Tag Archives: Five Islands

Tourists, Resorts, and Pristine Settings!

Friday (8/27) – Boothbay Harbor, Maine

We were treated to a glorious sunrise in five islands and spent about an hour talking with Doug, who had used his dinghy to come over to our boat and give us a boat card. Here we learned even more information about the area around Five Islands, Georgetown and Malden Island. He is so interesting and was a great conversationalist.  We also came extremely close to a sailboat that had taken up the mooring left by the even larger sailboat from the day before.  This is definitely not a good place for mooring boats larger than 40’.

We had a short cruise to Boothbay Harbor so we were not terribly concerned with getting under way; after all this was a pretty nice spot to just hang out.  Eventually, Captain Mark called the marina and confirmed that we could arrive early as our assigned slip was available.

Five Islands to Boothbay Harbor

We Left Five Islands Harbor, passing Malden Island to our right, and spotting Doug’s house on the point as we left.  We could have headed south and taken the Gulf of Maine Route around Cape Newagen, but instead we decided to take the “back way” through Townsend Gut again. 

Once leaving Five Islands, we turned north up the Sheepscot River for less than 2 miles, hugging the eastern shore, then we rounded Dogfish Head (and the wild house with its dog sculpture ) and entered Ebenecook Harbor. 

We cruised for a mile through the harbor and then turned right rounding Cameron Point and entered the Townsend Gut, heading south this time.  Less than a mile later we came to the Southport Island Bridge, only this time we had hit it at low tide and had sufficient clearance to get under without requiring an opening.

Approaching Southport Island Bridge

We continued through the Townsend Gut and at the southern end rounded Juniper Point and entered Boothbay Harbor.  Here we passed an outgoing large yacht (“Stay Salty”) towing their tender, and the American Cruise Line Ship “American Constitution” who was moored in the harbor.

We made our way around McFarland Island and into Tugboat Inn & Marina where we picked up our slip for the next 2 nights.  We stayed here in 2017 and once again reaffirmed this was one of the better places for us to stay. It is incredibly convenient to all the action, without being disturbed by the loud nightly music, and it is an affordable option.  Our main reason for coming back to this otherwise very touristy place, was that we knew they had a Catholic Church and we could go to mass there on Sunday morning.

Once the boat was settled and we checked in with the marina, we ate some lunch and then handled a few work items during the early afternoon. Later, Mark washed the salt off the boat and did a few maintenance items.

Denise went for a walk to the Hannaford’s located on the outskirts of town, to pick up milk and a few other items. We had been told there was a trolley that runs around Boothbay Harbor and out towards Hannaford’s but the route could take up to an hour depending on the direction. Not wanting to have to wait up to an hour at the store for the pickup, Denise opted for the walk. It was a mile each way and she wanted the exercise, but it was so hot (87°) that it almost felt like 5 miles. This was truly our hottest summer yet in Maine and we are missing the cooler weather of years past. Here are some pictures of sites along the way:

We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening hanging out around our boat, talking to some of the locals and then visiting the Tugboat Inn restaurant for a simple dinner. It was good, but nothing spectacular and we wanted to eat and get back to the boat for the night.

Saturday (8/28) – Boothbay Harbor, Maine

Denise started the day with a run that first took her out of the downtown area to the Hannaford’s, then back along the eastern shore of Boothbay Harbor.  She ran the route as far south as she could go until she came to the resort at the end of the road called “The Spruce Point Inn”; a mix of inn, hotel and home sites along the shore.  She then turned around and too a small side road near the water, returned back to the main road, then back to the marina.  Here are some of the pictures from her run around Boothbay Harbor:

After breakfast we got down to doing boat chores. Mark washed the boat completely (not just a salt water rinse off) and got all the bugs and other debris from our two previous stays away from a marina.  Denise concentrated on the inside of the boat, scrubbing just as hard.  This division of work allowed us to get our chores done without taking too much time.  But Mark had a “project” chore that he was going to tackle after lunch. He wanted to clean the bilge in the engine room and it is a very messy job that he had been putting off. It also requires lifting of the main salon floor to access the engine room.  Denise left Mark to do some “souvenir” shopping because it is easier for her to be gone from the boat when he does this. Otherwise, she would be confined to a small space in the main stateroom or guest quarters; as if 37’ of boat isn’t small enough!

