Maine Cruise 2004
Week 1

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Friday, July 23, 2004
I had hoped to be able to leave today, though as the foggy week wore on it became more and more plain that I would not be able to because of the weather.  Nonetheless, on Thursday I had knocked off my final pre-departure list--all those details that one must take care of before disappearing off the face of the earth for four weeks.

This year, I had decided to bring the boat partway down the coast in advance by myself, with Heidi to join up with me about a week later.  I looked forward to the extra time aboard, but as it was my first extended cruising period without Heidi, I intended to make smart decisions and allow plenty of extra time in my schedule to account for what seemed--this year, at least--to be the inevitable bad weather, or fog.

With more fog, I decided early in the day to stay home.  This did not make me happy, and rarely have I lived through a more unproductive and loose-endy day.  I survived, however, and after a spell started looking ahead to Saturday, when there was some improvement forecast in the weather.

Saturday, July 24, 2005
Falmouth (PYC) - Harmon Harbor (26.2NM Plotted)

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Route Chart

The day dawned gray and showery, but the air was different:  clearer, cleaner.  With even better weather forecast for Sunday, I had planned Saturday as a sort of "jumping off" day--a day to get aboard and try to get somewhere to make Sunday's eventual journey a bit shorter and easier.  As before, I wanted to get the boat east to Penobscot Bay as quickly as possible, after which time I could slow down and start gunkholing.  The mileage was substantial and, as I was going it alone, I was a little concerned--perhaps apprehensive is a better word--about the longness of the days, and the logistics of being the sole person aboard to do all tasks with no relief.

Anyway, Heidi left early in the day for a family reunion, with my plans a bit uncertain except that I intended to be on the boat that day.  By about 0900, the weather was improving, and I decided to head to the boat.  Armed with two bags full of perishable goods (most of which had been stored in my freezer to prolong both their lives and that of the ice), I was aboard by 1000 and, after stowing the gear, was ready to go.

departday1.jpg (28611 bytes)Friends Heather and Nathan were in a similar situation and had also decided to depart this day.  Since we had similar goals for the onset of the cruise, I decided to see if our plans correlated for the day; they did, in that we both wanted to try and get somewhere, if only to reduce the trip for the next day.

Glissando outside Chebeague Island.  Photo by Dasein.Shortly after 1100, we departed the anchorage more or less in tandem.  The skies were gray, and the back side of the front that had plagued us for days was clearly visible offshore, but the day showed promise.  A brisk 18 knot northerly breeze picked up outside the anchorage and Clapboard Island, so we sailed to Chandler Cove, where the wind direction made it impossible to sail and we were forced to motor.  I took the opportunity to tuck a reef in the main, as I didn't want to be faced with the chore if the winds were to be as strong later in the day's trip.
(Underway photo courtesy of Dasein)

haddockrockshowers.jpg (30153 bytes)After motoring past Stave Island, the course eased enough to allow another attempt at sailing, which worked well till Little Mark Island, where our speed dropped too low.  Again went the engine, only to return to sailing a bit later on when the breeze picked up again off Jaquish Island.  This was short lived, though, and before we were halfway across the bay we were under power again--and remained so for the rest of the trip.


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harmonclouds.jpg (28567 bytes)Earlier, we had decided to head past Cape Small into the mouth of the Sheepscot River, to Harmon Harbor--just seaward of Five Islands.  It looked interesting and cozy.  After a mind-numbing several hours of droning under power, I reached the entrance to the harbor first and rounded up to drop the main.  Almost immediately, swarms of mosquitoes descended upon me; bear in mind I was still offshore at this point, at least 1/2 mile from the narrow harbor entrance and a further half mile from the inner harbor.  I thought this did not bode well for the night, but so be it.

harmonmooring.jpg (24501 bytes)The harbor entrance was very narrow and flanked by reefs, the starboard of which was hidden under the high tide; it was only visible when the swells reared up and rushed across, not quite breaking but impressive nonetheless.  My first impression was that the swells looked like a tidal bore sweeping through the harbor.  Inside the harbor, we were just circling to anchor when two separate people--one in a boat, one from shore--made a point of hailing us to offer moorings for the night. How nice!  We accepted and soon were settled.  Fortunately, the mosquitoes turned out not to be as bad as feared outside the harbor!

sunsetday1.jpg (31869 bytes)Later that night, the house on the point belonging to the person who offered the moorings had a fireworks display that was quite good, actually.  It seemed to be celebratory of the start of a great cruise.  The night was clear and cool, with a half moon.

