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PENOBSCOT BAY

Our one night stay in Rockland was exactly as we planned……productive.  But it was hot!  Not typical for Maine summers, the daytime temperature reached 85.  We dropped the anchor in Rockland Harbor around 1, and dinghy’d to a dock that put us just a 15 minute walk from a grocery store.  Once again I had to carefully plan to buy only what we could fit in our backpacks, didn’t weigh a lot and could stand the warm ride back to the boat.  That would not include butter, jarred pickles, or ice cream (altho John insisted that he needed salsa, so he carried that!)!  Refrigerated and heavier items will go on the list for next time.  Groceries dropped off and put away we grabbed the dogs and went in to town.  Rockland has a quaint main street with cute shops.  John and the girls sat on a bench in the shade, while I window shopped.  On the way back to the dinghy dock I spotted a Dairy Queen!  You can probably guess where we went during our evening outing to land!  Yup!!  The next morning John was able to get something he needed at a local marine store there which was very nearby.  Missions accomplished, we pulled up the anchor around 11 and headed out to Isle au Haut.

This island (pronounced I La Ho) is one of a bazillion islands in Maine.  (Well, actually there are about 4600!)  Arrival here placed us in the thick of Penobscot Bay.  It is as beautiful as they said it would be! The bonus is that the weather has been absolutely gorgeous……. sunny, puffy clouds, clear skies…..perfect, I’d say!  We were the only ones at this particular anchorage, just the way John likes it!  (He could live in a cabin for the rest of his life, never see anyone, and be perfectly happy!  I, on the other hand, am more of a social animal.  He has a good buddy at home who’s just like he is, so when we all go to parties, he and Jeff sit in a corner and talk boats and other guy stuff, while Jeff’s wife and I work the crowd!)  We walked a lovely trail there to the other side of the island.   They put paint marks on the trees, so walkers can find their way on the trails.

Similar to our time in the Bahamas, here in Maine we are island hopping, with anywhere from 10-25 miles between stops.  And as in the Bahamas, we enjoy cruising at our displacement speed and sipping the fuel.  Many of the islands of Penobscot, as with most of the Maine islands, are covered in pine trees.  Some just have low lying bushes.  But they are all surrounded by rock ledges and there are a lot of them!  Often, too, there are spits of sandy beaches dotted along them.  We are especially appreciative of those, as they provide a great spot to get ashore with the dogs.

I mentioned MITA (Maine Island Trail Association) in an earlier posting.  This app has been invaluable to us.  It has charts and then descriptions of each spot.  The descriptions include a summary of the island’s topography, and information about camping, pets, fires, anchoring, trails, getting ashore.

Waking up is really easy in Maine (sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes not!)!!  Either the sun or the lobster boats are our alarm clock.  Oftentimes it’s both!  The sunrise today was at 5, so there’s light around 4:30.  The lobster guys are out and about shortly thereafter.  Since traps are always around us, the boats come pretty close.  For the most part their boats are equipped with dry-stack exhaust with no mufflers, so it’s easy to hear them coming and going, even if they’re more than a mile away! Sometimes the crew is particularly chatty amongst themselves, with a bit of “colorful” language thrown in!  On this particular boat the 1st mate was the captain’s adorable son who looked to be 7 or 8 years old.   I watched them for a few minutes, and that kid was really conscientious!  No doubt his dad is grooming him to run the boat himself someday.

A boater’s life is to get up with the sun, go to bed when it’s dark.  That’s (almost!) how it works for us too!   After dinner we take a walk on the beach, watch a little tv, and head off to bed.  Gotta be rested for the next day’s adventure!  Southwest Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Acadia National Park await us!

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LOBSTAS AND MORE LOBSTAS

As a lover of boating and an avid recycler I find it frustrating that very few marinas provide any recycling bins.  And I’m talking up and down the east coast of the United States, not just in Maine.  But I find it particularly ironic and disheartening that, as we are surrounded by beauty and nature, our trash bags are filled with plastic, cans, and glass that will end up in a landfill.  At home, we have trash pick up twice each week. My neighbors place at least one, if not two, bins out each time filled with trash.  They laugh at me because I put out just a half-filled “tall kitchen” sized bag.  But on Mondays when the recycling bins go out, ours is over-flowing!  So it absolutely breaks my heart to fill my trash bag with recyclables and put it in the marina dumpster.  While Nantucket – being a small island – is especially conscious of their waste management, this is how they do it there.   Bins like that are on almost every corner, especially near the marina.  Sigh.  How I wish every town and marina did it like that!  (I know, some of you may be saying, “recycling is just a myth”! But that’s discussion for another day!)

