Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Life after Irene

 We did arrive into Benjamin River on Friday . We were greeted by Richard Holk who motored out the mouth of the river to meet us and say hello before he took off to play his sax in a local civic band concert in Castine, Me.
Soon we met John Dunbar the owner of the small marine works: Ben River Marine who settled us on a mooring ball, and we began to pack up clothing and secure gear and strip the boat of canvas bimini, enclosure, dodger, etc. By the next morning, we were in high gear preparing to leave the boat with homemade tunafish and black bean and corn salad and our favorite gluten free items. Lulu got excited seeing her red carrier come out of storage.
 After lunch, we dinghied ashore several times to deposit our belongings into Richard's Dodge Ram camper van. We tied our dink behind the boat and stored the motor on the holder on our stern. D dropped our anchor  so it would not interfere with the 2 tethers that extended from our mooring ball to each side of Second Wind on the forward cleats. We checked all ports and hatches and closed the thru hulls and turned off everything but refrigeration and took Richard's "Chick Magnet" of a van to Ellsworth where he had arranged a reservation for us at a new Comfort Inn. It was a nice ride thru the country, and we had a great view from atop Catepillar Mountain. We traveled thru the quaint town of Surray and Blue Hill and on to Ellsworth which has a lovely main street, town hall and quaint shops.
 We dined at Cleonice Bistro both nights and had fabulous meals. The fish was fresh and the vegetables were locally grown. The building has been a cafe for many years and in 1938 beautiful woodtrim and bar were installed. Very quaint with original wall sconces and mirrors.
We watched the storm updates and experienced a bit of rain Saturday late night and on into Sunday morning. Then the day stayed gray and only light rain fell until late afternoon when the wind began to pick up and rain came on again.We spent our time doing the laundry, reading, answering email and lounging while watching the cable tv ! At 4pm, Richard called to say there were 4-8 foot waves in Eggemoggin Reach outside the Benjamin River , but the sandbar was keeping the harbor quiet with only 1 foot chop, and our boat and the others were doing fine! The wind blew well into the night and the most severe of weather came thru, and we heard from our new friends Lorrie and Pat Harris from Wyoming who stayed on the boat that it blew until 3 or 4 am. The next day found that one sailboat had blown ashore and a barge that had been moored broke loose and was on shore. By Monday noon the winds were blowing 15 knots, and the barge had been pulled off shore and people were beginning to return to check out the boats.
We can't thank Richard enough for his generosity and help! And thanks to everyone who said prayers on our behalf. We are grateful for having been in a safe place.
We shared dinner with Lorrie and Pat who had met Jim and Joanne Matthews in Deltaville, N.C. last year. They just bought a boat and sailed to the Bahamas last year then jumped on sailed to Maine this year! Pat is an aircraft mechanic and has taught himself alot in a short amount of time. We enjoyed getting to know them!
This morning we awoke to sunny skies and lighter winds. After a leisurely breakfast, we departed Ben River and sailed 5-7 miles to Bucks Harbor. We took on fuel and water and rented a mooring that comes with a shower from Bucks Harbor Marine. We have just had lunch and now prepare to go ashore to hike the short distance to the general store of South Brroksville and see the Yacht Club and its building constructed in 1912. A burgee hangs there which was the first private burgee to go thru the Panama Canal and also the first to go thru the Cape Cod Canal! Locals say "Change is all around us, but nothing changes here."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Alas, we were not eaten by bears on Mt Desert Island!

NE Harbor
Ahoy Friends!!
As you may have guessed, our 10 day stay in Northeast Harbor on Mt Desert Island was so much fun that I had no time to blog! I will fill you in on those 10 action filled days but first I would like to report that we are aware of Hurricane Irene who is threatening the east coast of the U.S.

