Maniacal for Maine!

Our recent adventures have kept us quite busy. Here is one of a few postings to get caught up. This post includes the following stops:

Blue Hill - Bucks Harbor - Castine - Belfast.jpg

Blue Hill, ME – Saturday, 8/31
We left SW Harbor and headed out of the main area of Mount Desert Island, passing some beautiful homes on the shore that have an amazing view of the mountains and some of the best cruising grounds in the USA.

It was a little bumpy as we exited SW Harbor and cruised through the channel, leaving Great Cranberry Island to our port.  Our course took us through the Eastern Passage, an inside route between barrier islands (many just rock formations), and the peninsula that makes up the western side of MDI without having to go out into the Gulf of Maine. This is always a welcome relief for Admiral who gets a seasick if it gets too rough. Fortunately, once we got behind a few islands the water smoothed out and we had nice cruise.

As we rounded the corner of MDI, we passed by Bass Harbor, the town we had toured around on the Island Explorer bus last weekend.

Bass Harbor Head lighthouse

Bass Harbor Head lighthouse

Continuing on we passed a few lighthouses, finally turning more north up the western shore of MDI, leaving Tinker Island and then Long Island (not NY) to our port.   Here we also passed a few fisheries (farm raised salmon or herring) and a few lobster holding floats. Maine is full of hundreds of such finger channels that are loaded with lobster pots, floats and communities that form along the shoreline.  There are some beautiful homes, usually concentrated together around a fishing community (village) and many are scattered among the rural shoreline.

Fisheries off Hardwood Island

Fisheries off Hardwood Island

We made our way into Blue Hill Bay and approached the channel to enter Blue Hill Harbor. On both sides were beautiful homes, and just outside the entrance to the outer harbor there was a large yacht at anchor.

Charter "A Time for Us"

Charter “A Time for Us”

We entered the outer harbor, passing by KYC (Kollegewidgwok Yacht Club) on our starboard side and continuing on to the inner harbor.  We were hoping to grab an anchorage in the inner harbor but where there is sufficient depth at low tide to be comfortable. Here there are 15 foot tides and when it is low tide there are many rocks that appear like islands.  We were not able to find a place that allowed sufficient swing room without hitting boats on moorings, or an old mooring that was barely visible in the water.  Instead went back to the outer harbor and picked up a mooring for the night at KYC.  After securing our boat on the mooring we took the dinghy to the Yacht Club to check in.  Here are a few pictures of their facilities:

The problem with this particular harbor is the downtown dock completely dries out at low tide and becomes a mud flat. The only way we could take our dinghy and leave it at the town dock was if we were arriving at high tide or +/- 2 hours on either side.  Since this did not coincide with our dinner plans, we had to come up with a plan.  KYC is in the outside harbor and does not dry out on their dinghy dock. Our last resort was walking from the KYC, about a 1.5 miles. Not usually an issue, but the roads here are country roads and there is no shoulder, let alone sidewalks or paths. They are not convenient nor safe for pedestrians, and is probably why most cruisers don’t come to this town.

While checking in at KYC made a few inquiries to see if there was someone who would be willing to give us a lift into town. Fortunately there was a generous soul (Suzanne) who lived right near the yacht club and she volunteered to give us a lift.

"Suzanne" giving us a lift

Suzanne giving us a lift

This worked out perfectly, and once in town she even gave us a mini tour. We were early for dinner (originally we needed time to walk from the YC), so she dropped us near some of the retail shops and we were able to walk around and see some of the town. This weekend is the Blue Hill Fair outside of town, so some of the stores in town were already closed, and most would be closed tomorrow (Sunday).  We saw what we could in the time we had, then walked to the restaurant for our dinner.  Here are some pictures of the town:

We had dinner reservations at Arborvine Restaurant, a place that several people had recommended so we were anxious to go.  We were not disappointed as the food was fabulous and the service was impeccable.  The restaurant is located in an old house and is quite cozy, but comfortable (not stuffy).  They were so customer-service oriented that we even got them to have the bus girl take us back to KYC when we were done.  THIS is why we love Maine.

