Friday, August 31

Round Pond, ME

As we make our way south along the rugged coastline, there are countless islands and anchorages to consider.  We had a little trouble deciding to depart Camden or stay another day.   We weighed anchor later than we would have liked after the final decision to leave.  A cold front threatening high winds and thunderstorms was approaching and that meant we needed to make certain we had ample protection.  After scouring our cruising guide, we located Round Pond. 

The "Little Brown Church" steeple peeks above the trees on the right, est. in 1853

This circa photo is on the cover of our Maine guide book.  Do you see a resemblance to our picture above?

We started our 25-mile journey looking into the eastern morning sun and a bazillion lobster pot buoys.  The wind and waves were directly in our face; so motoring was our only option.  As we turned southward, navigating the bazillion lobster pot buoys, we put the sails up in strengthening winds.  As we rounded Two Bush Island and pushed on past Mosquito Island, we dropped the sails.  The wind was shifting to our bow again.  Don’t forget the bazillion lobster pot buoys!  We rounded Seguin Island, considered stopping for lunch but decided to raise the sails, and tack our way to Round Pond (and watch for the bazillion lobster pot buoys).  The sails went up and the wind died, wouldn’t you know it.  By this point, we were beyond frustrated and essentially lobster pot buoy intoxicated.  Once again, the sails came down, the setting sun in our weary eyes, the motor reluctantly turned on and facing a bazillion lobster pot buoys.  This was not our idea of a fun day.  And then by some miracle, the wind suddenly advanced quickly, as if someone had turned on a switch, to 18 knots.  We reversed everything and sailed to Round Pond.  Phew what a day.  You can’t fault us for trying to sail!  Let me just say that watching for lobster pot buoys in these parts was a full time, 2 person, 110% focus kind of job.
Two Bush Island Lighthouse

Part of the mainland, Round Pond is nearly a perfect circle etched out of the ragged rock softened around the edges with a shallow basin and homes hidden in the trees.  Our cruising guide stated there were mooring balls and a place for several boats to anchor.  As we approached late Sunday afternoon, there was no one to hail on the radio to inquire about the mooring balls.  Did I mention this is a small town, if one could even call it that?  We dared to just pick one up and ask forgiveness later.  However, we chickened out when the only one that we thought would hold us had “Anna” stamped in large blue letters. 
Anchoring was our only choice and that proved to be a bigger problem than we anticipated.  After scratching our heads trying to find a suitable spot, I said, “let’s drop the hook right here”.  Well, right here was just about at the entrance to the pond, seemingly in the way.  What the heck, we can always move or get a mooring ball tomorrow, right?!  In the end, it was perfect and no one asked us to move.  The lobster boats just went around us and all was well in Round Pond. 
It lived up to the perfect protection we needed from the storms that went around us.  As the dark clouds started to build, we heard the rumbling thunder, endured moderate wind and rain drops the size of a quarter.  Nothing like what we could have been doused with had we been anywhere else. 
For this we were thankful, as we had guests aboard our boat in the afternoon.  Craig’s Team in Training coach and friend, Anthony, his girlfriend Kathleen (a mentor on my TNT tri team) and Anthony’s mom drove nearly 2 hours to this remote part of Maine.  Anthony grew up in Maine and he and Kathleen competed in a triathlon a few days ago here in Maine.   We were delighted to see them and had so much fun visiting and catching up. 

Dark clouds overhead

Waiting out the rain

Anthony, Kathleen, Cinda and the rest of the gang

6 lobster for $37!!!  We sure have enjoyed our lobster here in Maine

Look out for the CLAW!

