Monday, August 31, 2009

Maple Juice Cove - The Perfect Day

Bright sunshine greeted us after the morning serenade by the Coast Guard and it came with a breeze out of the northwest! The monster ahead of us had already left so we had a clear dock for departing. Still, we had a wind pushing us against the dock so I rigged a spring line from the dock cleat to the after cleat on the boat. By putting the boat in reverse, the bow is driven out away from the dock while the aft stays close for boarding. At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to work. Just as we had everything moving and all dock lines except the aft one loose, some clown picked that time to suddenly decide to leave a dock directly in our path. I grabbed a line and lassoed the middle cleat on the Fleetwing to prevent it from running into the other boat. Meanwhile, Fleetwing was inching further away from the dock. After the other boat cleared, I let go with me on the dock and Ann steering the boat (goodbye!) Ann was able to maneuver the boat forward to a clear section of the dock and I hopped aboard, whew!

After that bit of excitement, we rolled out the sails and took advantage of the 15 plus winds. For the next two hours we averaged 7 kts with one period of ½ hour where we averaged 8 kts! Our highest speed according to the GPS was 9.2 kts! For most of the way we had a broad reach. Since the wind was out of the northwest, it was off the land so there was no wave build up, just flat water, good wind, sunny skies, warm weather – just perfect for sailing. Of course there were the ubiquitous lobster pots but then, that’s Maine. Even so, the lobster buoys were definitely less numerous than last year but still thick in places. We read in the local paper that the lobster season this year was the worse one in the last 20 years! The lobstermen are only getting $2.75/lb for their lobster, regardless of what you’re paying for them in the restaurant.

Arriving in Maple Juice Cove, Ann snapped a photo of her favorite house in Maine, the one made famous by the painting, “Christina’s World”. Meanwhile, I grilled boneless pork ribs on the back of the boat as we watched the sunset while reminiscing about a great day of sailing. Perhaps there are better things to do in life but I haven’t found them yet.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rockland - Storm's Over

The wind peaked out at 33 kts for about 15 minutes last night before returning to a steady 25 kts. The rain continued heavy until around 10:00 pm when both the rain and the winds stopped. The rest of the night was peaceful and the morning dawned clear with sunshine, what a difference! We stayed in Rockland to let the seas subside and plan on leaving Monday morning for Maple Juice Cove. Hopefully the huge boat in front of us will leave first! His bow overhangs our boat!

It was warm enough for a walk into town in shirt sleeves and we spent the afternoon on the back of the boat. However, a south wind came up off the water and it turned cool but it's calm now. Rockland has several excellent bake stores and I loaded up for breakfast, traditional for us on a Sunday. Of course we had our serenade from the Coast Guard this morning of beeps, whistles and bells, never fails. I'd be lost without the wakeup calls. So far, so good, no hurricanes are active in the Caribbean.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rockland - Morning Report

The first order of business this morning was to take Hoolie for his morning walk. Unfortunately, it was raining hard so what to do? It was full rain gear for me and out we went. Hoolie doesn't seem to absorb much water. I guess it's his bird dog breeding to shed water easily. I came in wetter than Hoolie. I toweled him off some and he was fine. The boats on moorings were really bouncing around but we're snug in our corner behind the Coast Guard station.

Don and Liz Bunch left this morning in the rain. Needless to say, we didn't walk them to the car. They said they saw enough hurricanes in North Carolina so they didn't have to experience another one although Danny is not a hurricane. It only has top winds of 30 kts but we are getting 25 kts right now and Danny's off the Carolinas. The wind is now coming right off the bulkhead which is great protection for us.

When we came in, there was a long space reserved for a cruise ship to come in later today. Well, the ship came in this morning! The whole procedure took about 30 minutes. Talk about a tight fit!! The front lines come within a few feet of our jib! He maneuvered expertly with bow and stern thrusters and sidled right up to the dock. With that excitement over, we'll spend the rest of the day calmy.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Back to Rockland for Danny

With the forecast for high winds and waves due to tropical storm Danny, we headed back to Rockland. Along the way I took two photos of a windjammer. From the back, it looks like the boat has no sails at all but from the side you can see the traditional set of sails. The sails act to redirect the wind aft, creating thrust forward. You can see how the sails interact from the aft view.

