Daily Archives: September 19, 2017

Boston Revisited!

Boston, MA (Monday, 9/4 – Labor Day).
Taking advantage of the late checkout and our planned late departure from the marina, we slept in as late as possible.  We then took nice hot showers and headed to the concierge lounge where we got a nice breakfast.  We checked out of the hotel and got an Uber ride back to the marina where it was sunny and calm and locals were taking their boats out for what turned out to be a beautiful day.

We left Salem just after noon and in no time we were passing Marblehead Light.  We cruised around the barrier islands of Nahant and Deer Islands and into Boston Harbor.

Leaving Salem Harbor

Buildings on Nahant Island

Deer Island – Boston Harbor

This place was even crazier than the last time we had arrived, with fishing boats, pleasure craft, tour boats, ferries, Coast Guard vessels and cruise ships all navigating around the channel and churning up the waters.  As soon as we passed the marinas near the Marriott Hotel things settled down and we were able to easily cruise back into Constitution Marina up the Charles River.  This time we were not put on the transient dock, but rather they assigned us a slip on D-dock where we would be near several of the live-aboards and seasonal slip holders and that was ok with us; boaters look out for other boaters.

We secured the boat, checked in with the marina and communicated with family.  Mark washed off the boat and Denise worked on getting the blog ready for a post. We had already decided to go to Regina’s Pizzeria for dinner, and since we did not have lunch around 4:30 we headed out to Boston’s north end. Our walk took us by way of the Charles River Locks walkway, and (naturally) Denise chimed the Charlestown Bells as she passed.  (See blog post “Boston Strong”).

We arrived to find an already long line, but put our name in for seats at the bar and then waited in the hot sun.  Finally, after 30 minutes or so, we got seated and placed our order and had a well-deserved beer that tasted oh so good!  By the time our individual pizzas showed up we were starving and wasted no time finishing them off and another beer.  After this we walked back towards the boat, stopping at Bova’s Bakery to get some great cookies like we had done when we were here in July.  Not great for the waistline, but oh so delicious!

Regina’s Pizzeria

Bova’s Bakery – north end

When we returned to the boat we streamed the weather and news and became concerned. It looked like hurricane Irma was looking to hit our home state and upset our coming weekend plans. We would definitely have to follow this storm in the next two days.

One thing for sure; we were happy to be in a marina with great internet connectivity, cell coverage, water, and electrical power.  And tonight for the first time in weeks we had to use the power for our AC not the heater.  What a difference 100 miles makes!

Constitution Marina from bridge

Boston, MA (Tuesday, 9/5)
Happy to be in familiar grounds, Denise went for a good run this morning back along the Charles River. Her run took her past the locks and parks along the water to the MIT Sailing Club and then back to the marina.  It was hot but this would provide a little acclimation to the heat she will face when running with her buddies this coming weekend. She loved it!

Early morning rowers on the Charles

In the morning we took some time to clean the boat; Mark washed the outside and Denise the inside.  We spent the afternoon doing work for clients, administrative items for our business, and working on getting text down for an update to the blog.  It was nice to have a good internet connection and not be concerned with eating up our hotspot with the large data transfers.

In the evening we walked the ½ mile to Whole Foods and got a few things, including a rotisserie chicken that we paired with some rice and a salad for a nice dinner aboard our Island office.

Boston, MA (Wednesday, 9/6)
As expected, the weather in Boston was stormy and very windy.  We did not venture far from the boat and spent some time talking to others in the marina. One such person was Chuck who owns a Back Cove ’37 that he purchased after it had been sunk in hurricane Sandy.  We had met him when we stayed here the first time, and saw him and his fiancée Victoria again in NE Harbor, Maine.  It is fun to share improvements and other challenges with a boat owner that has the same boat.

Despite our bad weather here, we were sympathetic to the people in the Virgin Islands who took a horrible beating by Irma.  The initial reports coming in did not look good and our hearts go out to the people there.  We were now getting a little concerned with the impact this could have on Florida and our home.

Moonrise over Constitution Marina

Boston, MA (Thursday, 9/7)
Today was the day to reschedule all of our upcoming weekend activities. It was clear that the storm would most likely hit Florida and we would be impacted in Orlando in some way. So we had to plan our Friday afternoon to prep for it.  We put together a game plan so when we landed in Orlando on Friday morning we could attack all that would be needed to get us through the post-hurricane period.  The news was reporting of long gas lines and bottled water flying off the shelf. We were grateful that we had already filled our cars with gas before we left in July, and that we had at least 3 gallons of bottled water at the house.  We would freeze pitchers of tap water once we got home and that should give us plenty to get us over the hump.

In prep for leaving the boat, we did laundry, updated the blog and our bags for home.  We then walked up the hill from the marina to Blacksmoor Bar and Kitchen and had a nice dinner in a casual atmosphere.  We watched the weather channel on the TV in the bar from the high-tops where we were seated.  It looked ugly for Orlando and we were really concerned, but grateful our boat was not there.