Homemade lobster rolls

Tuesday, August 28

Seal Bay, Pulpit Harbor & Camden

The Fox Islands are part of the mid coast of Maine.  The Fox Islands Thoroughfare is a beautiful stretch of water, lined with summer cottages that separate Vinalhaven and North Haven islands. Seal Bay is located on the eastern side of Vinalhaven Island and is heavily wooded.  During our dinghy expedition, we found an old abandoned granite quarry that we later learned was used to build Boston's Museum of Fine Arts and New York's Brooklyn Bridge.
Pulpit Harbor is on the western side of North Haven Island.  Honestly, we didn't leave the boat to go into town.  The girls were set free to go to the beach, sail and kayak.  Craig and I worked on getting the brownish muck off the waterline left over from the dirty water down south.  We succeeded in getting one side done, 3 more to go!
Camden is part of the mainland and is a charming little town.  The small harbor is surrounded by shops and restaurants and filled with yachts neatly moored in tight little rows.  We spent our time in Camden reprovisioning; pumping out, filling up water and fuel tanks.  Robert and Holly generously allowed us to borrow their car so we could get to the store.
During our stay here in Maine, the weather has been picture perfect (almost, but no complaints) and every where we go is just as beautiful as the last, if not more.  Of course, with the great weather also comes very calm, non-existent sailing days.  Motoring is never as much fun as sailing because 1.) we can often go faster sailing than motoring, 2.) it's noisy with the engines rumbling and 3.) it's just a lot more fun to sail, period!

Seal Bay:  having fun with the 'kid' boat kids

Fox Islands Thoroughfare

Channel marker at low tide and a bird nest on top (I see a pattern here)

North Haven Island

Mmmm, the fresh smell of clean laundry

Olivia reading in the hammock

She lost another front tooth!  Now she knows what to ask Santa for.

Sunset in Pulpit Harbor

Arriving in Camden

This is for Craig's brother, Marty, and all you hockey fans.

We had the pleasure of meeting Robert and Holly for dinner one last time before they left Camden.  

Making new friends

"Make new friends but keep the old ones: one is silver and the other's gold" - proverb

We have met some really great people on our journey so far.  It was a little slow going in the beginning but in all fairness, we didn't stop in one place long enough to meet new friends.  Sure, we met people on the docks if they were on their boats or in a marina parking lot, but that didn't seem to make us feel like "cruisers."  Maybe it was because we were so new to the whole cruising thing and a little overwhelmend.  I don't know.  The people we have met since arriving in Rhode Island have been exceptional.  That's what it's all about, right.  Boaters, sailors in particular, are just plain nice.  There is no other word to describe it.  They are a different breed and would give you the shirt off their back or take in perfect strangers into their homes and treat them like family!

When we were in Valley Cove (Somes Sound) we were all alone until we returned from our hike and had a new neighbor.  Olivia promptly got in the kayak, paddled around and around their boat. Finally she struck up a conversation.  Before I knew it Craig was swimming over there to fetch Liv and came back and said they were coming over for drinks after dinner.  Woo hoo, our first cruising guests aboard our boat.  This is the first of what we hope are many new friends joining us on our boat.  Robert and Holly are from Sonoma California and cruised with their two boys for 3 years - many years ago.  We talked for a long time that night and promised to meet up again.

Playing cards with Holly.  It was super fun to see them again in Seal Bay!  This time on their boat.

Robert and Holly with Craig and the girls.  

We were super excited about meeting our first "kid boat".  A family with 3 kids followed us into Seal Bay on their sailboat.  After several hours of school work, we let the girls go explore the nearby islands.  They stopped by to pick up the kids on s/v Apple Wine.  Craig and I breathed a sigh of relief and smiled at the fact that the kids were independent and making friends.

Eleanor and Alice from S/V Apple Wine (Miles is not here).  Kate made duct tape book marks for them.  The following day, they kayaked over with a jar of homemade strawberry jam.  YUM!  We love homemade jam.

After exploring Seal Bay and Winter Harbor we motored through the Fox Islands thorofare to get to Pulpit Harbor on North Haven Island.  As soon as we anchored and hung out the laundry to dry, a catamaran anchored right next to us.  As I have mentioned before, catamarans are not very common in these parts at all!  In fact we can count on one hand the number we have seen.  Anyway, their boat is s/v Makana and they have one daughter, Hoku.  They live on their boat full time and travel to the Bahamas in the winter.  So it is possible we will see them again when we go to the Bahamas.

