Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Downeast to Mistake Island

We waited out the early morning fog and finally decided to make the run from Allen Cove to at least Little Cranberry Island at Acadia.  The wispy fog that was more like a haze changed within an hour to the damned "visibility limited to 1/3 mile or less", as NOAA describes it, fog that we hate.  So, we took refuge in Goose Harbor, on Swan Island, anchored, and waited.  About an hour later, all looked ok, so we left again.  As we passed Bass Harbor the wisps of fog were still evident around the lighthouse.



Latitudes was making good time, so we decided to go past Little Cranberry and continue to the Schoodic Peninsula.  As we  neared the entrance channel to Mt. Desert, the fog reset and looked much worse in the distance. So, a detour to Little Cranberry, another anchor, and this time, lunch.  Early afternoon showed clear skies, so we once again set out.  The skyline of Mt. Desert was on our port side.


The bank of clouds that you see grew, and became an announcement on NOAA weather radio of a line of severe thunderstorms, 60 mph winds, quarter sized hail, etc. Of course its location was defined by Main counties. Luckily we had cell coverage, whipped out our weather radar and concluded it would pass just to the north of us -- which it did. No more fog, but as we rounded the tip of the Schoodic Peninsula, the winds picked up. Not bad for our voyage, but making it much harder to locate the lobster floats.There are 3 coves along the peninsula, so we're great for finding a place to anchor the the night, right? No.  The first cove was filled with lobster boats and floats.  The next cove was beautifully clear of any signs of lobstering but too shallow for Latitudes to swing at anchor at low tide.  So, onward we went, to the last cove, Prospect Harbor.  We finally found a suitable anchoring spot there.

The harbor has both lobster boats and sail boats, all moored near the lobster processing plant.


The lobster processing plant was revitalized from a fish processing plant to lobsters in about 2013.  In 2015, they employed over 150 folks, with plans to built housing to enable their workforce to grow to   almost 250.   I love seeing independent American plants succeed!

Early the next morning - no fog! - we left the little channel, leaving behind the Prospect Harbor lighthouse with her pinkish morning glow.


Finally, we are really going to a favorite, Mistake Island!  En route, we passed the Petit Manan lighthouse, commissioned in 1817.


"Manan" means "island out to sea". For a great little history about the lighthouse, please see this webpage

http://www.newenglandlighthouses.net/petit-manan-light-history.html

According to the article, this is considered one of the foggiest places in Maine...we believe it...

And now, Mistake Island!  Mistake has always been a deserted, beautiful island, like so much of the Downeast area.  There is a deserted Coast Guard hut and automated lighthouse on the island.


A channel between two rocky islands takes us into the anchorage area for a visit to Mistake.


Much to our dismay, we found that the lobster men have decided to put their pots in the entry channel and anchorage area.  We didn't have this before. But we carefully made our way through and then even more carefully chose a spot to anchor.  Dinghy down, and off to the island.  That is the Coast Guard hut and dinghy landing spot on the right.


Not the beset dinghy spot, but it works at everything but low tide.


Tick spray and off along the boardwalk to the seaward side of the island.


You know what is along the boardwalk??? Wild blueberries!!!


And a real treat, something we've never seen, a black mink!


(obviously not my picture...but Luke has a video of it's rear end scampering away from us...)  This semi-aquatic mammal eats fish, frogs, crustaceans, rodents, and birds.  Here is a good link to learn more.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_mink

Here is Moose Peak lighthouse on Mistake Island. I can't resist several pictures.




The lighthouse is powered by solar arrays these days.


We are TOTALLY fogged in  today, but hope to go to Jonesport, Mechias for the Blueberry Festival, Cross Wildlife Refuge Island, and Rogue Island before we leave Downeast.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Internet!

Finally a little internet - hopefully enough to finish this and publish it.

We left Rockand and made our way eastward, heading for the far reaches of Maine.  We passed trough Fox Islands Thoroughfare, and passed Merchants Row of beautiful small islands, dodging lobster buoys all the way. On the way, we decided to take a detour to Blue Hill.  We had heard it is a cute little town and wanted to have a look.  One of the nice things about being on a boat is that we are treated to the beautiful sunrises (if we are up at 5:30 ish...) and the moon rises with their glow worms.


As we left the Penobscot, we headed up Blue Hill Bay, passing the Green Island lighthouse, sitting on it's little island.



It's a tricky entrance to the Blue Hill inner harbor, full of tight twists and turns to avoid the evil (but beautiful) Maine rocks that lurk just below the surface at high tide.  But we made it, anchored, and took the dinghy to shore.  Lottsa water at the dock, right?