 

Here are some favored pictures that I’ve been meaning to share with you.

 

 

 

 

 

John loves a quiet anchorage, and we found this perfect spot a couple of nights ago. Calderwood Island in North Haven near Vinalhaven.  As we approached it, I spotted a swimming hole that looked very inviting.  Once we were settled and the dinghy was down, we drove back to it to get a closer look.  There was actually blue water and white sand!  ALMOST like the like Bahamas, but with rocks and seaweed!  On the backside of the hill was our anchorage; and in between was a wonderful grassy path.  Now this area reminded me of Scotland with it’s rolling hillsides and highlands.  This was the view from the hill.

Vinalhaven is an active lobster fishing community and has a colony of summer homes. It was incorporated as a town in 1789, named after John Vinal who was the agent who petitioned the Maine General Court to incorporate the new township.  He wasn’t even a town resident, but the name stuck! High quality granite was discovered in 1826 and Vinalhaven became one of Maine’s largest quarrying centers for the next century.  Vinalhaven lobstermen were the first in the nation to unionize. They began to organize in the winter of 2012-2013 after frustration with low lobster prices being paid to them and disagreements with the Maine Lobstermen’s Associations leadership.

We left the solitary spot of Calderwood and moved to what is hailed as a very desirable and popular anchorage, Seal Bay.  It was also recommended by one of our owners who cruises up here often.  Popular it was!  There were several boats when we arrived, so we picked a more secluded spot away from the others.  All was good until a guy pulled in and set his anchor right next to us, closer than is normal.  As you can imagine, John was not a happy yachter!  After a couple of hours the guy dinghy’ed over, apologized for being so close, and told us he’d move a little further away.  It was very kind of him.  By evening, there were 17 boats in the anchorage!  One guy ceremoniously shot off a “gun” when the sun set (although it did make us jump a few feet!).  As for the dogs, at low tide was a great spit of sandy beach connected by boulders where they could run and climb and explore.  They were happy pups indeed.  And many thanks to T-Mobile for arranging to have a cell tower right near the anchorage!  Sweet!

It’s always fun to take a mid-afternoon dinghy ride to see the surrounding islands which is exactly what we did the following day.  This time brought a bonus!  At one point I looked out on the water and there was the face of a seal staring right up at us!  He was probably 20 feet away or so.  But not even 10 seconds later, down he went.  It was a fleeting but thrilling sight!

Following Seal Bay we made our way to Long Cove on the southwestern part of Vinalhaven where a new acquaintance (from Boothbay) had offered his mooring.  We’re always happy to pick up a mooring and not have to deal with the anchor, so we gratefully accepted!  It was a perfect spot (well, except for the almost complete lack of cell service) and we made some more new friends there who gave us tips and suggestions for future stops.  That’s always appreciated.

On our mid-afternoon dinghy excursion there we saw an eagle’s nest!!  Mama was proudly standing guard.  The nest was huge!  We were too far away for a decent phone picture, unfortunately.  But eagle’s nests are typically 3-5 ft deep, 5-9 ft in diameter and mostly composed of large sticks.  Eagles mate for life and they typically return to the same nest year after year to lay their eggs.  The average clutch (group of eggs) is 1-3.

Well, big news!  I spoke too soon about marinas and recycling!  We just arrived at the Tenants Harbor Boat Yard for a 2 day stay.  And……..they have recycling!  I’m thrilled!  Plus, a lobster wharf is just off our stern.  The boats are coming in, one after another, dropping off their catch to the wholesaler.  I’m headed over there in a minute to buy a couple for our dinner!

This is a good little marina, not fancy, nothing much to do, nowhere to shop or visit although there is one B&B about 5 minutes away that serves breakfast and lunch.  We did not imbibe because we were too busy taking advantage of the fantastic internet!  Some of these marinas say they have wifi but when it comes right down to it, you roam the property to find a good connection; and even then it feels like “dial-up” all over again!   Not here!  In addition to all our internet activities, we cleaned the dinghy, scrubbed the aft deck, washed clothes, and took long walks with the dogs.  It’s always so satisfying when we leave the dock for the next destination knowing that we’ve been productive.

Now on to Rockland for a day or two to get groceries and see some town!

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DON’T LIKE THE WEATHER?  WAIT AROUND!

