Day 48-49, August 15-16, 2014 – Provincetown to Dennis

We had an easy morning because our destination was Dennis, MA, about 20 miles southwest of Provincetown on Cape Cod Bay.  So we had a relaxing morning, then eased out of mooring and headed south.  It was another beautiful day with light winds and calm seas.  We dodged the ever present lobster pots coming out of Provincetown, but soon entered a lobster pot free zone (yes, they do exist).  Again we were hoping to see some whales, but there were none.  Instead, there was a pod of dolphins, about 10 or 15, that swam in front of us.  We both love to see them and wished that they would decide to play in our wake, but I think they were more intent on getting breakfast.

Shortly after noon we pulled into the fuel dock for Northside Marina, our destination for the next two days.  Northside doesn’t have slips set aside for transients, but if one of their regular slip owners happens to be away and a transient boater happens to call looking for a slip, Northside will rent out the slip.  That’s what they did for us.  The only problem was that when we arrived, the slip owner hadn’t left yet.  So, we had to hang out at the fuel dock. That was fine, but we pretty much took up the entire fuel dock.  We were beginning to realize that even though Northside said they could handle a boat of our size, they really couldn’t.

Northside Marina

Northside Marina

The channel leading into the marina is dredged to about 7 feet at mean low tide, but one of the dock hands said that the depth at “dead” low tide was 4.5 feet.  Yikes!  Our keel is 5 feet.  It was clear that we would have to time our departure so that it didn’t coincide with low tide.

After waiting for about 10 minutes we were able to move into the slip.  This was the tightest slip we have ever been in.  It looked to be about 1 foot wider than Curiosity.  There really wasn’t enough room for us and our fenders, but we squashed them in there.  The marina also wasn’t too interested in helping us get tied up.  One of the dock hands from the fuel dock reluctantly came over to help with the lines.  And in the middle of tying up she just dropped one of the lines, saying she had to help out with the fuel dock.  Thankfully, one of the boat owners from a neighboring slip had come over to help and I jumped off, so between the two of us we were able to get tied up.

My sister, Catherine, and her family have a beach house in Dennis.  She and her husband, Gary, came over to see the boat.  They live in Connecticut for most of the year, so they hadn’t seen Curiosity yet. We did the boat tour and then headed over to the Northside’s restaurant for lunch.  It was about 2 or 2:30 by that time, and Jim and Gary were about ready to eat the boat lines.

Life on the Cape is very laid back.  It’s wonderful!  We relaxed at my sister’s house and then all headed back to the boat for drinks up on the flybridge.  It was a breezy evening, but a beautiful sunset.  Dinner was back at the house with some of Cath and Gary’s friends whom we also know.  Good conversation, food, wine  and then sleep in a bed that’s not on a boat.  Don’t get me wrong, I love sleeping on the boat, but it was nice to be in a real bed after almost a month and a half of sleeping on board.

Clouds Over Dennis

Clouds Over Dennis

The next day we hung out at the beach.  We had planned on paddle boarding but none of us could get up the courage to venture into the water.  The wind had picked up to about 15 knots and the air temperature was in the low 70’s.  The combination was a bit more than any of us could handle.  So we watched the tide come in and chatted away.  We did a few other things, like grocery shopping and going for a walk, but generally we just hung out.  Cocktail hour again was on the boat with some more of my sister’s friends, my niece and one of her friends and then at dinner one of the local restaurants.  It was a lot fun.

Beach at Dennis

Beach at Dennis

Cath, Gary and Jim

Cath, Gary and Jim

Alex (Adrienne's niece) Hiding from the Camera

Alex (Adrienne’s niece) Hiding from the Camera

Tide Rolls In At Dennis

Tide Rolls In At Dennis

Our original plan was to spend another night at the beach house and have another lazy morning with my sister.  The forecast had been for rain in the morning on Sunday, with clear skies in the afternoon.  The tide would be going out in the afternoon and we had planned to catch the western ebb through the Cape Cod Canal to make our next stop, Onset, MA.  But we checked the weather report again on Saturday afternoon and it completely flipped.  Now the morning was supposed to be clear and the afternoon was going to have thunderstorms.   But to catch the tide at the right time at the marina and make it to the Canal in time to catch the end of the morning western ebb, we had to leave the marina by 7am.  This was not what we wanted to do!!  But we also didn’t want to be in the Cape Cod Canal during a thunderstorm, so we decided we had to leave the next morning at 7. My sister and her husband dropped us off at the marina after dinner so that we wouldn’t  have to wake up the beach house at the crack to get back to the boat. We said our good-byes and decided that for our next visit, we would have to plan on spending more time so that if the weather turned nasty we wouldn’t have such a short visit.

We quickly got the boat in order, leaving the engine check for first thing in the morning and then turned in for the night.  It would be on to the Cape Cod Canal in the morning.

Day 47, August 14 – Boston to Provincetown

We left our Boston slip around 7:30am for an uneventful cruise to Provincetown.  The winds were calm, the skies were clear and the seas were about 2′ to 4′ swells.

We hoped we would see some whales along the way because Cape Cod Bay is a whale habitat, but alas there was nothing but a few lobster pots. We arrived in Provincetown around 12:30 and picked up a mooring.

Enttrance to Provincetown

Enttrance to Provincetown

Provincetown Marina

Provincetown Marina

Provincetown Harbor

Provincetown Harbor

We got ourselves settled on the mooring and then headed into town for lunch.  While we were in the launch we were chatting with a woman who was moored on a sailboat and learned that it had poured buckets in Provincetown the previous day and that the winds had reached 40 kts in the mooring field.  Apparently it was so bad that Provincetown Marina, which operates the mooring field, canceled the launch service because of safety concerns.  We were glad we had stayed the extra day in Boston because although we were rocking and rolling we were tied up and didn’t have anything close to 40 kt winds.

Provincetown is a funky, laid back beach town.  The area right around Provincetown Marina’s dock is cluttered with every imaginable tourist shop, selling everything from t-shirts, flip flops, hats,and beach towels to salt water taffy and ice cream.

Looking Down Commercial Street

Looking Down Commercial Street

We wandered along the main drag and stopped in at the Squealing Pig for lunch.  Jim had fried chicken–one- half of the chicken and ate the whole thing!  And I had a BLT, which was very good and appropriate given the restaurant’s name (no squealing though). After lunch we continued to wander through Provincetown.

Adrienne Catches a Big One

Adrienne Catches a Big One

The touristy area gave way to art gallery central.  Basically every store in this section of the main drag was an art gallery.  There was a wide variety of styles and genres offered in the galleries.

Cassandra Gallery

Cassandra Gallery

Commercial Street

Commercial Street

We especially liked Anne Packard’s gallery.  Anne Packard is a very well-known for her landscapes of Cape Cod, but there were many, many other artists represented who painted the Cape and everything else.

There was also plenty of people watching to do. Tons of tourists, of course.  But others who seemed either to be locals or in Provincetown for extended stays and were making themselves quite at home.  One guy was skateboarding down the street with his dog calmly sitting on the front of the skateboard. (couldn’t get a picture of that).  Farther along there was a honky tonk type of piano on the side of the street where a guy was just banging out some blues solos to everyone and no one in particular.

Piano Player

Piano Player

And there was another guy, sort of in drag, on a bike who was trying to drum up interest in a local craft show.

Interesting Denizens on Bicycles

Interesting Denizens on Bicycles

We stopped in at one of the t-shirt shops to get a better hat for Jim. He had been wearing a baseball cap for most of the trip, and his exposed ears and neck were starting to complain. We figured that there had to be a better option for him in all the tourist paraphernalia in town, and we were right. So we picked up a Tilley hat with a nice brim that protects his ears and neck from the sun. In time we made our way back to the launch and Curiosity for a relaxing evening and dinner on the boat.  We leave tomorrow for Dennis.

Heading Back to the Boat with the New Hat

Heading Back to the Boat with the New Hat

Day 44-46, August 11-13, 2014 – Gloucester to Boston

We are sitting today in Boston watching the rain come down all day.  Our original plan had been to be in Provincetown today, but Mother Nature intervened.  So we sit and rock and watch the rain.

We left Gloucester Monday morning around 9:45am.  We slipped our mooring and eased out Gloucester Harbor.

