Back in the U S of A…

We ate breakfast at anchor off Cranberry Island, then sat around for a while planning our next move. The engine did not leak when cold, so we hauled anchor, unrolled the two jibs and took off without starting the motor and picked our way through the lobster pot obstacle course across the channel to Southwest Harbor. After radioing for a dock we rolled up the two jibs, motored in and docked. The engine did not leak as it only ran for about 5 minutes in slow, so it did not reach operating temperature. Once docked we had to wait for the customs people to clear our boat which took about 3 hours, after which we took a walk and then went out to dinner at a local seafood restaurant above the marina.

We ate seafood; mussels, salmon, scallops, wine – it was a delicious dinner and the view of the harbor was fabulous. There was a couple sitting at the table next to us, and he was wearing a Lake Michigan T-shirt. We struck up a conversation with them and it turned out they had the exact same boat we do, and they sailed out of Cheboygan, Michigan! So we spent the evening chatting to them about our various sailing adventures. They are here in a camper exploring Maine. Small world!

We went to breakfast at a local diner the next morning and then bought a few odds and ends for the boat before heading home to work – me on the computer and Melanie doing laundry. I found all the boat parts we needed and had them overnighted to the marina. We did laundry, cleaned and otherwise laid around until mid afternoon when we decided to go grocery shopping. We walked into town to the small grocery store and stocked up on necessities. $200!! For a few bags of groceries, we were shocked! The prices were 200% more than what we pay back home. I guess that they can do it because they are the only game in town, but there was a lot we did not buy. We had a quick treat of ice cream, and then headed back to the boat. We ended up having dinner at the same restaurant as the night before, but we each ordered something different; clams for an appetizer, then Melanie ordered Halibut and I got a lobster dinner. Then we headed back to unwind and get ready for bed.

Next day we finished off our laundry and decided to go to into Bar Harbor. There is a bus shuttle around the island sponsored by LL Bean and it is free, so we took advantage of it and went into “Bah Ha Ba” as they call it and nosed around for the afternoon. It was quite a place, in many ways like Put-In-Bay where we spend a lot of time in the summer, only larger. We ate a late lunch in Bar harbor, seafood of course, and then came home to the boat. The weather was beautiful, sunny and close to 80, and the ride through the Acadia National Park to and from Bar Harbor was spectacular. There are smatterings of fall color here already!

Our engine parts did come, but we got home too late to do anything about it, so we stayed for a 3rd night and spent the evening watching a movie before going to bed.

Next morning we walked into town for coffee and then came back so I could fix the motor. We did some house cleaning, filled the water tanks, topped up with diesel and got a pump out and then picked up a mooring ball. A local lady docked at the marina let us use hers as there was no one on it. We were so grateful, another way God is taking care of us and helping us to save money. After installing the parts, we realized that there was still fuel leaking, so we decided to replace the entire fuel filter housing, got that ordered as well as a new water pump and spent the next few days exploring town and taking the free bus service around the island.

Every morning we walked into the village for a good cup of coffee and to chat with the locals and the tourists. Windsor is such a handsome pup – he attracts attention wherever he goes. Friday was a farmers market in town, so we went and checked it out. We chatted to the locals and picked up some goodies there. We worked on the interior boat upholstery which we had taken off the cushions to wash because of dog and wine stains and got them all assembled back together so the inside of the boat once again looks the way it should.

Saturday we took the free bus to Bar Harbor and spent the day walking around admiring the sights and talking to people. We had lunch at a restaurant called Cherrystones – seafood of course – and then headed back to Southwest Harbor. We got off at the grocery store, an IGA we had seen on the way to Bar Harbor, picked up some goodies and then walked the 2 to 3 miles home. This store although further away was much cheaper than the one in town, so we bit the bullet and walked. Once back at the boat, we turned on the Buckeye football game. We had to listen to it on the radio as there was not enough bandwidth on the wi-fi to get a decent enough connection for a TV signal.