Blackmoor entrance

Boston, MA (Friday, 9/8)
We took an Uber cab to Logan International from the marina at o-dark thirty and arrived in plenty of time to get through security and go to the Sky Club for a quick breakfast.  Mark had already received notice of his upgrade to First Class, and when we walked down to the gate we saw almost nobody there.  Denise was also upgraded to First Class and there were over 80 open seats available on the plane. The plane was only 1/3 full with mostly Delta crew dead-heading, or a handful of central-Florida residence (like us) trying to get to their homes before Irma struck.  The exception was a Chinese family who had at least 10 in their party and were headed to Disney World. They had at least 4 kids who were so excited to see the Magic Kingdom, and they were not going to let a hurricane interfere with their fun. They had great attitudes and were terrific.

 

Once on-board the flight we were surprised to see our friend Susan Dare, an Orlando-based Delta Flight attendant was working that flight and heading home. It was a terrific surprise and made the trip home all that more special.

We will pick up our adventures on Island Office once we return back to the boat on 9/12.

Heading South!

Manchester By The Sea (Saturday, 9/2)
Because we had a long passage planned for today, Denise got up early and managed a 3.5 mile run as the sun was coming up over Potts Harbor.  Of course we had to wait to get one last round of coffee and blueberry muffins before we untied the dock lines and said goodbye to the Dolphin marina and Potts Harbor. We really like this area and hope to be able to come back to it someday.

Our route took us past the west side of Eagle Island and Little Mark Island Monument, then out through the channel to Casco Bay Inlet.

Eagle Island – leaving Maine

Little Mark Island Monument

From there it was a pretty straight shot around Cape Elizabeth (Portland) and the two lighthouses, down the Maine coast and to Cape Ann Light, just off the coast of Gloucester, Mass. We had left Maine and at one point we were so far off the coast we could only see the outline of the Isle of Shoals to our right and none of the remaining Maine coastline.  It was a pretty calm day and the seas were small enough that the boat handled well with the autopilot doing its thing.  There were still plenty of lobster pots to watch for, but not near the density of other parts of Maine.

Cape Ann – Thatcher Island

Eventually, land came back into sight and we rounded the corner at Cape Ann Light.  We headed west and dodged the numerous boats that were enjoying a nice day on the water, many of them sailboats.  We passed by the Eastern Point Lighthouse near Gloucester and continued on until Manchester Bay.

Eastern Point Light – Gloucester

We really wanted to stay in Gloucester but the schooner festival was being held this weekend and there was no room on moorings or marinas.  Our next choice was the small community of Manchester-by-the-sea (Manchester), now made famous by the movie of the same name.  We had reservations for a mooring ball at the Manchester Yacht Club (MYC) for the night.

Finally, at 3:00 we pulled into the float at MYC to rinse the salt off the boat and to wait for our mooring assignment.

IO at MYC

We were hopeful that they would give us a mooring ball near their club as the outer harbor was already pretty rough and the weather (mostly high winds) was going to get worse in the next 24 hours.  Fortunately, they put us near the club on a mooring otherwise assigned to a vacant member. Although it was really tight and we had to pull the line in close, it was great protection and we were happy.

Mooring too close for comfort

Once tied up we had the launch take us back to the club so we could check out the place.

MYC

Front view – Manchester Yacht Club

They do not have any restaurant at this yacht club, so we would need to find someplace else to eat. Furthermore, the club is not close to town, but the launch service will take you to the town docks.  So we went back to the boat and got showers, and then we called the launch back to take us into town.

Launch driver Emmett at MYC

Inner Harbor

Dinghy dock in inner harbor

Once in downtown we immediately went to dinner. It was getting late and there were not a lot of choices, so we opted for hamburgers at Cala’s Restaurant.  They were very good and hit the spot after a long day on the water.

Cala’s Restaurant

We then walked all around town to take in some of the sights of this very quaint and cute place. Almost all the shops were all closed, but that didn’t stop us from window shopping.

Downtown Manchester

Downtown shops

Library at sunset

First Parish Church – Congregational

Firestation – now museum

Town Hall

We did notice that Crosby’s Market (local grocery store chain) was still open, so we decided to pop in and get a few things.

Crosby’s – grocery store

From there we walked back towards the town dock where we would pick up the launch.   However we decided we first wanted to get an ice cream from Captain Dusty’s.  This is a local place that was named after a black man who started a lobster shack in its very place.  Although he has since passed away, “Captain Dusty” was a Pullman porter for a local millionaire who came from South Carolina to the all-white enclave just before the depression hit.  When his boss died and the depression hit he found himself learning to fish to keep food on the table. Eventually, he started the lobster shack and he and his wife became huge supporters of the kids in the community; they had no children of their own.  This ice cream shop is now a landmark in town and despite being in a residential neighborhood, the town fights to allow it to stay in business.  It kind of helps that they have pretty good ice cream too!

Captain Dusty’s at night

We called for the MYC launch and awaited his arrival, while shivering in the wind.  Finally he came and picked us up to take us back to our Island Office.  Once back on board, we streamed the movie “Manchester by the Sea” as neither of us had seen it and we wanted to see what they put in the movie. Definitely some of the houses that overlook the harbor were in the opening scenes, as was the Town Hall and other buildings.