Leaving Gloucester Harbor

Leaving Gloucester Harbor

Rowing Scull - Gloucester Harbor

Rowing Scull – Gloucester Harbor

Ever Present Gull

Ever Present Gull

Gloucester Harbor

Hammond Castle – Gloucester Harbor

It was a pretty uneventful trip (not a bad thing) and by 12:30 we were in Boston Harbor.

Boston Harbor

Boston Harbor

We were unable to get a mooring this time at Boston Waterboat Marina, so we reserved a slip at the Marina at Rowe’s Wharf.  We called Rowe’s when we entered Boston Harbor, and they sent three dockhands to guide us to our slip.  They gestured for us to back into the slip.  As I entered the slip area, there was a large megayacht on our port side and the slip on our starboard.  The megayacht crew raced to put fenders all around the yacht.  It quickly became apparent why.  Given the way we came in there was absolutely no way to turn Curiosity and back into this slip.  My only choice was to back out, turn parallel to the megayacht and back into the slip.  So I backed out and began to turn.  The megayacht crew raced to move the fenders from the stern to the port side facing us.  Talk about a confidence builder.  Fortunately, I was able to back into the slip from this angle with no problem and we were quickly tied up.  Obviously we are not allowed to have many days without some docking drama.

The marina is located right next to the Boston Harbor Hotel and the location could not be better for seeing Boston.  However, we were right on the harbor with no protection from the wakes of the numerous ferries and other boats that go by.  So it was quite a roller coaster ride at times.  If you were at all prone to sea-sickness this would be a place where you could become ill while at dock.  In fact, walking the floating docks has, at times, been an exercise in agility and balance.

Curiosity at Rowe's Wharf

Curiosity at Rowe’s Wharf

After lunch and washing down Curiosity, we went for a short walk and then returned to Curiosity to do laundry and straighten up the boat.  That evening we had some friends – Naomi and her husband Mort – over for cocktails, and then we had dinner with them at a place called Sam’s.  To get to the restaurant, we had a lovely walk along the Harbor Walk and then across the Old Northern Avenue Bridge into South Boston.  The Bridge, which crosses the Fort Point Channel, was closed to vehicular traffic in 1997 and is undergoing additional beautification as a pedestrian walkway.  South Boston is undergoing some major revitalization; it was clearly a happening place with pedestrians strolling both ways over the bridge.  Dinner at Sam’s was excellent and it was great to catch up with Naomi and to meet her husband.  They gave us all the local knowledge on sites to see and places to eat while we were in Boston.

Tuesday morning, I had yet another telephone conference for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which I did at a friend’s office.  While I was on the call, Adrienne went to Bricco’s in the North End to buy some more of their spectacular pasta sauces.  She also bought some Italian bread; one loaf was a parmesan-prosciutto baguette.  When I was done, we ate lunch on the boat and both of us had some of the baguette.  It was excellent.

After lunch we went sightseeing.

Street Players - Berkelee School of Music Quartet

Street Players – Berkelee School of Music Quartet

We headed up High Street and kept going until we hit the Boston Commons.  The Commons is a large open grassy area with many crisscrossing sidewalks, statues and diversions.  The Commons has a huge wading pool and fountain, which was packed with kids in bathing suits running around screaming and having a great time.  All around the pool were blankets on which parents relaxed while keeping a watchful eye on the little ones.

Wading Pool

Wading Pool

We continued walking through the Commons and next came to the Boston Public Gardens.  The entrance had a large flower garden that was bursting with blossoms of many different flowers.  Adrienne took a number of pictures to use for her art work.

Blooms in Boston Public Gardens

Blooms in Boston Public Gardens

Also in the Public Garden were the famous Boston Swan Boats.  The boats are a tradition in Boston dating back over 130 years.  Each boat is a catamaran that can hold 18 adults and is propelled by a paddle wheel that a driver peddles like a bicycle.  The driver sits behind a large swan, which was inspired by the opera Lohengrin in which Lohengrin, a knight of the Grail, crosses a river in a boat drawn by a swan to defend the innocence of Princess Elsa.

Of course we had to take a ride on the swan boats.  Adrienne and I hopped on board with a lot of families and we cruised around a small lake enjoying the view.  The whole ride was only about 15 minutes but it was very peaceful.  No, I did not fall asleep.

Swan Boat

Swan Boat

On the Swan Boat

On the Swan Boat

Mallard Duck

Mallard Duck

Feeding the Waterfowl

Feeding the Waterfowl

Cormorant

Cormorant

Boston Public Gardens

Boston Public Gardens

Balloon Twister

Balloon Twister

After this adventure we continued to walk up into the Back Bay area.  The street we were on had a long mall in the center with statutes of Boston notables every 100 yards or so.  We then headed over to Newbury Street.

Back Bay

Back Bay

While Newbury Street is known for its fancy stores and jewelers, it is also is home to the Church of the Covenant.  The sanctuary of the 1865 church was completed redecorated in 1894-1896 by Tiffany Glass & Decorating Company.  There are 22 ornamental windows in the clerestory and 20 complex figure windows that tell dramatic stories of faith, all done in Tiffany glass.  There is also a 6 ft. by 12 ft. lantern hanging in the sanctuary; the lantern incorporates seven sculpted angels representing the Seven Angels of the Seven Churches of Revelations.  It was quite spectacular.

Lantern -Church of the Covenant

Lantern -Church of the Covenant

Stained Glass Window

Stained Glass Window

We continued down Newbury and then headed over to the farmer’s market in front of the Amtrak south Station.  We bought some peaches, green beans and a luscious looking tomato.

Shell Beans at Farmers Market

Shell Beans at Farmers Market

Farmers Market Fruit

Farmers Market Fruit

For dinner we used some of the Bricco pasta sauce that Adrienne had bought and it did not disappoint. While we were eating we heard a band playing nearby, so after we were done we went out to investigate.  At the next pier, a band was entertaining outside diners at the Boston Harbor Hotel.  They were playing some Motown, Billy Joel, Paul Simon hits and some other more contemporary music we didn’t recognize.  But it was great to just wander by and listen in.  The venue was a bit of a challenge for the band, however, as they were set up on a floating dock that was rockin’ and rollin’ with waves in the harbor and occasionally the singers had to hold on to keep from falling over.  All in a night’s work!

Wednesday morning we woke up to rain and it continued all day.  I made some phone calls, Adrienne reorganized the kitchen, and we both watched the rain and read our books.  By the late afternoon, we had to get out and so went for a short walk in the rain.  Once back on the boat, we did our engine checks and prepared for our trip tomorrow to Provincetown.

By 5:30 pm, the rain was barely a mist, so we decided to take a risk and walk to dinner.  Naomi had recommended the Blue Dragon, a Ming Tsai restaurant in South Boston, a short walk from the boat.  We had beef potstickers, mussels in a smoky tomato sauce with chicken chorizo, shrimp shumai, and teriyaki bison burgers.  Dinner was fantastic.  We were so glad we went out.

Tomorrow we’re off to Provincetown.

 

 

Day 42-43, August 9-10, 2014 – Portsmouth to Gloucester

We planned our departure from Portsmouth for noon on Saturday to coincide with the noon Memorial Bridge opening and slack tide, which was supposed to occur around 12:20.  Given the waves and turbulence we saw at the height of the Piscataqua’s flood and ebb tides, we wanted to avoid that drama.  So we had a relaxing morning and took our time preparing for our departure.

There was no one to help us untie, just as there was no one to help us tie up.  We normally handle our departures ourselves by looping lines on cleats that we can flip off from the boat or by just holding the boat in the slip while the other person tosses the lines and then hops on board.  But at Portsmouth it would have been nice to have had help because of the tight fit on the face dock, the rocking and rolling and the little bit of current we still had to deal with.  Fortunately there was a young guy fishing on the dock right in front of the bow, and he was kind enough to give us a hand.

We left the dock shortly before noon and called the bridge tender to let him know we wanted the noon opening.  Right before we left we heard on channel 13 that a barge pushed by a tug was coming down the river and also wanted the noon opening but he had to go through another bridge that was just upriver from the Memorial Bridge.  When he called we couldn’t see him yet, but when we left the dock he was just coming under the other bridge.  We wanted to be in front of him so I eased us into position in front of Memorial Bridge and waited the few minutes left before it opened.