Sunday, July 25, 2004
Harmon Harbor -  Dix Island/High Island (34.5 NM Plotted)

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Route Chart

harmonledges.jpg (40111 bytes)Dasein and I departed in tandem at about 0820, with a loose commitment to end up in the same place that evening, but no guarantees.  I was looking forward to knocking off some miles and reaching Penobscot Bay today, so I set my sights on the harbor at Dix and High Islands, off Muscle Ridge Channel at the gateway to the bay.  Again, a pleasant northerly wind greeted us after departure, allowing for a brief sail before the wind became lighter and more forward at Cape Newagan.  And so it went for the next several miles--attempts to sail, only to be foiled by deceptively strong wind speeds that simply weren't strong enough to allow my self-imposed minimum speed of 4 knots.  

hypocrites.jpg (28881 bytes) After passing the Hypoctites and White Islands near Pemaquid neck, however, the wind became more northeasterly, which was right on the nose-and also fairly light.  Thus began the marathon of powering into the teeth of the wind, though fortunately said wind was under 10 knots for most of the day, though it piped up (while staying right on the nose) during the inside passage past Port Clyde--irritating, since there was no way to utilize the breeze, and I was tired by this point and just wanted to get to my destination.

sailtrim.jpg (23883 bytes)The day remained anywhere from cloudy to mostly sunny, with mild temperatures that dropped significantly when the northeast wind picked up off the ocean.  I passed Pemaquid Ledge at 1025, and was abeam of Eastern Egg Rock (home of the Puffins--I didn't see any) at 1145.  

I passed by this sailboat, which exhibited the oddest sail trim:  she was sailing at about 70-80 to the wind, and her genoa was undertrimmed and flapping badly, while her mainsail was strapped in tight--and not only that, but the traveler was pulled all the way to windward.  This image is a lesson in "what not to do when sailing".  No embarrassment intended.


dolphins.jpg (63937 bytes) I passed busy Port Clyde after traversing Davis Straight--where Dolphins frolicked in my wake-- and continued past Mosquito Island, where I faced the choice of heading in a somewhat shorter distance (about 4 additional miles) to Tenants Harbor, or whether to grit my teeth and continue on an additional 9.8 miles to Muscle Ridge Channel and my intended destination:  Dix and High Islands.  It was about 1400, so I decided to just continue on.


whiteheadlight.jpg (26193 bytes)Because Glissando powers about a half knot or more faster than Dasein at cruising RPM, I had left them behind once the full motor began, off White Islands.  However, they had been in sight most of the day, though dropping further behind.  I hadn't intended to steam off to quite such an extent, and hoped that I hadn't seemed rude.  I tried hailing them on the VHF after I passed Mosquito Island, but to no avail.  I was therefore unsurprised to receive a call from them just as I was approaching my final anchoring spot in the Dix/High Island harbor, with the news that they had stopped in Tenants Harbor and had just arrived.  

We decided to see about hooking up sometime later in the week; our immediate plans differed in that I had a week to bob around a relatively small portion of Penobscot Bay by myself, before picking up Heidi in Bucks harbor the following Monday, while the Sanborns intended to continue east to Mt. Desert and the like, before heading back south and west a bit later in the week for their unfortunate return home 10 days hence.

camdenhillsview.jpg (23686 bytes)The harbor was full of day boats, there on a Sunday afternoon to enjoy nearby Birch Island and High Island, with its abandoned quarry.  As a result, several spots where I might have considered anchoring were taken, so I motored slowly around, watching the chart and my chart plotter, till I found a good spot in and amongst the many lobster pots, and well ahead of an anchored Pearson 30.  I dropped the hook in 23 feet of water a little before low tide, and set it with 90' of scope.  It was 1540.

