What a nice cruise to Maine!
We arrived back in home waters on Thursday, September 1,
right before Labor Day Weekend, and spent the first
night at Cuttyhunk. The next day we rode a nice
northerly out to Block Island, where we were able to
pick up a CCA mooring and hang out for Labor Day weekend.
And then...it's all over, and back home.
We woke up in Cuttyhunk on Friday morning to a brisk
fall northerly, perfect for making the run to Block
Island. I took the dogs in early for a long romp,
then went back to the boat to find Bruce up and about.
We made the decision to head for the Block, hoping to
arrive early enough to snag a CCA mooring for the busy
Labor Day weekend. We had a great sail for the
first couple of hours in a 20-knot northerly, giving us
a fast and comfortable broad reach. As expected,
though, the wind didn't hold and eventually we rolled
the jib, strapped in the main and motored on to the
Island, arriving at about 1:30. Hurray! there was
a mooring available so we settled down for a few days of
decompressing before the end of our cruise and return to
reality. The harbor was busy, but not as full as
we might have expected. We guessed that Hurricane
Irene eliminated some of the crowds, as so many boats
had been hauled out. Also, Saturday brought a
strong southerly that would have been unpleasant for
boats coming over from Narragansett Bay, the the
forecast was for plenty of wind through the weekend,
along with scattered showers. Ashore, the island
was very busy but we enjoyed plenty of walks to and from
town, a few beers at Mahogany Shoals, and good fun with
some CCA folks as well as Garry and Barbara Bloom from
Sea Diamond (from NEB) and Keven and Annie from Tiller
the Hun. The highlight was probably a stroll
through Champlins on Saturday night when they were
celebrating Christmas in September. What an
Overnight Home - August 31 -
left Camden at about 0730 on a beautiful clear, crisp
fall day with a light northerly. Absolutely
perfect. Our general plan was to head straight for
the canal, but it was a long way and we wanted to find
some way to shorten the trip for the dogs. We
contemplated Isles of Shoals, P-town, Tenants.
Then it struck me: Monhegan. Directly on our
course line, no extra miles, and, on a day like this,
easy-in-easy-out. It would knock five hours off
the trip for the dogs. And we'd never been there.
So we motored out of Camden (not enough wind to sail),
wandered past Owl's Head and through Mussel Ridge
Channel, then across to Monhegan, a trip of close to 30
miles. We picked our way into Monhegan Harbor
through the entrance from the north which was tiny tiny
tiny, but we were at peak high tide so there was a
little more room than normal.
local lobsterman saw us arrive and directed us to a
mooring. We took the dinghy in to a small beach
where island visitors were eating seafood at picnic
tables under cheerful umbrellas. It was a
delightful scene. We walked the dogs around for an
hour. Everyone pee'd and pooped. Bruce
bought a sandwich, and I bought a local squash and
cucumber out of a roadside wheelbarrow, 50 cents each.
We poked our heads into the small but well-stocked
general store and the shop lady gave us all kinds of
Monhegan trivia. As usual, the dogs were a hit
everywhere we went, especially in their red lifejackets.
Great visit, great place to stop on such a calm, lovely
We had arrived at Monhegan
at 1:00 pm, and we were under way again by 2:00. I
set our course for the canal entrance before we left our
mooring, and it was a straight shot out of Monhegan
harbor and directly to the canal entrance buoy.
It was a calm day, maybe 5 knots out of the south (not
out of the north as promised, but oh well, at least it
was light and beautiful.
the afternoon, as we motored along, we hit something.
It was a soft bump, but we definitely hit something.
Both Bruce and I popped up and stared in our wake.
I thought I saw an odd splash right under the port
quarter, but that's it. Then, after mabe 45 - 60
seconds, a large animal breached clear of the surface,
maybe three boatlengths back and just off to port.
It had a blunt nose and large "wings" that were white on
the underside. We scratched our heads for awhile:
small whale? Shark? In the end, I decided it
had to have been a sunfish, but I didn't know if they
could move that fast or jump out of the water.
We'll have to research that. But my suspicions
were further reinforced when we passed another sunfish,
about ten feet from us, sitting on the surface, about an
hour later. So I do think that's what we hit and
saw jump out of the water.
The rest of the afternoon
was uneventful. The overnight was clear
and glassy calm, with the breeze backing into the SE and
E but staying under ten knots, so it was generally a
motorboat ride. We made good time, and were at the
canal entrance by 10:00, a good two hours before the
current would shift in our favor.
headed into the Sandwich fuel dock to re-fuel, and to
let the dogs have some relief. For $10 they let us
stay alongside for an hour or so, which we did in order
to give the dogs more exercise and to wait for the
current to change. We headed out again at 11:30,
45 min before the change, and were out the canal by 1:00
and headed to Cuttyhunk for the night. Arriving at
Cuttyhunk at 4:00 we found at least half of the town
moorings still available. We actually tried to
anchor, but the inside anchorage was tight and we found
most other boats had only 50 feet of rode, which made us
uncomfortable. We would put out a lot more than
that, and with a forecast that included the breeze
working its way fully around the compass, we weren't
happy with our anchoring options. We ended up
picking up a mooring. Swordfish for dinner.
And a needed good night's sleep!
Camden - August 30
Back to Camden. It
was time to head home, and we needed to do laundry.
So we went back to "our" float at Wayfarer, where the
gang at Wayfarer welcomed us warmly. They had no
power when we arrived so phones were out, but they were
working on handheld VHFs. And they were all hard
at work launching boats that had been hauled in the few
days before the storm. Something like 40 boats.