Denise walked through just about every store (and art gallery) in the Boothbay Harbor area, and reaffirmed that this is definitely a touristy town.  However, there are some great restaurants here, and we ended up eating at one for dinner that our friends Mark & Jenay (“Ravello”) had recommended.  “The Boathouse Bistro” overlooks the northern part of Boothbay Harbor, and the pedestrian footbridge.  It was a lovely view and the food was very good.  Afterwards, we walked around the harbor for a little while, looking at the different marinas, once again confirming that we had chosen the better of those on this side of the harbor.

Boat House Bistro

Throughout the last two days we had a chance to talk with some of the locals, including a few who live aboard their boat all summer.  They told us how the marina is open year-round (we can’t imagine) and that those that leave their boats in the water get rearranged so the outer docks can be used by the lobsterman boats (who otherwise are on moorings in the harbor).  It really is interesting to see how everything changes here in the 5 months of summer (May through October) and that lobstering really does rule all of their lives.

During our stay in this busy harbor, we watched several tour boats come and go from the commercial harbor. Depending on who knows what criteria, sometimes they would pass very close to our boat as we were on an end-tie at the marina.  They were so close that a couple of times we could hear the narration of the tour, and even passenger’s comments admiring our Island Office.

Sunday (8/29) – Boothbay Harbor, to Sebasco Harbor Resort – near Phippsburg, Maine

Our day started early as we wanted to go to the 7:00 am mass at Mary Queen of Peace Church.  We took the footbridge across the harbor and down the street for the half-mile walk to the church. The mass was said by the same priest as we had in Bath last Sunday. He has 3 churches to support and the mass schedules are staggered to enable time to travel between the various churches. There is no Saturday evening service here, and we took the earliest mass time today as we were leaving Boothbay Harbor today.

Our Lady Queen of Peace
Inside Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church
Fisherman’s memorial at Our Lady Queen of Peace

After mass we walked back to the boat and made preparations to leave, which we finally did at 9:30 am.  Here are some additional pictures we took of the Boothbay area:

We didn’t have far to go (less than 20 miles), but our trip required us to go back out into the Gulf of Maine and we wanted to do that when the winds were calm in the morning; they usually pick up in the afternoon and then settle down again in the evening.

Boothbay Harbor to Sebasco Harbor Resort

We left Boothbay Harbor and entered the Gulf of Maine, with overcast skies, and light winds, but enough chop on the water to spray the bow of the boat with salt water.  Near 10:00 am we passed by Seguin Island and then rounded Cape Small. We took the near-shore channel through the ledges heading north, and made our way to Sebasco Harbor Resort, passing Sebasco Harbor to our right.  Sebasco Harbor Resort is located in Sebasco Estates, not far from the town of Phippsburg (near Bath).

When we arrived at the Sebasco Harbor Resort, we first went to the floating dock so we could hose all the salt off the boat. We then went to our assigned mooring for our 2-night stay, which was pretty much in the middle of the harbor.  There was a little wind in the harbor, but it was not uncomfortable and we were able to be comfortable on the boat while getting a few things accomplished.

Hosing the salt off the boat
Looking towards Casco Bay

During the rest of the morning and into the afternoon we spent planning and re-planning our next week of itinerary stops.  This became a challenge as we were juggling many things: certain destinations we want to visit on the way home; weather forecasts (remnants of Ida); visiting Denise’s aunt in New Hampshire; ability to get/not get a rental car; boat parts requiring shipping points; and our goal to be in the Chesapeake Bay by the end of September.  We also had to take into consideration the cancellation policies of any potential marinas, making sure we could be near a Catholic Church on a Saturday or Sunday, and coming up was Labor Day weekend – an expensive boating weekend in New England.  All of this can make one’s head explode!  Given this, we chose to leave the Casco Bay area and go directly to Boston (once again) on Tuesday, directly from Sebasco.  Here we knew we could rent a car, drive to see Denise’s Aunt, provision the boat well for the trip home (think Costco), and easily go to church.  We could also enjoy the weekend a bit in a fun city. With this settled, Mark called Constitution Marina in Marina and made reservations for us to stay until Sunday.