highisland.jpg (31364 bytes)Ravenous, I quickly made a sandwich and settled down to watch the goings on.  I was tired, but it felt great:  I was at the threshold of Penobscot Bay, my favorite!  From my spot, I had excellent views of the bay, the surrounding islands, and, in the distance, the Camden Hills.  I felt terrific about my progress; with the "delivery" portion of the trip over with, I looked forward to a week of relaxation and gunkholing as I slowly made my way up the bay to Bucks Harbor, where I planned to meet Heidi the following Monday, August 2.

sunsetday2.jpg (30485 bytes)Later, as I relaxed in the cockpit, the owner of the nearby P-30 rowed over for a chat, spurred by, as usual, his interest in the Triton.  There have been few places indeed where someone has not made the effort to say hello and offer up their own Triton-based stories or experiences--one of the many pleasures of owning a Triton.

The night was still, with chilly temperatures and overcast skies with light winds.

Monday, July 26, 2004
Dix Island/High Island - Vinalhaven Long Cove (10.8NM Plotted)

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Route Chart

The early morning became quite rolly in the anchorage, mostly, I determined, from the many lobster boat wakes both far and near:  when the wind and seas were as calm as they were this morning, wakes tend to carry an extremely long way.

After lying in the rack for a while bracing myself against the increasing rolls--it seemed that the boat tended to get in these vicious cycles and self-perpetuated the rolling motion:  the more she rocked, the more she rocked--I got up late (for me) at about 0645, and had a relaxing morning aboard, reading and reveling in the thought that I had only a short trip planned for today.

A little before 1000, I prepared to get underway.  There was no wind, and the forecast was calling for light and variable the entire day, so I figured I might as well get going.  Weighing anchor went smoothly, and the CQR was clean save for some kelp and weed on the tip.  I officially departed at 1010.

upthebay.jpg (34321 bytes)Once the anchor was stowed, I raised the main--despite no wind--and motored out through a passage between High and Little Green Islands, before eventually turning nearly due east for the 5.5 mile trip across the bay to Vinalhaven.  The wind remained calm, and the sun broke through the high clouds, making for a pleasant passage.

Hurricane Sound Gallery
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My planned route for the day took me, by choice, through Hurricane Sound, passing south of the White Islands and then up the sound to Long Cove.  Hurricane Sound happens to be, in my estimation, one of the most devastatingly beautiful passages on the coast--the type that almost brings tears to one's eye from the pleasure of it all.  Two years ago, we had discovered this area, and I was anxious to return.  These pictures (above and to the right) don't do it justice, but there you have it.  As it happened, the weather became mostly sunny as I arrived, making the passage even more beautiful.  I loved it, but all too soon I had arrived just south of Long Cove, where I lowered the main and prepared to enter the harbor.

dreamhouselow.jpg (60076 bytes)Long Cove was just as I remembered it, and this time I decided to pick up one of the half dozen or so moorings that populate the cove.  It seems that if these "squatter", or destination, moorings are to be here, and in other coves along the coast, then so be it:  I, and seemingly everyone else, will feel free to pick them up for the night (in fair weather, at least).  While I may be against the concept of these types of moorings, I decided two years ago, after much angst over the subject, that I should just feel free to pick them up when convenient--perhaps only on weeknights, though, as these moorings are more likely to be populated by their owners on the weekends.  Though who really knows?

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I picked up a mooring far off to the eastern side of the cove, right in front of the property I might most like to own anywhere on the coast. (Low and high tide views, left)  Perched on the edge of the cove, surrounded by granite, the property contains the entire point, with frontage on Long Cove, as well as a sort of "secret" back cove (tidal).  The house is a smallish cape on a bluff, surrounded by trees and appearing as if it belonged, with several outbuildings scattered about, and a dock and boathouse right on the cove.  And in the several times I have had the pleasure of being in Long Cove, I have yet to see the house occupied:  perhaps the need a caretaker.  Arrival:  1240.