Nope! At the lowering tide, this becomes a huge mud field.  We can get the dinghy to shore only about 2 hours before until 2 hours after high tide.

The town is cute; small restaurants, gift shops, book store, an art gallery, hardware store, and really nice co-op all within easy walking distance from the dock.  It is definitely full summer here.  The temperatures are warmer (upper 70's) and flowers are in full bloom.  Here is one of the flower pots on the book store porch.


This small bridge takes us over the spillway into the harbor.


Yesterday while we were in town weather was gorgeous  - sunny, warm, perfect.  This morning we awoke to rain, fog, and then haze in the harbor, along with the rocks in the anchorage field.


The weather cleared after lunch so we took advantage of the good weather and left Blue Hill.  We are anchored tonight - all alone -in a large cove about an hour from Blue Hill.  After tomorrow's morning rain we intend to head past Mt. Desert, onward in our trek to get "downeast".

progress

We have made our boat repair, met up with 2 sets of friends in Rockland and left, heading Downeast.  Internet is terrible, just got enough to send a note, but not pictures.  Will keep trying.
We spent yesterday in Blue Hill, just west of the Acadia area.  Hope to get to Acadia later today (after the rain quits....), get diesel and water, and be in position to head Downeast on Monday.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Noooooo wifi

Maine’s beautiful rustic lands are great for sightseeing, but not so much for wifi.  Just now catching up…

While Ange and Ray were still here, we took a car excursion southward.  Our first stop was at the Owl’s Head Lighthouse, featured in a previous post.  All signs lead to the lighthouse and lobsters!



Yulp, the steps to the actual lighthouse really are that steep.




Lunch in Tenants Harbor, a busy working harbor that we have decided to never again try to take Latitudes into.  Tried it once, never again.  The channel and harbor are crowded with lobster floats and lobster boats.  By car is MUCH easier, no panic.  “Luke’s at Tenants Harbor”! So, of course, we had lunch there and I bought one of their cotton bags.


Ange and Ray celebrated an early 50th anniversary while in Camden.  They invited us to join them for dinner at the Hartstone Inn.  Oh, yum!  Quaint, quiet, and beautiful.  If you ever get the chance, have at least a drink and appetizer there, maybe in the garden, although we’d definitely recommend dinner!



A day of errands for Luke and me ended with a trip to the Camden State Park, site of Mount Battie.  Here is the view of the Penobscot Bay from Mt. Battie.  That is Camden in the foreground, Rockland tucked to the upper right corner.



Oh, and we saw a brand new lobster boat being lowered into the water for her first time.  Quite a celebration around the 48 foot beauty, including a representative from the manufacturer taking drone footage of the event.  You can see the drone at the top of the picture.  This large boat will be used year round and is the first of it’s model to be 48 feet.



Back at Latitudes,with just the 2 of us and Sweet Smokey, she decided it was time to sniff out all of the places that the intruders on the boat had touched. She was busy.  Thank God she isn’t a male dog!



We left Rockland and headed “down east” towards Acadia to meet friends from Roanoke.  Our first stop was Burnt Coat Harbor on Swans Island.  When French explorer de Champlain visited the area in 1604, a forest fire had apparently ravaged the island's forests earlier.  He named the area “Brule Cote” meaning “burnt coast”.  The name was later Anglicized to Burnt Coat.  The first white settler was a hermit, but the next one brought 3 wives, had over 2 dozen children, and definitely populated the island! The harbor is now mostly working lobstermen, plus a few guest moorings.  It is a nice island to walk on.



We awoke the first morning there to fog.  F. O. G.  We do hate fog, as mentioned many times before.



The Burnt Coat lighthouse appeared as the fog began to drift away and dissipate.



Next, a short trip to the island of Frenchboro, a favorite place for us.  There is almost nothing there except a deli/lobster pound, church, school for the 3 children (about 20-30 year round residents), and a museum/library.  About 75% of the land is owned by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.

The small cove empties out at low tide.



We met our friends there for a day of boating on Latitudes and a wonderful dinner ashore at the home our friends were staying in. They invited a lobsterman and his girlfriend – they were very nice and didn’t mind answering our foolish questions about lobstering and living on the island.

Smokey tolerated everyone on the boat as long as possible.  Finally, when we anchored for lunch, she decided to “hide” from everyone….



The next day Luke and I went a-hiking on one of the trails in the Frenchboro Preserve.  Here I am, ready to adventure through the woods, socks tucked very elegantly over my jeans to deter ticks (yes, we used spray, too).



