Monthly Archives: July 2011

>Camden to Buck’s Harbor

>I write this we are anchored off of Devil’s Island in Merchant Row near Stonington.   On Friday afternoon we had a rousing sail ahead of a stiff southerly over to Buck’s Harbor at the head of Eggemogin Reach.   The weather was fairly snotty but the wind was from the right direction for a down wind sail so off we went.  The forecast was for rain overnight, which did not disappoint, as a front came through on Friday night.  After an overcast start to the day the winds shifted to the north and the sun came out giving us a nice run down Eggemogin Reach and into Merchant Row under blue skys.

As I paid my bill at the Camden Yacht Club, one of the launch drivers said that Velsheda had come in the night before and dropped anchor off of the harbor.  Velsheda is one of the grand classic J class of racing boats from the 30s, the largest class to ever compete for the America’s Cup.  Velsheda was purchased in the 90s as a bare hull,  was meticulously rebuilt and launched in the late 90s.  She is owned by a European business man and splits her time between Europe, the Caribbean and,  it would seem,  here in New England.     The J class was never a class with many boats and as the largest yachts to compete for the America’s cup, actually raced during the depression.  I guess there were some financial winners, even in those difficult times.  In recent years untold sums have been spent by caring owners to rebuild these yachts to their former glory.  A few have also been built to plans drawn in the early days but never actually constructed.  The class has an active racing circuit and recently came together for a series in Newport.  There are actually more boats of this class sailing today than was the case in the 30s.  Check out the class association site as it has great info on all of the yachts out there including some info on Velsheda who has as one distinction among many, boasting the largest single piece carbon fiber mast in the world.  With 11 yachts total in the class, this has to be one of the most exclusive associations there is as you have to own one of these mega yachts to join.

We went by her on our way out of Camden harbor but she passed too close to get good photos.   Yachts like these really make you wonder how someone amasses the money to own one.

It was rough outside the harbor and even she was rolling as she headed in to calmer waters.

Speaking of having money.  It would seem that this yacht was the “mother ship” for Velsheda who came in and anchored while I was on top of Mt Battie the prior evening.  I could tell that she was related as she flew the J class flag from her mast head.  This yacht is a real classic.  With a major yacht like ByStander, a J class yacht and who knows what else, I can only imagine what his home is like.  Probably more than one home at that.

The yacht is named Bystander and was recently launched for her owner.  This link to a yacht charter site talks a bit about her details and notes that she is a support vessel for her owner’s J class boat.  Amazing display of wealth, however, with a sense of style.  This is a link to an interesting article about Bystander and Velsheda.

Well, back to more pedestrian thoughts and our visit to Buck’s harbor.  The course from Camden to Bucks winds among some beautiful islands in upper Penobscot Bay as this chart shows.

Along the way we passed many islands and one was packed with seals.  There must have been 50 of them on the rocks.  It’s hard to see but the light spots on the rocks are all seals.

On Saturday morning we headed to Bucks Harbor Marina to take the short walk to the general store.  It took lot longer that we expected as there was a bit of drama unfolding at the dock.  A small lobster yacht was sitting at the dock with massive amounts of steam billowing up from down below.  It seems that they had suffered a loss of coolant and then began taking on water.  As it rose in the bilge it hit a very hot engine that turned everything to steam.   The crew and some of the local marina folks were bailing like mad and yet the boat was getting lower and lower in the water  After realizing that they were fighting a loosing battle they moved her over to the shore and beached her on the falling tide.  Fortunately, the tide was high at about the time this all began so the water was receding once they were beached.  However by this time there was a foot of water in the cockpit and it was looking a bit grim.   Fortunately, in a powerboat like this one the engine is set fairly high in the hull so a good part of the engine was still clear of the water.  I had to wonder why they didn’t just close all of the through hull fittings but it seems that the place where the water was coming in wasn’t accessible.  Not good.

As this photo shows, they were really working hard to keep the boat afloat.  They say that the best bilge pump is a terrified crew member with a buck.  That would apply here.  Clearly motivated.

It got a lot lower before they were able to stabilize the situation and it wasn’t until they fully plugged the exhaust that things were under control.

