Friday, August 17, 2012

Arrival at Little Cranberry Island

On July 30, we departed Northeast Harbor and headed 5 miles south to one of the five islands that make up Cranberry Isles.Wind was light so we motored to one of the 3 free town moorings. Little Cranberry used to have cranberries in bogs but the marshy areas encouraged mosquitoes. It got so bad they decided to burn the bogs in hope that the mosquitoes would not return but the berries would. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes came back but the cranberries did not!! We did not meet a single mosquito during our stay. I suppose it had been a nice dry July so conditions were good for us and bad for mosquitoes. After  lunch onboard, we dinghied ashore to explore and get some exercise. The photo above was taken on the Isleford town dock where they have some shops to include a potter's studio, hand items made in Maine and a gallery or 2.

The photo below shows the head of the dock. There is a Lobster co-op next door then a town landing.
The windows you see on this wharf were the ones of Islesford Dock Restaurant which has quite a reputation! We enjoyed mussels and chowder that night in the lively restaurant with the sun setting.
From our mooring in the little harbor we had a great view looking west to the Mountains over Southwest Harbor which is called the "quiet side" of Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. Just a gorgeous view that I could have looked at for months! The sun sets over these mountains .
This will be top of my list for next year!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Photos from Mt.Desert Island and Acadia National Park

Soda Fountain in old Drug Store in Bar Harbor
Looking out at Bar Harbor

Watching a little girl row her dog to the rocky shore at low tide for him to do his business before bedtime!
Views from biking on the carriage roads in Acadia National Park!
These Mainers really love their dogs and everyone else's dogs as they are welcome into businesses. The owner of this pup was invited to bring him into the posh dress shop but she declined. I did though see a lady with her dog on a leash in the small town grocery last night! Dogs are also welcome on a leash on the carriage roads and all trails!

Used Morris: Sundance a Justine 36

Cirra the Reader Dog at Northeast Library which incidentally sells hot cocoa or coffee IN the library!!

Fresh pan fried Halibut onboard "Second Wind"
Got to go enjoy this Halibut while it is hot!

Heading for Heaven: Mt. Desert Island

On Wednesday, July 18, we dropped off the mooring at KYC and headed down Blue Hill Bay. We passed along Long Island and north or above Tinker Island and ontoward Bass Harbor Bar. We had never crossed the Bar before so we talked to other cruisers (when we found some other cruisers) in Blue Hill. Our guidebook stated that one would not be wise to cross with a strong opposing wind to a strong tide as the water is relatively shallow and can get quite choppy and rough under those conditions. But we had light winds and not a heavy current so we passed thru fine ,rounded the point and up Western Way to Northeast Harbor. A small regatta was in progress so we ducked past them and into the harbor where we took a floating dock in the far north end of the harbor. Our float ended up being one of 2 with water piped to the float!
Two hours after arriving, I realized that Contemplative Prayer was to be held that day at 5:30pm so I was thrilled to walk to St Mary's by the Sea and join the friendly group led by the lady rector, Patricia.
We found the town grocery to be much improved over last year with fresher produce and meats!
Some of the activites we have enjoyed thus far have been biking on the carriage roads to include Aunt Betty's pond which incidentally has a small mountain to climb going in and an even bigger one coming out! Ha! Names of trails can be deceiving!
David enjoyed a sea kayak trip, and we both have appreciated finiding out about the Neighborhood house's new fitness room which we have used severa times for only $5 per visit.
The farmers market is right at the harbor/marina area every Thursday 9-12 and is great!We rode the Islander bus into Southwest Harbor for breakfast at Sea Biscuits one morning and bought fresh Halibut to cook that night.
We enjoyed Morning Prayer on Sunday at St Mary's and the Morris Used Boat Show here in our harbor,too. We like the Morris but they have engine driven refrigeration that may not work so well in a Florida or hot climate.(?)
One day to charge our batteries, we motored to the Cranberry Islands to check out the mooring set up and get our bearings in case we decide to go over with our boat vs. taking a ferry for a day. The Islesford Dock Restaurant is said to be gourmet in a rustic setting.
We have enjoyed our "Float mates" in NE Harbor. One boat was from Holland and had 3 young daughters onboard who were so beautiful with their blond hair and beautiful skin! And now we have a nice couple: Robin and Bob from Huntington Long Island on their Morgan 38 CC.
Tonight the Flash in the Pan Band plays on the lawn here, and everyone is bringing a picnic.
Just today while posting this blog in the library, we met "Cirra" the reader dog who is a Great Pyrenees who comes and listens to young readers. Cirra also visits the local long term care facility.What a gentle and beautiful dog! Robin the owner was very friendly and dedicated.
Photos of all to come!

