Solstice Cruise: June 21 - 24, 2007
With work and Heidi's commute time, we couldn't leave for
the boat till about 1900. After a stop at the
supermarket in Rockland for some ice and supplies, we got to
the boatyard at around 2030, trekked the seemingly huge
amount of gear down the dock, and then ferried it--and
us--out to the boat in two very full dinghy runs. By
the time we stowed the gear and food, and cooked a simple
dinner, it was well after 2200, and time for bed. It
was a pleasant, quiet evening.
Friday, June 22, 2007:
Rockland - Seal Bay (Vinalhaven)
Distance Traveled: 17.3nm |
Rhumb Line Distance: 16.6nm
I was up by 0700, and while drinking coffee watched some
dark clouds and showers pass by just inland of Rockland
somewhere. They weren't overly threatening, but it was
nice to see them head away from our general area. In
their wake was a reasonably sunny sky, with a brisk NW wind
of 10-15 steady, and some occasional higher gusts. The
temperature was chilly, in the low 60s at best, but the sun,
when it came out, was warm.
We raised the main, dropped
the mooring just after 0900, and scooted quickly out of the
harbor on the gusty winds. Just outside the
breakwater, I unrolled the jib, and we enjoyed an excellent
sail across the bay towards the entrance to Fox Islands
Thorofare, about 5-6 miles away. We enjoyed speed of
up to 6.5 knots on a fine broad reach, though the angle
became tighter as we approached the islands (North Haven and
Vinalhaven). The wind was up and down, but remained at
a pleasant sailing velocity. There were hit-or-miss
showers to be seen all around us, but for now we remained
As we approached the
thorofare, the wind continued to come forward and increase.
Knowing that our course required a substantial turn even
further into the wind once we cleared the markers at the
point, and with a trend towards higher wind speeds, I
elected to take in a reef in the main. I was glad we
did, as it was clearly the correct amount of sail.
With less and less sun during our crossing, it had become
In the thorofare, as we headed towards the Sugar Loaves, I
could see a heavy-looking shower near the North Haven shore,
and soon enough we were in the midst of a strong rain, with
winds approaching 20 knots from on the bow. A bit
earlier, knowing the futility of sailing through the fluky
thorofare, we had rolled the jib and started the engine.
With the cool temperatures, the rain felt very cold, but it
only lasted 10 minutes or so.
We had an uneventful and nearly traffic-free trip through
the thorofare, which highlighted how generally early in the
season it still was; normally, we're used to being in this
area only in late July and Augusts, not June, and the
difference in the number of boats was obvious. As we
neared the eastern end of the thoroware, we passed two
windjammers heading for their home ports: first the
Nathanial Bowditch, and then the distinctive Victory
On the East Penobscot Bay side of the thorofare, the weather
was completely different, with no wind whatsoever. The
skies were brighter, the visibility better, and the seas
calm, so we continued under power the short distance down to
the entrance to Seal Bay.
|With a powerboat anchored
in the spot east of Burnt Island, and a northwesterly wind
predicted all weekend, we decided to continue past the
islands and anchor further towards the western end of the
area, where we'd been on a previous stay some time ago.
We found our spot and anchored in a soft mud bottom about
10' down at low tide ad around 1230.
Very soon, the skies cleared,
and for some time we enjoyed warm sunshine and beautiful,
calm conditions--idyllic, even. We enjoyed grilled sausage,
onions, and peppers for lunch. But the weather
was unstable and changeable, and throughout the afternoon we
saw many different faces of the bay, from calm and sunny to
wind-whipped and rainy. After only an hour or two of
sun, we began to see frequent--but light--showers that were
just pesky enough to get everything wet and force us below.
A couple thunderstorms looming in the western skies skirted
us, but brought some moderate winds in the 20s and some
light-to-moderate rain for a time.
The showers continued well into the evening, complicating
plans to enjoy the outdoors, but we never had any serious
rain or storms, fortunately. Late in the afternoon, I
rowed around for a bit, returning to the boat mere moments
before the next shower began. We enjoyed some good
soft cheese and crackers, and the first cocktails of the
season on board before having some pork tenderloin on the
grill for dinner.