Departed Portland for our annual cruise down east. Both of us were tired after what seemed a longer than usual work week. A vacation well earned. As we typically do, we dropped our lines on Friday night. The only thing different this time is we don't have to turn around and come back to port for two weeks. Tim and I are both looking forward to that sense of freedom we feel while cruising. No plan! Just waking up in the morning and letting the wind and weather determine where we will be in the evening.
We ended up on a mooring at Cliff Island for the night. A walk on the beach with pup, a couple of beers, a light dinner and some music ended our week. We are heading down east in the morning. Destination to be determined.
Tim was up and had rowed pup to shore and completed a few other minor tasks before I could even drag myself out of our bunk. The weather was mostly cloudy, but no rain and good visibility. The wind was from the south and was light and variable. Dropped the mooring and headed east with no destination decided upon. Tim set a way point for Burnt Island in Muscongus Bay. We figured we would have a plan for the evening by the time we got there if we even decided to go that far.
There were rollers between Cliff and Seguin Islands that we took broadsides. I could only stand being below in the galley long enough to make us each a protein shake and some English muffins for breakfast. Tim hoisted the main and put out the stay sail which calmed Carina's rolling a bit. Not my favorite stretch of water. Long fetch. Always seems we roll through this section of Casco Bay.
I was exhausted all day. Guess my long week caught up with me. I took my turn at the wheel but snoozed in the cockpit even more than usual. We motored most of the day but during a brief period when we were sailing and I was at the wheel I managed to sail between a lobster pot and toggle and snag it on our rudder. I was distracted while attempting to trim the sails to eek out a little more speed in light winds. My four letter rant interrupted Tim's turn at napping in the cockpit. He very calmly went about freeing the toggle and pot from our rudder and then went back to relaxing but not napping so much. Exerting the energy to free a lobster bouy from your rudder is better than a shot of caffeine!
We arrived at our waypoint off Burnt Island with still no final destination chosen. We decided to keep heading east. I remembered that we had wanted to go to the White Islands off the southwest shore of Vinalhaven during our cruise last year but didn't make it due to our involuntary extended stay in Camden. So we set a course for the anchorage between Big and Little White as described in " A Cruising Guide To The Maine Coast." ETA was about 6 pm. It is a narrow anchorage with little swing room so Tim chose Reindeer Cove as an alternative if the White Island anchorage was too crowded when we arrived.
It was a little foggy when we arrived at the White Islands and the lobster pots were pretty thick. We decided to drop the main sail before entering the anchorage. By the time we finished with the Main and attempted the entrance to the anchorage the fog had turned to pea soup and we could no longer make out the islands on either side of the narrow passage into the White Island anchorage. We decided it was safer to head to Reindeer Cove, off Green Island. Thank goodness for our chart plotter and radar. We couldn't make out any landmarks or see any of the navigation markers because of the fog. We were able to locate Reindeer Cove (which is not on the chart) and drop our anchor.
We went ashore to stretch our legs and walk Shamus. Green Island is a beautiful Maine island. One of the prettier we have visited. It is privately owned but the guide book says you can go ashore and picnic at the clearing on the granite wharf. We did find a path that leads from the anchorage across the island to the owners house. We are not sure if the trail is open to the public. We ran into one of the owners fetching water from the well who did give us permission to use the trail. Otherwise there are no signs indicating whether they allow boaters to come ashore or not.
Made a tasty black bean and corn quesidilla for dinner and went to bed.
It doesn't quite feel like we are on vacation yet. Hopefully that will change tomorrow!
The fog was still pretty dense in the morning. We could hear the boat traffic in The Reach and feel their wakes that rolled into Reindeer Cove. Still it was pleasantly peaceful. We enjoyed another pretty walk on Green Island and a great breakfast when we returned to the boat. As the morning progressed the fog faded away and we were able to see across to Old Harbor and Vinalhaven. The opposite shoreline was lined with houses so we lost that sense of isolation the fog had provided. Even so, we decided to spend another night at Reindeer Cove.