Later in the afternoon, we took the dinghy to the Resort to explore the area.  It is a very nice place with a very large swimming pool, tennis courts, golf course, recreation center (including candlepin bowling), fitness center, spa, ice cream shop, coffee shop, and plenty of outdoor picnic areas with beautiful gardens.  The resort has an inn as well as condos, and several different size cabins to rent (perfect for a family reunion). They also offer daily fishing charters as well as boating charters (sail or motor yacht) with a captain.  There is free use of bicycles, kayaks, paddleboards, etc. and is geared for all age groups.  It is a beautiful, if not older resort in lovely surroundings. You can learn more about Sebasco Resort here

Unfortunately, the main restaurant (The Pilot House) was closed last year due to Covid and did not reopen for public dining this season. However, the Ledges Pub and Patio Bar was open and we had a very nice meal on the patio, overlooking the moorings and our boat.  After dinner we walked around a bit more, then took the dinghy back to our boat for the rest of the evening. 

The wind had picked up a bit and the moorings were a bit rolly from the waves out of the south. Reviewers had commented on this feature, but it was certainly tolerable for us for the night.  We agreed to review this for tomorrow if it got any worse, but for now it was not as bad as our night at Hurricane Island.

Monday (8/30) – Sebasco Harbor Resort – Snow Island, Maine

We woke up in the morning and checked the weather forecast for the day.  It was already getting rolly in the harbor and the winds and waves were expected to pick up as the day went on.  We really didn’t want to stay if it got worse and considered our options for leaving.  We originally were going to Dolphin Marina (near Harpswell) for our last night in Maine, but on this day they were closed for an employee appreciation day prior to their fall hours. Plus, we had reserved for 2 nights at Sebasco and were not sure we would be able to cancel the second night’s mooring fee.  We also knew that Snow Island was between Sebasco and Dolphin Marina, and offered great protection if the wind was going to blow out of the south. We had visited Snow Island in 2017 for the very same reason.  Further making this an attractive option was that Ken & Kim (“Reel Tradition”) whom we met in Portland offered the use of their mooring ball in the cove there.  Since we were headed ashore for some morning fun, we agreed to talk to the dockmaster then about canceling the second night.

We took the dinghy ashore and Mark addressed the issue with the dockmaster, who immediately issued a credit for the second night, without a hassle (have we mentioned how much we love Maine).  We then got the free bikes and drove all around the resort, including a few areas we are sure we weren’t supposed to go to because they were “off property”.  After about 30 minutes of riding the one-gear bikes over dirt roads and hills, we went back to the resort and stopped near the inn for a game of “ring toss” (like they have in some bars but this one used an old tetherball pole), and then returned the bikes to the golf pro shop.

Having now made the decision to move to Snow Island we wanted to get underway before the wind and waves got too bad. It was a short cruise through inland waterways with it all from behind, but we also had things to do.  When we arrived at the float to get in the dinghy, it was already blowing quite a bit. The dockmaster told us things were going to get really bad when it came time for high tide, and he fully understood our decision to leave. We hurried back to the boat, secured the dinghy and stowed our items, and got ready to leave Sebasco Harbor Resort. 

At 10:25 am we unhooked from our mooring ball and headed out of the Sebasco Harbor, turning right and making our way through the marked channel around the ledges (rocks). 