As soon as the bridge started to go up we eased through and down the channel.  The barge followed right after.  As soon as we got beyond the “no wake” zone I sped up a little to get more distance between us and the barge.  By the second turn in the river we were well ahead with the ocean in sight.

Barge Behind Us

Barge Behind Us

Exiting Portsmouth Harbor

Exiting Portsmouth Harbor

Sailing on the Piscataque

Sailing on the Piscataque

Leaving the Piscataque

Leaving the Piscataque

It was a gorgeous day for cruising: light winds, glassy seas and cloudless skies.  We had the usual lobster pots to dodge coming out of the river, but what else was new?  Our course was basically a diagonal line from the mouth of the Piscataqua to Cape Ann.  In time we got beyond lobster pot land and just had open seas ahead of us.  It was wonderful. Our course also eventually took us beyond the 3-mile limit where we had seen a whale coming up.  We hoped we would see some again, but this time the seas were absent of surface wildlife.  Not even the dolphins were out.

Enjoying the Wind in Her Hair

Enjoying the Wind in Her Hair

Twin Lighthouses on Cape Ann

Twin Lighthouses on Cape Ann

We reached Gloucester Harbor, our destination for the night, by around 4pm.  We had reserved a mooring with the Gloucester Harbormaster for two nights for a mere $25/night.  What a bargain!  I hailed the harbormaster to get directions to our mooring ball and then Jim steered us right to it.  The mooring had a double line, both of which were hanging in the water.  I was able to grab both with the boat hook on the first try, get our line through both loops and walk the mooring lines up to the bow, cleat the first, release the other one and walk it over to the next cleat.  Done and done.

While I was doing this one of the guys from the harbormaster’s office came over in a launch to make sure that we got the right mooring ball.  We had, thank God.  After we had gotten settled on the mooring he came back to collect payment and to give us some information about Gloucester.   We chatted with him for a while, and as he was leaving he complimented us on our seamanship in getting moored so expertly.  Kevin, I hope you’re reading this!  You could have knocked us over.  We figured he must have seen some really bungled attempts (with which we are all too familiar).  He caught us on a good day, but we’ll take it!

Scenic Gloucester Harbor

Scenic Gloucester Harbor

Gloucester Harbor

Another View of Gloucester Harbor

It was about 5pm, but we wanted to stretch our legs so we launched the tender and motored over to the dinghy dock.  We hiked up to Main Street and walked along its tree-lined sidewalks.  Gloucester is an old time New England town that has suffered from the decline in fishing in this part of the country. There were several vacant store fronts and not nearly the profusion of shops and eateries catering to tourists that we had seen in places like Camden and Rockland.  On the other hand, there weren’t crowds of tourists to deal with.  But there was plenty of lovely old commercial buildings along Main Street and apparently many fine old homes in downtown Gloucester.  We decided to explore more of that the next day.

Rough Times for the Fishing Industry

Rough Times for the Fishing Industry

Hard Times for the Blue Ocean

Hard Times for the Blue Ocean

We ordered a pizza to go at one of the local Italian restaurants and brought it back to the boat for a quick and easy dinner.  With the sun setting, we dined on the cockpit and watched the ducks and boaters go by in the harbor. Perfect.

Ducks

Ducks

More Ducks

More Ducks

Gloucester at Sunset

Gloucester at Sunset

We took our time getting going this morning (Sunday).  Katherine, our daughter, had made Danish pastries for Jim for Father’s Day, by preparing them, but not baking them.  She froze them instead so that Jim could enjoy them whenever he wanted.  Naturally, we brought some of those with us on this trip and decided to have some this morning.  These are butter-rich, fruit-filled delicacies, which Katherine is quite expert in making.  They didn’t disappoint.

The next order of business was to get pumped out.  Not exactly the way you want to conclude your breakfast of delicious pastries, but necessary.  The pump out itself was nothing to write about, but the young guy who came to do it told us he had spent the morning in the emergency room with a scratched cornea.  He’s a lobster fisherman, but hasn’t been able to work because his boat’s engine has been under repair for 6 months.  Been nothing but problems, according to him.  He was working on it this morning and thinks he got some metal shards or dust under his contact that scratched the cornea.  He came directly to the harbor after that and didn’t have sunglasses, so the poor guy was squinting and blinking constantly.  We gave him a good tip.

We hopped in the tender and decided to tour the harbor from the water before heading into Gloucester.  The harbor is ringed on the north side with some fine old homes, at the head with marinas and on the opposite shore with downtown Gloucester.

When we had come in the previous day, the harbormaster had recommended the North Shore Arts Association, which is located on the north shore.  The NSAA has been around since 1923 and has exhibited the works of many famous painters, such as Winslow Homer and Fitz Henry Lane.  We decided to dinghy over to there and take a look. We found a dock that looked like a place to tie up a dinghy.  It probably was a private dock, but who knows?  We tied up anyway and went in.  On display were entries from a juried show, with many local artists represented.  It was a very good show with a lot of variety.

Next, we motored over to the Gloucester side of the harbor.  After lunch in town, we wanted to take in the Cape Ann Museum, which the harbormaster’s office had also recommended, and the historic district.  Unfortunately for us, the Cape Ann Museum is under renovation and will reopen next week.  So we walked to the historic district instead.  At least we think we walked to the historic district.  We followed one or two signs but never came to an area that we could identify clearly as an historic district.  We found quite a few houses from the 17 and 1800’s, many of which are now occupied with professional offices (there seem to be a lot of lawyers in Gloucester.  Not sure what that means).  There were also some old churches and a memorial to Gloucestermen who died in WWI, but that was it.  We strolled along Main Street again and stopped in some of the shops that were open on Sunday and then decided to return to Curiosity for some blog writing and general relaxation.

Gloucester City Hall

Gloucester City Hall

Holy Family Parish Rectory in front of  St. Ann Church

Holy Family Parish Rectory in front of St. Ann Church

1782 Sargent-Murray-Gilman-Hough House

1782 Sargent-Murray-Gilman-Hough House

Victorian House , now a Lawyer's Office

Victorian House , now a Lawyer’s Office

Main Street Gloucester

Main Street Gloucester

We will make our final trip to Gloucester tonight for dinner at Franklin’s.  Tomorrow we head to Boston for a few days and then we will be off to Provincetown.

Adrienne

Day 41, August 8, 2014 – Portland to Portsmouth

At 5am, Portland was quiet, with only a few lobster boats heading out of the harbor.  We were up because we were heading up the Piscataqua River to Portsmouth.  The Piscataqua is the sixth fastest flowing river in the U.S.  Unless you hit the river at slack tide, you are simply asking for trouble.  Unfortunately for us, slack tide today was going to occur at 11:30am and 5:30pm.  Thunder storms were predicted for the afternoon, so we needed to be in Portsmouth at 11:30am.  Portland, however, is about 5 hours from Portsmouth.  So at 5am, we were up and by 6am we were easing out of our slip with Adrienne at the helm.  Compared to getting into the slip, getting out was a piece of cake with no drama.

Sunrise in Portland

Sunrise in Portland

DiMillo's at Dawn

DiMillo’s at Dawn

Portland Harbor as We Leave

Portland Harbor as We Leave

Ade Takes Us Out of Portland

Ade Takes Us Out of Portland

Our cruise down to Portsmouth was uneventful, although we did have the constant fun of dodging lobster pots.  Fortunately, there were fewer pots as we headed further south.  As we were nearing Portsmouth, Adrienne called Steve the manager of the little marina where we were going to stay.  It turned out that Steve would not be at the marina to meet us; in fact no one would be there.  We would be on our own tying up the boat.  In addition, to get to the marina we needed to pass under the Memorial Bridge, which only opens on the half-hour.  However, today a large commercial vessel the Thetis would be entering the harbor and expected to be at the bridge at 11:15am.  Steve suggested we might want to follow the commercial vessel in and use his special bridge opening. Steve, by  the way, was not going to be at the marina because he was going to be at the public dock where the Thetis was headed to help tie up that ship.

Just to be sure I called the bridge operator to confirm that there would be an 11:15am bridge opening for the commercial vessel and that the bridge would also open at 11:30am if we were delayed a little.  This gave us a little leeway if we arrived later than we expected.