This is every boat owners greatest nightmare, having your boat sink from under you.  Good thing that they weren’t far from shore.  When we finally left the tide was headed out and they were assessing the damage. It doesn’t seem like the owner will be out on the water again any time soon.

While we were in Bucks one of the schooners that take passengers out for trips came in and dropped anchor.  The next morning she headed out under a solid north wind.   It’s really a sight to see one of these schooners weigh anchor and head out under sail.  They have a push boat at the ready in case of problems, but do most of their work under sail.   Looking good.

After leaving Bucks and heading down to Merchant’s Row near Stonington, we passed a number of lovely yacht charters and little sailboats including this friendship sloop with a whole gang aboard.

Well, this post has taken way too long with the weak cell coverage in the area so perhaps that’s enough for now. On with my day as we have to head back to Rockland for better cell coverage and the beginning of the work week.

>A short run up Mt. Battie in Camden

>Last evening I decided to make a quick run up to the top of Mt. Battie overlooking Camden Harbor.  Mt Battie is one of a group of mountains called the Camden Hills and has some large granite ledges that you can stand on that provide magnificent views of Penobscot Bay.  On a clear day, and Thursday was clear, you can see Mt Desert and out into the Gulf of Maine.  It’s wonderful.  This is a view to the east.  In the distance you can see Mt Desert as a bump on the horizon.

The run up to the summit is of moderate difficulty.  I was wearing a pair of old running shoes so scrambling over rocks on the trail, which gets quite steep near the summit, was a bit difficult as my traction was a little unsure.  With good hiking shoes it would have been easier.  I wanted to make the run up and back quickly as I didn’t have much time and it was getting late in the day.  By pushing I was able to make it to the summit in about 30 min which isn’t bad for a “sort of old guy”.  Trust me when I say that I was pushing hard and sweating plenty.  However, it was worth it as you can see.  This shot of the village is often used in tourism brochures as it’s one of the most scenic vistas in Maine.

Zooming in shows how tightly packed the boats are in the inner harbor.  You can also see why the outer harbor can be bumpy with that “Camden Roll thing”.  It’s pretty exposed.   Pandora is the boat at the closest point on the second row from the left.  She looks really tiny from here.   When people say that 43′ is big, I always say that the size of Pandora has to do with how close to the dock she is.    When you are close to something hard she seems big, when out of sight of land, so small…  Or, better put in the Breton Fisherman’s prayer, “Oh God, thy sea is so great and my boat is so small”.

Sweating and getting my heart rate back to normal took a bit but I was able to sit and enjoy the late day view.  What a spot.

After a short rest at the top I was able to make it back to help Brenda retrieve the laundry, take a shower and get ready for a visit from our friends off of another SAGA 43 who had spent the last two summers sailing in Nova Scotia and just returned to the states.  After listening to the talk about their trip I am not so sure that it would be for us.  It’s very remote and you can go for many days without seeing another boat.   I am way to social for that, I expect.

The inner harbor is a great spot to watch the boats go by.  Some aren’t so small in spite of the tight space they come in for to see and be seen.  This on, in particular, caught my eye.  What a magnificent vessel.  It passed very close as you can see.

Here’s a better view as she passed.  She’s large and quite unique.  Grey isn’t a color that you see often on yachts and it really works here.  I’ll be that she can really move.    Her home port is Camden but I haven’t seen her before. Really impressive.

It’s Friday and I hope to get out early today for short run over to one of the islands, perhaps Perry Creek, one of our favorite spots.  The weather forecast calls for a good breeze this afternoon along with a 50/50 chance of showers.  I’ll take those odds.  TGIF!!!

>Camden Maine, one of our favorite places

>While we have favorites all over Maine, or so my posts would suggest.  Camden, when it comes to “towns”, is right up there.  While the outer harbor is known for the “Camden roll” due to the fairly open exposure to the south and east, there is a nice snug inner harbor with floating docks that is totally protected.   These “harbor floats” are actually more like moorings with a short dock attached and are perfect for jamming many boats into a small space.  For years we have treated ourselves to a few nights in Camden and it’s always a terrific place to be.

