Waiting Out The Weather

A nor'easter has been blowing through. It's been blowing and blowing and blowing and we're ready for it to blow out so we can keep going south. We've been tucked into Richmond Island harbor for 3 days now and so yesterday we took advantage of a dry spell went exploring on shore. The island is privately owned, but they let hikers walk around the perimeter trails. There are about a dozen big fuzzy sheep, who let us get this close, then ran away. The Tree Swallows congregate here in huge numbers, eating the bayberries that grow all over the island. According to the guide, they also enjoy playing with feathers, dropping and catching them in the air. We didn't see any of this, probably because the wind is trying to blow the feathers off the birds themselves. It also says "they circle in big eddies like leaves caught in a whirlwind". Which we have seen a lot of. It's quite amazing how they can dive in a flock of thousands, all turning at exactly the same time and not run into each other. One of the mysteries of nature.

We also found one of the hidden lobster buoy forests. I'd heard about them, but never expected to see one. As you can see, this years harvest is almost complete. The lobster buoy is Maine's official state bird/tree/fish/shell/animal/flower/rock/younameit, and the locations of the forests are a closely guarded secret.


Quahog Bay

Sunset over Quahog Bay.
We've been in Quahog Bay for 2 days now and I finally remembered to look it up and see just what a quahog is. It's a clam, also called a hard shell or steamer clam. It's the official shell of Rhode Island and can be pronounced: KWA-hog, KO-hog, KWO-hog or KAW-hog, depending on where you learned to speak English. If you're from The South, and never learned English, then it would be a KWAW-HAWG-ah. Quahog Day is June 20 or 21 or 22. And yes, there is a Quentin the Quahog, who is pulled out to see his shadow each year. And no, we haven't eaten any, yet, or you know I'd post pictures. (Hi, Jim!)
We've been relaxing from our strenuous touring and eating. Steve fixed the seal on the windlass that has been leaking and I sewed up an anchor bag for our big-ass emergency storm anchor, so it can stand in the sail locker and hopefully never be used. Amanda is coming to visit and we have to find the 'berth' part of the v-berth so she can sleep there.


The pay phone is alive and well in Maine.
Cell phones work on line of sight and since
most of Maine goes up and down and the
whole state is carved out of granite, we
haven't had much luck with ours. We found
this great red phone booth in, of all places, Boothbay.

We left Boothbay in the clearing fog, heading out to Seguin Island. The peasoup fog came back about halfway out of the bay. We had less than 100' of visibility and we entered Sequin's very rocky narrow anchorage before we could even see the island. It was extremely nerve wracking to know that there were rocks most of the way around us, we could hear the surf, but we couldn't see much. Thank goodness for radar, good chart plotter, current hard charts, oh, and e-charts on the computer/GPS combo. As long as they ALL lined up, we kept moving in, slooooowly.

We dinghy'd ashore and took the tour of the museum and climbed the lighthouse. The caretakers, Michael and France, were talkative and friendly, telling us about their 3 month stay on the island. We're very interested in doing something like that ourselves, so it was great to get first hand info from them. This is the view from the top, looking north. You can see that the fog hung around all day

Michael also has an arrangement with one of the local lobstermen. He stopped by the boat with an offer we couldn't refuse. Adjima checked them out, carefully. We just added a few boiled potatoes and butter. Tonight we're making our own lobster rolls on Steve's fresh-from-the-oven rolls.

And under the category of "Things That Go Bump In The Dark": nothing, but nothing, gets a sailor's heart beating faster than those 4 little words "We're on the rocks". Uttered by Steve at exactly 2310 as we were jarred awake by the unmistakable sound of our rudder crunching against a rock(s?). The bottom of the rudder is only 5 feet below our heads when we sleep, so it was a rude awakening, and it was a terrible sound. We had come in at low tide but somehow the low tide and wind combined to push our stern around the mooring toward shore and under there somewhere, was (probably just that one) rock. We bounced on it a few times while Steve sprinted to start the engine and I tried to get my pants on upside down. It was foggy, cold, wet and really dark and we could hear the surf very close to the back of the boat. We bumped it in gear enough to stay forward of the rock while Steve quickly plotted a course out. We were searching for a solution other than sailing around all night. If only a stern anchor...but no anchoring due to a cable area. Sacrifice the #35 CQR anyway? Then an idea; Steve dinghy'd off trailing a long line,(and a gorgeous bright green bioluminescent trail that we were too busy to pay much attention to), tied it to a park mooring, and cleated it taught to a stern cleat. Steve stayed in the cockpit to ease the line as the tide slowly filled in. Inspection this morning shows no apparent damage and we were again off on another adventure. Whew!!