Once back at KYC we took our dinghy back to the boat, just before the sun set and saw a few more boats come into the harbor for the evening. It was really amazing to see how the low tide had revealed so much, and was now back rising to cover it all up.

Sunset over Blue HIll Harbor

Sunset over Blue HIll Harbor

During our short car trip with Suzanne, somehow the topic of church came up: something like “What brought you to Blue Hill”; “there is a Catholic mass here tomorrow morning”.  And low and behold we discovered she too was Catholic, and she would be happy to take us to and from mass in the morning.  We just had to dinghy to her house and tie up to her dock by 9:30 if we wanted a ride.  God works in mysterious ways!

 Bucks Harbor, ME – Sunday, 9/1
Initially we had been concerned about taking a mooring in the outer harbor in Blue Hill, fearing it would be a bit bouncy all night.  But our concerns were assuaged and we had a very peaceful and still night.  When we woke in the morning it was so peaceful that we hated to turn on the generator, but it was cold and we needed heat.

After breakfast we went to KYC to pay the bill and then dinghy back to the boat, with the intention of just showing up at Suzanne’s dock. Before we could get back in dinghy head in that direction, she called us and once again extended an offer of a ride to church. We took the dinghy to her dock and met her on her patio. She introduced us to her husband Gus, and then her sister Diane who was visiting, and who also came to church with us.

The mass which was held in the auditorium at Bay School, a private PK-8th grade school located about 3 miles from their home (and KYC).  This is only done during the summer season and today was the last day mass is offered here. From now until next spring everyone in Blue Hill has to drive to Ellsworth for mass; a 25 minute commute.  Needless to say the church community here is small and consists mostly of seasonal residents.

After church there was a quick stop at the local market for Suzanne to pick up a few things, so Mark went in with her to grab us some milk.  Afterwards, we visited with them for a short time at their house, met another friend who was visiting, and thanked them for making us feel so welcome.

We had learned that this couple mostly resides in Baltimore, but the house here in Blue Hill was the house Gus grew up in, and they visit here year round, but mostly in the summer.  We were so grateful for their generosity and kindness, and wished we had more time to spend with them to get to know them better. However, they had plans and so did we.  We took the dinghy back to our boat, stowed it for the day and then took off for our next destination; Bucks Harbor on the Eggemoggin Reach.

It was a beautiful day on the water, with mostly clear skies and calm water. We left Blue Hill and entered Blue Hill Bay. This time we took the western side of Long Island with the views of MDI to our left.  We rounded the point of this finger peninsula and cruised through Flye Channel, passing a series of rock islands and the Blue HIll Bay Light Station on Green Island.

Blue HIll Bay Light - Green Island

Blue HIll Bay Light – Green Island

Once around Naskeag Point we entered the Eggemoggin Reach and once again turned north to run up the Reach. This is a 10-mile long body of water that is loved by sailors because it is wide with few hazards, and almost always has a breeze. Additionally, it is mostly free from lobster pots, with the exception of at the entrance where they are highly concentrated.

Houses on Deer Island = Eggemoggin Reach

Houses on Deer Island = Eggemoggin Reach

There are lots of places to explore on the eastern side of the reach, and one place we have wanted to stop was the Wooden Boat School.  Here there are guest moorings and a place to see students learn how to build all types of wooden boats. They usually give tours and we were hopeful that we could see this, but alas it is Labor Day weekend and the school is closed until Tuesday.  We decided to bypass this but put it on the list of possible places to visit before leaving the area.  Most everything around Penobscot Bay is close and is less than 3 hours cruise from just about everywhere else. On the western side of the Reach lies Deer Isle where there are also a few coves to explore or to set an anchor, but we have so little time and there is so much to explore.

Instead we continued north, approaching and going under the Deer Isle Bridge. This connects the mainland with Deer Isle, Little Deer Isle, and the mostly communities there.  The town of Stonington is located on Deer Isle and we visited there in 2017, although only for a quick overnight.

