Saturday, September 10, 2016

Last sail

Wispy morning fog in the
Isle Au Haut thorofare
We left IAH (Isle Au Haut, not Dullus airport) Wednesday to begin our journey back to Belfast for the weekend. No sooner had we made it into Penobscot Bay when the fog rolled back in. Again. It has been foggier than we have seen so far even though the fog should be thinning out in September.

Excitement in the fog: porpoises!
We are getting used to fog, fact of life sailing up here like the lobster pots, but enjoyed arriving at Winter Harbor where it opened up to sun and warmth enough to jump in one last time (67F water temperature) - well I chickened out but the captain enjoyed scrubbing Alizée's waterline in the balmy water. We were the only boat in this beautiful harbor with just the seals for company - crazy sauce.

Our next leg to Pulpit Harbor, a favorite, on North Haven was the foggiest yet. We entered the Fox Islands Thorofare with 1/10 mile visibility. By the time we reached the village of North Haven, it looked like a wall of fog. Fog thicker than fog. The fog within the fog. Since there was no scenery to enjoy beyond the chartplotter, we eaves dropped on the working VHF (radio) channel schooners use. Their captains were a riot to listen to. "We are sooo fog sick around here" and "The fog is so thick we have the guests wearing bells so we don't loose them".  Nothing for it but to drop the hook and have lunch! By the time the dishes were done, it lifted just enough to continue on; luckily with only few lobster pots to dodge and even some porpoises waving cheering us on. Porpoises are not as playful as dolphins, so they don't come close to our bow to swim along but we like them, and the puppy-face harbor seals just as much.

In the right light, fog can be pretty
Only lobster boats were working in that pea soup, bless their hearts. We made it to Pulpit Harbor where we must have been the only boat anchored, all others were on private moorings: clearly indicating the pleasure boats season is coming to an end. Friday morning the sun finally came back after the morning fog gave us some awesome harbor scenes.

Sun and wind for our last sail
Friday was special as it was our last day sailing for the season. To kick off, we met Alison Langley, a local marine photographer (no Shelby not Alison Langley your classmate!) in the morning at Pulpit. Alison did a photoshoot for an upcoming (we hope) Wooden Boat Magazine article featuring our girl Alizée. This was the third and last step of the process involving us. First we were interviewed several weeks back by Bob Stephens, a well respected boat designer from Stephens Waring Boat Design. Then Bob sailed Alizée we us to check her temperament.  Last the photoshoot which benefited from both sunny weather (no fog!) and enough wind to show her off barreling upwind at seven knots.

For a keepsake and to share the experience with landlubber friends, we took a short video of her last sail, in west Penobscot bay just off Camden, of the season, along with schooner Victory Chimes.

Now in Belfast, we are getting Alizée ready for her haulout Monday. Remove sails, shuttle clothes and stuff to the car, finish food, laundry mania, clean, clean and clean more.... Sadly we still have yet to find my July birthday gift that Bill hid so well!

While lately most nights have been as warm as when we arrived in July, tomorrow night should be 47F, brrrr, so we are coming to terms with taking Alizée out of the water for her winter storage (at the Front Street shipyard in Belfast) and to the idea of heading back to Colorado. We are definitely not keen on the idea of driving a rough riding truck 37 hours back home. Double ugh.


  1. 😞 Sad to be taking Alizee out of the water and ending your dream summer. So happy to have shared some of the adventure with you. What is the plan for the trip home?
    - Susan and Howie

  2. I am sad to hear that Alizee will now be resting for the winter and that this summers sailing is ending! However, I am guessing that Alizee's journey is truly just beginning and many adventures await! Thank You for sharing this years sailing adventure with us and creating memories of a lifetime! Oh Yea, Da lobster was absolutely AMAZING! Safe travels and warmest Regards, Howie & Susan

  3. I was also wondering what the plan is. The boat goes up, you go back to CO. When will you sail again? Next spring? Maine or elsewhere. Enjoyed the blog.

  4. We're planning on a few more days in Maine by road and then a meandering return to Colorado. We'll almost certainly be back in Maine next summer, but we're working on the between-now-an-then plan. For many reasons, New Zealand is appealing :) Life is an amazing journey and we try not to control it too much and give fate plenty of maneuvering room.

  5. Sounds like it was a great summer and Alizee lived up to expectations. I hope Bill isn't going to wear his thumbs out twiddling them this winter with no boat to build.

  6. Gosh Jim, do you really need to give a man crazy ideas like this. I am thinking he could get back to cooking for a while. After all, he has not cooked for the past 6 years. I could use a break :) building boats while your wife cooks or not building boats and cooking... Hmmmm. Maybe Karen can chime in ....


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