Monday, September 5, 2011

Days relaxing seemed to last forever

Seal Bay was good therapy. We spent the 4 days reading, sorting thru clothing and gear to decide what to take off the boat for the winter and what to leave.
D finished a book and started another. This summer has been his most literary one yet!!

We arose with and before the sun on most days and captured the beginning of each new day. Sunrise is totally different here than any place we have sailed. The early morning fog can shroud the sun and prevent the burst of light one experiences in most places. The tall spruce and fir trees silhouetted against the sky are some what mysterious and contemplative.

We listened to a variety of bird calls and watched for seals but saw none.

The days were measured by the tides. One to two foot changes every hour. the granite ledges becoming more and more exposed then more and more engulfed. Rocks and ledges disapeering then reappearing layer in the day. Nothing staying the same. Gentle changes constantly. The star lit skies were deep black and brilliant with light. The half-moon took it's rightful place in the silent night with the water constantly at work.

I wish everyone could have this solitude experience at least once. A Perfect ending to a summer cruise. Reflecting on the days now gone by.

Sailors Retreat at Seal Bay

What a beautiful anchorage! Saturday was sunny and cool and, we met a nice couple named Jim and Mimi. They were dinghying by with a young golden retriever when I waved at them, and they approached. I asked them if it was true that one could circumnavigate the Penobscot Island in a dinghy at high tide. They confirmed the story and said they were just going to dinghy to the end of the anchorage where one can access a road at high tide where their golden, Glori, could run. They asked if we had come all the way from Florida, and we told them yes but this year only from as far as Annapolis. On their return, they invited us for a cocktails on their 53 foot cutterrigged sloop designed by Ladd in Annapolis(if I have all that correct). Ends ip they live and work in Boston and keep their boat at Freeport on a mooring in the summer and haul it out at Plymouth, the fall. He is am engineer and her work has been in marketing tho now she is getting a certificate in art from MFA Boston! The boat was so spacious and the wood was a whitewashed maple which reflected alot of light. They bought the boat 5 yrs ago when it 7 yrs old. They had hoped to sail the world but I sensed she had reservations. They cruise Maine most weekends all summer.
Jim and mimi agreed that instead of leaving Seal Bay on Labor Day weekend they would stay put and enjoy the best if places instead of moving to Perry Creek. So at Seal Bay we stayed... For 4 nights!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sailing to Seal Bay

We dropped off the mooring at Castine after a fun time at the farmers market. D couldn't get a tour of the Maine Maritime Academy ship "State of Maine" because the students were back in session.The lobster pots in the mooring field at Castine were nearly submerged or totally submerged as the tide was running and it was high. We luckily did not snag one as we left the field. We will pay closer attention when leaving at high tide running into or from the
Mouth of the Bagaduce River. We passed an adult seal between S.Wind and the shore as we left Castine.

Seal Bay is adjacent to Penobscot Island and entered from the southeast side of Calderwood neck on the large island called Vinalhaven. The Bennett's tell us this is their favorite so we vow not to miss it and include it in this our last week cruising. We leave under sunny skies with wind at 5 kn from the west- southwest tho wind predicted 5-10 from the east.we started with full sail then reduced to main and engine as the wind shifted. For some silly reason D wanted to tow the dinghy with engine cocked up and still on the dink. This usually slows the boat under sail by a knot.By the time we rounded melodic bell at Green Ledge 2, the wind picked up and we were under full sail with 12 to 14.8 kn of favorable wind from the S-SW and we reached the speed of 6.8 knots SOG while dragging a dink with a motor! Miraculous! This made for one of our best days of sailing tho we eventually encountered lobster pots aplenty northwest of Stonington on Deer Isle. By 4:30 we reached our mark of R 2BC so we dropped the sails and prepared ourselves to enter the tricky passage in and thru Seal Bay. We reread our cruising guide, referred to our chart and reviewed the visual harbor guide we also had purchased. We motored in slowly favoring hen and little hen islands and soon found we were being swept close to the rocks, we apied more throttle and got more centered in the channel. We made it past the unmarked and submerged hazards and anchored in the farthest navigable spot off Burnt Island as 5 other boats had arrived earlier and taken up the other parts of the anchorage. A calm and beautiful night with us safely anchored and surrounded by boulder granite ledges that drop straight to the water and lift up and support tallevergreen pines on
all sides. Time for Sirius jazz and red beans and rice with andouille!

