The Voyage of S/V Estelle

Estelle is moving west!!! Beginning in 2017, Estelle will be cruising BC and Alaska.

10 October 2016
17 August 2016 | John Williams Boatyard, Hall Quarry, Mt Desert Is.
11 August 2016 | Wooden Boat School anchorage, Eggemoggin Reach
09 August 2016 | McGlatherties Island
08 August 2016 | Castine, Maine
07 August 2016 | Bucks Harbor
06 August 2016 | Castine, Me
05 August 2016 | Cradle Cove
28 July 2016 | Boothbay Harbor
22 September 2015 | Somes Sound, Mt Desert Island, Maine
15 September 2015
25 July 2015 | Oromocto, NB
22 July 2015 | Cambridge Narrows, Saint John River
15 June 2015 | Somes Sound, Mt Desert Island, Maine
01 June 2015 | Cuttyhunk, Mass
31 May 2015 | Portsmouth Va
19 April 2015 | Whistler BC
30 November 2014 | Charleston City Boatyard
19 November 2014 | Hazzard Marina, Georgetown, SC

Where is Estelle???

10 October 2016
Whistler... rain/snow
Well, she left Maine on Oct 4th...
And with no trouble made it across the border to Niagara-on-the-Lake where the truck had a breakdown. Fortunately, the breakdown was with the truck, not the trailer, but none the less, Estelle is patiently waiting to proceed. But it may have been just a fortunate timing as her route is across the Canadian prairie provinces where they have had 40 cm (13") of snow. She is due to depart tomorrow (Oct 11) and the forecast for the prairies looks like a return to warmer weather. Arrival is now scheduled for Vancouver on Friday, but the BC forecast for later in the week doesn't look good... more delays??? We'll see.

End of a Chapter

17 August 2016 | John Williams Boatyard, Hall Quarry, Mt Desert Is.
Cloudy with showers (finally!)
But not the end of the book!

Somesville Harbor Aug 11th

Well, no cruise to Maine is complete without fog, and we found it this morning. Anchored in the mooring field of the Wooden Boat School, less than 200 yds from shore, I woke with no idea which way was which. The dock we dinghied to for dinner was invisible just 400 yds away. And the cool fog created an uncomfortable dampness, but the Espar quickly dried things out.
To wait out the fog, we went ashore again, wandering the area, inspecting the classes in progress, including traditional dinghy construction, wood sculpture, metalworking, ladies sailing, and a couple of others... a busy spot!
By 1130 hrs the fog began to clear and we got underway, following the windjammer Elizabeth Anne out the harbor. Across Jericho Bay we dropped the anchor in Buckle Harbor for lunch and a final hike around the island; a favorite stop. Then in the afternoon, off to Somesville for the last night of the cruise, a beautiful evening in a beautiful setting.

John Williams Boatyard Aug 12th

We motored the short distance to the yard where we discussed a few items on the maintenance list, then the job of unloading.
In addition to the usual jobs, we unloaded three large boxes of cruising guides and charts related to cruising the US East Coast, the Bahamas and the western Caribbean. Time to move to a new chapter in sailing... the West Coast! Plans are to ship the boat to Vancouver in September for cruising the BC coast. Lots of details to work out yet. But in the mean time, off to PEI for the balance of the summer!

And I have posted a bunch more pictures in the gallery.