Cindra (and David)

Charting a course for Blue Hill, Me.

After those wonderful lobster at Swan's Island, we decided to head northward to the mainland for Blue Hill .
The only time Daivd and I have true disagreements is when it comes time to decide WHEN to leave the safe harbor to venture out into the bigger bays. Fog is prevalent some early mornings and usually will burn off by 10 -12noon although it can stick around all day if conditions are right. I prefer not to encounter fog at all when underway, which is unrealistic. David knows it will be there sometimes and really doesn't worry about it much. So, we usually compromise and go later than he would like and earlier than I would like, and it all works out somehow.
We sailed through Toothacker Bay to Jericho Bay and decided that we did not have to pass thru Merchant Row to the east, but could continue northward and sail through the narrow pass into Blue Hill Bay. Then it would be a nice "reach" up to the top of the Bay and to the town of Blue Hill.

We had motor sailed under heavy wind of 14-20 knots of breeze until we turned up Blue Hill bay where we found a little protection and  had a spectacular sail the last 2-3 hours of the trip! We tacked and sailed all the way to the tricky narrow entrance where we dropped sail and contacted the Kolledgewidgwok Yacht Club. They replied with "This is K.Y.C.". We were relieved we didn't have to pronounce that name on a regular basis! The summer worker came out on the launch boat and directed us to a mooring which we could use for 3 nights. He said usually that is the limit but when the time comes if we wanted to stay longer it might work out as cruisers are not cruising as much as in past years.

The  Penobscot Indian word "Kolledgewidgwok " is said to mean "blue hill on shining green water" or "brackish water coming in and out" referring to the Blue Hill falls which is a narrow inlet with water that rips through sportily with the tides mingling the salty Bay water with the fresh stream water. There is a small bridge for cars to pass over. So whatever the meaning the Blue is definitely in the coloring of the hill.

Our guide book mentions that the town dock where one can tie up a small dinghy to go ashore dries out 2 hours before and after low tide, but we found we only needed to leave 1 hour on either side to be able tomotor back to our mooring. One can tie up at KYC and walk but it is about a 1.7 mile walk on the side of the road. Next visit we will explore another dock that seems to have a more scenic walk into town of about half a mile.
We loved the town with its old fashioned grocery which had everything imaginable! Blue Hill has (as all towns in Maine) a great library, a few high quality art galleries and classical music regularly at the town hall and in the 2 local churches. The town is known for its arts focus.
We enjoyed a fantastic gourmet dinner at the "Arborvine" just a short walk from the town float. Beautiful Swordfish and Halibut in a candlelight setting.
Black Dinah Chocolatiers also has a new second outlet location on Main Street in Blue Hill ( remember Kate makes the chocolates on Isle au Haut) where I saw Kate's husband training a clerk. Kate has also started marketing her homemade icecream and sorbets there ! They were closed after our dinner at the Arborvine, but we will stop there next time in town.
It had been a gray, cool day but we had a nice peachy sky on our dinghy ride home from the town float after dinner.
There was plenty of activity at the Yacht Club. Junior sailors learning to row, and older ones sailing. We even saw 3 adults at 6pm one night sitting on the porch in the rocking chairs being taught by 2 college students how to come about on a small day sailing boat.
We had one morning of that fog stuff I was telling you about. Seen from our boat looking out to the Bay.

And we really enjoyed the homemade egg sandwiches at the Blue Hill Co-Op where we loaded up on great fresh produce and organic meats.
We met  a nice couple named Rick and Barbara Seegers on their boat "Cara" moored near the town float. We asked them about moorings in the inner harbor, and they pointed out a place to anchor (though it looked mighty small and had several moored boats there) and offered their second mooring to us when their friend moved to his newly set mooring ball. We plan to give them a call next time in town to perhaps take them up on the offer. Nice folks who live just a door or 2 down in one of the gray houses on the inner harbor.

Sadly, it was in Blue Hill that I learned of the illness of a dear friend, Virginia Rounds. She died July 20 th in Tallahassee. She was a special lady.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Set sail for Swan's Island

We had a great day of sailing on July 14 and arrived into Burnt Coat Harbor around 3pm. The pretty lighthouse marks the narrow inlet of this sleepy remote village. The Boathouse which used to rent moorings and deliver lodster meals to your boat had closed down, and a nice local lady sitting on her private dock told us to use the moorings at our own risk as they had not been checked for 3 years.