One of the most scenic sights you can find, and one that’s so often shown as a great view in Maine is of the inner harbor as seen from the top of Mt. Battie which is a dominant view from the harbor.  Today, as I sit here having my morning coffee, this is my view out of the cockpit of Pandora.   As much as I rave about the views in so many of my posts, this one is right up there.  Perhaps I will call it my “most perfect view in the world, of the week”.  Yea, that’s the ticket.

In Camden there are a number of day schooners that take out tourists for short sails and I can’t resist including a shot of these two a bit closer.

Even main street Camden is picturesque.   It’s busy as the main road in the area, Rt1 comes through town, but it’s very pretty.  For years MB&A bank was headquartered here in Camden and brought a tremendous amount of money to the area.  I believe that the primary reason that the company was here was because the guy who ran it wanted to live here.   Eventually he was shoved out and the bank left town but only after years of investing in Camden leaving a legacy of public support and a beautiful New England village.   Not a bad view of the main drag.

Here is  the view from up on the town green that overlooks the harbor.  Pandora is there too on one of the floats.

This close up shot makes it a bit easier to see her, stern to the mountain.  Nothing to mar the view of Mt. Battie.

In town there is a pretty little foot bridge crossing the brook that spills into the harbor and one of the local hotels has covered it with hanging baskets.  It’s very lush.

It seems that we tend to run into the same boats port after port.  This trawler, Oasis, in particular has caught my eye.  They spent a few days on the town dock in Rockland while we were there and here they are again.  The boat is a liveaboard for a middle aged couple.  They have a single crew member who clearly works hard to earn his keep.  Oasis is home ported in Kodiak Alaska.  They are a long way from home.  What a great looking boat.  I’d love to learn more about it.

Many power yachts and ships have an underwater bulb that comes out from the bow and is designed to make the boat slip through the water more efficiently.  On Oasis, they painted an interesting logo on it.  I wonder what the connection is.  I expect that it means something to them.  Perhaps code for something.  I expect that it would be obvious if we knew who they were.  Hmm….

Here’s another view from Pandora.  Hard to beat this.  A lovely schooner and a classic New England church steeple in the morning light.   We will be here in Camden for a few more days.  Hoping to take a long weekend so I had better get lots of work done today.

It’s sunny, not a cloud in the sky and a nice cool breeze.  What a great day it is here. No wonder the the local chamber of commerce calls this area “The Jewel of the Coast”. I’ll let you check it out and will leave it at that for now.

>Port Clyde, Hog Island and to Rockland for a new week.

>After a few days of sailing where we explored Muscongus Bay, Pandora is now in Rockland.  While it’s not the most scenic place to be, there are lots of places to go in town and there is a large grocery a short way out of town.  As our car is here, that does make it appealing as Brenda can catch up on errands without having to walk and lug.    I guess that most any place looks great just after sun-up.  How peaceful.

As we left Allen Island, home of the Wyeth’s on Saturday we headed into Port Clyde with our friends Miles and Laureen and enjoyed lunch on the dock at the general store.  The store, with wide pine boards on the floor, a lunch counter and deck with picnic tables, looks like it’s right out of the 40s.  Port Clyde is primarily a fishing village and is loaded with lobster boats. We stopped and “borrowed” a mooring for a few hours while we headed ashore.

Isn’t this a quaint place?  It’s very Maine. 

Along the way we spotted the mail boat, that gives tours of the area.  It’s very pretty and is a boat that I would love to go out on at some point.  Run by the Monhegan Boat Company, this seems to me like the way to go out to Monhegan for the day.  Their Laura B is a real classic.  Built by the Navy in 1943, she saw action carrying supplies and troops in the South Pacific and has been in Maine since 1946.   I shot this photo as she steamed by on one of her trips.  She is in great shape and clearly has a caring owner.

The boat also does an evening lighthouse tour that goes to some of the very scenic lights in the area.   This one marks the entrance to Port Clyde. It’s now automated and is part of a private home.

Brenda and I hope to spend a day on Monhegan Island via Laura B in the next few weeks.   There aren’t many opportunities to so on a classic like this so I don’t want to miss it.