Everyone was pretty exhausted, but ever cheerful and
friendly. Can't beat that attitude.
and the boys came into the harbor shortly after we did
and picked up a mooring outside (the problem with a
fifty foot boat...). We all had cocktails aboard
Esmeralde: it was a lovely, typical summer Camden
evening. Then dinner on the deck at The
Waterfront. The boys misbehaved a bit at the end, thanks
entirely to Bruce. Bret and Alex ended up getting
thrown into the water off the dock. Nice way to
end a Maine cruise.
Charlie et al left for the overnight home early the next
morning, while we stayed in Camden an extra day to do
laundry, fuss, wait for a northerly, and enjoy one last
Camden day. I decided to go for a run - a
beautiful route out Bay View Street to Rockport and
back. Two miles into the run I began to get sharp
pain in my hip. I tried to run through it, but
ended up giving up at three miles and walking home.
So disappointing. Beautiful route, though, which
I'll have to try again next time we are there.
In the end, Irene was a
P.I.A. for us here in Penobscot Bay, but not much more
than that, at least for us.
were well prepared in an excellent harbor on a Very Big
Mooring. There were plenty of boats, but it wasn't what
I would call crowded at all. Everyone had good
swinging room, and many of us were on moorings. We
removed our headsail and the bimini, but left the dodger
and mainsail in place. We left the motor on the
dinghy so we could get the dogs in, planning to remove
it and all the dinghy contents only at the last moment.
We never did take the motor off: the dinghy rode out the
storm on a bridle off the stern like a tethered duck.
We had our Hurricane Party
aboard Bigouden, hosted by brother Charlie and
his sun Bret and friend Alex. Tom Young, who was
riding out the storm on his lovely Alden Challenger yawl
Christmas, also joined us for the fun.
There was plenty of wine, fresh swordfish and tuna from
the "new" fish market in North Haven, and lots of
veggies, salad and (thanks Bruce) strawberry rhubarb
pie. Pretty good stuff!
Irene dished out rain and
wind all day Sunday, August 28, but nothing too bad.
The day started foggy but rain-free, with a very light
We got the dogs ashore, went for a nice walk to the
North Haven Grocery, had coffee, used the internet and
watched The Weather Channel on the big screen TV.
As we headed back to the boat it began to drizzle.
It did this on and off, but it wasn't bad.
The wind began to build
shortly before noon, but it was very slow and not of any
real concern. Five to ten knots with gusts to 15
for a couple of hours, then 10 to 15 with gusts to
twenty. It stayed like that, from the E and SE,
for most of the day. We hung out, watched others
mess with their boats and their multiple anchors and
other details, and generally got bored. The dogs
got an "insurance run" ashore mid-day, just in case
things got too bad to bring them in later on.
At dinner time things were
still pretty mild. The dogs got a final walk
ashore. They had great fun learning to play fetch
with the hundreds of crab apples that had been torn from
the trees along Pulpit Harbor Road. We let them
off-leash and they had a ball running up and down, until
they started chasing each other instead of the apples
and ended up on someone's back porch. We ventured
in to retrieve the little tresspassers, and put them
back on-leash for the rest of the walk. At least
they blew off a little cabin fever. We hauled out
the BBQ and put it on the transom to cook dinner, and we
even ate in the cockpit, although the lettuce threatened
to take off in the breeze and I'm certain we will find
small bits of it plastered in corners.
Things got a little more
lively between 10 PM and 2 AM when the wind shifted into
the SE and S. We saw gusts to 40. Charlie,
who was a little farther out in the harbor, saw 45.
of us got much sleep, not because it was dangerous or we
were in trouble or anything. It was just loud and
boisterous and annoying. So a long night, but
Morning dawned to a crisp,
clear, fall-like Maine day. It was blowing briskly
out of the SW, 10 - 20 with gusts to 25. After
walking the dogs, the wind had eased off enough for us
to put our headsail back on, and we decided to make our
way to Camden to do laundry and get ready to head south.
We spoke to Charlie, Bret and Alex aboard Bigouden,
and Tom Young aboard
Christmas, on our way out of the harbor at about
Pulpit Harbor - Waiting for
Irene - August 25 - 26
We're hanging out in Pulpit Harbor, positioned, ready
and waiting for whatever Irene intends to throw our way.
She's supposed to go ashore in western Long Island, head
up through Connecticut, cross Massachusetts into New
Hampshire, then across Maine. Forecasts for the
last three days have predicted tropical storm force (39
kts to 74 kts) winds from a variety of directions for us
here in coastal Maine. We
think it will be pretty wet and messy, but as long as our
ground tackle holds well, we think we're in good shape.
We're tucked in under the eastern shore of Pulpit
At the moment it is
beautiful: incredible sunrise, lovely scenery.
Warm and sunny day.
Brother Charlie arrived
yesterday (Thursday the 25th) in Bigouden, with two
teenage boys (nephew Bret and friend Alex) and found
himself a nice little hole in the anchorage, where other
yachts are beginning to arrive for the show. This
is a known hurricane hole, so the one problem is that we
expect a bunch of folks to show up, looking for
protection. Camden is dreadfully bad in anything
from the east, which is what we expect for much of the
storm, so those boats are looking for anything better
than their regular moorings. They look here first.
Last night brought a
strong front with torrential rain and lightning.
We hung out on our boat for a few hours in the aftrnoon
with the BigDan boys (photo above), then went back to
BigDan for a BBQ during a break in the weather action.
Had a really fun evening. The
boys were great, completely helpful, and they cleaned up
everything afterwards. The heavens opened again as
we finished, so Bruce and the dogs and I had a very
black, wet ride in for the final pee before returning to
the boat to retire.