We left N.E.Harbor on my birthday, Monday, August 23 and sailed to Sommes Sound which is the only fiord in the U.S. outside of Alaska! It was a beautiful motor sail and we picked up an empty privately owned mooring and stayed for the night. There were quite a few of empty private moorings and the basic cruising policy isas follows: if you see someone on a boat in the mooring field , ask if they know of one you might use . If no one is around and there are plenty, take one and if the owner comes to claim and use it, then jump to another.
We walked into Sommesville to visit the tiny museum, but found the volunteer just closing. As we stood outside reading a plaque about the pretty bridge and garden there, he came around and asked us if we had wanted to see the museum , he could let us take a quick peek.  As he was unlocking the door, he asked us where we were from, and we told him of our sailing trip and homeport of Pensacola. He promptly said "Oh, I heard about you all . You are the ones who stopped in Blue Hill. " It ends up he knows the mother of the chef, Annalisa  that owns the dock grill in Blue Hill where Richard Holk took us to lunch! Annalisa
's parents are both priests ,and they hail and live in Magnolia Springs, Al. where Richard lives! Anyway, The museum fella, AKA as Mr Richardson, had heard thru Annalisa's mother who summers in Southwest Harbor on Mt Desert that we had come and had lunch at Annalisa's new grill!! Holy Smokes! Word gets around with the locals!!!
Once back to the boat , we decided to motor to the next cove to buy some lobster . The tide was high so we could cut thru 2 islands that usually have a bar exposed. We turned the dinghy motor off and tilted it up so we could paddle around and  over the few protruding rocks. I told D that a few years ago we would have dinghied around the island and not have tried to go through! We have become a bit daring!!!Then once far enough, we tilted the motor back down and motored to Abel's Lobster Pound . It is a simply elegant lil Lobster house with candlelight and really the best ones we have had yet cooked by the locals. Some folks over steam them, and they can be tough rather thatn delectable! A great, adventuresome birthday!

Yesterday, Wednesday the 24th we left Sommesville for Frenchboro, Me on  the island named Long Island.
We sailed down the fiord then motored into the wind for the last 8 miles. Our friends on Southern Skies caught a lobster trap on their prop so we circled them in the event they needed our help. They were in 100 ft of water to start and only 1 mile or so from the harbor at Frenchboro when they caught the pot. While the captain dove overboard to try to free the pot, their boat slowly drifted into 200 ft of water. We had been suggesting they drop their 200 feet of chain anchor just to keep from drifting into the rocks but the Capt elected not to and after an hour, they were finally free and they had drifted very close to the rocks. Whew!

We then began to contemplate Hurricane Irene more closely as she appears to be coming further north than expected. Our plan is to leave Frenchboro in the am once the fog has lifted and sail to Benjamin River off Eggemogin Reach .Richard Holk has helped us greatly by securing a mooring for us in the Benjamin River. Then moor or anchor the boat and go ashore and stay in a hotel Sat- Monday. We will send another blog once we are settled. Thank you for your prayers.
Cindra and David

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Exploring: Day 1

Lulu woke us early for her sunrise snack and so we prepared for a day of exploration. Hard to know where to begin with so many possibilities. We hopped on the free Islander Explorer propane powered bus that stops right on the NE harbor dock and rode toward Jordan Pond House, Eagle Lake,and got off in Bar Harbor to have Look and talk to the rangers about a day of hiking and biking. We were really impressed with the village and it's sweet village green and waterfront hill park with shade trees where we had a picnic for lunch. We walked the short shore walk and enjoyed a juried art show. We met a young gal who knew all about gluten and she set us up with a pizza place an ice cream shop and another restaurant that serve great food and have gluten free options. Cindra scouted Bar Island for sea glass at low tide which is the only time the bar is high and dry so one can access the Bar Island on foot.
Lobster on the water at the Fish House Grill.
A few food items then a ride on the shuttle that circulates every 30 minutes. A great first day with plans for more fun; tomorrow we dinghy to a dock in view and take a hike thru Thuga gardens and on to Jordan Pond House where we have reservations for lunch after we attend an Episcopal service at St Marys by the Sea here in NE Harbor: a tiny white wooden church that looks like it came from a Christmas Village. Quiet harbor with fresh bed linens that mysteriously appeared on the bed means good sleeping!

A Perfect Day for a trip to Mt Desert Island

After toast and locally ground sausage, we dropped the tether to the free mooring from Crnter Harbor Yacht Club and slowly motored out towards the channel. A clear crisp morning without a cloud in the sky at 0930.
The yacht club already had some 8-10 yr olds sailing small boats thru the mooring field. One kid turned his boat over and yes, "went turtle" as I say. He surfaced and in ainute was up standing on the bottom on the over turned boat. We motored slowly past him and D. Asked "How
Is the water ?" he smiled and said "Okay for Maine; ok for me!"