Sebasco Resort to Snow Island

We came through the pass at the top of Yarmouth Island and entered Quahog Bay. This is a beautiful bay that runs through the middle of Sebascodegan Island and is lined with lobster wharfs and oyster farms.  At the top and in the very center of the bay is Snow Island, and there are anchorages and mooring balls throughout the area.  It is really a beautiful place buffeted with high trees and lots of wildlife. It was also one of the first places we visited in Maine in 2017, and we fell in love with the place back then.

We turned just south of Snow Island and slowly made our way to the cove where the mooring ball for “Reel Tradition” was located.  Before leaving Sebasco we had confirmed with Kim (& Ken) that their ball was available and we could use it for the one night. As we approached the cove we could see someone else was on their ball (done all the time in Maine), but they moved when we told them we had confirmed permission to use the ball for the night. We had traveled only 5 miles in less than 30 minutes and it was like we were on another planet.  The water was very calm and the land to our south blocked most of the winds that had continued to pick up all morning.

We settled into getting some work done, emails and working on a blog post, in a spectacularly beautiful setting.  During the afternoon we had a chance to watch a bald eagle land and perch in a tree on the nearby land. It was an awesome sight and this time we caught it on camera:

We also were visited by a pump-out boat, offering free services in order to keep the area free from human waste and pollution.  Although we were not full up, we took advantage of this, but offered a small contribution to the cause.  The pump-out boat is part of the Quahog Bay Conservancy, a not-for-profit started by the owner Snow Island in order to cleanup and preserve Quahog Bay’s delicate ecosystem.  It is so successful that Snow Island Oysters are some of the best known and desired in all of Maine. You can learn more about this wonderful organization here.

That evening Captain Mark took cooked some delicious burgers on the grill while we watched boats and wildlife all around us.  As we were cleaning up we decided to run the generator to charge the batteries and our electronics, a nightly thing when at anchor or mooring.  But tonight it would not stay on, and we knew it most likely meant the impeller had to be changed.  Having done this before, Captain Mark got out the spare, raised the floor of the main salon and went to work to replace the old impeller.  While he did all this as normal, there was still an issue with a slight leak of water due to a pinched gasket (small rubber part) and it worked, but not without the water leak. Since it there was no pressing issue to run the generator, and since it was getting dark (and he was already using a light), we decided to forego the additional work necessary to pull it all apart and replace the small gasket.  Denise could live without coffee in the morning, and we could repair it when we were at Constitution Marina in Boston. In the meantime he ordered a spare via Amazon who should have it to the marina in Boston by Friday.

We settled in for the night and watched another great sunset; our last in Maine for 2021. Tomorrow, we will leave this great state, bypass New Hampshire and make our way south to Massachusetts. We are headed home!

Sheepscot Surprises!

Robinhood to Oven Mouth Cove

Wednesday (8/25) – Oven Mouth Cove, Maine

Before heading out today, Denise was went for a short walk around the marina property and Riggs Cove, including near the original Riggs home built in 1785.  She ventured to the cemetery where Riggs family members were buried, some dating back to the early 1800’s.  It was not easy to get to as it is located behind the marine center and where there is equipment blocking the entrance, but it was worth the adventure to see more of the history of this area.

We were not anxious to get under way as it was forecasted to be another hot day and leaving the dock meant no air conditioner unless we ran the generator all day.  However, we had stayed at Robinhood long enough, and we figured it would be breezy once we got on the Sheepscot River.  Also, since we were going to an area where people frequently swim around the anchorage, and we may be tempted to do so as well. Finally, around 9:30 we left Robinhood marina and made our way around the ledges and into the channel on the Sheepscot River.

We cruised north up the Sheepscot River dodging lobster pots everywhere, including in the middle of the channel.  We were surprised by how many there were, even 8 miles upriver from the Gulf of Maine.  But the scenery was lovely and the numerous houses on both sides of this wide river was beautiful. This is a much more populated area of Maine, as it is not far from Boothbay Harbor.

We turned up the Cross River, also lined with beautiful homes and wonderful scenery, and eventually turned into the channel to Oven Mouth. Here it became very narrow and we had to stay in the middle of the channel to avoid the shallow (and rocky) shoreline at low tide. 