We're now enjoying a bit
of the calm before the storm. The pea-soup fog
that we woke to this morning (Friday) has dissipated and
we enjoyed a beautiful day here on North Haven. I
went for a run into town and back, while Charlie and the
boys walked in (for ice cream!). We discovered
that there is a great fish market now in the village of
North Haven, featuring beautiful looking fish as well as
some fresh bread, bagels & focaccia baked by some
enterprising islander. We plan to head back
tomorrow to buy dinner. Meanwhile, Bruce wandered
around the harbor in the dinghy talking to our fellow
refugees. We all had dinner aboard Esmeralde while
enjoying a spectacular sunset over the Camden Hills.
Pretty nice place to hang out.
Seal Bay to Pulpit Harbor -
Wednesday, August 24
Three sequential images of
sunrise at Seal Harbor.
With Hurricane Irene
threatening pretty much the entire eastern seaboard for
the upcoming weekend, we
needed to identify our options and make plans. Our
goal: to set ourselves up for a good, sheltered, safe
spot for the weekend. In addition, the forecast
for the next three days is for strong southerlies and
some strong thunderstorms with two approaching cold
fronts, all before the hurricane. So we pretty
much need to tuck in and hang out. So: off to
Pulpit Harbor. We also organized options for
hauling out at Wayfarer before Irene.
Camden to Seal Bay, Vinalhaven
Island - Tuesday, August 24
took one extra day in Camden after the PBR in order to
do laundry and re-stock. We were mildly depressed
by our on-the-water lack of performance, but still had
great memories of good fun. After getting fueled
and watered, we headed through the Fox Islands
and finally decided to stop at Seal Bay, anchoring by
Hen Island. It was our 14th Anniversary!
Lovely spot, and only two other boats nearby.
Spectacular sunset. Fun dinner with Prosecco,
grilled shrimp and fresh local greens for dinner.
Very pleasant evening.
Camden: 2011 Penobscott Bay
Rendezvous - August 18 - 21
We participated in the
Penobscot Bay Rendezvous, sponsored by
Wayfarer Marine, Lyman Morse, and a bunch of other local
companies. GREAT FUN. More info to follow,
But first... We left
Belfast for Camden shortly before 0700 in dense, dense, dense (did
I say dense?) fog. No wind, but dense fog.
We had to get to Wayfarer, as we were scheduled for a
haul/inspection/zinc change/bottom scrub at 0930.
Wouldn't you know. About a half hour out of
Belfast we hooked a lobster pot on the prop. Rats.
Tried mightily, but couldn't get it free, and neither of
us wanted to go for a swim.
however it was hooked, we could still motor, we crept
along slowly and carefully, with a long line trailing
astern and remarkably little apparent impact, vibration
or otherwise, from whatever we had hooked. We
arrived at Wayfarer and hour late with no reverse gear,
but managed to get ourselves into the slings gingerly
and out she came. There was the pot, still on the
prop, with the line wrapped around one blade.
As usual, the Wayfarer
gang was outstanding. They were responsive,
helpful, and all-around wonderful. We were back in
the water within an hour, with a free prop, clean bottom
and new zincs, and quickly tied up at our float at the
head of the inner harbor, which was to be our home for
the next four days.
First. And what a show. Talk about pulling
out all the stops... Three days of racing for
sailboats. Poker Runs, Photo Pursuits and other
on-the-water activities for the motor boats.
Dinner and fireworks at Lyman Morse.
Cocktails at the Camden Yacht Club. Dinner and
dancing (with an outstanding band) at Wayfarer Marine.
And an awards ceremony featuring first place awards that
were beautiful hand-made wooden lobster buoys, made by a
woodworker at Lyman Morse.
Esmeralde elected to sail
in the double handed class, as there were lots of
husband-and-wife crews. We had John and Cindy
Knowles on the J46 Abracadabra, Tom Babbit and various
crew on the J-42 Bravo, an Oyster 50-something named
A-Lady, A J-109 True North, and a variety of other
boats. The first day of racing was an extremely
light-air affair starting off Rockland, running up to
Owl's Head, then back to Camden. Esmeralde had a
bad start, but we held our own on the first beat and
managed to make up good time on the run. We
finished hot on Bravo's tail in a gusty finish that was
great fun, for second place. We were actually very
proud of little Esmeralde's performance, especially
given our poor start.
The second day of racing
was, um, more interesting. The wind slowly built
at the start as the fog cleared out. During the
start sequence before ours, we were seeing 23 knots over
the deck going upwind. After waiting, watching,
questioning, we decided to tuck in one reef. We
headed for the line feeling really good about our sail
plan, fully powered up. We were on a roll, half a
length from the line at the gun and second only to
Bravo, which was barging toward the pin.
Abracadabra was three boatlengths back.
Seconds after the start
gun, with our dogs below because of the conditions, the
top swivel on the jib furler blew apart (we figured this
out later) and the jib came crashing down. In
order to stay out of the way of the fleet charging in
behind us at full speed, I bore away to get clear, and
this, of course, dumped the headsail into the water to
leeward rather than nicely on deck. So we had a
bit of a fire drill getting it all back on board while
the fleet worked its way around us, then we limped home.
Very, very disappointing. DNF.
There was a great party
that night, which helped to numb the pain. Filet
and lobster dinner. Really good stuff, with a band
that knocked our socks off.
