Back to Rockland do to the Chores
September, so far, has provided us with some gloomy weather after the stunning crisp sunny days we experienced in August. All the locals we spoke to felt that September was usually the best month, more settled weather, less fog – but maybe not this year.
We motored from North Haven Village across to Rockland in no wind, light drizzle and a sea mist that at least we could almost see through. Sandpiper were in Rockland so we had time while rain bound to catch up with them and hear their stories of cruising South America.
All our chores were completed once the rain stopped, on our 2nd run to the supermarket we were picked up by a local yacht owner who drove us there, waited while we shopped for all the heavy things we needed then dropped us back at the dinghy. Once again the American hospitality we have experienced has been exceptional, thanks so much Peggy.
Cruising in Company Again
The sun returned but we decided not to leave. Brits Rob and Sarah off Serafina were due to arrive in Rockland so we finally got a chance to meet them properly with an evening out ashore.
Next morning the 2 boats set off west in light winds, it was lovely to have company again, but although Serafina is the same size as Balvenie she was just a little too slippery for us with a freshly cleaned bottom and huge new light wind sail - soon we weren’t in company after all. (Skipper not very happy!!!!)
We negotiated a minefield of lobster pots to get to the very picturesque anchorage of Maple Juice Cove, with a name like that how could we not visit.
The anchorages in Maine have been outstanding, consistently the best we have ever had. Nearly all of them have been land locked with hardly a ripple over the flat water. There has been no wind most nights, the calm conditions are a cruisers dream. Anchorages in or near fishing harbours do get the 4.30am lobster boat wake up call, literally a wake up call as the wake slams up against our transom, but it doesn’t last long and sleep returns. Funny really ….. we seek out the perfect little rickety fishing hamlets but baulk at the noise the pesky fisherman make at such an unearthly hour.
Always Good To Have Plan B
We moved on late morning to take advantage of the outgoing tide and the afternoon sea breeze. But we spent far too long manoeuvring in very light winds through the ghastly minefield of pots we had negotiated the previous day, then the sea breeze kicked in much stronger than forecast and it was right on the nose. Hard on the wind with 25knots even in flat water is just no fun at all, after several tacks the call was made – Plan B came into effect and we both bore away downwind and headed for the tiny harbour of Round Pond. 20 miles sailed for a net gain of 8 miles west, not one of our better days but the bonus was that we had discovered yet another top spot.
Just after Balvenie and Serafina had anchored we were visited by local couple Karen and Walter. Karen very kindly offered to take the 4 of us touring the following day so we could see a little of inland Maine, offers like that don’t come our way often so we gladly accepted.
Next morning we were off on our sightseeing and shopping tour. Karen was an excellent tour guide (and driver) and soon had us travelling down cute country lanes and through quaint inland villages. It was interesting to see that the inland towns and villages were just as well cared for and presented as their coastal cousins. We wondered if we had been seeing an “air brushed” version of Maine in the touristy harbour towns but inland was just as delightful.
We stopped at a small local market and saw some of the most unusual vegetables I’d ever seen, purple and white carrots, stripped tomatoes – maybe I just don’t get out enough!! Next up was Beth's Farm Market, located it seemed in the middle of absolutely nowhere, this place was absolutely buzzing.
It seems Beth has an excellent business going, acres around the store are owned by the business and planted in all manner of produce, on sale just minutes after being harvested, doesn’t get much fresher than that. Following on from the multi coloured carrots and tomatoes spotted earlier we now experienced the biggest range of pumpkins/squashes you could ever imagine, yes see the photos as evidence. It’s amazing what you can find in the countryside these days!!!
We met up with Walter for an excellent lunch in Damariscotta, then continued on touring around. We went through Bristol and Bath, then arrived in Freeport home to LL Bean a huge Outdoor Sports, Activities and Clothing Retailer who have stores here open 24/7. They also have their outlet store here and that has encouraged many other retailers to base their outlets here, making a bargain hunters shopping haven. While Mark went in search of Wi-Fi to follow the first races in the Americas Cup Challenge yacht racing, it was time for the rest of us to do some serious shopping!!
Karen even stopped on the way back so we could do a quick supermarket top up. After an excellent long day out we were back at the dinghy dock just as the sun was dipping over the trees. Once again an amazing display of Maine hospitality, this one will surely be unsurpassed, thank you so much Karen for driving us around all day and to Walter for letting us borrow his lovely wife for the day.
Tropical Depression Gabrielle
We left Round Pond early the following morning. With winds forecast to get up to 23 knots later in the day it seemed a good idea to get some miles under our belt while conditions were lighter. Tropical Depression Gabrielle was heading our way so we had a rather gloomy forecast for the week, it was time to get in some miles westwards and tuck up for a few days.
Somehow things just didn’t turn out as planned. With gusts of 32 knots while crossing the bottom of Boothbay (still in the morning) it really did seem like a good idea to put Plan B into force and head for shelter at Five Islands. Serafina were ahead of us and reported 22 knots around the next headland and they were just able to lay the course to Harpswell Sound, didn’t sound too bad.
Therefore deployment of Plan B was not undertaken and we carried on in their wake. Not one of our best decisions but conditions change so quickly it is so hard to know.
The winds picked up to a peak of 38 knots apparent, we got more salt water over the boat in 2 hours than we have in the last couple of years, we struggled see the lobster pots because of all the white caps, and we were worried our very well worn headsail might finally fall apart if we reefed it in such strong winds (new headsail on order, to be collected in Rhode Island soon). So we ended up motoring - bashing into it as the wind shifted right on the nose. Eventually we reached the lee of land once again and finally the calmer waters of Harpswell Sound. Extra tot for Skipper and Admiral at happy hour!!
We spent 5 nights back in Harpswell Harbour waiting for favourable winds to start our migration south. We had our last Maine lobster meal ashore with Rob and Sarah, fittingly at Morses Cribstone Grill on Bailey Island which was where we had our first Maine lobsters weeks earlier. Another superb meal with service and setting to match, hard to beat anywhere in the world.
The rest of the time was filled doing boat jobs, catching up on emails, blogs and world events on the computers, sharing happy hours, dinners and playing dominoes with Serafina. Hours were spent hiding below from a serious amount of thunder and lightening, and bucket loads of rain (cleaned all that recently acquired salt water off and filled the watertanks!). In between all this inclement weather we had fog, lots of it and at times very dense. All in all it was a week of very gloomy weather.
Definitely Time To Get Cracking South!