July 13, 2006
I forgot how wonderful the fragrances of New England can be. Our first stop was Block Island and we went for a long walk as soon as our anchor was secure. The privet and honeysuckle are in bloom and the island is full of their fragrance. We walked up to Mohegan Bluff to admire the view out over the open Atlantic. The Bluff stands about 200 feet and has a lighthouse at the edge.
We have not gone very far; we are in Menemsha now. The weather has been dreadful; we have about one nice day for every five rainy ones. Our destination is Maine, so we have to get going soon even if the weather is not ideal. We will go through the Cape Cod Canal on Monday and head to Boston for two days. We will visit with my last remaining uncle for a day and then head to the Isle of Shoals for a visit. I have always wanted to see them. We have sailed by, but never stopped. Anita Shreve wrote about them in her book, The Weight of Water.
We expect to be in Maine the end of next week.
We are finally in Penobscot Bay having arrived in Rockland harbor late yesterday afternoon. We had an arduous sail, having experienced most of what Maine weather has to offer; we started with light winds and crystal clear air, moved to moderate winds, sailed into a fog bank with 200 foot visibility and ended with 30 knots as we entered Rockland Harbor! All this while dodging lobster pots, some with toggles: two pots tied together with a line between them on the surface.
We sailed past Pemaquid point with good visibility. I spent many a day in my early childhood sitting on the rocks of Pemaquid with my family and watching the sailboats, so this has special meaning for me. My family had a summer place in Maine and we made a trip to the coast at least once a week for lobsters and a view of the magnificent shore. The view of Pemaquid brought back fond memories of a time when the adults made all the decisions and life was simple.
Penobscot Bay is a special place. As soon as you enter it you experience something different from the rest of the New England shore. There are great granite bluffs with beautiful stands of evergreen at the top. The water is a deep blue with heavy surf crashing on the granite creating lots of foam and spray. You can feel the power of the clash between the immovable granite and the strong surf.
We plan to spend a couple of weeks here visiting friends and cruising the offshore islands.
We are currently anchored in a harbor at Camp Island, a small island that is part of the archipelago that makes up Merchants Row. This is the best cruising we have seen so far; the islands range is size from less than an acre to 100s of acres. They are the same granite with a stand of pine on top. The water is deep, almost to the shoreline, so we can wend our way through them. We saw a bald eagle and many seals and porpoises.
We spent a wonderful few days anchored off of a friend’s house on Somes Sound in Mt Desert Island. We drove around the island seeing magnificent gardens and the spectacular natural scenery of Acadia.
We had planned to start a slow trip back towards home today, but the wind is blowing hard out of the Southwest and that is the directions we are going. We will leave tomorrow, sailing gradually towards the Vineyard, spend a few days there; then, we go to Newport, Block Island and back to Westport.
The weather has been spectacular for the last couple of weeks with crystal clear days and cool nights. We bought lobster from a co op and fresh blueberries and strawberries from the local market. The lobsters were great and the blueberries not to be believed! The local berries are tiny and each one explodes in your mouth with this incredible taste.