Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 46- Seal Bay, Vinalhaven, ME

We had a fun day exploring the island and town of Vinalhaven. We waited for high tide and then took the dingy through the intertidal creeks toward the town of Vinalhaven on the opposite side of the island. The tide was still flowing in and caused some minor rapids and eddies. The girls and I let Pablo scout out the area before proceeding. After emphatically ensuring me that I was being paranoid, the outboard died as he was in the thick of it. He was washed down a small set of rapids and made it to a little island where he spent some time trouble shooting the outboard. Since he survived his ordeal I decided it was safe enough for the rest of us. We beached the dingy at a chapel about 2 miles outside of the town and planned to walk the rest of the way. Other cruisers told us they hitched into town, we haven't been able to get over the image of a family of four hitching to actually be able to do it. We're not far from it though... We hadn't gotten far when we were offered a ride. No less by someone who used to live in Stow, MA. People are amazingly generous as we had several offers of a lift while walking around. Given we're family of 4 and Pablo's continuing transformation to "wild man", I am surprised anyone even considered slowing down! We enjoyed a walk around Vinalhaven, had some ice cream and a swim in a quarry then heading back to the boat before the tide went out too far and left us high and dry in the creeks. The day was capped by delicious crab hors'derves (sp?) and gin and tonics.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 45- Seal Bay, Vinalhaven, ME

We spent yesterday recovering from the previous sleepless night and putting the boat back together. Between the storm gear, sails and other stuff from above decks our v-berth was too full to even sleep in. This morning after picking up some bread at the Bucks Harbor farmers market and filling up the water tanks, we started our explorations again. As wonderful as Bucks Harbor is it felt really good to be on the move again. We're now tucked deep in a cove in Seal Bay on Vinalhaven Island, another popular hurricane hole. Look forward exploring this scenic bay.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 44-Bucks Harbor, ME

All is good.  Pablo stayed on the boat while the girls and I spent yesterday and the night on land.  Pablo is tired from staying up all night on watch but says overall it wasn't too bad.  Biggest concern was other boats drifting around us.  The winds were mostly in the mid 20s (kts) with peaks in the lower 40s but very gusty.  Here are a few photos.  Will fill in the details once I get the boat put back together.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 42-Bucks Harbor, ME

We are hunkered down behind Harbor Island in Bucks Harbor waiting for Hurricane Irene to pass.  One of our guide books describes Bucks Harbor as "one of the best protected and most attractive harbors in Penobscot Bay", which helps since we're here for a bit.   At this point Irene is predicted to be a tropical storm as it passes to the west of here late Sunday and early Monday.  The predictions vary from 45-60 knot winds.  Pablo spent the morning inspecting the moorings available to us and I think we've finally settled on the one we'll use for the storm.  We took the furling jib down, prepared lines and anchors just in case things are worse than predicted.  Yesterday was a beautiful day, the kids hung out with friends and swam.  Today is a little foggy and murky but brightened by the ice cream sale at Bucks Harbor Market.  I think they are concerned about a power outage.  Looking forward to continuing the trip after the storm.

Morning in Bucks Harbor

Beach day in Buck Harbor with friends

Prepping the storm anchor

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 40- Bucks Harbor, ME

We spent the morning making sure we have a good plan in place in case we are affected by Hurricane Irene.  We have a couple of options of where to place the boat depending on where the storm tracks and which direction the winds blow from.  In addition, Pablo is pulling out all of our storm gear and getting ready to stow anything loose on deck if necessary.  We'll stay in this area and keep monitoring the storm through the weekend.

And yes, Pablo did take a swim in the 50 degree water at Roque Island.  The first was quick and the second (double check) was even quicker.  The prop was not fouled with a lobster buoy, seems we were lucky enough to loose all the parts.