Sunday morning we worked
to get the jib furler repaired enough for us to sail the
last race. I went up the rig to retrieve the
remaining bits and pieces. One single bearing was
in the upper unit, and it fell to the deck as I
inspected. Fortunately Bruce was able to retrieve
it. The Wayfarer rigging crew was able to scrounge
spare bearings. Bruce painstakingly re-packed the
swivel (upside down, pushing the bearings up, while the
swivel remained on the headstay...). We got it
back together, hoisted the jib, and were good to go for
The third race saw very
foggy conditions. The breeze came in and the fog
broke some, and the start sequences started. All
was fine, and the breeze was building nicely so it
looked to be a great set-up. We got nicely set-up
at our warning gun, then rounded to head for the line
with four minutes to go. Four whole
minutes. And the breeze evaporated. Everyone
that wasn't sitting on the starting line when the
warning gun sounded just sat where they were. Not
A Breath. WTF. We ended up a full eight minutes
late for the start, right in the middle of our fleet.
Unfortunately, the boats to beat had been near the line
and were able to start with light, but adequate
pressure. So we sailed the course from eight
minutes back. We had a great sail up to the top
mark, and rounded with the J-160s that had started two
minutes behind us. They beat us to the reaching
mark, which, by the time we got there, was lost in total
ZERO visability fog. ZERO. We worked our way
down the dead-run in dense fog, watching our competition
on radar. One boat in our class crossed our bow on
a reach, apparently totally lost as they were nowhere
near a mark and headed for a ledge, which we saw them
stop for only at the very last moment on our radar.
We were especially pleased to actually overtake two
J-160s on the run. Little Esmeralde seems very
quick down wind. We'll have to watch how she does.
At the leeeward mark there
was zero visability. We rounded simultaneously in
a stiff breeze with the two 160s, three small PHRF boats
under spinnaker, and a Kanter 50-something TeMana.
It was completely hair-raising. Then a short beat
to the finish, and no one could see the committee boat.
There were so many radar targets it was impossible
to tell which was what. We spotted it only at the
last minute, and tacked for the line with four other
boats running hard and fast and tight. We were
squished between the Kanter and a 160, with everyone
yelling for room and no visibility more than 100 feet.
Yikes. Amazing there were no accidents. A
bunch of boats were DNF because they couldn't find marks
or finish. We ended up fourth in our class, in
spite of our 8-minute-late start. Once again,
little Esmeralde (and her crew!) show some potential.
Now, if we could just get the starts going and keep the
boat together all in one race we'd be good!
Anyway, great regatta,
great fun, definitely on our list for next year.
Thank you, PBR crew!
Belfast - Wednesday,
Belfast is a wonderful
stop. We enjoyed ourselves immensely. A
wonderful small city with tremendous hospitality.
Some good restaurants, wonderful parks, nice shops, and
a great place for some good runs. It took us --
literally -- years to get here. I've been hearing
about it for a while but somehow we never made it.
Fortunately the weather Gods conspired with us this
month and we had good opportunity and reason to stop in.
We enjoyed it!
Dinner the first night was
supposed to be at the dive bar Rolly's, but it was $1
taco night thus extremely crowded, and we didn't want
tacos. So we wandered to dive bar #2, the Lookout
(I think), truly a dive bar but we were almost the only
ones there. I had pretty good crab cakes on
spinach salad, and Bruce had a burger. Both
Our first stop in the
morning was the laundry. Highly recommended.
Just up the hill from the town dock, it is large, clean,
and has well-maintained efficient machines. They
also have a wash-dry-fold service, but we did it all
ourselves in just a little over an hour. Right
next door is the natural foods Co-Op, a really sixties
hippy-flavored place with lots of local product and all
things natural and organic. The local meats looked
great, and bakery stuff looked fresh and yummy. It
is truly a chaotic jumble inside, but very good for
provisioning (my style, anyway...). While we were
doing laundry we wandered over to the diner (can't
remember the name, but a basic breakfast-lunch spot on
the right side of the main drag as you wander up the
hill from the waterfront.
Loads of galleries, but
since I'm not really a gallery person I can't offer much
comment. I did find several good funky stores to
wander through, and some "made in Maine" stuff that was
I went for an afternoon
run that was outstanding. Started out running
north along the waterfront, then took the little
footbridge over the river to Route 1 and back for some
pretty views. Then went up the VERY STEEP hill
from the footbridge and took a left at the top to run
back through the top of town (where I bumped into Bruce
and the puppies!) and continued south, out of town and
through a gorgeous tree-lined neighborhood with lovely
homes on either side. Very peaceful, beautiful.
I would never have seen this but for the run, and highly
recommend it for someone looking for a lovely walk.
Continuing a little over a mile south of town, and
merging on to route 1-A, I ended up at City Park, an
outstanding, lovely park on a long hill that slopes down
to the water. Lovely mature trees, lots of areas
for relaxing, playing. A small shelter right down
by the water near some horseshoes pits where lots of
local men where enjoying a vigorous game. Tennis
courts. Swimming pool. A snack shack
advertising the "best home made ice cream in Maine!"
very low-key, tasteful, pleasant. And then I ran
back through some local moderate neighborhoods between
1-A and the waterfront, small, modes 1/4 acre lots
nicely maintained, nothing fancy.
Had dinner that night at a
wonderful Italian restaurant on the left hand side of
the main street, something like Delphino's.
Excellent dinner, highly recommended. Enjoyed
chatting there with new acquaintances from the Burger at
the dock, Jubilee (Judy and Bill).
Wonderful little town.
So glad we visited. The last night treated us to
clearing skies and a beautiful sunset. And We'll
Castine to Belfast - Tuesday,
We stayed tucked in to
Castine for two nights as we were pummeled by torrential rain.
Had lots of steamers and beer and Pinot Grigio ("Kris"
wasn't bad at all) at Dennett's wharf, and nice walks around the
pleasant tree-lined streets with elms and lovely homes.