Fortunately we were early at the entrance to the Portsmouth harbor.  We could see a large ship sitting off the entrance to the harbor with a couple of tugs circling about.  Our AIS told us the ship was the Thetis.  I called the Thetis to confirm that she was the ship that was going to enter the harbor and pass under the bridge at 11:15am.  The ship responded that he was entering the harbor and that the bridge would open whenever he got there.  Yes, size matters.

The Thetis

The Thetis

While we had time to enter the harbor before the commercial vessel, we decided to wait and follow the vessel  in.  We had no idea how fast it might go once it entered the harbor.  We circled around and then fell in behind her.  At first she was making about 10kts and I kept Curiosity about 100 yards behind.  However, as soon as we entered the harbor, the ship began to slow down.  We also slowed down but, because the flooding current affected us more than the Thetis, we crept even closer.  Adrienne was not happy with this up close and personal relationship.

Right Behind Thetis

Right Behind Thetis

It was clear that the Thetis was having difficulty making the turns in the river; the tugs were pushing her left and right as needed.  Meanwhile we had to keep slowing down and we were beginning to lose steerage as the current pushed us along.  Fortunately, we were soon at the bridge.  I told the bridge tender that we intended to follow the Thetis through the bridge and that was fine with him.  The Thetis was slowly easing under the bridge.  Following about 50 yards behind I also headed to the bridge.  As we neared the bridge, I noticed a lobster boat heading across the channel between Thetis and us.  I slowed a little so he could pass.  But he did not pass.  Instead he stopped right in front of me and began retrieving a lobster pot!  I couldn’t believe it.  Adrienne who was in the stern heard me curse and wanted to know what was up.  I told her and she couldn’t believe it either.

Tug Guiding Thetis

Tug Guiding Thetis

Going Under Memorial Bridge

Going Under Memorial Bridge

Fortunately, I was able to scoot around the lobster boat and still get under the bridge in time.  The marina was on the port side of the river right after the bridge, so as soon as I cleared the bridge I headed to port.  However, as soon as I did, the tug which had been on the port side of Thetis came bounding around the side of the vessel heading straight for me.  I had no idea what to do, so I just held my course.  Finally the tug turned and I then turned in the opposite direction.  However by this point I had way overshot the marina.

So the only option was to do a 360 and try again.  This time I was able to line up the approach to the face dock of the marina.  I approached the dock and pulled up beside the dock.  Adrienne jumped off the boat with a spring line, quickly attached it and grabbed the other spring off the railing and attached it.  Kevin from Burr Yacht had taught us how to have the lines on the railing ready to snatch and fasten.  It worked beautifully and Adrienne had us secured with the two springs and a stern line.  I tossed her the bow line and we were done.  Not bad for two novices!

We washed the boat and ate lunch.  By 1pm the river was racing by; neither of us could believe how quickly the river was running.  In fact there were significant waves in the river from the current.  Amazing!

Waves in the River

Waves in the River

The marina, Harbor Place, is just a long dock.  It has electricity and water but no other facilities.  However, it also is only two blocks or so from downtown Portsmouth.  Adrienne and I headed out to see the town and visited a number of art galleries that had been closed the last time we were here.  Both of us really like Portsmouth – it is a fun town to wander about.

Mural in Portland

Mural in Portland

Warren House 1716

Warren House 1716

Moffat-Ladd House 1763

Moffat-Ladd House 1763

Memorial Bridge in Closed Position

Memorial Bridge in Closed Position

We returned to the boat, took some showers and headed back to Cava for dinner.  We had dinner there several weeks before with Katherine, and we were both looking forward to eating there again.  Cava did not disappoint.  We had four tapas – chickpea fritters, picadillo peppers stuffed with mackerel, grilled prawns with gazpacho, and pork belly in a corn-tomato relish.  All four were delicious, especially the pork belly.  For dessert, we of course had to have the churros with hot chocolate sauce.  We were stuffed, well fed and ready for bed.

Tomorrow we get to sleep in and wait for the noon slack tide before we head tor Gloucester.

 

Day 40, August 7, 2014 – Boothbay – Portland

Thursday morning finds us in Boothbay with the sailboat still behind us and the Nordhaven beside us.  It is 8:20 am and we want to leave in ten minutes.  No sign of anyone on the sailboat, so we are stuck.  Nonetheless, I go ahead and start the engines hoping it will wake the sailboaters up.  After about 10 minutes, still no sign of life, so I decide to test the thrusters.  Thrusters make a lot of noise and it will reverberate through the water and the hull of the sail boat.  Guess what?  Up pops a head from the sailboat.  At the same time, the skipper of the Nordhaven tells me they are leaving in about 15 minutes (I think he was afraid one of the boats in the slip would hit him on the way out) .  Perfect, we will be able to get out easily.

The Nordhaven pulls out of the slip without any trouble. The dock hand moves the sailboat back about 20 feet to give me room.  I move Curiosity to the side and ease out.  No problem and by 8:50 am we are on our way.

Cuckold's Lighthouse - Exiting Boothbay

Cuckold’s Lighthouse – Exiting Boothbay

Calm Seas

Calm Seas

Casco Bay

Casco Bay

Instead of going straight to Portland, we head due south out into the Gulf of Maine.  We are hoping to see whales since they feed 10-15 miles off the coast.  Alas, all we see are lobster buoys.  Reluctantly, we turn westward and head for Portland.  By noon we are entering the Portland channel.  As we near the harbor, I  see lightning strikes in the distance and increase speed slightly to try and get in before the storm hits.

Fortunately our slip at DimMillo’s is ready and we head for it.  Unfortunately, it was a very tight fit with little turning room.  But Kevin’s training pays off and with only one scary moment (I almost hit a boat when I thought I was in neutral but actually was in forward), we are quickly tied up.

We promptly cover up all the instruments on the flybridge and go up to the Marina Office to check in.  Just as we leave, we hear the first large clap of thunder.  We are back on the boat just as the rain begins.

Our original plan for today had been to go see the Portland observatory, but the weather gods have other ideas.  The rain continues all afternoon, so we spend our time writing the blog and doing crossword puzzles.

By 5 pm, the rain has eased, so we go for a brief walk.  Not much else to do.

As I write this blog, Adrienne is cooking dinner.  It will be early to bed and early to rise.  We need to leave at 6 am to get the slack tide in Portsmouth.

Day 38-39, August 5-6, 2014 – Rockland to Boothbay

Tuesday morning was clear and sunny, a perfect day for cruising back to Boothbay Harbor.  The weather forecast showed that Tuesday would be beautiful but that Wednesday would be raining with thunderstorms.  We decided to spend Wednesday in Boothbay Harbor and leave on Thursday for Portland.  We weren’t thrilled with the idea of another two days in Boothbay Harbor.  We had spent 4 days there on our way up and felt that we had exhausted most of what we were interested in.  But we were less thrilled about cruising during a thunderstorm, so we decided to spend Wednesday as well.

Rockland Lighthouse

Rockland Lighthouse

Owls Head Lighthouse - Exiting Rockland

Owls Head Lighthouse – Exiting Rockland

After dodging the lobster pots that cluttered the Rockland inner harbor, we made our way out of the outer harbor and into Penobscot Bay.  All was going well.  The seas were almost glassy.  The sun was up, and although there was some haze on the horizon, there was very good visibility. That is why it was so annoying to truly and well snag a lobster pot about an hour after we had set out.  I was driving at the time.  Either I missed this pot or it was one of several toggle pots I had seen earlier floating just below the water’s surface.

The toggle pots have an additional line with its own float attached to the first pot in a series. The line that connects the float to that first lobster pot is not weighted and floats just below the surface ready to foul up any prop that happens to go between the float and the lobster pot.

I don’t know if we hit one of these; the fact remains that we hit it.  There was no mistaking what happened either. We both felt and hear the pot wrap around the prop.  So we stopped the boat and backed up, but I could still feel the line tugging on the port prop.  Of course we were in a field of them so there wasn’t a lot of room to maneuver without running over another one.  We called Kevin at Burr Yachts who suggested running just the port engine in reverse.  I did that and the vibration seemed to get better.  When we ran in forward it seemed almost normal.  We thought we had spun it off, and without any major vibration felt comfortable continuing on to Boothbay. We then called Carousel, our marine in Boothbay, to recommend a diver who could check the prop either later that day or the next.  We made those arrangements and continued on.