After lunch we headed up to Hog Island, about 15 miles from Port Clyde.  For a day sail, Muscongus Bay is a real treat, if a bit of a challenge from a navigation standpoint. With lots of unmarked ledges, you have to really watch the charts.  The winds were fabulous and barreling between ledges and small islands at 7+kts was a bit of a nail biter.    This gives a good feel for all of the “hard stuff” that we passed.  Quite scenic.

In case you didn’t know, if you double click on the chart, or photo for that matter, you can “bigify” it.

After a brief visit at Hog Island, now a summer camp for boys it would seem, we headed, with a nice breeze for a while, over to Rockland.   Oh, I guess that I should put in a photo of some flowers from Hog.  Nice butterfly.

I do like lighthouses and seem to take the same photos each year.  Here’s two along the way up toward Rockland.

And the Owl’s Head Light just out on the point near Rockland.  Quite a view from there.  If you look closely, you can see that it’s a very popular spot.

Along the way we spotted a number of Friendship Sloops headed home after a rendezvous in Rockland.   What a sight seeing them sail by with their big mainsails way out.  A very elegant sight.

All passed like a flock of swans making their way home.  But, not as bratty as swans. 

Here’s an idea.  How about closing this post with a shot of a lobster boat tending traps while flying a big American Flag.  And, it’s not even the 4th of July.  I’ll bet that this guy drives a Ford F150.  No Toyota trucks for this patriot.

>Allen Island ME and a glimpse of Betsy Wyeth

>It’s Friday afternoon and we just finished a 15+ mile, fairly sloppy with big seas of up to 6′ and not quite enough wind, sail from Booth Bay Harbor to Allen Island, the summer home of the Wyeth family.  That’s the Andrew and Betsy side of the family.  Just off shore from Port Clyde, the islands Allen and Brenner enclose a lovely thoroughfare complete with a few moorings.    While we have been coming here for many years, I am still in awe of how beautiful this place is.  While there are many impressive places in Maine, or elsewhere for that matter, it’s rare to see as refined a display of what can be accomplished when you have both money and taste.

To see the many buildings that make up the “village” that is the Wyeth compound, it’s very clear that every detail was planned out by someone with an acute sense of what they were trying to accomplish.   The look of the place is totally Maine, and like a living Wyeth painting. Speaking of Andrew Wyeth and his work, check out the “official site”.  Very nice.

I had a nice talk with one of the caretakers, just to be sure that it was OK for me to be using one of their moorings, and he confirmed that the nice lady in the white slacks is Betsy herself.  He said that she enjoys watching the sailboats as they ride on her mooring.  That makes me happy.  On our last visit, Brenda was thilled to share waves with Betsy.  Today she was pretty sure that Betsy and her companion were watching her knit aboard Pandora.   That sounds about right to me.

I was told that there are some 100 sheep on Allen Island, I tried, in a very subtle way of course, to get a tour of the barn.  However, in the very nicest way, that the Wyeth’s appreciate it if there is no landing on shore.  That makes sense to me.

We are visiting here with our friends Miles and Loreen who live aboard their Aerodyne 47 yacht Ariel for about 10 months a year. They do the whole snow bird thing, with summers in Maine and winters in the Bahamas.  They have not been her before and are as thrilled with the place as we are.   Ariel is a spectacular cruising boat and while she is only four feet longer, the difference is just amazing.  Much larger and far more elaborate, Ariel is in a class that is so much more substantial than Pandora that it’s hard to believe that they are so close in length.  Built of composite materials,  Ariel doesn’t weigh a lot more than Pandora but is probably twice as large.  It’s safe to say that you could purchase two plus Pandora’s for the cost of an Aerodyne 47.   She was designed with a lot of go fast features including an interior built by a company that does private jet aircraft interiors.  They are super light and quite luxurious.  Their granite counter tops look solid but are actually very thin and laminated to a honeycomb structure.

Ariel is about the only boat that I have seen since purchasing Pandora that I could honestly say, I’d rather own.  What a boat.  Or should I say, what a yacht.  Actually, according to Miles, the definition of a yacht is “any boat that’s bigger than yours”.   I’ll buy that and that would make Ariel a yacht for sure.