The water is freezing up here and since the air is cool you don't even have to consider taking a dip!
We started the day with 4.5 knots of wind from the west / northwest . Eventually we carried the jib. As we headed out the final stretch of Eggemoggin Reach, we encountered a sea of lobster pots. Thank goodness it wasn't rough or we would not have seen half of them. It cleared up when we got to Casco Passage but got thick as land mines as we headed thru Western Way which leads to SWest and NEast Harbors. Two regattas were in full swing which really made it a challenge! Picture this: the most beautiful mountains and evergreen trees lining rocky shores and you have piraƱa surrounding your boat! A bit distracting wouldn't you say? Nevertheless, we made it in safely and took a spot at an inner harbor floating dock at MEast Harbor!
It is hard to believe we have arrived at this our most desired destination! The gal who received our radio call for a spot was like a marketing dream! She made us feel so welcome and answered all our immediate questions. Nice to meet someone who takes pride in their work ! Hot showers, brochures and a walk thru town for a nice dinner! good night!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Land trip to Blue Hill, Me.

My friend, Richard Holk whom I met at EFM at Christ Church a few years ago arranged to shoe us around Brooklin and the surrounding area which took us to the slightly larger town tho still a village of Blue Hill. Blue Hill is a remarkable part of the landscape and I could see it from atop Mt Battie in Camden. It gets it's blue look from the many wild blueberry bushes and pines that cover it.
I clicked pictures the whole way even tho it was quite a cloudy morning: sheep in a field, coves, the rapid current running under the bridge to B. H. Where kids attach a line to the bridge and stand atop their surf boards and surf so to speak while the tide runs! forests, wild flowers, a great sun lit view from Naskeag Point of Mt Cadillac across the Blue Hill Bay on Mt Desert and the yacht club at BH.
The funny thing is the town dock is high and dry every 6 hours at high tide so you have to tie your dink up at the Yacht Club and walk about a mile into town if the tide is not "with you" so to speak.
We stopped at a health food store and the Brooklin Farmers Mkt held just once a week and visited the Wooden Boat School which is called "a cult for men" by Molly the wife of the president of the school whom we met at Islesboro then met again by chance on the dock at the Boat School!
Richard educated us to the names of the different classic small wooden yachts : pea pod, the dory with a tombstone end, the beetle and many others. Richard was a Fine guide, and we hope to meet him in Pensacola in the winter when he is home in Magnolia Springs, Al.
The sun is out and after some maple sausage from the farmers Mkt, we drop off the mooring for Northeast at Acadia Natn'l Park!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Center Harbor, Me.

The wind was light in the morning , but filled on as the day went on. We sailed several hours thru west Penobscot Bay to the entrance to Eggemoggin Reach which runs slowly from the northwest to southeast ( that is, from the end where we have chosen to enter) Afterall, direction depends on from where you start. True in most things. Not sure where this stroke of genius came from?!
Eggemoggin Reach is a about 10 miles long and it is generous on size tho narrow as in a pass through. We carried the sails most of the way to Center Harbor which dies not have A town on it's waters edge rather a simply sweet cedar house painted barn red with s gray roof, large weathered porch strewn with old wooden rockers and 2 bikes leaning against the rail out front. Yellow daisies grow waist high on each side of the straight dock leading ashore.
All that is here is the folksy yacht club and moored boats of all sizes.
A college age fellow had told us on the phone earlier that they did not reserve their guest mooring : first come, first serve and no charge.

We arrived first so we picked up the tether to the mooring ball and wrapped it onto our cleat: "all set" as they say up here.
We went ashore and found the clubhouse empty but 8 cars parked on the grass. The drivers were daysailors and they were out enjoying the 13 knots that was blowing. We walked down the lane past gray cedar cottages and even a mother and 2 toddlers playing in a sand box. We soon met the main road and after almost a mile came to the crossroads where Brooklyn, Me. Stands.
D. Got a newspaper and settled in on a bench while I went into the little perfectly tended white Friends Library to see the 2 original plates of illustrations from EB White's"Stuart Little". E B is from these parts and he donated them to the library. E B 's son was a master boat designer and his son runs the boarders here at Center Harbor now.
I met a lady working with clay who was the artist that produced a huge painting of a zebra hanging on the gallery wall. It is a 3 person show as the local artists take turns showing in the space.
After talking to Betsy at Betsy's Kitchen and things, I realized she had owned 3 stores in Appalachicola for 10 years before moving to Maine tho they kept a lot there for later. We love Appalach.