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After some lunch, I spent the afternoon relaxing on board, punctuated with a pleasant row about the cove.  Several other boats trickled in, some of which also picked up the moorings.  Who knows what the right plan of attack is?  I noticed a change in the cruising guide for Long Cove as well:  the previous edition indicated that the moorings were private, and were not to be picked up without permission.  Our newest edition of the cruising guide, purchased last year, now states that (and I paraphrase) cruisers often enjoy the moorings in the cove, but are stunned into shock when the mooring's owner appears to collect his exorbitant rental fee.  Fortunately, no one appeared to attempt to eke a charge out of me.  I don't like dealing with jerks, and little things like this even possibility tend to really start to diminish the cruising experience somehow.  Once again, I longed for a simpler, friendlier time, when everyone wasn't out to screw everybody else.  What do these people expect when the fill up the cove with moorings, anyhow?

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I bet if mooring owners left an "honor system" payment cup with a reasonable charge indicated, they'd be surprised how many honest boaters actually paid the fee with no question.  Maybe someday I'll own waterfront property somewhere (yeah, right) and will be pleased to provide a couple free moorings for transient boaters, the way it should be.  A bit of hospitality goes a long way.


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Anyway, I apologize for my rant, but this mooring issue is one that is becoming more and more of a problem on the coast, and something must be done about it before it goes too far, if it hasn't already.  Waterfront municipalities take note:  this is an issue to deal with!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Vinalhaven Long Cove - Pulpit Harbor/Cabot Cove (8.93NM Plotted)

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Route Chart

The evening and night were incredibly quiet and still; the boats seemed as if glued to a mirror.  The slightest sound carried forever, and I felt self-conscious about making too much noise while going about my normal activities.  It was the sort of quiet and stillness that I crave on a daily basis at home, and which is sadly lacking on the road on which I live.  Boo hoo.

I had earlier considered laying over for a day in Long Cove, but I had arrived early enough yesterday that I already felt like I had been there for a long time, and besides:  the weather forecast for Wednesday was sounding iffy, maybe, and I didn't want to end up stuck in the same place for even more days should the fog some in or some such.  So I decided to strike out for the epic journey to Cabot Cove at Pulpit Harbor, fewer than nine miles away by rhumb line.  I could have easily traveled further, but with six days until I had to pick up Heidi in Bucks Harbor (a very easy day's journey from anywhere in Penobscot Bay), I decided to bop into a few harbors along the way.

Again, the morning was completely still and quiet, with no wind whatsoever and none forecast.  This is just so often the case when cruising, it seems.  Well, better no wind than an uncomfortable amount, I always say, and at 0950 I raised the main and dropped the mooring.  (I always motor with the main up: it steadies the boat, makes the boat much more visible to other boats, and, should the wind come up during the day, I'm ready to sail by just unrolling the genoa.)

narrowshills.jpg (32606 bytes)I departed the cove and headed through Leadbetter Narrows, a beautiful, narrow (duh) passage leading to the entrance of Fox Islands Thorofare.  I had some minorly anxious moments when, heading towards the buoy in the narrows through a passage I had made several times a couple years ago, the depthsounder indicated shockingly low depths, which were not indicated on the chart.  I figured it had to be an error in the sounder, so I turned it off and back on again to reset, after which it worked just fine.

thorofarehills.jpg (16977 bytes)My trip to Pulpit Harbor was completely uneventful, with absolutely no wind, no seas, and only some minor undulations from long-standing boat wakes.  Everything was platinum:  sky,  and sea.  The Camden Hills, across the bay to the west, were beautiful, if lacking in definition under the gray skies.  What a beautiful place, though!  I love Penobscot Bay.  

pulpitrockhills.jpg (16191 bytes)I arrived at Cabot Cove to find a powerboat anchored in just about the spot I would have picked, so I spent some time motoring about inside of the powerboat to see if I dared anchor there.  It was nearly low tide, and I had hoped to get as far up the cove as possible, which usually works well to prevent others from anchoring too closely.  Further up from the powerboat, there was enough water--barely--but I felt that to anchor there would have placed me too close to the existing boat, and there might not have been room enough to swing if the wind came up from the north, pushing be further up the cove into the mud banks.  Instead, I chose what ended up being a good location east of the powerboat, and a little further out:  and just in time, too, as a trio of sailboats traveling together were just turning the corner into the cove, so I hurried to stake out my spot and drop the anchor, which I did without incident in about 10 feet of water just before low tide.  Arrival:  1210.

