"There is nothing more pleasant than cruising on a boat with the whole family."
Letter from Empress Catherine the Great

Thursday, August 9, 2018

August 7 - 9 -- McGlathery to Northeast Harbor to Somesville Harbor, 20 and 6 Miles

I've been told that diesel engines like to be run hard every once and a while -- to burn off deposits that build up at slow speeds. ILENE's engine got her workout between McGlathery and NE Harbor. We departed at seven and from a call to the clinic learned the last availableappointment was at 10:30, not 11;45, shortening our window. We saw no wind more than two knots so it was up to the engine. Our course took us across Jerico Bay, through the Canso Passage, across Blue Hill Bay, through the dredged channel off Bass Point (here is Bass point Light and it shows the smooth waters)
and then along the south coast of Mount Desert Island to the Western Way where we turned north and through the Great Harbor into Northeast Harbor, a long thin bay in the northeastern corner of the Great Harbor. Good tide or at least not adverse. Lots of lobster pots and here they "toggle" them, which requires dodging both ends of each pair.  during our 20 miles we passed close to thousands of them and only nicked one. The channel through the shoals off Bass Point is said to be dredged to a depth of fourteen feet, plenty for us if we stay in the channel. It is marked by a pair of red and white buoys, one at each end. Stay in line between then, like we did, and you will have no problems. It was easier on a day like this when there were no side winds. Waching the depth though it and we saw no less than 22 feet of water.
We took a mooring from Clifton's Dock. This is the fuel dock at which we waited for two hours last year for an agent of customs and immigration to "inspect" ILENE. Lene had called them and after we had lowered and started the dink and drove it to the dock, the manager drove us the five minutes to the clinic in her jeep-like car. The doctor on duty applied plastic strips which he "glued" on. He said they will fall off in ten to fourteen days and I'll be ok.
In Northeast Harbor we went to the only-game-in-town market, and paid the exhorbitant prices charged. We dropped off four days of garbage, took showers, visited the hardware store and lovely rare used book store and some gallerys and ate lobsters. "Rebecca," 140 feet long, was at the dock for the several hours it took her to take on 2500 gallons of diesel. Acres of gleaming varnished teak topside!
In the morning we brought ILENE to the dock for a more modest drink of 11 gallons of diesel and full water tanks. Since Boothbay she has burned .62 gallons of fuel per hour. Returning to the mooring we discovered a leak from the cockpit shower when the fresh water pump was on and fixed it.  Then we dinked over to the public landscape architecture. The estate, with a lovely though not ostentatious wooden house, overlooks the town from the east side of the harbor.
The house is open to the public, which asked not to handle the books in its library.
The gardens, one could see, required a lot of gardeners time to keep looking perfect ech day. They had many flowers and a section in milkweed. That is what monarch butterfies like to eat and they were present in both caterpillar and butterfly form.

We motored out of Eastern harbor and then, with the mild wind still from the south, were able to sail on very broad reaches up Somes Sound to Somesville Harbot at its head, two gybes required. I think this is our fourth trip to Somesville. I like the fact that we always find a free mooring here and Lene likes the Adadia Repertory Theater, about half a mile away. We saw Sacha Masha etc, a comedy by Chris Durang. A silly little story that gives its actors the opportunities to turn in larger than life, over the top performances. Two ladies gave us a lift on the way back to the dock at 10;30 P.M.
We had planned go three miles south to stay on our anchor at Valley Cove on the west side of Somes Sound, with its hike to the top of Flying Mountain that we have done several times before, but that was always in nice weather while today had a lot of rain. And I had fallen way behind in the blogging, so we kept the boat in Somesville and took the free public bus to Southwest Harbor where I used the wifi in their library to get caught up. We also had lunch in the Easyside Cafe, a lovely little family owned diner with great food at good prices served by members of the family and others. The only mistake I made here was eating so much that I had to turn down the blueberry pie, which was calling my name to me very loudly.  I am going to publish this post before the day and night are over, because we are heading east tomorrow to Sand Cove in Winter Harbor and then to Roque Island, for two days each, and I may not be able to post again until we get back to MDI.