Bought another quart of lil blueberries and milk from the lil general store and hiked home.
Rain came thru the night and joined with fog all day on Wed. Stayed on the boat all day reading, plotting a course on the chart, reading about Acadia Ntnl park and Southwest Harbor and Northeast Harbor where people say is where you want to be for exploring. Can hardly believe we ate almost to out downeast

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

On to Bucks Harbor or further Center Harbor

Sunny, beautiful crisp morning.
After spending much time reminiscing about dear Louis, we decide to plot waypoints for Eggemoggin Reach where we will stop at Bucks H. Or go onto to Center Harbor where in the summer classes are taught at the wooden boat school. Many owners of classic yachts keep their boat there and since rain is predicted for tomorrow, it might be a good time to visit the friendly school and hopefully meet up with Richard Holk from Magnolia Springs, Ala. Cindra met him at EFM at Christ Church Pcola a few years ago. He keeps his 32 Westsail in the Benjamin River and May hang out at the wooden boat school alot.

If a posting doesn't come again for a few days, it will be because of poor Internet reception due to low clouds also known as fog! And the lack of an ATT presence in these parts!

Gathering of The Cruising-kind then to Castine,Me.

We sailed the short distance from Camden to the southern entrance into Gilkey Harbor at Islesboro. Partly cloudy skies with winds from the SW.
Anchored in Cradle Cove and took our covered dish and dinghied on to the dock at where the ferry lands and walked the wtf of a mile to the De Grasse's home where the seven Seas Cruising Assoc was having it's "GAM". The big surprise was running into Mike Beard and Carol Simpson members of PYC who had taken the ferry over to Islesboro following a wedding they attended in NY.!!! Heard the author James L Nelson talk about his new book "Washington's Greatest Gamble". Very interesting. D. Bought his book about lady pirates and is amused with it!
We had a great breezy supper that night.

The next day was Sunday and we awoke to fog and drizzle which continuedost of the day and night. We had hoped to dinghy a mile into Dark Harbor on Islesboro to attend Christ Church to hear an Aussie preacher: Rev .Shakespeare but the weather changed those plans. We read and did boat chores. The day seemed to go on forever. The fog and rain come every couple days so you are forced to slow down.
Monday brought sunny skies after early morning fog. We pulled up anchor and motored into a N breeze up West Penobscot Bay and sailed around Turtle Head to Castine where we found a quiet yet very cultured town! Brass Quartet was to play later at 7:30 at the Congreational Church which incidentally has a bell made by Paul Revere and a steeple designed by Bullfinch the designer of our country's capital!

The Wilson Museum right on the waterfront looked like a Smithsonian extension- very well curated and a speaker set up and about to speak to 15 women about the influence of food on art and movies! Enjoyed a first class dinner at Stellas!
Received some sad news about our dear friend Louis De Sonier who died yesterday. He was a special person whom we will greatly miss.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Ghosting into Camden

Camden ----boats preparing for race
With light and variable winds, we left Rockland where we passed by a large US Navy ship anchored outside the breakwater. The ship comes on every year for the lobster feat so as to improve morale, I suppose!
Sunny skies and clouds that look like the ones you see in movies of the English countryside.
We sailed off course to carry the sails the short 14 miles. It was nice to sail without concerns of arriving before dark.
We had lunch and eyed the beautiful Camden hills ahead.
We passed by the"graves" just before turning to the red number 2 mark leafing past Curtis Island and it's lighthouse. Words like the "graves" tends to get the severe attention of a couple of southerners!! But I am starting to relax even tho the chart continues to speak of "ledges" and "rocks".
We arrived at our inner harbor float which I'd a small floating piece of a dock anchored to the harbor floor for which to come alongside to tie up and stay for the night. They provide a better "ride" thru the night of unfavorable conditions come up.