Here are some other pictures we took during our short stay here:

Home overlooking Manchester moorings

Home overlooking MYC moorings

Home overlooking MYC moorings

Smith Point – Manchester Watch Tower from WWII  Now converted to a guest house for a private home

One of the other reasons we had chosen this town was to be able to go to mass on Saturday evening. However, once we arrived we learned that the Saturday mass on this holiday weekend was not available at this church, and the only Sunday mass was too late. We would have to go to one of the other sister churches in the parish which included the towns of Beverly and Salem. So, we now had to rethink our time for going to Salem tomorrow, arriving in time for their 9:00 a.m. mass.  That meant an early departure for the 6 miles across the Salem Sound. Since the wind was going to pick up during the day, this fit with our plans to leave early anyway.

Salem, MA (Sunday, 9/3)
As predicted the wind picked up during the night and it was already blowing by morning.  We got underway before 8:00 a.m. and headed out onto Salem Sound with a good 3 foot chop on the bow.  This was even after being behind the protection of a few barrier islands that acted as buffers from the strong south wind and waves.  This was tolerable because we knew it was a short 6.5 mile cruise up to Salem and Brewer’s Hawthorne Marina where we had reservations.  Although rain was in the forecast, we did not encounter any which also helped make the trip easier.

Fort Pickering Lighthouse

Salem mooring field

We pulled into the Salem Harbor, quickly secured the boat and told the dockmaster we would be back to check in; we had 10 minutes to get to mass in time and we still had quite a hike.  We quickly walked down the streets past the National Park Maritime Center and several historic buildings and up to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.  If we were thinking, we would have taken an umbrella, but since it was not yet raining we didn’t think of it.  We did however make it just in time for the opening prayers and easily found seats in the back of a semi-filled church.

IO at Brewers

Immaculate Conception

When mass was over we exited to find it had started sprinkling and it continued to get us wet all the way back to the marina.  Once on property we went upstairs to the cruisers lounge where the dockmaster had muffins, donuts and coffee that were very well received.  It started to rain more and the wind was really blowing now.  We looked out on our boat that was side-tied to an inside slip along the long dock and we could see it was bouncing like crazy.  It was not going to be a good day to go sightseeing and staying on the boat didn’t look like too much fun either. It was like a flashback to the days we spent in Grand Haven, MI when doing the Loop.    We stayed up in the cruiser’s lounge for a bit but decided to go back to the boat and figure out what we would do for the rest of the day.

Cruiser’s Lounge at Hawthorne Cove

Washing machines & restroom at Cruiser’s Lounge at Hawthorne Cove

Cruisers lounge at Hawthorne Cove

We started with the idea that we could just take our computers back to the cruisers lounge and work from there; Mark had work to do for clients and Denise wanted to get the blog update posted.  That morphed into us going to the movies; this would require us to get an Uber as the theater was not close to the marina.  Finally we settled on getting a hotel room for the night, with Mark using some “Hilton Honors” points to get us into a Doubletree hotel in Danvers. Of course this would still require an Uber ride, but we were willing to do this and get off the boat that was now making Denise seasick.

After packing a quick bag and securing our ride, we made our way to the hotel only to find that there were no rooms yet available for check in. It was just after noon and they were still cleaning rooms.  Since we had not had lunch we went to the bar area in the hotel and got something to eat while waiting for a room.  We did not have to wait long before one became available so we checked in and got to our room and broke out the computers to get our work done.  Outside it was pouring raining and the wind was really blowing. We were happy to be high and dry and out of that mess.

We also used this time to plan our week ahead before flying home.  Irma was now skirting Puerto Rico and forecasted to hit south Florida, but its future path was anybody’s guess. We started considering what to do should the storm head this way and where we could take our boat. We also saw that the weather in our area now was iffy, with one really good day to go the 20 miles into Boston where we would be leaving the boat while we were gone.  Considering this, we decided to leave Salem after only one day and head to Constitution Marina a day earlier than planned.  We called the marina and confirmed they could take us, so we planned to leave tomorrow but not too early; the seas would lie down in early afternoon and we would stay in the marina as late as possible.

Because of his lifetime Diamond status with Hilton, we were given access to the concierge lounge where they had hot hors d’oeuvres.  Since we had a big lunch this was all we needed for dinner and allowed us to stay in the hotel for the entire day.  It actually ended up being quite relaxing, but meant we did not get to explore and see Salem as we had originally intended.

Here are some pictures of the sights near the marina or on the way to church that we did get to see:

Historic district homes

Historic Custom House – Salem NP

Salem Maritime – National Park

Brewer’s Hawthorne Cove

House of 7 Gables – next door to marina

Dockmaster’s office at Hawthorne Cove

Cool Coves and Delightful Dolphin!

Maple Juice Cove (Monday, 8/28)
We left Journey’s End Marina and headed first to the Rockland Town Landing for a pump-out. We were planning on spending a few nights on a mooring or anchorage and wanted to ensure we had plenty of space in our holding tank.

Pump out at Rockland Public Landing

Once we complete the pump-out, we left Rockland Harbor, passing Owl’s Head Light and taking the shortcut Muscle Ridge Channel around Owls Head and some cool islands with big rocks.  From there we headed out into the Gulf of Maine and around the islands that make up this part of Maine’s coast.  We turned north up the St. George River and made our way into Maple Juice Cove.