Nature calls us to Castine, Maine

We departed before our Hinkley family: the Warners . Mr Warner had said before he could marry his wife, her Dad required that he get a ham radio license so they could always be in touch. He laughed, but I could tell his father- in- law had alot of power!

Mother nature also has alot of power because both Second Wind and Minicoy (the boat name is the same as the name of an island off Cape Horn that her grandfather used to pass when sailing off So Africa)needed a holding tank pump out, and Bucks Harbor
Marine sold fuel and could provide water and showers and even ice-cream but NO pumpout. Benjamin River Marine and Frenchboro and Somesville offered no services. So our plan was to sail a small bit out of the way to Castine for the pumpout then head south to Seal Bay.
We changed our minds and decided to stay the night at Castine for another supper at Stellas and to go to the farmers market on the town square on Court St.the next day: thursday 9-11. The pan caramelized scallops at Stellas were almost as good as Christine Reddicks! We picked up a yacht club mooring but could not raise anyone by phone. We figured the club attendants may have gone back to school so we spent the mooring fee at Stellas!
We enjoyed browsing earlier that afternoon at the Wilson museum, and D watched a Woodturning demo while I toured the 1763 Perkins House next door. It had been saved in 1968 when declared a fire hazard and disassembled and moved and reassembled in it's present location next to the W. Museum as they were in need of more space for the artifacts/collection. I sampled several food items they prepared in the house kitchen over the course of the summer! When I said the tour was as good as Williamsburg, the guide/and museum director thanked me and said "in Williamsburg, they cook over the open fire but they don't let people taste it- we do!" Tomorrow, on to Seal Bay (Dave and Carol Bennett's favorite Maine anchorage.

Bucks Harbor, Maine

Ashore, we found the store in the tiny house that serves as the BH Marine office and store, clean bathrooms and 2 outdoor showers like you see in coastal living! We hiked up the steep drive that leads to the main road and found an unmanned blackberry stand set up by The Three Sisters! Homemade Blkberry jam and fresh berries with an honor system money jar. We turned left at the top of the marine road and could see BH Store and the Methodist church. Inside the store much to our surprise we found our favorite gluten free frozen bread and pizza crust. So we decided tonight would be Pizza Night! Pepperoni,sauce, black olives would go perfectly with the other things onboard.
We found the Restaurant "bucks" outside and behind the general store. We were told the chef/owner had moved to BH from Blue Hill and was quite accomplished. Maybe next time.

The BH Yacht club had just been locked up when we arrived on foot, but we guessed the famous burgee was the one framed under glass above the fireplace. A member told us the summer clubhouse attendant had left to go back to college. We had a great view from the club porch and the rocking chairs were great.
That night around 7:15 I was preparing the pizza when I heard the sound of chain clanging. I went above to find that the windjammer "Angelique" had just dropped anchor under full sails. We watched the crew slowly lower the sails so the wind helped to set their anchor. There were about 20 people on the 3-4 day cruise on deck watching and anticipating happy hour I am sure.
We said hello to the family on the boat that took the mooring next to us. There were 2 girls and their patents onboard the small Hinckly. We watched them playing cards in the cockpit while their dinner cooked in their oven.
The next morning we got to know the family. The boat was built the same year the mother on board was born and purchased by her grandfather. The boat now is her father's now and she grew up sailing on it and they take the girls for a week long cruise every summer. Mom is trying to keep it interesting so they will keep sailing!
About 9:30 I heard an airplane above. I had not heard such a loud noise in some time. I noticed the dad talking on his handheld radio and soon realized he was communicating with the plane! It turned out to be the mom's father just flying over to check thongs out! The husband confided that his father in law was always in close touch! Soon we all set sail for Castine.