The Lobstermans Co-Op was in full working order though the price of lobster is so low this year some men are not lobstering everyday in order to affect the supply and demand.

It is that the warm winter caused the lobster to shed their shells and go to soft shells far earlier than usual  (August). So there are fewer hard shell lobster to sell as they are the only ones that keep well for shipping, and the local packing houses which gladly take the more succulent and difficult to store "shedders" or soft shells don't open until August generally. The packing houses got word of the problem and rushed to open, but there was still a lag.
So buying lobster is an important thing to do for the local families, and we are doing our darnest!
We bought 4 from the Co-op and they tied a pink ribbon on a floating cage with them inside so we could walk and explore the island ,and once back to the boat and showered with water heating in the Lobster pot on the stove, David dinghied over to the Co-op , pulled up alongside our cage and without getting out of the boat put the lobster into our bag and motored back.

The Island is more inhabited with homes than Isle au Haut partly because it is a little closer to the mainland and is accessed by the ferry at Bass Harbor the southern most tip of Mt Desert Island. We were already tied to a mooring so we stayed there and in the early evening we had upwards of 20 knots of wind and we held fine.
Cindra and David

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Favorite Poster celebrating a special award in Pensacola!

A wonderful poster we saw in and around Rockland promoting spay and neuter : "Why is this cat smiling?
She was spayed and will have a healthier and happier life!"I post this in celebration of the $25,000 spay and neuter grant awarded to Pet Come Home, Inc., Pensacola Florida written by Sharyn Berg the founder of Emerald coast animal allies (where I volunteer) and founder of  Escambia Animal Advocates! This grant will help reduce the horrific number of animals put to death in Escambia County every year! (7,000 cats and dogs) We can and will do better as a people with this grant!
Lulu says "right on!, Meow!"


Monday, July 16, 2012

Finally out of Rockland and going "down east!"

We shoved off the dock in Rockland for the last time for a while on Wednesday, July 11 in the afternoon as soon as the tiny "o ring" was installed and the frig charged.
We had a great sail across West Penobscot Bay through the Fox Island Throughfare and past the town of North Haven to Perry Creek off the island of Vinal Haven for an quiet, protected anchorage. Down the creek we could see a small gray floating house with flower boxes under the windows! A fashionable fishing shack? The guide directed us toward the red barn where we picked up a private mooring.
After a a great night of sleep, we dropped the mooring tether and motored out of the creek around the ledges at Little Mouse Island and back into Fox Island Thoroghfare to West Penobscot Bay and turned east toward Isle au Haut. At 11 am, we sailed into heavy fog with 25 yards visibility! We could just make out the lobster traps and toggles so as to avoid them and not get them fouled in our prop or on our rutter. Thankfully all the instruments worked, and the fog lifted in 30 minutes before we needed visual sight of the entrance to Isle au Haut Thoroughfare where we would moor for a few days.
More than half of Isle au Haut or High Island (556 ft high, 2 by 6 miles long and 15 miles around by gravel road) was purchased  in 1879 by the grandson of the famous seaman Nathaniel Bowditch for a gentlemans club and later once all the gentlemen were married with families it became a rustic retreat for the families. In 1945, the families donated the land to Acadia National Park. There are trials to hike though not well worn, and the park offers only composting toilets and shelter/lean to  for campers who might venture to the island via a small ferry from Stonington on Deer Isle, Maine.
Perry Creek off Vinal Haven, Maine
looking toward the gray floating house with flower boxes

Ferry leaving Isle au Haut for Stonington, Maine
Beach near Moore's Harbor on Isle au Haut where I found some lobster float line and drift wood for future art collage(?)
Kendra Hubbock, owner of the Shore Gift shop offered us her truck to drive the road on the island, and we took her up on the offer!  Very rustic with only a few views of the water. A nice colorful bog and a rock beach were good stops. Best of all was the stop at the Island Lighthouse and Black Dinah Chocolatiers where we met Kate Shaffer the self-trained chocolate chef who has made quite a name for herself as seen in Martha Stewart magazine. When her much loved dog died, she went to making chocolate to console herself that winter. Got to love her- she is a dog lover.
Cindra and Kate Shaffer at Black Dinah Chocolatiers on Isle au Haut
Cindra and David