The rest of the trip to Boothbay was uneventful.  We decided to swing by Eastern Egg Rock, the site of the Audubon Society’s Puffin Project.  We hoped to see some puffins before they left for their time at sea.  There were a great many sea birds flying around Eastern Egg Rock, but as far as we could tell none of them was a puffin.  We think we were about a week too late to catch them.  Either that or we just couldn’t pick them out with our binoculars.  Needless to say, there were a good many lobster pots to dodge around the island, so one of us kept an eye on the pots while the other tried to find the puffins.

We made it to Boothbay Harbor shortly after 1pm.  We were unable to stay at Brown’s Wharf Marina this time, so, as mentioned, we ended up next door at Carousel Marina.  They told us we would be on a face dock when I made the reservations.  But when we arrived they said we would have a bow in, starboard side tie. That was different but fine too until we saw the slip.  It was a double slip without any pilings or rope down the middle. A 78’ Nordhaven was tied up on the right side of the slip, which was about 120’ long.  We had to come in on the left side, scoot by the Nordhaven and tie up at the end of the slip on the left. We had about 3’ between the widest part of Curiosity and the Nordhaven.  That was plenty of room, but it felt like a lot less. But Jim got us in smoothly and we tied up without any problems.

We had lunch on board, rinsed and chamoised the boat and then turned our attention to blog writing.  Around 4pm the diver showed up and immediately went below to check out the hull.  When he came up he had a chunk of lobster pot rope that he had cut away from the port prop. It seems that our cutters had done their work and that going in reverse had freed us from most of the lobster pot with just a few feet line that we couldn’t quite dislodge. He also found some fishing line that had wrapped around one of the shafts.  Everything else was in good order.We were happy to have the hull checked out and to put our lobster pot incident behind us (I’ll say no more about that subject lest the lobster pot gods think poorly of me for it!)

Next up was dinner on board.  After dinner we deciided to stretch our legs and walk into Boothbay Harbor proper.  We managed to find a few shops that we hadn’t been to on our last visit.  Then we made the excellent decision to stop into the Coastal Maine Popcorn Company.  We had seen these stores in most of the towns we had visited, but we had never gone in.  They advertised free samples, and I for one, never pass up a chance to munch on free food.  We tasted a couple of different flavors: Sea Salt and Garlic, Maine Maple, Cheddar Cheese and Jalapeno, and Chocolate Caramel & Sea Salt.  We went with the Cheddar Cheese and Jalapeno and the Chocolate Caramel & Sea Salt.  We have the bags stowed in one of the galley cabinets.  We’ve already broken into the Cheddar Cheese and Jalapeno bag.  We’ll see how long they last!

The next day was supposed to be rainy and stormy, but the morning was only overcast.  So the first order of business for me was waxing the teak and polishing some of the stainless steel on the foredeck.  Jim meanwhile was doing so bills and then had a lengthy LLS conference call.  When those chores were done we had lunch and then hopped the 2pm trolley to the grocery store to pick up some provisions. As we stood in the checkout line we could see the sky darkening considerably.  As we were putting our items on the belt we could see lightning and hear the faint rumble of thunder.  As we paid, the rain began to fall. We ran across the street with our bags so that we could have the protection of a shopping center roof as we waited for the trolley.  We got wet, but not terribly and after about 20 minutes, the trolley picked us up and we were headed back to the boat.

When we returned to the boat we found that Carousel had put two other boats right behind us on the left side of the slip even though they knew we wanted to leave about 8:30 the next morning.  Thunderstorms were again predicted for Thursday afternoon and we wanted to make sure we got into Portland, our next stop, before the storms hit.  We chatted with the people on board the boats and none of them was planning on leaving as early as we were.  The Nordhaven was going to leave the next day too, but not until about 9:30.  We were hemmed in.  We talked to the Carousel staff, but they didn’t seem too concerned about it.  They ended up moving the power boat that was at the end of our line later that day, but the sailboat that was directly behind us remained.  We hoped that it would all work out without too much delay in our departure time.

We turned our attention to more blog writing and dinner on board with some of Carousel’s award-winning seafood chowder.  It was pretty good too!

Adrienne

 

Day 35-37, August 2-4, 2014 – Pulpit Harbor to Rockland

Saturday morning brought a light mist with the promise of rain in the afternoon. Our plan was to go across the western part of the bay to Rockland – a short 10 nautical mile journey.

Windjammer Leaving Pulpit Harbor

Windjammer Leaving Pulpit Harbor

After breakfast, we raised anchor and headed out.  As we crossed the bay, the coastline was shrouded in mist.

Light Fog Over the Maine Caost

Light Fog Over the Maine Caost

Occasionally we saw dolphins cruising through the waves and one lone seal as we entered Rockland Harbor.  By 11 am, we were tied up at Trident Yacht Basin.

Coming Into Rockland

Coming Into Rockland

Rockland Harbor

Rockland Harbor

Sailing Into Rockland Harbor

Sailing Into Rockland Harbor

Trident is Rockland’s newest marina.  It sits at the end of the basin and has mostly face docks, all floating.  We were on a face dock on the harbor side but were quite comfortable with very little rolling. Trident also has a restaurant on site, an extremely pleasant and helpful dockmaster, Charlie, very clean and spacious restrooms and showers and a courtesy car.

As we were pulling into our dock we noticed what looked to be a carnival right on the waterfront.  It turns out that this was the 67th Annual Maine Lobster Fest. Who knew?  Once off the boat we could hear the music and could see the Ferris wheel turning.  We decided we would have to check it out.

We walked along the spacious and landscaped walkway that connected Trident to the main Rockland waterfront.  This landed us right at the lobster fest entrance.  As special arm band allowed us to walk through the festival grounds without paying.  The drum section of a marching band had just finished playing.  There were several rides for the kids, arcade games, cotton candy and funnel cake booths, a large stage where a swing band started entertaining everyone, and many food venues featuring—what else?—lobster!  Lobster rolls, lobster chowder, lobster dinner.  You name it. We also learned that there was free admission on Sunday.  So we exited the festival with the plan to return the next day.

Big Band at Lobster Festival

Big Band at Lobster Festival

After the Parade at the Lobster Festival

After the Parade at the Lobster Festival

Next on our list was the Farnsworth Art Museum.  This was a fascinating museum.  Their main exhibit was “The Shakers: From Mount Lebanon to the World.”  They had a large collection of Shaker furniture, household goods, tools and clothing, as well as several very good narratives outlining Shaker philosophy and growth in the U.S.  Although the Shakers believed in simplicity and practicality, they crafted even mundane household items with beauty.

From there we moved on to “The Wyeths, Maine and the Sea.”  This was an exhibit mainly of Andrew and Jamie Wyeth paintings featuring subjects of, or related to, Maine.  N.C. Wyeth, Andrew’s father, had moved his family to mid-coast Maine in the 1920’s, and the influence of the coastline and the work of fishermen plainly influenced many of these works.  There were other artists’ works presented too from the likes of George Bellows, Rockwell Kent, Andrew Winter and more.  These artists likewise were influenced by Maine’s environment and fishing culture.

The Farnsworth also had several interesting standing collections of Maine related art that was both traditional and more modern, as well as an exhibit exploring the “Nude” in both traditional and contemporary (sometimes bizarre) ways.

Adjacent to the main museum is an old church that has been converted into a separate gallery for paintings by three generations of the Wyeth family: N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth and Jamie Wyeth, although other lesser known members of the Wyeth family are represented here along with the works of a few other artists.  It was interesting to see the varying styles from one generation to the next.  But all three generations, at least in the work in this gallery, explored common themes of fishing, the sea and the Maine coastline.  The church, by the way, is a former United Methodist church, which the museum says was one of Rockland’s most prominent and venerable structures dating from the last part of the 19th century.  One wonders how it ended up as an art museum.  We should have asked.

Done with the Farnsworth, we headed to Main Street, which is chock full of galleries, shops, restaurants, etc.  One of the first things we saw was the Audubon Society’s Puffin Project Visitor Center, which was open to the public.  We decided to save this for our return trip.