Kate and Hoku from S/V Makana rigged up the hammock over the jib 

Kate and Hoku sailing

Monday, August 27

Acadia, Bar Harbor and Beyond

We took advantage of the free buses generously provided by LL Bean to explore Acadia National Park.  These buses have been transporting over 4000 tourist per day for 13 years.  The drivers are very friendly and accommodating, picking you up or dropping you off where ever you need (along the route).  We picked up the bus at a nearby campground and traveled to the east side of Mt. Desert to Bar Harbor.  Bar Harbor was the premiere summer resort in the 19th century, home to mansions of the rich and powerful. The quaint shops and flower lined streets surround the beautiful park in the town center.

Picturesque Street of Bar Harbor

Having our first lobster rolls for lunch 

Locally brewed beer and Maine blueberry soda....mmmmm yum!

Bottoms up!

Mr. Lobster Man 

We also did the park loop on the bus.  We started at Sand Beach and walked on the trail to Thunder Hole and Otter point.

Nearly 70% of the 'sand' are shells broken into teeny tiny sand like pieces

Seagulls flying overhead

Trees growing out of the rocks

A local artist painting the coastline right beside the road.  

Thousands of turtle rocks!  So cool because we love to build turtle rocks

Thunder hole.  The tide was too low during our visit, so we didn't hear any thundering water going through rocks

Otter cliffs. We saw people rock climbing the face

Our family of turtle rocks

Some of the best ice cream we have had so far:  Sea Salted Caramel, Maine Blueberry, Mexican Chocolate

The campground swimming hole at very low tide!  We were lucky to get our dinghy out

A small crab trying to get away from the kids trying to catch 'em

Beautiful Maine

“their grey coats and rounded backs look like a herd of elephants, marching majestically across the island” – Samuel Adams Drake 1891

We are so glad we made the effort to sail up the coast to Maine.  We have been here over a week now, and are working our way south again.  However, we will take our time to visit islands and towns along the way.  
The rugged granite coastline and the towering trees on the rounded mountaintops highlight Maine’s unique and beautiful landscape.   When the sun is shining on a clear day, the sky and water are a brilliant blue color.  The only defining line between the sky and the sea is a small strip of bleached granite rocks and the deep dark green of the forest. 
When the fog rolls in it’s like a tidal wave of the quietest kind.  It doesn’t thunder into the anchorage, it sneaks up and covers you like a blanket.  We had such thick fog near Southwest Harbor that we couldn’t see 5 feet around the perimeter of the boat.  We could faintly make out the anchor light on top of the masts of the neighboring boats.  It is a peaceful eerie feeling, when the world around is hushed.  The birds are not out playing and singing, and there is an absent sound of the gentle (or not so gentle) waves lapping at the side of the boat.  When the fog is present, the water is a glassy reflection.
The wind comes and goes with a mind of its own.  We haven’t had any significant blows since we have been here, thankfully.  The calmer the wind, the easier it is to spot the multitude of lobster pots dotted on the waters surface.  Speaking of the water, it is a frigid 59 degrees up here in Maine!   No one wants to swim without a wetsuit, which is almost a prerequisite unless you are under 10 and oblivious.  Even with blue fingers, toes and a quivering lower lip; Olivia still wants to go swimming.  The cooler water also brings with it cooler temperatures.  Even when the thermometer reads 80, unless you are in the direct sun protected from the breeze, it is a bit nippy.  We have pulled out our jackets, hats and long pants for this part of the world.  There is something special about being all bundled up and on the water in our own boat.  We have taken advantage of the cool weather to do some baking, which doubles as a heater. 

Native Osprey on a channel marker

A near by party that let lanterns go as part of the celebration.  It was so pretty to see these lanterns float up in twilight sky

Which trail to choose?

Happy to make it to the top

More lobster pot bouy's

Swimming with a wet suit is a necessity

Somes Sound - The only Fjord on the east coast of the US

Wanna buy a lobster buoy?  No thanks, we've had enough!