The trail meandered first to Big Beach.  Big Boulders on Big Beach.



Boardwalks through the marsh areas



And through the trees.  Very nice.



And now we are back in Rockland (wifi!!!!) for a possible boat repair, a few groceries, and to meet up with friends from New Hampshire.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

On a lobster pound crawl with Ange and Ray

Friends from Fl arrived and we all started exploring.  First, a day driving northward, looking at the coastal Maine towns, and searching for lobster pounds.  Lobster pounds are places where you can buy either fresh lobster or lobster meals.  They usually include picnic tables for outside eating.  Often, customers bring their own adult beverages.  We passed a truck selling lobsters on the side of the road -  nope.  Then a couple of promising pounds in the seaside town of Lincolnville.  THEN we found the perfect place, in Belfast.  We've been to Belfast many times, but never to the opposite side of the river. That is where Youngs Lobster Pound is located.


Ange and I couldn't resist having our picture taken with the "lobster bear"


Tanks, tanks everywhere, full of lobsters.  This picture is of one side of the pound - the other has just as many tanks.  That large ladder in the center goes up to a big dinning hall, just in case you aren't a true Mainer and don't want to eat outdoors. (note what both men in the picture are doing....)



The "working" tank where you pick your lobster is brimming with lobsters.


The working area behind the tank.


There is also the counter where you order your cooked meal.  Didn't get a picture of that.  Maybe next time - we definitely want to go back and eat, hopefully while Ange and Ray are still here.  We had just had a really good haddock and chips lunch at a little diner in Belfast. Ray said their goal for this trip is to eat lobster and blueberries!!

In the back is an outdoor dining area, plus a dinghy dock. Luke and I will be able to zip right over the next time we're in Belfast.


On the side of the shop, each A/C unit has workers gloves drying in the warm air.


Just past Belfast is Ft Knox and the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory.  Built in 2006, one of the towers has an observatory at the top.  The towers are high, 437 ft, over 140 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty.  An elevator whisks you to the top in less than 1 minute.


Borrowing from Wikipedia, the bridge was "constructed recently using a cradle system that carries the strands within the stays from bridge deck to bridge deck, as a continuous element, eliminating anchorages in the pylonsEach epoxy-coated steel strand is carried inside the cradle in a one-inch steel tube. Each strand acts independently, allowing for removal, inspection and replacement of individual strands. The cable-stay system was designed with a system that uses pressurized nitrogen gas to defend against corrosion.
In June 2007, six reference strands within three stays were replaced with carbon fiber strands – a first in the US. Monitoring on the strands will evaluate this material for future use in bridge designs"
If you want to read more about it,visit 

Ft Knox is also located at the Penobscot Narrows.


During both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 British ships entered the Penobscot and claimed the area.  The USA decided some defense was a good idea and by 1844 had started the massive fort.  The fort saw only 2 periods of military activity, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War, but no enemy ships ever entered the Penobscot during these periods.
Last stop of the day was Castine, home of the Maine Maritime Academy. No lobster pound on the dock, but we did find ice cream and the Dyce Point lighthouse.


The next day we took a sailboat excursion along the coast to see the towns from the water.  Latitudes is a lot slower than the car, so we only got as far as Camden.  As Luke and I took Latitudes to the dock to pick up Ange and Ray, we spotted (couldn't miss....) Evivva on the dock.  This is the yacht with the helicopter.  Got a good picture this time.


It was a sunny, calm day and we took full advantage of it.  Our guests took much of the ride on the bow of the boat, great for taking in sun and postcard perfect pictures.  First, Ray.


Ange and I had to get in on the act, too.


The background here is the Rockport harbor.  It has a cute little park with a lobster pound and the town climbing up the hill behind it.



Her lighthouse, the Curtis Island lighthouse, is quaint, too.


Camden was next, her harbor full of beautiful old sailing vessels.


We anchored for lunch and then slowly made our way back to Rockland.  Very slowly, as the sun was in front of us and the wind had picked up. Both of these made it much more difficult to see the lobster
floats.  But we didn't snag any of them!  Ange caught this picture of us leaving the dock after dropping them off.  Luke is at the helm and I am  cleaning up the dock lines and such. It was actually a very tricky maneuver to get away from this "U" shaped dock with the wind (gentle, fortunately) blowing us into it. We used a forward spring line, and volunteered Ray to hold the bow off the dock as we pivoted the stern away from the dock. 

 
Today is very windy with scattered showers. We are anchored out, relatively sheltered, riding out the day.  More exploring tomorrow.