We decided that we liked Harbor Island so much we’d stay another day.  (Plus it had good cell coverage which was a huge bonus, especially since we did not have wifi.)  The forecast was for wind, which also made staying put very attractive.  But it had turned chilly – maybe high of 65 – and with no cloud cover, our fleece and sweats beckoned.  One morning I watched the lobstermen right outside our window with great respect.  They do this day after day, after day in sun, rain, fog, rough waters, and high winds.   The day following it was still chilly, but sunny; so I decided to sit on the “trunk cabin,” just forward of the pilothouse, for direct access to warmth!  I once was a lover of “sunning,” but no more.  However, this is a good spot to do that, and this day it felt really good!

The morning we were to leave, the fog was super thick but the sun was shining brightly. I know, it doesn’t make sense to me either; but this is Maine!  When the fog finally burned off around 11, we pulled up the anchor and off we went for Maple Juice Cove, just about 6 miles away.  The water was absolutely littered with lobster floats!  We’re getting pretty good at driving through them.  But as I mentioned in an earlier blog, at least they’re brightly colored and easy to identify.   We easily set our anchor and lowered the dinghy to take a walk.  A local lobster yard allows visiting boats to tie up their dinghies there which was most appreciated by us……no walking through the water to get to land!  About a quarter mile away is the The Olsen House and the setting for Andrew Wyeth’s famous painting “Christina’s World” painted in 1948.  Christina Olsen and her husband lived in this house and were friendly with Mr. Wyeth.   The house is open to the public and is now a National Historic Landmark.  It has been restored to match its appearance in the painting.  The field overlooks Maple Juice Cove.

When we arrived at the dinghy dock we met some nice folks who were anchored on a sailboat.  They asked us if we were on the Krogen Express.  Of course a lengthy conversation ensued, and they asked if we would stop at their boat on the way back to Daystar.  “We’d be happy to!” we said.  While we were at the dock we decided to buy a couple of lobsters “right off the boat”!  They were “soft shell” lobsters.  We steamed them in salt water and covered them with seaweed, cooking them about 15 minutes.  Neither of us had had a soft shell lobster,  We decided they are sweeter and more tender than hard-shell lobsters. They were delicious, but truthfully it didn’t fill me up.  I woke up hungry the next morning!

We stopped at the sailboat and had a really nice conversation with the folks aboard.  They are interested in moving from sail to power, doing the Great Loop in the next couple of years.  They asked a lot of good questions and we invited them to come over and see us, which they did!  It’s always fun to show off the boat!

The next morning we departed for Camden and the Lyman Morse Marina.  The scenery underway was absolutely beautiful!  “Now THIS is Maine”, I said to John.  We cruised through pinetree covered islands bordered by rock outcroppings. We passed two gorgeous lighthouses…..Owls Head and Marshall Point.  Fun fact:  There are 65 lighthouses in Maine. The topography began to change, too!  We could see hills in the distance of which Camden Hills State Park is a part.  This is the view as we entered Camden Harbor.

We are in awe of coincidences we are encountering during this trip!  We had a boat pass us when we were at a mooring saying that they were also from Vero Beach.  A couple docked next to us in Boothbay told us that they had kept their former boat at a marina near our home.  At a recent stop we were walking the dogs and a passed a house with a Jack Russell in the yard who looked just like M.E.   The owner came out and started to chat with us.  It turns out that had he lived in the same community that we did in Hilton Head!  We of course shared a lot of mutual memories.  At Oven’s Mouth Cove, a Sabre was anchored near us; and then he turned up again at Harbor Island!  We dinghy’ed over to greet him and he told us that the wife of his former business partner (now deceased) and her current husband had owned a Krogen Express!  “Yes, we know them!”, we said, and laughed to ourselves at another coincidence.

As I write this in Camden it is almost 80 degrees with a forecast of 85 tomorrow!  We just never know what the days are going to bring….65 one day, 80 a few days later!

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GOT GROCERIES…..AND WE’RE GOOD!

It didn’t take this trip for me to realize how dependent I have become on my devices. It’s not that I’m in to social media or habitual texting with my friends or anything (heck, I still use my index finger to text!), but I do use my phone a lot. If I want to look up the meaning of a word, I go to “Dictionary”. If I want to know the weather, I go to one of my many weather apps. If I want to research something I go to “Mr. Googlies”. Even writing this blog I am dependent upon the internet! After Harpswell (just west of Boothbay) we began encountering spotty cell service and since our internet is cellular based, it sometimes puts us in a bind! (Between Florida and this area of Maine, there is only one 50 mile stretch in northern North Carolina where we have not found reliable coverage.) So, yesterday we were out of business. Today, we are good! Yay!! I’ll take what I can get!