We moved on to some of the many art galleries, which presented a wide selection of traditional, contemporary and abstract paintings and sculpture.  This was some of the best art that we had seen so far in Maine.  We especially liked the Dowling Walsh and Harbor Square Galleries.  Dowling Walsh had a show of Colin Page paintings that had just opened up.  Beautiful, vibrant paintings of lobster dinners, boats, and Maine bungalows that were more than 50% sold after only a few days!  And Harbor Square had an eclectic mix of interesting works, including hand-crafted jewelry.

It was time for a break, so we headed to the Atlantic Baking Company for some much needed chocolate chunk and oatmeal raisin cookies.  We also picked up a loaf of multi-grain bread, which I especially enjoy.  Jim’s view is that such bread is nothing but sawdust with a few wood chips thrown in.  I’m trying to convert him, but it’s a hard sell.

Our last stop was the Puffin Project Visitor Center.  The Puffin Project is an Audubon Society effort to bring back the Atlantic puffin to the coast of Maine.  Prior to the late 19th century puffins were plentiful along the Main coast.  But the Victorian fashion of feathered hats and other accessories created an enormous demand for bird feathers and puffin feathers were one of the most popular.  As a result, puffin numbers plummeted.  In 1973, the Audubon Society under Steve Kress embarked on an effort to restore puffins to Eastern Egg Rock in Muscongus Bay.  To do this, Kress and others, removed chicks from thriving puffin colonies in Nova Scotia and brought them to Eastern Egg Rock where people fed them and reared them in burrows as they would have been reared by their natural parents.  The timing was crucial because after a certain age, puffins imprint on their environment and return to it year after year for breeding.  The hope was to remove the Nova Scotia chicks before they had imprinted on their Canadian islands and thus could imprint on Eastern Egg Rock.

In late July and early August of each year, puffin chicks leave their burrows without their parents and take to the sea.  They remain at sea for about five years and then return to their island of birth to breed.  The Puffin Project chicks, however, did not return for eight years even though the scientists had attempted to create the appearance of a thriving colony on Eastern Egg Rock using puffin decoys.  But in the eighth year, Kress and other observed puffins on Eastern Egg Rock with fish in their beaks for fledgling chicks.  Since then the puffin colony has steadily increased and the project has been extended to several other islands.  Now, puffins are big business.  Boothbay Harbor, for example, advertises puffin boat tours so that people can catch a glimpse of these once rare birds.

As we headed back to the boat, the lobster festival was in full swing.  The rock bands had now taken to the stage and they were playing to loud applause.  We enjoyed the music from the comfort of Curiosity and then got ready for dinner at Primo, one of Rockland’s many excellent restaurants.

We had a fabulous dinner at Primo’s .  Primo’s is a farm to table restaurant just outside the downtown Rockland area.  But we borrowed the courtesy car, and had no problem getting there.  We started our dinner with a delicious pork belly appetizer and then followed it with local swordfish and wild salmon.  The fish was perfectly cooked and dressed with local vegetables.  We ended the meal by splitting a desert of profiteroles filled with salted caramel ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce.  It was really, really good.

The music was still going when we returned to Curiosity. We weren’t sure how late they would go, but by about 10pm, the bands had stopped for the night.  It was a beautifully cool evening.  We had all the hatches open and even needed the wool blanket on our bed!  Not exactly Maryland in the summer.

Adrienne

*    *   *

The next day was another beautiful cool morning.  We had a leisurely breakfast, read the papers, did laundry and then headed for the Lobster Festival around noon.  The festival was a happening place with large crowds and long lines for every imaginable type of lobster.  I got in line to get a lobster roll.  Every few minutes, lobsterman would come through rolling large wheelbarrows full of just boiled lobsters.  It took about 15 – 20 minutes but I finally had my lobster roll – it was packed with fresh lobster meat and was about half the price of a lobster roll that you could get anyplace else.  It was delicious.  The lobster was tender and sweet, covered in just a hint of mayonnaise and on a fresh potato roll.  And what delicacy did Adrienne get at the lobster festival.  She got grilled chicken in pita bread.  What can you say?  She is not a lobster aficionado.

After lunch we wandered about the fair, visiting a number of tents where local artists were selling their wares.  We saw a lot of interesting items including a handmade alpaca hat that Adrienne tried on but did not buy.   Adrienne wanted me to ride with her on the Ferris wheel but I refused.  I don’t mind the wheel when it is turning but I hate being stuck on the wheel as it slowly bumps along unloading passengers.  My irrational fear of heights says no way am I getting on that contraption.  Since Adrienne did not want to go alone, she took solace in the company of Rocky – an enormous red lobster statue.

Ferris Wheel

Ferris Wheel

Rocky

Rocky

A Really Tall Guy

A Really Tall Guy

Festival Silliness

Festival Silliness

In conjunction with the lobster festival, the Coast Guard Academy had brought its training vessel the Barque Eagle to Rockland’s harbor.  The Eagle is a 295 foot tall ship that the Coast Guard Academy uses to train all its cadets in seamanship.  As part of the festival, the ship was open for public tours, so Adrienne and I walked over to the Coast Guard station where the Eagle was docked.  The ship was massive.  It has a permanent crew of 57 personnel, which is supplemented with cadets for training.  The ship had formerly been part of the German navy, but after World War II, it had been confiscated.  The spoils of war were being split up among the Allies.  The ship was originally allocated to the Russians but they decided it needed too much work.  When the US got it, the navy didn’t want it so it ended up at the Coast Guard.  As one of the cadets said, the Coast Guard gets all the hand me downs that the other services don’t want.

The Eagle

The Eagle

The Barque Eagle

The Barque Eagle

When we visited the ship, there were a large number of Coast Guard swabs on board to answer questions.  Just like the Naval Academy with its plebe summer before midshipmen start their first year, the Coast Guard has a similar program for their pre-first year cadets, who are called swabs.  We talked to a number of the swabs who struggled occasionally to answer our questions, referring us to the more experienced crew.  Adrienne remarked that all the swabs seemed incredibly young.  I guess we are just getting old.

Rigging

Rigging

Dock Line for the Eagle

Dock Line for the Eagle

Foredeck of the Eagle

Foredeck of the Eagle

A Long Way Up

A Long Way Up

In the stern of the ship, there were three massive wheels connected together to steer the ship.  We asked one of the crew why there were three wheels.  She explained that in rough seas it often takes six persons to steer the ship – two to each wheel.  The ship lacks most modern conveniences like autopilots.  The officer described the voyage they had taken on the Eagle last winter.  The ship had been in Baltimore for some needed repair work.  The work was finished in December, and in January the crew sailed the ship back to New London.  As you may recall the weather last January was incredibly bad.  At one point the officer stated that the ship was barely making 1 kt off Long Island.  It was a long cold miserable trip.  Whether one or six are steering the ship, they are outside with no protection from the elements.  Talk about building character!

Foul Weather Gear Ready

Foul Weather Gear Ready

The Three Wheels

The Three Wheels

Look At the Size of These Buoys - Ready to Be Deployed at coast Guard Station

Look At the Size of These Buoys – Ready to Be Deployed at coast Guard Station

After the Eagle, we continued to wander around Rockland visiting a number of galleries.  Rockland seems to be a real art haven, while not all the art was to our taste the range of art was remarkable.  After another trip to Atlantic Baking Company for more cookies, we headed back to the boat by way of the festival.  As we entered the fairgrounds we could hear the crowds cheering and an announcer’s voice booming, so we went to investigate.  What we found was the Lobster Festival crate race.  A string of 50 crates (each about 31 inches long) were roped together and placed in the harbor between two floating docks.  The racers needed to race across the crates from one dock to the other without falling in the water.  Unless the racer was extremely fast, a crate would sink from the racer’s weight before the racer could get to the next one, spilling the racer into the very cold harbor.  We watched many racers take a spill, particularly the older and heavier competitors.  However, there were several young kids who were able to race across barely getting their feet wet.  One seven-year old girl wearing a short green dress (with matching green socks, of course) was unbelievable; she just flew across the crates.  It looked like she could run forever.  Her name was Scarlett Flint.  After watching for a half-hour or so, we wandered back to the boat for an on board dinner.

Running the Crates

Running the Crates

No Longer Running the Crates

No Longer Running the Crates

Will He Make It?