Three miles after going under the bridge we turned right and into Bucks Harbor Inlet.  This area offers a very protective cove behind Harbor Island, and is home to both the Bucks Harbor Yacht Club (BHYC) and the Buck’s Harbor Marina (BHM). Both offer moorings, but the BHYC limits transients to one-night stays and has no real facilities. BHM offers more options with dockage available on a single side-tie, should we want to go into a marina. Therefore, we made reservations there on a mooring ball for one night, with the possibility for a 2nd night stay.  We picked up the assigned mooring ball in the harbor and were happy with the location.  We launched the dinghy and went to the marina office to check in.

This family-owned marina is small and has very limited facilities (marina store, 1 restroom, 1 shower, 1 washer/dryer).  However, it offers a very protective harbor and got good reviews on Active Captain so we wanted to visit it and check it out.

Bucks Harbor Moorings

Bucks Harbor Moorings

After checking in at the marina we took the dinghy back to the boat (all of about 100 yards) and then spent the rest of the day just hanging out on the boat.  We watched the local lobsterman come in, drop some lobsters in their floats, and then off to their mooring balls to tie up the lobster boat and grab their dinghy to take back to shore.  This is just part of the daily life of lobsterman in these parts.

Lobster storage float

Lobster storage float

Bucks Harbor, ME – Monday, 9/2
It was a quiet and beautiful morning in the harbor but it was also cold and during the night we froze. As soon as Denise got up she turned on the generator so we could have heat.  She hated to disturb the peace and quiet of such a beautiful harbor, but we needed to get warm. Even though it was Labor Day, a few lobsterman went out early to pick up what they could from their pots.

We were a little concerned with the coming winds and decided to stay a second night, but wanted to know if it was worth staying at the dock versus another night on the mooring.  Mark took the dinghy inshore to talk with the marina about possibly going into the dock. As he left the boat the dinghy kept stalling until he realized that he failed to reset the tilt on the dinghy engine. For a moment there Denise thought she was going to see him break out a paddle and row his way to the dock, but alas he got it all working o.k.

Dinghy ride to shore

Dinghy ride to shore

Once back on the boat, and with the information on the marina fees (kind of expensive given limited services), we decided to stay a second night, but again on the mooring ball. We just could not justify the marina cost just for shore power to keep the boat warm; we could use the generator for that.

Although we knew this area was rural, we still wanted to go see what was around the marina. We took the dinghy back to shore, then walked from the marina up the hill to the main road. This two-lane rural road has no sidewalks or any real shoulder, making it a bit risky for walkers, but traffic is almost nonexistent.

About a quarter of a mile up the road is a Methodist Church, and “Bucks Harbor Market” – a coffee shop, convenience store, and deli all rolled into one.  Behind it is Buck’s Restaurant which has a good reputation for delicious farm-to-table food. Unfortunately for us, both were closed for Labor Day.  This is the extent of what is in the “village” of South Brooksville and Bucks Harbor.

We continued walking along the road to the cove just north of the market. Here there is a boat ramp and since it was low tide we walked down to the water to see if there was anything interesting to find in the shallow water or the shoreline.  Seeing nothing exciting we walked back up to the road and headed back towards the marina.

Cove at Bucks Harbor

Cove at Bucks Harbor

This time we stopped at the Bucks Harbor Yacht Club and checked out the facilities. In addition to the tennis courts and small sailboats, they have a nice clubhouse with a large porch that overlooks the harbor.  We talked for a little with the young man who was “on duty” that day to learn about the club and their transient mooring ball charges (free for one night only). Here we learned that it was the last day the club was open; they are closed until spring.

We walked back to the marina and took the dinghy back to the boat for lunch.  Afterwards, we spent the afternoon working, working on this blog post, and cataloging pictures.  Mark decided to take a short nap, and while he was asleep Denise heard some screaming in the harbor. At first she paid no attention, and then a lobster boat went flying through the mooring field rocking all the boats. When she got up to see what was going on the harbormasters boat also went flying by.  In the middle of the channel she could see that there was an unmanned dinghy that was under power at full throttle, going around in circles and bouncing about.  The lobster boat and the harbormasters boat worked together and finally were able to stop and secure the dinghy, preventing it from slamming into any of the boats in the mooring field.  We have no idea how this happened and it doesn’t appear anyone fell out of the dinghy as there was no one in the water. But it caused quite the commotion and was the only excitement we had in this day.