The harbor and town is one of Maine's loveliest, and the shopping is a step above the other cities thus far. Gloria Oehlert drove over to meet us for lunch and she took I'd ip to the top of Mt. Battie where FDR stayed in the hotel that once stood on the spot but was later burned to the ground. Fabulous views of most all the islands in Penobscot Bay! All the way to Mt Desert and Acadia Natnl.Park!! Gloria showed Cindra a sweet chapel on the Wood's built and given to the people by a generous woman. Very peaceful and such a secret.
You know your husband is married to the right woman when he leaves his fleece pullover on a park post and his wife happens to come along and pick it up and ID it!!

We had another animal encounter this time with a loon. It flew and landed on our davits which hoist the dinghy up out of the water. Our cat Lulu sprang to her feet and jumped up for a closer look. I carefully spoke to Lulu to discourage her ,and David blew a fog horn to scare it- but nothing. So I then waved my arms, still nothing! Then I picked up a towel and swung it around and with that he finally took off!

Leaving in the am for Islesboro and Gilkey Harbor the location for a "gam" or gathering of members of the 7 seas cruising assoc. We only travel one sea and a few gulfs, but if you pay your dues they take anyone!There should be some 60 cruising boats there for a pot luck lunch and a noted author historian to speak. Looking forward to it as we may reunite with some sailors we have met in Annapolis in past years.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Arrived into Rockland Harbor

We dropped off our mooring in Tenants Harbor Sunday, July 31 mid morning after cutting and slicing a half of a fresh, wonderful cantaloupe and wrapping half of the melon to share with an older couple on their boat named "tango" moored next to us. They have a yellow lab and 2 cats on board. They keep a car here at Tenants and have family or friends meet th here to daysail and they can go to art openings and activities in Rockland when they are interested.

The day was sunny from the very beginning and after passing by the empty lighthouse structures on Southern Island (now occupied by some members of the Wyeth family) we pointed east toward Rockland and were soon under full sail with 5-10 kn of wind.
We had another seal sighting as we evidently snuck up on a large seal with his head and back of neck exposed above water. We him looked 90 degrees to the left and saw us 30 ft away
, he dove under water.
At noon, we called Cathy and Herb Stackhouse to let them know we were sailing thru Muscle Ridge Channel at that moment within in view of their cottage on Seal Bay. We caught them at home and Herb came out an waved! I could see him thru the binoculars!
We carried the sails beautifully thru the long channel and arrived at Owl's Head Lighthouse on Owls Head at 2:30pm and after going to the dock at Journey's End Marina to have a pumpout and take on water, we a were settled on our mooring by 4:30.it is a nice harbor tho half of the waterfront is occupied by old seafood packing buildings that are now used to store boats for the winter.
We met up with Cathy and Herb again on Monday afternoon and they drove us east where we saw thecows that look like Oreo cookies: black or dark brown skins fore and act and a white band around their center!!
We drove thru Rockport and stopped to see their Tony "inlet" of a harbor surrounded by a park, and then we drove on eastward toward Camden voted the village with the most lovely harbor in Maine. The line between Rockport and Camden is no line aT all- the beautiful homes of Rockport blend gently into those of Camden. They showed us the town park set on a rising hill where people sit to enjoy music from bands down on the waters edge. We then all discovered the Riverside footbridge which had fantastic fleer baskets hanging along the railings! A multitude of photos were taken there. We got a taste of the highend galleries which primarily focused on the beauty of Maine and the harbors. So much to see! A very quaint town with several good restaurants. We enjoyed the Warefront Restaurant that evening and thoroughly loved it even tho the fog came in so thick we could no longer see the harbor!
Back to the boat before dark in the fog- we have decided that taking a hand-held compass bearing might be a good idea in the future tho we found Second Wind easily.we became acquainted with the laundry mat on Park St and jess' Seafood Market where we bought fresh halibut, a Quart of tiny, sweet fresh Maine blueberries(my first taste of these) and heirloom tomatoes! How delicious!went to bed feeling like kings!
Herb and Cathy have really helped us learn our way around!
Today we will walk up to buy a prepaid data device as we are not sure that we will be able to check weather buoys with AT&T for the next few weeks before we leave the boat for the winter.
David decided t Journeys End here in Rockland is the place so we will return here in early to late Sept to haul out.For now, On with the day! The sun is out, and Camden awaits!
Cindra and David