Thursday, July 28, 2016

Heaven in North Haven

We arrived at Pulpit Harbor on North Haven island Tuesday after six hours of slug-sailing in light wind but without having to use the engine, which we were not able to do lately. We seem to be the only sailboat usingour sails in light winds, even if we move at 1.6 kts, as long as we move. Everyone else is blasting by us with their engine. We eventually get there with a greater sense of satisfaction that we did not deplete any of our diesel rations or carbon credits. We do find sailors around here more competent than our previous haunts in the Bahamas and Caribbean, anchoring and picking up moorings solo and under sail. We really need to connect with more of them to share stories now that we are approaching our final Summer destination, Belfast.

The guide says Pulpit Harbor is not for those looking for secluded anchorages (no Scandinavian play here) and it provides one of the best sunsets in the area, so we opted for that harbor as our last stop before Belfast.  The harbor was pretty full when we got in, with about 15 or so sailboats and many lobster boats. There was even one sailboat from Utah; I was dying to ask them how they answer the so-common-question "how did you sail from there to here?". We need to come up with creative answer to that one.

Our brommies tucked in Puff
We did experience the pretty sunset and the bagpiping celebration that often goes with it (better than a fog horn chorus when there are no bagpipes in the anchorage that night). The lobster boat engines ruined a bit of the experience though.

Before getting to Belfast and having to deal with the engine maintenance, boat cleaning, provisioning and laundry, we treated ourselves to a visit ashore. Weather was gorgeous albeit hot (82F and 90% humidity) with no wind, so maybe biking would at least give us a bit of breeze. Uphills were cookers though. Transporting our Brommies in Puff ended up not being a big deal. Biking hilly New Haven, and hiking Ames Knob (a 15 min hike!) got those legs moving again, something they had forgotten this past month. Every car we crossed waved at us, as they seem to do with everyone. Very welcoming island (with its 350 inhabitants year around).

Locked brommies while we hike
Little traffic > safe biking!
The village is very small: one market, one gift shop, one print shop, and two restaurants (one closed on Wednesdays, the day we chose to bike). So we had a single option for dinner (other than baked beans on board): the Nebo Lodge. We called for reservations - full! - so we camped at their doors at 4:45pm to get one of their walk-in tables at 5pm and lucked out. The place is unique with veggies from the diversified organic farm (Turner Farm) on the island - last I remember eating tomatoes that tasty was in France when I was a kid), lots of French wines, and an eclectic cocktail menu. Bill could not resist ordering the Vesper cocktail in honor of our favorite AIS app that keeps us safe in the fog. That app informs us of boat traffic around us telling us about each boat, its type, name, speed, length, and 14 other things (says Captain), basically giving you a collision risk assessment. Being a deliberative person (always looking for what could go wrong and planning for it), I LOVE that app!

We ended up spending our dinner talking to the Boston couple at the next table who came from Stonington to North Haven on a boat captained by local boatbuilder Peter Buxton, who himself was eating at the bar until his charges were ready for the trip back. Bill had seen videos of Peter detailing aspects of boat building, so that was a hoot to have the two of them chat and share pictures of Alizée.

At the entrance of Pulpit harbor is Pulpit Rock with an enormous osprey nest that has been there for over 150 years. As we entered Tuesday, we were too busy dodging the rock and the lobster pots to remember to look for the nest. As we leave for Belfast this morning, we have reminders all over the boat to not forget to pull out the binoculars this time.

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