Leaving Journey’s End Marina

Owls Head Light

Whitehead Island Light Station

Marshall Point Lighthouse

Passing Port Clyde

Although the lobsterman don’t really like cruisers to come to this anchorage, it is popular because of its protection and ability to hold a large number of boats.  But it is also a great place to go visit the Olson House, located near the town of Cushing on Pleasant Point on the north shore of the anchorage.  The Olson House was made famous by its depiction in Andrew Wyeth‘s Christina’s World.

Wyeth’s Christina’s World

The house and its occupants, Christina and Alvaro Olson, were depicted in numerous paintings and sketches by Wyeth from 1939 to 1968.  You can learn more about his work here or by visiting the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland – a place we did not get to while there.

Olson House from our mooring

We cruised around the anchorage a bit to find a good location and settled on an unoccupied mooring of large size and in good condition with ownership markings for a marina further up the river. As there were several others available and no bad weather forecasted, we figured it would be ok to take it and felt secure we would not get kicked off. If someone should come by to collect a mooring few we would gladly pay it, but no one did.

We ate lunch on the boat and then launched the dinghy for an adventure, and to go check out the Olson House.  We took the dinghy to the lobster pound at the very south end of Pleasant Point and got permission to tie up on the inside of their dock.

Lobster pound at MJC

From there we walked up the dirt road past a few homes and up the hill. Along the way we met a woman who was walking home with her son who had just come off the school bus (first day of school) and they were walking back to their house.  We stopped and talked with her about the area and what life was like for her living in such a remote area.  She suggested we also venture to the gravesites near the water where Andrew Wyeth is buried, and her family plot was located; they had been here since the 1800’s.

From there we continued up the hill to the Olson house to take some pictures and explore. The house was not open (closed on Monday & Tuesdays), but we walked around, looked in the windows and took pictures.

Olson House

IO at MJC – view from Olsen House

We then ventured down the path to the gravesites where we found Andrew Wyeth’s headstone, as well as other families from the community. Many were buried along the sloping hill overlooking the cove, and dated back to the early 1800’s.  It was a very surreal experience.

Andrew Wyeth’s gravesite

We walked back towards the lobster pound, stopping along a side path to take other pictures of the house and seeing numerous tractors that were in a state of disrepair. Many are used as snow plows in the winter, but many were just abandoned with weeds growing through them and haven’t been moved in years.

Mark checking out the old tractors

We then made our way back to the lobster pound where we met with the wholesaler who agreed to sell us two freshly caught 1.25 lb soft-shelled “bugs” – for a total cost of $13.  We got back in our dingy, put them in our pot (full of seawater) until it was time for dinner.  Eventually, we put them on the stove and had a terrific dinner of the tastiest lobster we have eaten to date.  It was a perfect ending to a perfect day at this very cool anchorage!

Fresh lobsters from the pound

Dinner on fresh lobsters

Sunset at MJC

Christmas Cove (Tuesday 8/29)
We woke up to a temperature of 48 degree outside, and it felt just as cold on the boat. Denise turned on the generator, turned on the heat and began charging phones, iPads and brewed some coffee.

Sunrise over MJC anchorages

While she was having her coffee, a lobster boat came around and circled the mooring and anchoring area where several “cruisers” had spent the night in Maple Juice Cove.  At first she thought they were going to a dock on the south shore, or they were checking on their lobster pots.  But they just circled around creating a big wake and rocking the boat. They then came back again very close to the bow of our boat a second time before heading to other parts of the harbor. The message was clear: cruisers are not really liked here – this is lobster fishing territory!

Lobsterman going to work and buzzing us!

Morning fog on Olson House

Shortly after Mark got up and had his breakfast, we pulled off the mooring ball and headed west. Our destination was a place Denise’s sister Jeanne would love: Christmas Cove.  It was less than 20 miles away, and wouldn’t take long to get there.  It fit our plan to explore some of the Damariscotta River, and then move on from there to Oven Mitt Cove where we could wait out some pending bad weather.  It would also enable us to go to Sebago Estates the next night; a place we wanted to go on the way east but couldn’t make it work in our schedule.

The route between Maple Juice Cove and Christmas Cove was mostly inside around small islands and rocks and took no time to get there.  Along the way we passed Pemaquid Point, the lighthouse there and some beautiful homes that overlook the water.

Houses on Pemaquid Point

While under way we had tried to contact the “harbormaster” for Christmas Cove, but got no response. So, when we arrived into Christmas Cove we grabbed the only available mooring ball we saw.  This was a very tight mooring area and the only available mooring had our stern right in the middle of the main fairway.  We were not comfortable with this, so when one boat on a mooring in the middle of the field left, we moved to their ball.  Other boaters on a nearby mooring told us to go to the Coveside Restaurant on shore (when they open) and pay the mooring fee there. They also gave us the Wifi password for the area.

Approaching Christmas Cove

Home on Christmas Cove

Coveside Restaurant

House on hill overlooking Christmas Cove

It was only mid-morning so we hunkered down for a bit to do work for clients.  Mark eventually launched the dinghy and went to the restaurant to take care of our mooring bill, and to make reservations for dinner.  Meanwhile Denise worked on the blog and talked with family members.