Our guests for the past week, Don and Liz Bunch decided to leave early due to the storm. They live in North Carolina on the coast and have seen their share of hurricanes and aren't excited about seeing another one! We celebrated with a dinner out at Peter Ott's in Camden.

In Rockland we have a very protected dock, right behind the Coast Guard station and next to a bulkhead that talller than our boat to protect us from winds out of the north and east. Not much can get to us since we took the end position on the dock, we feel secure here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pickering Cove - Calm Before the Storm

Winds were predicted out of the north so Pickering Cove was a natural selection. Before we left Southwest Harbor I discovered that the sales office of Hinckley Yachts has WiFi! With that I downloaded all the latest news on tropical storm Danny. These storms are becoming far too common. While I was in the sales office, I snapped a photo of the interior of one of Hinckley's boats, the galley section, some galley - it looks better than most homes and probably costs more too!

We were able to sail some but had to motor through the straights. The lobster pots are thick in this area and generally tend to lay at right angles to your course (buoy and toggle with a line connecting the two several feet below the water!) Your course looks like a drunken sailor's trip home after a long night at the local bar. It's not wise to sail between a buoy and toggle due to the connecting line which could snag on your rudder, or worse, entangle your prop! So you have to avoid 50 ft sections of pathway (the length of the line between toggle and buoy) while looking ahead for a clear fairway, sometimes very rare to find! It gets rather intense after awhile. You can't really relax.

Reaching Pickering Cove we found peace and quiet and dropped anchor with plenty of swinging room, nobody close, nice.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Southwest Harbor at Mt. Desert

When I hauled anchor this morning I found that the anchor had hooked an old lobster trap. The lobster traps in Maine, whether of the wooden or metal variety, are made to come apart after a period of time in the salt water, the theory being to avoid anything that could entrap sea life. The wooden ones naturally degrade and the metal ones have clips that hold the sides together that will rust away in saltwater. Well, I had found a wooden remnant.

After that excitement, we set sail and headed to Southwest Harbor. Unfortunately, the wind died after an hour or so and we motored the rest of the way. We diligently avoided lobster pots as usual and have so far not installed a prop guard. The photo is a typical prop guard installed on a Maine boat. I’m sure it works fine but it does impact performance. But then again, it spares the nerves when motoring through a dense lobster pot field.

We were off to lobster again at Beal’s Lobster Pound, we never get tired of that, at least so far! Beal’s has the best selection of lobster sizes we’ve seen on the coast and they also pre-crack the shells, a nice feature – especially when you order the hard shell lobsters. We dinked back to the boat in the dark (but with our dinghy running light!) with the wind picking up to 20 kts, a bouncy night!
BTW, it was our 42nd anniversary!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mackerel Cove on Swan Island

It was a very calm night at Seal Bay and we were treated again to the “double” sunrise effect, a combination of calm waters and a touch of fog. Sun was coming into the cockpit, warming it up, so we had breakfast with views of Maine granite, pines, birds and an occasional seal.

We motored towards Billings Marine, our traditional stopover for diesel, water, ice and trash disposal. There were still swells coming in from hurricane Bill but they were greatly reduced, not more than several feet. We just rolled over them. After Billings we were able to sail the rest of the way to Mackerel Cove. One of the photos shows a self-contained island house typical of many islands in Maine. Occasionally and island is for sale, usually starting at $2M (out of the way place) and upwards, depending upon location. The islands houses usually have a dock, a boat, a flagpole, a generator and a few water toys, must be nice.

Once in Mackerel Cove, we just enjoyed the view of Mt Desert, always pretty from our vantage point in the cove. I grilled a steak on the back of the boat and we all stuffed ourselves helped along by a bottle of wine I had been saving. Then the fog started rolling in and we hurried to take Hoolie ashore. All we could see of the boat was the anchor light when performing Hoolie relief so we hurried back too. A nice day of sailing.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sail to Seal Bay

We had the morning serenade by the Coast Guard around 7:00 again; beeps, bells and whistles. Once awake, we had breakfast in the cockpit and awaited the lifting of the morning fog. Eventually the wind came up and we started out. The wind was predicted to be out of the northwest so it came out of the northeast instead just so we had to motor through the Fox Island Thorofare on our way to Seal Bay. However, we sailed across the Penobscot Bay and part of the way to Seal Bay after exiting the Thorofare so we can’t complain.