While we were there, a Concordia that was on the first
day of a charter out of Bucks (or Brooklyn -- we heard
both) with nine people aboard managed to T-Bone a small
motorboat on a mooring just off the dock.
Concordia sustained minor damage to her stem, but the
little motorboat looked darn near totalled, with a
blown-out windshield and a cabin coming stove in.
The fellow on the Concordia was very humble. Not a
pretty moment, and one we all hope to avoid.
After two rainy days in
Castine we got a little cabin fever and decided to motor
over to Belfast. We left Castine in pouring rain,
but not really much fog. We passed the "State of
Maine," Maine Maritime Academy's training vessel, and
enjoyed the soggy views of lovely white homes lined up
along the waterfront. We motored across upper
Penobscot Bay in a cold, wet, windy northerly. It
was gusting over twenty as we got out into the open.
There was little to see, but it was only about 10 miles
across so a quick trip. The harbormaster in
Belfast was waiting for us on the float. We were
quickly tied up alongside, and settled in to dry out.
We sometimes end up
spending a few days alongside. While we like being
out on a hook in remote places, when it gets gray, wet
and rainy we often like to lie alongside. This is
primarily because we need to get the dogs ashore a few
times each day, and it's just so much easier when we are
tied alongside. So we do. Appologies to the
Wooden Boat to Castine - Sunday,
at Wooden Boat was beautiful. Glassy calm,
beautiful sky. Hard to beat. We had coffee,
then took the dogs ashore for a long walk around the
Wooden Boat campus, exploring boatbuilding projects in
process, then a walk up the long dirt access road and
back. Good exercise for all of us along lovely
As we walked back to the
dock facility we ran into a "student" who had just
arrived for a week-long small boat sailing class.
We had a long, fun chat on the dock about all things
boats, sailing, coastal living and various other
minutiae. He turned out to be an infectious
diseases professor/researcher at Emory University.
Good fun and very interesting. We sort of thought
about spending the day at Wooden Boat, but in the end,
with little wind, an advancing fog band and a forecast
for rain, we decided to cast off the mooring and head
northwest towards Castine. We had a lazy slow
motor as no wind ever developed, and were tied up at
Easton's Boat Yard in Castine by 2:00 PM. It was a
nice trip with lovely scenery, but included gray skies
and scattered showers. We are happy to be in
Castine: a nice stop and especially interesting for
walking about, enjoying the architecture and history.
I even got in a great 4.5 mile run. Can you say
Blue Hill to Wooden Boat -
Saturday, August 13
The day dawned with a nice
forecast, sunshine and great scenery. We hoped for
a nice sail, and got under way early as a light westerly
developed. We got a little light air sailing down
Blue Hill Bay, but the wind never really gained any
consistency. It shifted into the south so we
turned up into the Eggemoggin Reach with some hope of a
sail, but by the time we detoured into the bay where
Wooden Boat is, no wind had developed so we picked up
the guest CCA mooring and decided to hang out. We
rigged up the sailing dinghy and Dorsey went for a sail.
Light air, but fun anyway. Mattie went berserk as
Mom sailed by Esmeralde. We grilled on board and
had a nice walk ashore after dinner. It was a
pretty evening in a delightful spot. Nice visit.
Northeast Harbor to Blue Hill -
Friday, August 12
hesitated on Friday morning before leaving Northeast
Harbor. Good friends aboard a sistership Sabre
386, Tim & Bev on September Song, arrived in Northeast
on Thursday evening, and we would have loved to spend
some time with them. However, we had been in
Northeast for too long, and they had plans to explore
Bar Harbor and the music festival on Cranberry, so we
decided to head out. The weather cleared so we
dropped the mooring and headed out the harbor and
through Western Way. The weather was clear, sunny
and cool, and pretty much flat calm. We put on the
main and motored. The views of Mount Desert and
Acadia National Park were beautiful.
motored across Bass Harbor Bar, with views of Bass
Harbor Lighthouse, then headed across towards Casco
Passage. As we pushed west, the breeze came in
from the South we decided head off to the North to have
a nice sail. The breeze developed out of the
southwest and west and we had a spectacular sail up Blue
Hill Bay, a close reach for the most part, with views of
Mount Desert and Blue Hill, porpoises, harbor seals,
lovely yachts and birds. A really beautiful sail
that we enjoyed tremendously.
picked up a mooring at the yacht club at Blue Hill, and
took a dinghy ride into town to take the dogs for an
evening walk. It was lovely, and on the way home
we enjoyed views of a full moon rising over Esmeralde.
Northeast Harbor - Monday,
August 9 - Thursday August 11
Monday in Frenchboro broke
with thick fog, although the rain had stopped. We
hauled ourselves ashore with the dogs for a nice little
walk around the harbor and contemplated our options.
We decided that as long as the visibility was zero, we'd
By noon, however, the fog
had mostly lifted so nicely that we could at times see
Mount Desert off to the north, so we decided to drop the
mooring and head for Northeast Harbor. We motored
the 12 miles in a flat calm but rolly sea. The
skies stayed gray and cold, but the fog lifted so we had
nice views of Mount Desert all the way across.
Northeast Harbor was,
surprisingly, not busy. We had expected to find it
crowded, as we had found Swan's and Buckle, but there
were lots of moorings available and the dinghy dock was
mercifully un-packed. By mid-afternoon the
northerly breeze had pushed all the gray weather off to
sea and the sun came out to provide a beautiful clear,
dry afternoon. Perfect Maine weather.
poked around Northeast, cleaned up the boat, had
cocktails with Lloyd Hamilton and his wife aboard their
Sequin, and finally had a simple supper with the dogs
sitting outside at the Docksider -- which we found much
too expensive for what we got. Ice cream: OK.