Shortly after Mark returned, we watched several boats come into the mooring, including a Looper boat “Bear Holiday”. We met Bear & Gerry Thompson in Croton-on-Hudson in June 2015 when we were on the Loop.  Once their boat was settled, they came over in their dinghy and we chatted for a bit about “the Great Loop” (which they took 3 years to do). They are from Falmouth, Maine and are members of Portland Yacht Club. We spoke of our mutual friends Bob and PM (“Velo-Mer”) and our chance encounter with them at PYC.

Bear Holiday

We also saw the boat “Highlander” pick up a mooring.  They are a Selene motor yacht we had seen in Southwest Harbor where we spoke about poodles.  They have a single poodle standard but it is 3 times the size of Denise’s old poodle “Flippy”. We did not get a chance to talk with them here, but once again chuckled about how small the cruising world really is.

“Highlander” at Christmas Cove

In the afternoon we looked at the weather and changed our plans for the upcoming days. As much as we would like to go all the way up the Sheepscot River to Oven Mouth, we were concerned with the next day being able to go to Sebago Estates.  We also became concerned that the Sebago Estates mooring field would not be comfortable if the winds blew as predicted from the West and Southwest.  After much discussion and talking to Sebago Estates, we completely aborted both itineraries in favor of going all the way back to Dolphin Marina in Potts Harbor.  This would give us great protection from the west wind, but would also get us around Cape Small before the seas kicked up and the wind would be on our nose. From there we would consider our plans for when to head south, and if we would stop again along the coast and be able to visit Aunt Judy before leaving New England.  Adding to the complications was the fact that it was coming up on Labor Day weekend, and our marina options may be more limited.

Once settled and marina reservations cancelled and rescheduled, we got in the dinghy and went to Coveside Restaurant for dinner.  Fortunately, we had reservations as the place got really crowded with the locals.  The food was excellent and we enjoyed looking at the boats in the harbor as we ate dinner.

Inside Coveside Restaurant

Burgee Room inside Coveside Restaurant – Boca Grande YC Burgee in center

Christmas Cove is an interesting place.  It is completely surrounded by large houses, except for the restaurant and the Christmas Cove Island Association (“CCIA”) club.  During the day we learned that the marina and restaurant was up for sale several years ago. When no one would buy it, the “CCIA” purchased the place.  They hired a management team and chef for the restaurant which also manages the moorings and dockage at the restaurant.  This explains why we had such difficulty reaching them this morning.

CCIA Club House

When leaving the restaurant, we asked the hostess about the large watch tower north of the harbor and visible for miles as you approach the cove.   She informed us that the tower is privately owned and not open to the public.  Despite searching the internet, we could find no other information about this structure that is so much a part of the area.

Tower – visible for miles – private

Dolphin Marina (Wednesday 8/30)
Again last night we slept with blankets on the bed and chilly temperatures in the morning. Only today it was also overcast and cloudy. While not really in a hurry, the cloudy skies made us anxious to get to safe harbor and we knew that the Dolphin Marina was a great place to hang out.  So, we left Christmas Cove at 8:15 and cruised the 26.2 miles (the distance of a full marathon) around Cape Small and into Potts Harbor.  Denise joked that it took just under 2 hours to cruise what would take her 5 hours to run. HA!

The trip to Potts Harbor (Harpswell) took us past now familiar cruising areas around Boothbay Harbor including Fisher Island and the Ram Lighthouse.

Ram Island Lighthouse near FIsherman’s Island

It also took us past Sequin Island, Cape Small and finally Bailey Island, all in the Casco Bay.  We pulled into the Dolphin Marina at Potts Harbor and it was like coming home again. The dockmaster met us and assisted with a tie up and warm professional greeting.  It was far less crowded when we were here in July, so we had plenty of space to navigate into a starboard-side tie up to an inside slip.

Our original plans were to wash the boat off (Mark) and work on publishing a blog post (Denise). However, when we arrived we were informed of their drought conditions; they have not had any rain in Harpswell since June and the well water they rely on is really low. So, they asked us not to wash the boat and we decided not to hook up to the marina water. It’s a good thing our water tanks were full when we left Rockland.

After settling the boat and eating lunch, we discovered we could use a loaner car from the marina; something we did not know they had.  We learned that it is the owner’s and as long as he doesn’t need it, you can borrow it.  The keys are always in it in the parking lot. This is why we love Maine!

So we took the loaner car to the nearest store (think “7-11”) which is 5 miles from the marina.  We had discovered our milk was sour and we needed some for breakfast.  It also gave us a chance to see this part of Maine from the streets and not just the water.  As usual, we found different size homes scattered across miles of rural beauty and all with American flags flying and patriotic décor in abundance.

Once back from our loaner car trip, we went back to the boat to work and relax.  A down-east style boat pulled into the marina and they put them on the inside pier perpendicular to us. Once they settled their boat we talked with them for a while about our mutual boats and their desire to do the Loop.

IO at Dolphin Marina

In the evening we went to dinner at Dolphin Marina where the food was as delicious as before and the view was outstanding. Of course each entrée is served with their famous blueberry muffin. Because the sun is setting earlier each night, we were in the middle of dinner when it made its exit for the day so we were not able to capture its beauty.