August 5 and 6 -- North Haven to Seal Bay to McGlathery Island, 6 ans 13 Miles

Wedid not get underway from North Haven until after lunch, after the 1 p.m. matinee and motored the short distance though we did put up a headsail for a good part of it. We had not visited Seal Bay since our first 2002 Maine Cruise on the Tartan 34. That time we were with a group of about seven Tartans led by the dealer for them on his own boat, Joe, now in Florida. He shepherded us into the Bay, which is a salt water lake, at the NE corner of Vinal Haven Island, created by a number of smaller islands, the largest of which is Penobscot Island, off which we eventually anchored. The place is quite sheltered becuase the passages between theislands are so narrow. It is the most beatiful place, with granite boulders and ledges arising from the sea, topped with conifers. But it has many islands, some of which are underwater at higher tides, so you must have a lot of local knowledge of trust your chart plotter. Man standing on rock: only the white part shows at high tide. next is to the left of the top, showing the underwater beach by which he accessed the rock at low tide by dink.

We were secure with seventy feet of snubbed chain in 25 feet of water at high. In the morning we explored the waters further into the coves by dink and spoke with the folks on other boats before raising the dink and hoisting the anchor to make for out next stop.
That is when the trouble occurred. The anchor came almost all the way up, easily, no mud. But at the last minute, it twisted and its shank got stuck sideways between the stanless steel plates that guide it up and down. The shank is a long bar of metal aout 3/8 of an inch thick an tapering slightly but perhaps 2.5 inches wide. it was jammed so it could not come all the way up, though it was well out of the water, but more sig tnocantly it would not go down -- the anchor could not be used. What to do? First lets get out of here into the open but calm waters, half a mile outside of Seal Bay and far from any rocks. Then the rubber mallet came into use but several hard raps did nothing. at theis point we shut down the engine and drifted. Lene brought the WD 40 which I sprayed liberally. Then the mallet moved the anchor and it came loose. At this is the point of the big problem. Its 45 pounds fell about three feet before its chain stopped its further fall. But my right hand was holding that chain and was dragged down and was cut by the staniless steel sheet guiding the anchor. A deep diagonal gash across the back of the knuckle of my right index finger. Lene brought water, hydrogen peroxide, Bacitracin and a big band aid. And with the memory of the advice that Mendy had given when he sailed with us to elevate the hand, these measures staunched the bleeding.
Underway again for the passage across Eastern Penobscot Bay and through Merchants Row to McGlathery. And the wind came up and the Genoa took us at about six knots on a beautiful sail without the noisemaker.
McGlathery Island was a new port for us. The anchorage is a small bay set into the island's northern end but there were other boats present and we picked a spot  near the east side. There is a beach at which to land a dinghy but with my finger we let that go and did not lower the dink. During the first four hours we rested up there the pink line of the MFD's display of our track showed us dragging very slowly about 60 feet. It turned out to be a quiet night, in terms of the wind, but what troubled me was that while we had put down eighty feet of snubbed chain in 20 feet of water at low, the bottom sloped lower as we moved further from the island, making our scope short at the anchor's new location. So before dark we lifted and reset, to a spot where other boats had vacated, further to the west side of the Bay. In the process we discovered what may have been the cause of the dragging. The anchor brought up yards and yards of broad leafed seaweed which I poked and pulled at with the boat hook  to shake it off before resetting.
Our night at McGlathery was not a pleasant one. For one thing, a mosquito had infiltrated the boat. The other was that my finger was throbbing a little, indicating to me that there was infection. Ilene checked the internet, AT&T only, not Verison (needed to do this blog), and learned that there was a medical clinic in Northeast Harbor, our next stop, but only open until noon. So we made plans for an early departure and spent a restless night. There are so many great anchorages in Maine that I have to say that McGlathery Island is not one of my favorites.