We were the first one to anchor in Seal Bay so we thought we were lucky to have it all to ourselves. Ha! Minutes later it started to fill up. Still, there’s lots of room if the captains pay attention to what they are doing. Unfortunately, a large trawler came in behind us and anchored too close (see photo). If we wander at night around our anchor due to the current after the wind calms, then we’re in trouble. I got in the dink and had a discussion with the captain but he didn’t seem to have all his marbles so it was to no avail. We never anchor too close to other boats but other boats seem to have no concern about anchoring too close to us (such are the worries of cruising – I guess there are worse things to be concerned about!)

Liz Bunch prepared a fine dinner of shrimp pasta and Ann prepared a peach dessert. With a rum punch beforehand and wine with the meal, what more could you want? The night is peaceful and we hope things don’t go bump in the night.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Rockland - Camden and Waterman's Lobster

The first part of the day was sunny and we took advantage of the good weather to tour Camden and have lobster at Waterman's Lobster Pound. Since we didn't have any groceries to transport, the tides were such that we had a flat walk to and from the boat! The 12 foot tides are still amazing to us after all these years in Maine. Compare this photo to the one in yesterday's blog when we had to haul groceries and luggage to the boat!

I found an additional supply of used science fiction books from a store in Camden to replace the ones that Hoolie ate. When we leave Hoolie alone in the boat we now put him in a crate that we bought at a local pet supply store. At first he was hesitant but then Ann cut up a hotdog as a treat and he associates the crate with getting a treat and all goes well. As soon as I set up the crate, he runs in and waits for his hotdog treat! Someone once said that dogs live in only in the present. If he gets in the crate, he gets a treat. He doesn't seem to think beyond that point. At any rate, when we return, we have always found him relaxed, lying in the crate - not barking or showing any signs of distress.

We found a local lobster pound, Waterman's and drove south from Rockland to treat ourselves. It's right on the water and quite busy, good food. After returning to the boat, the heavens opened up and we were deluged. It is still raining, the hardest I've ever seen it rain in Maine. It's all supposed to clear out Monday when we start our trek eastward.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rockland - Awaiting Hurricane Bill

There are two musts in cruising: food and laundry. You can always find fuel, water, ice and garbage disposal but finding a good grocery store and a nearby laundry is not always easy. So when we take on friends to cruise with us, the first thing we do before starting out is stocking up on groceries at a nearby supermarket and doing a laundry (they have a car!) This morning was no different, I fed the washers and dryers while the Bunches took Ann to Hannafords. We are now clean and well stocked for the next week. Getting the provisions to the boat did require negotiating the 12 foot tides in the area (see photo).
The day was warm and only partly cloudy. The winds never got above 15 kts and as I write this blog, the wind is only 2 kts and the marina is calm. However, NOAA is predicting 6 to 9 foot waves in Penobscot Bay so we'll stay in the marina another day before setting out Monday when it will subside to 2 to 4 feet. So far we haven't seen much of anything out of the hurricane. I checked the NOAA hurricane maps and there's nothing else forming in the Atlantic, hurricane Bill is it for the moment, good news for us.

With all the activity of laundry and grocery shopping we decided to go out to eat tonight. We had long been a fan of Peter Ott's in Camden but tonight we found a new delight, Prismglass Gallery and Café. The restaurant shares space with the Prism Glass Gallery which is an extraordinary exhibit of beautiful glass works. Surrounding you as you dine is fine art from the world of glass blowing. But this is nothing like you've ever seen before - they are breathtaking. On top of all that, the restaurant now rates in my personal top 10 of all time. All the menu selections were unique, nothing humdrum and when the meals came, they exceeded all expectations. Needless to say, I would recommend the restaurant! I've included a photo of the appetizer, note the serving plate of blown glass. The chef was trained in a noted cooking school in Italy and apprenticed in restaurants in Europe become returning to the states to start her own place. Tomorrow I think we will eat in, no other restaurant in the area could top that one.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rockland - At Beggar's Wharf

We awoke to a dense fog, the first fog we had seen in two weeks. With that we headed towards Rockland given the approach of hurricane Bill. The waves in Penobscot Bay were predicted to build to 11 feet! We motored to Rockland in fog and arrived at Beggar's Wharf for the night at a mooring. When hurricane Bill's waves arrive, we'll be in Journey's End at a protected dock. We'll explore the surrounding area for the next few days and head out Monday when the waves are due to subside. We'll hope for the best.