Saved Run away dinghy

Saved Run away dinghy

Castine, ME – Tuesday, 9/3
We started the day running the generator so we could put on the heat, but also now our house batteries needed more charging than the generator could provide.  Since we had been on mooring balls 3 nights (and no shore power) we were forced to turn on the engine to get a better charge.

Several of the boats that had come into the harbor to escape bad weather yesterday, were now leaving, but others were taking their dinghies to shore to head to the Bucks Harbor Market.  We too wanted to go get a few items for lunch, so we headed out in the dinghy and walked up the hill to see what they had.  After selections were made, Denise left Mark and headed out for a run.  Remembering the skinny shoulder on the main road, she had previously mapped out a path that took her down two side roads that were mostly dirt and gravel.  After several up and back runs on these she headed back to the marina and called Mark for the pickup in the dinghy. The run was only two miles, but it was better than nothing as Denise had to be back for a conference call with a client.

In the meantime, while Mark was still ashore, he paid our bill at the marina. Once the conference call was completed we left Bucks Harbor and headed directly for Castine.  We had wanted to anchor out another night, but the weather forecast looked awful and the planned anchorage was not a good location for the expected wind direction.  Also, we really needed a marina with shore power to bring the battery charge up to 100%.  Castine was our next port of call, so we called ahead to made sure we could come in a day earlier than planned and headed that way.

We exited out of Bucks Harbor via the North Channel and entered the top of the Eggemoggin Reach.

We passed Thumb cap Ledge (a large rock formation) and Spectacle Island before rounding the Head of the Cape and into east Penobscot Bay (“the Bay”).  Here we saw houses with awesome views overlooking the Bay, Islesboro Island, and the Camden Hills to the west.  It was beautiful cruising area with few lobster pots to contend with and we enjoyed the time on the water, albeit short.

Before long we were passing Holbrook Island (a State Park) and our originally-planned anchorage.  We then turned right and headed into Castine Harbor, leaving Dice Head Lighthouse to our port.  As we cruised up the harbor we saw Nautilus Island to our starboard, and now-familiar sights on our port side. Included in these is the Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) and their student run “State of Maine” ship. Here students live aboard and operate this vessel as part of their curriculum, including sea duty for weeks at a time. Normally when she is in port, tours are offered to the general public. However, this week the students are “back in school” and still getting settled. Last year when we were here the boat had been sent to dry-dock for painting and maintenance and so we (once again) will not get to tour it.

We approached Eaton Boat Yard and pulled into the assigned location on the long dock, behind a large sailboat from Alabama, and in front of another one from Texas.  Captain Mark parallel-parked our Island Office as if it was no big deal.  We ate lunch aboard and then went to check-in at the office.  Before we could get far Kenny Eaton showed up with a big hug for Denise and warm handshake for Mark. He advised that our (Winter Park) friends the Weir’s who we were hoping to see had been delayed in leaving the Orlando area due to hurricane Dorian. They now were due in on Friday.  We had been in touch with them and knew this and our original plan was to only be here a day or two; we would have to reconsider this given their delay and our early arrival.

Eatons Boat Yard

Eaton’s Boat Yard

In the afternoon we went for a walk around the area, mainly to get some exercise and to check out the local convenience store-market (T&C Grocery).  Although we had been here in our boat in 2017, and by car in 2018, we had not been to all the establishments in the area.  We thought we might get something to have for dinner in the market but ended up only getting Mark some Diet Coke.

Having found nothing at the market, and since our boat was dwindling in provisions, we decided to go out to eat. We opted for dinner at the Castine Variety, located a block away from the marina. The restaurant has an eclectic menu with some traditional mostly-fried seafood, and some Asian-influenced dishes.  It is owned by a Hawaiian woman who goes back to Hawaii every December for two months. We were the only people in the place; you can tell it was Tuesday and it was after Labor Day. People have told us that Maine slows down after Labor Day and we were seeing this is true.

