Ah, July in Maine

At least when it rains in the Caribbean, it’s still warm. Not so in Maine. The air temp might be 62F right now, with rain and an easterly wind (so coming across the even cooler ocean). Dave and Dad don’t seem to mind so much. Mom & I are holed up inside with all hatches & portholes closed save one small one that, for now, the rain isn’t coming through. It feels more like April or early May rather than July.

I know I’ve posted a bunch of idyllic pictures of the Maine coast and islands with the sun shining. And I know there has been a long hot and humid stretch for you all back on land. But we’ve been in long pants and chamois or fleece almost every day, especially when we’re underway, and certainly every evening. Our on-the-water temps have averaged high 60s-low 70s. When we go ashore on the mainland we can feel the heat, and we shed layers quickly. Even the interior of an island is a little warmer, but as soon as we’re back aboard we break out the warm clothes.

Yup, we’re still here…

Wow, it’s been four days since I last posted. That’s because of the poor to zero cell coverage areas we’ve been in.  Last post, we were passing a rainy day in Pulpit Harbor. From there we went back to Tenants Harbor for Wednesday night. This was our last stop that would allow us to refill our water tanks, so we did a few loads of laundry again. We sprung the $30 mooring fee that also bought us the right to use their on-shore showers. Oh luxury! We now have 160 gallons of water to last the four of us 11 days. I’ll leave you to do the math on that one. (Dave says that’s a luxury for most boats, or as my Mom said a luxury in some countries. Perspective.)

From Tenants we went to Monhegan Island, meeting up with our cousins from Bremen who came in on their sailboat. Gorgeous! Amazing! Beautiful! Unexpected! I expected a rougher lobstering community, and what I found was a community of lobstering/artististry/summer folk, with a lot of pride in their history. They have a fabulous little museum that documents the thousands-year history of the island, and they had an art display in honor of the 50th anniversary of their art association (although artists have been coming to Monhegan for about 150 years). We walked around a bit, enjoying the phenomenal landscapes, stopping into the little shops and a couple of galleries. The guy who bought Dave’s old boat, Michael Brossard, owns the Island Inn there. He met us when we arrived, and spent some time talking with us about the island, island life, the inn, etc. We had dinner at the inn- splendid (and Michael covered our desserts)! We (minus me) spent Friday morning walking some more (I was not feeling well). We set out for our next stop around lunch time, having lunch underway.

Friday night we pulled into Damariscove Island and even found a mooring. This is a popular, narrow cove, with dicey anchoring, so we got lucky with the mooring. I stopped counting at 8 boats in this little area. My folks and Dave went for a walk while I snoozed in the hammock, catching the breeze to help reduce my fever (that and ibuprofen did the trick). We all slept soundly last night, and here we are on Saturday morning, watching the sun try to break through the morning fog and start to dry out the heavy, rain-like dew that covered the boat last night.

 

Passing a rainy day

There was thick fog when we woke this morning. The boat was as wet (outside) as if it had rained.

It’s these days when I feel my world shrink (to the size of the salon/galley 15′ 3″ x 8′ 3″), and everything feels damp and sticky. Fortunately, I’m in good company, so the close quarters don’t feel so confining 😊.

Salon is near, galley behind

The fog lifted partly during the day, and while it’s still overcast at 8pm, the clouds look as if they may start to thin overnight. We got a good rain early afternoon, but fortunately the severe storms stayed in the distance; we heard only distant thunder.

We passed the morning and early afternoon reading and even got to spend a little time out in the cockpit once the cushions had dried and there was a light, slightly warm breeze. When that breeze started to cool, we went back inside, had a late lunch and passed the afternoon playing games, which we will continue after dinner.

Fog

Alas, boating plans are contingent upon weather. Today’s scattered areas of fog with varying visibility (we had to sound our fog horn a few times) and tomorrow’s predicted rain and (potentially) severe thunderstorms have landed us in Pulpit Harbor a day ahead of schedule, and passing up a night at Warren Island.

Areas of fog in East Penobscot Bay, from Montserrat Hill on Butter Island

There are worse places to spend a foggy afternoon and rainy day. The harbor is beautiful, well protected, and pretty quiet, despite the number of boats. We had a chance to walk to North Haven Grocery a half mile away, and got back just as a light fog was rolling into the harbor.

Looking toward the east end of Pulpit Harbor

Entrance to Pulpit Harbor with Pulpit Rock at left

We’re anchored for tonight and tomorrow night. We’ve been remarkably lucky with weather thus far, so we can’t really complain (much 😉).

Away from the bustling crowds

Friday after breakfast we started what I’ll refer to as the more remote part of our trip. By this I mean that we are spending more time anchored off of little islands and far less time in established harbors. Now our ‘neighbors’ are other boats and the wildlife of the nearby islands. We enjoy the scenery en route and then the scenery ashore as we walk along the little islands. We spent Friday night at Burnt Island off the northeast corner of North Haven (a North Haven Conservation easement Island). Our only neighbor was the schooner Heritage on its first night of a 3-day excursion with 14 guests. They sent a crew member over to ask about Lady. (That’s happened a lot on this trip.)

Saturday night we anchored off Hay Island in Seal Bay on the eastern side of Vinalhaven. We counted 8 other boats, but it’s a big bay and was very quiet. Dave and Dad tried fishing, but all they caught was a mackerel (later used as bait), and a wrymouth, which we had to look up because none of us had seen one before. He was released and swam away quickly!

Today (Sunday) we are anchored off the east side of Butter Island alongside Orchard Beach and we are alone. We passed one sailboat anchored off Nubble beach on the southeast part of the island. Butter is privately owned. Visitors can walk along the east side only and up to the top of Montserrat where there is a memorial to the elder Cabot whose family owns this island. We climbed said mountain, and the views are spectacular and the raspberries plentiful and delicious! We even found a few wild strawberries.