Rockland - At Beggar's Wharf

We awoke to a dense fog, the first fog we had seen in two weeks. With that we headed towards Rockland given the approach of hurricane Bill. The waves in Penobscot Bay were predicted to build to 11 feet! We motored to Rockland in fog and arrived at Beggar's Wharf for the night at a mooring. When hurricane Bill's waves arrive, we'll be in Journey's End at a protected dock. We'll explore the surrounding area for the next few days and head out Monday when the waves are due to subside. We'll hope for the best.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Warren Island - Yes, we know about hurricane Bill

We had a nice, calm night after our sail with Dick and Barb Burns yesterday. They invited us over for breakfast at their lovely cape style house right on the water with a view of the bay (see photo - note the sign, "Burns Eye View"). It's like being at a vacation site all the time. The view is always changing with the boats coming and going and with the changing weather, just beautiful. Breakfast was sumptuous and then it was time to reprovision at the local Hannafords. One of the things of high value on a cruise is the ability to get to a major supermarket. In this case Dick provided the transportation and we are now even better stocked up. On the way back we just had to stop at the home store of the Hamilton Marine chain. The owner and founder, Wayne Hamilton, lives next door to Dick. Of course we couldn't walk out without buying a few items.

Back to the boat, we set out for Warren Island and had a wonderful sail once again, what a period of good weather! Speaking of weather, we keep a close eye on all approaching storms. We access the NOAA Hurricane center daily, then we track the individual storms such as Hurricane Bill, followed by the local marine forecast and finally by a local forecast for the nearest city which in this case is Rockland. After all that I download Grib data which shows winds and storms over the next five days with detailed, local resolution, hour by hour. Lastly, I will access the Portland NOAA weather radar when the storm is close enough for fine detail. After digesting all that data, we jointly decide what the best plan of action is for the next few days. If for some reason I can't access the internet, I fall back on marine radio weather broadcasts. However, in Penobscot Bay, I can always get an internet connection. If bad weather is approaching, I make sure we can get connected - perhaps at a local library WiFi hotspot if I can't get out on the cellphone. So we know about Hurricane Bill, we'll be in a safe spot, we already made reservations at Journey's End Marina for Saturday and Sunday at an inside dock, very well protected. Don't worry about us.

Warren Island is a state park and a great place to walk Hoolie. They also have moorings for use by the public for $10/night if they so desire. We just dropped the anchor, it's simpler. Ann took Hoolie ashore for exercise and other things that dogs do when going ashore twice a day. We'll probably head for Rockland Friday for a mooring at Beggar's Wharf, depends on the weather.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Searsport - Great Sail With Dick and Barb Burns

The morning was very calm and as often happens in Maine there was no wind to point the boats so they drifted with the tides. We were all pointing in different directions in the morning. We were all far enough apart that there was no danger of hitting. However, anchoring was not without entertainment. We had been the first one in the harbor and then the other boats arrived. They all headed for us like a torpedo, as if we had the perfect spot and they wanted to share our space. One boat even did a 360 around us as we stared and then anchored too close we thought but wound us far enough away. Another boat was more entertaining. They anchored in front of a trawler and found themselves less than 50 ft away, too close. They hauled anchor and moved in our direction and dropped their anchor again, too close to us! They hauled anchor a second time and the third time was the charm, far enough away from us. We can't understand the attraction our boat has. I just tell Ann that she picks out such good spots that everybody else wants to be as close as possible! Maybe we should pick out worse anchor spots?

We putted around the boat doing boat chores waiting for the wind to build in as it usually does in the afternoon. We motored over to Searsport to meet Dick and Barb Burns at 12:30 and we were off sailing. We had no particular location in mind, just wanted to sail and we had good winds for the rest of the day.

Ann had made a picnic dinner with tuna salad, deviled eggs and a pasta salad and Dick picked out an anchorage further up the Penobscot river at Port Point Cove. We anchored and had the entire anchorage all to ourselves as we enjoyed Ann's cooking.

With a good time enjoyed by all, we headed back towards Searsport and sailed for awhile before having to turn on the iron genny. Dick talked to the harbor master and arranged a mooring for us to use tonight that's very convenient to the town dock. We all enjoyed the sunset. It was a fun day!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Holbrook Harbor and Another All Day Sail!

