Frenchboro – Long Island (Thursday, 8/10)
Before leaving Southwest Harbor we took a dinghy ride around the harbor. First we ventured to the town of Manset, located across the harbor from Southwest Harbor. It is home to a large Hinckley Yacht facility where they have mooring and a marina. We had considered staying here, but they are expensive and very exposed to the prevailing southwest winds. We were happy we chose the SW Harbor mooring ball instead.
We walked around this mostly residential community and then got back in the dinghy for further exploration. We passed a lot of different kinds of boats in the harbor; sail, power, old and new alike. We passed by a particularly old SeaRay boat and saw that its name was “Brandywine” and it was from Winter Park. We wondered if it could be from the owners of the old Brandywine’s Deli that used to be on Park Avenue, or if it was just coincidence.
We continued our exploration in the dinghy and went into Great Harbor Marina at the head of Southwest Harbor and very close to the town. Checking out the boats in the marina, we saw and met up with Jane & AL Speyer (“InSpeyered2”) – a Looper boat who we saw in Somes Sound. They are currently cruising Maine before continuing on their 2-year Great Loop adventure. We spent time on their boat talking with them and exchanging information, then we went back to our boat and prepared to leave.
Since we were only going 11 miles, we knew we had plenty of time to get to Frenchboro as it would take us less than an hour. We did not know if we would be able to pick up one of only 6 available moorings, and since there was not a good anchorage in the area, we made a Plan “B” just in case. However, we did not have to worry about it as we picked up a mooring right in the center of the field. Unfortunately, it was also right next to the path the lobsterman take to get out to their pots.
We had lunch on the boat, and then went for a dinghy ride into the town of Frenchboro. Our first stop was the Lunt’s Dockside Deli to investigate dinner opportunities. It is the only place to eat in town, and we had already decided that we would have lobster rolls for dinner. Here we put in our order for a pick up later in the evening.
We then walked the short path around the harbor and up to the Historical Museum. We spent time looking at the numerous memorabilia of the early days of lobstering in these parts, and we participated in the drawing of a quilt they were raffling. This coming weekend was the towns “Lobsterfest” and they were making preparations for the 200 or so people who would come to eat and celebrate. It is a fundraising event for the one-room school house. Currently there are only 3 students enrolled in the school, but in the next year 2 more will be added for a total of 5 students.
After the museum we walked to the church and school to see the view from this part of the harbor. It sits up on a hill and it is really pretty spectacular. Here we could also see that the tide had gone out and the rocks that were in the middle of the harbor were now clearly visible. They show how there is a channel that runs close to the eastern side of the harbor and where the town in rebuilding an old wharf for more commercial use.
There are lots of trails to walk to the beaches and rocky cliffs, and we contemplated taking one. However, Mark’s foot was bothering him and he did not want to put more stress on it, so we made our way back to the boat and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon reading and writing the blog. All the lobsterman started coming back to the harbor in their boats and we were constantly being rocked as they made their way past us. But it didn’t last long and they always waved hello as they passed us.
In the evening, we took the dinghy back to shore to pick up our lobster rolls for dinner. We brought them back to the boat and enjoyed eating such fresh food. During the day we had watched the lobster boat pull in and deliver the lobsters to their “pound” and knew that what we enjoying had just been pulled from the pound that day. We also watched one of the locals take their boat out to enjoy the beautiful evening with the family.
And then there was this beautiful sunset to end our spectacular day!
Isle au Haut – Long Island (Friday, 8/11)
This morning we left Frenchboro around 8:00 am and made our way to Isle au Haut (pronounced “I’ll oh ho”) in the fog. Using radar and our Garmin chart plotter we navigated around the islands and rocks in Merchants Row and the numerous lobster pots that crossed our path. By the time we approached the entrance to the harbor at Isle au Haut most of the fog had lifted. It was a little over 18 miles and took us just over an hour to make the trip.
We knew it might be difficult to pick up one of the rental mooring balls here as there are only 3 and they are usually taken early in the day. That was one of the reasons for leaving Frenchboro in the fog. As luck would have it, we entered this very narrow harbor just as a boat had left, freeing us to take their spot. Once we secured to the mooring, we dutifully put our rental fee in the plastic Pepsi bottle attached to the pickup buoy, adding to the previous days that had yet to be collected. This is 100% based on the honor system and is one of the main reasons we love Maine!
