Sunday, September 17, 2017

End of our 2017 Maine adventure

All good things must come to an end - or at least a pause.  Back in Rockland, Latitudes was hauled out of the water at the boatyard.

We began the arduous task of unpacking the boat and backing the car for home.  It's always hard - what do we take, what do we leave, what have we forgotten.  You can see the pillows in a ziploc bag on the sofa.  Taking all precautions against mildew next spring!  Bottles and bottles of antifreeze line the foot of the sofa.  We used over 30 gallons to winterize Latitudes.  That's the tail end of one of the sails peeking out from under the table.

Smokey was her usual helpful cat self.

To help you appreciate the unpacking joy, take a look at the picture of Latitudes on the hard.  We use the 6 part pulley hoist (that we use to lower the dinghy motor) to lower the heaviest bags down initially. Then we haul out the rest of the bags from the interior of the boat and put them in the cockpit, where the yellow cover is over the instruments.  From there, we move them to the outside back of the boat.  Then down the boat steps.  Then down the ladder,  Then into the car.  Endlessly, it seems.

With last spring's mildew problem being still fresh, we did everything possible to cut that down this winter.  Linens, etc, in sealing bags, 4 huge tubs of "damp rid" inside the boat, 3 bottles of lestoil concentrate in bins in the sinks, and 3 jars of VERY expensive gel that is "guaranteed' to keep down mold and mildew" (and highly recommended by friends).  We have asked that larger ventilation vents be cut in the shrink wrap when it is done.  Fingers crossed!

Car packed with bags and an unhappy cat, we left for home, 1000 miles south.  Luke had a great suggestion - to stop in Wiscasset for one last Maine lobster roll.  Red's Eats had a line of at least 30 people, so we stopped across the street for an equally good and not quite as expensive roll, at Spragues.

We stopped at a pet friendly hotel for the night, had a nice dinner at Friendly's, and settled in.  Smokey is never really happy in strange hotels, but this was worse for some reason,  By 4:40 a.m. she began crying, caterwauling, and pacing.  We got a very early start to our final push home....

And we are home!  Smokey is happy, Luke is happy, and I am certainly happy.  Vacation is fun but there is truly no place like home.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Castine and Holbrook Island

Our last port of this season was to the town of Castine, anchoring in the neighboring Holbrook Harbor.

Castine is the home of the Maine Maritime Academy and a beautiful little town.  The Academy has acquired the schooner Bowdoin, the first sailing ship to successfully navigate the dangerous Arctic waters.  She was built in 1921 specifically for that purpose to do exploration and scientific studies of the Arctic.  A wonderful, short article about her is here
Here is a picture of her in the Arctic

And now.

She is the official ship of Maine and also the training sailboat for the Academy.  It is awesome to stand beside this schooner and know her past!

Castine also has ancient elms.  These magnificent trees were saved from blight in the 1930's and now each is tagged with it's own number.  Many are as old a 150 years! Think of what they've seen...

Back to Holbrook Harbor, we decided to take a walk along the paths on Holbrook Island.  The island was left as a public trust by the last living resident of it.  An old barn starts the walk.

Some paths meander along the shore side.

Others are long and straight - straight through the pine forest!  I don't believe they needed the red blazes on the trees to mark the path; there is no way to wonder about where the trail is!  I have never seen a forest so dense and so lacking in under growth.

We left early the next morning and sailed to Rockland in preparation for having Latitudes pulled for the winter here.  Almost in Rockland, we passed the beautiful schooner Heritage, full sails billowing in the light breeze. We were impressed that for several miles we we were able to sail apace with this much larger and more heavily canvassed ship.

We had some sail work to do, too.  Both the jib and the main had to come down before we are pulled out of the water. Getting 'm down is easy - gravity helps a lot. However, folding them in an organized pleat so they can be rolled up is a lot of work, especially on the relatively limited open deck space that we have. We also needed very light winds to keep the sails under control. Our forecasts had a lull in the wind at noon, and we jumped at the opportunity.

Don't be fooled by that beautiful blue sky.  This morning broke gray, 55 degrees, with the promise of rain and wind in the early afternoon.  Boy, did it come.  The wind is howling, rain is coming in waves, and Latitudes is bouncing and swaying at her anchor.  But she is well anchored.  We check on a regular basis and we are secure.  The forecast is for a change in wind direction and velocity at midnight.  It should be much calmer and tomorrow should be a nice sunny day.  Luke and I are ready for the calm - Smokey couldn't care in the least!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Acadia and places as we head back to Rockland

We’ve again been without reliable (or any) cellular or wifi for about a week.  The antennas aren’t allowed in national parks, so getting wifi around Acadia is hit or miss.  So far, we’ve mostly missed!  But today we are in Vinal Haven, back in the Penobscot Bay! Wifi is still available only through the ferry terminal when open or the library.  We can get the ferry terminal wifi while we're on the boat, but it's slow.  I'm giving that a try.

