Our passage back to
Maine was not quite so idyllic as the one east had been. The
wind was out of the west; right on the nose. We motor-sailed
with just the main up for 3/4 of the trip. Ugh. We were able to
sail the last bit, though, and it felt great to be back at the
Maine coast. We headed for Frenchboro on Long Island (at the far
edge of Blue Hill Bay). What a GORGEOUS spot! We'd hoped to
visit on our last Penobscot Bay cruise, two years ago in our
Tartan 30, Grete, but never made it. Unfortunately the
tiny harbor is now packed with rental moorings (apparently the
Hinckley charterers stop here, which explains why lobster caught
right there was an outrageous $13.00/pound!) and there was no
room to anchor. The cruising guide suggested that one could
anchor on the "bar" between two islands, so we decided
to give it a try. The first time, the anchor dragged over the
bottom, which seems to be made up of football-sized round
granite rocks and TONS of slippery kelp. We got it to hold the
second time.... we thought. Although it didn't seem ideal, we
figured the cruising guide author must have a good reason to
recommend anchoring there, so we decided it was safe enough to
We got the dinghy out of
storage (in the aft head), blew it up, and headed in to shore.
The harbor and town are very picturesque, and the island (most
of which is owned by the Rockefellers) is covered with walking
trails that wind through blueberry patches, marshes, and
woodlands like fairy playlands. It's completely unspoiled and
very magical. We had a beautiful morning:
When we got back to the
harbor we bought some ice cream (and blueberry pie!) at the tiny
"restaurant" on the dock (we figured a splurge was
allowed since it was also our 9th wedding anniversary!), and
noticed that Zora was looking a bit odd out in the channel. When
we got in the dinghy and headed towards her we could see why.
The tide had changed and the wind had come up... the channel
where she was anchored had standing 3 foot waves and the wind
was howling through. Zora was lying beam-to the wind with her
anchor underneath her. We climbed on board and were deciding
that we should move to another anchorage, just to be safe, when
the anchor broke loose and we began to drag rapidly down the
channel. We'd arrived back in the nick of time. A good lesson:
don't trust the cruising guides if it doesn't look quite right.
anchorage was Mackerel Cove on nearby Swan's Island. It was just
a short distance away so we unrolled the genny and headed over.
Neil was driving the boat like a cowboy, having a great time
shooting along at over 7 knots, and made the classic sailors
mistake of not reefing in time. By the time he felt overpowered
the wind was so strong that he had a really hard time rolling in
the genny. By the time it was in, the sheets were knotted into a
hard ball and the flag halyard cleat was gone. He spent a
contrite hour on the foredeck unraveling them. When we checked
the anemometer later the max wind speed was 33 knots.
We'd heard that the Blue
Hill Fair was held in early September, so the next morning we
called to see when it was. It was going on that day! We decided
that would be our next port, and by afternoon we were pulling
into the inner harbor of beautiful Blue Hill, Maine. This is a
lovely harbor, perfectly serene, and a great little community.
There's even a health-food co-op with local organic produce! The
town dinghy dock dries out at low tide, so you have to time your
trips to shore carefully (we're stuck on board now, having
missed our tide this morning...) Yesterday we went to the Fair,
a traditional county fair reputed to be the inspiration for E.B.
White's Charlotte's Web. What a great time we all had!
From the top of the ferris wheel you could see the mountain
(Blue Hill) and out over Penobscot Bay to Mount Desert Island.
There was the usual midway and rides, but also a heavy emphasis
on livestock and farming exhibits. Highlights included the
Sheepdog Trials (just like in the movie Babe, Border
Collies and their masters competed herding sheep around an
obstacle course) and the llamas, alpacas, and miniature horses.
We're planning to hike
up Blue Hill today, and maybe go to a used bookstore to try to
keep up with Liv's voracious reading. We're really enjoying this
harbor, and highly recommend it to anyone cruising in this area.
It's a little bit intimidating, since it's riddled with ledges
and tiny islets, but there's room for 3 or 4 boats to anchor in
the SSE side, close to shore. Liv's had a great time exploring
the islets: Neil drops her off to explore while he takes his
glass of wine in the dinghy to look at the gorgeous boats moored
here.... is this the life or what????