Mike Kauffmann Memorial Tractor Ride

Today is the Mike Kauffman (my late Dad) Memorial tractor ride in Arlington, MN. It’s being done by the local IH Collector Club and culminates with a bonfire/wiener roast/BBQ at the farm. We hope all the family and friends are there and having a good ride. Our thanks to all the club and best to Mom, sorry we’re not there in person. We’re with you all in spirit.

We’re lying at anchor in Seal Bay, Vinalhaven. Since my update, we spent a couple days at Wooden Boat School, sailed Eggemoggin Reach to Castine where we spent a couple nights. Yesterday a wonderful (although slow) wing-on-wing downwind sail to Seal Bay. Air Card is barely reaching out so more updates and photo’s later.


Hells Half Acre--the Cats Ass

We took a walk today around the island called Hell’s Half Acre. Beautiful, 500 feet from our anchor and open to the public as it’s protected by the Maine Island Trail Association. Take a look at the photo…we recommend a short walkabout if you’re in the area. You might say it’s the….

Stonington, just across the Deer Island Thoroughfare from our anchor earns but one smallish paragraph in our cruising guide. Good news to us as there are few cruisers here. This true Maine working harbor is full of lobster boats with a few local sailboats tossed in for good measure. As we rounded the bend between work docks we saw a welcome sight for cruisers…a large ”Public Dock” sign, plenty of space at it, and a dumpster with public restrooms at the top. Friday was farmer’s market day so we stocked up on fresh produce, enjoyed lunch at a local cafĂ© and took in the atmosphere. Small store ½ block from the dock sells all the necessities at a fair price, including live lobster ($7/lb), beer, liquor, produce. Couple all that with rock solid anchorage…maybe we know why the writers have kept it all a secret. We’d maybe even call it the….

Then today, after 51 years of hearing and even using the phrase on rare occasion I saw it for myself, those still wondering, here is a photo of the….


Lobster: Whole or Roll

My goals for this summer are fairly simple: go to Maine, see the sights, eat enough lobster to get sick of it. Pretty lofty goals, if I do say so myself. So now we're in Maine, seeing great vistas and thanks to Gary and Alex, we started eating lobster before we even got here! Now my big dilemma is: whole or roll? Get the lobster whole and get to crack it apart myself? Very squirty messy fun at a table full of people. Dip chunks in butter and eat, simple and delicious. Or, let someone else do the work and get it all neat and easy on a toasted roll? A little mayo, a squeeze of lemon, also delish. Such is the hard life I lead.
We had a great thunderstorm the other night with lots of lightning and rain. Our decks are designed to be a catchment area for rain, to fill the fresh water tank. After waiting about an hour, to let all the dust rinse away, Steve put in the plugs and everything else went into topping off the tank. What an easy way to fill up. We got up in the morning to a dinghy full of clean rain water, so we did what cruisers everywhere will do: laundry. Washed in rain water and dried in the breeze, the clothes smell like the sun.
I will leave you with a photo of the seals at sunset in Mackarel Cove.

Position: 44 deg 09.096 North
              68 deg 37.242 West


In Search of Puffins

    Time to catch up; we left the Mt Desert area with a specific destination in mind, Machias Seal Island. Just 15 nautical miles (nm) from the coast but a long run east then another off-shore through some cold, current ridden waters stood between us and the notorious Puffin rookery. We left on a calm morning after the fog cleared. In skydiving we called it a “sucker hole” a nice clear spot between clouds offering encouragement, but once on the way up it would close in. Yup...a sucker hole with us as the suckers. The fog closed in within the half hour so tight that although Mr Mac and we kept a distance via radar of between ¼ - ½ mile, we actually saw them just once for the entire 46 nm day. Great part was the pod of whales surfacing during the same rare semi-clear moment.

    We holed up in a beautiful anchorage in Shorey Cove at Roque Island. Two days later the dawn was clear and we left early with both boats for the “circumnavigation” of Machias Seal Island. Challenged by counter currents but supported by great winds we made the 40 nm round trip to get a great view of Puffins. Tough to sneak up on them with open seas slapping the boat around, however we’re posting a photo or two anyway. The evening found us back at another beautiful anchorage at Roque Harbor after a sporty sail back to the Maine Coast. Yesterday a second clear day in a row, so while we may have enjoyed another day at the anchorage, we headed back toward Mount Desert. We are now anchored in Mackarel Cove at Swans Island for a little rest and relaxation. We should be here for a few days while we hope to get this posted, catch up on some phone calls to friends and relatives, decide where to head next.