After breakfast the next day, we walked into town and took the road around the bay to the other side opposite where we docked. There was a place called Beal’s Lobster Dock, a place where you could buy lobster right off the dock. There was a restaurant there as well, so we came back later in the day on the dinghy, wallet in hand and had a seafood lunch. Scallops, Mussels and a lobster roll, which is basically a pile of lobster meat with some mayo in a large deli bun. We really enjoyed lunch, and after relaxing on the boat for the afternoon, headed in to have a final drink at the Upper Deck prior to our departure the next day. We chatted with a couple from New Brunswick who were also cruising on an Irwin 32 – they followed a similar path as us down the coast of Nova Scotia but were about a week behind us.

We watched an episode of Midsomer Murders on Netflix before turning in and awoke the next morning to the thickest fog we’d seen yet. Our final part, the water pump arrived and we got that installed but with the fog not lifted by early afternoon, we decided to wait until Tuesday to depart to give us more time to navigate in the fog – all while dodging lobster traps. As a side note, since Port Mouton, we have had fog every day – 10 days! I think we have had our fill of fog – forever…

Tuesday morning we left early and spent the whole day weaving our way under engine power through a maze of lobster pots in dense fog. We crossed Hill Bay, weaved our way through the narrow Casco passage into the Eastern side of Jericho Bay and headed North East up Eggemoggin Reach. The fog lifted when we neared the bridge from Little Deer Island to the mainland. As we rounded the NW corner of Little Deer Island, we were greeted with a view of endless islands, both small and large, rocky and tree covered, some inhabited, some not stretching out before us. There were 3 or 4 Gaff rigged schooners and ketches slowly sailing in the light wind. We picked our way carefully through the islands and made our way into the Eastern side of Penobscot Bay where we found the narrow entrance into Pulpit Harbor on North Haven Island. We arrived around 5pm, anchored, ate dinner and then watched a movie before heading to bed. As we were entering the harbor, to our left we saw a wall of fog starting to roll in, and there was a schooner sailing through it, looking ghostly as it surfed the fog towards us. They ended up pulling in and anchoring near us in the harbor. It looked like a charter; where you pay to spend a week on the boat and you go sailing – there were about 15 to 20 people of all ages aboard.

Next morning we awoke, yes, to fog. After breakfast we motored out and set our sights on Boothbay harbor. We motor sailed as the winds were light and we wanted to make the 50 mile trip and arrive before dark. Once again we played lobster pot pinball, dodging in and out of the pots as we tried to stay on course. Once out of Penobscot Bay, the Atlantic swells greeted us again, and we were being lifted and pushed along towards our destination. The seas were confusing; there was a long, big swell from the South, presumably from Hurricane Jose, then there was a swell from the South East and one from the South West; probably a reflection off islands. This made for a rolly, rather bumpy ride, but we made good progress averaging about 6 knots. When we entered the channel headed up to Boothbay Harbor, the fog lifted and we were able to see our way in. We found a mooring ball and tied up for the evening. We toasted our arrival with a shot of sipping whisky before heading into shore to register and go out to eat. We had dinner outside, close by at a Lobster wharf; mussels, clams, scallops, cole slaw and sweet potato fries with a glass of wine. The wharf was a simple place, a counter where you pick up the food and a whole bunch of picnic benches with umbrellas – we were able to bring Windsor along and he garnered much attention. We were treated to a beautiful sunset as the sky started to clear.

Next morning we awoke to glorious sunshine – NO FOG!! Temps were in the low 60s and headed up to 75. We walked to the grocery store to pick up some supplies, and along the way passed a church where a beagle was tied on a long leash. He and Windsor played with each other for a good half hour, chasing each other around – he really needed that. We took all our damp stuff out and laid it on the deck to dry in the sun, and just enjoyed the sunny, warm day. After work we walked into town and browsed through the stores before ending up in a restaurant on the 4th floor outside for a drink. Then we walked across the bridge and headed back to the lobster wharf for more mussels and clams before heading back to the boat. We were treated to another gorgeous sunset before heading back to the boat to watch some TV before bed.