The boat seemed cluttered and definitely in need of a good cleaning. We spent the morning tidying things up. By the time we finished it was sunny and humid and we were both hot. Decided to take a swim, shower, and then dinghy over to Carvers Harbor. The water temp was reading in the mid-60's. We thought the temp reading seemed a little high and we were right!! Brrr!! The water felt great but we only swam one quick lap around the boat. We definitely cooled off!
The dinghy ride down The Reach to Carvers Harbor is pretty. There is plenty of boat traffic mostly lobster boats and the ferry service to the main land. We did nearly get swamped by the idiot with the large Sabre pleasure boat who decided to run the channel just below half speed. Shamus and I took his tsunami sized wake right in the face despite Tim's best efforts to keep us dry. Luckily I was holding our rain coats in my lap otherwise I would have been totally soaked. Tim also got wet but was spared from getting soaked. I think Shamus and I blocked most of the water from hitting him. Afterwards, Shamus,who rides with his front paws hanging over the bow of the dinghy, retreated to the middle of the dinghy whenever we crossed another wake. For a dog who loves to swim as much as Shamus does, he absolutely hates getting wet involuntarily. He doesn't like being taken for a walk in the rain, baths are to be tolerated, and he, with good reason, will promptly hide from Tim when he is hosing down the boat. It appears we can now add getting splashed in the dinghy to Shamus' list of unacceptable way to get wet. I agree.
The mooring field at Carvers Harbor is quite large. The moorings are mostly occupied by lobster boats with only a handful of pleasure boats in the mix. Carvers is definitely a working harbor. We did notice a rental mooring but I wouldn't stay in the harbor overnight. The harbor was quite busy and we were there on the Sunday Labor Day Weekend. I can only think it would be busier on a non-holiday weekend. However if you need supplies it would be a good place to pick up a rental mooring for a couple hours. There is a great grocery store right across from the public dinghy dock at the head of the harbor.
There are a few shops and places to eat along the street by the public dock. Most were closed for the long weekend EXCEPT the ice cream and candy store. There is nothin' like an ice cream cone topped with Maine's famous Giffords ice cream to make you feel like you are finally on vacation.
More fog and rain forecasted. No wind to speak of. Tim and I decided to go to Fox Island Thoroughfare and pick up a mooring from J.O. Browns. Heavy rains expected at times today and through the night. Besides we hoped to grab dinner at the Nebo Lodge, one of our favorite restaurants.
The passage through the islands from our anchorage at Reindeer Cove up the western side of Vinalhaven was beautiful even in the misty rain. We will definitely make an effort to return and explore this area in sunnier weather.
It was an uneventful passage to North Haven. Of course the pouring rain held off until the moment Tim went forward to pick up the mooring. Rainy afternoons on the boat are perfect for climbing into our nice cozy and warm bunk to read and nap and listen to the rain hitting the deck. On a break between rain showers we took the dingy in and walked pup and played ball with him in a small field and playground up the hill from the library. The Nebo Lodge was closed so we enjoyed another nice dinner and evening on the boat.
We decided to make the 6 hour passage to Acadia National Park from North Haven on Tuesday in the poor weather and hike in the park on Wednesday when it is sunny. It will be nice to take a long hike. We need to stretch our muscles after a couple relatively inactive days on the boat.
Today is my 45th birthday and I could care less. Neither Tim or I keep track of the number of years but rather how we feel. Luckily we both feel great! My only birthday wish is that the Colonel's Restaurant will have some of their fabulous carrot cake and that the weather forecast is accurate and it will be sunny tomorrow so we can hike.
It rained hard during the night so we started the morning bailing several inches of water out of the dinghy so we could take Shamus for a nice long walk on shore. Tim commented that bailing the dinghy has become part of our morning ritual on this vacation! It has been shin deep most mornings.
The passage to Northeast Harbor was foggy. At times the visibility was very poor. Having both radar and AIS in those conditions was comforting. Not only could we see the boats around us but we were able to reach out to other boats with AIS to confirm we had them on radar and communicate with them about how we would pass each other in the fog.
Arrived at Northeast Harbor and docked at one of the floats. Walked pup, took showers, and had some delicious pizza at the Colonel's. My birthday wish did not come true! They were out of carrot cake and would not have any until Friday and we will be long gone by then. Oh well! To ease my disappointment I suffered through eating a warm homemade chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream! I'll need the energy for tomorrow's hike.
