Monday, August 22, 2016

Fog and Lobster Pots but Acadia at Last!

Acadia from Swan's island
anchorage: fog rolling in!
Yesterday was the day we would finally make it to Acadia National Park. After 55 days onboard Alizée we would get to to see the oldest, yet smallest, US national park (which happened to celebrate its centennial this year). We woke up to fog but by 8AM it had already started to lift. The previous day, in the middle of the afternoon, we had seen low fog roll in between us and the Acadia mountains Very pretty but a bit unnerving to see fog right above the water with mountains above.

A motorboat crossing Alizée in the fog 
By 9 we decided to get going as the moorings at Northeast Harbor (our destination) were first-come first-serve. Although with the low density of boats we have seen on the water, I made myself believe that mooring would not be an issue. Again the wind is not a prevailing Southwest breeze, rather out of the East and on the nose.

As soon as we clear the anchorage, the fog thickened and the lobster pots started emerging. At first we could clearly see them and they were sparse enough to easily avoid them, but as the fog thickened and thickened some more to the point where we asked ourselves what happens if the fog is thick enough that you can't even see the pots until it is too late to avoid crossing their line? At some point, I did not even need my glasses to see them. I am near-sighted so rely on my polarized prescription sunglasses to assist Bill in lobster buoys sightings. This day, by the time they showed up out of the fog they were close enough for me to see them, and spit on them. Yikes. We kinda laughed at almost running over channel markers that became suddenly visible out of the fog. At least we were not alone. We heard three boats using their fog horns. The first one, a ferry that picked us up on AIS, even called us on the radio nicely asking whether we care if they passed up port (left) or starboard (right) from our stern (behind). Matters not to us as long as long as it's one or the other; we did not even see them pass us, but we heard the engines alright. The second one crossed us astern. Then there was that sailboat that just popped up coming right at us without any fog horn, VHF call, or AIS visibility on the chart plotter. C'mon people. It's the 21st century!

Oh look the buoy marker we were looking
for! No brainer that they all have bells
around here.
After 4 hours of ghost ships in the fog, and absolutely no view of the park and its mountains, we made it to the entrance of Northeast Harbor and called for a mooring. Phew, they had one left and assigned us mooring 312. As we approached the mooring, it already had a a boat on it. Crap. We called the harbormaster back (which we later found were summer interns manning the radio), and he casually said that was the last mooring available. Oh no... we are not turning around now and anchoring is not allowed ... then he proceeded to offer a float as an option. You betcha. Float works. At that point we would pay anything to just park it. Turns out their floats cost the same ($40/nt) as their moorings. Sweet (except for folks running their generators around us). Now we are closer to the dinghy dock than we would have been from a mooring, although finding a spot on the dinghy dock seems to be a bigger problem than rowing the longer distance.

Busy dinghy dock (and that's
only half): can you find Puff?
It's now 2pm and we can finally make some lunch, mentally and physically tired but happy to have made it here before the heavy rain forecasted that night (and yes that forecast was correct this time). By 4pm, we made it ashore to find the visitor center closed (boo) but located the yachtsmen's lounge. Hello sailing community, it is about time you acknowledged other genders! I think it should be called the Yacht's Men, Women, and all others lounge. Their hot showers were very welcomed after our sun showers were decommissioned by the fog.

Interestingly, the dinghy dock is packed but ain't no one in town. We did a reconnaissance tour. I absolutely relish the first time we get on land at a new place where everything is new. There is something so excited about it, regardless of what we find. A Maine coon cat welcomes us on the driveway of a clearly native house.

Maine Coon cat
Making a statement?
The Moon guide to Acadia states "NorthEast Harbor's small downtown caters to a casually posh clientele and the well protected harbor attracts tons of yachties". The town is very small indeed - mostly main street - and it does have an unusual number of chic boutiques. For yachts, it has, again, all you need: a funky bookstore with a coffee shop, a small maritime museum and a very nice grocery store. The Pine Tree Market even had the Whispering Angels rosé we discovered in Nantucket, although at $26 for a 1/2 bottle. We'll pass at that price. Only two places are open for dinner, and the one we picked (Colonel's) fills the spot with fish stew, lobster salad, and blueberry pie, being as maine-ly as we can. For all my froggy friends, NorthEast Harbor is where Marguerite Yourcenar lived. She was the first women elected at the Académie Française. Her place here is called Petite Pleasance, and she is buried closeby.

A fireplace, a book and coffee = heaven!
After 55 days of little to no rain on Alizée, we are happy to report that she not only floats, sails but she also does not leak! We are now all cozied waiting for the rain to stop midday so we can go ashore. We're psyching ourselves up to bail all the rain out of Puff, but who cares about wet dinghy butts when you are in Acadia! Let the hiking and biking begin!


  1. Great that you made it to Acadia and that the "wood burning" stove seems to be keeping Bill warm! Yea! The hike up Cadillac Mountain in Acadia has beautiful views along the way! Also Sand Beach is beautiful yet the ocean is mighty cold! Enjoy every minute! Shalom, Howie.....PS I have lobsta envy!!!!

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