More Fine Dining

11 August 2016 | Wooden Boat School anchorage, Eggemoggin Reach
What else??? Beautiful!
The anchorage at McGlatherties is formed by a small gap between McGlatherties and nearby Round Island. In another sunny morning, we decided to hike around Round Island. As it was low tide, we hoped to be able to make it by walking the rocky shore. Only 1/2 mile in diameter, it was not a long hike, but it was a strenuous one. In places we had to bushwack our way for short distances through the woods, in other areas, wade through seaweed. But we made it!
After a slow start to the day and our hike complete, it was noon, so we had lunch before heading off for our last stop, the Wooden Boat School. Our primary interest was not the school, although it is interesting. Our primary reason was to have dinner at the nearby Brooklyn Inn.
Because it is 5 miles away from the school, they will pick up boaters for dinner. So at 1745 hrs, we were heading down the road, driven by the wife of the owner. We wondered about our return ride as she announced they were eating at the restaurant also, entertaining friends. But we settled in.
If you have seen any of the Faulty Towers shows, you will understand when we thought we had just been seated in Faulty Towers. The owner seated us with a flourish, took our drink orders and disappeared... for 45 minutes, only to return with a bottle of wine for himself and his guests. The one waitress was quickly overwhelmed by the stream of arriving customers.
After she finally retrieved our drinks and took our orders, we settled in. Appetizers, cucumber soup and roasted Caesar salad, arrived in due course, both excellent. Dinners arrived, pan roasted halibut with mushroom risotto and glazed carrots... but no wine. After 10 minutes, I finally sought out our harried waitress who apologized and produced the wine. Meanwhile the owners sat oblivious to the chaos and obviously unhappy customers, all waiting for something or other. At one point the waitress had to chase the chef back into the kitchen as he was enjoying talking to all the waiting customers. But the food was excellent and we were able to just sit back and enjoy the chaotic scene. Ready to head back to the boat (5 miles away), our driver was just tucking in to her dinner. I spoke to the waitress who rolled her eyes and told the busboy to drive us. A great evening!

Merchant's Row

09 August 2016 | McGlatherties Island
Sunny, warm... again!
We couldn't leave Castine without one more trip ashore. First stop for a New York Times. With the bizzare election underway, reading is entertaining. Then a stop at a small cafe for breakfast.. excellent tortilla wraps and coffee! Then we were off... out onto the glassy waters of Penobscott Bay. We motored down until noon when we anchored for lunch in the midst of the beautiful Barred Islands. With lunch over, the wind finally filled in and we set sail for McGlatherty's Island, another favorite stop. We romped down East Penobscott Bay close hauled in 15 knots, bearing off to run into Merchants Row and finally dropping the sails in the calm of the anchorage. Another beautiful sail.
Settled in, we took the dinghy ashore for a hike. McGlatherties, like many other protected islands has grown over with trees so dense that hiking is only possible on a few informal but well-walked paths. So we followed one across the island where we found another group of boats anchored in another of the many protected anchorages of Merchants Row. Back aboud, Chicken Fajitas for dinner with salads. Then another quiet night.

Fine Dining in Castine

08 August 2016 | Castine, Maine
More sun!
Holbrook Harbor Aug 7th

Another walk up to the Bucks Harbor grocery store for a last re-supplying (New York Times) and we were ready to cast off.
But I would be remiss if I failed to mention the changes at Bucks Harbor Marine. It has been sold. And the new owners are a delightful young couple with three children and a dog. And with the oldest girl (maybe 12) taking her job seriously, she took our payment for the mooring and sundries, pleasantly and competently. A very pleasant family. We wish them a great success!
So we cast off after a night of dead calm, and drifted out into the top of Eggemoggin Reach. All around us were wooden boats underway from the wooden boat festival just completed. In light airs we drifted out of the Reach into Penobscott bay where the winds finally filled in. With a nice fresh north-westerly we made our way up and into Holbrook Harbor. Anchored, we had lunch and headed ashore to Holbrook Island, another state owned preserve. We walked the paths for the afternoon, seeking the shade of the woods to escape the heat until we had to head back to the boat for water and a break. One more short hike (we covered perhaps 10% of the area) and the day was done.Another quiet night, in spite of another forecast for strong winds.

Castine Aug 8th

We had planned to visit Castine as one of the highlights of our cruise. But Castine harbor has to be treated with care. Completly open to the west and with currents up to 5 knots, it is no place for a quiet night if the winds are opposing the current. So we were really pleased to see the forecast for light southerlies and picked up a mooring at the friendly Castine Yacht Club.
We like Castine for two reasons. First it is a beautiful town with an amazing history. Between the Dutch, French, British and Americans (not to mention the Indians) it changed hands seven times before finally becoming a part of the US. But it took until 1816 before tht happened. And all around the town are placards detailing battles and other historic events. And with the well maintained architecture of the homes, it is beautiful. One site denotes where two settlers, captured by the indians and re-captured after an escape attempt were bound, forced to eat their own noses and ears, then burned to death. Very interesting!
But the other reason for the stop was to have dinner at the Pentagoet Hotel, one of the best historic hotels in Maine. Dinner in the warm evening air was perfect. Starters were cold cucumber soup and capri salad, followed by scallops and braised short ribs. And followed by a bluberry grunt. Luckily the path back to the boat was downhill!