August 3 and 4 -- Camden to Rockport and then to North Haven, 5 and 11 Miles

In Camden, I had to wait after flooding the dinghy engine and did so with the cover off. I put my wallet in the upside down engine cover and in reattaching the cover, threw the wallet in the water. Amazingly, in floated for the minute it took me to realize my idiocy and retrieve the wallet.
Then to the dock for water, gas for the dink, garbage and engine oil and filters.
The five miles to Rockport were retrogression: heretofore we have zigged and zagged but never went backwards. We set the Genoa inside Camden Harbor, enjoying a port close reach in SW wind. But once out of the harbor the winds abated and came from the south so we motored almost all of the five miles. We even towed the dink instead of lifting her for the five miles.
Rockport is a center for wooden boat fans and was rather empty because so many of them were out of town, engaged in a three day destination regatta in Eggermogin Reach.
For dinner we went to the same place we always go in Rockport: 18 Central Oyster Bar and Grill. The food, is always different and was up to their high standards. Expensive except by NYC standards. The restaurant was actually the reason we went to Rockport. The mooring fee will be mailed to Rockport Marine by check, because the man on duty there Sunday morning did not know the price!
In Rockport we were hailed by the crew of s/v "Twig," another Saga 43, this one formerly named "Nottus" (Sutton spelled backwards) and two years younger than ILENE. We had blueberry sweet potato pancakes again, but for the rest of the cruise, the sweet potato type will be off the menu because we are out of it. This was the first batch with the more delicious tiny wild Maine blueberries.
The crew of Twig are Kai, Emily and Reverie, and no, Reverie is not a cat, but their daughter, who was celebrating her seventh birthday. She will be home schooled for the first grade this year, their third of living aboard without a home base, which was in Minneapolis.
After breakfast we did lift the dink for the sail to North Haven, a tiny town on North Haven Island on th "Fox Island Thoroughfare".  North Haven Island, with Vinal Haven Island to its south, comprise the Fox Islands. Why not the Haven Islands, one might ask. The Fox Islands, collectively, comprise one of the big land masses that separate Eastern  and Western Penobscot Bays.
We finally got a chance to use the new weight in the keel. We sailed half of the distance, ESE across western Penobscot Bay in up to 24 knots of apparent wind about 60 degrees of the starboard bow under reefed main and small jib. ILENE stood up well, averaging 6.5 knots. Then heavy fog caused us to furl the headsail and eventually the reefed main as well. Here we are passing rocks called Bears Ears after most of the fog had lifted.

We took a mooring at J.O. Brown's boatyard, though we could easily have anchored in one of the many nearby sheltered bays. We did so to pick up some cat things that had been shipped to Brown's for us. Brown's has an old fashioned musty authentic wooden feel. We did not know that the hot showers, in a rather decrepit shower house, were $5 per person. Our boat is center right off from the local boat club which somehow is called the Casino, and with the four round trips a day ferry to Rockland at its dock.
 And we discovered that the community theater was putting on a play called "On Island"--  its world premier in fact. It was a sort of "Our Town" of three generations of life on a Maine Island -- a specific island, North Haven. We got on the wait list and when it was exhaused, I got to see the show sitting on the steps. Lots of songs, local talent, and a ton of humor. I understood some of the humor, the rest of it too local, but sellout crowd roared. A large and enthusiastic cast. And the sets were slides of scenes of the town, which I recognized because we had walked around before. The action involved the Brown family and their yard, though it was renamed the Snow family. A very sweet performance.

Friday, August 3, 2018

August 1 and 2 -- High/Dix Anchorage to Camden, 13 Miles; And Lay Day There

Extremely heavy fog at 5:30 in the morning; it cleared by the time of our 11 a.m. departure. No wind for the first part of the journey, through Owls Head Passage, but for the last six and a half miles the wind came up from behind us  and we were on almost a dead run at speeds of 5 to 6 knots under genoa alone. More than an hour of beautiful silent moderately fast sailing. Passing Rockland we saw the USS Hue City, the biggest thing in the harbor, for the celebration of that town's Lobsterfest and to promote good will for the Navy. Then we passed close ahead of this lovely passenger schooner:

Our mooring at Lyman Morse Wayfarer Marina in Camden is in the furthest possible location from the dock, and inner harbor, around the corner in Sherman Cove. ($42 /night). At it was quite sleep-deprivingly rolly the first night but not as bad the second. 

We have visited Camden several times before and this time with the heat about 90, we declined to climb to the top of Battle Mountain, which towers over the town. Instead we did laundry the first day and used the marina's free courtesy car to provision the second. Lene got beauty treatments while I read in the library.

