22 July 2016

Sailing in Maine - I Fell in Love

Captain Linda Perry Riera

I Fell In Love
13 July - 18 July 2016

Okay, I get it now. Maine is awesome. Perfect. I am in love.

Falling in love takes the right mixture of time, place, willingness, permission, and chemistry. I have never disliked Maine, but considering that the majority of my adult life has been in New England, this northeast corner has been relatively unexplored and, I admit, under appreciated. I have experienced and cherished family clambakes at cousin Justin's lovely farm home in North Berwick (southern part of the state), snowmobiled with cousins at Uncle Stan's waayyyy up north in Ashland, and dabbled a bit in artsy Ogunquit. All great experiences more for the events and company versus the place; Maine was a backdrop to the associated social events. I have also passed on invitations to join cruising groups to sail the Maine waters and have been slightly puzzled at why so many sailors take off northward for her cold and foggy shores when there is so much great sailing in Massachusetts and Rhode Island with much warmer water. But now I have seen the light, my heart has been ignited, I get it... the Maine coastline is spectacular and my sailing heart has been opened!

One of many lovely anchorages and sun salutations
Main born lobsters do not have a chance...

It could be that I am overly cautious about not running over lobster pot markers because many years ago during our first season with Fujin (former sailboat, Pearson 34), I accidentally slide over a pot marker during what was meant to be a brief, relaxing midweek sail. In addition to bringing a swift end to our evening excursion, the line fouled in the prop and around the rudder resulted in a $500 outlay for the tow and diver. And holy crap does mid/northern Maine have a lot of lobster pots! I will never again complain about the many pots in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Negotiating the enormous number of lobster pots takes constant vigilance; it is an effort to not be to distracted by the beautiful scenery 
I feel badly for lobsters born around here - they do not have a chance. When you are born a lobster in Maine, you must know how you are going to die.... in a boiling pot of water; it can not be possible to escape this maze of traps.

Despite feeling badly about the fate of Maine lobsters, I indulged in more than one during our days here
Idyllic Anchorages

There are seemingly endless options for dropping the hook in gorgeous and unique harbors. We enjoyed just a tiny fraction in the Mount Desert Island and Midcoast region.

Getting ready to settle in for the night at Bar Harbor; photo courtesy of Marty Purdy, friend and mentor from many years ago
Somes Harbor - Argon anchored in the distance; some of the mountains of Acadia further in the backdrop

Nestled in for the evening, Somes Harbor. Dolphins, sea otters, and bald eagles were regular visitors

Evening dinghy across the harbor to indulge on lobster at Abbes Lobster Pound

Hinckley Territory - Both Hinckley and Morris Yachts originated in Southwest Harbor.  Hinckley still maintains full production operations here and displays many of these beautiful sailboats on moorings near their travel lift. We fueled up at the Hinckley dock and topped off our water tanks with Perrier.

Foggy morning in the harbor quickly burning off to reveal another brilliant day

Anchored in exceptionally serene Mackrel Cove, Swan Island listening to the seals honking and splashing as they relaxed on nearby boulders protruding in the receding tide

Mackrel Cove

We enjoyed Penobscot Bay primarily as passers-by marveling at but never tiring of the speckles of islands and inlets as we motored over dead calm water heading south

A thin layer of fog rests just above the water dividing upcoming islands
After more than a week, we needed to start chipping our way southward back toward Boston. The prevailing southwesterly winds ensured that we would struggle to make good progress by either beating in to the wind or firing up the diesel. Sure enough, we tackled a long day of motoring in to a light headwind on calm seas under sunny skies towards Portland passing by so many interesting islands and coves taunting me to make a detour as we reluctantly continued on. We were finally able to hoist the sails and catch the wind for the last 20nm of the 80nm trip landing in northern Casco Bay and enjoying the scenery the entire trip.

Serene Small Harbor in West Point Maine (northern Casco Bay) about 20nm north of Portland
Land Exploration

Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park, towns of Somes and Southwest, etc... Just a taste...

I was able to connect with a dear friend from many years ago who also happened to be in Bar Harbor. This is one of Marty's beautiful photographs during her successful excursion to find the Puffins on Machias Seal Island.
Bar Harbor, although completely touristy, was clean, beautiful and fun.  Definitely not the authentic coastal town like Lunenburg, but very enjoyable with lots of cool shops and varied (albeit overpriced) restaurants.

Sampling local brews at Blaze; note their split wood for their kitchen serving as a unique backdrop for the outdoor bar

Wandering the streets of Bar Harbor

Working docks at Bar Harbor
Acadia National Park:  I felt like I was having a tryst with my new found love while Bob toiled away at work on his floating office and I explored the beautiful crevices of Acadia. The expansive contours and myriad of trails could have been enjoyed for days. Although I regret passing on tackling Cadillac Mountain (despite the suggestion of several friends) I enjoyed many areas by taking advantage of the MDI Explorer Bus to drop me at distant sections.

The three and a half mile hike around Jordan Pond reminded me of larger, more pristine versions of Miller Pond or Giuffrida Park from back home in CT

Acadia trails

Sips in Southwest Harbor allowed me to take my time over breakfast crepes while I gobbled up their strong WiFi for a couple of hours
Inner workings of lobster pound
Same Time Next Year

I have only explored the equivalent of Maine's big toe. Perhaps I am just in the infatuation stage and overlooking Maine's faults such as frigid water virtually prohibitive for swimming, the hordes of lobster pots that challenge routine boat maneuvering, and the propensity for fog.  But Maine was an absolute gem and allowed us both to to ignore our new list of boat projects which now include:
  • fix a broken windlass switch
  • replace the shackle on our new halyard
  • repair a zipper on a side panel
  • troubleshoot (or replace) the wifi router
  • mend a tear in the jib
  • replace the macerator (yuk)
As we tackle these projects and the myriad of routine maintenance jobs in the coming weeks leading up to the big send off in early September, I will enjoy the memories of my glimpse in to mid/northern coastal Maine, will savor the remaining days in southern Maine, and eagerly anticipate the next time we can be together.


  1. I agree totally about cruising Maine. We joined the Tartan group several years ago and enjoyed the biannual Maine Cruise. We spent two weeks cruising Penobscot Bay. We took a couple of pictures that are posted on the Tartan Owners' website of a beautiful anchorage, Carver Cove. As we sat in the cockpit having an evening glass of wine, dolphins swam through the anchorage, seemingly to say "hello". We look forward to another sojourn back to Maine. Currently we're joining the Tartan Cruise to Boston. I enjoy your posts.
    Larry Venezia
    T3700 # 96

  2. I've been to Maine and the scenery is wonderful. But, Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands are every bit as beautiful, but do not have the harsh winters of the Northeast. You can pretty much sail all year.

  3. I grew up in Vermont, but I always loved going sailing with my uncle off the coast of Maine. What you say about the pots is definitely true! Now that I'm getting older, I find myself looking for slightly warmer waters. The San Juan Islands have been a favorite recently, great place to charter a boat and set sail.

    1. Thank you for your note, Justin. San Juan Islands is on our bucket list and sounds like this areas shares some characteristics with Maine. We love the warmer waters and were pleasantly surprised at the 80 degree temperatures in the Chesapeake up until just recently (now dipping a bit cooler). Happy and safe sailing!


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