Our Mission: To boldly go until we are no more!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Folk Festival Frenzy

Thursday we motored another hour back to Rockland to make preparations to visit Bangor by car for the 2012 American Folk Festival. Here we also picked up a computer dropped off a couple weeks ago for conversion to XP (Computer Solutions 207-594-5556) so it can interface with our navigation system and ordered some more boat parts.

Friday we drove 65 miles to Bangor to join the other 100,000 music fans at the Folk Festival and wandered around the fairgrounds between the four stages simultaneously featuring various acts playing Blues to Bluegrass and Salsa to Swing). We especially liked the salsa band La Excelencia who performed in the Dance Pavillion. Many of our cruising friendswere also there, some taking their boats all the way up the Penobscot river to attend.

On Sunday afternoons the Landings Restaurant in Rockland has a Reggae band and we got everyone dancing (after a few beers).

With tropical weather in full swing down south we plan to remain in this area for a while.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Windjammin' in Camden

Wednesday morning historic Camden beckoned and within an hour we were anchored in the outer harbor next to a mini cruise ship (on the edge of the designated anchorage area outside the mooring field, 44d12.52'N, 69d02.96'W, 35 ft). The town landing dinghy dock in the inner harbor is conveniently located and near the chamber of commerce info desk where they have walking tour maps and event schedules available. A waterfall cascades into the harbor nearby with ducks and cormorants instead of the usual seagulls in residence. Several old schooners now plying these waters in the tourist trade are based here. Called windjammers, we have seen them sailing all around Maine on day sails and overnight cruises. The Lewis R. French (1871), Grace Bailey (1882), Mercantile (1916) and Olad (1928) are the oldest with the Angelique (1981), Appledore (1978) and Mistress (1960) although built more recently still carrying on the sailing tradition.

The historic town center and surrounding homes are easily seen on foot and we enjoyed visiting many shops, galleries and even went to see a movie (Werner Herzog's documentary 'Cave of Forgotten Dreams') at the restored Opera House. Wafarer's Marine across the harbor is a full service boatyard including fuel dock. They are on the site of the old HM Bean shipyard where many schooners were built including the world's largest, a five-master and the first six master in 1900. Captain Hanson Crockett Gregory of Clam Cove is known for inventing the donut hole in 1847 when he poked a hole in a biscuit to allow it to be placed over one of the spokes of his ship's wheel. Although Clam Cove is actually closer to Rockland, Camden now has a Hole in the Donut Festival in June (nice of Rockland to not claim the donut fest as well as the lobster fest).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pristine Pulpit

Mount Desert Island is as far 'Downeast' as we planned to go this season and we have now backtracked with a nice sail to Pulpit Harbor on North Haven Island in Penobscot Bay (44d09.36'N, 68d53.27'W, 50 ft to avoid the inner harbor crowds). A cocktail party awaited our arrival at 1730 with the chance conjunction of a few boats summer cruise plans in the same harbor.

Pulpit Harbor with its hidden entrance guarded by a huge osprey nest on Pulpit Rock, is a beautiful and calm anchorage popular with local tall ships and cruisers alike. Ashore we found nice walking, friendly people and a well stocked general store within a ten walk from the dinghy dock (across the bridge and to the right then just past the cemetary). The walk to the left once across the bridge leads to an honesty stand selling local oysters for $10 a baker's dozen. The caterpillars were spinning huge cocoons in the trees with butterflies and wildflowers in profusion. Old wooden schooners sailed thru the narrow entrance into the small cove and dropped their anchors among the modern yachts to demonstrate for their paying passengers ample seamanship stemming from New England's deep maritime roots. Cruising friends we only knew from the morning SSB radio net arrived as part of a club rally (Ocean Cruising Club) and it was nice to put faces to names and share some sea stories in person.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Deserted Mount Desert

We are now about 15 miles north anchored at Somesville in Somes Sound, Mount Desert Island (44d21.58'N, 68d19.59'W, 40 ft). The bus system and hiking trails allow some great walks and Bar Harbor, Northeast Harbor and Southwest Harbor have enough pubs, people and parts to keep us civilized (Martha Stewart has a summer home in Seal Harbor).

Mount Desert Island / Acadia National Park was a great place to hike with trail heads to numerous peaks (1500 ft hills) and gravel 'carriage roads' for riding bikes everywhere. Somes Harbor at the end of Somes Sound (the only true fjord on the eastern Atlantic seaboard) was a snug peaceful harbor with a convenient dinghy dock and bus stop (walk up the private drive from the dinghy dock and flag down the number 7).

Bar Harbor is only a few minutes away and has connections from the village green to all points. Be sure to pick up a bus schedule and topo map ($5.00) at the info center near the bus stop. We recommend hiking from Sieur de Monts up Emery Path/Schiff Path to Dorr Mountain and back down via Homans Path. Cadillac Mountain although higher, can be reached by bus and so will not be as satisfying a climb. For a more level walk or bike ride go from the bus stop on the north end of Eagle Lake to the Jordan Pond House for popovers and a bus ride to wherever. The buses have bike racks.