Lobster rolls and lobster stew, not so much.
Wednesday: A beautiful
day, as forecast. We did our annual bus ride into
Bar Harbor and had lobster rolls and steamers on the
pier at a restaurant that welcomes dogs. Always a
fun little venture.
Thursday: pouring rain,
fog, cold southeast wind. We stayed put, pretty
much as planned as this weather was in the forecast.
Computer work, laundry, shopping, hanging out
reading, and for me, a nice long (8 mile) run up Sargent
Drive, which parallels Somes Sound: quite a beautiful
run. Not a bad way to spend a grubby day.
Frenchboro - Long Island -
Sunday, August 7 - Monday August 8
we woke up in the morning, the fog had lifted (a bit,
anyway) so we could see shore and see the rest of the
fleet anchored and moored. The forecast was for
rain and a strong southerly. In fact, it began to
rain as we had the first cup of coffee, but it stopped
and we were able to get a good 45 minute walk in, up to
the store (which was closed until noon on Sunday) and
back. The dogs had a ball, but were absolutely
filthy by the time we got them back to the boat so it
was a fire drill to try to keep the boat from getting
Egg white omelets, lots of veggies, grilled english
muffins, and yummy home made three-berry jam that we had
purchased from a bench in front of a house ("Please
leave your money in the tin!") the night before, and
plenty of coffee.
a bad forecast for the next few days, we pondered our
options. Stay put? Northeast? Bouzaid
in Merchant's Row? We opted to motor the short
distance across to Frenchboro. As we headed
(slowly!) out the back tickle, the fog descended thick
and the rain started. We had a cold, wet,
no-visibility, but mercifully short trip across, and
found plenty of room and several available moorings.
We picked one up and scurried below. It looks to
be a pouring, rainy day, good for books, naps, and
updating the website. We also hoped for a lobster
dinner on the dock but at least when we arrived, there
was no activity at all. Sunday.
A walk ashore later
reconfirmed No Activity. The restaurant on the
dock is only open for lunch (11 - 2). We did find
that there is now a "general store" just up the road
from the dock. It is a small shack and serves
basic lunch food, 11 am - 7 pm. They announce a
"bonfire most nights" (no sign of one on this day).
Basically, it poured
rain in thick fog all day. We hung out, boat-bound
with books, wine and food. Oh, and wet dogs.
Swan's Island - Burnt Coat
Harbor - Saturday, August 6
Morning in Buck's Harbor
brought the obligatory walk to the Buck's Harbor Market,
where Bruce had to have a breakfast sandwich on a
croissant. Here we ran into a group of men having
their 30th reunion weekend -- something they have done
every year for 30 years. They were lots of fun!
Shopping at the Buck's
Harbor Market is actually quite good. The meats
look good, including some that are frozen, ready and
packed for our little freezer. Also, a good supply
of local organic veggies and interesting grocery items.
Small, but a good place to re-stock nifty stuff.
Back at the boat, since
there was still think fog and no wind, I went for a run.
Five miles of HILLS. Ugh. Good workout.
When I got back, the fog had lifted. We said
goodbye to the Buck's Harbor Marine gang and headed out.
As we pointed the bow down the Reach, the southerly
breeze filled in and it turned into a delightful sail.
Down the reach, past Wooden Boat where we saw Wai Aniwa
anchored, then out into Jericho Bay. Bruce spotted
a fast looking boat about our size up ahead, and we
spent an hour or so gradually reeling them in.
Cheap thrills, as Bruce says!
As we entered the bay, we
saw the first of the Wood Boat Regatta fleet enter the
Reach, headed the opposite direction. Looking
south up the bay we could seen the entire fleet spread
out over miles, in a long parade. It was truly
spectacular. We hardened up, close hauled, on a
course exactly opposite but parallel to the fleet.
We pressed on for several miles, passing every boat in
the Wooden Boat fleet within a few boat lengths as they
raced downwind, reaching fast. It was a sparkling,
sunny, gorgeous day. I'm so sorry that we were so
busy sailing the boat and dodging lobster buoys, as I
couldn't take any photos or video. It was quite a
Eventually we passed the
last of the fleet, and had to make a decision about
where to go for the night. Round/McGlathery in
Merchant's Row, or Buckle? We selected Buckle, but
were so disappointed to find it chock-a-block full,
including a couple of large motor yachts. We could
have squeezed ourselves in, but we just didn't want to.
It was too crowded, not the Buckle we like. So we
decided to motor around Swan's Island into Burnt Cove
Harbor, where we knew there'd be plenty of room even if
there were a bunch of cruising boats in. It was
Saturday night, after all, so you have not just the
vacationers but also the locals out for the weekend.
Something to consider.
As we pushed south into
Toothacre Bay, we could see heavy banks of fog hanging
over Swan's Island. By the time we approached the
entrance we were in the thick of it. It got
thicker and thicker as we entered the harbor and we
could barely see two boat lengths as we picked around to
settle in. This is one of the problems with Burnt
Coat Harbor: it sees lots of very thick fog.
For some reason, we like
Burnt Coat Harbor. We can anchor or pick up some
stray mooring. The long walks are good. It's
easy to get ashore at the Lobster Co-op, and we often
pick up a couple of lobsters at the co-op for dinner.
Unfortunately since it was Saturday there was no one to
sell us lobsters, but we had a wonderful dinner aboard
(more of Angelo's fabulous hot sausage), a big salad
with fresh local organic veggies, and grilled asparagus.
Happiness. When we took the dogs ashore after
dinner we had a fun chat with four crewmates aboard
Doppleganger, a Contest 25: a very crowded, but
apparently very happy little ship. They were out
of Rockport, and were hanging out for a music festival
in Swan's Island for the week. There was a
good crowd of yachts (we discovered in the morning, when
there was less fog and we could actually see!).