We walked back to our boat and spent some time talking with the people from Alabama in the sailboat in front of us. We talked also talked with the sailboat behind us, but only briefly.  In the evening, we could see the weather was changing and we were glad that we were tied to a dock; tomorrow was going to be a cold and windy day.  We hunkered down in the boat for the rest of the night and watched a few more episodes of Game of Thrones.

Castine, ME – Wednesday, 9/4
As expected, it was a very cloudy, windy and cool morning. We were happy to be in a marina and stayed pretty close to the boat.  In mid-morning the bad weather broke and we went for a walk into the downtown area, stopping at a coffee shop for a cup of java (Denise) and a cinnamon bun (Mark) at MarKel’s Bakehouse.

From there we walked down Water Street, passing along part of the Maine Maritime Academy and students rushing to class. We headed up Perkins Ave viewing the beautiful homes along the water, and passing Our Lady of Holy Hope Catholic Church where we went in 2017.  Eventually we came to the Wilson Museum, a series of buildings begun in 1921 by geologist Dr. John Howard Wilson (Castine citizen) to house his collections gathered from around the world and close to home.  It also includes a small but interesting and informative exhibit about the history of Castine.  You can learn more about this place here.

After the museum we headed back to the boat by way of the Castine City Dock. Here we stopped at the Captain’s Catch Refresher for some “chowda” to take back to the boat for lunch.

We then spent the rest of the afternoon working and staying close to the boat.  The weather remained blustery and cool, and when the wind died down it became very foggy.

Foggy afternoon

Foggy afternoon

Again not wanting to venture too far we went to the restaurant next door to the marina (“15 Sea Street Bar & Grill” – aka “Dennett’s Wharf”).  We ate here 2 years ago and liked it, but it is under new management now (same owner) and found it just as good.  We noticed there were some interior improvements, and slight changes to the menu, but found it to be a great way to end the day.

 

Castine, ME – Thursday, 9/5
The new day brought much nicer weather. The two sailboats left and while we were originally not going to, we opted to stay one more day so we could see our friends the Weirs.

Denise went for a run along a now-familiar route in Castine. First she ran east along the waterfront, passing many lovely homes and the schools.  She then turned back and headed west down the road towards Dice Lighthouse, passing the Manor Inn and then circled back around the Maritime Academy and back up Main Street to finish the loop. Here are some pictures from her run:

During the day the “Miss NOLA” pull up behind us on the dock. It is a small recreational DE lobster boat that is used by the owner of Nautilus Island (located across the water and near the Castine Harbor entrance).

MIss NOLA

MIss NOLA

Come to find out the guy driving it was the Nautilus Island chef Mark Anthony. He was leaving it to be picked up later; he had a cab and a flight to catch.  Denise had a chance to speak with him briefly and learned that he is actually a private chef and knows the island’s owner from their time together in New Orleans (thus the name of the boat) and he had been cooking the day before with NOLA famed chef John Besh. He left and Denise went on a mission to learn more about Nautilus Island from the internet and locals around Eaton’s Marina.  In a nutshell it is a very cool place. The owner is a man who owns parking garages in New Orleans as well as a restaurant in Castine.  Although he visits the island, the main house and cottage are set up to be rented out and is used by Castine civic and philanthropic events.  It is a beautiful place in a great location. You can learn more about it here.

In the afternoon we watched a local couple who had previously been at Eaton’s on their boat (a Formula) come back into the dock, stating they had lost one of their two engines. Come to find out they had hit a ledge (rock formation underwater) going out of a cove near Holbrook Island and in addition to the engine failure were taking on water. With the guidance of Suzanne, they immediately moved over to the MMA and were hauled out. Here we could see their prop was severely damaged and they took off some fiberglass from the bottom of the boat.  Fortunately there was no interior damage. This from locals (who know better) make us even more grateful for our safe passages through the many miles we have traveled.

For dinner that night, we purchased some lobsters from Kenny, who cooked them up for us in his large pot.  We would have liked to have had a “picnic table” feast, but it was just too cold to sit out on the docks.  Mark and I sat and chatted with Kenny while waiting for the “bugs” to cook, which gave us a chance to learn more about him and about his other businesses including a boat hauling enterprise as well as the lobster sales. He is a never-sit-still kind of guy with a big heart and we always enjoy our time with him.  Never far from his side is his dog Dobbin; he is one smart dog and will bark if Kenny leaves on a boat without him.