We took the dinghy into the town dock near the ferry landing and went for a walk through this very small town. We walked down to the library which sits on a hill overlooking the harbor entrance, hoping to get to its backside to take a few pictures. Here we learned the library building is also the town hall/performance center, and the city offices are on the second floor. The library itself is quite small, but totally crammed full of books. Although there is a full-time librarian year-round, the rest of the staff are volunteers. We met a woman named Marie who is a volunteer assistant librarian and is a summer-only resident; she lives in Florida the other 9 months of the year.
She filled us in on the community, which has less than 75 people who live on the entire island year round, but swells to 300 visitors in the summer months. Many people take a ferry to visit here, or go on to Duck Harbor located on the southern tip of the island. More than half of Isle of Haut is part of Acadia National Park and people come here to walk the trails, camp or fish. The others rent houses or stay at the Inn which was a bit far for us to walk.
After the library we went into the Island Store to look around and see what was there. Here we saw the community bulletin board where there was a signup sheet for a Triathlon they were having on Monday; there was one name on the signup sheet in the store.
We also saw that on Tuesday there would be an event hosted by Linda Greenlaw author of The Hungry Ocean (made famous by the book & movie “The Perfect Storm”) and four other authors who live on the island. Linda is a year-round resident of the island and she keeps her boat the “Mattie B” (a working lobster boat) in the harbor, not far from where we were moored.
The bulletin board also announced the 60’s-style dance they would be having tonight as a fundraising event to raise money to paint the Congregational Church’s steeple. It appears the whole town was geared for this big social occasion.
We also learned that it costs $300 to bring a car to the island on a ferry, so the ones you see on the island are very vintage; even the town fire truck is something to see. As a result, many people cycle or scooter around.
After the Island Store, we went to the Maine Lobster Lady for lunch. Mark got a crab roll and Denise got a lobster roll and we enjoyed sitting out at the picnic tables overlooking the harbor. It was a beautiful sunny day and we enjoyed meeting the locals, including the “Lobster Lady”, Rhonda.
In the afternoon we took the dinghy around the harbor and investigated the anchorage that is just east of the harbor entrance. We explored the cove and mooring field, and originally was going to go to western entrance to the harbor to see the lighthouse. However, the wind had come up and the current would be running against us on the way back, so we decided to go back to the boat and chill.
We watched several boats come in and try to anchor near the mooring field, but turning around and leaving as there is just not enough room in this tiny harbor. Park of the issue is that there is a huge rock on the north side in the middle of the mooring field that at high tide makes it appear to be a great spot to anchor. However, it is well marked on the charts and advised against it in the guide books.
That didn’t stop one sailboat from pulling in not too far from us and plopping down their anchor. They got in their dinghy and left to go ashore for dinner. As the tide went out, we watched their boat slowly approach the rock, and eventually the bow sat on it. When they returned they ended up pulling anchor and moving the boat in the dark.
Here are some other pictures from Isle au Haut:
Stonington – Deer Isle (Saturday, 8/12)
We woke up to light rain and fog, nixing the plans for Mark to dinghy Denise to town for a run. Too bad as it was nice and cool and perfect for a long run out to the lighthouse and back. Instead we ate breakfast, and since we had the generator on to heat up the boat, we charged all the electronics (iPhones, iPads, computers, etc.).
We waited for most of the fog to clear the harbor and at 9:30 we left the mooring and headed to Stonington on Deer Isle. As we left there was already another boat waiting to take our place who had been patiently waiting in the narrow harbor for us to leave.
We left the channel entrance turning north and heading into some fog and light rain, but it wasn’t the worst we had seen. We only had 5 or 6 miles to go to Stonington so we were not too terribly concerned. Plus our chart plotter tracks the course and makes a “breadcrumb” trail where we go. So for the first 3 miles we followed the same path we took on the way in yesterday, and by then was able to follow the channel into Stonington thoroughfare as there was not fog in this area and visibility was good.
Our original plan was to anchor off the town dock in the open thoroughfare, near moorings for the lobster boats. An alternative plan was to anchor of a nearby island if the current and wind was too rough. Although the weather was supposed to clear up in the afternoon, once we saw what this area really was like, we changed our plans. There is a marina (Billings Marina) near the western entrance to the Stonington area, that we had considered, but it is more than a mile from town and would require us to get transportation to go into town. However, the other alternatives were not so thrilling so we bit the bullet and chose the marina. Since we had been on moorings for the last 4 days, this was a welcome relief! Not having to run the generator to charge phones, the batteries, vacuum, make coffee, or anything else electric.
