Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vinalhaven to Penobscot Bay then west to Boothbay Harbor

A happily uneventful 8 mile passage on Tuesday from Vinalhaven to Rockland offered plenty of room to anchor in the southern part of the harbor with a good dinghy dock at the Harbormaster’s office. By noon we caught a cab to the clean but crowded Park Street Laundromat to do 9 (!) loads. The water front park is the setting for the annual extravaganza 85,000 people are expected to attend in the next 5 days! Our reward for doing laundry is to always go out for dinner but the Rockland CafĂ©’s famous fishcakes were very disappointing – not recommended!

Due to forecasted high winds and thunderstorms, we decided to move on to Boothbay on Wednesday, one day early, missing the Coast Guard Station tours, the Farnsworth Art Museum and the Lobster Fest. Next time! Fog rolled in just past Owl’s Head Light and made for a stressful passage. We took a mooring ball at Brown’s Wharf and forgot our transmission troubles over drinks at McSeaGull’s with IP friends, old and new.

Boothbay Harbor has a Rock Hall style trolley making about seven stops and taking 30 – 40 minutes. Thursday we rode one entire loop to get to know the town. Phone calls to Mack Boring and local mechanic confirmed the recommended service for our transmission is pulling and rebuilding it. (see the transmission post for the gory details) We will try some suggested diagnostics tomorrow. Evening IP fun was enjoyed on the deck at Whale’s Tale and then the weekly brass band concert on the lawn of the charming little library.

After Hayden changed the AFT fluid Friday morning, we ran out the harbor for nearly 2 hours. Upon our return, the fluid was still clear red, not black, so that was good news! We rented a car and drove 10 miles to Edgecomb to the A.G.A. Correa company’s headquarters to replace Radeen’s lost bowline earring. Then we provisioned at Hannaford’s and got caught in a downpour while schlepping everything to the dinghy. The Boothbay Harbor Rendezvous got off to a terrific start with a delicious potluck supper provided by the 30 IP’s attending and Norm Pierce’s narrated slide show of the beauties and wonders of cruising the coast of Maine.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Eggmoggin Reach, Buck’s Harbor and Camden

Our last night in Somesville, we braved the rain and the dark to attend opening night of the Acadia Summer Repertory Theatre’s performance of a British comedy, “Pool’s Paradise.” It was hilarious and well worth the effort. On Wednesday, we had a lovely but cloudy sail up Eggomoggin Reach. Blue skies greeted our arrival in pretty Buck’s Harbor, (photo above) the setting for a famous children’s book by Robert McCloskey, “One Morning in Maine.” What a thrill for Radeen to arrive at the dock exactly as depicted in the book, to walk past Condon’s Garage and down the hill past the church to the little grocery store where Sal and Jane got ice cream cones! Buck’s Harbor Marine has a clean bathhouse, outdoor showers, one new washer and dryer and a little store selling the usual items, plus Robert McCloskey’s books.

Thursday was a short day, only 3 hours to Camden, which may be our new favorite place. There are more schooners and windjammers sailing from here than any other port in the world! We hosted a cocktail party for the Island Packet Armada which will sadly be breaking up soon. We have really enjoyed travelling as a fleet!

Camden Maine Harbor
with IP420 Ore Nego at the bottom of the waterfall
The River Waterfall
runs right through town and into the harbor!
Chart of Camden Maine and the harbor
Notice where the waterfall flows into the harbor!
I could easily spend a week or more in this town, it is beautiful...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Northeast Harbor & Somesville

Northeast Harbor fun! We stayed local the last two days in the fog and mist and rain, never leaving Northeast Harbor, enjoying the bakeries, shops and the new library. We climbed a granite lined path up Elliot Mountain to the beautiful Ascitou Terraces and Gardens. Hayden surprised Radeen with a hot stone massage and a spa day at Bella Day Spa on Sea Street. We also celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary with a wonderful meal at the Red Bird Restaurant, in the same tiny building on Sea Street.

As the fog cleared, we departed Northeast Harbor and headed for the only fjord in the United States, Somes Sound. Under blue skies and light winds, we ghosted along . We took a mooring ball for lunch at impressive Abels Boatyard and then joined the rest of the fleet in Somesville. A walk ashore in the tiny town brought unexpected views of pretty gardens, as well as unwelcome mosquitoes. We found the library, open 2 days per week, and the Masonic Hall, which hosts the Acadia Summer Repertory Theatre, which we may visit on Tuesday nite. Champagne and scallops in Somes Sound truly made this an anniversary to remember!