Weathering summer storms

07 August 2016 | Bucks Harbor
Sunny, temp low 80's, wind light southerlies
Bucks Harbor Marine

The forecast for the day was for strong southerlies in the morning and strong lightning squalls in the afternoon with winds of 20-30 knots plus higher gusts in the night. So we were underway early... or earlier than usual, headed for a well-protected anchorage.
Since we had to head south for five miles before turning north for our destination, Bucks Harbor, we wanted to make our south before the wind got up. We were certainly successful. Bearing off between Kasell and Saddle Is, we set the sails and headed north-east for Bucks Harbor, about 15 miles away. By noon we were drifting under sunny skies in light winds, a perfect summer day. But the forecast continued to sound ominous, so we reluctantly headed in to Bucks Harbor where we picked up a mooring from Bucks Harbor Marine in mid-afternoon.
Then the weather changed. The sky darkened, rain began to sprinkle... then the sun came back out, and that was it! So we went ashore, checked in and went for a walk. As is customary when we are in Bucks Harbor, we headed for the grocery store. Bucks Harbor's summer population is probably about 100 and in winter much less. But the grocery store and restaurant are both amazing. Re-supplied with essentials such as morbier and talleggio cheese and some nice wines, we strolled down to the yacht club, sat in the shade of the deck, watching the harbor activity and chatting with the friendly members.
Back aboard, a quiet night. Not sure what happened to the weather.
Bucks Harbor Yacht Club

Just Cruising

06 August 2016 | Castine, Me
Sunny, hot, winds NW15-20
Hiking on Isle au Haut

Swan Island July 30th
With no real plan for the day, it was a slow start, By the time we got organized, we decided to do a laundry and go for a walk. So it was late morning when we were heading back to the boat.
Next to us was a Bristol 41.1, the same as ours, except a center cockpit model. So... we had to stop for a chat. Two hours later, after we had toured theirs, and they ours, we dropped the mooring and headed out into the ever light winds of Casco Bay.
Our first stop was Great Chebeague Island, one of the many islands in Casco Bay. With a population of 400 in the winter and 4000 in summer, it is a step back in time, where children and dogs run free, and cars (who may or may not have a licence plate) slowly pass you with a wave of the hand. Speed limit, 25 MPH.
We toured the Great Chebeague Inn and thought about staying for dinner, but decided to move on. So, out past Robert Perry's former summer home, Eagle Island, and we headed up Quahog Bay to Swan Island where we dropped the anchor in glassy still waters for the night. Only the hissing of BBQ lamb chops and corn broke the stillness, soon quenched with a red zinfandel.

Sebasco Harbor Resort July 31st
In the morning we were off at our usual 1000 hrs. The objective for the day was twofold; first a hike on Merritt Island, and a stop for the night at Sebasco Resort. Merritt Island, about 6 miles up the New Meadows River is owned by Bowdin College. We had not heard about it, but just happened to read about it in an article on cruising Maine in a magazine we picked up just the day before.
Merritt is one of over 200 islands that are publicly owned on the Maine coast. It has a loop trail around its half mile length, but no landing. Limited camping is permitted, but there were none there on our visit. So we chugged in the dinghy into a muddy indent where we squished ashore for a nice walk.
By the time we returned, the dinghy was well stranded by the falling tide, leaving us with a mucky struggle before we were floating again. But a nice walk.

Back aboard, we drifted down the river to Sebasco Harbor where we picked up a mooring at the Sebasco Harbor Resort for the night. Ashore we walked through the family-centered resort with its golf, tennis, salt water pool (heated) and many activities aimed at children. In the harbor, there were six visitors like us, and three of them had three generations of family aboard each. We sat on the restaurant patio and watched the sun set across the tiny harbor.