Once back on the boat we devoured a lobster each, and then cleaned the other two and tossed into the freezer for a future meal on board.  It was the perfect ending to a fun day in Castine.


Belfast, ME – Friday, 9/6
Again this morning we woke up to nice weather, but it was not going to last.  The forecast for Saturday going to be ugly from early on, with high winds and therefore very choppy water on the Penobscot Bay.  Originally planning to anchor out at Holbrook Island, we contacted Belfast marina to see if we could come in a day early.  They were more than willing to have us, so we made plans to be there as soon as possible.  However, we still wanted to see the Weir’s.  Finally, Bill and Alice showed up and we visited with them for a short time before heading out.

First we had to stop at the Castine City dock and get a free pump-out. We always try to take advantage of this when we can, but first we had to wait for the sailboat that was ahead of us to finish.  After 15 minutes we were able to pull into the dock and in another 10 minutes we were back on our way.

Castine - waiting on pumpout

Castine – waiting on pumpout

We left Castine Harbor with the beautiful homes on the north shore, and Nautilus Island on the south side.  We cruised into the Penobscot Bay and headed west, rounding the top of Islesboro Island where many of the rich and famous have homes, including John Travolta & wife Kelly Preston.  In a short 10 miles we were entering Belfast area, passing the Monument Light, and then entering the Belfast Harbor.

We had an inside slip assignment and had to navigate in very tight quarters dodging a large Nordhavn whose bow was sticking out into the narrow fairway. However, Captain Mark did an impressive job of taking maneuvering the boat so Denise could hand lines to Assistant Dockmaster Tim and get us all tied up.  It was just before 3:00 pm and we were happy to be in this very delightful town.

We settled our boat and set things up for the week-long stay. Mark had to fly to a client, so on Monday we would pick up a rental car and drive to Bangor for the fly out and Denise would be staying here until Friday. Our long-time friends Marsha and Irv (“Hang Out”) are around and we looked forward to connecting with them while here.

That evening we opted for a casual pizza dinner at “Meanwhile in Belfast”. This is a place we discovered 2 years ago and really liked.  It has a brick oven and serves brick oven pizza and a few other dishes, but all have a provincial French or Mediterranean flare.  The food was good, although we remember it to be better on our first visit.

Meanwhile In Belfast Pizza

Meanwhile In Belfast Pizza

In the meantime, the winds started to pick up. After dinner we secured some additional lines and Mark tied up the burgees on the bow so they would not flap all night long. Hurricane Dorian was off shore and headed for Nova Scotia, but the high winds would skirt the Maine coast tomorrow.

Sunset before Dorian

Sunset before Dorian

Belfast, ME – Saturday, 9/7
We woke up to pouring rain and a cold blustery day. We were glad we had left Castine yesterday as it would not have been fun trying to cross the Penobscot Bay and try and dock in these conditions.

Morning before Dorian effects

Morning before Dorian effects

With umbrella in hand, Denise when to the United Farmers Market; an indoor permanent farmers market with all kinds of local vendors. Mark stayed on the boat to do a few boat chores.  Finally Denise had to come back because she spent too much money on cheese, sausages and a soup for lunch.

After lunch we worked on maintenance items inside the boat as the rain and wind continued. Finally the rain stopped, but the winds continued to build as we began to feel the effects of Hurricane Dorian.  In the afternoon we walked up the big hill and through the downtown neighborhood to attend the 4:00 pm mass at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church.  After mass we walked back to downtown and went to dinner at Darby’s; a local pub. We were early for a Saturday night and were seated right away. The food was good, but not great or too healthy, but still better than cooking onboard in our tiny galley. Denise is longing for her kitchen back home, and some really good meals.

We walked back to boat and spent the rest of the evening watching episodes of Game of Thrones. We were very thankful we were tucked into the inside slips of this well protected marina. Nonetheless, the wind howled outside for most of the night.