A beautiful sunny day. We decided to hike from the harbor to the Jordan Pond House and take the bus back from there. We hiked up the terraces to the Thuya Gardens and then up Elliot Mountain. At the summit of Elliot we picked up the Map House Trail to the Sargent Mountain South Ridge Trail. We stayed on this trail to the summit of Cedar Marsh Mountain and then over to the base of Penobscot Mountain. We did not climb Penobscot Mt. Instead we descended through the valley between Cedar Marsh and Penobscot mountains down to and around Jordan Pond to the Jordan Pond House. The trail conditions were wet and the roots were slippery in the lower sections of trail that are more heavily wooded. As we climbed, the trees thinned out so there was less standing water on the trail but in some places still a little slick. Things just didn't have time to dry out after so much rain which actually turned out to be a good thing. The streams were running full and the waterfalls were gorgeous. More so than any other time we've been here. In total we hiked 6.5 miles in about 3.5 hours.
Jordan Pond house was mobbed with people. Tim said it felt like we were at the mall. We just didn't expect it to be so crowded after Labor Day. Thankfully we only had to wait about 10 minutes before the bus arrived to take us back Northeast Harbor.
We did our laundry when we got back to the boat. We used the Wonder Washer and the Spinner we purchased from the Laundry Alternatives. We've used them before on our mountain biking trips but not while cruising. We used a lot of water, not so much to wash but to rinse. I definitely need to work on the process. We planned on filling the tanks before we left Northeast Harbor so it wasn't really necessary to conserve water but we will need to if we are out cruising long term. I will definitely consider using all the water that collects in the dinghy when it rains!
George and Deb Pettingill arrived in their boat while we were sitting on deck having cocktails. They docked on the other side of our float and joined us for drinks and a quick meal of leftovers I had in the fridge. It was a pleasant evening with friends.
The forecast called for more rain Wednesday night into Thursday morning and then clearing late morning. We planned to wait for the weather to clear and then find our next anchorage. At my request someplace more remote.
Bailed the dinghy again and went to shore between rain showers to walk Shamus and grab some supplies at the market. After our errands, we waited out the remainder of the rain showers in the lounge at the marina. Once the skies cleared we headed back to "Carina" and then over to Clifton's to fill the water tanks and get fuel.
George and Deb were going to Buckle Island. They offered to make us dinner if we ended up there. We decided to try out Eastern Cove on Long Island. Not too far out from Northeast Harbor Tim re-read the description of the anchorage in Eastman Cove and realized with the northwest wind we would not have much protection there. Tim chose an alternate anchorage at Black Island in the channel between Little Gott and Black Islands. There are a couple moorings available for public use.
Tim was excited to try our new Seldon furler for the spinnaker so we hoisted the main sail and flew the spinnaker. The wind died down so we didn't get to sail for long. We pulled the sails in and started the engine. The furler worked well.
When we arrived at Black Island it wasn't as pretty as the description indicated so we headed over to Buckle Island. I enjoyed a quick swim while Tim walked Shamus. We joined George and Deb on their Tartan 4200 for another enjoyable evening with them. The shrimp dinner that Deb whipped up was outstanding!
Isle Au Haut would be our next port. Its been 3 years since our last visit there and it is another favorite spot. We enjoyed a morning walk around Buckle Island with Shamus and then picked up anchor after saying goodbye to George and Deb.
Initially the winds were favorable for sailing. I started out at the wheel but Tim took over after I got fed up with the lobster pots and toggles in Jericho Bay. Tim sailed for a bit but a change in wind direction had us fighting the wind, a strong current and fields of lobster pots with toggles so we furled the head sail and motored the rest of the way to Isle Au Haut.
I love cruising the coast of Maine and lobster pots come with the territory. You always need to pay attention while underway to avoid snagging a pot and that is typically fairly easy to do. Jericho Bay is an exception. It is one of those areas of water so thick with lobster pots and toggles it seems you could walk across the bay on them. Sometimes there is just no clear way through a field of pots and toggles so you have to go around the whole mass of them while still dodging other pots. Its likely that if you do snag a pot in Jericho Bay you're almost guaranteed to get hung up on another while trying to clear the first one. Frustrating!
