Thursday, August 11, 2016


Virginia construction in Bath
Hiking Thorne Head
Between Shelby and David's departure and the arrival of our dearest friends Susan and Howie we've been doing a bit of reconnaissance, by both land and sea. Terrestrially, we stopped again by Bath. Bath is home to the Bath Iron Works, which builds big steel battleships and such. M'kay. We were expecting a rather rough and tumble, perhaps even depressed, town as a side effect. That was an unjust and incorrect prejudice. In fact, we love Bath. It has a bit of funk, a good foodie scene, a terrific maritime museum, and a Thorne Head Preserve with hiking trails. Of course, we had to do it all! Icing on the cake was having a peek at the Virginia, a replica of Maine's first ship.

While we have dabbled in lobster rolls, we had yet to do a real lobster dinner. Young's Lobster Pound, just across the harbor from us in Belfast, is the real deal: BYOB/W (we brought along a favorite Corsican Rosé), picnic tables, paper towels, and yummy lobster! Man do they have a lot of lobsters: hundreds if not thousands. You tell the guy what you want and he brings a bag with a tag number; remember that number. The lobsta goes in da bag, da bag goes in da boiling water, da bag comes outta da water, and your number is called.

Warren State Park
We also sailed a small loop to look at some new (for us) places we might want to take our friends when they arrive. First up was Warren State Park, accessible only by boat. We picked up a state park mooring and went for a short hike through the park. There are a number of campsites and a water well (key feature for kayakers). There remains some of the foundation from one of the most expensive rustic cabins ever built on the East coast: 100'x100' with some 22 rooms. Alas, it was never really used and burned in 1919.

Things were getting interesting on the weather front. In terms of wind direction and speed, we are learning to take the forecast with a grain of salt or simply ignore it entirely. Alizée was horsing around on her mooring at the park as the forecasted light winds out of the Southwest were really a strong breeze out of the Northwest, sending waves down into the otherwise protected anchorage. Rats. We made the afternoon call to move the boat to a better protected anchorage. The wind continued to build and we were making tracks heading for Pulpit Harbor. Then the wind let up. Hmmmm. I cautioned Cath about any whistling (sailor's superstition), but somebody did something because in seconds we got hit with 35 kts. and higher gusts. Craziness. Yelling over the wind dousing sail. The waves horizontal through the air. Yikes! We were able to motor to across the wind to make a downwind bare pole passage between some islands and onward to Pulpit. By the time we made Pulpit, the wind had calmed considerably, but we were too pooped to hoist sail for another 30 minutes of sailing. This weather pattern must not be terribly unusual because two days later we heard, on the radio, one of the wind jammers reporting 40 kts. in the same location while we had little wind 8 miles away.

Another first experience waiting for us in Pulpit: a mega yacht, in Maine. This isn't Florida. Those kinda people aren't supposed to be here. (You can Google 'Archimedes superyacht' for the gory details.) The rest of the anchorage from the slender double ender to the Friendship sloop to the weathered schooner to the lobster boat uttered a collective "go away": it didn't. They could have least thrown a cocktail party for the anchorage. Our neighbors in Boulder are waaaay better than that.

From Pulpit we sailed around the corner and on our way to Seal Bay next to Winter Harbor on the East coast of Vinalhaven. Dead calm and not a sail to be seen anywhere. As we skirted past Sheep Island, lo and behold, there's a large schooner coming the opposite direction through the passage. Normally our Vesper AIS system is for collision avoidance, but when one is a bit bored you can 'browse' boats nearby and see who's who. Out came the nifty Android AIS app and, lo and behold (again), it's the schooner America we see approaching. Ever had the feeling you're being followed? We (David and I) first saw America in Mystic in late June. Then Cath and I saw her at the dock in Bath. Now we see her again, close aboard, the only two boats around off of Sheep Island.

Sunrise at Seal Bay
Seal Bay does indeed have a few shy seals. We wish they would come by for a closer look, but the slightest movement sends them under. They must have been plundered by man as a young species. Cath takes a long row around the anchorage, finding a couple of boats deeper in the anchorage and hidden from our view. Maybe we'll go deeper next time. I'm still intimidated by narrow entrances with current, lurking rocks, and lobster pots. The calm of the morning sunrise gives that mountain lake feeling once again. Neither words nor pictures can capture the peace of this morning.

We leave Seal Bay for someplace, probably either Holbrook (another park we would like to show our friends) near Castine or back to Belfast to have a full day to clean boat, provision, etc. We started with a slight breeze, then less, fighting a knot of current on our way up. When the current is half your boat speed, where the boat goes is only partially determined by where it is pointing, complicating the endless lobster pot dodging. Sure enough the wind starts building right when Cath brings our lunch sandwiches up to the cockpit. Gotta reef down first. Finally down to a bit o' jib and a double reefed main I attempt to eat my sandwich single handed (dodging lobster pots under these conditions is a bit much for Cath and the autopilot is useless since it can't seem them). I manage to get most of the sandwich down but BBQ sauce is everywhere. Still, the boat is balanced and we are moving out. Given our speed, we decide to stretch for Belfast and, unfortunately, the approaching rain showers we see in the distance. We're going to get wet.

Now things get weird. How can so much wind just up and disappear? (This is right when we heard the warning on the radio about 40 kts. in the vicinity of Camden.) We are still moving OK, again under full sail. We watch with a tickle of joy as the rain shower blasts right across our bow with barely a sprinkle on our foulies. To top it off, out of the rain sails the schooner America! This is too cool! We feel like such America groupies. We alter course for a flyby. Turns out she will be in Belfast for a couple of days, on her way back down South, so we can drop by and gawk as much as we please between provisioning, pump out, wash down, laundry, propane fill, and all the other chores that we must do before heading back out with Susan and Howie.


  1. I can smell the ocean salt water, feel the sea breeze and taste the lobsta! Be There SOON! Shalom, Howie

  2. Let's check reviews on best table for your picnic at here -


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