Belfast, ME – Sunday, 9/8
In the morning you would never have known a hurricane had passed by our coastline (albeit 100 miles away) and pummeled Halifax Nova Scotia.  It was a beautiful day.

Penobscot Bay in the morning

Penobscot Bay in the morning

Denise went for a run in Belfast along the hilly neighborhood streets and then back through downtown to the pedestrian bridge across the river, and back to the boat.  She was challenged by the hills, but enjoyed the temperature in the mid 50’s, making it more bearable.

Belfast Bay from park

Belfast Bay from park

After a quick shower we went to have breakfast at Tiny’s Diner. Mark had been wanting a breakfast at a diner and this “locals” place seemed to fit the bill. There is your typical counter as well as tables, and an adjacent dining room with booths and tables.  The whole place is decorated circa 1980’s with music posters on the walls and 1980’s music playing on the radio. It was a hoot! The food was delicious and was well priced, and we only wished they served more than breakfast and lunch.  We may have to revisit this place before leaving Belfast.

Today was laundry day and Denise went to the local laundromat located about quarter mile up the hill.  The place was packed and despite the large number of washers and dryers, the logistics of getting available units was a challenge.  What should have taken 2 hours took all morning. Mark helped by delivering and picking up items, and organized guest stateroom (aka our storage area) while Denise handled this domestic chore.

Laundry location

Laundry location

During the day a few of the boats left the marina, including the Nordhavn that had been tied up on the end dock.  Almost immediately after they departed a very large (130’) sailboat came in and took up the entire dock.  The “Mia Cara” was an amazing boat that we later learned had a crew of 6 and was not a charter, but was privately owned.  We were no longer the “prettiest girl at the dance” and knew the people who came to the dock to look at all the boats were there for her, not us.

Mia Cara - 130'

Mia Cara – 130′

In the evening we finally had a chance to connect with our friends Irv & Marsha. We had them come to our boat first for drinks, then went on to DaVina’s for dinner. It is by far the best restaurant in town and reservations are a must. The food is very fresh and delicious and the place is always crowded.

We have known Irv & Marsha since 1996 when we were on our respective sailboats in the Bahamas. When not here on their sailboat (“Hang Out”) in the summer, they live in Boynton Beach, FL. We have kept in touch over the years and have been to each other’s homes on several occasions. This year they are selling their boat as it has become too much for them to maintain. They are in the early 80’s and with several health issues the management of two places has become too much for them. It is great to get together with them while in Belfast, and we hope to see them back in FL in the coming days.

Belfast, ME – Monday, 9/9 – Bangor Side trip
This would be an eventful day albeit not one of boating adventures.  Mark had to go see a client in the Pittsburgh area and scheduled a flight out of Bangor for early Tuesday morning. Not wanting to make the drive from Belfast to Bangor at 5:00 in the morning (which meant getting up at 4:30am), we used some Hilton points and booked a room at the Hilton Garden Inn not far from the airport.  It just so happens that it was also near the big shopping area in Bangor with every conceivable big box store and a few local places, including an LL Bean outlet.

After spending time in the morning and early afternoon working on the boat, we picked up a rental car in Belfast and made the 1-hour drive to Bangor. Our first stop was Walmart to buy some non-perishable staples and boat supplies. We then went to the hotel to check in and figure out where to eat dinner.  Today is our 30th wedding anniversary and we were hoping to have a nice dinner somewhere close to the hotel. However, most of the places around us were fast-food and we did not want to drive into downtown or to areas we did not know. Instead we opted to just eat at the Irish pub in the hotel and save a special dinner for another time. It was not glamorous or exciting, but the food was good and we were together and that was the most important part.

30th anniversary dinner

30th anniversary dinner

Tomorrow Denise will take Mark to the airport and head back to Belfast. On Friday evening she will repeat the trip to pick him up and return him to the boat.  We will then leave Belfast and head to other places in the Penobscot Bay area until the following weekend when we will be in Bucksport awaiting the arrival of family members and a weekend adventure in Bar Harbor.

Stay tuned for more of our adventures on Island Office

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