It seems unbelievable that we’ve been out cruising for more than a month.  The time has flown by.  We’ve had a couple of rainy days that have been a little slower but otherwise our days have been very busy.  Our days are filled with routine tasks, cleaning, cooking, repairing, all which take at least twice as long as at home.  For example a trip to the grocery store generally is a ½ day affair. Laundry usually more.   I have to admit that things are becoming easier as they become more routine.  For example, I am able to get most fruits home now without them turning to pulp on the way (usually on the dingy ride).  I remember to bring more necessary items with me when leaving the boat.   Now my "purse" is filled with charging cords in case an unused outlet presents itself.  Before dinner, I am getting used to having to unload a whole locker to get at the one item in the back.  The rest of our time is spent trip planning and exploring new places.  Before leaving for this trip, I was worried about not having enough books.  This hasn’t been an issue.  We just haven’t had a ton of down time to spend sitting around reading.  We’ve been very lucky to get to spend time with lots of friends (new and old) along the way.  The girls have found a lot to keep them busy, fort building, drawing and writing about places and animals we see, swimming, playing on beaches, playing games, crabbing, knitting/crocheting, knot tying to name just a few.  They have adapted amazingly well.  Both have been very creative about projects and games.  We’ll get them started on a task and they usually take to a level above and beyond what we imagined.
I find that the pace is often too fast and I keep wanting to slow things down.  This has been a little bit of a surprise.  I thought this life would automatically be much slower than how we were living before. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 39- Bucks Harbor, ME

We sailed up the Eggemoggin Reach yesterday and into Bucks Harbor to attend a friend's barn party, pick up packages, and get another fix of one of our favorite spots.  We met a bunch of interesting people, ate great mussels and enjoyed live music. The kids had a blast running around in the blueberry fields with a lots of other kids.   We also visited the Garden House, which we've rented in the past.  The gardens are even more incredible now.  Pablo and Mia tried out the rope swing with a new improved platform.  Report is, the platform is great but the water in the pond is still as cold as ever.  We're keeping an eye on hurricane Irene and making plans just in case.

Very yummy scarlet beans

Julie, Mike and Sue sailed over to visit

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 37-Frenchboro, ME

We spent the morning of Day 36 in Northeast Harbor catching up on laundry and e-mail.  It took a while to recover from the meat laden Pork Tornado pizza from the night before.  There was enough meat left over from the pizza to add to all of our omelets in morning.  And it was saltier that Pablo's chowder from the previous day in which he accidentally used sea water instead of fresh water for the broth.  We left Northeast Harbor mid day in pea soup fog again.  This time there was a lot of traffic around the entrances to the harbors in the area so it was serious work to interpret the radar, look for lobster pots and keep from getting hit by the racing fleet.  It was a treat when the sun came out in Blue Hill Bay.  We hadn't seen it for many days.  We tucked into Buckle Harbor on Swan Island for the night.  The wind blew 20+ knots all night so Pablo was up several times to check on things.  At about 4:30 am we had a little more excitement than we were looking for when realized that the anchor was dragging.  It was blowing 30 knots when we finally got the anchor set again.  It held well, as we watched vigilantly for the next 3-4 hours as the winds gusted to 40 knots.  After the winds finally subsided we were able to explore Buckle Island.  There were nice trails in mossy woods with several fairy houses.  The girls added their own and played on the beach.  After sailing for a couple of hours we decided to spend the afternoon in Frenchboro on Long Island.  Frenchboro is a small and very remote fishing community, with 12 kids in the one room school house.  The ferry from Bass Harbor only runs a few times per week and there is one mile of paved road.  The people we met were very friendly and served us the best lobster roll we have ever had.
Navigating in the fog