The last week has turned out to be the warmest on the water in Maine that we’ve ever experienced. The water temperature is reading an impossible 78 degrees in Holbrook Harbor after a week of sunny weather with no clouds! Matthew would have loved the water although he would have called it “bathtub water!”

We puttered around the boat in the morning waiting for the wind to come up as predicted around noon. Meanwhile, I fell down the companionway stairs! I did a nice slide down on my back, it hurt like the dickens and I’m sure I’ll be super sore in the morning but the skin was not broken and I’m still standing. I was lucky I didn’t hurt myself worse.

Sure enough, the wind started building as predicted and off we went, I was able to handle the sails, carefully. We saw a boat in front of us so naturally we tried to catch it which we did easily, it was a much smaller boat so no kudos there. We sailed all the way to Holbrook in the full sun and warm breezes in tee shirts and shorts, a rare experience in Maine.
On Wednesday we’re off to sail with Dick and Barb Burns, friends of Ann from her years at the University of Maine. They live in Searsport and we’ll sail over there in the morning, it’ll be fun!

Monday, August 17, 2009

On to Pickering Island

We started swinging in all directions around 4:00 am but we never hit even though we came close several times. I think we’ll avoid that anchorage in the future, not restful enough – not to mention the high concentration of mosquitoes! However, it’s a pretty anchorage with a great area for Hoolie.

We made our usual stop at Billings Diesel (see photo) for fuel, water, garbage disposal and ice. They are very accommodating and they know us well by now. When we done, the light fog had lifted and we had some wind. We started chasing a boat that had started out ahead of us and we were catching up too but then the wind died completely and we motored the rest of the way to Pickering Island. There were only two other boats in the anchorage so we had our pick of where to drop the hook, or so we thought. Shortly thereafter, three boats came in and rafted (only 120 ft away, too chose!!). Then two more arrived; then three more, wow. Fortunately, they decided to reform their raft further in, away from us so I’ll sleep well tonight. Sure is warm up here, warmer than I’ve ever remembered in Maine. Hope it lasts awhile.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Merchant’s Harbor, Yet Another All Day Sail, Sunny and Warm

Since today was Sunday, I went after sweet pastries for breakfast. There’s one breakfast diner that opens early on Sunday and they have the best buns around. Next on the list of things to do was to reprovision at the nearby Hannafords. On the way in the Coast Guard station had all their extra nuns and cans on display. I guess they have some at the ready in case one winds up missing. Since we’re further away from the Coast Guard station on our mooring compared to at the dock in Journey’s End, we don’t hear the morning serenade of bells, toots and whistles which we don’t miss at all!

We said our goodbyes at the dock and headed back to the boat with a dozen bags of groceries and 20 lbs of ice. It was going to be a hot day in Rockland so we were anxious to set out but there was no wind. Finally around 11:00 am we started seeing ripples and off we went. Clearing the harbor, the wind picked up and we sailed for the next six hours! We had intended to anchor at Seal Bay but the wind was so good that we continued on to Merchant’s Harbor. I think the boating season has started in earnest in Maine. We were the first one in the anchorage but then four more boats came in and formed a circle around our “best” position, much too close since the harbor is on the small size. The last time we were here, a boat that was too close swung around and banged into us at 4:00 am. Hopefully that doesn’t happen tonight.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Rockland to Drop Off Richard

The morning at Pickering Island was very warm. There was a ground fog that quickly burned off but resulted in some strange effects while it lasted. I shot a photo from the back of the boat showing both the sun through the fog and its reflection in the water, kind of pretty. We had a pointing wind last night so the guy next to us was not a problem. Richard took Hoolie for his morning walk on the beach and I took the opportunity to take a photo of the anchorage. There are no houses in view and the anchorage is well protected from the southwest, the prevailing wind in the summer. It's often used by windjammers for lobster bakes on the beach. However, it's possible to just use the mosquitoes "attached" to you to fly back to your boat!

We motored out of the anchorage and after about 30 minutes and Ann took over the helm in her perch on the port side. The GPS swivels so she can see the chart and she has a remote to control the autopilot when avoiding pots. It's most used when motoring, seldom when sailing.