Once through the narrow channel we entered Oven Mouth Cove.  We discovered this much-touted place was more like a lake then a cove, and could clearly handle 50 boats at anchor; it was very wide open and there was a lot of room.  We sought out the shallowest spot (13’) as identified on our charts, and recommended by the many Active Captain reviews.  After driving around for 20 minutes and unable to locate it even at low tide, we settled on a spot in the 19’ range, dodging the numerous lobster traps in the area.  Fortunately, we have sufficient anchor chain and rode to handle the depth when it is high tide (10’ more) and still feel comfortable that we will not move even if the wind started to blow hard.  Unfortunately, it did not.  But the best part was we instantly spotted the cell tower and had terrific cell coverage.

Cell tower and great coverage

It was a very hot day, and despite it being a large cove, the air was blocked by the hills around it.  We were able to stay in the shade and spent the day doing a little work, publishing a blog update, reading, watching the lobster boats check their traps, and observe a few recreational boaters come in for a swim, then leave.  In essence we had the entire place to ourselves.  At one point Denise stuck her feet in the water, and although tempted to go for a swim, it was still way too cold for her.

In mid-afternoon it got really hot, with no breeze.  We considered leaving this beautiful cove to move closer to the ocean where we might get the prevailing southern wind to cool us off.  But, we decided to stick it out. Finally, in late afternoon when we were dying of the heat (89°), we put on the generator and cranked up the air conditioners.  We ended up running them for 3 hours, allowing us to eat dinner in a bug-free and cooler setting.

Shortly after dinner we received a very unexpected and welcomed visit from Troy (“Band Aids”) who is the AGLCA Harbor Host for mid-coast Maine.  We had been in email communication with him and he had been tracking us on NEBO the whole time we have been in Maine.  When he saw we had finally made it to Oven Mouth Cove, he came out on a small boat to visit us; his house is located not far from where Cross River splits off of the Sheepscot.  It was a delight to have a visitor and we enjoyed talking to him for a while. He informed us that the dock we could see at the south end of the cove was where John Monroe (famed telecom billionaire) has a house, and his large yacht is usually parked there.  This explains the cell tower and terrific signal strength in this area.

Billionaire John Monroe’s dock

Troy left as the sun started to dip behind the trees and it wasn’t long thereafter that it got dark.  We saw millions of stars in the sky in this area of little light pollution, and it cooled down enough for us to get a good night’s sleep without having to run the generator again.

Thursday (8/26) – Five Islands – Georgetown, Maine

Oven Mouth Cove to Five Islands

As the sun came up, we were treated to a spectacular sunrise and a few seals swimming in the harbor.  A few lobster boats came in early to pick up their traps, but we were the only boat that spent the night in the anchorage.  Denise went out in the cockpit to take a few photos and was shocked.  During the night we had been inundated with millions of bugs, and they were all over the boat. It was disgusting!

Sunrise at Oven Mouth Cove
Bugs everywhere!
IO at Oven Mouth in the morning

It wasn’t long after Mark got up and finished breakfast, that he suggest we head out to our next adventure: our destination was 8.5 miles back down the Sheepscot River and to Five Islands Harbor near Malden Island. Around 9:00 am we pulled up the anchor and made our way back through the narrow entrance and into the Cross River.  We then turned left and headed south down the Sheepscot River, reversing our trek from the day before.  We cruised just past the area where we would have turned into Robinhood, but continued a little bit further south, passing MacMahan Island to our right and entering into the channel for Five Islands Harbor.

Approaching Five Islands Harbor

We made our way around the many moored lobster boats and pleasure crafts in search of one of the free moorings offered by the Five Islands Yacht Club (FIYC).  As we were struggling to figure out where these were located, we pulled close to the dock on Malden Island and asked a guy on a sailboat at the dock there for directions. He gave us the information we sought, and we were able to secure a mooring in a great spot.  However, we did notice that there were several boats (including a large sailboat) that were much too large for the mooring field and one of these boats was incredibly close to us when the wind shifted us all around. One of the Active Captain reviews had warned of this and we now understood what they meant.