More fog

Laundry day
Buckle Island trails

Buckle Island

Buckle Island
Sneaking berries in Frenchboro


Little Beach, Long Island


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Day 35-Northeast Harbor, ME

We spent another very peaceful night in Bunker Cove.  Bunker Cove is an idyllic small Maine cove with rugged pine trees atop rock ledges.  Almost too small for Borealis.  When hung out into the Thorofare a bit as the cove gets shallow quickly and we couldn't tuck in as far as we would have liked.  The Thorofare is mainly used by lobster boats, usually during commute times, 5am and 5pm.  We enjoyed some of the best clams I've ever had.  A fisherman offered some to us after we watched him dig them in the cove.  We accepted them only after insisting that he take payment.  They were great as steamers and fantastic in the chowder that Pablo made with them. Remi enjoyed the whole process, from inspecting, cooking to eating the clams.  We weighed anchor this morning and planned to head to another nearby cove.  As we inched out in pea soup fog and listened to the forecast of another 3 days of solid fog, we decided to start heading back south (to catch some of the areas we missed on the way up). We spent the entire day sailing in thick cold fog to Northeast Harbor. The sun came out just as we entered the harbor at dinner time.  We picked up a mooring and treated ourselves to a pizza at the Full Belly Deli.  True to its name we wobbled out with bursting bellies.  The internet connection here is painfully slow so will catch up on pictures for the last couple of posts as soon we find a solid connection.

Morning traffic in Bunker Cove

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day 33-Bunker Cove, ME

We spent the whole day (8+ hours) on the beautiful white sand beach of Roque Island. The sand is fine grain and wonderful under our feet. There were two other boats with kids, so there was a gang of 6 playing and exploring all day. The fog was supposed to clear into a sunny day but it only lifted slightly for about ½ hour. That didn't keep the kids from swimming in the 53 degree water. Only in Maine do you need hot chocolate to warm up after a great beach day in August. We moved to Bunker Cove on the other side of the island to be in a more protected anchorage. We are debating whether to head further north east into Canada or head back to explore the Penobscot Bay more. The frequent heavy fog north of here is not fun to travel in and prevents us from seeing the coast.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Day 32- Roque Island, ME

We finally left Somes Sound after 5 days there. Somes was a great place to stay for a few days. There were many places to see and explore by dingy and land. Mount Desert Island has very convenient free bus service that connects the various towns such as Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor and Northeast Harbor. We were able to pick it up a few hundred yards away from our anchorage. Ground transportation is a huge treat for us. We were able to pick up items at the store on a whim, well almost, it was about a 2 hour round trip due to bus schedules, but it felt nice to have the option. On a rainy day we were able "zip" into Bar Harbor and spend a good half day at the library (library time is something we miss very much). We got pretty comfortable in Somes but left as soon as the rain and fog lifted. Pablo had the anchor up before 6am, unfortunately it was under another boat and we made quite a ruckus getting out. Need to work on our stealth skills. We got caught up on our first lobster pot buoy. We have glided near/over several in the past weeks but this was different. This one was brought to our attention by a short shudder from the engine, after which we noticed pieces of a chewed up buoy pop up behind us. It looks like it came out on its own but we need to make sure parts are not still wrapped up in the prop. Pablo is very reluctantly planning to take a dive to inspect further tomorrow. I am told it is a Maine rite of passage to get hung up on a pot and surprised this has not happened earlier given the shear density here. In fact, the density of pots has gone down but in this area they use two floats per pot due to the high currents. The two floats are connected by a toggled line (ie keel/prop/rudder trap) that connects the two. A huge pain, as often the distance between the two is large and one of the two floats becomes submerged making it, impossible to see. If one were to invent a device to specifically foul props, keels and rudders, no need to look further than these toggle style traps. After shedding the pot parts, we had a beautiful sail along the coast in 10-15 knot winds running 7 knots for most of the way. The scenery has changed dramatically since the Acadia area. The rocky coast has a pink hue and a very remote feel. We heard that Roque Island had a mile long white sand beach. Sounded too good to be true for Maine. It is true and makes me feel like I've died and gone to heaven. A preview of what's to come when we head to the Caribbean, except for the 53 degree water. My feet hurt after standing in it for a bit. Didn't seem to affect the girls as they both swam. I am looking forward to watching Pablo dive on boat to check the prop. My guess is that it will be quick inspection!
Anchored next to Calypso in Somesville

Successful crabbing

Sunset in Somesville

Beer and pie with the Dicksons

Napping in the nook of the windshield

Catching the MDI bus

Exploring in Bar Harbor

Visiting horses with Julie

Sunset in Somesville

Sunrise in Somes Sound