Friday, August 7, 2009

Belfast - A Storm Adventure

On our last tour of Holbrook Harbor last night we found the seals. There was a whole colony on a small, rocky island on the western side of the harbor. There were as many as we were used to seeing in Seal Bay. We were rather surprised since we hadn't noticed them before.

In the morning the skies were clear but there was no wind. We watched a windjammer take about 30 minutes to sail the short distance out of the anchorage. We had a leisurely breakfast and waited to give time for wind to come up. Finally we got about 5 kts and we hoisted anchor and motored out of the anchorage. Alas, once clear of the entrance, the wind died and we motored on. I motored towards Searsport in the hope that an on-shore breeze might develop as I got close. The strategy seemed to work and we were able to sail for the next hour or so towards Belfast where we had a dock reserved for the night. However, the path was not to be without excitement. We had been watching dark clouds form in the west with some interest and as they grew darker, the wind picked up which tempted us with more sailing which we took advantage of for awhile. Once the winds toped 20 kts and the clouds seemed more threatening, we decided to drop sails and high tail it for Belfast. We were a little late on this strategy but we got the sails furled without a problem but then the winds really started to pick up. Whitecaps quickly formed and the wind piped up to a steady 25 to 30 kts with one gust measured at 36 kts! Leathem slid back the edge of the plastic window to see more clearly (gotta love those lobster pots!) and onward we trudged into the harbor.

With the current flowing 2 kts in the same direction as the 25 kt wind, we didn't want to risk trying to dock so we took a mooring to wait out the worst of the storm. Finally it abated and we came on in to a dock. We later learned that the marina had overbooked their slips by three too many boats but we got in before the rest. There were a few unhappy boaters for sure.

With a secure boat, we explored the town and had dinner at the Weathervane restaurant which turned out to be full with a 20 minute waiting list. I had made reservations earlier in the day so we didn't have to wait. The meal was good, well cooked and served attentively. We would go back in the future. On Saturday we're headed for Rockland to drop off the Mehaffeys and pick up Ann's cousin Richard. Hope the good weather holds.