Our weekend in Boothbay was “highly productive” as John would say! It’s a cute town, although a tad on the touristy side. We spent 3 nights at a dock, tucked in behind a gigantic catamaran and a 100+ ft sail boat. We were especially thankful for our location one night in particular when the wind was hard blowing right up the harbor. But we were protected by the cat and sailboat, so had a restful sleep.

The afternoon of our arrival (Friday) we donned our backpacks and walked a mile plus to the grocery store. We picked up lightweight things that we needed……eggs, bread, bagged lettuces…..and walked the mile back to the boat. Provisioning on the boat is a little bit art and a little bit science! As with our devices, most of us are really dependent on our cars. If we forget an ingredient for a recipe or need to pick up dinner, we think nothing of jumping in our car. Not so on the boat. Meals take thought and planning. I make a monthly chart of what we’re going to eat for lunch and dinner everyday so that I have the right supplies and ingredients ahead of time. Up here, especially, I never know when I will get to another grocery store; and oftentimes they are far upland off of the major roads. It’s tricky too, to manage the consumption of produce……you want to eat it while it’s fresh, but not so quickly that it’s gone before you can replenish! Our previous trip to the store was in Freeport, almost 2 weeks prior to our visit to Boothbay; so it was time for a major haul.

I had been in touch with a dear, long-time friend who lives in the area for a visit. After a fun lunch on Sunday and a good catch-up chat, she graciously offered to drive us to the grocery store. Otherwise we would have had to take a taxi, as there are no Lyfts or Ubers in Boothbay!

During our visit, this is one of the classic places we “dined”…..Dunton’s Doghouse….just a 5 minute walk from the boat. They had some of the best clam chowder we’ve ever had AND an absolutely perfect lobster roll. The owner has this shack (and picnic tables) set up in his front yard (how he ever got zoning for that we’ll never know!). When we read the reviews they were almost all 5-stars, altho I would not classify this as a “5 star” restaurant! John, who loves dives, was in heaven!

Following our visit to Boothbay, we departed for Harbor Island, just south of Friendship, passing the Pemaquid Lighthouse on the way.

You may be wondering how we find these gunk holes. We rely for the most part on two online sources….. Active Captain and MITA (Maine Island Trail Association). Also, one of our former owners also gave us a wonderful book “A Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast” by Hank and Jan Taft. Active Captain is something we have relied on for years. It is an excellent “crowd sourced” cruising guide. It gives all kinds of great information for cruisers……marinas, boat ramps, where to anchor, entry into anchorages/marinas, exposure to the winds, where to take your dog ashore, scenery, holding, shopping, boat repair facilities, etc. MITA has given us great information on anchorages, trails, and getting ashore. This captain does his homework, too. He studies the weather, winds, wind direction, depths, and currents. And then I ask, “is there an easy place to take the dogs ashore?” !!

I think Harbor Island is one of my favorite stops so far.  It has a lovely view, walking trails, and a nice beach for landing the dinghy. Here are some pictures from our walk yesterday.

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Boothbay Harbor, Maine

We got spoiled at Dolphin Marina in Harpswell!  They delivered huge blueberry muffins and coffee to each visiting boat every morning!  They were absolutely delicious!

Love the little (and big!) perks the Krogen Express offers, like the stackable washer/dryer unit (that I am really loving today while we’re at the dock in Boothbay Harbor) and a pretty view from the shower (which John enjoyed).

But first I’ll update you on our activities between the muffins and the laundry!

We’ve been exploring various spots within a 10 mile area east of Harpswell and west of Boothbay .

Our first stop was Indiantown Preserve.  This is one of the islands included in the Boothbay Harbor Land Trust.  From our research we knew that there was supposed to be a “guest” mooring ball, but as we approached we spotted two.  I grabbed one and easily picked it up.  A while later a sailboat came in and picked up the other. The next morning we got a friendly visit from “Bob” who, it turns out, owns both balls.  Normally his personal boat occupies one of the balls but, this summer being what it is, he didn’t put his boat in the water.  He was a really friendly guy and we had a very enjoyable conversation with him.