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The powerboat left later in the afternoon, but I was happy with where I ended up nonetheless.

Again, the afternoon and evening were incredibly quiet and still, and I can recall few days where there has been so little (read:  absolutely none) evidence of any wind.

Silly things:  it's important, when cooking pasta in salt (ocean) water, to NOT salt the water the way I do at home!

Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Cabot Cove

amday5.jpg (16313 bytes)It began to rain lightly at about 0400, and by 0500 it was raining quite hard and steadily, which lasted for an hour or so.  The boat needed a washdown, so I was grateful.  Amazingly, NOAA had even begun calling for this rain, showers, and fog during the forecasts I listened to yesterday, so to that extent I was unsurprised.  After all, I had headed here specifically yesterday so that I wouldn't end up stuck in Long Cove (as nice as it is and all) with a rain or fog delay for a day or more.  The way this month has been, I would be unsurprised to have a couple days of undesirable weather.  Long Cove is beautiful, and I enjoy it there, but there is nothing to do, and nowhere to even think about going ashore; at least here at Cabot Cove, I could, if I wanted, dinghy over to the Pulpit Harbor landing in the main harbor, and walk around on shore, or even visit a nearby store listed in the cruising guide.  Mainly, I was thankful for the option of having something to do if I became stir crazy on board--unlikely after only one day,  but quite possible if one day's bad weather stretched to two, or even more.  Nothing is guaranteed this summer, that's for sure.  

boatcabotcove.jpg (34782 bytes)In any event, I quickly decided to stay the day, and lounged nearly fully awake in the vee berth listening to the rain until finally getting up at about 0620 (having been basically awake since 0400).  I don't mind rain/fog days (within reason, of course), as long as I feel comfortable with where the boat is, and with the overall "schedule":  this is why I build in so much unscheduled potential in any cruise, so that I am rarely, if ever, forced out into conditions I would prefer not to be stuck in.

In the mid morning, I decided to cook up some corn muffins.  Imagine my dismay at discovering that we had no muffin tin aboard!  I had dim memories of throwing out the rusty old one after our 2002 cruise, but was surprised to find that apparently I had not replaced it.  I made Johnny Cake (cornbread) instead, which was just fine.

dinkob.jpg (36721 bytes)The day passed uneventfully.  It remained foggy, though it brightened overhead.  I even put the outboard motor on the dinghy for the first time in a cruising situation--we bought the outboard last year, but never cruised substantially--and buzzed around the harbor a bit to check out the boats in the main part of Pulpit Harbor (including my dream B-40 MK III yawl...my heart was a flutter).  The fog outside didn't look horrible--perhaps 1/2 mile to one mile visibility.  Tame, by Maine standards.  In the afternoon, the sky became bright enough as to threaten sunshine, though it never broke through.  I read a lot, and caught up on my logs and photos.   I also adjusted the stuffing box, checked the oil, and cleaned the cabin (spurred on after some careless person stacked the dishes on the settee while working on the engine, after which they crashed to the sole, breaking a bowl into tiny bits).

sunsout.jpg (19318 bytes)Ha!  I had a feeling this might happen.  Earlier, I wrote the paragraph above, in which I stated that the sun never broke through (as if the whole day were written sometime afterwards).  Well, late in the afternoon, the sun did indeed break through...just a little, and only for a brief time.  As I wrote the above, I actually considered that maybe I would "jinx" the sun into making an appearance with my taunt.  It worked!

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Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

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