We called and after confirming space available in the marina, we pulled into a slip, settled the boat and checked in with Skyler, the young dockmaster. He was courteous but offered no solutions on how best to get into town. We decided we would just eat on the boat that night, and plan to take the dinghy into town in the morning for 8:00 am mass.
In the afternoon we went for a walk around the marina and watched a few lobster boats come in. We met Rick (“Wenka”) who was walking his dog around the marina. He was from Ocean Ridge (Boynton Beach) Florida and has a house on Deer Isle that his father built in the 1950’s. He brings his boat up every year and keeps it in the marina, while staying at the house nearby. We shared boat cards and a few boat stories and then we went back to our boat for a pasta dinner.
After dinner we streamed the movie “The Finest Hours”. It is based on a real-life story of a Coast Guard rescue off the coast of Cape Cod in the 1950’s, and stars Chris Pine. Although Mark had seen it before, Denise had not. We were inspired to watch it because there was a boat in the marina that is similar to the one used by the Coast Guard in the movie. Mark’s great eye spotted it and now we had to watch the movie. It is an excellent story if not overly dramatized Hollywood-style. It was a good way to end the day.
Castine – (Sunday, 8/13)
Oh the best-laid plans ..……We woke to thick fog and rain pelting our windows. Not a good day to take the dinghy the 1.5 miles into the town of Stonington for 8:00 am mass. The main reason for choosing to go into Stonington in the first place was to go to church. The Catholic churches in Maine are very sporadic and are combined parishes with very limited mass schedules. We really didn’t want to miss mass, even though we know God would forgive us. We just felt like with the weather and the limited schedules the devil was working against us.
We nixed the plans to get to church and to go into town, and waited for the fog to burn off. In the meantime Denise met a couple Bob & Ria (“Way to Go”) who were originally from Pittsburgh, but now live in Stuart, FL. They have a 48’ Kady Krogen trawler that got entangled in a lobster pot and had to be hauled out at this boat yard/marina. This was their first trip to Maine as well, so we shared our respective cruising stories before it was time to leave.
Finally the fog had burned off and we left the dock at 9:45. Although there was a more direct route to take to go into Castine, we wanted to go through an area that had been highly recommended for us to see; the Eggemoggin Reach.
So, we headed east through the Stonington Thoroughfare and into a well-marked channel around a bunch of rocks and small islands, then turned North into the Eggemoggin Reach. All throughout these parts we have dodged lobster pots but the entrance into this area had some of the highest concentration of posts we have seen. Fortunately, it did not last and eventually there were none. For nearly 10 miles we were able to cruise in a large body of water without any lobster pots. It was so refreshing and relaxing that we had no rocks, ledges or pots to worry about.
We cruised past an area called Wooden Boat School where you can tour the school where they build and restore wooden boats. Also located adjacent to the school is where Wooden Boat Magazine is published. The area is really beautiful with a mooring field run by the school, and a good anchorage buffered by an island nearby.
We continued north along this 1-mile wide body of water, cruising under the Deer Isle Bridge that links Deer Island and Little Deer Island to the mainland.
Shortly thereafter we began wide turn to the west and dumped into the East Penobscot Bay.
We rounded Cape Rosier and headed into Castine where we had reservations at Eaton’s Boatyard.
We chose this place because we have a business associate (now retired) from Winter Park who spends every August and September here. Bill Weir and his wife Alice have been coming up here and staying on their boat (“Quit N Time”) for the last 10 years. They leave their boat up here at Eaton’s throughout the winter and boat on it for these two months, mostly day trips around the Penobscot Bay area. This past year they purchased a house here, but still keep their boat at Eaton’s.
As we pulled into the marina Susanne Eaton was there to assist with the tie-up on the outside pier. She placed us on the far-east side with the dinghy hanging over the back. “Quit N Time” was on the inside across the dock as were two other smaller boats. In front of us was at least 125’ of open dock space including the fuel dock, but we were put at the very end, with our dinghy hanging out a bit off the pier.
We were anxious to settle the boat as we knew we could still make 12:30 mass at “Our Lady of Holy Hope”. We started to walk out of the marina on the way to church and we met Kenny Eaton (Susan’s father) and 3rd generation owner of the marina. We also met “Dobbin” – his jack Russell terrier that never leaves his side. Kenny offered us his truck to drive the mile to church and we took him up on it; we feared we would otherwise be late.