Will He Make It?

For dinner, we got take-out pizza from Café Miranda – a restaurant serving an eclectic mix of foods.  As we ate dinner we heard what seemed to be an auction going on at the festival.  We could not figure out on what people were bidding thousands of dollars.  We had to find out.  So back we went to the festival.  Because it was the last day, the place was shutting down.  The tents were being taken down and the vendors were packing up.  But the announcer’s voice was still booming through the fairgrounds, but we could not figure out from where it was coming.  Finally we found it – it was not an auction at all, but the crate race. What we thought were dollars being announced were in fact the number of crates that the remaining racers had run, and they numbered in the thousands.  Three young competitors, including the Scarlett, were still running.  They would run 500 crates and then take a break.  Scarlett had already run 4500 crates.  Two boys were right behind her in the number of crates run.  Generally, the greatest number of crates run by the winner is in the 2000 – 3000 range, with the world record being 6000 crates set several years previously.  Scarlett and the boys seemed to just keep running.  It was growing steadily darker and the announcer’s voice was rapidly fading; he could barely talk as he called out the number of crates each competitor completed.  We watched Scarlett hit 5000, then 5500 and then 6000 crates breaking the record.  At 6500 crates, she took a break.  One of the other boys started racing again and soon he was at 6000.  By this point it was getting dark so we headed back to the boat.  We learned later that the race had to be called for darkness.  Scarlett and one of boys had both reached 6500 crates and were declared co-champions.  It was a sight to behold.

The next morning we decided to visit Camden using one of the courtesy cars.  Our original plan had been to cruise to Camden and take a mooring for a day or two.  We had been unable to get dock space and had been warned that the moorings could be very rolly but figured it could not be that bad.  However, we had run into another Fleming owner at the festival, and he had told us how bad the moorings were and recommended not doing it.  So we decided to do a land cruise to Camden instead.

Camden is only about 30 minutes by car from Rockland.   We reached Camden a little after noon and found a very quaint little town with a few art galleries and a number of touristy t-shirt shops.  It was fun to wander around but after about an hour we had seen all there was to see in town.  We did take a look at the moorings and of course the seas were perfectly flat – not a ripple in sight. Since we had time we drove up to the Camden Hills State Park that has spectacular views of the Penobscot Bay from the top of Mount Battie.

Camden

Camden

View from Mount Battie

View from Mount Battie

That evening, after returning to the boat and changing into more appropriate dinner attire, we returned to Camden to have dinner at Natalie’s.  Natalie’s had been voted the best restaurant in Maine and it did not disappoint. We sat on their deck overlooking Camden Harbor as the sun set.  It was a lovely cool evening.  I had the five course lobster dinner, which included four courses of lobster plus dessert.  The lobster courses were lobster poached in butter, lobster consommé, lobster yakitori, and grilled lobster.  All were outstanding.  Adrienne had a three course dinner, starting with seared tuna, followed by swordfish, and then dessert.  We both thoroughly enjoyed all the courses other than the desserts.  The desserts were their least successful courses but the other dishes more than made up for the desserts.  All in all it was a great meal and we heartily recommend Natalie’s.

Jim

 

Day 34, August 1, 2014 – Port Clyde to Pulpit Harbor

Friday morning we awoke to clear skies and light winds.  What a delight!  After a quick breakfast, we left Port Clyde for Pulpit Harbor – an anchorage in the Penobscot Bay that is reputed to be one of the nicest.

As we exited the harbor, we had the usual minefield of lobster pots, but as we cut eastward there seemed to be something of an opening that allowed us to head east without constant swerving or swearing.  It was a short passage east and then we headed north up the Penobscot.  We stayed in the shipping channel and while the channel was not float free, it was significantly better than what we had encountered in the last few days. The seas were calm and our journey was largely uneventful.  Occasionally we would see dolphins gliding along the surface, but our attempts to get pictures of them failed.

Around noon, we glided into Pulpit Harbor.  It was indeed quite scenic and peaceful.  We decided to anchor in the main part of the harbor.  However, after two failed attempts to set the anchor (apparently there are kelp beds and we must have been right over them), we entered a little cove called Cabot Cove.  There were a few boats at the entrance on moorings that belong to the Cabot family, but there was 10-20 feet deep water beyond the moorings.  We eased in and this time the anchor set easily.

It was a tight little cove, with one other power boat anchored alongside us.  Because it was so well-sheltered from the wind and because it was so tight, we only put out a 3:1 scope. There were ledges around us and a rock protruding just slightly above the water a couple hundred yards ahead of us.  Not much room for error.  But I set an anchor alarm and it was clear after a couple of hours that we were quite secure.

Boats and Cabot Family Dock in Cabot Cove

Boats and Cabot Family Dock in Cabot Cove

Cabot Cove - Pulpit Harbor

Cabot Cove – Pulpit Harbor

After lunch, Adrienne and I relaxed for a while and then began to plan our trip home.  We figured that we would go to Rockland and then Camden and thereafter begin a leisurely trip back south.  We needed an itinerary, however, because we wanted to stop by Adrienne’s sister’s house on the Cape and also connect with other friends along the way.  Our planning done, we spent the rest of the day reading and enjoying the serenity.  There was no internet and only sporadic cell phone coverage – so peace and quiet reigned.  It  was so quiet that I felt guilty turning on the generator so that we could use the cooktop to make dinner.

After dinner we sat out on the cockpit and enjoyed the evening.  A great blue heron joined us, blending so well into the shoreline that we needed binoculars to pick him out.  We also had a pair of black guillemots paddle by.  Adrienne’s the bird watcher, and she’s been trying to turn me into a bird watcher too with limited success.  But despite that we both enjoyed watching our avian friends just do their avian things in the quiet of the cove.

The sun slipped behind the trees and the cove quickly darkened. We turned in early and enjoyed the peaceful night.

 

 

Day 32-33, July 30-31, 2014 – Boothbay Harbor to Port Clyde

Fog.  Cold damp fog has descended upon us.  One minute you can see about a mile; the next you are lucky to see 100 yards.  As we cruise along, we strain to see where we are going.  Lobster pots suddenly loom out in front us.  Not a single pot but a minefield of them.  Sailboats emerge slowly from the mist like ghost ships in old horror movies.  We steer slalom courses through narrow channels, with shallow ledges on each side of us.  We constantly balance running aground with snagging lobster pots.  Welcome to Maine.

We left Boothbay Harbor this morning around 9 am.  The sky was cloudy but the visibility was fine.  Adrienne steered us through the mooring and lobster pots fields in the harbor.   As we exited Boothbay, our plan was to cruise the Damariscotta River for a while to see the scenery and then to head over to Muscongus Bay to anchor between Harbor Island and Hull Island.  However, as soon as we exited Boothbay, the fog began to roll in on us.  As we reached the entrance to the Damariscotta River, we realized that there was no point in heading up the river because we could not see more than several hundred yards.

So we cruised on, we reached Muscongus Bay and began to head north.  The fog deepened and the lobster pots seemed to multiply exponentially.  Adrienne was getting a major upper body workout, spinning our large steering wheel to each side as we danced through the pots.  After about five minutes, we had had it.  Continuing north and then trying to anchor in this fog was more than either of us wanted to do.  So I called the Port Clyde General Store to see if we could get a mooring for the night.  Why does one call the General Store for a mooring?  Because in Port Clyde, the General Store is the hub of all things in Port Clyde and runs a number of different businesses including the mooring field.  Our original plan had been to go to Port Clyde on Thursday and then visit Monhegan Island on Friday, using the Port Clyde to Monhegan Island ferry.  We wanted to speed things up by one day.  Fortunately, the Port Clyde General Store could take us and so we plotted a new course to Port Clyde.

We decided to take the more direct route to Port Clyde which had us cut between a number of small islands.  The charts showed plenty of water.  However, we did not count on the numerous lobster pots effectively blocking the channel.  By now Adrienne had relinquished the helm to me, since she was exhausted from dealing with all the pots.  Now it was my turn.