For the artist that has everything, how about a Mini Cooper on your island.  And, it’s red, of course.  It’s a fairly small island and a small car to match.  I wonder if the dealer makes island calls to fix what breaks.

Everywhere you look, the view is wonderful, and tasteful, including a dory as art. 
The view does look a lot like a Wyeth painting, doesn’t it?
Another tasteful vista.
And, of course, a shot from the cockpit to prove that we were there.
Not to forget that Brenda is knitting her way through Maine.   Actually, this shot is going to be entered into a contest to compete for “the most interesting place I have knitted” that is sponsored by the company that made her needles.  I guess that they are very fancy needles.  We won’t talk about my kneeling on one of them the today.  I think that I was able to straightened it out, more or less. 
Well, have to get ready for dinner aboard Ariel.  It’s a hard way to spend Friday, I know, but someone has to  go over and help them drink their wine. 

>To Metinicus, a remote island in Maine

>I awoke earlier than usual at a few minutes after 5:00.  The sun had not yet peaked up over the horizon and it was still cool enough out in the cockpit to make a sweater a good idea.   Armed with a cup of coffee, I have been enjoying the solitude and peaceful harbor here in Booth Bay.   It’s Thursday and I have been putting in full days of work in what is a very busy harbor.  All day long there is a constant coming and going by the whale watching and day boats headed out for Monhegan Island and others giving harbor tours.  The winds, even in this very protected part of the harbor, really picked up yesterday and added to the excitement on the mooring in the afternoon.  When the whale boats head out and back into the harbor they come within what seems like feet of us.  It’s a bit daunting, I have to say.

While I was working yesterday, Brenda headed out with a friend to visit a local botanical garden so she was out for the day.  Reports are that it is a great place to visit.   I would expect that she will do a post on her visit.  The photos sure looked great.  Brenda’s site is  

While the folks back in the New York area are sweltering in the heat, here in Maine it’s a much more reasonable temperature, in the 80s although not as cool overnight as I would prefer.   It’s definitely warmer than normal, it’s a lot more reasonable than back home.

I didn’t particularly want to stay here for 5 days, ut it is convenient with good cell coverage and the opportunity to enjoy the local sites for a quick run ashore to stretch my legs and a change of scenery is very convenient.

The plan is to take an extended weekend and perhaps head out to Metinicus Island, the most remote on the Maine Coast.  Metinicus has a year round population of about 50, just about all hardy fisherman from families that have been there for generations.  Their independence is legendary and willingness to help each other out admirable.

A recent example of the strength of their community was demonstrated  when a small plane, ferrying some island residents to Rockland Airport crashed into the ocean shortly after takeoff.  As you can imagine, ditching a small plane into the water is risky and thanks to the fast thinking pilot, he and the two passengers survived.   Within a few minutes of the crash, the crew of a local lobster boat had dragged them all from the water.  The dramatic crash and rescue is described in this article from the the Bangor News.    I can’t imagine how terrifying it would be to see the water coming up that fast.  Not an experience I’d like to have.

Anyway, our hope is that the winds will be convenient to make the run out over the weekend with our freinds Miles and Loreen from Ariel.   For today, the winds are forecasted to be quite strong, up to 25kts from the SW.  That’s pretty heavy and will be made even more fun with the addition of waves up to 6 feet.  Not for me.  Actually, more to the point, not for Brenda at all.  As my son Rob likes to say, to take Brenda out in rough conditions is definate “career limiting move”.  Yes, he speaks the truth.

If the seas subside overnight and the winds hold, it would be a lot of fun to visit Metinicus, a place that I have spoken of often but never visited.  While far away from the mainland it’s an easy day sail from Booth Bay, it’s about 35 miles and worlds away.  This chart shows how remote it really is.

And this detail shot shows how exposed the harbor on the eastern side of the island is and suggests how rough it would get in a nor’easter.  Not a good place for me in the winter.  That’s clearly why the year round residents are so tough. They have to be.

Speaking of sailing and Brenda, with all of the cruising couples that we have met over the last few years while visiting Maine, she has become much more open to doing extensive crusising and while I am fearful of saying it aloud for fear of jinxing it, she has said, several times now, that the “time may be right” for us to head out aboard Pandora for an extended cruise.  Her thought is the winter of 2012/2013.   That’s the first time that we have been able to put a date on our plans.  It’s a big step.