The inner harbor from the library:

The highlight of our visit was a performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night on the lawn behind the library. This picture before the seats got filled. A lovely imaginative staging with singin (including 20th Century songs) added before both acts, at the end and during the play.
Now on to Rockport, a mere five miles away.

July 31 -- Clyde Harbor to High/Dix Anchorage, 12 Miles

I sewed up the small tear I ripped in the lower front of the mainsail before we got underway, but I'm thinking of adding an additional reinforement. Another delay for the return of Lene's credit card, which was left at the the Island Inn on Monhegan at lunch, and the loss not discovered until dinner time. They had it and gave it to Captain Nick who brought it to us on his return from the mail run at ten A.M. We did not put up a single sail today: no wind.
Muscle Ridge Shoal is a group of islands and shoals running north and south off the west side of Penobscot Bay's southern part. And since I first read about it I was intrigued by a well rated anchorage formed by several of the Islands, notably High and Dix, from which much of the granite used in some of New York's landmark buildings was quaried during the 19th Century. And this trip we finally had an opportunity to try it out. We came in following the arrow leading from the upper right in this sadly sideways photo. But with southerly winds expected,
(actually there were very little wind from any direction that night) we anchored about 200 yards north of Dix Island, (above the "I" in "DIX", rather than further in, where the anchor is shown on the cruising guide's chartlet.

Dix Island from ILENE:
Eighty feet of snubbed chain in 24 feet of water at high tide held us. Three other boats came in and anchored near where the anchor is shown on the chartlet. Lene had the afternoon with her kitties as I went off in the dink to explore the neighborhood. Here are Little Green, and then High and Birch islands.
I approached a boat that had the shape of a lobster boat but which had been fitted out for family cruising: m/v "Tupelo Rose." It was anchored near High Is. I asked where to land. The man said "We saw you have a nice big orange pussy cat aboard." "Yes, and his sister too", I replied. He pointed out the dinghy dock on High Island and it appeared that his wife and three lovely daughters were interested in cats, having left theirs with friends during their one week cruise from near Portland. I landed and explored the island which is littered with left over pieces from the quarry, LENE, through a gap between the tops of the second and third trees, about 1/3 of the way from the left. though you have to zoom in a lot to bring her into focus. I was the only person on an uninhabited island, though a small army of men were engaged in quarrying there in the past.
and is being "developed" for a few luxury home sites.
I made my way to the top of the quarry, located about where the "G" in HIGH is on the chartlet, and got this photo of  ILENE, in the gap between the tops of the third and fourth trees from the left.
When departing I met the man again and asked, subject to both our wives approval, if he and his family would like to come over later for wine and cheese. Kitties are magnets for teenagers and the whole family came over, though they brought along their own food and drink. Our refreshments served as dinner.

This is a very close knit family and it was a pleasure to share the evening with them. Here, saying goodby from their dink, from left to right, are  Matt and  Jill. then Bella, Rosie and Masie, aged about 12 to 16.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

July 29-30 -- Hog Is. To Clyde Harbor, 12 Miles, and Lay Day for Ferry Ride to Monhegan Island

We spent more time in the Mid-Coast region of Maine, marked by Casco Bay to the west and Penobscot Bay to the east. On our four prior Maine cruises we zipped past this region, dashing to ports east or west, with stops only at Five Islands, Bath, Boothbay Harbor and Christmas Cove. But this year we added an equal number of new stops: Linekin Bay, Hog Island, Port Clyde and Monhegan Island. And there are several other great spots noted in the cruising guide.
Before our pancake breakfast with Anita
I heard a loud splash. I saw a ring of waves spreading from the spot. We have seen fish jump but this was big. With more focus, when it reoccurred I saw it was ten fish, each perhaps eight to ten inches longin a single spot which made such a big splash. And then a new lobster float popped up, and then it began to swim away: the head of a seal with a belly full of fresh fish.
The route to Port Clyde should have been sailed because there was mostly enough wind. We did sail for a bit, with genoa only, but furled it when the wind died and used only motor the rest of the way on a course that passed between various tight spots between islands and submerged reefs. We had problems due to my inexperience with the MFD. when heading south "head up" display is easier to use than the normal "north up", but we could not remember how to get to it on the fly. One of us had accidentally turned off our pink "track" but I got that on again. And somehow, while we used the information in the "route" as a series of waypoints, we could not get "onto" the route itself. But the crew does not really care.

