After almost a month in-and-out of our anchorage in Somes Harbor, we set sail for the depths of our Down East adventures.
We headed southeast out of the fjord to the Island of Little Cranberry, shagged a mooring, and went in for a totally decadent seafood extravaganza at the only restaurant on the island, Islesford Dock. The food was extraordinary but the late summer crowd was the cause for the worst service either one of us could remember getting in our adult lives… Really, it was that bad! But, even that dumb-ass bartender/waiter that did everything in his power to let everyone within ear-shot know how ridiculously disgruntled he was for having to actually serve people couldn’t even spoil our event.
It was a double celebration: kicking loose of a long stay and the completion of the first draft of Lysistrata Cove.
We were underway again and we were unstoppable!
The next morning we sailed off the mooring and into Northeast Harbor for some last minute provisioning and practically bounced off that dock and back out to open water.
We took advantage of the (light but steady) NE breeze by broad reaching for most of the day through the islands and lobster fields of our downeast home. In the late afternoon as we rounded up on Swan’s Island we got a rare treat, a visit from a rather large local pod of dolphin. Large pod, not large dolphin – these are wee timorous beasties. They couldn’t spare the time to ride our bow but they were close enough to see that they were busy gorging on a big school of mackerel.
Speaking of Mackerel…
Mackerel Cove is a snug little anchorage inside the western point of Swan’s Island so we tacked on a beat all the way up to the shallows, dropped the CQR, and filled the cove with the smells of garlic before sleeping the night away.
One of the things we picked up in Northeast Harbor was a 3/4 pound bag of lightly roasted Ethiopian-Sidamo whole beans, absolutely our favorite coffee on this planet, and a rare find even in the best shops in the metropolitan U.S. After hand grinding out a pot of that exquisite brew I (James) settled back in the cockpit and enjoyed one of my favorite things in the world… A silent anchorage in the morning.
Dena has been working tirelessly on her new book so I have been taking advantage of being all by myself in some of the most silent places I’ve ever been in my life, taking pictures and reading all the great fiction I have stored on the boat.
The wind wasn’t due to give us anything at all until afternoon so when Dena called it quits on her writing for the day it was time to get some projects out of the way.
I (Dena) spliced those sheets before we left Boston, but I wasn’t completely satisfied. The 12-strand single braid doesn’t have a very long bury, so I whipped the throats for added security.
While Dena whipped the sheets I (James) busied myself with some cleaning and stowing and by the time the winds kicked up we were well underway to our next home for the night, Long Island… The one in Maine, or I guess I should say, one of the ones in Maine. There’s at least two!
A light breeze took us out of the lee of Swan’s and as it freshened we beat pretty hard on a starboard tack (our new repair works like a champ!) all the way up into Long Island’s Lund Harbor in Frenchboro town. The harbor is small and jam-packed with moorings so we shagged one next to a plastic destroyer with a grim old couple that refused to wave to us once we’d finished the engine.
As we sat there and made lunch I nervously watched as the Labor Day traffic descended upon the tiny little cove. Million dollar yachts came in from all points on the rose and the more boats that piled in the less comfortable I became. By the time we’d finished the last of our pot-o-nutri-goop I was all nerves.
Dena had another one of her brilliant ideas, and that was, throw off the mooring pennant and head around the island to Eastern Cove to put the hook in some sand. Before she even finished her sentence I had the engine running and was moving forward to throw off the mooring line. Once again she hit the nail on the head! It was perfect, not only were we all by ourselves in the anchorage, the holding was nice and the wind was lightening up by the time the hook was set.
Not long after we made fast we jumped in Tinker and headed to shore for an epic hike through the forest of Long Island.
The trails weave through and around the island along a cut-granite shore that reveals a somewhat sad history of Manhattan strip mining. But the views are spectacular!
Before heading off into the deep forest of the island we got one last view of our wonderful vector at anchor in “sheltered cove”!
The forest on the island was indeed a beautiful place but it was thickly covered in what appeared to be new growth and there was evidence of a recent storm that had wreaked havoc among the tiny conifers.
It was kind of hilarious, Dena and I trudging through the forest looking up constantly and saying “wow” over and over again, stopping to hug and kiss and tell each other how happy we were. Drippingly sappy, and glorious.
By the time we made it back to Tinker the tide had come up and was banging the little boat around on the rocks enough for us to make some haste getting off the rocks.
We slept and dreamed that night and before we sailed off the anchor in the morning we drank our magic brew and shared our dreams with each other as we always do.
Silently sailing off the anchor is one of the most incredible feelings a sailor can achieve. The only sounds I heard came from the manual windless and Dena telling me that we were free.
I turned off the wind, payed out the main to a broad reach and we sailed on that tack 21 nautical miles to the entrance to Winter Harbor, ME.
It was a perfect sailing day, 10 to 15 knots of wind going from a broad reach to a run all day long! Dena set up the whisker pole about halfway through the day and our speed went from 4 knots to 6 knots throughout the rest of the adventure.
We scoped out all the places that were potential spots for our stay and ended up at the very back of Sand Cove in about 18 feet of sandy mud at low tide… Perfect!
We’ve been here now for three days and we plan to hang out right where we’re at (with the eagles and the loons and the seals) for at least a few more, waiting out an early fall weather system that promises to make it a little rough out in open water until the end of the week. Also, we’re expecting a package containing the author copies of Heart of the Lilikoi…finally!
Last night the sky was so clear that we could see our local arm of the Milky Way galaxy. All the stars and planets of our local group were truly an unbelievable sight, just incredible. As we sat back in the cockpit looking up at the universe we saw two of our planets and three space stations pass each other within what seemed to be only a few miles!
Unbelievable, truly unbelievable!
Mix another epic walk in there and the promise of a feast when the only restaurant in town is open again (Thursday through Sunday only), and we’re living the dream, still and again.
Oh my Captains.
A dreary day in Baltimore, not an eagle nor a seal to be found gracing the parking lots within my view. Thank you for sharing these breezemade days and luminous nights. It’s the culmination of all your wage slavery and pbj paychecks, the decades patiently learning fiberglassery, circuiting, knotworkings. This right here.
This is the reason for biking through the pre-dawn snow in Jersey, waiting out the winter in Groton, hauling out to scrape and paint the haul, resettling the digny at midnight through bleary exhaustion because it must be done. You earned the moment when your effort doesn’t feel like labor anymore. The work of this season, typing a literary revolution and setting an anchor where others don’t know how, is pleasure. Is joy.
It was wonderful to walk with you on that forrest path (at a respectful distance, of course) and watch you love your built-to-suit tandem lifecycle so fierce. Just really beautiful, you two.
Feelin a lil teary about it. Must be the rain.
mutual inspiration is extremely gratifying.