Planning for such a trip does get complicated as it conjers up questions of what to do with our home while we head out for months at a time.  Do we sell now, buy another home before we go?  Where do we want to move to?  It’s tough and a lot to think about.  This summer’s two month trip has proven to be complex enough and in spite of careful planning, we do fear that an important bill will be missed and not paid while we are away.  We also wonder how the gardens will look after two months of hot weather on their own.   For sure, the weeds will be in charge, not to mention the ground hog and deer.  I don’t even want to think about that.

No, better to think about sailing for a few days.  I’ll close with a photo of one of the say schooners on a wharf just off of our stern.  

>Heading east with a stay in Booth Bay Harbor

>My initial impression of Booth Bay Maine when we visited for the first time years ago was that it was a very busy tourist town jammed with T-shirt shops and ice cream, not a particularly appealing image.  However, after years of visiting perhaps I’d still describe it in that way but now I have decided that that’s some of what makes Booth Bay a particularly nice place to visit.  Yes, it’s jammed with tourists and everything that you’d expect, particularly on the weekends but there’s a lot of charm too.  The harbor is busy with boats coming and going including lobster boats, pleasure yachts and the whale watching day boats.  I think that it’s great fun.

Booth bay also has a lot going for it around the harbor including some beautiful B&Bs plus a good size Hannaford Grocery that’s only a short walk out of town.  There’s also a good hardware store and book shop, two places where I always enjoy spending time.

Frankly, I was ready for a visit to town and bit of shore leave after having spent the last 4 days in more remote areas.  Since leaving Cundy’s Harbor we traveled to Snow island, Five Islands Harbor, had a great sail out into the gulf and over to Seal Cove (no seals in evidence there, perhaps the seals had gone to another “Seal Cove” of which there are many).   So, yesterday we decided to head into Booth Bay for a few days.

As we arrived in the harbor I was on the lookout for fellow SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Association) members showing their colors with the hope of meeting some fellow cruisers.  We were in luck and I immediately headed over to a cute Kadey Krogen trawler power yacht for a visit.  It turned out to be a live-aboard couple that were visiting Maine for the summer.  Another couple was aboard, also from a trawler who  live aboard full time on their 50+ boat.  We had a very nice time comparing notes and will probably get together as a group for a drink this evening.  As the larger boat is on a mooring fairly far out in the harbor, they have even offered us launch service in there dink.  Actually with a huge engine and center console, their tender looked nearly as big as our first boat.  Our little 9′ dink looked like a toy next to theirs.  We will certainly welcome a lift from them tonight.

I nearly always introduce myself to someone in a harbor when we visit, usually within an hour of anchoring or picking up a mooring.  You meet the most interesting folks that way.  It’s fun to compare notes about favorite harbors and to learn more about how they use their boats.  Besides, how else would we get a ride in a tender capable of going 30kts?

Here is a chart of Booth Bay.  If you look closely, you can see a boat icon in the upper right.  That’s where Pandora is moored, just off of the town landing.  We like this part of the harbor as it is so protected although, in the thick of the action.

I am sure that I’ll have more to say about Booth Bay Harbor over the next few days but for now perhaps a few nice photos of the sights before I close.

A view of the town landing.  As the rear view mirrors say, “objects are closer than they appear”.  We are very close, trust me on that.
To the East you can see the trawler,just peaking out from behind the sailboat, that we visited yesterday.  
The little island that protects the inner harbor from waves coming in from the south.  
One of the several schooners that run day trips from Booth Bay.  
And, what post about Maine would be complete without a nice picture of a lighthouse?  This one greeted us as we rounded the point to head into the harbor. 
Well, I guess it’s time to get to work.

