Great friends, great times
09/03/2011, 43 04.44
Dennis and Heidi's big adventure begins. We left Portland Harbor On Sept 3. Thanks for the escort Paul...and the great shot. We had an amazing sail to Portsmouth NH - gorgeous sail into the sunset.
08/24/2011, Portland, ME
Well, we are now having to prep for hurricane Irene ... heading straight for Maine! The eye should arrive late Sunday night/early Monday AM. We'll probably have to be hauled out ... major bummer, but it shouldn't have any effect on our new departure date of September 3, 2011 8:00 AM! Hopefully that will be it for the hurricanes up the east coast for this season!!
07/15/2011, Isle au Haut
Dianna has been running the Inn at Isle Au Haut for numerous years. And, while the Inn is charming and the views spectacular, the most pleasant surprise you'll discover is the incredible meals she prepares. We've been visiting for about five summers hoping to never miss the opportunity to stop in.
The first two years we kayaked the nearly seven miles from Stonington, and more recently we've sailed Centime to this gorgeous island. This season my brother Vern from Pennsylvania joined us. We had an amazing sail through Fox Islands Thoroughfare, the strong winds giving us enough control to run the gauntlet and barely miss the shoals and abundant lobster buoys that crowd the narrow thoroughfare; then we had a broad reach across to Isle Au Haut. There's a narrow channel between Kimball Island on the West side and Isle Au Haut with about 15 feet of water at mean low tide. There are three large pink mooring balls that Payson Barter rents. His moorings work on the honor system with a plastic soda bottle attached for your $20.
Before heading up to Dianna's we walked down the road to Black Dinah's. Steve and Kate are true chocolatiers and they make delicious gourmet chocolate. Even better, if you can get any better then finely-crafted Belgian chocolate, they throw the leftovers into homemade ice cream. The only downside is you don't want to eat too much and spoil your appetite for what's to come at Diana's. There was however nothing holding us back from buying a stash to help us through the sailing ahead.
When we arrived at the Inn we started the evening by opening up a bottle of chilled white Muscadet wine sitting at the bar stools that line her kitchen. Diana cooked on one side while we poured wine, swapped stories and caught up on the past winter - new adventures, retirements, the sadness of a relative passing away and the joy of a new grandchild. Gradually the fragrances build, one delicious dish after another appears and Daina's warmth fills her kitchen.
The first treats of the evening were warm shrimp puffs. She used fresh Maine shrimp in a sort of light beignet dough with a thick creamy dill sauce. They had a light crunch on the outside and were soft and delicious inside. I did try to only eat only one knowing that a full meal would follow, however I just had to splurge on a second of these irresistible morsels.
Before we opened the third bottle of wine, Diana and Alison, a National Park Ranger on the Island who works with Dianna, shepherded us into the dining room for round two. For this course we were joined by Fred and Faith from Alabama who were up celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. There Diana served a velvety Fennel and Squash Soup with a small sprig of mint and homemade rolls and butter.. As we enjoyed the soup we learned of Faith's bucket list, things she hoped to try before her time on Earth was up, which included sky diving, and hang gliding.
The next course consisted of fresh seared Tuna with Olive Sauce which we had watched Diana make earlier, organic broccoli from Diana's garden and Eggplant Napolitano with ricotta cheese and fresh tomato sauce. She followed the main course with homemade blueberry cobbler with Island blueberries of course and homemade cinnamon ice cream. The meal was simply delicious - the best in Downeast Maine.
Before we left there was time for just a small bit of conversation about tomorrow's guest - the man with the apricot scarf or should we say "scartlet." And then a fun encore as I joined the women in chorus and dance to our own rendition of "You're so Vain." I laughed til I had tears streaming down my face. Thank you Diana, we do hope you and Alison will join us in the Caribbean this winter.
We're heading south...soon. Our rough itinerary currently looks like this:
July, August - Home port Portland, Maine. We'll sail the Maine coast with several stops in Penobscot Bay.
Sept. 1, 2011 - If all goes well the big voyage begins...straight out of Portland Harbor, hang a right.
Sept, Oct - Portsmouth, NH; Cape Cod Canal; Newport; New York; Cape May; Chesapeake; Norfolk...all sound good to me.
Mid Nov - Our first major passage with the Caribbean 1500, from Norfolk Virginia to Tortola BVI
Nov - May - Eastern Caribbean from the BVI to Grenada or beyond. New Years Eve at the Bitter End (Virgin Gorda) or Foxy's (Jost) perhaps? Look for us on the webcam :) http://www.foxysbar.com/home.html
Hurricane Season 2 (May - Oct 2012) - Who knows? Grenada? Bonaire? Panama? Europe? or Maine? are currently in the running.
Beyond the horizon - Possibly Belize, Panama, the Canal...hopefully the Galapagos, South Pacific, maybe even Australia if we're lucky.
06/04/2011, On the hard, Portland Maine
After more than nine months of refitting and a bit of new paint, splashdown is scheduled for Wednesday!