02/07/2010, Silver Star Mountain,
Off Summit Chair.
We watched the groomers running up and down the run outside our condo as the early morning sun cleared the peaks. By 8:30 am the groomers were replaced by skiiers as the day began. We were a bit slower, but were on the lift at 9:00 am an off to explore Silver Star.
As in Sun Peaks, we explored the whole mountain and by early afternoon we had touched the snow in most areas, finding beautiful glade skiing, hard bumps and soft powder.
For lunch we found a nice cafe in the village then spent the afternoon in the soft powder. In the village we saw members of the Russian ski team who are training here.
Tomorrow will be our last day here as we push on in our exploration of BC's ski resorts. Not sure where we're headed, either Revelstoke or Apex. We'll decide tonight.
02/05/2010, Sun Peaks Ski Resort, BC
Silver Star Trail Guide
Well, we woke this morning to find the clouds still low and no new snow ovenight although it began to fall as we hd breakfast. So we decided that we would skip skiing for the day, being used to the fresh powder. We wandered down to the village center, went into the Cahlity Lodge, owned by former Olympic skiing gold medalist Nancy Greene. No Nancy, although her medals were on display. She was skiing yesterday, and skiers are welcome to ski with her if you want.
We just picked up a paper and headed back to the condo. By noon, the snow was falling heavily and about 12 cm had fallen. So we had a change of plans and spent the afternoon in more glorious skiing. That makes four excellent days of skiing. Tomorrow we head for Silver Star, a somewhat smaller mountain, but with a reputation for more excellent snow.
Reports to follow.
02/03/2010, Sun Peaks Ski Resort, BC
Crystal Bowl, Sun Peaks
Today we skiied the dry powder of Sun Peaks all day. Again, no lift lines, which means more skiing, but there are times when my legs would probably prefer a bit of more time standing rather than skiing. With the size of these resorts, lifts close early, 3:30 pm, a blessing to some of us. They need the remaining time to properly patrol all the trails before dark, and so need lots of time.
Although there wasn't a lot of new snow, we found areas that have seen few skiiers so still found fresh powder. In fact, the skiing is so good that we have extended our stay here for one more night, now leaving Saturday morning for Silver Star, about 100 km away.
Tomorrow we'll ski again (there is nothing else to do even if we didn't want to ski) and will spend some time watching the Austrian Ski Team practice here.Should be interesting!
More pictures to load when we find the cable for the camera!
02/02/2010, Sun Peaks Ski Resort, BC
Our skiing itinerary through British Columbia
We're in BC skiing Sun Peaks, home of one of Canada's famous racers, Nancy Green.
Our trip began on Jan 21 when we left Charlottetown on a 0600 hrs flight to Montreal. It was a bit of an ordeal to get organized for such an eary flight, bit we were in Vancouver at 1030 hrs the same morning, so perhaps the early start was worth it. We picked up our rental car and heaed downtown to Andrew and Meghan's where we picked up our ski gear, stored there from twp years ago. We also had time to visit with Ben, our brilliant grandson, and add a hand to the MAJOR renovations underway. But by late afternoon it was time to head out up the Sea-To Sky highway to Whistler.
We found our unit, #22 in The Marquis, a condo we have used many times, licated just off Blackcomb's slopes. Monday morning we headed down, renewed our Express passes and headed up Whistler.
For four days we had perfect skiing... snow at night and sun in the day with no lift lines. Whistler is suffering from the "Pre-Olympic" syndrom... people staying away in droves! In a week of skiing in great conditions we had only one lift line wait, Harmony Bowl Chair at 11:00 am on Saturday. Other than that, we skiied on to every lift. Great for skiing but not for the knees!
After a week of Whistler, we headed down to Vancouver where we helped Andrew and Meghan in their renovations. A kithen "bump-out" has expanded to include every room in the house. So I spent the week-end re-wiring the house with Andrew. By Sunday afternoon, we were ready for the rough-in inspection and we headed out to Sun Peaks.
In the fading light we found our unit in Sun peaks. We couldn't find a single bedroom condo, so settled for a twp bedroom unit for a similar price... finding a beautiful condo complete with hot-tub (for Jeanie).
Although not on the scale of Whistler, Sun Peaks in noted for its beautiful powder. And with snow softly falling, we skiied the bowls and glades in soft powder and few skiiers. In fact, I have no idea how these places keep going with so few skiiers.
We are here for a few more days then move on. Plans are not fixed, but go something like this: Silver Star Resort (Vernon) for a few days, Kelowna to see friends, Apex Mountain, Red Mountain, Fernie, Panorama, Revelstoke, then surgery for new knees!
Time will tell!
09/11/2009, John Williams Boatyard, Somes Sound, Mt Desert Island, Maine
Estelle sailing up Penobscott Bay to Castine
In spite of the sun, the temperature on the water has dropped, signalling the end of summer here in Maine.
