired up the water system.
The water pump wouldn't
shut off. Not air lock, not crap. DEAD.
OK, pull out the spare we carry (the pump has already
been replaced twice) and install it. Fire up the
water system again. All is well.
Put boat back together.
Leave dock at 3:00 PM having spent $2,030 and used a
$300 spare part. Head out, and spend an hour
calibrating the autopilot. 4:30: head for
WHEW. What a way
to start a cruise. Thank goodness we carry a
full-time mechanic on-board.
had an uneventful motor down the bay, then ran straight
into PEA SOUP fog around Clingstone. Less than 1/4
mile vis by the time we got to Castle Hill.
Hoisted the main as we rounded R4, and put her on a
course for Cuttyhunk. Nice 12-knot breeze on the
beam. We rolled along at 7 - 7.5 knots, a really
lovely sail but for the zero-visibility thing.
Good time for both of us to relax and try to get beyond
the hectic and unplanned activities of the day.
Got in to Cuttyhunk at
about 8:00 PM. We couldn't see the breakwater
until we were about one boatlength away. The stuff
was very, very think, even in the channel and in the
harbor. We picked up one of about 2-3 available
moorings in the pond, had a quick yummy chicken dinner
and a well-deserved glass of wine, and crashed for a
good night's rest.