The best of Maine! What could be better than being awakened by loons in quiet Somesville?! The morning light was stunning on our way to Little Cranberry Island eight miles away. We stopped at Valley Cove to see a waterfall where French, Spanish, English and even Viking ships are supposed to stopped for fresh water. Anchoring in the harbor at Islesboro was impossible due to kelp and sand and all the guest moorings were taken, so we were grateful when a lobsterman brought his big workboat close and suggested we take his friend’s big mooring ball. There was not much to see ashore. Remote does not always equal charming! We had dinner at the only restaurant in town to celebrate one month at sea since leaving Rock Hall with CAVU, Lyon’s Pride and Surprise – what a great trip it has been!

Anchored / Moored in Someville
The Waterfall in Valley Cove, Somes Sound
We took a mooring ball three boat lengths off these falls!
The shoreline along Somes Sound. 100+ feet deep, 3 boat lenghts off the rocks!
Hayden taking in the beauty of Acadia's Wonderland Trail

Friday, July 17, 2009

NE Harbor / Jordon Pond House

The Island Packet Armada is making the most of what Mt. Desert Island has to offer! We rode the free L.L. Bean propane powered bus to Bar Harbor and then to the Acadia National Park Visitors’ Center where we saw an enormous graphic relief map of the island and a film about the park’s history. Acadia was the first national park east of the Mississippi and one of the few made up entirely from donated lands. John D. Rockefeller, who donated land for the park on St. John, USVI, gave the most land and supervised the construction of 27 beautiful bridges and roads for only for horse carriages. Three million people visit Acadia every year! It was a surprise to learn that an earthquake in October 2006 damaged one of the roads which remains closed. Next we rode the Loop Road, with many beautiful views of the rocks, forests and seas. Our destination was the Jordan Pond House for lunch, including their famous popovers and strawberry jam. We walked part of the trail around the Jordan and then rode a different route back to Bar Harbor for shopping, ice cream and a small, but interesting whale museum. Luckily, we arrived in Northeast Harbor just before a thunderstorm broke, with showers lasting most of the evening. Dense fog is forecast for tomorrow morning, so we are glad to be staying on our mooring floats for another day.
Map of Mt. Desert and the LL Bean Bus Routes
We are on a mooring float dock in NE Harbor
The Island Packet Team walks Jordan Pond
The Fun town of Bar Harbor, Maine looking towards the harbor
Walking the Jordon Pond trails....beautiful vistas

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sailing into Mt. Desert Maine

Sailing into Mt. Desert, Acadia National Park, in Maine, is an extraordinary experience, especially on a west wind of 12-15 knots, with flat seas and under sunny skies. (No fog!) Departing Vinalhaven at 0715 hrs, we had to navigate the frustrating "lobstah" pots and their deceiving toggles, which are secondary pick-up floats on 30 feet of extra line. Add in a little current, crazy channels, rock piles and we had a very fun and exciting morning rush hour. Once out of the Fox Islands Thorofare, we carefully navigated the passage of "Merchant Row," which has many small islands with names like The Brown Cow and Scraggy Rock. After exiting into Jericho Bay, we set sail for a beautiful beam reach in 12 knots of wind. Bearing off onto a full wing on wing, we sailed down Toothacher Bay for an easy reach on the outside of Long Island. After rounding Long Island, we turned onto an upwind course for Mt. Desert, sailing 40 degrees off the wind all the way up to the Cranberry Islands. A total of 37 miles for one of the most beautiful sailing days since departing Maryland.

The course we ran today, very interesting and challenging!

The Fleet Navigating the Lobstah Pots in Merchant Row
(L-R) IP440 Lyons Pride, IP40 SURPRISE, IP380 CAVU

The southern side of Long Island, Maine
Close hauled for Mt. Desert and Cadillac Mountain, Maine
Rush Hour arriving Northeast harbor at Mt. Desert, Maine

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Vinalhaven Maine

One of the most beautiful places on earth, I wish my photos would do this place justice, but they do not. I need to bring Wayne Dion up here to take professional photos and capture this special place.

Here is the best I can do...

The Fox Islands Thorofare, the route in...
The open space for anchorage, Seal Cove
The beautiful views...and reflections...
Explore the granite lined shores with the tide 2 feet down and 7 feet more to go!
Welcome to MAINE....
The western sky in Maine, in 9pm!

Boothbay Harbor Maine

What a beautiful location, here is a quick video of the church bells over the harbor last night...