The island has walking trails through lush forests of pine trees.  It was almost magical it was so beautiful!  And….there was a small dinghy dock with ramp provided so which made it super easy to go ashore with the dogs. We all loved the opportunity to walk the trail and get some exercise!

After two nights there, John set his sights on an area called Oven’s Mouth, which again is part of the Boothbay Harbor Land Trust.  He was intrigued by the challenge of the entry into the anchorage and the idea that it was off the “beaten path”.  When we arrived we spotted a cell tower nearby.  Nothing could be better for this captain than a cell tower AND seclusion at the same time!   We launched the dinghy and made a trip ashore for a walk through the preserve, landing at a nearby shelf of rock, easily hopping ashore.  But…. that was at high tide.  Five hours later, at low tide, was another story.  The tides are so severe here that our once accessible landing zone was now off in the distance and we were faced with muck and rock completely covered in seaweed.  I set Zoey down on what I thought was rock but turned out to be muck.  Ugh.  She looked like she had little gray booties on!  I couldn’t help but think of my friend who has a gorgeously groomed Sheltie and how aghast she would be at the thought of having to take her dog ashore through this stuff!  It was a perilous journey to land on the seaweed and back again, but we made it.  And then of course we had to do the same thing again the next morning, 12 hours later.  It’s interesting to watch the process of them pulling up the traps, etc.  Kind of like our own up-close-and-personal “Deadliest Catch”, without the 30 foot waves!

Here are a couple of good photos we captured.  It’s almost like she’s saying “I’m not really into these 4:30 am sunrises!”  And Daystar in the fog!  The fog is really something else.  It’s like your glasses are dirty or you have something in your eye!  It seems relentless, although locals tell us that this much fog is unusual for mid-July.  It’s noon as I write this and my visibility is about half a mile.

We said adieu to Oven’s Mouth and went about 7 miles to Robin Hood Marina and picked up a mooring (so I could have access to a dock when we went ashore!).  This was a pretty spot, but the stay here was sort of a non-event.  We just wanted to try another area, and that we did.

Next stop was Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club.  On the way in we passed this very cool lighthouse called the Cuckholds Lighthouse.  Construction of the lighthouse began in 1892.  In 2004, deemed excess to the United States Coast Guard, the lighthouse was rescued from complete decay and/or destruction by a small group of local citizens.  Over the next 10 years the group raised funds and local businesses donated design expertise, building materials, and other resources to restore the light tower, rebuild the keeper’s house and the boathouse. Following this the lighthouse became an inn with two guest rooms.  It closed in July of last year when the innkeepers, a husband and wife team, retired.

The Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club has moorings available to the public and they provide launch service which was a nice perk!  The Yacht Club is across from the harbor, so we could look over and anticipate our visit into town in the following days.  When we are out in these isolated anchorages with almost no interaction with other people and certainly no retail, coming to a little town like Boothbay Harbor Maine (full-time population of 2,200) is like going in to the big city!  After the night there, we went into Hodgdon Marina for the weekend.

 

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Did I Mention the Fog?

When I left off, we had just been to “The Basin” anchorage.  From there we went to “Snow Island”, about 12 miles away.  These islands are very beautiful and thick with pine trees; but they are not very “user friendly” for taking dogs ashore.  Occasionally we’ve had a pebbly beach to pull the dinghy on to; but for the most part we pull up on rough shorelines with rock, seaweed and some muck!  And of course the tide, whether high or low, changes the landscape of the “landing zone”.  It goes like this:  we stop in 1-2 feet of water.  Dogs leashed, I carry one – through the water – to shore, put her down, walk back to get the other one (and then reverse the process when we leave).  John places the anchor, being mindful of the constantly changing water level, ie. we don’t want the tide to go out and strand the dinghy on the shoreline, nor do we want the tide to come in so that the dinghy is floating in 4 or 5 ft of water.

One evening, as we approached a little island for dog-walking, we looked up and saw an eagle sitting in a dead tree!  And then he flew right over us! PICTURE  It was very cool.  Unfortunately we weren’t fast enough to get a picture of the fly-over!  We’ve also seen loons (and heard their distinctive call), osprey, and seals (who disappear as quickly as they appear!).

The fog continues to baffle me….how it suddenly appears in the middle of the day, why it stays even when the sun is out, why it doesn’t burn off more quickly!  But it comes with the territory, and it’s just something Mainers are used to.  This is a pretty typical morning view (especially last week when it was very cloudy and a bit rainy ).   But then here’s a different view from the same anchorage when the sun finally came out!  It’s beautiful, isn’t it?  It’s something I really appreciate up here, and probably take for granted at home in Florida.