On Sunday in Port Clyde we reluctantly decided to turn around and begin the trip back to Somes Sound where Estelle will spend the winter. At either end of our cruise we leave destinations not yet reached... Roque Island at the eastern end and Monhegan Island at the western end. But they will be there next year.
We sat ashore on the dock of the Port Clyde General Store in the warm sunshine discussing plans with Seabird. Although the day was fine, the forecast was for the winds to turn to the north-east with cooler temperatures by Wednesday. So reluctantly (and not without a few tears shed), we parted company with Seabird. They continued west towards their home port, Woolwich, on the Kenebec River, while we turned eastward to begin our trip back to Mt Desert Island.
Dropping the mooring in late morning, we watched Seabird slip south into Muscongus Bay, while we headed out into Muscle Ridge Channel and up into Penobscot Bay. In the light breeze, we motored, sailed and motor-sailed as the winds came and went. By early evening we were off Pulpit Harbor where we have anchored many times, so we headed in. Although there were fewer boats than mid-summer, we were surprised to see as many as we found, including about a dozen cruising boats. We picked up a mooring belonging to friends and quickly hurried below as the evening began to cool down.
Monday morning the warm sun was back and after breakfast we dropped the mooring and picked up the fresh (and cool) southerly breeze blowing up Penobscott Bay. We sailed up to Castine, another favorite stop and picked up a guest mooring at the Castine Yacht Club. A quick call to The Pentagoet, an excellent inn and restaurant assured us of dinner. Then ashore we wandered about the historic town.
We have been here before and always enjoy walking the streets lined with historic homes dating back to before the American Revolution. Castine has been controlled by the French, English, Dutch and Americans in its colorful history, some holding it more than once. And there are plaques telling about the details of battles fought at various points in the town. It was from Castine that some United Empire Loyalists dismantled their homes and barged them up to St Andrews in what was then Nova Scotia (now New Brunswick). Castine has probably been preserved more by accident than intent, as its importance dwindled as shipping and travel by sea was replaced with road and rail, leaving it well off the main routes.
The Pentagoet Inn
Dinner at The Pentagoet was excellent, as usual, and we were back aboard for another quiet night. We run the heater every night to kept us warm.
Tuesday morning we motored out of Castine Harbor in the morning calm. By the time we were in Eggemoggen Reach, we felt the breeze filling in and began what would be our last sail for the season. Down the Reach, we flew across Jericho Bay, through York Passage, across Blue Hill Bay and into Mt Desert Island's Great Harbor, all familiar territory now. Sailing up into Somes Sound, we felt the breeze die as we ghosted up to the boatyard. Tied up for the night we quickly hurried below for the night. On Wednesday morning, I drove Jeannie in to the airport in Bangor. She flew to Montreal for a meeting, leaving me to clean out the boat for winter storage.
Since this is the first winter in three years for storage, it was quite a job to get everything out... a two day job, in fact. Its odd but things just seem to come aboard and none leave. By Friday morning, I had taken six large bags to the dumpster, two crates of food to the boatyard lunch room and had stuffed our car to overflowing, so that when we left, the boat was riding noticably higher and the car lower.
Even the boatyard crew said it was odd to see us coming out this time of year. But after last winter's trek, it's time for a break. In three years of cruising we have sailed over 11,000 nautical miles, and Estelle needs a rest and some recovery time, as do we. So we're all tucked in for winter and will be ashore until next summer when we plan to push our horizons further still. No more blogs until then, but I will be posting more photos as time permits.
09/06/2009, Port Clyde, Maine
Moonrise on Matinicus Island
On Wednesday we woke to yet another perfect late summer day anchored off McGlatherty's Island. After a rough start to the cruise, our weather has been ideal late summer weather. We had a leisurely breakfast in the cockpit then raised the anchor and motored out into Merchant Row where we sailed the short 5 miles to our destination, Isle Au Haut.
Named by Champlain (High Island), it is, next to Mount Desert Island, the largest and highest of the nearby offshore islands. It is about 6 miles long and two wide. About 2/3 of it is part of Acadia National Park, the rest privately owned by local fishermen and summer people. About 15 fishermen fish out of it. And as we picked up a mooring, we spotted the fishing boat "Mattie Belle" moored just ahead. It is owned by Linda Greenlaw, who has written a number of books on her experiences fishing lobster and swordfish. She was aboard, so Bruce and I dinghied over to see if we could buy some lobster and bought five 1.5 pounders for $20. Bruce fishes a few traps himself, so they complained about potential changes in regulations and recent flare-ups among fishermen over fishing grounds.