Shortly, a southwest wind came up and we hoisted sail. We were able to sail the rest of the way to Rockland with the wind building to 13 to 15 kts! It was a glorious sail and so warm for Maine. The sea temperature read around 70 for most of the sail, a Maine bathtub! We did have one scare. I was busy watching out for lobster pots and missed seeing a sailboat coming from my blind side (the side with the jib out, obstructing my view in that direction). Suddenly I saw his bow appear awfully close but he cleared but then he was trailing a dink and I almost clipped it. We were close to the wind and the boat was tipped about 30 degrees. I had been ducking under the jib over the rail to look out but I somehow missed seeing him! It would have made a great photo op but then I was occupied at the time; I never seem to capture those moments...

Friday, August 14, 2009

What a Sail to Pickeriing Island!

The morning was calm but the sun was bright. Some fog lingered for awhile but the sun quickly drove it away. Richard and I took Hoolie ashore as Ann prepared breakfast. I snapped a photo of the boats in the anchorage faced in all directions from the tidal currents. That’s one of the problems in Maine, the wind usually dies at night so a boat can swing in a circle around its anchor so if you’re within two anchor rode lengths of your neighbor, you’ll probably meet during the night. Cruisers used to a pointing wind at night like on Long Island Sound usually run into trouble in Maine. Unfortunately, the only cure for anchoring too close is experience. As we sit in Pickering Island anchorage, there’s a boat that’s too close off our port side. As he was anchoring, he wouldn’t look our way as I stood on the bow glaring. He’s aware that he’s too close but he anchored anyway. It’s the second time he anchored tonight, the first time we knew he was too close to shore and eventually he found that out too.

Back to the morning, the wind started to build in by 9:00 and we set out and shortly set the sails. The wind was just enough for an enjoyable sail, about 8 to 10 kts and we sailed the entire distance to Pickering Island, about 20 miles. It was just a perfect sail with the full sun, warm temperatures, no storms and flat water. The scenery was fantastic as usual with Mt Desert in the distance and the greens of the surrounding islands. The sailboats were out in force at last and made a pretty sight against the hills of Penobscot Bay.
We grilled pork ribs on the back of the boat as we wined and admired the sunset, what a life! Saturday we’re headed back to Rockland for Richard’s return trip. We’ll be by ourselves until the Bunches arrive on Friday. I think we’ll just sail.

Opechee Island - No Wind but Warm

On/Off works wonders for getting the “moustache” off the bow of the boat but it is wicked stuff. I wear rubber gloves and try to avoid breathing when near the stuff. You can see the fumes come off when it’s poured into a bucket. I put a microfiber cloth over the boat brush, dip it in the bucket with On/Off and spread it over the stains. It works instantly, stains are gone. Great stuff.

After the morning chores of cleaning the boat and windows, we set out in the midst fog rolling in. We expected to be in fog the rest of the way but it lifted as soon as we cleared Northeast Harbor, much to our surprise. We hoped for wind but our hopes were not fulfilled, more motoring. However, the Opechee Island anchorage is remote and beautiful. We explored the nearby, uninhabited islands which is always a lot of fun at Opechee. Hoolie especially loves the exploring.

We grilled three steaks off the back of the boat; Ann made a salad and baked a blueberry pie. We had wine from the south of France to compliment the steaks as we watched the sunset. What a great evening!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Northeast Harbor - Trolley to Bar Harbor

Northeast harbor is smaller than Southwest but it’s much better protected and the town is within walking distance. As an added bonus, the library has free WiFi, only a 10 minute walk from the dock.

Acadia National Park, where Northeast Harbor is located, has a free bus service sponsored by L.L. Bean to all parts of the park. We took a bus to Bar Harbor to have lunch. Boy was it crowded! Where Northeast is laid back, small and filled with yachtsmen, Bar Harbor was filled with tourists and hundreds of small shops. However, they had a grand old hotel, the Bar Harbor Inn with a great view of the harbor. We had a gift certificate from Carrie (our daughter) for a dinner at the inn so we ate out front to take full advantage of the view. I would hope that the sunny weather is here to stay at last, one can hope.

This will be as far east as we go with Richard. Westward we will go Thursday but the anchorage will depend upon the wind we find in the morning. Wish us luck.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Southwest Harbor in Acadia National Park

Well, there was no fog but there was also no wind. We took Hoolie ashore and he managed to find some real Maine mud, the kind that mussels flourish in. Of course he thought it was great fun splashing around. Back at the boat, we hosed him down and then went over him with a towel. His coat sheds water very well, it’s part of the breed as a bird dog so the mud didn’t sink in but it got all over us and the dink. Oh well. Hoolie is intensely interesting in anything and everything. If I leave the cockpit, he’s right there to see where I’m going. If I open a cockpit locker, he’ll poke his head in to see what’s going on. Such and interested dog!