The most interesting thing was that my geographically challenged mate helped with the navigation, using her iNavix. Unfortunately one page of the 82 pages of the chartbook for New England had gone missing since we got the book on 2002 -- the page for Muscongus Bay. iNavix shows a replica of the actual government paper chart, the gold standard, and so we were using that program in addition to the MFD on this passage. Using the suggestion of the cruising guide, I had routed us through the gap at the southers end of Davis Island, which seemed a bit wider but had no buoys to mark the deep water. Lene suggested the gap at the north end of Davis which had a red nun (and was a half mile shorter) and we took it, successfully.
The excitement was when we heard a single loud knock. It seemed we had nicked a lobster float with a blade of our propeller. We seemed to slow down; maybe we were dragging the trap? I turned 360 degrees, sharply, trying to shake it off. but not sure so out where there were no obstuctions, we cut the engine, lowered the dink and I took an icy salt water bath. Fortunately, only seaweed had to be cleared from the prop and rudder.
In Port Clyde it was sunny and we viewed the Wyeth gallery, and walked to Marshall Point lighthouse,
about a mile and a half. For the return trip a group of four generous folks from Missouri/Kansas gave us a ride in their Prius. How can six people fit in a Prius? One of the ladies sat in the trunk!! I said they were generous.
The cruising guides all praise Monhegan Island as a destination, but warn aainst sailing there. No anchoring because the bottom is too fouled; and getting a vacant mooring used by lobster boats is an iffy proposition. The harbor is acually a sound between Monhegan and its much smaller neighbor, Manana Island, and that sound runs SW to NE thus exposed to the prevailing winds and the big waves thay can kick up. And the place is ten miles out to sea so if you can't find a lobsterboat mooring it will be quite a long trip to an alternative port in the storm. Finally, there is no dinghy dock so if you do get on a mooring one person can drive the dink to the beach to unload the other but is not allowed to stay more than 15 minutes. So we did what we have done before at destinations where sailboats will be uncomfortable (from Sint Maarten we visited Saba and from Key West we visited the Dry Tortuga): we took the ferry. Here is Lene admiring her namesake fron the cargo laden deck of the ferry.
Yes, we took the first boat, the 7:00 am "mail run" on the 100 year old "Laura B" with Captain Nick,
shown here all serious but who has a winning smile.

We had breakfast (and lunch) at the Island Inn. It is the large building between the lighthouse, from which this picture was taken, and and the harbor with Manana in the background.
We walked a few of the 17 miles of trails that circle and criss cross this small island (about 1.5 by .5 miles) from the ends of the unpaved roads that fan out from the dock. The trails are narrow, hilly and involve climbing across rocks in them. But the views are spectacular, especially from the cliffs at Whitehead on the east side.

And the island has been a magnet for artists since about 1900, when tourism overtook fishing as the main activity. The works of many famous artists who have painted here are in the history and art museum in the old lighthouse keeper's houses, and many, less famous atrists, set up easels here to paint "en plein air" as Monet did.
We caught the 4:30 return on the "Elizabeth Ann" and were back in Port Clyde by 5:50, after a full day followed by dinner at the restaurant on the dock. So all three meals were on land today.
A highlight of the day was the many nice people we got to know. The island is so small that one tends to meet the same people several times. At breakfast we met TonyAnn and Mattis, from Philadelphia. Rusty, the captain of the Laura B in his youth was retired as an airline pilot and with his wafe Sharon, now live in Minnesota but travel a lot. Rachel, a young veteranarian was hiking on a recently recovered broken ankle and Ginny, out of Stratford CT, was one of the painters whose easel we admired. I was wearing my Antigua tee shirt and on the return ferry ride Tim and his wife Carol, who sail a Tartan 41 out of Stratford CT, told me of his recent cruise there. Turns out he knows both Bob and Gregg, with whom I crewed on a memorable delivery of  Bob's "Pandora" from Essex CT to Hampton VA a few falls ago.. At dinner we were seated next to a couple whose ketch, out of Perth Amboy was moored next to us. And near dinner's end someone called my name. It was Jesse, off the other ketch moored next to us, which he is racing the next few days in a series of three "destination races" for wooden boats, like "Abigail" in Penobscot Bay. He lives in our apartment house in New York City!!! We hope to connect with Jesse in Camden in a few days. If you ever think that ours is not "a small world after all," forget it!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

