Monday (7/19) – Winter Harbor (Schoodic Peninsula), Maine
It was still damp and misty when we first woke, but the fog was not too bad. At the end of Sand Cove (near our mooring) is a street and then just beyond that is the Grindstone Neck Golf Course where we have watched a few golfers attempt to play, despite the weather.
But make no mistake about it, this area is a working cove for the lobsterman and there were posts all over the mooring field. When in these coves and working harbors, it is not unusual to have this. As a result, in the early morning hours we are frequently woken up by the sounds of the lobster boats coming to retrieve and/or relaunch their pots (also known as traps). When in a harbor where they also keep their boats, we first hear the sounds of their dinghy engine as they approach their boats (sometime around 3:30 – 4:00 am). Then we hear the roar of the lobster boat engine as it gets underway (around 4:00 am or later). Sometimes they are quiet and all we feel is their massive wake and the slap of water against our hull. Other times the lobsterman are blaring their VHF radios or music. These differ depending on where we are along the Maine coast. If Downeast or on the more remote islands, the lobsterman rule and they make it a point to let cruisers know this is their turf. In the more touristy areas like Rockland, Camden or Boothbay Harbors there may be more courtesy for the cruising yachts and sailboats. However, all of this is part of the atmosphere and we take it all in; it is what makes Maine so wonderfully authentic.
Just before 9:00 am, we called for the yacht club launch to come and pick us up. The driver came out right away and took us to the WHYC where we checked in with the dockmaster who had just arrived. We then took a walk around the facilities to see this very old established club and during that time the fog rolled in and shrouded the entire cove. It was eerily quiet and still.
We then headed out on our adventure for the day. We took the road that ran along the edge of Sand Cove and walked to the Village of Winter Harbor.
We were going to go in the “5 & 10 Variety Store” but since the next Island Explorer bus was arriving in 10 minutes we nixed the idea and went to the pickup location. It was located right next to the Arts building, which was a former school house.
The Island Explorer bus has been a main source of transportation for us in years past. But, due to Covid, they have had to cut back on the routes so they could increase the frequency of key necessary routes. This was done as they cannot have anyone standing on the buses (“social distancing”) and therefore they needed to run the buses in these popular routes more frequently. Since there are insufficient buses to add to all the routes, they have cut back on the routes and changed the stops and schedules. The bus to Schoodic Point was still running as it takes people to the park of Acadia National Park that is on this peninsula, and to the Schoodic Woods Campground. We took this particular bus which only had one stop at the campgrounds, and only took 20 minutes.
When we arrived at Schoodic Point the fog had lifted a bit but, it was still too foggy to see the Mark Island Lighthouse on a nearby island. However, we did get to see the beautiful water and coastline, not to mention the amazing rocks. This area was formed from the cooling of magma during past volcanic activity, and the mix of granite with large veins of dark basalt make it an amazing site. You can read about this great place here.
We were expecting to stay only until the next bus arrived (20 minutes). But we were captured with the beauty of the rocks and the numerous colors. We ended up staying until the next bus (40 minutes) which took us back to the Village of Winter Harbor. Denise went into the “5 & 10 Variety Store” (local hardware, souvenir, etc.) shop that sells everything from household goods, t-shirts and fabric. After a few purchases, she met up with Mark who was trying to have a business call with one of our associates.
We have been very challenged to even have cell phone signal in this area, let alone internet services and we were told the Library had free open Wi-Fi. We walked to the library only to discover they are only open from Wednesday through Sunday. Fortunately, we were able to pick up their Wi-Fi signal on the backside of their building to make an important phone call; we were trying to reroute a package for delivery that had been delivered to the wrong building in Ellsworth instead of the dockmaster’s office (more about this later).
After the call was made at the library, we started to walk back to the boat, but stopped at the local lobster Co-Op. Here we purchased two “shredder” lobsters for tonight’s dinner, and some fresh haddock to put in our freezer for a future meal. The “shredders” are lobsters which have shed their shells and the new one is not yet tough. They are usually smaller in size and have less meat, but they are sweeter and tenderer. They are also more expensive and rarely get shipped to restaurants and processors. It’s the hard shelled lobster that everyone usually gets.
By the time we walked back to the boat, the fog had lifted and we got to see the beauty of the area. Unfortunately, it did not last and with the incoming high tide the fog returned. This time it was much thicker and we could hardly see even the neighboring boats.
We cooked up our lobsters for dinner and enjoyed a nice quiet meal aboard. Then went back to reading our books until we turned in for the night.
About the package: Denise’s computer power supply had died and because it was under warranty, Dell sent us a new one. The package was supposed to be shipped to the Ellsworth City Marina where we knew we would be on a certain date. However, when the part-time harbormaster informed us (when we visited the day we had the Dysart’s truck) that packages must say to deliver to the “Harbormasters office” or they won’t get them. This is what happened and the shipment was returned to Dell by Fed-ex. We spent time trying to get the package re-routed to Belfast, ME where we know we will be at the end of the month.
One of the benefits of staying in a cove or remote area is the absolute beauty of nature that we get to experience. Sand Cove is no exception, and while here we have seen seals in the water, bald eagles in the air, and the most unusual fish who have a dorsal fin that protrudes above the water’s surface. It is almost like they are inviting the birds, seals and other predators to come find them and eat them. It is something we have never seen before.
Tomorrow we will leave for Bar Harbor, and hope the weather and fog clear for easy cruising.