 

Awesome blueberry muffins

Dolphin Marina (Thursday 8/31)
This morning was a good one for Denise to go for a run, even though it was a bit windy.  There is only one road into the marina and there is minimal traffic, plus it was now familiar territory so it was easy to get lost in the run.  Once out there, Denise saw other runners and walkers, and a cyclist all of whom tackled the sometimes challenging hills of the area.  But the views were as spectacular as before.

Main road to run on

Overlooking Casco bay

Roadside businesses

When she returned to the boat the dockmaster had showed up with the usual morning ritual here: fresh coffee and blueberry muffins.  These muffins are not your ordinary muffins; they are huge (Mark and I usually split one and freeze the second one) and they are topped with cinnamon sugar. No wonder we are addicted after having just one bite!

During the day it was very windy as predicted, and the west wind blew a lot of the water away from the shoreline across the harbor towards Bailey Island.  We hung out on the boat or around the marina and socialized with some of the other boaters who were here.  Some of these were Maine locals who come here for weeks at a time and hang out in the area using their dinghy to go over to Bailey’s or Eagle Island.  Denise met one such couple who live near Lewiston Maine.  Al and Johnna (like John only with an “a” at the end) come here every year for a month.  They help out at the marina with small chores and will transport people to nearby Eagle Island (for a fee) and back via their dinghy which is a small open center console boat.  We met their dog “Bullet” who hangs out with and the marina dog “Coda” – owned by Don, brother of the marina owner (whom Denise met when we were here in July).

“Coda” – owner’s dog

“Bullet” – Johnna & Al’s dog

Also during the day we watched the boatyard bring their very large trailer down to the boat ramp and haul out boats to put up on the hard.  Unlike most yards that have a travel lift, this one has a large trailer they submerge all the way into the water, then float the boats onto the trailer.  This is how most small trailer-able boats are normally taken out of the water for transport. But to see a large 40+ foot lobster boat done this way is something else.  It is hard for us Floridians to wrap our heads around the fact that people only get to boat 8 -10 weeks per year here.  No wonder the old boats look so good; they spend 9 – 10 months out of the water.

Late in the afternoon Mark had a conference call with a client that ran very late.  So dinner was going to be late and we decided to go to Erica’s Seafood Shack and get a few lobster rolls for dinner to take back to the boat.  (Note: see our post from 7/9 for an explanation of Erica’s and the whole Dolphin Marina complex).  These were good, but certainly not the best ones we have had during our time in Maine.

Erica’s Seafood Shack

Dolphin Marina at sunset

Dolphin Marina (Friday, 9/1)
While yesterday was windy, today it was even breezier. We were glad we had made the decision to arrive when we did and not otherwise have to fight a headwind (and high seas) to get here.

We stayed close to the boat doing work things, boat chores, a small load of laundry, and attempting to get the blog caught up.  We had also been in communication with our business associate Richard, who would be sailing here from PYC in the afternoon.  He had friends who would be joining him on their Back Cove 26’ and they were anxious to meet us.

We also planned our itinerary for the coming days that would put us in Boston so we could fly home the weekend of 9/8.  We would be celebrating our anniversary on Saturday Night (9/9) and Mark’s mom’s birthday (88th) with a dinner at our house on Sunday night. And we were watching the weather as hurricane Irma was making its way across the Atlantic and looked to be a threat to Puerto Rico and possibly Florida.  We called Denise’s aunt to advise that we would be leaving Maine and would not be able to stop again in the Portsmouth/Kittery area as we would be pressing on to Massachusetts. We had to get closer to Boston as bad weather was going to be coming in and we wanted to get the long run down the coast behind us with good weather on Saturday.

In late afternoon we patiently waited for Richard to arrive on his sailboat “Acadia”.  We had dinner reservations for 6:30 at the marina for all 6 of us and we saw a red hull Back Cove pick up a mooring ball not far from the docks.  We saw the couple get off and walk the docks and when they approached our boat we asked if they were Richard’s friends.  Sure enough, this is how we met Bonnie & Bruce – who are new to power boating and were admiring our Back Cove 37’.  We invited them aboard and shared some wine while waiting for Richard (and Janice), who eventually showed up in time for dinner.  We all walked to the restaurant and enjoyed a terrific dinner (once again) at the Dolphin restaurant.  It was fun to get to know them and to reconnect with Richard and Janice, but again the evening was way too short and soon we had to leave.  The four of them were headed to other parts of Maine for the long weekend, and we were headed south in the morning.

Dinner at Dolphin

Mark’s dinner at Dolphin

Dinner at Dolphin with Richard, Janice, Bruce & Bonnie

Rockin’ it in Rockland!

Our last posting had us still in Seal Bay where we spent a second night…….

 Rockland (Thursday, 8/24)
Just before 2:00 am Denise woke up to the sound of the generator being started; Mark advised that the charge in our batteries was too low and we needed to turn on the generator to charge them.  He also wanted to turn on the heat as it was a cold 54° inside the boat.  Of course to put a load on the generator, we also plugged in our cell phones, iPads and computers.  We have learned that when we have not moved the boat and charged the batteries by the engine (more efficient) we will need to run the generator at night and in the morning.

Mark managed to get back to bed and get some sleep, but Denise was up for another hour and half, until the generator could be turned off.  She climbed back in bed and dozed for another hour before deciding to just get on with the day.