July 26-28 -- Lay Days in Booothbay and a Night in Linekin Bay, 5 Miles and One in Hog Island, 12 Miles

We did everything we had planned on the lay day in Boothbay except for the movies which were not to our taste. We lunched at Kalers. I recalled a very memorable meal last time. I don’t remember what we ate, except how good it was. This time the food was fine but that extra spark was just not there. The lay day became a day and a half due to complications in stopping the leaking drain of the galley sinks. Grover’s Hardware had the plumbers putty but applying it required disassembly of the existing sink drains during which I broke both of them, one at a time.
Another call to our friend Dean. I would hate to impose upon him except I know how much he likes to help people. Fortunately, Grovers had the units, I got their last two, and Mike there was exceptionally helpful in disassembling the broken parts from those still needed.
I had a large vise grips and my father’s old pipe wrench, stored in a Zip lock bag to deter rust. (How many cruising boaters carry a pipe wrench do you suppose?)  but the unit in question really required a wrench capable of handling a nut that was 2 1/2 inches across. I worked at the job in the evening, during the night when I woke up because of it and the next day until two pm. A competent plumber with the right tools and parts could have probably done the job in less than an hour. Me -- ten!  But it is done and apparently not leaking.
But by two pm our plans to go the Hog Island had to be changed – too far for the amount of time remaining. So we motored, in fog again!, the less than five miles. to Luke’s Boatyard on the eastern side of Linekin Bay, a new spot for us. The northwestern side of Linekin is only approximately a one mile walk back to Boothbay Harbor. I had always been intrigued by the name of the place. My boat’s mate’s name is Lene, the second syllable of her offical nane: Ilene. But one of my terms of endearment for her is Lenikins. The bay is vast with lots of deep water.
We took a mooring at Luke's Boat Yard for only $25 for a well spaced mooring. In the morning when I dinked in to pay, Mr. Luke requested only $20! How often are the prices charged LESS than advertised. His is a working shipyard and offers no amenities such as showers and launch service, but the price can’t be beat.
The sail from Linekin Bay to Hog island started in bright sunlight. At last the end of the fog! But no, once out, the fog returned, though fortunately never less than two tenths of a mile. But is spoils the pleasure, requiring concentration and depriving the traveler of the vistas.
Wind was from the south and we tacked south to the Atlantic. The wind was a beam reach heading east, but lightened to almost nothing as we went along. There were five foot ocean rollers coming in which bounced us and our sails around so much that when we got to two knots we furled the genoa and motored under main alone. The little arrow atop the mast spun around to every direction as the waves rocked the wind out of the sails. The only tricky part of the navigation was at the northern end of Hog Island where it got very narrow with lots of rocks that emerged when the tide ebbed. Only the white slab of rock at the top of the high pile about 2/3rds of the way to the right was visible when we came in near high tide.
Hog Island is a nature sanctuary operated by the Audubon Society.

The Society welcomes visitors who appreciate nature and provides a few mooring at the north end of the island. Today the office was closed, well actually the facilities were not locked, but no one was on the island except us. Here is a view into a narrow inlet cut into the island from the boat during a non fog interval,

followed by a view of the boat, telephoto through the fog (which returned), from the other end of the inlet.

There are trails around and through the island and we walked, for an hour. We met no one except this guy in a tree.

And we met Anita,
who sails a Pearson '26, solo, out of the Centerboard Yacht Club in South Portland. They can handle a boat with our draft and provide launch service across the bay to DeMillo’s Marina on the city side of Portland Harbor.
We invited Anita to breakfast the next morning.