We picked up a mooring in Isle Au Haut Thoroughfare, rowed to shore and went to the market but otherwise spent a quiet afternoon on Carina.
Before sunset we took the dinghy over to Kimball Island. There is a pretty little trail that crosses the island to a campsite that has great views of some of the Islands in Merchant Row. Shamus romped around while we had some beer, and cheese and crackers before the mosquitoes got so pesky we decided to finish our happy hour back on the boat. One lesson we did learn is not to dinghy to the beach on Kimball Island on the Thoroughfare side at low tide. It is very mucky!
Tomorrow we plan to hike in the morning and then go to an anchorage in Merchant Row or if the winds are favorable go to the Holbrook Island Sanctuary off Cape Rosier.
We spent a our morning hiking the trails on Isle Au Haut. We returned to the boat just before noon and dropped the mooring. The skies were clear and the wind was blowing from the southwest at a steady 12 knots gusting as high as 18 knots. With the nice winds we decided to sail up Penobscot Bay and then NNE around Cape Rosier to Holbrook Island.
We raised our sails right after we exited the northern end of the Isle Au Haut Thoroughfare and made it to Holbrook one on tack. Tim sailed most of the way and averaged about 6 knots. Around Eagle Island he decided to fly the spinnaker which I have nicknamed "The Whomper." Whoopee!!! I was at the wheel and it was FUN!! Carina was flying! At one point our speed over ground was 8.2 knots! I can't wait to do that again!
We picked up a mooring on the southeastern side of the harbor across from Holbrook Island. This area is also part of the Holbrook Island Sanctuary. Castine is just across the river and we had a good view of the Maine Maritime Academy's ship, "State of Maine", from our mooring. There is a public dock that provides access to the trails on this side of the harbor. We have never been to this part of the Sanctuary and always look forward to visiting new places.
Rain was forecasted to start in the evening and continue through the morning before clearing Sunday afternoon. We took Shamus to shore for a short walk. The first drops of rain started to fall just as we returned to the boat. We shut ourselves in our cozy little home for the night and relaxed after a fabulous day sailing Penobscot Bay.
Between breaks in the rain we went to shore and walked the Goose Falls Trail in the Holbrook Island Sanctuary. We saw signs indicating that swimming was at your own risk due to the "leachate of heavy metal and other mining compounds." There are also warnings not to harvest the mussels and clams for the same reason. Turns out the area was mined for zinc and copper at various times from 1880's up to the 1972. Goose Pond had been drained while the mine was active but a dam release after mining operations ceased re-filled it and since the pond is a tidal estuary and the metals and mining waste have polluted the soil and water surrounding the pond. Wish I had seen the sign before diving in last night for a quick dip!
We spent the rest the morning puttering around the boat. Tim and I love to watch football so we were glad the weather cleared in time for us to take the dinghy over to Castine to catch the N.E. Patriots first game of the regular season against the Buffalo Bills. We watched the game at Dennett's Wharf where it was also country music Sunday. A fun time especially since the Pats beat the Bills - barely - but as Tim says a "win is a win!". GO PATS!!!
We enjoyed another walk in the evening. This time we visited the old Bakeman Family Graveyard. A nice peaceful spot as is the entire Holbrook Island Sanctuary. The pollution issue aside the Holbrook Island Sanctuary is a great place. We will definitely return!
A partly sunny day. There was a moderate wind blowing from the southwest when we departed from Holbrook Island. We decided to head back down Penobscot Bay to Merchant Row and anchor between Merchant Island and Harbor Island. Another new location for us.
The wind increased to about 15 - 20 knots gusting up to 25 knots. We were able to sail the entire way down the bay on one tack. We had to partly furl the genny and considered reefing the main sail but didn't since we were about to change our heading to enter Merchants Row. Our new course put us on a broad reach and we definitely wanted the full main for that point of sail.
