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