The church was very small, but was so full that some people sat on folding chairs outside the doors adjacent to the altar. This is the only mass on Sunday, and the closest one for at least 20 miles. After mass we walked around the property as the church overlooks Castine Harbor and beautiful view. It is also on land where an historic battle took place during the Revolutionary war.
We returned from church and thanked Kenny for the use of his truck. We had a chance to talk about the small lobster boat he runs where Bill is his stern man and they go out every day or every other day. Shortly thereafter Bill and Alice came down to the dock and we got a tour of their boat. We had a short chat and then made plans to get together in the evening.
We also had a chance to talk with Kenny further and see his lobster boat which he tied up in the now-vacant slot across the dock from us (and in front of the Weir’s boat). It is 80 years old and has a nearly-50 year old engine in it. The boat is loud (but not as loud as some we have heard) and it zips along quite well. Of course Dobbin is always onboard to supervise. Bill and Kenny loaded some more traps onboard as they had plans to set out these traps tomorrow morning. They were leaving at 6:00 am invited Mark to go with them, but he declined.
We had not had showers and needed time to get a few things done on the boat, so we spent the rest of the afternoon doing “chores”. Late in the afternoon we watched a 100 foot Hatteras Yacht pull into the dock between us and the fuel dock. We now understood why we were put so far on the end of the dock earlier today.
Around 5:00 Bill picked us up and gave us a tour of the Castine area, including around Fort George, the 9-hole golf course, the Maine Maritime Academy, and The Manor Inn – an old mansion that has been converted to an inn. He told us of the historical significance of this place during the American Revolution and pointed out many of the historical markers in town. He also showed us a few homes that are owned by former or retired executives of IBM and AIG, and then took us to their new summer home where we had drinks and hors d’oeuvres on their back porch overlooking the Penobscot Bay. It was a million-dollar view and we felt lucky to be there.
We then left to go to dinner, but not before going to the beach at Wadsworth Cove and watching an awesome sunset over the Bay.
From there we headed back into town and had dinner at “The Wharf” restaurant right near the water and adjacent to the marina. Here we had a birds-eye view of the “Spirit of Maine” that is owned by the Maine Maritime Academy. We learned it is used as a dormitory and training ship for students, and had just come back from Europe. It would soon be leaving to go up on the hard for some maintenance and new bottom paint.
After dinner we said good night and thanked them for their great hospitality and we went back to the boat. It was late and had been a terrific day that we thoroughly enjoyed.
Castine – (Monday, 8/14)
This was our first morning in a marina in a few days, so it meant a run was in order for Denise. After some initial hesitation (hard to get motivated) she ran up part of Maine Street and then headed east on Court Street past the City Hall, the library and the day school. From here, there was a nice flat run down along the water and back up to State Street where there was a huge hill. This is great training and her running coach would be happy! The path then took her by the golf course and ran all the way down Battle Avenue past the Maine Maritime Academy campus, Fort George and all the way to Dyce (Dice) Head Lighthouse. Here, a short break was in order to snap some pictures, then she ran back to Main Street and the public wharf. All the while Mark slept in very late!
Once back on the boat and with Mark now awake, we ate breakfast and spent the morning working and updating the blog, hoping to be able to publish something. However, the bandwidth here is really slow and we knew it was not going to work out well. We spent time in the afternoon checking in with our family members and catching up on things going on back home. After all, we are just a cell phone call away (in most places).
Later in the afternoon we went for a walk around the town harbor and the public docks. We stopped to talk to the harbormaster about getting a pump out the next morning as we leave, and got the information we needed. Walking away from his office we recognized Jeff and Karen Siegel (founders of Active Captain – owners of “Red Head”) who were sitting at a picnic table along the water. We knew they were based out of Castine where they used to live, but now lived aboard their boat and cruised full-time. We introduced ourselves and talked for a while learning their boat was across the harbor and tucked in at Smith Cove – a place we had already talked about as a possible anchorage.
