Well actually it would be better to say that we are back into Maine. After completing the last blog post, we went to New Hampshire and spent 2 weeks with Samantha and our grandsons and family including a birthday party for Jeremy Chris and Ryan and had a good time there. We then all returned to Maine and enjoyed a week at a cabin on Great Island, not far from Great Island Boatyard where we had left our boat. Everyone enjoyed time at the beach, climbing among the rocks and eating the seafood (except Jenn, our vegan daughter). Jenn joined us there after two weeks of camping as far as Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.
The sunset view from our cabin’s deck
At the end of the week, Sam and her family left while Jenn stayed for a couple days so we could take advantage of her car to get some provisioning accomplished. The she headed back south, and we headed downeast.
We continued to be blessed with good weather as we headed to Rockland. The harbor is large and full of all sorts of boats including a Navy ship. It’s also protected by two lighthouses, one at Owls Head and the other at the end of the harbor breakwater. ( I got pictures of several others on the way there.)
Lighthouse at the entrance to Rockland Harbor
We were surprised to learn that the annual lobster festival was under way as we arrived. Hence the town was a bit busier and noisier than normal. That didn’t prevent us from checking out several shops downtown or enjoying a great lunch at Clan McLaren.
We were contacted by Donna Schlahman, a cruiser we had met in Marathon who was to be in Rockland with a group from Boothbay Harbor visiting the Sail, Steam…Museum. She invited us to join them for a tour led by the curator. It was fascinating, and we learned quite a bit about the history of Rockland and the importance of sailing ships that were built there.
Next we headed east again to Vinalhaven. Thanks to our Active Captain app, we learned of a great protected anchorage in Seal Bay, complete with the seals for which it was named. We spent a couple of days there exploring the islands, watching seals and generally enjoying this beautiful spot that represents so well the rugged coastline.
Some of the seals of Seal Bay
Below are results of our exploration of the Bay.
Even Maddy enjoyed our exploring.
Lots of rock
And of course beautiful sunsets
We then moved further downeast to Mt. Dessert Island and Acadia National Park. We spent our first night here anchored by Southwest Harbor. We went in for a meal, lobster for Sandra and mussels for me. The next day we sailed up Somes Sound, the only fiord on the East coast. The steeply rising hills on each side were quite spectacular.
This is what portions of the shoreline looked like in the Sound.
Anchoring in a great spot at the end of the Sound, we dinghied in to the town dock of Somesville and checked out the town. The commercial center is comprised of a bank, post office and a general store – not too exciting. But the anchorage made up for any shortcomings of the town. And we even saw and heard a loon that was swimming near us. We were surprised to see one in the ocean during the summer, but we did.
This may be a good time to digress a bit to focus on the lobstering that we see here on the coast. Lobster pot bouys dominate the coast – as much as we’ve seen at least. We rarely traveled anywhere that didn’t have bouys around, and in some areas they were so numerous that one had to steer carefully to avoid catching one on the prop.
Lots of lobster pots
In Somes Sound alone there were hundreds, and the Sound was narrow and less than five miles long. In one area during our transit to Mount Dessert Island, we saw eight lobster boats picking up traps. They were all less than a quarter of a mile from each other. It’s just hard to imagine how many lobster are down there to be caught. Last year more than 100 million pounds were sold, and all the studies indicate that this is a sustainable level!
We bought these two from a lobsterman as he was hauling traps near our boat.
While I’m not sure how accurate this info is, I did hear of a couple of reasons for the increase in the lobster population in spite of the expansion in the number of traps. The coast of Maine has been over fished, so the predators of young lobsters are gone. The other part is the lobster trap itself. When a camera was placed in traps, it was learned that these devices are not really trapping them. The bait put in the traps is feeding the lobsters who then get back out as easily as they got in. The ones unlucky enough to be in the”trap” when it’s hauled up are the only ones caught. Some call this operation farming rather than trapping. The bottom line is that the lobster population is not shrinking in spite of the increases in the number hauled each year. Of course for us the real bottom line is to enjoy eating them while we’re here and to watch carefully to avoid getting tangled in a trap line.
This schooner returned to Bar Harbor from a foggy sail.
As this post is being written, we are anchored by Bar Harbor. We’ll be here another day before checking out a few other great stops in the area before getting serious about heading south.
Till the next time we have good Internet coverage.. .