Saturday, October 31, 2015

Island Hopping ....The Last Cruise

It was a flat-arse calm, September morning on Penobscot Bay and we were now not far off Deer Isle.  All the elements were aligned properly, a cloudless sky, an incoming tide and the bay as still as a mill pond. 
We had left Belfast Public Landing, about 40 minutes earlier, not long after sunrise.  Having just cleared the No Wake buoy, located at entrance to the inner harbor, I opened up the throttle leaving The Monument behind us.  Very shortly we were in The Middle Grounds and quickly bearing down on Islesboro's Turtle Head. 
With our four stroke, 50HP Merc doing it's thing and with the water barely showing a ripple , we made good time as we rounded Turtle Head, quickly making our way down the Eastern Gut which separates Islesboro and Cape Rosier.  Soon our primary destination was insight, Barred Island.  Barred is a beautiful double headed island, with each of its heads separated by a gravel bar that becomes exposed on a dropping tide. However our incoming tide had turned about an hour before we arrived and there was still plenty of time before the bar became submerged again.
Coming around the eastern point we approached the bar slowly, cutting the engine to gently drift onto the rounded stones of the shore.  We, of course, have beached many times on an outgoing tide which is fine but it does have an accompanying concern about grounding out.  We came really, really close one time on Sears Island and  were very fortunate that we managed to re-float our boat.  But no such worry this unplanned, extended stay.
No boating experience for us is complete without our boat dog and once on shore we kept very close tabs on Andre as the island is sensitive, ecologically speaking.  We made sure that we stayed on the bar rather that exploring the wooded parts of the island, wanting to leave no impact on it's natural setting. Our shore time was very brief and  after a light snack,  not on the urchins,  we boarded and continued on to some of the many other islands in that area.
 As it turned out we weren't the only ones on the bay taking advantage of the warm sun and the calm waters...
I've always thought the the lobster boats with a mizzen sail (?) on the stern were very cool. They are not a rare sight but are still somewhat unusual.
Moving on we came across this very small island that seemed to have all the comforts.  And on a day like this one made island life very appealing.  I'm not sure that I would feel the same way during a northeaster.  But it was lovely nonetheless.


What is really nice about a small boat is that it allows you to get up close and personal. With the motor trimmed all the way up a couple of feet of water will do. And will allow you to enjoy the sights and sounds of the nature that surrounds you.
Even though this nest was unoccupied, you can't help but admired the imagination of the builders.
Below is just another example of small island life on Penobscot Bay.  Small in size but large in life.....

Time for one more stop, this time at Pond Island Preserve with it's fine beach and Deer Isle in the background... This is one we've been to before on numerous occasions and is a favorite of ours, as it is for many other boaters and kayakers.  A great spot to stretch your legs.

It's just a short cruise from Pond Island back to Islesboro and as we neared Turtle Head and our final leg returning to Belfast we passed a couple of hikers standing on what I've always thought looks like a ship's prow, the cutting edge of Islesboro.
Closing in on Belfast and with the Northport shoreline looming larger, we converged with The Thunder Bay, "thundering" down the western gut,  heading toward her home port of Rockland. It's not often that the TB gets up our way but it's always great to see her.
We made it back to the boat ramp just as the bay started to chop up.  And we'll be sure to return again next summer for more small island hopping.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Boost For The Spirit...

 What a joy it is to be able to view the magnificence of a Maine autumn morning on the way to work. Some see only the lanes of the highway and the tail lights of the cars ahead of them..
 But here in Maine and a lot of other spots in New England we are witness to something that means so much more... 
a treat for the eyes and a boost for the spirit..
Soon the color of fall will diminish and fade away to grays and browns but not long after that the dazzling days of winter will transform the landscape and hopefully, boost our spirits once again. 

Such is life in Maine..and how fortunate we are to witness and to experience that transformation.  If only we take the time to truly appreciate it.