Look at the interesting NOAA CHART and all the ROCKS
The blue circle is US, and where I uploaded this picture from.
We are on our way to Vinalhaven

Island Houses in Boothbay, Maine
With 9 foot tides, most harbors use mooring balls over anchorage areas
This is US, Island Spirit in Boothbay Harbor

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Portland Pardise

Portland is really a great town, a good port of call, and CENTERBOARD YACHT CLUB is the place to take your lay days! The last time we were up here in 2006, we ended up getting "stuck" in Portland for days, and this year it turned out to be 5 days! Why would we stay in Portland for 5 days? Here are a few reasons:
  • Centerboard Yacht Club offers moorings, free tender service, and a great clubhouse to relax in and enjoy the friendly members who make you feel so welcome.
  • Calm harbor, relatively for a busy port.
  • Great city lights across the river to the west with beautiful sunsets over the city.
  • An easy walk to a Hanaford Grocery Store.
  • Tender services across the river to Dimillos Marina and access to the entire city waterfront!
  • Downtown Portland waterfront is BEAUTIFUL with many restaurants and pubs and interesting shops and of course ice cream parlors.
  • Hamilton Marine, Inc. a blend of West Marine + Defender is an easy walk from Dimillos and the town docks.
  • And best of all.....Great Island Packet former owners and friends; Bill & Fran who go out of their way to help out and make us feel so at home. can see, with all of this at your starboard side gate, as you enter the tender, you can imagine just how we always get "stuck" in Portland Maine. This is why I have called this post....
"Portland Paradise!" Thank you Bill and Fran, Abby, and Dave, and Ed & Beth for making our stay so enjoyable.
Portland Maine Ferry Service
Portland Harbor Chart and where we were...

Powering to Portland

After "Powering to Portland" in 20-25 knots of NNE winds and 3-5 foot seas, we arrived Portland after a very rough passage from Kittery Maine. Of course the forecast was for EAST winds, which would have worked well on a course of NE, but after about 2 hours of East winds, the winds shifted to NNE and increased to 25 knots. Now we had 47 miles to go with the wind directly on the bow. The waves became the problem as they were still running from the EAST and hitting the boat directly on the beam. When 3 foot waves hit the boat on the starboard beam, the boat first rolls hard to port, then the wave goes under the keel and then the boat lifts and rolls hard to starboard laying its midship cleat onto the water.

We had a double reefed main and a cutter up to help slow down this rolling from side to side, but it really got tiring after 6 hours. Items were flying out of all the cabins, we were tossed off the helm seat many times, and the best way to deal with this was standing up at the helm and working it as if you were a slamon downhill skiier! Oh what fun! Now its time to enjoy Portland Maine, and our Island Packet friends Bill and Fran.

The conditions at Portland Head Light as we approach

We are staying at Centerboard Yacht Club they also have a live web cam where you can see the view from the dock looking out over the mooring field and over to Portland Maine.

Powering to Portland VIDEO

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Kittery Maine

Photo: Notice the rocks, 7 foot tides, this is only 1/2 way down...

We sailing/motored from Marblehead to Kittery Point, Maine, in flat calm glassy smooth waters. What a difference one day makes out on the ocean. This was a beautifully clear sunny day, one of the few we have had since departing Maryland 14 days ago! So this is what the SUN looks like?

CAVU led the way, arriving for the first time at her hailing port of Portsmouth. Ron shared fascinating information about the history of Portsmouth area. We arrived as a fleet and connected with the harbor master who led us to mooring balls at a great price of $15.00. Pepperrell Cove is the spot to go off Kittery and you can easily walk up to Fort McCleary and overlook the harbor. To run over to Portsmouth, NH, you need a cab or, if you are lucky, you could get a yacht club tender to pick you up and run you across the river. The current is enitrely too strong to run with our 4 hp dinghy.

We spent the remainder of the day taking in the beautiful sun, the blue sky, and walking the quaint little town. Frisbee's, the oldest general store in North America has been owned by the same family since 1823. In the evening, the entire armada met for dinner at Captain Simeon's and generously paid for our meals in thanks for our efforts for the group. Thanks everyone!

On Tuesday, the sky dawned grey and showery. Undeterred, we got a ride from CAVU and toured Portsmouth's Strawberry Banke historic section, which is like a small, nautical Williamsburg. We were lucky to have a great tour guide, Polly, who was friendly and knowledgeable. The barrelmaker was especially interesting. Nearly everyone gathered for a late hot lunch at the Portsmouth Brewery. The evening was spent aboard in a rolling anchorage, trying to make an educated, weather-based, decision on when to leave for Portland.