Probably fifteen. Busy.
Buck's Harbor - Eggemoggin Reach
- Friday, August 5
We had a lazy morning in
Pulpit Harbor. No wind, so no reason to race off.
Lloyd Hamilton, a CCA member who was cruising in the
area, came by for a pleasant chat. There had been
about five CCA yachts in the harbor overnight, including
Harvey White on White Caps and a couple of others.
By noon we decided to
wander out. As we left, the breeze was just
beginning to fill from the south. It was clear and
sunny. The fleet of Wooden Boat Regatta yachts was
pressing down on us from Rockland. Perfect timing,
completely by accident. We hoisted sails outside
the entrance to Pulpit, and bore away to the northwest
to intersect with what was a spectacular fleet of
classic yachts under full spinnaker enjoying a
delightful building southerly.
Eventually, after tagging
along with the fleet to the north end of North Haven
Island, we broke off to the north as they sailed around
into East Penobscot, and we had a terrific series of
reaches in the 15 - 20 knot southerly. Eventually
we ended up in Eggemoggin Reach, and ran into Bucks
Harbor for the night. This is one of our favorite
spots, because there are two Scottish Terriers (Horatio
and B?) at Buck's Harbor Marine who are fun to play
with. All the regulars get very confused when they
see FOUR scotties charging around.
Once again: lots of CCA
yachts in the harbor. They are here in force this
summer, for sure. Bruce had a nice chat with the
Whites from Marion. We also had a fun chat with
the crew of Rebecca, a large, dark green Hinckley from
Alabama (!) of all places.
Pulpit Harbor - Thursday, August
After all sorts of
cajoling and negotiating, we agreed to meet my parents,
who are cruising the area aboard Vide Poches, at Pulpit
Harbor. We like Pulpit, but for some reason Mom
did not so she was very cranky. But Pulpit it was
(Bruce is tough!).
motored out of Rockland and got a good look at the USS
Mahon on the way past. A large RIB, well armed,
kept a close watch on us as we passed, but seemed
convinced that we were friendlies. The Mahon is an
impressive machine, for sure.
It was a quick trip across
to Pulpit, but cold and windless so we just motored.
When we arrived there were only two other yachts
anchored, so we had lots of room to pick from, and we
settled in. Vide Poches was already there.
We dinghied over to check in and make plans. They
wanted to take the dogs for a walk, so off they went.
We had a lazy boat afternoon...until Chris Bouzaid and
Penny Whiting showed up on Wai Aniwa. Then it
turned into a delightful social afternoon aboard WA.
Mom and Dad were also invited for cocktails, then we all
piled over to Esmeralde for a picnic dinner - grilled
chicken over arugula salad. Good fun, lots of nice
wine, great sea stories and a couple of off-color jokes
as well. Good thing, as S&P was about to downgrade
the US debt rating, so we would need a good sense of
humor to get us through.
It was a beautiful evening
with a lovely view of the Camden Hills...until just
around dark when the view disappeared ("oh look, you
can't see the Camden Hills anymore..."), immediately
followed by a torrential downpour that broke up the
party in an instant. Everyone scurried off to
their own yachts for the night.
Rockland - Tuesday &
Wednesday August 2-3
dawned windless but clear. After marching the dogs
around Tenants one more time, we got under way, under
power, and went up through Mussel Ridge to Rockland.
Bruce had been fussing over our charging system for
weeks, and finally found what he felt would be a
solution to a nagging issue. He wanted to go to
Hamilton to buy a new regulator. So off to
Rockland we went.
tied up at the Rockland Public Landing, which you can do
for free for a few hours. This allowed us to
wander over to Hamilton, and also to the nice natural
foods co-op (The Good Tern??) that I like to poke
around. As it turned out, Hamilton did not have
the regulator Bruce wanted, so he ordered one to be
shipped overnight from Defender, and we signed up to
spend the night at the harbormaster's dock. We
like being dockside every now and then, especially when
Bruce has projects, because it allows us easy
come-and-go, especially with the dogs. I got in a
great run out to the breakwater and back.
We had dinner at Lily
Bistro. The food was good, but the service not so
next day we did laundry, and the Maine Lobster Festival
started with a mob-scene. Bruce resisted the urge
to eat fried Twinkies and giant turkey legs, opting
instead for a lobster roll. The regulator came in.
Installation went find and all signs were good.
For no particular reason, we decided to stay an extra
had dinner at The Pearl, right on the water alongside
the Harbormaster's dock. We weren't sure what to
expect as the place looks to be a bit of a dive watering
hole, so we were surprised to have a very good dinner.
Bruce had oysters and a terrific cioppino. I had
lobster cocktail and some nice crab cakes. And we
could have brought the dogs, too! Next time.
Very pleasant evening.
While we were in
Rockland the destroyer USS Mahon was in port. It
was fun to watch the crew come and go, and to speculate
on the security surrounding the ship. Tours were
available Thurs - Sunday, but we missed our opportunity.
Would have been interesting to see the ship.
For the record:
Rockland isn't on our normal Maine cruising itinerary.
It's a busy city, crowded, kind of rolly, and not really
a pleasant harbor to visit. However, it is a nifty
city with lots of resources, good shopping, good dining,
and excellent repair facilities. We enjoyed our
stay, and I think I can say with some confidence that we
will happily return in the future. It isn't
necessarily a "must do" but it is a nice option.
We liked our stay in Rockland.
