>So, what did we do this summer? Had a great time in Maine.

>When I left Mystic on July 1st to head to Portland with almost the entire summer of sailing ahead of us it seemed like the summer would never end.  With some two months in front of us to explore the Maine coast, it was hard to even think about heading home, ever.  The longest that we had previously been aboard with Pandora in a single stretch was just over a month and two.  Well, that seemed to me in early July like it would be FOREVER.

So, you think that two months is a long time?  Enter live aboards…   Through the SSCA, over the last few years, we have met so many couples that live on their boats or at least spend 4-6 months a year aboard cruising, two months doesn’t seem like a lot of time.  It’s interesting that when we move aboard for an extended period your perspective adjusts to a much different frame of reference.  You are not in as much of a hurry to move to another anchorage, simple tasks take longer and you aren’t in as much of a rush as when it’s just a weekend or a week or two.

Someone said to me this summer that “the most dangerous piece of equipment on your boat is the clock”.   That’s actually true as most of the uncomfortable times we have had aboard are because we felt pressed to go somewhere to keep a schedule when we should be in port waiting for a weather window.

Returning from Maine this year is a good case in point.  With Hurricane Irene pushing up the coast, beyond making sure that we would be safe, I spent a lot of time thinking about taking Pandora back to Mystic.  My friend Roger, who was supposed to help me bring Pandora back was stuck on the West Coast due to weather delays and I JUST HAD TO GET BACK around Labor Day.  The weather window was going to open and close in just three short days and my crew couldn’t make it in time.

That meant a day long scramble to get the boat ready, get Brenda ashore and home and to find someone to help move Pandora.  It all worked out but the stress was absurd.    The point is that having a schedule makes boating a total pain.   After this trip I said to Brenda, “this is the last time I am using crew to move Pandora with a tight deadline”.    The proper way to handle a delivery like this is to continue to cruise and wait till the weather is just right and make a break for it.

My cruising friends almost never sail in less than perfect conditions and yet cover great distances.  It’s all about having a flexible schedule.  Something to strive for.  I guess that I will just have to work on that.

Enough ranting on that point for now.  Better to reflect on what we saw and enjoyed during our two months aboard.  Perhaps a bit of a somewhat random tour of what we saw along the way.

We saw a remarkable number of bald eagles including one that flew about 30′ from Pandora one evening when we were siting in the cockpit.  This one was drying out on a rock following a thunder storm near Snow Island in Casco Bay
 While we had great weather, there were an “appropriate” number of good old fashioned thunder storms with dramatic views to make the point. 
We were there through two full cycles of the moon.  Nothing like a full moon rising over the water on a calm summer evening. 
I did my fair share of blog posts, over 30 actually and many done first thing in the morning in the cockpit with an amazing view.   

And there were endless scenic anchorages to choose from.  We have been going to Maine for 15 years and never tire of the scenery.

There are plenty of mega homes in Maine but some of the best are diminutive.

Brenda knitted 4 sweaters and read 7 or so books.  Lots of time to stop and smell the roses.  In this case, Betsy Wyeth of the famous artist family was also knitting in front of her island home.  How many knitters can say “I knitted with Betsy Wyeth”.  Well, actually Brenda can’t say that exactly.  But she can say “I knitted while watching Betsy watch me knit while watching…”.    Well, something like that did happen and I have the photo to prove it.

There isn’t any shortage of big yachts in Maine.  This one even sports it’s own private cannon to salute the sunset.  Some of our cruiser friends blow on a conch shell, perhaps a somewhat more gentile way to celebrate the end of a day.

Some just seem to be sailing off into the sunset.

And some are really roughing it like these kids in one of the Outward Bound adventure boats.  Not my idea of  cruising.  I do need my shower most days.

Of course, there’s an endless number of lighthouses to love like this one in Port Clyde.

But, none is prettier than the Owl’s Head light. Perhaps my favorite.

The passenger schooners that take out groups for a day sail are a sight to behold indeed.   Here they await their next trip.

So many quaint villages and towns to choose from like Belfast with wonderful old buildings carefully maintained.

Some views can’t be believed and a great place to curl up with a trashy novel.

And, always plenty of  magnificent yachts to wonder about how they afford such luxury.  It’s particularly nice when money and taste are combined.

But taste doesn’t have to always be about money.  Brenda has a great way with flowers and there are always flowers on board Pandora.  Her hand woven table cloth, flowers and her knitting.  Now that’s good taste.

She also collected her share of treasures on walks in the woods.

Sometimes we were running between the raindrops.   Perhaps I should say “sailing”.

Some views are best enjoyed from afar like this lookout high above Camden.

Some views are much more up close and simple.

Some are dramatic.

Some views, or should I say trails, are well groomed and well worn trails like this one around Bubble Pond on Mt. Desert. 
There is no denying the importance of the Maine State Ferry System to make everything possible on the many islands. 
We had our share of fog in early August.  Sometimes it was so thick you couldn’t see 100′.
Plenty of beautiful backdrops for Brenda to knit by. 
A lazy day of sailing makes you want to take a nap.  It’s always nice to have a hammock strung and ready for action, or should I say “inaction”?
This schooner captain hot-dogging it in Pulpit Harbor was an impressive display of seamanship or perhaps I should say “hotdogging” in a crowded anchorage. 
Of course, you can’t forget to eat.  And, eat we did and often. 
What did we do this summer?  We had a great time with lots of wonderful experiences and more than a few great sunrises.  
Now with the summer drawing to a close there’s always next year and the Annapolis Boat show to look forward to.
Yes, we enjoyed being afloat in Maine on Pandora very much.  What a great summer.  Bummer that it’s almost over.  Here we are and it’s Labor Day weekend and you can almost hear the iron gate of summer slamming shut. 

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