The early morning sky at our anchorage in Seal Bay was awesome.

Morning in anchorage before sunrise

Even though sunrise is getting later each day, the sky still starts getting light around 4:30 am.  When Denise got up it was so pristine and absolutely beautiful.  Only the seagulls, osprey and seal in the water was disturbing the beautiful peace.  However it had gotten cold on the boat again and she wanted coffee. Finally around 6:15 she turned the generator back on to warm up the boat, and make some coffee.

Eventually Mark woke up and after breakfast we decided to leave early and go into Rockland a bit earlier than planned.  It took us a while to get underway as we had some work to do on the anchor, and to clean all the mud off of it.

Anchor rode improvement

We also stopped at the Fleming 55 (“YUP”) in the anchorage to see how they made out after dragging anchor the night before. It appears they had little to no damage and would be ok to continue on their trip.

Fleming 55 “YUP”

It was low tide and all the rocks that we did not see when we entered the bay two days ago were very visible.  Several areas showed mud sandbars that could have lulled the unknowing into crossing otherwise shallow water.  But all of it was beautiful and is truly one of the most favorite spots we have ever visited.

Leaving Seal Bay

We exited the channel of Seal Bay and cruised back through the Fox Islands Thoroughfare, heading west this time.

Eastern shore home

Vinalhaven wind farm

Boathouse near Iron Point

Patriotic rocks near western entrance FI Thoroughfare

Once exiting the thoroughfare we made a course directly across the Penobscot Bay to head into Rockland.  It was a calm day and we cruised the 6 miles easily until just before entering the harbor we encountered a car ferry also coming into the harbor. They kicked up a huge wake and we were anxious to get around them, which eventually we did just before the breakwater.

Once in the harbor we tried several times to hail the marina on the radio and via telephone, but were getting no response. We had reservations but first needed to get fuel and could not see the location of the fuel dock from the approach. Finally, we eased our way past the coast guard station and eventually made contact in order to pull in for the fill-up.

Rockland Harbor Light

Journey’s End Marina

Marina office & dockmaster

After we got our diesel tank filled, we moved to a slip on the outermost pier for the marina; very exposed to the harbor and passing lobster boats who pull in at the docks adjacent to the marina.  We were going to be constantly rocked for the next 3 days.

IO at Journey’s End Marina

After checking in at the marina and getting the lay of the land, we ate lunch on the boat. Now, safely in a marina sleep deprivation kicked in for Denise and she fell asleep in the main salon; a rare afternoon nap.

Mark had a conference call scheduled for the afternoon and Denise worked on getting a large part of the blog caught up, as well as cataloging pictures.  We had previously decided to do some laundry because the marina has very inexpensive washer and dryers ($1 per load), so Denise took care of getting this task completed. Oh how we miss having our own laundry, and if we ever buy a bigger boat it will be a requirement!

After his conference call we decided to walk about ½ mile to downtown Rockland and find a place for dinner.  Before leaving the boatyard part of this large marina complex we met an Australian woman who was staying on her boat “on the hard” while repairs were underway.  She and her husband had sailed from Sydney, including through the Panama Canal and up through the Caribbean to the US east coast.  All that way, and it was here in Maine that they hit a rock and damaged their boat, requiring the work in the boatyard.

Australian Boat

After talking with her for a while, we walked to a seafood restaurant called Hill’s Seafood Company, and enjoyed some fresh fish and salad.  The food was ok, but not terrific – a definite tourist trap. Afterwards, we walked back to the boat and enjoyed streaming news and other TV; our first opportunity in a while to do so.

Hill’s Seafood Company

Rockland (Friday, 8/25)
In the morning, Denise went for run, but not near as early as is the norm. It is hard to get motivated to run by yourself and when the path is uncertain or the route unknown, it is even harder.  Eventually acknowledging that the Half Marathon date in November is not moving and she was off….until her hip started to hurt due to the crazy hills she had been running on lately.

Before Denise could get back, Guy Seiders (Back Cove) came to the boat as Mark had previously scheduled.  He helped us with some suggestions on how to fix our running lights and how to install a few other enhancements we wanted to make.  He also agreed to give us a tour of the plant later in the day and said he would pull some of the items we were interested and we could pick them up then if we decided to buy them.

After he left, Denise got a shower and Mark walked to Hamilton’s (West Marine of Maine) to research some of the items we had discussed with Guy.  Sometimes the dealers can get things cheaper and sometimes they cannot, and it is good to have such information when making buying decisions.  Mark discovered the new LED running lights were better to buy through Back Cove, as well as the new aft fender holders.

When he returned, Denise was on a call with the Ohio client that lasted right up until it was time to eat lunch.  Afterwards, we took an Uber cab (a rarity in most of Maine) to the regional airport to pick up a rental car from AVIS. We had several free coupon days that were going to expire at the end of August and we wanted to take advantage and use them.  We also wanted to explore some of the surrounding areas near Rockland and they were too far to venture without a car.

