SUMMER SAILING IN MAINE

Sunday, July 17th 2016

Today is my father’s birthday. He would be 106, so I guess I cannot really mourn that he is not here. I can still miss his joie de vie and lively personality. But, I think he would appreciate where we are and what we are doing.

I have just had a lovely swim from our boat to the boat with whom we are sailing in company, the Alden schooner, ARAMINGO, with our friends, Wendy and Bob aboard. DOVKA (and ARAMINGO) are on Warren Island State Park moorings, off Isleboro in the middle of the Penobscot Bay, on the coast of Maine. There is good hiking ashore and this will be our third night. We were to leave this morning, but the rains came last night and lasted until 1400 this afternoon. So after our oatmeal and coffee, we curled up and read.

aramingo-under-sail

ARAMINGO Under Sail

This afternoon is sunny and delicious. Spruce topped granite islands surround us and the sun sparkles like diamonds off the catspaw ripples on top of the dark water. We have been aboard for 3 weeks and 3 days. But until we left Camden Harbor this past Friday, we have been on a tight schedule.

Now we will go where the wind, weather and our whims take us…until our next set of commitments in two weeks.

We made the always startling transition from land life down to the boat at her dock in Annapolis Thursday, June 23rd; Early Friday morning we took our lines and fenders off the dock and motor sailed up the Chesapeake Bay, anchoring in the Chesapeake City basin off the beginning of the C&D canal.

We had a friend of Sid’s from the Alexandria Seaport Foundation with us, Rob and he was a delightful addition. A third person makes the sleep allotments on night watches, much longer! We really did not depart on a Friday (it is bad luck to start a voyage on a Friday). Our voyage began once we left the Chesapeake Bay on Saturday and with especially unusually delightful weather and wind down the usually dismal Delaware Bay.

Dovka undersail

DOVKA Under Sail

While in the Delaware Bay, we made radio contact with friends from the Fishing Bay Yacht Club who were leading a group of boats to join the Ocean Cruising Club Southern New England Rally. It was nice to talk to friends, get their take on the weather, but confirmed for us, our desire to sail on our own when we go offshore, not in a group.

I think we did fool the gods, because we had a surprisingly lovely sail from the mouth of the Delaware Bay and into the Atlantic. We passed Block Island in the middle of the second night and just kept going into Buzzards Bay and through the Cape Cod Canal and on up to Plymouth, MA in Massachusetts Bay. Fifty three hours of the best sailing we have ever had for that passage and it was much appreciated.

We connected with cousins and friends along the way, ending up in Salem, MA for the 4th of July and for our son Benjamin to join us for 6 days to sail with us to Maine. We connected with our friends on ANCIENT MARINERS, Ruth and Herb (sailors until a few years ago. Ruth convinced Herb when he turned 95 they should move to a motor yacht – they are now 90 and 97 and going stronger than many much, much younger) and we were pleased Ben could get to know them.

Ben at the Helm

Ben at the Helm

While Ben slept in the morning of the 4th, we joined Ruth and Herb and their friends from Blue Water Cruising Association for a tour of Baker’s Island Light opposite Gloucester. A non profit purchased the lighthouse when it was ‘deacquistioned’ by the Coast Guard, in order to preserve it and make it available to the public. The kind people who own homes on Baker Island fought this for years and now that they have lost, refuse permission to allow the summer lighthouse ‘keeper’ and family to use their dock, store or attend their church services on Sunday. In fact they forbid absolutely anyone from going off the lighthouse grounds onto their property!

Fort Baker Light

Fort Baker Light

We had ringside seats for a great  sunset and fireworks in Salem with idyllic New England summer Fourth of July weather.

Sunset in Salem, 4th of July

FOURTH OF JULY SUNSET IN SALEM

The 5th dawned in deep fog and Ben came from San Francisco to New England and Maine to endure similar weather.

Ghost Ship in the Fog, Salem, MA

Ghost Ship in the Fog, Salem, MA

We had a great visit anyway and he got a little sailing in en route from Portland, ME to Harpswell, ME on the New Meadows River, where we stayed with our friends Wendy and Bob.

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Captains Sid and Bob

There we rafted to ARAMINGO on her mooring in front of Wendy and Bob’s home to wait out the foul weather.

dovka-and-aramingo

DOVKA AND ARAMINGO

Ben left us and then we left with sunshine, in company with ARAMINGO and worked our way to Camden to meet with friends we rarely see, who were visiting Maine from Portland, Oregon.  I had explained to my friend that our mantra in planning to rendezvous is “we can give a time or a place, but not both.” On this occasion, both time and place worked out for our long planned dinner.

Camden is one of our favorite stops. It is a charming town and there are moorings, launch service, showers, wifi and a loaner car. The town is very walkable. In fact, traffic on Route 1 through Camden is so bad in the summer, walking is faster than driving. We ran into several of our Ocean Cruising Club friends in town and heard others on the VHF radio and it began to feel as if the summer fun had begun.

CAMDEN HARBOR

CAMDEN HARBOR

The interesting thing is that after a few days on a mooring in ‘civilization’ and we were ready to leave and come to an isolated anchorage and surround ourselves with the beauty of the Penobscot Bay.

skipper-and-mate-returning-to-aramingo

Wendy and Bob wending their way home from a visit to DOVKA

Then when we need supplies or wifi, we head to ‘town’ again. Tomorrow we will go into Belfast which has a great Co-op market, good bread, cheese and a great breakfast restaurant. From there, back to an island cove somewhere.

Lest you think we are really isolated, the Penobscot Bay has a number of schooners which run as charters and take people out for days at a time. Several anchored here off Warren Island Saturday night and one just came in with a bride and bridegroom and guests aboard. The 4 or 5 other boats on moorings and we got out our fog horns and serenaded them as they went by!

charter-schooners-out-of-camden-at-anchor

Charter Schooners at Anchor

Now the ripples are little waves, as the late afternoon wind picks up and the air is clear and dry. It will be another night of good sleeping under a down comforter.

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