Before we left Snow Island (when the sun had finally appeared!) John donned his wetsuit and did some waterline clean up.  The water was chilly, and took some getting used to, but it was good to get that job done.  This is a picture of John doing the same thing last year in the Bahamas; except he was standing in 5 feet of water!!  After lunch we pulled up the anchor, and off we went.  This was our view as we exited.  See what I mean about the fog?  This was at noon!  It’s almost mystical!

After 2 nights at Snow we departed for Harpswell’s Dolphin Marina.  We passed a lot of these rock islands which fortunately are on the chart.   These pictures do not nearly portray the potential threat these things pose!  They are quite imposing and we give them a very wide berth!

We also passed Eagle Island State Park, formerly the home of Admiral Robert E. Peary, the Arctic and North Pole explorer.  Although he died in 1920, his family continued to live in the home until they donated it to the state in 1967.  It is now a National Historic Landmark.

Just outside the marina grounds is Erica’s…..a fabulous and pretty typical little fish shack with picnic tables and the most fabulous lobster rolls! I imbibed two days in a row!

After a night on the dock and two at one of their moorings, we then set off for Boothbay Harbor area.

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Freeport, Maine

We loved our time at the dock in Freeport!  We had a delicious dinner at the Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster Company (me, a lobster roll and John, fish and chips).  We washed the dogs, loaded up on groceries, and had a successful shopping trip to LL Bean so John could get a new pair of water sandals.   “Daystar” and “Twinkle”, our dinghy, scrubbed clean, I could hear them both breathe a collective sigh of thanks!

When we departed Freeport it was an absolutely gorgeous day, sunny and clear.  Heading south into Casco Bay, once again dodging lobster floats, sailboats, and small islands of rock while also trying to identify markers, I said to John, “I’m so glad we are not trying to do this in the fog”.  I spoke too soon.  Getting farther south into Casco Bay and away from land, boom, the fog descended upon us.  On went the radar and running lights.  Binoculars went from the counter on to our laps.  But then, as we headed north again towards land, sure enough, the fog dispersed and we had perfect vision.

We had identified a great anchorage called “The Basin” just north of Sebasco and off the New Meadows River (see map) for the next couple of nights. The entrance is only about 100 feet wide.  After a quarter of mile or so, there’s a hard turn left into the basin.  It’s very much like being on a lake!  We are surrounded by pine trees and rock outcroppings along the shore.  It’s very serene and peaceful.  You never know what you’re going to find in terms of other boats when you approach an anchorage, so upon arrival we were pleasantly surprised to see that we were the only ones (with the exception of a few weekend day boats)!

Last night we had the most dramatic “son et lumiere” (French for “sound and light”) show I’ve ever experienced on the boat.  The skies were cracking and lighting up, and the rain was pouring down!  And this morning it looks like serious rain for the next 48 hours at least.  Just a couple of days ago the Portland Press Herald newspaper wrote this:  “An unprecedented lack of rainfall in late spring has pushed almost half the state into drought conditions, and there’s little relief in the forecast……”  So much for forecasts!  It’s raining so hard that even if we were at home, and I had my much missed “back door and yard,” our dog Zoey would not even consider going out!  She does not like the rain! Period.

As I sit inside, drinking my hot cup of morning coffee, I’m watching these fishermen out there in the pouring rain, hauling in their catch.  God bless them.

This is one of the times I am especially thankful for our covered aft deck.  After we’ve been ashore in the rain, we can get back on the boat and be covered while we take off our dripping wet rain gear coats and pants.  Otherwise we’d be entering directly into the salon, dripping water all over!  And I’m also very appreciative of a dryer for the many wet towels we accumulate on days like this.  Zoey loved being wrapped in a warm towel for her after-outing nap!

 

 

By the way, here are some pictures that portray the extreme tides here, 9 feet!  These were taken at our anchorage a few days ago.  This particular day low-tide was in the morning.  The wind was super calm.  By afternoon, at high-tide, the wind had picked up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But this is my favorite picture of the trip so far.  This is our nephew Jack and his dog Tucker coming out to Brandt Point to watch us (on the right of the picture) enter Nantucket Harbor a few weeks back.  (His mom and dad were also there, taking the picture!) 