After getting the rental car we drove to Back Cove to meet with Guy, and to get a tour. The plant was mostly empty as the employees work four 10-hour days a week, and use Fridays for overtime.  Guy showed us how to do a few things on our boat that we could see by looking at other Back Cove’s under construction.  He also got us the parts we agreed to purchase, and threw in a few new key chains as well. He is a wealth of information and was an excellent help. We really appreciated his time and hospitality.

Back Cove Yachts

That night we walked into downtown Rockland and had dinner at Rustica, an Italian restaurant that had received great Yelp reviews.  We were uncertain as to if we could get in without reservations, but they had two seats that opened up at the bar just as we arrived and we took them.  The bartender was awesome and based on his recommendations Mark got Chicken Parmesan and Denise got Eggplant Parmesan – probably the best she has ever had. The food was delicious and the portions large enough that we each took home leftovers. It was good that we had to walk almost a mile back to the boat and work off some of the dinner.

Rustica

Rockland (Saturday, 8/26)
Today was a day of adventure and fun.  We took the rental car to Owl’s Head Transportation Museum, located not far from the airport.  This is where we had intended to go to with our friends Irv & Marsha, but didn’t make it because it was their big fundraising car-auction that day (see 8/19).  There was still evidence of the car auction with many of the cars still on display, which was wonderful for us to see.  The regular museum exhibits cover engines, cars, motorcycles, airplanes and trains.

Owls Head Transportation Museum

Owls Head Transportation Museum

One of the coolest displays was an authentic wagon from the Wild West days that housed gypsies. This wagon has a queen-sized bed, and pull-out trundle for a child, as well as a stove.  The first real RV!

Gypsy Caravan Wagon – OH Transportation Museum

About Gypsy Caravan Wagon – OH Transportation Museum

This is a terrific museum and well worth the $18 admittance price.  We spent several hours here and would recommend it to anyone who comes to this area.  You can learn more about this terrific museum here.

After we left the museum we headed toward the Owl’s Head Market for lunch. Here they are known for their 4-napkin hamburgers that have been featured on the Food Network.  It is amazing that this very small market has such delicious burgers, but they do.

Owls Head Market – Lunch stop

Owls Head – Post Office next to market

From there we drove up the road to see the Owl’s Head Lighthouse (which overlooks Penobscot Bay and the Rockland Harbor).  It was a spectacular beautiful day and the views were great.

Owl’s Head Lighthouse

Owl’s Head Lighthouse

At Owl’s Head Lighthouse

On the way we went by the lobster pound and houses that line the Owl’s Head harbor. We went to inquire about buying lobsters from them, but the big sign out front was clear: they do not sell retail.

Owls Head Lobster Pound – Not for retail

As we headed back to the boat we stopped at a winery we had seen the day before on the way to the airport.  The Breakwater Vineyards & Farm has a beautiful tasting room that overlooks Rockland Harbor and the Penobscot Bay. A small percentage of the proceeds raised through wine sales goes to funding the restoration and maintenance of the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, near the marina where we are staying.  Their wines are tasty, but not expensive and we bought a few bottles to take home and cellar for future drinking. Not surprising, we liked those that had grapes that come mainly from California.

At Breakwater Vineyards & Farm

Breakwater Vineyards

At Breakwater Vineyards & Farm

After driving back to the boat and tending to some business with the marina, we drove to St. Bernard’s Catholic Church for the 6:00 pm mass.  We have now lost count as to how many different churches we have attended on this adventure!

St Bernard’s Catholic Church

After church we took advantage of having the car and drove to Claw’s restaurant for dinner.  This is a walk up kind of place and we got lobster rolls to take back to the boat and they were some of the best we had in all of our Maine adventure.

 

Dinner spot

At Claw’s Restaurant

Best Lobster Rolls

Rockland (Sunday, 8/27)
Trying to stick to some form of a training schedule, Denise got up and went for a run at her normal (“before the rest of the world is awake”) time. She ran pretty much the same route as before, but a little longer and without any hip pain today.

Since we went to church last night, it freed us up to go to breakfast this morning and beat most of the crowds. We headed out to “Home Kitchen Café”, a spot that came highly recommended. We arrived 15 minutes before they opened and there was already a line waiting to get in.  This gave Denise time to walk around the garden they have adjacent to the restaurant which has the largest sunflowers and a terrific crop of squash and various herbs growing.  Within minutes of getting seated the place was packed and there was a line outside.  Our breakfast was delicious and very filling; no need to plan lunch for today.

Signage for Home Kitchen Cafe

Huge sunflowers at Home Kitchen Cafe

Inside Home Kitchen Cafe

Breakfast at Home Kitchen Cafe

After breakfast, Mark returned the rental car and got Avis to bring him back, and Denise did another load of laundry while he was gone.  We spent the rest of the day working on stuff around the boat, and planning our itinerary for the next week or so.  This included taking us back to Potts Harbor near Harpswell and the Dolphin Marina. Here we had plans to meet up (again) with our business associate Richard and some other friends for dinner at the Dolphin Restaurant at the marina. Unfortunately, this also means it is almost time to head for home. Tomorrow we will leave Rockland and head west back towards Casco Bay and then eventually turn south, just like the birds.

Here are some other pictures from Rockland:

Near Rockland ferry terminal

Farnsworth museum

Andrew Wyeth builidng – Farnsworth Museum

Downtown Rockland

Sculpture in park along riverwalk