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

Camden Schooner/Windjammer Regatta July 6

We enjoyed seeing more than 20 old and several recently constructed schooners race from Rockland to Camden. We tied up our vessel to an inner harbor float big enough for 2 boats in the Camden Harbor and enjoyed hearing the Flash in the Pans Steel drum band from Blue Hill, Me. The race was part of special packages for weeklong trips on some of the windjammers. Packages go for around $1000 for 7 nights. The wooden boats are gorgeous ! We spent 3 nights in Camden then enjoyed having Herb Stackhouse join us for a sail back to Rockland where we stayed 2 nights and finally received the long awaited "o" rings for the frig!  It was a fast installation! We have found that in this cool climate the block ice keeps the food quite well so we may supplement with block ice to reduce the frig draw on our AGM batteries.
One morning for exercise, we hiked several miles from town to the foot of Mount Battie (Camden Hills state park) and had a moderately strenuous hike to the top for a great view of Camden Harbor where our boat was tied up to the float - far right is the town . From the top, we could see more than 50 of the 2000 islands off the coast of Maine including Mt Desert Island where Acadia Natn'l Park is located. There are though only 14 island communities.
more later.

Photos from Fourth of July with Cathy and Herb Stackhouse

Herb explains the art of lobster steaming !

cocktails on the deck at Stackhouses cottage on Sprucehead just south of Rockland.

 View from the cottage into foggy bay.

our dinner guests!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

ALAS Photos!! starting with Pulpit Harbor off the Island of North Haven,Maine

From Pulpit Harbor


Fun with the Stackhouses and Tallship regatta

We had a great,foggy fourth of July enjoying steamed lobster and roasted farm fresh root vegetables at Herb and Cathy's quaint waterfront cottage in We found out that the small part we need for the frig is delayed due to the 4th holiday so we decided to sail behind the tallships to Camden and stay the weekend there admiring the all wooden vessels! The regatta from Rockland to Camden was the final event in the area's Independence Day celebration. The sail was a reach with 12 plus knots of breeze, and we reached 6.5 knots. we got great photos of the race finish at the mouth of Camden harbor! The flash in the pans steel drum band from Blue Hill played for the post race party . We hear they build the steel drums ther in Blue Hill. And we enjoyed the concert from the boat on an inner harbor float just 25 yds from 6 moored schooners! Gorgeous view! Saturday, We climbed Mt.Battie in Camden State Park after walking the 2 miles to the park then up the moderate to strenuous trails to a spectacular view on all sides! One can see at least 50 islands from the top and on the land side mile after mile of tree covered hills! We sailed back to Rockland yesterday and Herb came over and sailed back with us. He is not only a skilled turkey hunter and expert fresh water fisherman but a durn good sailor! Calling about the frigo fridge part and trying to get some info. Though the block ice works fantastic here in cool Maine. We are disappointed that the photos that Cindra posted and SAW on the blog last week have disappeared! We tell you there were 2 photos posted and poof! We will try again. Steamed lobster onboard last night and WOW! Cindra, David and Lulu

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

shakedown cruise to Pulpit Harbor on the Isle of North Haven

ahoy! We shoved off from Journey's End Marina on Saturday, June 30th and sailed 12 miles to what may be one of our favorite spots since starting our cruising last summer. the entrance is noted by the Pulpit rock with a 100 year old osprey nest on top! on our sail over we refreshed ourselves with the chart plotter and radar, checked our battery usage, used the sails to be sure things were rigged correctly and that things had been restored to their rightful places since the mast and all shrouds and stays had been removed when the mast was unstepped for winter storage inside. the boat was dropped into the water on Wednesday June 27, and Friday morning we were shoving off the docks as other boats were being dropped in and space was needed. David did nearly all the work while I shopped for provisions. How he put the boat back together so fast is a mystery to me! We found the refrigeration which worked like a champ last year was running but not cooling. we had a slow leak so a new valve was ordered and would be in the following week. we stayed our first night out on a mooring in Rockland Harbor. The weather is so cool at night that sleeping is heavenly! I enjoyed awaking before sunrise to see the day begin. I captured it on the camera! pulpit Harbor was a great place to take inventory and stow gear and start relaxing. we started to walk the 2.5 miles into the town of North Haven on Sunday morning when a nice man from Mass. Offered us a ride and tho it was cool, we decided to take him up on his offer and walk back after church for exercise. we arrived at the church and enjoyed a service led by a most reserved Baptist priest with a talent for classical music and conducting. That Sunday was the last Baptist service to be held in that church for the summer. The small summer Baptist congregation would move up to Pulpit to a small church and allow the summer Episcopalians to use the larger church. we were interested in attending as we had met Fr. Fred Emrich at the Navigator Motor Inn earlier in the week while having breakfast there. He told us he had summered in North Haven for the past 40 years and served as the summer priest. We sailed back to Rockland after 3 great nights in Peaceful Pulpit harbor. We pumped out and took on water and laid alongside to load on 5 new deep cell batteries as we realized they had surpassed their expectancies. Luckily, a man was driving up to Rockland this very morning to drop something in town and he could bring the batteries from Westport a few hours drive away! After doing some more provisioning, a shower and a load of laundry we dinghied back to second wind out moored now in Rockland Harbor. The refrig part turns out won't be in today as expected . It should arrive by Friday, so we will enjoy the 4th here with Kathy and Herb Stackhouse at their home in Sprucehead eating lobster! oh well, someone has to do it! Cindra, David and Lulu