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Fog, Fog, and More Fog (In Maine)

We left the Saco River mooring on Monday morning in the fog and continued northeast in the fog around Cape Elizabeth into Casco Bay in the fog.  It’s a very weird experience, cruising in the fog, particularly when it’s all new territory.  We could not see farther than 200 feet, and for the most part were totally reliant on our radar.  Fortunately there was very little boat traffic and we were able to keep tabs on the lobster floats.  Our destination, Jewell Island, was approaching and we were struggling to see even the outline of trees on the islands surrounding us.  But the sky was very bright.  It seemed like the sun was so close, yet so far.  At one point, I picked up my binoculars, looking for buoys and identification points.  As I took them off my eyes, suddenly the sun appeared and the area was totally clear!  It was the wierdest experience!  We were able to easily enter the anchorage and get set before the fog returned.  And return it did!  The next 2 days were thick fog, altho we did have minutes of clarity.

Casco Bay covers 229 square miles, has some 785 islands, and is home to 7 lighthouses.  Many of the islands are managed by various land trusts which are part of the Maine Land Trust Network.  In fact, Maine has the lowest percentage of public land among all the states in New England.  On the islands we have been on so far, there are trail markers and leftover camp fires; but I have not seen one piece of trash, not even a cigarette butt!  Visitors appear to be very respectful of them, and of each other.

Jewell Island was no exception.  It offered several different trails which we enjoyed, despite the 2 dreary days there.  Did I mention it was foggy?!  It was relentless.  Wednesday morning, after our 2nd night there, we departed – once again in the fog – for Lower Goose Island.  Upper Goose Island is to its north, 2 islands – The Goslings – are to its south.  There is a mooring field here, so we helped ourselves, as borrowing a mooring ball is common practice here in Maine.  (It was the easiest, most effortless pick-up I’ve ever done!)  We took the dogs ashore to one of The Goslings (pictured) and then settled in for the evening.  The air cleared and we had one of the prettiest skies of the trip so far.  Truly, it was a sign of good things to come.  As you know, “red sky at night, [cruiser’s] delight!”

When we’re at an anchorage or a mooring, many times there is no dock in which to land the dinghy when we go ashore.  That has been the case the past few days.  Instead we land at a beach, which means we hop out of the dinghy in the water and carry the dogs a few yards to the beach, and then reverse the process when we’re done.  The water looks cold, but it’s really not that bad!  I’m so appreciative that, when we return to the boat, we can spray off our feet with warm water from the transom shower!

In fact, there are so many things I’m appreciative of on the Krogen Express!  To be honest, I’ve never been a camper.  That was not my parent’s idea of a vacation; nor is it mine.  I like a nice bathroom (aka head), a roomy kitchen (aka galley), a warm pilothouse or enclosed bridge when underway, a tv, a roomy bed, lots of places to put things, big windows that open on a breezy 70 degree day.  The list goes on!

At the end of the week we are going to a marina in Freeport.  That means a trip to the grocery store, and maybe even to LL Bean’s flagship store!  That’ll be a big outing for us! LOL!  A retail sighting for the first time in almost two weeks!

by Betsie Betsie 1 Comment

A Typical Day on the Water

About our days on the water, moving the boat, some of our friends and family ask, “what do you do?”  For sure, it’s not like being at home!

Here’s how today went, as we ran the boat from Kittery Point to Saco, a 34 mile trip:

The sun rises early here in Maine, really early……..5:03 am today, to be exact (which means it starts getting light about 4:30!)  I got out of bed about 5:30’ish.  Fed the dogs.  Made a cup of coffee; and then spent an hour or so reading, pondering, praying.  The dogs went back to sleep.

One of the things I miss most about home is the back door so I can just let the dogs out in the backyard, unattended, to do their thing! But alas, they are accustomed to our boat ways, which means 3 outings each day when we are not at a dock……morning, after lunch, after dinner.  (When we are tied up at a dock, it’s an easy hop on/off at any time.)  Our morning run ashore is about 7 or 7:30.  Sometimes I take them alone, sometimes John does, sometimes we go together.  Upon return, breakfast for the humans is usually a piece of toast or half a bagel…..and a 2nd cup of coffee!

This morning we dropped the mooring line around 8:30.  But times of departure can differ depending on how far we’re going, currents, and water conditions.  Then we settle in for the ride, often accompanied by John’s eclectic playlist of music….including Johnny Cash, Suzy Boggus, Queen, Billy Joel, Zach Brown, Nat King Cole, Ray Charles, Boston, and more!

On this Maine trip in particular, we are especially appreciative of our double Stidd chair on the bridge so that we can sit side by side and look out for lobster trap floats.  For the most part they are colorful and easy to see (which is more than I can say for the crab traps in the Chesapeake!).  It’s just that there are a lot of them!

Besides enjoying the scenery, we read, we “google” stuff like “Maine lobster industry”, “lighthouse near me”,  “open haircutter near me”, “grocery store near me”, “Maine fog”.  We talk about what we’re going to have for lunch.  Then we talk about what we’ll do for dinner!  And since this area is all new to us, we spend a lot of time researching our destination, what we will find, what it offers, where to take get the dogs ashore. This morning I had a one hour “Snapchat” training session with my nephew.  In reality I don’t know how much I’ll ever use it, but he and I had a lot of fun and laughs!   I also had a text exchange with one of our former owners who summers in the area and has good local knowledge.  Then it was time to make lunch!

Around 12:30 we pulled into Wood Island Harbor which leads to the Saco River and viewed this classic Maine lighthouse, one of many we will see along the way.  We pondered our options……mooring or anchor?  Moorings are more prevalent in the northeast.  They allow for an increased density of boats, particularly in areas where tides are high.  Here in Maine the tides are 7-8 ft versus Florida where the tides are 2-4 ft.  Because of the method in which moorings are secured they use a much shorter scope than when anchoring.  For instance, our swing here on a mooring is 20-25 ft.  If we were on at anchor, our swing would be 200 ft.  Therefore 2-4 times as many boats could be  accommodated in a particular area.

We cruised into Camp Ellis (altho it’s not a camp, but more like a seaside hamlet) on the Saco River where there were supposed to be 2 free moorings. Both were occupied, but…….then I spotted a third…. and it was available!  John made a quick u-turn, I grabbed the line, secured it, and we were set!  Lunch completed, we lowered the dinghy and took the dogs ashore for a walk. It was an unbelieveable 85 degrees, so the walk was short.  But it allowed us to spot a good take-out dinner spot for the next night!

Up on the next blog……fog!  But these pictures give you an idea.  One also shows the severity of the tides!  See those mooring balls sitting on land?!

 

by Betsie Betsie No Comments

Maine or Bust

It was hard to say goodbye on Wednesday to our friends and family after a wonderful week in Nantucket, but it was time to move on.  Looking back as we cruised out of the marina, we waved goodbye, proceeding then past Brandt Point Lighthouse proudly wrapped in the American flag.

 

Waters were pleasant on Nantucket Sound which we appreciated, as it can get quite rough out there.  Thursday we dropped the anchor in a quiet spot in Onset Bay, just south of the Cape Cod Canal.  We were surrounded by a fairly dense fog when we got up at 5 the next morning.  Dogs walked, dinghy stored, and anchor pulled by 6 we set off for the canal.  Things cleared nicely making for a visibly manageable trip.

Friday the water was unbelievable……flat and smooth, like a lake.  Hard to believe we were in the Atlantic Ocean!  As a result, we changed our plans and kept going to Marblehead.  This is a charming town with homes from the 1800s.  It has a rich history in fishing and yachting and was once a major shipyard.  It is often referred to as the birthplace of the American Navy.  As is the case with much of the New England coastline, it is bordered by rock.  The town was named Marblehead by settlers who mistook it’s granite outcroppings for marble. During our walk around town we came across a gift store that had some kitchen towels in the window, and this one really made me laugh! Any boating couple can really relate to the quote…..”Sorry for what I said while docking”.  Fortunately John and I don’t have too many moments when we regret our words, but there can be tense times on occasion.

Our position in the Marblehead mooring field was right on the outside of the field, barely tucked into the harbor.  So, combined with some swells from the ocean and the lack of courtesy from speeding boats, we rocked and rolled until almost 9 pm. (Picking up the mooring upon arrival and launching the dinghy were no easy feats, either!)  Fortunately we were able to have a decent night’s sleep.  Needless to say, we were more than happy to move on and will not be returning to Marblehead, not even to purchase that cute towel!

The ride today (Saturday) was also very comfortable, and before we knew it we were in Maine!  In New England it doesn’t take long to go from one state to another.  I’m going to try to come up with other adjectives than “quaint” and “charming” on this blog; but it might be a challenge!  Everything along the coastline in these historic, coastal towns is “quaint” and “charming”!  Kittery Point is no exception!  The Whaleback Lighthouse greeted us as we approached.  This is the view up the Piscataqua River off our stern.