Tenants Harbor - Monday, August
We spent a pleasant day in Tenants Harbor. Dorsey
went for a nice long run to Port Clyde and back to
stretch her legs and burn some calories. All four
of us went for a good walk through pleasant
neighborhoods, greeting dogs and residents and visitors.
And of course the obligatory stop at the General Store
where we purchased things we didn't need and shouldn't
consume (donuts, beer, chips).
It was very foggy all day,
so it was an appropriate day to rest and be lazy after
the overnight run. We had no urge to move out and
go sailing or exploring in pea soup.
And of course: The Cod
End. This was actually a disappointment for us.
There has been some sort of change in the legislation
governing The Cod End and now they no longer allow dogs
on the deck. We have, for the past fourteen years,
enjoyed lobster rolls and beer on the deck with Alec,
Pepper, and now Mattie, so it was a bit of a shock to be
told, as we began to place our dinner order at the
window, that no dogs were allowed. After stomping
around a bit, we finally decided to order our meal to
go, and we took it back to the boat to eat. It was
good, but just not the same. It will be
interesting to see if other Maine lobster establishments
are enforcing the same rule or not. We will see.
We have all our favorite stops along the coast where the
dogs can join us, and we will be very, very disappointed
if this has changed. For now, we are just
disappointed in The Cod End.
Cuttyhunk - Cape Cod Canal -
Overnight to Maine - Sunday/Monday, July 31 - August 1
After a really relaxing, fun lay-day in Cuttyhunk, we
got an early start on Sunday morning for the overnight
to Maine. Dorsey got up with the pups at 0500 for
the morning walk ashore. Woke Dad and told
him it was time to get moving. The pups were
totally confused about why they were being rousted at
such a ridiculous hour, but off they went and had a fun
romp across Cuttyhunk, without another person (or dog)
in sight. Took care of business and back to the
boat, to find Dad still sound asleep. Shook him
again, and this time got him to move.
We were under way in the
quiet early light, in a cool, crisp clear 5-knot
northerly breeze. It was lovely. No one else
was moving. Headed out the channel and towards the
Cape Cod Canal. Motored, as the wind was on the
nose and we had to make tracks to clear the canal before
the tide turned against us at 10:30. Lovely trip
through, and then a pit-stop at the Sandwich Marina to
top off the fuel tank and, more importantly, to give the
dogs another final squirt before leaping off to Maine,
some 22 hours away.
Headed out of the canal at
11:00 a.m., just after the current turned against us.
Clear, and still a light northerly. Hoisted the main and
motored into it across Cape Cod Bay. Lovely
afternoon and made good time. The wind began to
clock and although we continued to motorsail, we got a
bit of a boost from the main.
The highlight came as we
approached the southern edge of Stellwagon Bank, where
we could see a large fleet of private and commercial
vessels obviously watching whales. We veered off
course a bit and headed their direction. And what
a show we got. Stay tuned for some video (once I
find time and a good internet connection). It was
a spectacular display from a very large and active pod
of humpback whales. Very close. Very busy.
We continued on and had a
pleasant, uneventful crossing. The dogs were
wonderful, and the dark, moonless night featured an
incredibly beautiful starlit sky. The wind came
abeam and then aft, mostly giving us a great push on a
beam/broad reach. We made good time, and
approached Monhegan after dawn, at about 0700. By
0830 we were in Tenants harbor. Shortly after we
picked up a mooring and ran the dogs in (!), the fog
descended. Welcome to Maine!
Cuttyhunk - Saturday, July 30
We spent the morning trying to decide what to do.
Go through the canal and head to Maine? Go
to Provincetown? Stay put? After considering
tides, currents, wind, weather, food and wine, we
decided to stay put! It was just too beautiful to
move. Cuttyhunk at its best: a beautiful, calm
summer day, a dying northwest breeze, lots of activity
to watch and enjoy. Why move? We're on
was outstanding (thanks, Angelo, at Aquidneck Meat
Market). Arugula salad with shaved parmesan, white
beans and pickled onions with a sherry vinaigrette,
artichoke hearts and Sundried Tomato Broccoli Rabe
sausage (from Angelo) on the grill. A cold beer
(Bruce) and a chilled Pinot Gris (Dorsey). It
really doesn't get much better. Happy crew.
Later in the day we found
the Milot family & friends aboard Bigouden anchored
outside (with a few hundred other boats...the most
crowded we have EVER seen Cuttyhunk). We arranged
dinner aboard Bigouden, fresh swordfish from the
Cutthunk Fish Market, Maria's local tomatoes from the
Farmer's Market, and ample supplies of beer, wine and
Dinner was delightful, and
the boys all put on a great show swimming and jumping
off various parts of the boat. Sunset was lovely.
All this is on video, but thanks to poor internet, links
to the video will have to wait.
Newport - Cuttyhunk - Friday, July 29
left the marina in Portsmouth at 9:00 am on a gray,
breezy day. We stopped in Newport Harbor to get
our bottom scrubbed by Elite Divers (thanks, guys!) then
headed for Cuttyhunk. The wind was south rather
than the normal SW, which gave us a beam-reach that was
delightful. Charged along and were in Cuttyhunk
(with a bit of motorsailing at the end) by 3:00 pm.
Cuttyhunk, as expected,
was crowded. No moorings either inside or outside.
No problem. We stuck our nose into the anchorage
area inside the pond and were able to find a happy spot
to drop the hook. Made sure we were in a good spot
for the overnight wind-shift from S to NW. Nice
start to a great cruise.
It was a very damp
evening, and the fog came in think and heavy and
dripping after dark. It was hot, so we kept the
hatches open for air flow, but it was such wet air it
was uncomfortable. Thunderstorms were in the
forecast, but none of them hit us. Just wet.