Once back on the boat, Bill came by and wanted to know if we wanted lobster for dinner. Is the Pope Catholic? – Of course we said yes and made plans for a lobster feast on the dock at Eaton’s. At 5:30 we gathered at the picnic tables on the dock to enjoy the delicious lobsters caught that morning by Kenny & Bill. Kenny’s wife Cathy joined us and brought a blueberry pie and we had made brownies to contribute to the feast which we baked in our less-than-efficient oven. It took almost 1.5 hours, but they must have been good because there were hardly any left when our dinner was done.
This is the way Mainers do it: fresh boiled (in salt water) soft-shelled lobster, corn on the cob and blueberry pie (or brownies) for dessert. It was delicious and a great way to end the day and our stay in Castine.
We loved this town and all that it had to offer and can see why people come here. Here are a few more pictures from the area:
Smith Cove – Near Castine – (Tuesday, 8/15)
At the beginning of the day, Denise was off on an adventure with Suzanne to get a pedicure. She had a friend that owned a place a few towns over and it was a 20 minute drive. Her friend was very accommodating and willing to come in at 7:00 am. By 9:00 Denise was back at the boat and we began re-planning our next few days of adventure.
The weather forecast for the day was not looking so great, and we had planned to go to an anchorage in the Barred Islands. However, with the winds projected to blow 35 knots, we decided against it as there was little protection at that anchorage. We were not quite ready to leave this side of Penobscot Bay, so we opted to go a short 3 miles south across Castine Harbor and anchor at Smith Cove instead.
However, before leaving Eaton’s we went to the city dock for a pump-out. This took no time and in less than an hour we had completed the pump out and made our way over to Smith Cove.
This is a rather large area for anchoring and there were only three other boats; one to our starboard way up near the western shore, and two off our port side near the eastern shore. One of the two boats was “Red Head” – Jeff & Karen Siegel’s boat. We knew they were anchored here and after getting situated we knew why. It is a much protected anchorage and there is lots of birds, trees and peace and quiet.
We spent the rest of the day reading and cataloging pictures. There was limited cell signal and no internet, so we were a bit unplugged. In the afternoon it got a foggy, but it was not the worst we had seen. It also didn’t keep us from lighting up the barbecue and having hamburgers on the grill for a delicious dinner.
Later in the evening the weather all around us looked awful. Radar showed a huge storm and we could hear the thunder roaring not far away and braced for it to hit us. But we never got any of it, or if we did we slept through it all.
Belfast (Wednesday, 8/16)
When Denise got up in the morning the fog had lifted and it was a beautiful day. It was very quiet in the anchorage, except for the handful of seals splashing about in the water. It was a perfect morning to just take in the beauty of God’s great creation – undisturbed. The only other sound was the horn of what was believed to be the Spirit of Maine departing from its berth in Castine, and headed to a shipyard for its scheduled repairs.
Eventually, a cup of coffee was in order which necessitated turning on the generator. When we do this everything gets charged: cell phones, computers, iPads, cameras, etc. It also wakes up Mark, so Denise was kind enough to wait until nearly 7:30 before doing this.
After breakfast we pulled up anchor and left Smith Cove to cruise back into eastern Penobscot Bay.
We passed by the town and Castine and noticed the Spirit of Maine was gone, confirming the earlier assumption that it had left port.
We headed out into Penobscot Bay, rounding Dyce (Dice) Head Lighthouse and a saw the Weir’s house up on the hill.
We cruised past the top of North Islesboro Island where we saw a clipper ship (probably a windjammer) having a great time sailing on the bay.
We then made our way west across the west Penobscot Bay and entered Belfast Harbor where we had a reservation at Belfast City Landing Marina. It took us less than 1.5 hours to get there and we pulled into our slip with the assistance of very capable dockhands.
Once we settled the boat, we made contact with our long-time sailing friends Irv & Marsha Halper (“Hangout”). We have known them since 1999 when we had our mutual sailboats in the Bahamas, and had last seen them in April 2016 in Delray Beach at the end of our Loop adventure. We made plans to have dinner together later that evening, and then we went to work to clean the boat. Mark on the outside and Denise on the inside. It was filthy from days at moorings/anchors so it needed everything.
After our showers and a few other chores, we walked over to the Front Street Boatyard for cocktails and socializing on “Hangout”. Then the four of us walked to town for dinner at Delvino’s – a local Italian restaurant that had very fresh and delicious food. We all had plenty to take home for leftovers.
We walked around the downtown doing a bit of window shopping as most everything was closed, and made plans to reconnect on Friday.