We kept hoping the sun would burn off the fog but no such luck.  Every once and a while it would seem to clear but alas, it would creep back in and smother us.  Entering the narrow channels, we could barely see the pots.  With great effort I steered through them but I could not see the channel for the fog.  Adrienne kept her eyes on the chart plotter and was able to make sure I stayed in deep water.  More than once, I flirted with disaster by getting outside the channel, looking out to suddenly see a buoy on the wrong side of the boat.  Somehow we made it through.  Our course track looked like the boat had been driven by a seriously inebriated skipper.  I only wish it was true.

Finally we pulled in to Port Clyde Harbor and called the General Store. The mooring we were supposed to be on was still occupied, but they found us another one.  However, we had no idea where it was because the markings on the mooring balls were very faded and virtually unreadable.  Fortunately someone came out in a launch and led us to the mooring.  Not only did he lead us to it but he actually handed the pennant to Adrienne.  Finally we could relax.

We launched our dinghy, ate lunch, and motored over to the dinghy dock to explore Port Clyde.  We first went into the General Store to check in.  The store has a little of everything.  It has a restaurant attached to it, a seafood market, a deli, a grocery area, a small marine parts section, and a sundry area.  Once checked in, we wandered outside.

Pier at the General Store

Pier at the General Store

Port Clyde General Store

Port Clyde General Store

Port Clyde is a typical small Maine town with the General Store, the ferry to Monhegan, a number of lobster piers, several bed and breakfasts, one small “hotel”, two churches and a post office.  What sets it apart, perhaps, is that the town has four different art galleries.  Three of the galleries were fairly typical – a mishmash of pieces with some being good and some terrible.  However, we wandered into one gallery, Blue Water Fine Arts, which had a showing of works by Barbara Ernst Prey.  Barbara Prey is a nationally recognized watercolorist whose works appear in the White House, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, among many others.  Her work is outstanding, and the gallery had a wide selection of large and small pieces, both original and prints. We really enjoyed her vibrant colors and simple but captivating scenes of Maine.

After taking in the art galleries, we wandered through the remains of Port Clyde, which pretty much consisted of a number of lobster piers.  As you can see from the pictures, Port Clyde is very much of a working lobster town.  Many lobster boats are moored alongside the pleasure boats in the harbor, and the shoreline is filled with lobster traps and floats.  As far as we could tell there was not much else to see in Port Clyde.  So we hopped in the dinghy and returned to Curiosity for a relaxing afternoon of reading for Adrienne, some LLS calls and emails for me, and for both of us watching the ever waxing and waning of the fog.

Lobster Traps

Lobster Traps

Lobster Shack

Lobster Shack

Lobster Shack with Evil Floats

Lobster Shack with Evil Floats

Lobster Pier

Lobster Pier

Monhegan Island Ferry - Elizabeth Ann

Monhegan Island Ferry – Elizabeth Ann

Tomorrow we will be hiking on Monhegan Island.  We just hope it’s in the sunshine and not the fog!

 

Fog

Fog

Even the Ducks Don't Seem Thrilled

Even the Ducks Don’t Seem Thrilled

 

* * *

We awoke to another day of dense fog.  The temperature was in the 50’s and there was a distinct chill in the air.  This was our day to see Monhegan Island, famous for its rugged coastline and for being the inspiration for countless famous artists.  We doubted that we would be able to see much of it through the fog, especially since the gray clouds seemed to close even more closely as we had breakfast and prepared for the day.

The anchoring and mooring opportunities on the island are quite limited.  As a result, we decided to take the ferry over and spend the day.  The ferry was full of people either visiting for the day like ourselves or spending a few days.  There was luggage piled up on the seats on the upper deck, blocking access to some of the life preservers.  Of course!

The air was quite chill as we left the dock.  Most of us were huddled under sweatshirts or sweaters.  Jim and I chose to sit on the upper deck in the hopes of seeing something other than fog.  At times we could see about ½ mile and at others the ferry was just enshrouded in mist.  We did get to see a few other things: lobster boats and lobster pots.  Our captain assured us, however, that the skies were usually clear around Monhegan Island.  We remained skeptical.

Exiting Port Clyde

Exiting Port Clyde

But the captain was right.  After a little more than an hour we arrived at Monhegan Island.  The fog was still with us, but it was definitely lifting around the island.  In fact, there was even some sunshine!  We were thinking that maybe this wouldn’t’ be a wasted trip after all.

Coming Into Monhegan Island

Coming Into Monhegan Island

Smuttynose (foreground) and Manana Islands across from Monhegan

Smuttynose (foreground) and Manana Islands across from Monhegan

Our first order of business was to grab some lunch so that we could spend the afternoon hiking.  So we set off to find someplace to eat, stopping in at a few galleries along the way.

For those who are not familiar with Monhegan Island, it is important to note that this is not a bustling commercial and tourist mecca, like Nantucket.  There are less than 100 people who call the island home year round.  During the summer months, the population swells, but is still small by most standards.  There is a small village, no mainland cars are allowed, the streets are not paved and about 2/3 of the island is protected woodlands with hiking trails. It is very popular with artists, who could be seen at their easels along the walks and cliffs.

We grabbed some lobster and crab rolls at a small café by Fish Beach and then hiked up past Monhegan House (one of the local inns).  The trail we chose took us through some woods and then along the southeastern and southern coastlines.  The trail was narrow and at times became steep rocky inclines.  It was lined with wild raspberry bushes (good) and poison ivy (bad).   As the trail wound around, it frequently ran right along the cliffs where we could see the boulders that make up the shoreline about 150 feet below.  We could first hear and then see the surf crashing on these rocks even though the day turned out to be mild and sunny with calm seas.  It was a spectacular sight.  We could well understand why artists, both current and past, would want to come here to paint this scenery.

Surf Pounding the Coast

Surf Pounding the Coast

Southern Coastline

Southern Coastline

Rocky Coastline

Rocky Coastline

Where the heck are we?

Where the heck are we?

More Cliffs

More Cliffs

Frothing Seas

Frothing Seas

Cliffs along Southeastern

Cliffs along Southeastern

Police Box?

Police Box?

Our only limitation on the hike was that we needed to be back in the village by 3pm because Jim had a conference call with all the LLS chapters.  It was not our plan to interrupt our visit to Monhegan with this call.  We were supposed to be anchored out by Harbor Island this day, but we skipped that because of the fog and ended up with an extra day in Port Clyde.  We thought we needed to at least try to see Monhegan when we did because the forecast for the rest of the week was questionable.  So, we ended up hiking for about 1 and ½ hours and then made our way to the village.

Then the fun really began.  Cell phone signals on Monhegan are sporadic at best.  You’re not supposed to be talking on your cell phone when you’re on the island; you’re supposed to be enjoying Nature’s beauty, so cell phone coverage shouldn’t be a concern.  Well, so much for that. We started walking around trying to get a decent signal.  Down to the docks, nothing.  Up the hill from the docks, nothing.  In the village, nothing.  Finally, at the intersection of the road up from the wharf and the main village road (if you can call it that), Jim got a signal.  He signed into the call just at 3, made his speech and promptly lost the signal and his phone.  He had used up all his battery power.  Perfect timing.

With the call over and done with, we had a little more time to poke around the village.  We wandered back down to Fish Beach to watch the boats come and go.  The artists were there with their easels, as well as locals who were coming and going in the ever-present dories.  Two teenage girls were trying to launch a paddle board so they could paddle into the harbor.  Only problem was that one of them couldn’t swim.  No problem.  She went with her friend anyway even though neither had a life jacket.  Oh, the wisdom of youth!

Old Time Dory

Old Time Dory

Inner Harbor - Monhegan

Inner Harbor – Monhegan

Old Time Dory

Dories for Rent

Dories for Rent

Trailing Geraniums

Trailing Geraniums

Monhegan Flowers

Monhegan Flowers

Lillies and Clematis

Lillies and Clematis

We caught the last ferry back to Port Clyde.  This time the sun was shining and we had a marvelous view of the water and the many small islands that mark the passage between Monhegan and Port Clyde.  Just beautiful!  We could also see for miles and miles hundreds of brightly colored dots clustered in the coves and passages between the islands.  Lobster pots!!  We would have to deal with them the next day when planned on cruising to an anchorage in Pulpit Harbor at the north end of Northhaven Island.  Can’t wait!

Port Clyde Harbor without Fog

Port Clyde Harbor without Fog

Curiosity in Port Clyde Harbor

Curiosity in Port Clyde Harbor