The last blog update was sent from Bar Harbor, Maine on Mount Desert Island. This was as far downeast as we managed to travel.
A final view of Mt. Desert Island as we departed
The first day we traveled to Little Cranberry Island, one of five islands that make up the Cranberry Isles. The town of Isleford on Little Cranberry has a year-round population of all of 56 people. Ferries and a mail boat service the island and of course the residents probably all have boats.
During the summer months visitors arrive on a daily basis, but the population shrinks to that low number during the colder months of the year. There is a one-room schoolhouse on Great Cranberry Island serving first through eighth grades with 12 students. For high school they must take a boat to Mount Desert, move in with a relative on the mainland or attend a boarding school. For all supplies, the population must travel by boat, since there are no stores on the islands for clothes or groceries or other needs. (Shop-a-holics would find life here impossible.)
Lobstering is the one major industry on this island group. I heard that last year they took in more than a million pounds of lobsters. Of course for most of them the lobsterung season does not last 12 months, so the remaining winter months are long and isolating – one of the real challenges to island life.
We enjoyed our short visit on Little Cranberry as we tried to imagine what life was like for those who call this home. From there we began to work our way back the way we had come. We spent two nights at Vinalhaven before heading over to Rockland.
We saw 4 schooners like this one leaving the harbor as we arrived.
Once there, we walked the mile-and-a-half to a grocery store. In Rockland and I enjoyed a nice meal of mussels, perhaps my last this season,while Sandra tried some lobster bisque. From there we traveled through Muscongus Bay to a quiet anchorage at Cow Island. This bay is a quieter one than either Penobscot Bay up around Rockland, Vinalhaven and Camden or the more Southerly Casco Bay near Portland. We did a bit of kayaking from our anchorage at Cow Island and managed to see a few seals on the Rocks resting at low tide. They slid into the water as we approached but came closer to check us out – great fun!
A seal checking us out
From there it was a Rockin and Rollin day getting back to Casco Bay and one of our favorite anchorages at Snow Island where we spent the night. We couldn’t pass up one more chance to visit South Freeport so we could walk the three miles into Freeport to L. L. Beans as well as a few outlet stores. The hard part was walking back the 3 miles with our backpacks full of groceries – the challenges of cruising without bikes. We left Casco Bay as the sun rose the next day to aim for our last stop and Maine. We traveled to Kittery and spent the night on the mooring just north of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Our travel from Kittery to Boston was a much smoother ride and more enjoyable for that reason. After a night in Boston Harbor we set out for Onset and managed to pass through Cape Cod Bay while small craft advisory had been established. It was a bit bouncy with lots of spray but we managed to get to the Cape Cod Canal just as the tide was supposed to be turning and we could use the tide current to help us get to Onset. Of course the theoretical slack tide time turned out to be a little off and we did have to fight the tide for the first portion of the journey through the canal. We anchored in Onset just where we had anchored here back in June.
During the first weekend here it seemed that Onset was celebrating the coming end of summer. A sidewalk painting competition was held during the day and a grand illumination took place after the sun set. We still aren’t too sure about this, but we saw what must have been people holding red lights along the shore all around the bay. More than 100 people must have been involved.
A sample of the sidewalk art
A portion of the grand illumination
We will be here for about 10 days as we get a number of projects taken care of, visit Sandra’s sister Paula and brother Scott and then travel to New Hampshire to visit our daughter Sam and her family one last time before heading out of New England. So we will be here till Labor Day or longer, and depart depending on the Marine weather and on that topic we keep a close watch on the tropics to be aware of any hurricane development that might impact our travel. My next update is likely to be coming in September as we move south of New England.