Belfast (Thursday, 8/17)
This morning we woke up to very cool weather (51°) – family & friends back home would be jealous as they are sweltering in the 95 degree heat. Denise went for a run in town and then down the rail trail that runs along the Passagassawakeag River (P-river). It is a beautiful path that has great scenery and a few houses along the way. Here are some shots from the run:
After she returned back to the boat she got a quick shower and then together we walked up the hill to the local laundromat to get our laundry done. With lots of washers and dryers available, we were able to do it all in about 1.5 hours and as soon as we were done, Mark went and got an Enterprise Rental Car while Denise stowed it all away on the boat. We had an adventure planned and we wanted to get underway!
We drove north for an hour to Bangor, Maine, which is where Denise was born. It had been over 50 years since she last visited and she wanted to see what the place looked like. Additionally, she has been following the Bangor, Maine Police Department on Facebook (they are hilarious and you should too), and being this close we knew we had to go.
Our first stop was the police department and to visit the Duck of Justice (DOJ) – what has become the mascot for the PD, and has gone viral on the internet. People come from all over to get their picture taken with this duck, and if lucky get to meet “TC” – the officer who writes the FB page. We were not fortunate enough to meet TC, but we did get our picture with the DOJ.
Then went for a quick bite to eat at a Mexican Restaurant Verve Burritos, and explored some of the downtown Bangor sites.
From there we drove to see the house the family lived on when Denise was born, and then tried to locate two others the family had lived in before her birth. No surprise, one is now a parking lot and the other we were unable to locate as the actual house number was unknown.
From there we did a little shopping; first to get a DOJ t-shirt at the only store that sells them. We then did a Walmart run for a few things, before heading back to Belfast. Before getting to the marina, however, we had to stop at the grocery store (Hannaford’s) to stock up the pantry.
Once back on the boat, our friends Irv & Marsha wanted to show our boat to their friends Herb & Ruth (“Ancient Mariners”), who were on an American Tug in the slip next to us. They are an older couple and are considering a new boat, so we welcomed them aboard for a quick tour.
In the meantime we had met the people in the boat slip on the other side. Ted & Kim (“True Companion”) had arrived on their Marlow while we were in Bangor, and we had a chance to talk about Castine (where they went into when we left) and other places we had been. We also had a chance to discuss the Marlow yachts as we had looked at them as a possible “move-up” boat for the future.
For dinner we went to Young’s Lobster Pound which is located on the other side of the river. This is a very busy place and is known for having the best lobster and clams. Most boaters use their dinghy to get there, however since we had the rental, we decided to drive it. The parking lot was packed and there was a long line to place your order, but it moved quickly. We
Belfast (Friday, 8/18)
The day started with Denise and Marsha going to the Farmers Market not too far from the marina. Here they got to taste some of the locally grown produce, cheeses and other items. She came away with a new cantaloupe that was deliciously sweet and a croissant for Mark to enjoy.
Meanwhile Mark returned the rental car back to Enterprise and got a lift back to the marina. He then headed back to the laundromat to do a load of boat rags and towels. Marsha dropped Denise there to meet him and help finish the task.
We started walking back to the boat and barely made it back in time before the rain started. And then it literally rained for the rest of the entire day. We hunkered down on the boat and used the opportunity to do work, catalog photo pictures, read and write up some of the blog posts.
Belfast (Saturday, 8/19)
Since she was going to run anyway, Denise decided at the last minute to jump into a 5k race sponsored by the Belfast Rotary Club as part of the Harborfest Activities. It was a small event with less than 125 people participating as runners or walkers. The race started at Heritage Park, ran through town on the rail trail, out to the footbridge across the river, and then returned back to Heritage Park. Afterwards, there was a pancake breakfast free for all participants, which Mark helped Denise eat (but not too much).
As we were sitting at the table eating, Denise got a call from her cousin Linda, who lives in Maine. She said she was walking around the docks in Belfast and saw our boat, which she recognized after our get-together while in Kittery. So we left the breakfast and connected up with her and her family (husband Dan, daughter Chelsea, and Dan’s sister and brother-in-law) who were visiting the area for a weekend. As they had plans, and we did too, we were unable to spend more than about 30 minutes together, but we were thrilled to see them.