It was nice to be in Acadia again.  We rented bikes and rode on some of the 57miles of carriage roads built for guests of the Rockefellers and islanders between 1913 and 1957. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. financed the project.  Horse drawn buggies mostly used them then – now it’s a mixture of walkers and bikers.  So, these 2 bikers set off.

One of these two bikers thought she was going to die after walking her bike up long, long hills.  I could ride DOWN the hills :-)  but the long inclines were too hard for me. I told the bike rental place that I should get half my money back as I only rode the bike half the time!

Luke was a good hubby and rode slowly beside me or followed to make sure I would make it.

The views were beautiful.  The Bubbles and Jordan Pond.

A view of Bubble Pond.

The view from the rock where we stopped for our lunch.

The pond at the starting point of our bike ride.  Acadia National Park offers not only buses around the entire park, but also special buses to take riders and their bikes back and forth to the pond.  All for free, subsidized by the LL Bean Foundation.

To reward ourselves, we had the famous popovers at the Jordan Pond restaurant.  YUM!

A different day, I went to West Marine at SW Harbor to pick up some boat parts while Luke hiked a trail that I didn’t want to do (this would be the day after the bike ride/walk...).  The Echo trail starts at the quiet Echo Lake beach.

It climbs to a nice overview of the lake. 

Glad I didn’t go – here is part of the trail…. Note the ladders!  Too steep for steps! The first picture actually shows 2 sets of ladders to get up that section. Luke was clever enough to do the steep part on the way down!

There is a nice shore walk along the western side of Mt. Desert Island.  We took a short hike along it, maybe 2-3 miles, to see the rugged shoreline.

We also met up with friends we met last year, Mary and Dick.

They live nearby and have a CAR.  That meant a nice ride up to the top of Cadaliac Mountain instead of either hiking it (did it once…) or paying $52 for the privilege of taking a private bus to the top for a 15 minute stay.  You can see some of the many islands.

After a week at Somes Sound, we spent a night at the deserted Pond Island.  A narrow creek runs into the island.

And just as named, a pond!

Next, one of our favorite islands to hike, Buckle.  Dinghy on shore, waiting to float out at high tide and wait for us (she’s anchored)

This smaller island is where we picked muscles last year.

Fall is fast approaching in Maine.  Red leaves are already starting to drift down.

One the best parts of the walk around the island is the green door!  Right in the middle of the trail, it sits with the current message “will the last one out please turn off the light”.

Luke was the last one out!

Yesterday, at Carvers Harbor, we picked up a few groceries, had  haddock and fries baskets for lunch, and did a bit of walking around.  Planning to leave soon to go to Holbrook Harbor, near Castine, for a few days before our last run to Rockland to leave Latitudes for the winter.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Bar Harbor

Ahhh, we love anchoring in Somes Sound and using the buses to visit Bar Harbor and Acadia.  The buses are free, compliments of LL Bean, and use natural gas instead of stinky gas or diesel.

Although there are designated stops, the buses will stop almost anywhere that they can if you wave them down.  Our bus stop is at the Somesville library, across the street from the pretty little Historical Museum.

All bus routes start and end at the Village Green park in Bar Harbor.  It's a nice little square, and it is green.  At least this time of the year, it is!

Lots of blocks of stores, all vying for the tourist money,

It was a good day.  Pizza!

Ice cream! (are you seeing a trend here?)

We were successful shoppers, too.  Luke snagged 6 books and 3 or 4 music CD's for $3 from the town library's 1/2 price book sale.  Oh, and a haircut.

I found a brand new, tags still attached, $75 purse at the local thrift shop for $5!  Oh, and a haircut. and groceries.

Here is view of Somes Sound as we head back for Latitudes and Smokey.

She was ecstatic to be let out and into the warm sunshine.  She IS a cat...such a cat...

Last night we had high winds, almost 30 knots at times, and slept little.  Latitudes and our anchor did great and we never budged from our anchored spot.  Today, Luke took the bus to go off for a hike and I took the bus to go into SW Harbor to do a little shopping.  Back at our little library to do the blog.

We have reserved bikes for tomorrow to ride the carriage trails in Acadia.  Should be beautiful!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


We didn't have the glory of a full eclipse, but here in Bar Harbor, we had about 64%.  It was still wonderful.

Luke rigged up the camera to take pictures through the little eclipse viewing glasses.  Here is pre eclipse.

And the 64% eclipse!

Latitudes is sitting in Somes Sound, just a short free bus ride away from Bar Harbor.  A lot of other folks think this is a great place to anchor and explore Bar Harbor and Acadia.  It is.

We plan to take a few days of our last couple of weeks in Maine to visit here, getting haircuts, biking in Acadia, visiting friends, meandering around in Bar Harbor, and eating PIZZA!