This blog was a collaborative effort.


On To Monhegan

Monhegan Island is only a few miles off the beaten path, but it was a great, dark, place to sit and enjoy the Perseid Meteor shower on Thursday night. We set an alarm (after first finding the alarm, funny how they get lost when they're not used) for 0300 and bundled up for the cold wet Maine night. We sat on the bow for more that an hour and watched the meteors and quite a few satellites, overhead. The Milky Way was a cloud of stars, Cassiopeia sat in her chair on top of the mast, Orion was just stepping up over the horizon and Ursa's Major and Minor faced off in the North. It was a wonderful experience.
Monhegan is home to more than forty artists and galleries. Most of them teach classes, from one day to a week long and there were people drawing and painting everywhere we went. The views were certainly worth trying to capture, although from what I could see, some of them were very modern or 'picassoesque' in their technique. There were a lot of blobby looking building/people/tree things.

Across the small harbor is Manana Island, privately owned, but also open for hiking around. We were warned by the harbormaster to beware of the goats. Apparently one of them likes to sneak up on people and give them a little butt. We saw the goats, sleeping in the shade of this project home ( I told you there were a lot of artists here) but had no butting encounters.

The rocks seemed VERY close at low tide, but seen from the top of the island, we actually had plenty of room. Celebration is front left.
We are currently in Booth Bay Harbor, on a mooring at the Carousel Marina. The movie, Carousel, with Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae, was filmed here in 1956. The dock house has lots of pictures of the cast singing and dancing on top of the buildings. Booth Bay is a nice town, very touristy, but they have a free trolley that runs around, so it's easy to see the sights.


We made a stop in Belfast over the weekend. It's a really cool little town. All kinds of quirky stores and interactive art displays. Steve had fun hiding among the carvings outside one shop. The faces on these were very lifelike, each different. The artist must have modeled them on his friends, or maybe relatives, some were pretty funny.

We met a couple in Ocracoke in April, Vaughan and Linda aboard Legacy, who very highly recommended a restaurant in Rockland. They said "BEST sandwich I ever ate". I've been salivating and looking forward to it for almost 5 months now and it lived up to it's hype. We finally made it to the Brass Compass yesterday and partook of their famous Lobster Club BLT. As you can see, it was a tiny little thing, barely enough to get a good taste. It was a very good taste.

Adjima turned 19 yesterday,
she celebrated with a little birthday bacon.
I didn't make her wear her hat or lei this year,
she still hasn't forgiven me for last time.

We had a beautiful thunderstorm roll through early last night. Great clouds and lightning, but it split around Rockland and we didn't even get much wind or rain.


Fog rolling through the anchorage.

My favorite part of the sailing life is the constant opportunity to meet new people. We had a wonderful chance to do that at the SSCA Downeast Gam in Islesboro last weekend. We saw friends we met along the way here and got updates on what they've done in between. We saw a lot of people we'd only talked to on the radio and got to put faces with names. We met a few dozen new friends that we can now run into down the coast and have over for sundowners. We found out about great anchorages, moorings, restaurants, where to go to reprovision, do laundry, buy beer. I got a few new ideas for easy appetizers. We met a couple who have a cat named Clamshell who likes to ride in the dinghy. We got to sit and have morning coffee while listening to the loons, knowing that all over the anchorage other boaters were doing just the same.


A Little Mussel Update

So, we've eaten a lot of mussels in the last week. First, on board Takarabrune, with Greg and Pat, we had them steamed with white wine and onions, more vino on the side. ( yes Kristel, delicious) Next night, on board Hurrah, with B.J. and Kelly, this time steamed with onion and garlic, maybe a little more wine on the side. Then last night, Steve made a marvelous garlicky marinara sauce, added mussels and baked fresh hard rolls for dipping. This was special enough to break out the Captain. Finger licking good.
Today we sailed up to Islesboro for the upcoming Gam. We managed to snag a mooring ball in Warren Island Marine Park for the weekend. Whoohoo, no dragging and no lobster bouys!


Mussel Beach

Mussels by the thousands, free for the taking, which we did.We went mussel collecting at low tide. It was a first for us and we didn't know what to expect. Friends told us where to go and to take a couple of buckets. We found beaches full of mussels, great heaps and dunes of them. I have to admit, they're not my favorite food, but who could resist? Just clean off the barnacles and change the water every couple of hours. Easier still, hang them off the transom in a mesh bag and let them divest themselves of all the grit, then steam and enjoy.