Time for our evening game 😊

Time to air some dirty laundry

Not kidding. Thursday was laundry day on Indigo Lady. Let me back up a little, though, and catch you up on our excursions.

After a walk on Hurricane Island Tuesday morning we cruised over to Vinalhaven to drop our friends at the ferry, then we returned to Hurricane for the night. Wednesday we cruised into the Fox Island Thoroughfare and anchored in North Haven Harbor and went ashore to check out the wee town. They have a great little market with local fresh produce which we made use of both Wednesday and Friday. They also have a brewery, which we of course stopped into for a drink.

We had planned to leave for another spot on Thursday, but I connected with a friend on Vinalhaven and they would join us that evening for dinner aboard Lady. So now we’re back to laundry…

Since we had a sunny and unexpected additional day at anchor, we did chores. The boys tended to some mechanical issues while the ladies did the laundry. I know, typical sexist division of labor, but I still have to learn our systems, and if you saw how cramped our engine room is, you’d probably opt to do the laundry too!

We actually have a washing machine on board. It’s a tiny machine, but better than hand washing. One chamber for wash, switch to the other to spin. Boy does that side spin the water out! It’s mounted in the fourth head (Dave removed the toilet) and we fill it from the hose in that sink. We run an extension cord to the adjacent cabin (which used to be the fourth bedroom and is now our storage/workshop) to run it. Amen for solar power- we’re electricity rich! The ‘dryer’ is the sun- we hang the laundry on the life lines.

This was our first use of the washer (aside of a quick test in our bathtub back home). It works well. We are still confined to 160 gallons of fresh water in our storage tanks, so we did two loads per fill of the machine (not ideal; it was a bit gray after the first load). Once we install the water maker in August we’ll be water rich too, and laundry will even easier.

After that, Mom baked banana bread. We tidied the living space, and I cleaned the surface of counters and vacuumed. Mom & Dad made dinner (chicken cacciatore!) so Dave and I could dinghy over to the Vinalhaven thoroughfare dock to pick up my friend and his wife. They brought a yummy salad- fresh veggies!!! We had a lovely visit, and a productive day.

Hurricane Island

We picked up a couple of friends from RI at Rockland Sunday night and on Monday morning cruised together (again, predominantly on solar) to Hurricane Island where we picked up one of their guest moorings. Knowing they are an off-the-grid island, we invited them out to see our solar-electric system, and they in turn gave us a tour of their solar and other sustainable systems. It was a timely visit, as they have just received the approval of their Board to obtain/build their own 45 passenger vessel that will not run on fossil fuels. We chatted with them a bit about it. It will be a multi-year process and we wish them much luck!

We spent some time ashore Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning enjoying their trails. It was initially a privately owned quarry island that was suddenly abandoned (business decision)- meals left on the table style, according to the ‘old stories’. There are numerous signs of its quarry history: old granite foundations for the long-gone buildings, which were dismantled, and the parts hauled away for reuse elsewhere; the old quarry hole now filled with fresh water where the gulls appear to like to bathe before returning to the sea; lots of rusting metal- boilers, steam engines, wheels, etc.; granite in various states of from just cracked, to rough cut, to carved. A couple of days later we had a friend and his wife from Vinalhaven aboard for dinner and it turns out a branch of Susie’s family (great grand-parent generation) was the family chosen to coordinate everyone leaving island and then dismantling the old buildings. They are from Vinalhaven, which is where they returned once Hurricane Island’s quarries shut down. Small world!

Poor reception here, so only one picture for now, but I’ll update with more later.

Hurricane Island

Art and Sea Life

Dave wanted me to be sure to talk a little about the boat and her performance. So…

We cruised 15 nm from Tenants Harbor to Rockland Harbor at an average of 4.2 knots on solar energy alone, and when we arrived, both battery banks were at 100%. Dave was pleased. Okay, that’s the boat update 😉

Wildlife update:

We’ve seen several seals near and far from the boat, and harbor porpoises in the distance, as well as various sea birds. At Tenants Harbor, shortly after we arrived, we heard splashing just off our port aft side. The water roiled with little fish, and then a seal came up in the middle of it all. S/he was fishing for dinner! I’ve seen humpback whales feeding before, but this was the first time I saw a seal do it. Cool. (I wasn’t quick enough to get a picture though.)

While my folks were ashore for Mass in Rockland Saturday night, Dave and I (the heathens) sat in our hammocks aboard Lady and read. We heard a little splash off our stern and saw two black guillemots that had just surfaced. We’d seen them around the boat since we arrived a few hours before. They paddled around behind us for a while and Dave said it looked like one was considering jumping into our sugar scoop (steps to the water at the stern of the boat). So I peeked over the hammock and sure enough, seconds later, one of them hopped onto the step! Its companion was a little less certain about following. It stayed for a minute or so (again, not long enough to get into position for a picture) and then hopped off again to join its companion. These are the birds just afterward.

Guillemots

We spent the better part of the day ashore on Sunday visiting the Lighthouse Museum, a little gem not far from the marina we stayed in, and then the Farnsworth Museum, with lunch in between and gelato after. Then it was back to the boat for afternoon drinks and then dinner. We picked up friends who joined us around 8pm and will be with us through Wednesday mid-morning. We’re en route not to explore Hurricane Island and then probably North Haven. We’ll stay in the area of North Haven and Vinalhaven for another few days to continue exploring after they leave us.

Just a few pictures from the Farnsworth Museum and one of the harbor (can you spot Indigo Lady?).