Too large a boat for the mooring
IO at 5 Islands looking north

We spent the rest of the morning finishing up on some work items, and then we ate lunch.  We also noticed the sailboat from the dock on Malden Island was now on a private mooring ball next to ours. We later met “Doug” (“Kalitan V”), the guy who helped us out, but will discuss him later.

In the afternoon we published the last blog update, and then decided to go ashore and give our legs a little time on land.  Mark took the dinghy out for a quick spin around the harbor and to identify the dinghy dock, then came back to get Denise. 

Mark checking out the neighborhood
IO at Five Islands

From there we went to the mainland, which is part of the village of Georgetown.  This area is on the same peninsula as Robinhood and is bordered by the Sheepscot River to the east, and the Kennebec River to the west.  The village is a misnomer as there is no real main street, but there are a few spots of interest besides the Five Islands Harbor area. One such spot was the Five Islands Farm, located about a half a mile from the wharf on “5 Islands Rd”.  We walked up the hill along the road, which had no shoulder, but because it is all residential there was little traffic and most of the passing cars went slow.  We arrived at the Five Islands Farm where we purchased a tomato and some tart apples, but did not buy one of their freshly made blueberry pies (it was tempting).

Five Islands Farm

We headed back down the hill towards the wharf encountering a few interesting sights along the way:

Flag on house in Georgetown
We found our thrill!!!

Once back in the harbor area, we went to the Five Islands Harborside General Store, a small souvenir shop that overlooks the water and is also a fuel stop.  It has a few convenient food items, but mainly here is where people come to buy their wine and beer and take it back to the Lobster Company (lobster pound) as they do not sell any alcohol there.

Harborside General Store

We left the General Store, figuring it was getting late and we should get in line at the Lobster Company before the line got too long.  When we arrived we discovered there was already a line and we were going to have to wait a bit just to place an order.  This is an interesting lobster pound because the rolls and sandwiches are ordered in the first (main) building on the wharf, but the lobster dinners, steamers, muscles, and oysters are ordered in another building behind it.  Mark wanted a lobster roll and Denise wanted steamed lobster so we had to split up and each get our own meal. We then grabbed one of the few available spots on the picnic tables overlooking the harbor to enjoy our early dinner.  It was a beautiful day, even though it was hot, but the breeze off the ocean made it very comfortable.  We were glad we came early as the lines that formed after us had people waiting at least 15 minutes just to order, and another 20 -30 minutes to get their meal. It is definitely touristy and more expensive than several of the other lobster pounds we have been to, but it was just as delicious. We did pass on the ice cream which is located in a 3rd separate building on the wharf.

Five Islands signage
Five Islands Lobster Co.
Ice Cream stand and picnic area
Malden Island from mainland

After dinner, we took our dinghy back to the boat and talked with family on the phone. We also noticed Doug was on his boat, and had a talk with him across the water between our boats.  Here we learned he is a 5th generation landowner on Malden Island, the exclusive island located just south of the moorings.  He gave us a lot of information about the area, and told us a lot about the 9 homes and their owners on Malden Island. There is a dining hall that is on the premises and has a full time chef and staff (or did until Covid hit) and the islanders can eat all 3 meals there. There is an expected minimum number of meals they must eat (like a country club minimum) and most of the islanders are from the original founding families like himself; although that is changing. It was fascinating to hear his stories, and to learn that he lives all but a few months of the year on the island; he spends the winter months on the mainland because his island home is poorly insulated and has no heat. We ended the evening watching a nice sunset over the harbor, but were so busy talking to Doug that we forgot to capture it in a picture. 

Doug (“Kalitan V”)

Tomorrow we leave for the weekend in Boothbay Harbor, but we are very glad we came here. It is a beautiful spot and comfortable, even with the crowded moorings and we were pleasantly surprised at how much we liked it here.  We will come back here again!