>Five Islands Harbor near Booth Bay Maine

>Yesterday, after much deliberation we decided against going to Bath.  The description in the guidebooks are alarming, suggesting that the currents headed out on the ebb can be very strong, especially when the tide is against the wind, so we decided against heading up.   The wind filled in from the south, shifting to the typical prevailing soutwest by early afternoon.  While we first headed nearly toward Portland, as the wind shifted to SW we were able to head right down the coast and had a wonderful sail. A friend of mine recently introduced me to a neat piece of navigation software that is available for free on the Web,  This is a nifty piece of open source software that will interface with most current navigation systems.  For me, I particularly wanted it so that I could put shots of charts on my blog.  While the process is a bit awkward, I am able to print to a PDF, convert to a .jpg and import like any other photo to my blog.  Well, here goes, a shot of our route yesterday.  The route doesn’t show up as well as I would like as it’s blue.  Perhaps I can figure out how to make the route in red.   So, as a debut on my blog, charts…

One of the major lighthouses on this part of the coast is Segin light, located a few miles out from the mouth of the  Kenebec River that heads up to Bath. You know, the place that we were going, not going, going, etc, is a major landmark for mariners heading east and west along the coast.  The lighthouse is located up high on the island and can be seen for many miles.

Another factor that helped us make the decision was the nice breeze that filled in, allowing us to have a terrific sail over to our destination, Five Islands Harbor.   This quaint archipelago of islands a bit west of Booth Bay and a few miles up the Sheepscot River is a favorite stop for us.

Of particular note, Five Islands Harbor has a yacht club for the use of the families that have homes on the various islands.  As a courtesy to visiting yachtsmen, they keep a number of large moorings in the harbor available for use at no charge.  I have also found that usually someone from the club comes out to welcome you to the harbor.

Yes, I am loving this chart thing so two follow, one of a close up of the harbor and another one showing the back route into Booth Bay Harbor, Towsend Gut.  It’s described in a scary way in the guidebooks, but we have found it to be an easy and fun passage.

Early this morning it was very calm, as is usually the case here in Maine, and I thought that a few shots of the harbor would fill out the picture.

Up above the dock is the Five Islands Lobster Company, a great spot to sit and enjoy the view.  Last night we sinned mightily by having fried onion rings and terrific fish sandwiches and crab cakes.  We had better walik up the hill a few times to burn it off. I almost forgot the nice bottle of wine we used to wash it all down.  Who would have thought that an Argentinian Sauvignon Blanc would pair so well with fried onion rings.   And, on top of that, EVERYTHING tastes better on a boat.  Am I right?

And, a great view for writing this post out in the cockpit. 
No post complete without a view from the bow.
As you’d expect, there is a Five Islands Lobster Company for real.

And a very cute little yellow home on the water. What a view.

Of course, a view of Pandora from shore is always nice.  How original.

As you can see, all of this illustrates that today is getting off to a particularly rough start to Saturday.  I guess I will have another cup of coffee and make the best of it.  

>It’s Friday morning, the sun is out and I’m not working today!

>The sun has risen over the trees here at Snow Island and I am sitting in the cockpit of Pandora checking on e-mail and thinking about the next three days.  The weather is perfect with temperatures in the 60s over night and forecasted highs in the low 80s for today.  The sun is out and we are looking at a three day weekend.  What more can you ask for.

We have been aboard Pandora in Maine for two weeks as of Saturday and have settled into a nice routine.  However, with the occasional few hours off to clear my head, I have worked two full weeks aboard.  There is a big project that I am trying to make headway on before the end of the month and happily it’s coming together.  My hope is that I can take some real time off in August prior to heading back home and to real life and what will certainly be a long winter while I prepare for summer of 2012.  However, I am getting ahead of myself.

While my partner and I are the only two full time employees in our company, we are talking to a sales rep, someone that we have worked with for years in the past, about joining us as well as perhaps taking on a third partner.   These big steps will allow for more growth and perhaps a bit more flexibility for me personally.  For sure, there is a lot going on and having a few days off is very appealing.

While the weather is looking wonderful, we are a bit uncertain about where to go.  One option is to head up the Kennebec River to Bath but after talking with some locals last evening who said that the currents are tremendous, we are not so sure.  The prospect of heading 12 miles up a winding river with currents that can run 8 knots is a bit daunting.  However, if they can get Aegis Cruisers from Bath Iron Works up and down the river, we should be able to make the trip in Pandora.