The anchorage between Merchant and Harbor Islands is very pretty and well protected. Merchant Island is private but Harbor Island is a small, state owned island where you can go ashore. There is a short trail across the island and campsites that are maintained by the Maine Island Trail Association. From Carina's cockpit, one of the massive rocks on the shoreline of Harbor Island resembled the shape of a UFO out of a 1950's sci-fi film. We took Shamus to shore and as always explored the island. Other than a few sea gulls the only other life form we encountered was a small otter Shamus sniffed out! After our walk we sat on top of the UFO camouflaged as a large rock and enjoyed the surrounding vistas of the other islands in Merchants Row. We joked that we should contact the producers of the television show "Ancient Aliens Among Us" and let them know we found more evidence that E.T. has been, and may still be among us!
The Harbor Island shoreline has thick hedges of wild roses called Rose of Rugosa around the entire island. They are typically bright pink in color but I have also seen white roses and they smell fantastic. I would love to return here when the roses are in full bloom!
We left the Merchant / Harbor Island anchorage for Perry Creek on Vinalhaven. The sky was overcast. Southwest winds 15 - 20 knots. We sailed using only the head sail. As we approached the east entrance of the Fox Island Thoroughfare the wind started to gust up to 25 knots which was a bit of a handful on our point of sail with the genny full out. We furled the sail just after entering the thoroughfare and motored over to North Haven and temporarily picked up a mooring from J.O. Browns so we could go to the grocery store. The store is about 2 or 3 miles from the dinghy dock but all you have to do is call the market and they send someone to come pick you up and then bring you and your groceries back to your dinghy when you're done shopping. It is a great service for cruisers..
Tim motored us around the corner to Perry Creek while I put the groceries away. The moorings there are privately owned but available for pick up by transients. You just need to be prepared to move to another mooring or to anchor if the owner shows up. There is good holding ground if you need to anchor. If the motor vessel "Cloud Dancer" is at their mooring you can circle them and they will often step out on deck and direct you to an available mooring that is suitable for your boat.
We took the dinghy up the creek to the trails on the northern shore. We motored past a beautiful little cottage someone has built on a float and moored in the creek. It has a beautiful front porch, decorated with beautiful flower baskets, and appeared to have all the comforts of home. We loved it! The only downside we could see was that it didn't sail. We heard the owner come back in by motor boat later that evening and leave for work the next morning.
The weather was forecasted to be foggy with rain with the possibilities of thunderstorms into Thursday night and possibly Friday. We decided to start heading west towards Muscongus Bay in the morning.
We went ashore in the morning and hiked a long loop on the trails on the south side of Perry Creek. It was foggy and warm. Between sweat, the humidity, and the moisture on the foliage our clothes were soaked by the time we returned to the dinghy. Still, it was a beautiful morning and we were out having fun with our pup! We did learn that the south side of Perry Creek is another place where you need to carefully choose where you land the dinghy at low tide. It is all muck!
We had breakfast and I took a swim and showered on the transom before we dropped the anchor and motored out into the fog and misty rain. We headed west towards home but had not settled on our final destination for the night. Tim set a course for Port Clyde. We figured depending on weather conditions and how we felt we would make the call to pick up a mooring there or continue to Christmas Cove.
The fog was dense and there was a mist but we are a good team in these conditions. Tim was at the wheel to start. There was misty rain in addition to the fog. I was in and out of the cockpit to wipe the moisture off the dodger glass to keep our visibility as clear as possible to see pots and any traffic we picked up on the radar. Shamus cooperated by being a great little boat dog and curling up in a little ball on the starboard bench to snooze while we navigated. I took over the wheel as we approached Port Clyde. The misty rain had stopped but the fog was still thick. Tim was inclined to stop at Port Clyde. Christmas Cove was another 3.5 - 4 hours west most likely in fog the entire way. I preferred to push on to Christmas Cove. We decided to get a current weather update to help us determine what to do. If the weather was going to improve on Thursday we would stay in Port Clyde and wait for the fog to lift. If weather conditions were going to remain foggy we would keep going. Thursday's forecast was the same: fog, and rain with a strong possibility of thunderstorms with heavy rain, high wind gusts, and hail. It was early afternoon and since we would be traveling in similar if not worse conditions on Thursday, we set course for Christmas Cove - ETA 4:30 / 5:00 P.M.
We didn't see any of the Maine coast until we neared Pemaquid Point where it brightened up considerably and visibility improved to at least a 1/4 mile. The fog lifted altogether as we entered Christmas Cove under a blue and sunny sky.