Position: N 44 deg, 10.323 min
             W 68 deg, 26.338 min


Another Beautiful Day

     We moved out of Somes Harbor yesterday in the rain and fog. As we were readying the anchor near Southwest harbor a sparkling blue race boat sailed over to point out a couple moorings that were available if we wished. He said he knew the people and they were good folks. Yes he is the owner of three moorings so graciously made available for Mr Mac and us. Believe I've mentioned how meeting new friends is on of the special cruising treats.

    Today dawned sunny and clear. We're looking at the weather now for an opportunity to go yet further east in search of one of the five island puffin rookeries in the NE. Possible departure in the early hours tomorrow. We'll let you know...meanwhile one more shot of the Maine coastline.


Acadia National Park

Chris, Anne, Lynn, and I spent yesterday hiking the shoreline trail in Acadia National Park. The fog abandoned us for a day of gorgeous weather so we actually got to SEE the spectacular Maine coastline.

We eventually wound up in the village of Northeast Harbor with enough cell service to allow a few phone calls, ACE Hardware successfully ending a long search for the elusive NGK BP8HS-15 spark plugs, and a nice mid-afternoon lunch at the Colonels. The end of the day came all too soon but tough to beat as we watched the sunset from the cockpit with Hors d’oeuvres, wine, plans and tales all plentiful till well after…


On to Maine

Finally an update. I got to see one of my now retired AF friends Mike Casey during our stay in Amesbury. Mike drove up from Boston for a quick visit and to check out how we cruisers actually live. Lynn took this photo in our cockpit.

Also ran into Chris Echols at the Hanscom AFB Exchange by pure chance as he is on active duty stationed there. Still the highlight of cruising is seeing so many old friends interspersed with the constant meeting of new.

We left some of our friends behind in Amesbury on Tuesday as Mr Mac and we headed for Maine. Two days anchored in Somes Sound just north of Southwest Harbor, now a couple nights in Somes Harbor. Lots of fog so far as Maine lives up to it’s early seasonal reputation. Yesterday we rode the free buses around to Bar Harbor, then into the Acadia National Park for a short hike at Jordan Pond. Finally back to the bus and on to a tour of the Atlantic Brewing Company micro-brewery complete with beer tasting, and then buying a few notables for follow-on confirmation…maybe tonight. Chris and I both enjoyed the highly hopped S.O.B (Special Old Bitter).
Finally dinner at Mainly Meat, an all-you-can-eat BBQ where the T-Shirts read “Mainly Meat, You can’t beat our Meat” followed by bus rides back to the harbor. Did I mention the short layover in Bar Harbor…just long enough for an ice cream stop and walk around the park? Certainly a high calorie day! But we did purchase the week passes for Acadia Park so there will fortunately be a lot more hiking.

Today, more fog with rain so we’re reading and catching up on a few chores around the boat.


Happy 4th

Steve, Alex and Gary of Rhapsody in Blue, Rob from Cosmos Mariner, Chris and Anne of Mr Mac. North Dockers up north.

If I can't be with my family in North Dakota for the 4th, (for what has become known as the 'buttload of artillery'), the next best way to spend the day is with great friends. Our day started with Alex, Gary and Rob pulling alongside in the lobsta boat, stopping at the next mooring to get Chris and Anne and then motoring downtown to a great cafe for a hearty outdoor breakfast. The leisurely trip back included stopping to see more friends and some pretty intense scrutiny of the boats moored along the way. Lots of discussion of good and bad boat names. A couple of the least favorites include: Sea-rhossis of the River, and Knotty-Girl. Anything using naughty spelled knotty makes my eyes roll around. After naps all around, we met on shore for the annual neighborhood BBQ. Fun people, some swimming, some bridge jumping, great food, shady places to sit and chat, cold drinks. It was a wonderful afternoon. As a nice touch at the end of the day, the people at the end of the river were kind enough to light some very large fireworks just before we went to bed.
Tonight we'll all sit down with our charts and get some inside info from Gary and Alex on where to go and what's fun to do in Maine and tomorrow we'll head out again.