After a quick shower on the boat, we then connected with Irv & Marsha. Originally we were going to go to the Transportation museum in Rockland, but it was their big fundraising weekend and the museum was set up for that, not the usual exhibits. Instead, we drove through Camden where we had decided we would not take the boat as we had visited there by car in the past. We stopped at the Rockport Market Place, a gourmet market along the highway that has a fabulous cheese shop and meat market (Maine Street Meats) that Marsha buys things from.
From there we went on to the town of Rockport where we had been debating about taking the boat. After we parked at the harbor and walked around, we decided it was way too crowded and small for us to take Island Office into and were grateful for the chance to see this town by car. It was here that we also met up with Tom, a friend of Irv & Marsha’s who is a photographer that teaches classes to photo professionals in the summer in Rockport. He was leaving this week to go back to Montreal for the fall, and they will see him there before they head back to Florida for the winter. Tom has photographed for National Geographic’s and had never sailed before he bought his first boat and took sailing lessons from Irv.
By this time we were all hungry, despite a big breakfast, so we were taken to a place called the “3 Dogs Café”. It is one of the Halper’s favorite spots and it did not disappoint with lots of baked goodies, sandwiches, quiches and soup/chowders. Then Irv drove us on some of the beautiful and rural roads around the Camden hills of Maine before heading back to the marina.
We came back to the boat hoping to get in a nap, but met up with Ted (“True Companion”) – he and his wife Kim were on a Marlow 62 in the slip next door to us. He invited us to come aboard and we sat in the aft cockpit of their boat where we reviewed places to go to in Maine as well as Mass, RI & Connecticut. He gave us some great suggestions and many things to think about when we make our plans to head south.
In the evening we ate a dinner of leftovers (aka – restaurant doggie bag) and enjoyed some relaxing time on the boat. We attempted to watch the movie “New in Town”, but the internet was so sporadic it was a painful experience. Eventually, we gave up and went to bed.
There are several issues with the effectiveness of the internet here. One is that no matter how strong the signal is, if there are lots of boats in the marina all trying to use it (like in the evening), then there is insufficient bandwidth to handle the load, especially streaming a movie. The other issue is that our ability to pick up the signal is directly related to the tides. If it is high tide and our boat is almost level with the cement pier, then the signal is good. But with 10’ tides, at low we have significant blockage from structures and other boats and it is not so great. Thus, insufficient time and/or bandwidth prevents timely posting of our blogs.
Belfast (Sunday, 8/20)
Although we were planning to leave right after church, on the walk to mass at St. Francis of Assisi, we decided to stay another day.
So, after mass we went back to the boat and made sure it was ok with the marina for us to extend one more day. We then waited for the stores on Main Street to open. Although some remained closed on Sunday, most were open for us to peruse and see what they had to offer. Unlike Camden or other “touristy” towns, this one had stores that provided real goods and services to the community, including a fabric store/crafts store and a hardware store (always our favorite).
Another reason for staying was so we could enjoy the rest of the town’s Haborfest activities, including their big lobster fundraiser under the big tent. Sponsored by Habitat for Humanity, you got lobster, corn, coleslaw or chips, dessert and soda/water for $25. It was a perfect lunch served buffet style with family-style seating that enabled us to talk with some of the locals. This community is so special and so many people come out to support it; no wonder it is known as the “biggest small town in Maine”.
We walked back to the boat from the Harborfest activities and Denise worked on blog while Mark did some office type work. Our friends on “True Companion” had left and there was a new boat now in their slip. We met Robert & Tricia (“Spirit”), on a Tartan37 sailboat and assisted them with a water connection. We talked on the dock for a while and learned they are from Connecticut and were interested in doing the Loop, but not in their sailboat. We invited them on board our boat to get to know each other better and to discuss places to visit and cruising the east coast.
After Robert & Tricia left, we walked to dinner at “Meanwhile in Belfast” – a Neapolitan-style Italian restaurant that had been highly rated and won Downeast magazine’s “Best of” in 2016. We ordered their deliciously fresh pizza and agree with the great rating. While dining we met the couple sitting at the table next to us. They are here from the Washington DC area and they have a Sabre 42 which they keep in Annapolis. We chatted briefly before walking back to our mutual boats; theirs was at Front Street Marina.
Once back on board we completed a tentative itinerary for the coming days considering we will encounter high winds and a lots of rain on Tuesday night. We then finished watching (as best as we could) the end of “New in Town”, deciding we may need to re-watch it again when we have better internet coverage.
We really liked this town and glad we came here. Here are some other pictures of Belfast: