AUGUST--TIME IN MAINE WITH WHALES, SEALS, LOBSTER POTS, LOBSTERS and ISLANDS
When we left Marblehead, Massachusetts on August 31, our intention was to sail to Isles of Shoals just outside Portsmouth, NH. . However, making great time (traveling with Dick and Pat Peebbles on HANANIAH) so continued north to Woods Island Harbor just outside of Biddeford Pool, Maine. It was a motoring day, covered almost 70 nautical miles. Excited to see several whales a distance from the boat. After securing our anchor at Woods Island Harbor, took the dinghy into Biddeford Pool to walk around town and drop off some postcard in the mail. Had our first lobster roll at P.M. Inniss Lobster Company along with a huge box of french fries. Oh.......so good.
The following day we motored 63 nautical miles to Tenants Harbor in the Muscongus Bay. Saw more whales and dolphins plus cute little harbor seals. Noticed the number of lobster pots were rapidly increasing. Surprised to see lobster pots out in water over 250 feet deep. The biggest surprise was how thick the lobster pots were as we approached Tenants Harbor. Our autopilot steering has a neat remote control that allows us to change our course left or right in 1 or 10 degree increments. Carl stands on the cockpit seat using the remote control to dodge lobster pots. Reminded me of an old computer game...Pac Man. I must say, Carl was really good at dodging the pots until a big lobster boat went by creating a big wake that added another degree of difficulty to the dodge the lobster pot exercise. I had to throttle back the engine to slow the boat down so the pots would not come at him faster than he could dodge them. Managed to get to the anchorage without hitting any pots. Had time at Tenants Harbor to go into town to walk around before making dinner and going to bed.
From Tenants Harbor we entered the Penobscot Bay heading for Camden. Followed the Muscle Ridge Channel to Owls Head Bay which is a fairly narrow channel filled with lobster pots, rocks and recreational boats. As we rounded the point at Owls Head, could see mountains in the distance.....very beautiful. Some people suggested we skip Camden but I am glad we didn't follow the advice. The harbor is full of boats including the coastal schooner fleet and some mega yachts. The town itself is bumper to bumper traffic which didn't affect us except when we wanted to cross the street. Walked around in Camden on a hot day (over 90 degrees which is rare for Maine). Had lunch at Cappy's Chowder House. Dinner at Bayview Lobsters---lobster rolls again which were delicious (but according to Carl, not as good as the ones we had in Biddeford Pool). The following morning, Carl and I decided to walk up to Mount Battie. The cruising guide says Mount Battie provides "an incomparable view of all of Penobscot Bay". We were told it takes about 20-30 minutes to climb the 780 foot point. We didn't plan to leave Camden until noon so we had time to get to Mount Battie and back by noon. Carl gets a park map and sees Bald Rock Mountain thinking that is where we are going. After walking and climbing about 90 minutes, I ask to see the map and noticed we were on a 5 mile trail up to Bald Rock Mountain at 1200 feet. Had to hoof it back double time so we could leave the mooring by noon....no, we never did see that "incomparable view of all of Penobscot Bay"!
The following picture of Carl and I was taken in Camden.
Next stop was Islesboro to attend the Seven Seas Cruising Association Gam (SSCA calls their gatherings Gams). Seems to me over 60 boats anchored around Broad Creek to attend the Gam. The opening activitiy was a dinghy raft up......bring your own drink, an appetizer to pass and then tie up to one sailboat with about 50 other dinghies for a couple hours to eat, drink and socialize. The next day there was a Potluck Lunch on shore with two guests speakers (topics were Weather and Anchoring in Storm Conditions). Sagas were well represented at the Gam---DISCOVERY, HANANIAH (Dick and Pat Peebles), and NO SE (Pat and Duane Marshall),and ALTAIR (Rick and Julie Palm). Additionally, Saga owners Jack and Annie Sutton (NOTTUS) and Gayle and Frank (ALCID) attended by land.
From Islesboro we went to Belfast. Great town to walk around in.....great hills! The town has burned twice so only a few historic buildings remain. The church, FIRST CHURCH, has a Paul Revere bell in the belfry. The highlight was having lobster dinner with Dick and Pat Peebles at Young's Lobster Pound. We noticed the parking lot for the Pound was full all day long. Brought our own drinks and ordered lobster to eat at picnic tables.
The following picture was taken at Young's Lobster Pound. The Peebles are sitting on the left side of the picnic table with Carl and I on the right (I am back there in the shadow!)
Had a fantastic sail the next day over to Smith Cove near Castine. A cold front was passing through so we looked for a well protected anchorage from west and north winds. As we sailed into the anchorage we saw a rock with what looked like dozens of football shaped rocks on top---finally realizing it was a bunch of harbor seals sunning themselves.
Next day the northeast winds gave us one of our best sails from Smith Cove down the Eggemoggin Reach to Northeast Harbor on Mount Desert Island. HANANIAH who was an hour or so behind us, caught a lobster pot in the Casco Passage. We had passed through there earlier so we know how packed that passage is with lobster pots.
Samuel de Champlain named Mount Desert Island L'Isle de Monts Desert when we visited it in 1604. Now, is it pronounced with the accent on the first syllable like the Sarahar Desert or with the accent on the second syllable like the sweet treat dessert. Mount Desert is pronounced Mount Dessert in Maine. This is one beautiful island......home to Acadia National Park. We stayed in Northeast Harbor for two nights. Met up with friends, Carol and Bruce Allen, on WIND ROSE for dinner. DISCOVERY and WIND ROSE traveled together last spring from Vero Beach, FL to Norfolk, VA.
From Northeast Harbor we motored up Somes Sound.....the only fjord in the Continental United States. Anchored at the top of the sound for 4 days. Rode the free propane buses provided by LL Bean to get around Mount Desert Island. Climbed a cliff near Echo Lake with Dick and Pat Peebles. Needed to use 4 iron ladders to reach the top. What a fantastic view.....I reached for my camera---a camera bag but no camera so I missed a fantastic "Kodak Moment". Went into Bar Harbor so I could buy sweatshirts for the two of us. During the 4 nights we were in Somes Sound, we attended 3 Happy Hours with KOKOMO, CAMELOT, MOONSTRUCK and HANANIAH!
The following picture was taken on our way up Somes Sound.
A picture taken in Bar Harbor (there are so many schooners in Maine)
Left Somes Sound on a beautiful Sunday morning with great winds for sailing on our way to Stonington. It was just "one of those bad hair days". First, I went to turn the diesel engine off so we could sail and I turned off the switch before killing the engine (a mistake). Next, we were in a tight passage (Bass Harbor Sand Bar) using the remote control for the autopilot when Carl by mistake turned the autopilot off while neither of us were close to the wheel to steer). Finally, we hit and caught a lobster pot while in the Deer Island Thoroughfare (used our prop cutter to cut through the line). Both of us were relieved to grab a mooring at Billings Diesel and Marine Service.
At Billings Diesel and Marine Service, we had the boat pulled out of the water to repair the rudder bearing. When our boat was manufactured, the rudder bearing was too large for the rudder shaft. As a result, the rudder was always banging back and forth (it was a nuisance and could possibly cause a problem for us in heavy seas). Decided this was a good yard to get this problem taken care of. Pulled the boat out of the water Monday late morning (had to wait for a rising tide to get into the well). Out of the water for 2 weeks but it was worth it. Pleased with the employees at Billings mostly their competence and customer focus.
What did we do for two weeks? Some how we managed to keep busy. Carl cleaned and greased all the winches on the boat (takes about 2 hours for each winch); washed the hull; replaced a seacock that was sticking; and other small projects that needed to be done. Billings Diesel and Marine is about 1 mile from Stonington so I went into Stonington almost every day (usually walked but sometimes caught a ride with someone). Stonington is really a neatl area---one of the few authenic lobstering towns left in Maine and there is a large artist community in Stonington. A couple of the guys working for Billings also had lobster boats so they sold us lobsters at a reasonable price which we prepared on DISCOVERY. While we enjoyed Stonington, we were glad to be splashed back into the water.
The following pictures were taken in Stonington.
A picture of DISCOVERY "on the hard". We were up so high so they could pull the rudder off the boat.
Lobster dinner onboard DISCOVERY
From Stonington, we headed to Liken Bay. While at Billings Diesel and Marine, we saw lots of boats come in to repair damage from catching lobster pots, so---we were apprehensive about picking up a pot. It seemed like they were everywhere. There are two routes to Liken Bay so we took the route out to deeper water where the pots are further apart! Met up with Peggy and Jeff on MOONSTRUCK in Liken Bay. From Liken Bay we could walk about 1/2 mile into Boothbay. Now, Boothbay is one big tourist town. Walked around Boothbay for a couple hours which was enough for us.
Motored from Boothbay to Seguin Island and around Cape Small. Passed below Casco Bay's West Cod Ledge to Biddeford Pool where we started our time in Maine. This time, we called Peter and Gina Starr who own a Saga 43 named LUMEN. We met the Starrs last December in Vero Beach, FL. Last winter we went to the Bahamas while the Starrs went to the Virgin Islands (they left LUMEN there for the hurricane season planning to return this November). Peter and Gina invited us to their home for a drink. They have a beautiful home on the cliff facing the ocean---one of the nicest homes we have seen anywhere! Peter and Gina took us on a drive to Kennebunkport. Drove past Walker's Point where former President and Barbara Bush have their summer place. I guess the George W Bush had been to Walker's Point the previous weekend. Finished the evening with a fantastic dinner in Kennebunkport with a table by the water.
On the last day in August, we motored from Biddefort Pool to Portsmouth, NH where we once again met up with Bruce and Carol Allen. Went over to their house where I did a couple loads of laundry then drove into Portsmouth to walk around the downtown area and inner harbor. Hope we met up with Bruce and Carol this coming winter in the Abacos.
Maine is a great place to cruise. There are so many islands with secluded anchorages and a number of good size towns for shopping and entertainment. We expected to experience more fog than we did which is a good things. Except for one day, it was never too foggy to travel (maybe we were just lucky). Loved to eat lobsters but hated those pots. In many ways, Maine reminded us of the North Channel in Lake Huron our previous cruising grounds. The biggest difference is the North Channel is a lot closer to Pentwater and the North Channel has whitefish instead of lobster.
Submitted by Marilyn Thoreson
September 3, 2006