Fort McCleary looking back down to our harbor

Flat Calm Sea, motoring. Notice the sea grasses

Sailing into Marblehead

What a sailing day this was, with 25-30 knots off Boston Mass, as we headed from Scituate to Marblehead. The sky was so blue, the winds topped out at 33 knots true, and we all were sailing with reefed main sails and reefed jibs. This was a first on Island Spirit; we have a rope luff in the 135% jenny, but we have never used it. At 33 knots on the beam.....YOU NEED TO REEF! So reef we did, and we had the best sail of the trip so far.

Today was also the start of the Marblehead to Halifax yacht race, so we were timing our arrival to Marblehead around noon so we could see the large race boats heading out. There were 104 racing yachts moored in the harbor!

We picked up mooring balls in what turns out to be a very tight harbor. Luckily, we connected with IP420 Entropy, Martha and Bob Rose, who helped us secure balls from the Boston Yacht Club. After the races got under way, Entropy invited all of us over to their yacht for a lovely wine and cheese party. It was so nice of them after working all day on the race course and then coming in and hosting a party for 14+ people! THANK YOU! We also enjoyed meeting Drew of IP380 Shawnee. Friendly IPers in Marblehead and plenty of sunshine, too!

From here we plan to run to MAINE, at Kittery....

Island Packet 380 Memphis Belle in 27 knots reaching hard

Island Spirit under reefed jib and cruisin at 7.5 knots!
The Boston Yacht Club at Marblehead

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Scituate Harbor Mass

This is our first visit to Scituate Harbor and it has been a great time with many shore side services and amenities. The entrance to the harbor from sea is very short, and well marked but the harbor is tight with no room to anchor with plenty of mooring balls. Once in the harbor, you hail the "Scituate Launch" and they will tell you to come down to R8, stand by and then they will direct you to your mooring ball. In 2009, the fee was $35.00/night which includes launch service to and from town.

Once in town, the harbormaster's office is the center of the hub and within two blocks there is...
  • Ice Cream
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • CVS
  • Laundromat
  • Grocery Stores
  • Pizza Shops
  • Diners & Restraunts
  • Hardware Stores
  • 3 Liquor stores
  • Shops and boutiques
  • Commercial Fishing and Charter Fishing docks
So, as you can see, we used our stay here to re-provision, do laundry, and simply walk the cliffs and beaches. July 4th we enjoyed fireworks over the harbor from 3 different locations, and during the day, we finally had a blue sky, no fog, and NO RAIN!

Next Stop.....Marblehead....after the Marblehead to Halifax race departs....

Notice the 10' tides that is out...

The dinghy dock with 10' tides down. Look at the ramp!

Let's play...."Find the Island Packets"......Scituate Lighthouse in back

The Harbor Chart, look how close the services all are.
This is a great spot for provisions, laundry and a rest.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Cape Cod Canal North Bound

Departing Pocasset Red Brook Harbor, we ran the Cape Cod canal with six Island Packets as we are traveling in a fleet. The tides in this area are about 10 feet and the current in the canal can run 3-4 knots so you need to wait for, and time the run into the canal so you are going with the current. For us, the best time to make this run would have been at 1430 hrs but we decided to run earlier against the tide in order to make the 7-8 hr run up to Scituate Harbor. Weather, as usual, was rain, fog and thunderstorms, so we watched the radar and tracked the storms via and SIRIUS Weather. Lucky for us, the frontal line parted into two systems with a hole directly over the canal. So we ran out of Pocasset with a storm to our SE and one to or NW and just light rain traveling NE with us in the canal.

It was really cool to see the fleet under the Railroad bridge as that is the true beginning of the canal. We timed it and reached the railroad bridge at 1230 hrs when it was slack low, and from then on we had a push out the rest of the canal.

While in the canal, we had the special treat of being passed by Jim Grundy's brand new TRIPP 75' race boat called BELLA PITA. What a machine that was and she was so close, the owner yelled over...."Meet the guy who designed it....BILL TRIPP!".....She was beautiful and on her way to Marblehead for the Race to Halifax. Google: Belle Pita and Jim Grundy...impressive!

Blasting into Cape Cod Bay, the winds picked up to 15-20 knots SE with slight rain, so we set full sails, main, jib and cutters and sailed on a beam reach to a broad reach up to Scituate Harbor. We arrived at Scituate in low viz with fog around 1730. We are geting better at running in fog and rain and 20 knots of wind. Up here, they have had 27 days of rain in the month of JUNE! We are hoping that this is now over....

BELLE PITA Tripp 75' Passes us in the Canal
The Designer is onboard (blue hat)
Massive Rig with 3 spreaders

The Fleet sails Cape Cod Bay for Scituate