We had to almost pinch ourselves to see that we were really going to be in the Bar Harbor, Maine, area!. We have been here a couple of times before on vacations but it was almost surreal to reach it by boat. Way back when, when we left our home port in Muskegon, MI, we had talked about at some point getting up to Boston, but really didn’t think we’d have the time or ability to go very far up the coast of Maine, let alone Bar Harbor. But here we are! We are currently anchored at the top of Somes Sound and will probably be here until the first part of next week while we enjoy the trails and area of Mt. Desert Island. Thankfully their public transportation system, funded by LL Bean, is close by and very efficient.
As I had shared in last week’s post, we had traveled from the Boothbay Harbor area with our friends, Bob and Mary Cline on their boat Winsome, and had arrived in a great little bay called Pulpit Harbor. Last week Friday, August 2, we both took up our anchors and headed to a great anchorage they wanted to show us at Frenchboro on the island of Long Island, ME, – not to be confused with Long Island in New York.
On the way to Frenchboro we followed Winsome through the Stonnington through-fare (through-fare seems to be the local name for a cut or passage between islands). As we entered the area we really wondered where they were bringing us, but as we went through it was so beautiful. On either side of the through-fare were fishing boats of all sizes and shapes and a beautiful little town nestled into the side of the hill. There was still a ton of lobster buoys everywhere so we had to watch where we were going, but it was amazing to see the beauty all around us. Even pictures don’t show it well, but it was so cool to see.
After the through-fare we hoisted both sails and shut the motor off to see if we could sail. The wind was 6 – 9 knots from behind us, but soon diminished to only 5 knots. As we’re not that good of downwind sailors we took the sails back in after about 30 minutes and motored the rest of the way. Winsome left their sails longer and did relatively well, although they were only moving at 2 to 2.5 knots at times.
By 2 pm we had both made it to Frenchboro and as there was a limited area in which to anchor we both grabbed onto the last two remaining (out of 5 total) mooring balls. The mooring balls were right at the opening to the small inlet harbor of Frenchboro where there was a great public dinghy dock and lobster pound. The lobster pound supplies lobsters to the small restaurant right there and that evening we enjoyed a wonderful lobster dinner complete with blueberry pie and ice cream for desert. Can’t get food any fresher than that! And come to find out, the chef and owner of the restaurant was from Ann Arbor, MI, so it was fun to exchange some stories. Apparently the main business he operates is coffee, called Lobster Butter Roasting, and the bag of beans we bought from him made tremendous coffee the next week or so.
Sharon had gone for a walk that afternoon with Bob and Mary, and since they were leaving to return to their home port the next day we decided to stay one more night and explore the island more. It was well worth it! That evening as we sat drinking coffee just before sunset we were treated to dolphins showing themselves off to us as they chased fish around our boat.
On Sunday, August 4, we headed for Mt. Desert Island and Somes Sound. The lobster buoys were again all over the place. We again heard a clunk on the bottom of the boat so we probably went over another one without seeing it. We have seen a number of buoys that must have shorter lines down to their traps and when the tide is higher and the current is running the whole buoy is under water. We try to look for those but it can be difficult. With the one we apparently hit the line must not have wrapped around our propeller as we were able to maintain speed, albeit it going slower as we were going into the current, and we considered ourselves once again fortunate.
We fueled up, topped off water and got a pump-out at Clifton Dock fuel dock in Northeast Harbor just before entering Somes Sound. So at about noon we entered the Somes Sound passageway and headed north up to the top. By 1:00 pm we had our anchor down and set and marveled that we were here. It was about an hour after high tide, with a tide of 12.5 feet!, and we were in 32 feet of water so we put out about 165 feet of chain to ensure a good holding. A few days later we were glad we had that much out!
We went for a short walk later that day but waited until Monday to go to Bar Harbor and get the lay of the land. We had hoped we would have better cell phone coverage than we have had the past three nights or so, but that certainly was not the case. Thankfully in Bar Harbor we were able to get good cell coverage and took care of some of the things we needed to by phone and email. The town was quite busy, even on a Monday, but it was fun to walk around and see the area again. We enjoyed coffee and a muffin out on the large park/lawn and strolled up and down the sidewalks of the many shops around town. The whole town is very dog-friendly so it was easy to find a great restaurant for lunch where we could have Max.
As we are planning to stay in Somes Sound until probably the first part of next week we took it a bit easier on Tuesday and just got a few walks in around the boat. The dinghy dock is relatively close by and the roads all seem to have good sidewalks for walking. Yesterday Sharon and Max took the public transportation out to the Jordan Pond area for a walk while I took care of some business on the phone. It was also fun to sit in the park watching all the many people around and we ended up having a great conversation with a local woman, a retired Public Health Nurse, who shared a bench with us. As Sharon’s Dad would always say, “We solved all the problems of the world!”
Today, Thursday, August 8, is a very rainy, cold and blustery day and we have no intentions of leaving the boat at all today. (Max always gets a bit nervous when we don’t get to land as he would much rather “go” on a bush rather than the side deck of the boat ) We really have had so many wonderful days weather-wise that it is no problem to have cruddy weather like this. With the wind in the 25 – 30 knot range we are very glad to have lots of chain out and a good holding on the bottom! Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny again and we will head back to Bar Harbor and do some walks like to Sand Beach and the Thunderhole. I will also spend some time at the local library and try to get this post, and the one from last week, online using their wifi or at least with better cell coverage. We look forward to the rest of the weekend to do more walks on some of the carriage roads and other trails in Acadia National Park. It also looks like we may get together with Jeff and Linda Allen from Muskegon back home. Jeff has been a good friend and is the broker we worked with in buying Adventures Await. He and his wife are now doing some traveling in their 41 foot motor home and they will be in this area so it will be good to see them again.
After the weekend we will figure out when we want to leave next week and where we will head to on our way back south. The Bar Harbor area is the farthest north and east point we will take on our trip so basically this is our turn-around point.