Friday was cloudy to start, but no fog thankfully – 2 days in a row! After breakfast we borrowed the courtesy car and went to the grocery to pick up some last minute supplies, then showered and did laundry before heading off to our next stop. We filled up the water tanks and said our goodbyes before heading south to Cape Cod. We left Boothbay Harbor, motored out and set sail. Swells were 10 to 15 feet with a period of 10 seconds. The wind started out around 15 knots, but dropped gradually and switched to the South East, so once again we ended up motor sailing. Near sunset the wind increased dramatically from 5-10 knots to 30 knots in about 2 minutes. Seas got very rough and confused, and the 12 to 15 ft walls of green water were gently rising and falling to before were now rapidly becoming huge breaking waves!

We decided to bail out – the waves were rolling in from the East and we were headed Southwest making us very vulnerable to being dumped by a breaking wave. We turned so the waves were pushing from behind, a far safer and more comfortable motion. We headed to shore; running with the waves the closest port was Portland Maine, so we headed there and once we had picked our way down the channel into the harbor, found a Marina and hooked up for the night. Next morning we filled up our diesel and headed out. We motor sailed all day. Winds were very light out of the South. We listened to the Buckeye game, and then towards Sunset found an anchorage in the Isles of Shoals. We tied up to a yacht club mooring ball in a sheltered bay – they said we could use it for free.

During the day the Seas had quieted down, but swells were from the East and with our direction being South, it was a very rolly ride. Next morning we awoke early and were on the water on our way by 7 a.m. Seas were almost calm with one to two foot swells and there was little to no wind. We motor sailed all day, first to Cape Ann just North of Boston, then on to Plymouth. It was a nice sunny day so we did not have to dress up in our winter gear. The sky was hazy and there was lots more boat traffic. We saw many sailboats motoring and there were Lobster fisherman and pleasure fishermen as well. We listened to our pastor’s sermon from last week which was a real treat. You don’t realize how much you miss your church family until you are away for a while.

We made good progress over a glassy sea with gently heaving swells of 1 to 2 feet. It was calm, not even a ripple of wind disturbed the sea surface. Melanie saw a HUGE whale surface but by the time I looked, all there was was a dorsal fin, a bit of back and then it was gone. She said it was easily the length of our boat! Largest animal we have seen on the trip thus far. We were able to make good time and came into Plymouth around 5:30pm and picked up a courtesy mooring ball (free) that was about a half mile from town. We dropped the dinghy off the back of the boat, motored in and walked around for a bit before heading to a restaurant for a celebratory drink and some seafood – Oysters and scallops. Then we returned home and after an episode of Midsomer Murders, turned in for the night. It was dead calm and the boat barely moved all night. It was quiet and calm and we enjoyed much needed rest.

After work on Monday we went into town and explored historical sites in Plymouth. We saw the church erected on the site of the original church from 1620, walked the cemetery and then strolled through the old part of town, picking up a good cup of coffee and some marmite and piccallili. We went down to the waterfront to Plymouth Rock and walked along the bay, eventually ending up at the Blue Eyed Crab for dinner – the same place we went the night before. After dinner we went next door to a wine bar called 1620 to sample a flight of wine each. We ended up staying until about 9; live entertainment showed up and it was open mike night, so we sat and chatted with the entertainers and thoroughly enjoyed our evening.

While we were there, lo and behold the fog rolled in again! We were one of the farthest boats out from town, so the boat wasn’t even visible to us. We left to head back and when we got to the dinghy dock the tide was out and our dinghy was hard aground. We had to drag it a good 30 or 40 ft to get it to float and then motored out gingerly through the mooring ball field out of the harbor and in the general direction we thought our boat was moored. There was a power boat coming towards us down the channel using a flashlight to try to find his way in the fog which did a god job of blinding and disorienting us a little; thank goodness our dinghy has a compass! We also saw the dim reflection of a green channel mark light flashing so we headed towards it and ran aground! I managed to push us off the sandbar with one of the oars and we once again aimed for the green mark.

I pulled up the nautical charts on my phone and realized that the mark we were aiming for was beyond our boat; we had gone too far. We turned around to head back towards the harbor and the light from the city reflecting off the fog was enough to cast a shadow of the boat on us so we found her and thankfully boarded and settled in for the night.Next time we do this I will add a waypoint into my phone marking our location so we can find it if it gets foggy when we are on shore.

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