The guide books say that the flood tide is largely offset by the current headed downstream but that the ebb plus the water running down what is the longest river in Maine, is a sight to behold.

Well, I guess that we will have to make a decision and get on with it.  As there is not much wind in the forecast for the next few days make a trip under power up the river sound appealing given the fact that we are going to motor mostly wherever we go.   However, there is that current.  Tough call.

Brenda is up now so I am going to sign off.  However, no morning post is complete without some serene photos.  This place is so beautiful it hurts.

Did I say that we have an eagle nest about 100 yards from where we are anchored?  It’s very close but it doesn’t seem to bother mother or chick.  Not sure that chick applies as it’s nearly as big as the mother.  It’s got to be dangerous to feed a baby that’s as big as you are. Here chicky, chicky… No, quit it with the pecking.  I hate pecking!!!  Get that blood of of your face. Stop acting like a birdbrain.  Kids…

Interestingly, there is an osprey that doesn’t think very highly of mother and baby and spent much of yesterday buzzing the mother eagle sitting in a tree near the nest.  I am not sure if, sharp pointy beak and talons and all, that I would divebomb an eagle twice my size even if I were an osprey and had the pointy beak and claw thing going for me.

To complete the picture, here’s a shot of my computer out in the cockpit.  Not a bad place to write.

The view is hard to beat and I couldn’t resist these shots.  It’s just so calm.
Pretty amazing, right?
And dont’ forget the view forward.
Yes, it’s really this calm.   Can you repeat after me?  Serene, Serene, Serene.
Perhaps a good place to end a post of serenity at Snow Island is with a shot of last night’s moonrise.  A full moon so bright that you could see your shadow and read a book.  Well, perhaps you could read a book if it had REALLY LARGE TYPE.  
Now, I need to focus on where we are going to spend our time for the next three days.   Signing off for now. 

>Where eagles dare? Snow Island Maine, it would seem.

>Yesterday we made a short run under power from The Basin to Snow Island.   As is so often the case with travel in Casco Bay, we headed nearly 5 miles back to the Gulf turned a bit west and went another 5 miles north and up to Snow Island.  While we covered nearly 10 miles we ended up only about 1.5 miles from Cundy’s Harbor where we had started.  However, as is so often the case in Maine, the environment was very different.   Fishing boats were much less in evidence and it was clearly a place dominated by summer folks, or “from away” as the locals would say.  

One local, perhaps viewed as “from away” by some and a resident of Snow Island for many years was Dodge Morgan, successful business man and one who was the first American to sail solo around the world non stop in only 150 day in 1986.  The previous record, with stops, took over twice that amount of time. Dodge purchased Snow Island in the late 80s and build a modest compound of three buildings on the property. Particularly notable, given all of the huge homes on the water these days,  is the fact that the compound is indeed modest in spite of clearly having the resources to build a huge monument to himself.   His plan was to build something that blended into the landscape and he commissioned the architect that designed the Maine Maritime Museum to design it for him.  The work won an award in 1999 from the Maine chapter of the American Institute of Architects, with the work described by the judges as “a triumph of programmatic virtue in a natural setting that demands nothing less.”  You can learn more about Dodge’s home in this article from the Boston Globe.  Interestingly, the buildings can hardly be seen from the water and are tucked into the landscape.  Very nice.  The article makes it sound just wonderful.  Sadly, Dodge died last year.  
Dodge’s voyage on “American Promise” was the subject of a book by him that is worth reading and it clearly showed that he was not a man to be underestimated or messed with.  
It seems very fitting, given the area’s famous resident,  that one of our first images as we approached Snow Island, where we planned to spend the night, was a pair of Bald Eagles drying themselves after a passing shower.   I have to say that to see such a powerful bird up close was quite moving.  
On our trip over we were hit by an impressive thunder storm and after anchoring, another passed by to the north.  What dramatic clouds and a display of the raw power of nature. 
The light was just fantastic and a great way to show off yet another eagle sighting.  Note it’s really small, but the dot in the tree y itself to the right is an eagle.   Really, trust me on this.  It’s not too often that you can see eagles but to see three in a short time is really amazing.  
We are still planning a trip up to Bath on Friday for a few days but for now Snow island is a great place to be.