For an excursion to Southwest Harbor, bus to the Acadia or St. Sauveur Mountain trails and walk to town after climbing the cliffs overlooking the sound. Take the footbridge over the tidal waterfall at the entrance to Norwood Cove just past the country club and golf course.

Somesville has a library, small museum, art gallery (Gallery at Frenchman's Bay, beautiful hand crafted wood furniture) and the Acadia Repertory Theatre where we saw Agatha Christie's 'And Then There Were None' (with all current PC changes). Bar Harbor is the biggest town and touristy with tall ship cruises, restaurants galore and transportation hub. Southwest Harbor is small but has the West Marine and Hamilton Marine chandleries, Hinckley and Morris Yachts and Sawyer's Specialties, a great wine and cheese shop. Northeast Harbor is suited to the ritzy homes at this end of the island. Katie bought a tatin cast iron enameled pan at a culinary shop worthy of Martha Stewart's patronage (she has a summer home in nearby Seal Harbor) while Kurt listened to a jazz quartet performing at an art exhibition.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Swan's Sweet Songs

After a foggy day at anchor on Sunday with the Dashew's aboard for a cup of tea, we had a sunny day Monday to motor about 30 miles further Downeast thru the thick lobster pots of Merchant Row to Burnt Coat Harbor on Swan's Island (44d08.44'N, 68d26.79'W, 25 ft). Katie sat in the dinghy on the foredeck with the WH autopilot remote all day hitting the dodge buttons while Kurt navigated and made macro course corrections from the pilothouse.

We took the dinghy ashore at the lobster coop wharf and set off to secure tickets for the annual Sweet Chariot Music Festival held in the Oddfellows Hall. The General Store usually sells tickets but they were sold out for Tuesday and Wednesday and all Thursday tickets were collected and held by a local character named 'Shamis' whose last name no one knew. A kind woman named Carol drove us to the Oddfellows Lodge where some members gave us his number and we were able to secure two seats for the Thursday show. Carol gave us a tour all around the island and of her typical 1880's summer home. Of particular interest was the "Quarry Pond', a fresh water swimming hole.
The Sweet Chariot Music Festival on Swans Island was a hit and we were able to go Wednesday night as well. It was mostly a group of local artists and the rest from all over including LA, Bulgaria and New York performing folk music including sea chanties, celtic ballads, and original songs. Some artists even sang chanties in the afternoons from a yacht circling the anchorage.
The Quarry Pond allowed us to swim for the first time since the Bahamas two months ago. We and about a dozen locals had to share the warm clear fresh water with a flock of seagulls but they stayed on their side of a buoyed rope. Kids were jumping off rock ledges and sunning on a dock in the middle.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Gilkey Gam

Having overdosed on all things lobster at the Lobster Festival, we are now anchored ten miles north in Gilkey Harbor, Islesboro (Grindel Point, 44d16.77'N, 68d56.04'W, 35 ft) for a Seven Seas Cruising Association annual Downeast Gam. We had over sixty boats in the anchorage and everyone got together for a dinghy raft-up cocktail party Friday afternoon. On Saturday there were speakers and a huge potluck lunch. Also present were Steve and Linda Dashew the conceptual designers of Interlude and all Deerfoot yachts thru 1987 as well as Sundeer yachts. They now offer the FPB series of fuel efficient world cruising motor yachts the latest of which at 97 ft is about to begin construction in New Zealand.
The coast of Maine is now what we have imagined it to be: granite boulders with pine trees, occasional fog and lobster traps everywhere. We have almost gone about as far 'Downeast' as we planned to go (Bar Harbor) and will now slow down a bit to enjoy the area while making our way back "Upwest (?)" (the term 'down' refers to either decreasing latitude numbers or sailing downwind with the prevailing Southeast wind direction). Storms called Nor'Easters occur in the late fall thru spring which we could use to blast our way out of here and down the coast into the tropics for the winter.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Rockland Lobster Madness

We managed to sail most of the way yesterday to Rockland, ME but proptly took on 350 gallons of diesel ($3.69/gal at The Landings Marina 44d06.10'N, 69d06.27'W) We anchored outside the their mooring field (44d05.94'N, 69d05.75'W 25 ft LW) after being warned not to anchor on the foul ground near the barges.

Today we are going ashore to help consume 20,000 lb of lobster at the 65th annual Maine Lobster Festival. The Festivities over five days include numerous live bands, parade, coronation, eating contests, etc.

Some notes for future Lobsterfesters:

Their new and improved cooker can cook 200 lbs of lobster at a time so even though the chow line looks long it moves fast.

The all you can eat blueberry pankcacke breakfast is a good deal especially if you get there before they start charging the festival grounds entrance fee ($8.00).

A tour of the Navy ship is worthwhile to see what the military industrial complex is spending your money on.

There is plenty of room to anchor in the southwest corner of the harbor (but not too close to the barges which do move).

One or two days is enough.