Leaving Seal Bay we had to motor and stopped at Billings Marine again for water, diesel, gas and ice. Diesel is down to $2.50/gal up here. Last year it was over $4/gal. Since there was no wind we decided to motor on to Southwest harbor. We picked up a mooring at Hinckley’s and dinked in for Hoolie relief. The place was empty compared to last year. I took a photo showing no boats at the docks which never happened last year. The docks are usually used for refurbishing older Hinckley boats and routine maintenance. Even the dink dock was reduced in size from two docks wide to one. The high fuel prices didn’t seem to affect Hinckley last year but the drop in the stock market must have had an effect upon their clientele!

The primary reason we came to Southwest Harbor was for Beal’s Lobster Pound. Ann and I just had the 1.5 lb lobsters but Richard ordered the 3.4 lb hard shell lobster. It was enormous! We can’t find lobsters of that size anywhere else. We plan on moving over to Northeast Harbor Wednesday where I can finally get an internet connection again. Wonder what’s happening in the world?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Seal Bay and Just a Great Day of Sailing!!

First things first, we had to do laundry and buy groceries and that used up the morning. Rockland is great for both but you need a car to reach either one. However, the wind kept building and when we left around 11:00 the wind was 10 to 15 kts out of the southwest, perfect for a sail through the Fox Island Thorofare and on to Seal Bay. With a southwest wind you can usually make it all the way through the thorofare under sail although at times you may be drifting a little due to wind shadows from the surrounding hills. Still, today we made it all the way. The sail is always fun due to the varying sailing conditions, the avoidance required to miss all the lobster traps (ha), the views of all the other boats moored on either side and usually a windjammer or two. Today was full sun and warm and just perfect.

On the way in we saw a large lobster boat towing what appeared to be a dock. He wasn’t making much headway, we passed him while under sail at 4 kts. I guess it makes sense, it’s how they transport docks in Maine but it sure wasn’t very efficient. We’re headed east tomorrow and want to wind up in Southwest harbor by Mt Desert by Wednesday if possible. The weather rules in Maine.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Rockland - Mehaffeys Leave, Richard Arrives

It was another sunny, warm day and we had ham and eggs in the cockpit courtesy of Ann, a nice send off. I ferried them in and said our goodbyes. It was sad to see them go, we had a good time! We had tried to get a dock at Journey's End but they were full due to the boat show so we had to get a mooring. On the advice of another sailor we met on the way north, we gave Beggar's Wharf a try. They don't monitor VHF, to reach them you have to call via telephone. There are two numbers to call. The first one rings in Florida! He then calls his brother who's at the marina and forwards requests for moorings. The second number calls the marina directly. The word "marina" is used loosely. The total number of employees is one (the brother) who is occasionally supplemented by his mother who we met tonight. However, the mooring fee is a very reasonable $25/night.

As described by the brother running the marina, "It's a work in progress". To keep costs low, they have no one to receive mooring fees (the brother is seldom there, he's a diver and he's often out on calls), you just leave a note with the money tucked under the computer keyboard in the "office". Nevertheless, they have nice bathrooms and showers. The marina office is an open area containing a pool table, a poker table complete with cards, a bar (bring your own drinks), a dart board, table hockey and two terminals providing free internet access! They have no washing machines but you can leave your laundry in a bag with a note and have it washed and folded for $10 plus $1.25/lb. It's close to town, much closer than Knight's Marina where we stayed previously, besides, they charged $35/night. If you have a car you can park it for $5/day when you're not renting a mooring (it's free with a mooring). It's a unique place!

When Richard arrived (Ann cousin) we headed for Camden in search of lobster. We found a waterfront restaurant with the work "lobster" in its name so we thought we were okay. Upon sitting down we found that the biggest lobster they had was 1 1/4, some lobster place! We wound up ordering something else.

Walking along the wharf we saw all the windjammers loading passengers for their weekly cruise. They all load on Sunday night and it makes quite a sight with all the tall masks. Tomorrow we're headed east, depending upon the weather.