With dinner settled, we headed ashore. We hiked up to the top of Mt. Champlain, the highest hill on the island. Although its only 350' tall, the hike was rough, climbing over rocks and tree roots. From the top, we could see to the east the hills of Mt Desert Island, where we started our cruise. Looking north we looked out over the many islands making up Merchants Row across to Stonington. And to the west we could see across to the west side of Penobscott Bay and the hills of Camden. Back down, after a 1.5 hour hike, we were ready for our supper. So with some salads from the local store, we spent the evening aboard Seabird with more lobster!
Next morning we took the bikes ashore and headed south into the park to drive round the island, a distance of only 12 miles. But we were warned that the recent rains had washed out the dirt road to the extent that it was impassable in sections. So with the steep hills and rough sections, we had all the excercise we needed. By noon we were back at the wharf where we bought some fresh bread and cheese for a lunch in the warm sunshine.
After two nights, it was time to move on, so in the morning we went ashore for a short walk to The Chocolate Shop and bought a few treats. Then back aboard we dropped the mooring and headed south out into Isle Au Haut Bay, and across to Brimstone Island. This is a day stop only in settled weather, so we took the opportunity to anchor and climbed the small rocky island to its peak where we had lunch.
Anchored off Brimstone Island
After lunch, we headed off for Matinicus Island, about 12 miles further offshore. Matinicus is a remote island with about 50 year-round residents (lobster fishermen) and about 75 summer residents. There are no paved roads, no street signs and a school that has just five students, all boys. We again found the local bakery where we bought some bread and treats, then wandered the roads, managing to get lost on an island two miles long. Everyone we met on Isle Au Haut was extremely friendly. Our guide book warned us that on Matinicus the people were more reserved. And a few weeks ago a lobsterman is reported to have shot his son-in-law in a dispute over fishing grounds. We found them friendly but more reserved than Isle Au Haut. Back aboard the boat we settled in for the night, until we realized we had picked up a mooring next to the bait barge. Bait for the lobster traps consists of semi-rotten herring. Once we moved to a better location we were settled for the night.
Landing on Matinicus
Its time to think about time and when our cruise will end. The weather continues beautiful, but we know it won't last forever, and we will have to turn around soon. So on Saturday we left Matinicus heading for Port Clyde, our planned westernmost destination.
Leaving Matinicus, we circled the tiny Criehaven Harbor on Ragged Island, a mile south of Matinicus. Although attractive, there were no empty moorings and no room to anchor. We set out westerly in a light northerly breeze crossing the mouth of Penobscott Bay through yet more lobster pots. By noon the breeze left us drifting between pots eating lunch in the warm sun and watching a fisherman working his pots. Suddenly the fisherman rounded up heading straight for us. Starting the engine I couldn't get out of his path. Which ever way I turned, he turned. So I just sat in neutral as he rounded our stern and swung up beside us... with a gift of two large lobster for us!!! Tonight's dinner settled!
By early afternoon we we were heading in to Port Clyde where we picked up a mooring and went ashore for ice cream in the warm sun.
09/02/2009, McGlathertys Island Harbor, Maine
G&T on the rocks, McGlatherty's Island
Danny behaved much like Bill, lots of rain and a bit of wind, but nothing too threatening. Faced with another rainy weekend in Somesville, we dropped in to the boatyard and picked up our car to give us transportation. So Friday we did some touring and shopping.
We also contacted Anne Fredericks, a cruising friend working at the Bar Harbor hospital for the summer. We arranged to meet for lunch on Saturday and had a great reunion. Anne's partner, Jim Ewing, is on working their boat in Antigua and they'll be back cruising this winter. Outside the restaurant we all waved like fools in the cold driving rain at Bar Harbor's internet camera which Jim watched. Then a quick tour of the park and we managed to squander the day.
Lunch at Gaylenes. Ann is on the far left.
Sunday we started by cleaning a mess the cormorants had made of our decks during the storm (there must have been a dozen of them roosted on the spreaders for the night... what a stinky mess!!!) Then we dropped the mooring and ran down Somes Sound and out Great Harbor into the big swells left by Danny. By the time we crossed Bass Harbor Bar into Blue Hill, we were again in the sheltered waters of Blue Hill Bay. In light southerlies we drifted up the bay, running through the scenic Pretty Marsh Harbor and Bartlett Narrows. Then reaching across the southern tip of Newbury Neck and the north end of Long Island we drifted in to Blue Hill Harbor where we picked up a mooring from the Kollegewidgwok Yacht Club (just called KYC by most).
