Welcome to the world of little- or no cell coverage! I don’t know when I will be able to get this posted as we have had so very little cell coverage the past three nights, but when I get coverage I will get this out. (May not be until Sunday – or later!)
We are currently anchored in a little cove called Pulpit Harbor on the east side of Penobscot Bay. We came “down” Penobscot Bay from Belfast, ME, today and are anchored nicely. To call the Maine areas we have been so far peaceful and serene is an understatement! We are just blown away at the beauty of the nature all around us. There are islands everywhere complete with rocky coasts and we see lobster fishing boats around us all the time. And buoys galore! We have to be so vigilant as are motoring or sailing as the bouys are surrounding us the whole way. We don’t know how the lobsters evey have a chance of notgetting caught!
On to how our week unfolded: We left Neddick Bay last Friday and traveled about 29 nautical miles to Portland, ME. We ended up anchoring just north of Diamond Island so we were protected from the south winds and had a very peaceful night. We were just north of Portland, after an unsuccessful anchoring try closer to the city, and could see the lighted up skyline and harborwalk lights clearly at night. Very pretty!
On Saturday, July 27, we reached the Boothbay area and anchored in Pierce Cove which is where our friends from last fall’s Sail to the Sun Rally, Bob and Mary Cline, keep their Hunter 50, Winsome. What an amazingly pretty area! From where we were anchored we took in the sights of the area and watched sailboat after sailboat sailing in Sheepscott River and then in the bay all around us. Later that afternoon we took a delightful walk around the area and reveled in the peace and quiet of the area. We felt truly blessed to be able to experience this.
Bob and Mary were to arrive to their boat on Sunday afternoon so we continued to watch the seals playing around the boat and the eagles soaring high overhead. Sharon and Max took an extended walk to a nearby island and followed the Indian Trail Preserve route to take in even more sights. It’s so hard to describe the beauty so hopefully some of the pictures below will help give a glimpse of how grand this whole area is.
Bob and Mary did arrive later in the day and we had a great reunion with dinner on their boat that evening. The last time we had seen them was last December in Fort Lauderdale! After dinner we talked about plans for the week and we agreed to travel together up toward Bar Harbor. They have sailed the whole Maine coast most of their adult lives so they were very gracious in throwing out suggestions and ideas of where to go and things to see. So the next morning, Monday morning, we both fueled up at their fuel dock and pointed our boats toward the Atlantic.
The temps were in the mid- to- high 70’s with sunny skies and a slight breeze from the south so after clearing Cape Island and the Cuckold’s Lighthouse we hoisted both sails and shut off the motor. What a great sail! The wind, which was from the south-west, was 8 – 10 knots with some peaks up to 12 so it was an ok wind. Because of the southwest wind, and we were basically wanting to go northeast, we ended up doing a lot of downwind sailing. I don’t particularly like sailing downwind as I’m not as experienced in setting sails for that direction, but we did end up averaging about 4 knots/hour for the three hours we sailed so that wasn’t too bad in the lighter winds. Even though we weren’t going super fast it was fantastic out there! After anchoring at Port Clyde for the evening we had Bob and Mary over to our boat for Happy Hour. Delightful!
The next morning, Tuesday, we went for a walk ashore and visited the Marshall’s Point Lighthouse which was the lighthouse Forest Gump ran to in the movie. Along the way we continued to be amazed at the local houses and beauty along the small road to the Point. We pulled up anchor about 10:30 am and headed to Rockland. The wind was only about 5 knots so sailing didn’t work as well, and we pulled the sails back in as we went through a through-fare, or a smaller cut, between some of the islands. This particular one was supposed to be very pretty, but as we entered it the fog rolled in. We continued on but were so intent on watching out for lobster buoys, and the fog was so thick that we didn’t really see much land on either side. The current was also very strong through this through-fare so it did make for a bit of an intense passage. Just after Bob and Mary’s boat seemingly went right over a lobster buoy we heard a clunk on the bottom of our boat and presumed we might have gone over one too. Thankfully the fog cleared after going through the through-fare and we were able to enter Rockland Harbor with full visibility.
It took us two times to get our anchor set at Rockland and we ended up putting 165 feet of chain out in about 30 feet of water (which was about two hours after high tide) – and it held great! Later we went ashore to Rockland and I even got to visit Home Depot and the well-known Hamilton Marine Supply store. Dinner that night was on the patio of the nearby dog-friendly Landing’s Restaurant which was thoroughly enjoyable. Bob and Mary also have a dog, named Haly, so it was nice we could both have our dogs join us for dinner. We decided to not stick around Rockland longer than just one night as their annual Lobster Festival started the next day and we could see that it was be crazy-busy there – not something we wanted to experience.
Wednesday morning was beautiful again, and after a last trip to Hamilton Marine for a couple of things we took our anchors up and headed up Penobscot Bay to Belfast, ME. On the way to Belfast we took a small detour and motored through the Outer and Inner Harbors of Camden. Sharon and I stayed at a B&B in Camden on our 10 year wedding anniversary so it was cool to go through that area again by boat. Needless to say, things have changed there in the 25 ½ years since that trip! There were a ton of boats, huge boats and people everywhere.
We both attempted to sail throughout the day but the wind continued to be flukey and light and from directly behind us so our attempts were not that successful. We eventually made it to Belfast at the top of Penobscot Bay by about 3:30 pm and since anchoring possibilities were quite poor there we hooked on to a mooring ball which Bob and Mary had reserved for us and them earlier. We had a nice walk into the town of Belfast and picked up a few provisions at the local grocery co-op and then retreated to a nice evening on the boat. Belfast Harbor was quite a busy harbor with boats in and out throughout the evening and the area includes a huge shipyard that Bob said has a lift that can take gigantic boats out of the water for repair.
This morning, August 1, we left Belfast and headed across the top of Penobscot Bay hoping to catch some wind to enable us to sail. But after about 30 minutes of sails flopping around we pulled them in and headed to the east side of the Bay via motor and then south to Pulpit Harbor. Apparently there was an annual sailboat race being held today going from Castine, which we passed on the way, to Camden. After the race a lot of the boats then head back across the Bay to anchor in Pulpit Harbor as Camden gets so busy and is so expensive. And that is exactly what happened, although we suspect many of them either never raced or gave up because of the lack of wind and came to the harbor as it quickly filled up after we had arrived about 1:00 pm.
I just have to make a quick mention about the tides we are experiencing here in Maine. We had some big tide variations in Georgia and other places of up to 8 feet, but here in Maine we have been experiencing up to 12.5 foot tides. That is incredible! So in Pulpit Harbor the water depth was about 27 feet deep, and it was about an hour or so after low tide and was going to go up – a lot!. That meant the water depth was going to go up to somewhere around 34 – 36 or so feet deep under our boat, so we had to set our anchor scope to that depth. We ended up putting out 170 feet of chain just to be sure we were set. As other boaters came in we wondered about whether our chain would be under their boats, but it all worked out well in the end.
Tomorrow we will go through a cut called Stonnington through-fare and head to Frenchboro, a favorite area of Bob and Mary’s. They will head back to their home port on Saturday and we will probably stick around there another day and then make the 11 mile trek north to Mt. Desert Island into Somes Sound. Still can hardly believe we are that close! We’ll let you know how the week goes!