We have been in Maine for a week now and this is the first time we have had a good enough internet connection to do an update.
We left Gloucester Thursday morning and headed out for points north. We had two options: go around Cape Anne or take a canal that cuts through the cape. We didn’t like the looks of the canal and the currents so we opted for the trip around the Cape. Winds were again too light to sail so we motored all day to our next destination: Isle of Shoals. Not a very appealing name but a nice group of islands. We picked up a mooring and settled in for the night. The moorings are privately owned or belong to several yacht clubs but are available if the owners are not there. We watched several boats having to move when the owners showed up but there were enough for everyone. We dropped the mooring early the next morning and headed off for our next stop. Four hours into the trip, once again motoring, we made the decision to skip this stop and push on overnight for Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park. Everything was going fine until the evening when the auto pilot decided to stop working. It would not hold its course and had a heading locked into it and wanted to go that direction, the completely wrong direction. Once again we had to spend the night hand steering, trying to hold a course with no points of reference other than the line on the chart plotter. In the morning, Saturday, with Mt Desert in sight the pilot decided to work again. We made the decision to pull into Southwest Harbor and pick up a mooring. There are several anchorages in the area but all involve a long dinghy ride to shore and are deeper then I care to anchor, not to mention a 9-11 foot tide.
One of the advantages of being in the area is its public transportation. They run a fleet of propane powered buses sponsored by LL Bean and rides are free. We started out by dingying to the town dock and checking out the village of Southwest Harbor. After a tour of the town and harbor we were back on the boat for the night. We planned to see Bar Harbor and take an island tour on Sunday. The morning dawned with everything deep in a fog bank. We dinghied to the marina we were renting the mooring from for showers and then caught a bus to Bar Harbor. It was still a little foggy but we decided to do the tour anyway. The fog cleared as we moved inland but was thick over the water. We only saw about half the tour and the top of Cadillac Mountain was completely fogged in. It was still a good time because what scenery we saw was spectacular. We also figured we didn’t miss much since we saw the offshore islands as we came in.
Monday morning dawned with rain showers until mid-morning. Cori found a new leak on her side of the boat so we went to work dealing with it. One of the handrails was leaking so we removed that part of the headliner, removed several screws, caulked the holes and reinstalled the handrail and headliner. It hasn’t rained since so we are not sure if it is fixed or not. Some people describe cruising as “repairing boats in exotic locations”. Not sure if Maine counts as an exotic location but that was how we spent the morning. In the afternoon we went ashore again and caught the #7 bus, going the wrong way so that we could see the entire route and the small communities it goes through. After it deposited us in Bar Harbor we caught the #5 and rode it to Northeast Harbor to check out that harbor and back again to Bar Harbor. We made it back just in time to catch the #3 which makes a loop along the coast then through the forest as it returns to Bar Harbor. By now it was time to catch the #7 back to Southwest Harbor and out to the boat. A fun day of sightseeing at no cost, every sailors dream. (Sailors have a reputation for being cheap).
Tuesday morning it was time to drop the mooring and move on. We wanted to check out Somes Sound. This is classified as the only fiord on the North American coast and cuts almost all of the way through Mt Desert Island. Of course the “experts” can’t leave anything alone and it has been downgraded to a fjard, sort of a mini fiord, similar to what they did to Pluto. We chose to travel part of the way up the fiord to an anchorage and then take the dinghy to explore the rest. It is beautiful with the granite cliffs rising from the water and everything covered in deep green pine trees. We got several pictures of Hi Flite at anchor with the cliffs rising up behind her. I will post them when I get a better Internet connection.
Wednesday we left the Sound and headed off to our next harbor, we had decided to go to a spot next to Opechee Island where the guide book says we would see harbor seals and bald eagles. Every time we tried sailing the wind would die and we were back to motoring. I haven’t mentioned the lobster pots yet but believe me they are everywhere. I almost feel like a slalom skier working my way around them. There was a small misunderstanding about what bay we were going to and we went well past the planned stop. Time for plan B, we went up to Herrick Bay and dropped anchor between several lobster pots. In the morning we were rocked by the wakes from the lobster boats checking their pots. We took the dinghy around the other side of the island, about 5 miles, to the headquarters of “Wooden Boat” magazine. We checked out their store and then walked over to their school and workshops to see several wooden boats under construction and repair. There are a lot of their boats in the harbor, all fine examples of traditional wooden boats. After another five mile trip we were back to the boat to relax.
In the morning we woke up when the lobstermen checked their pots again and after checking the weather we pulled the anchor and moved on. We again tried to sail but again the winds would die as soon as we raised the sails. After several attemts we resigned ourselves to motoring again. This leg brought us up Eggemoggin Reach, which is beautiful; we turned into Penobscot Bay and moved up to Holbrook Island near Castine Harbor. Holbrook Island and the area around it are part of a Nature preserve and reminds us of our time traveling around Lake Superior. We picked up a mooring and dinghied over to the island to check out the trails. After hiking several trails we were back the boat to relax again.
Tomorrow we plan to make a trip into town and then back out to check out more of the trails.