Blue Hill Harbor is another beautiful small Maine coastal town. In the morning we dinghied in to the town dock and bought a few things, including a footstool for home, and some more food and wine and a great lunch from the local cafe and bakery. Then back to the boat as the dinghy dock dries out at half tide. We took the bikes for a ride and realized that Blue Hill is much more hilly than we recalled. We biked around for the afternoon and were reminded of muscled that had not been heard from for some time! Tuesday we woke to another beautiful morning and had breakfast in the cockpit before dropping the mooring and heading down Blue Hill Bay. In the flat calm of the morning we motored until we reached the bottom of the bay where it enters into Jericho Bay. Here the sea breeze filled in and we tacked down the bay between lobster fishermen, who always have a wave for you, and the many rocky ledges in the bay. At the bottom we tacked in to Merchants Row Thoroughfare, a passage between the many islands making up Merchants Row. Dropping our sails off McGlathertys Island, we motored in to a favorite anchorage which we were surprised to find empty! Seabird followed us in and soon we were both snug with the anchors well set. Ashore we followed a path across the island and found 9 boats anchored on the other, much more open anchorage. But our cozy anchorage remained uncrowded.
The hike across the island is through the scrub spruce woods and across the barren granite outcroppings that the island is covered with. Wandering through the woods we found a lonely gravestone, the final resting place of Catherine and Peter H Eaton. They died in the 1860's and were probably the island's last permanent residents.
All that remains is the tombstone and the granite bases of what was once a fence surrounding the tiny grave site. It must have been a difficult and lonely life here. Many of the small islands were at one time occupied, but today only a few have year round residents as succeeding generations left for the mainlad where life was not so hard and isolated.
Returning to the beach, we decided to have drinks and a snack on shore, so sat watching the sun slowly set as we sat on the warm granite rocks ringing the tiny sandy beach... a beautiful ending to the day!
Today we woke to another beautiful day, breakfast in the cockpit finishing off reading The Sunday Times. Then we're off to Isle Au Haut, one of the islands still with year round residents.
Anchored at McGlathertys Island
08/28/2009, Somesville Hbr, Mt Desert Island, Maine
Estelle entering Mistake Harbor
Well, we're back on MDI, having scampered back from the downeast when Danny started to show his colors.
We woke on Wednesday morning in Misake Harbor to a thick fog, so spent the morning reading and doing a few chores. By late morning it had cleared ff into a beautiful day, so we raised the anchor and set off across Eastern Bay to The Mud Hole, another highly rated anchorage. The instructions for entry are lengthy and a bit intimidating, so we were cautious about entry. In the middle of the entry is a 2' spot, meaning that we need about 4' of tide to make it in. To be safe we waited for six feet and edged our way in. The entrance is really about 30' wide in total, but 25' of it is blocked by a ledge that covers at high, so we had to edge by the ledge. Doing it at half tide means you can still see the ledge. That makes it a bit easier. So in the flat calm waters we slowly drifted by the ledge close to our starboard side with the rocky shore close by the port side. Once inside it opened up into a pool about 100' across where we dropped anchor. Alhough it would be possible to leave at high tide, the ledge being invisible would make me uncomfortable. And once the tide falls below 4' there is not enough water, so once in, you're there until the next tide. Seabird came in too and just behind us a small motor boat came in just about filling the anchorage. It is a remote spot with no houses or other signs of life. We had lunch in the cockpit and listened to the weather only to hear about Hurricane Danny, forecast to land about 30 miles west of us! Oh well, we'll think about it.
Estelle entering The Mud Hole
Great Wass Island is owned by the Maine Nature Trust, and they have cut trails that we walked for most of the afternoon. Walking back towards the anchorage we saw the three boats we left in Mistake Island Harbor heading for our anchorage. So when we got back to the anchorage we found it quite crowded. But with the forecast for a calm night, it wasn't a problem.
In the evening we discussed the weather and our options with Seabird and reluctantly concluded that we should travel westward to put some space between us and Danny's forecast landfall. It was disappointing as we really enjoyed the area and had lots more to see.
At 6:30 am we were off. We left early for two reasons. First, we wanted to get back to MDI and get settled as there can be some competition for the best spots, and second because the tide was falling and if we left it much later, we'd be stuck in due to low water.
Back out on the ocean, we fled down the shore, aided by the strong tidal current from the Bay of Fundy. We were back at MDI in early afternoon and a call to the Northeast Harbor Harbormaster told us al their moorings were full. We weren't surprised as we coud hear the constant traffic on the VHF from people heading in looking for space. So we headed back up Somes Sound for a second rainy windy weekend. We were settled in mid afternoon.
Estelle anchored in Somesville, hiding from Tropical Storm Danny
This morning, we took the dinghy down to the boatyard, about two miles down the Sound and picked up our car. With it we were able to spend the day (bright sunny, light southerly winds!) doing laundry, grocery shopping and wandering around. Tomorrow we will probably be facing a wet windy day, but not the hurricane originally predicted. Danny is now expected to be downgraded to a Tropical Storm before he brushes by about 100 miles to the south.