Sunday (7/11) – Potts Harbor, Maine (near Harpswell)
The alarm rang early for Captain Mark, but Denise had been up earlier watching “End Game” first, then “Travail” pull away from the dock and head out of Constitution Marina. Soon we followed them heading north, but we first stopped at Harbor Fuels in Boston harbor to top off our fuel tank. Heading into remote parts of Maine, we didn’t want to run short of fuel in case it became harder to find and was a bit more expensive.
We left Harbor Fuels and headed out into Boston harbor. It was a quiet morning and it was very calm in the harbor.
We were hoping that the prediction for calm seas would hold until we got to the Portland area, nearly 100 miles away. We were not 100% sure where we would end up, but we had options in mind, including: downtown Portland, Portland Yacht Club, or all the way to the Dolphin Marina near Harpswell. We have stayed in all these places and they are not far from each other. But we didn’t’ want to make any final decisions until we were closer to Portland, less we encounter rough water and change our landing for the day.
We left Boston harbor and entered the Massachusetts Bay to very calm waters, and a hazy day. We had plotted a straight course first to just off of Cape Ann, outside of Gloucester and headed that way. This had us running close to the coastline and there were several boats out on the water, and many lobster pots along the way. In what seemed like no time we were passing Marblehead and the islands that make up this area. Just outside of Gloucester we caught up to and passed “Travail” and shortly thereafter “End Game”.
And then we came to Cape Ann, with its twin lights and rocky shoreline. Here was where we would expect the worst of the seas, but we were pleasantly surprised that it was calm. However, we did start to encounter many more lobster pots in this area.
We rounded Cape Ann and then plotted a course for a direct shot to Portland. Due to the curvature of the coastline, this meant for a time we were offshore about 15 – 20 miles and could not see land. We missed the beautiful but short coastline of New Hampshire and along the way the Nubble Lighthouse. However, we also encountered fewer lobster pots. Every now and then we would have a big ocean swell come our way, but for most of the way it was pretty calm and we only saw a few fishing boats.
As we got nearer to Portland we began to see the coastline and many more boats on the water. And just before we saw the twin lighthouses at Cape Elizabeth (and the entrance to Portland Channel), we saw a whale. It was so cool!
Once our excitement of seeing the whale died down and we knew we could make it to Potts Harbor, near Harpswell, we made a reservation at Dolphin Marina. We have stayed here several times and love the service and the food at the restaurant. But the best part is the blueberry muffins they bring to your boat in the morning, and serve with each entrée in the restaurant.
We made our way through Broad Sound Channel, passing Eagle Island to our right. Eagle Island is where Admiral Robert E. Peary lived after being the first man to discover the North Pole. You can read about his story here and about this park here.
We pulled into our assigned slip and assisted by the dockhands tied up safely. The place was hoping with lots of weekend boaters who come to eat at the restaurant, or at Erica’s, Seafood on the property. We have never been here when it has been so busy and now realize this place has been “discovered”.
We had made our 100 mile voyage in just over 5 hours and arrived in time for lunch. So once the boat was settled we ate on board, all the while watching the crazy boat drivers come into the marina for fuel, food and fun. It was the last day of a holiday week that officially is the start of summer here, and everyone was in a post-Covid celebratory mood.
In the afternoon we noticed “Puffin”, a blue hulled Nordic Tug coming into the moorings, not far from our slip. We met Peter in New Bern, NC in April, and he had helped Mark by taking him to the airport to get a rental car, and with a pump out when Denise had to fly home. We made contact with him and his wife Kathy, and invited them for drinks on our boat, then we could go for an early dinner at the restaurant. They took a launch into the docks and came over for a short chat before we walked up the hill to eat at the restaurant. Because they were concerned with being done in time to make the last launch (7:00 pm) we took a “first available” option for dining. They sat us at an outside table on the point, and the wind was not bad. But by the time the entrees were served the wind picked up and the temperature dropped. We were freezing and hurried to finish our delicious meal in order to get out of the cold. In our rush we forgot to take pictures.
During our time together, we learned more about Peter and Kathy. Although New Bern, NC is where they keep their boat, they originally are from the Gloucester area. Peter had many occupations, including as a Sword fisherman. They have boated all over Maine and shared with us places to go, many we have been to and a few more we did not know about. We had a wonderful time together and look forward to our paths crossing again.
Monday (7/12) – Potts Harbor, Maine (near Harpswell)
Early in the morning it started to rain so we both slept in. Finally around 7:00 am Denise got up and because the rain had stopped, she went for a run. Taking the only road on the peninsula where Dolphin Marina is located, she did an out-and-back run along Basin Cove, getting caught in a slight drizzle for the last mile. It was a bit hilly, but a good training run in the end. The view was beautiful even with overcast skies.
We spent a good bit of the morning planning out our itinerary over the next few weeks. Doing so we read (for the 4th or 5th time) parts of the cruising book we use (“A Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast” by Taft, et.al.), Active Captain (AC) and Waterway Guide (WG) reviews. Our process is this: we think of a place to go see (or are told by others), investigate the location, and then look to see if we can get into it. If its moorings or an anchorage we look for any size restrictions or concerns, and if it’s a marina then we look for availability. Other things we have to consider include where we can do laundry, and where we can go to church on Saturday evening or Sunday morning. This always takes more time than expected, but we now have a plan (allowing for bad weather and some delays), and enabling us to go to new destinations. By then it was lunch time and we still had work to do, and a blog to post. However, at least the sun came out, surprising us because it was forecasted to rain all day long.
In the afternoon we had work to do for our business, and Mark spent a large amount of time with Dell trying to get a new power cord adapter for Denise’s computer, as it has suddenly stopped working. A new one is on its way and hopefully we will be able to pick it up in Ellsworth when we are there on 7/24.
When we are on a public dock or popular marina, it is not uncommon for people to stop and look at our boat. Many people in Maine cannot believe we have taken the boat this far and we are constantly interrupted by questions about the boat, or about our trip(s). One such couple (Mac and Dolly) stopped to talk to us, and come to find out the couple is from Oviedo FL (wife was raised in Winter Park) and now they have a summer house in Port Clyde, Maine. They had taken their boat (a Legacy – Downeast design) over to Dolphin Marina for dinner and stopped when they saw the hailing port on the back of the boat. We talked for over an hour about the Oviedo area, Winter Park, and our mutual experiences in business (he was in banking). Before leaving he offered us their mooring ball if and when we go to Port Clyde. Since we have it on the list of places we want to go, we most likely will look him up when there.
Once they left we went back to our work until dinner. Denise had a late conference call, so Mark went up to Erica’s Seafood and got us lobster rolls and clam chowder (that is “lobsta” rolls and clam “chowda” – in Maine dialect); our first of the season. It was delicious and although it was overpriced (they used to be cheaper here) we loved it anyway. It was the perfect way to end our stay in Harpswell.
Unfortunately, the sun did not stay out and it was too cloudy for a good sunset picture. But here are some others of the area:
We have loved coming to Dolphin Marina in the past, but now we can see others have too. This time we experienced bigger boats (yachts), higher prices, less availability of services, and even facilities that need some touch up. It is not what it was 4 years ago when we were first delighted by them. We hope this is a post-Covid issue and it will change back to the way it was.