We picked up a mooring and went to shore. The Coveside Restaurant has a decent shower for cruisers and we were looking forward to a nice long hot one. Turns out it was closed but as Tim went to the door to check out their hours the Chef came out. He was going to be there for another 10 minutes or so and agreed to let us in to use the shower. We had checked the weather radar before heading in and knew we had a limited window of time to get back to the boat before heavy rains and thunderstorms hit us.
Since I had showered in the morning I decided to walk Shamus while Tim showered. Good thing too! We could hear the distant rumble of thunder as we untied the dinghy to return to Carina.
The storms rolled through and for the first time in our cruising history we experienced hail while on board the boat. It started with a loud ping when the first hail stones hit the dorade vents. Then it really came down. The noise of the hail hitting the deck above us was deafening!
We decided to stay in Christmas Cove on Thursday and leave Friday for an anchorage on the other side of Cape Small.
More rain was expected through the day with thunder storms again in the evening with the possibility of strong winds and hail. Christmas Cove is well protected and is a good harbor to ride out a storm so as planned we stayed for another day.
Before the rain started we took a nice long walk to the swing bridge in South Bristol. There aren't any trails to hike on Rutherford Island but it is nice and quiet so you can enjoy walking along the road. You rarely get passed by a car and there is some nice scenery with interesting mix of houses along the way.
The swing bridge traverses "The Gut" a very narrow waterway that connects the Damariscotta River to Johns Bay, and Rutherford Island to the mainland. There are boats moored on both ends of "The Gut." Standing on the bridge and seeing just how narrow the waterway is I think I would be hesitant to run "The Gut" with Carina. There are some nice sized boat on both ends so obviously people do it all the time but there is absolutely no room for error. It appears that there would only be inches between the boat and the granite blocks that support the bridge. I'd hate to loose my engine there. I prefer Carina's topsides just the way they are - sans her one small blemish received from the back corner of a Wayfarer launch in Camden a couple years ago!
The rest of the day we spent puttering around the boat. It did rain on and off through the day. Tim read, I caught up on this vacation journal and we had a nice nap. We showered and had drinks, and dinner at the Coveside. Thunderstorms did roll through again in the evening as forecasted. No more hail though.
A high front was forecasted to roll into the area late afternoon on Friday bringing some cool clear weather with it. We decided we would go to the Goslings and enjoy the nice weather on Saturday before heading home to Portland on Sunday
We left Christmas Cove headed for the Goslings. Another day of dense fog. Visibility was less than a 1/4 mile for much of the way. We stayed inside Seguin Island but never saw it or really any land at all until we neared Whaleboat Island. We caught a glimpse of the southwest side of the island through the fog but it started to lift quickly so by the time we passed the northern tip of Whaleboat we could see all the way to the Goslings.
When I went on deck to pick up the mooring I could definitely feel the cool dry air pushing into the area. The fog was almost entirely gone and the clouds were beginning to break up. We had a decent sunset and we were able to enjoy the stars that night.
Saturday looks like it will be a beautiful day.
Saturday was a perfect September day! It was warm and the skies were blue and the sun was shining!
As much as we love cruising the coast it was nice to be in our home territory. A nice walk on shore to start the day and then we spent a lazy morning on board reading and doing some cleaning. I enjoyed another nice swim and did a little cleaning around Carina's waterline. Our friends, Rodd and Cara Collins and their daughter Zoe, arrived and we spent a nice afternoon catching up with them.
A tasty dinner, another beautiful star filled sky, and some drinks with Rodd and Cara ended a perfectly relaxing day.
We sail home to Portland tomorrow.
Our last day of vacation. More sunshine and a nice breeze. We sailed off the mooring early afternoon and headed for Portland. We had a beautiful sail all the way home. A perfect way to end our vacation! We definitely had more fog on this trip than any of our previous vacations down east. Still it was fun and relaxing and we visited a lot of new places on this cruise. The best thing about living aboard is we are always home no matter where we are!
Fall is a fabulous time of year to sail in Maine so while this vacation is over we still have a couple more months when we can drop our dock lines and spend our weekends moored or anchored in a beautiful spot here in Casco Bay!