The Oven Mouth Aug 1st
After topping off our water tanks at the resort's dock, we motored out into the western reaches of Casco Bay and down the coast and around Cape Small. Along the coast we passed Seguin Island and into the mouth of the Sheepscoot River. The day was cloudy and flat calm, so we just chugged along and by noon were off Five Islands Harbor. Inside the tiny harbor the Five Island Yacht Club maintains three guest moorings, one of which we picked up. In spite of having cruised for 5 days since we left Day's Ferry, we were still only 10 miles from Bruce & Nancy's so we called them and arranged to meet for one last lunch at the restaurant on the wharf. We had a lazy lunch in the warm clearing skies. It was mid-afternoon by the time we cast off and headed out and up the river again.
Our destination was only 5 miles away, and in the outgoing current, we were moving slowly, but that was no problem. Our destination for the night, the Oven Mouth, requires passing through a very narrow gap that can have currents running up to six knots, so we were trying to time our approach for slack current. As we edged our way towards the cut, we were surprised to learn that we were successful! We ghosted through and into the anchorage, glassy calm water in a pool about 300 yds across. We watched one person digging clams on the flats and a couple swimming (breifly) in the cold water. Then as evening came, we had our first rain in two weeks. Dinner below for the first time on the cruise was crab stuffed sole with fresh vegetables... and a cold wine!

Ebencook Harbor Aug 2nd
By morning the sun had returned, drying out the cockpit to allow us to enjoy our fruit, granola and yogurt in the warming day. Looking at the narrow entrance, with the strong incoming current, it was clear we were there for a few hours. So, after coffee and finishing the papers from yesterday, we set off to explore the neighborhood.
With another small park abutting our anchorage, we took the dinghy and made a better landing than our Merritt Island landing. Another beautiful park with trails following the anchorge, and we were back at the dinghy an hour later, just in time for slack water and our exit.
Following the river upstream for another five miles, we rounded Davis Island Point into the Wiscassett anchorage, where we recognised Demi Tasse, a motor-sailer belonging to Corning and Tita Tounsend, who we met in Lake Worth a number of years ago. With no signs of life and no response to our hails, we carried on to pick up a mooring from the Wiscassett Yacht Club, and headed ashore for lunch and a tour.
Wiscassett is a beautiful village whose heyday harkens back to the days of sail and ship building. But it is enjoying a renaissance as a very popular tourism center. It is tiny, but busy, creating excellent traffic jams on Hwy 1 which runs through its center. Among its best restaurants, we headed for le Garage where we had an excellent lunch of crab infused mac & cheese and ceaser salad.
Then to the wine shop where we found not just a few nice wines to replish the larder, but supper as well.
So back aboard, we shot down the river at twice the speed we came up, aided by ite strong currents. Winding our way into Ebencook Harbor, we drifted quietly into Love Cove, a favorite stop.
Dinner in the still warm evening was ham, mushroom and cheesequiche and salads followed by raspberry/peach pie with whipped cream, all fresh from Wiscassett.

Port Clyde Aug 3-4

Project number 2 for the day wa timing our arrival at the Southport bridge, spanning the narrow Townsend Gut. It opens only every half hour, is narrow, with strong currents and strewn with lobster pots trying to snag your rudder, or worse, your propeller.
But Project number 1 was breakfast, another Wiscesett purchase, a nice buttermilk pancake mix. Short on breakfast essentials, this blended well with our last egg and the last of the milk and ham to produce another beautiful breakfast in the still calm of the morning.
At 1000 hrs we dropped the very welcoming guest mooring (one of three) and motored up into Townsend Gut. And we timed it well, arriving at the bridge with only 3 minutes of maneuvering to keep our position and avoid drifting over a lobster pot.
Through the bridge, we motored out the Gut and raised the sails for a beautiful day of sailing in 10-15 knot southerlies across Muscongous Bay and into Port Clyde, where we picked up a mooring for two nights. Ashore, we checked in at the Port Clyde General Store, a true general store with everything from engine oil next to the wine and meat next to the fishing gear.
Port Clyde is far from our favorite stop. Open to the south, in any significant wind, a swell runs through, and with a strong tidal current it can mean an uncomfortable night with the boat fighting the wind and tide. But we were there for a reason... Jeannie's bucket list.
It contained a visit to Monhegan Island, and of all the options to visit, taking a ferry for a day trip from Port Clyde was the best. So we lined up for the 1030 hrs ferry, tickets in hand (a full load) and joined 150 or so other tourists headed out. We had talked about going out on Estelle, but everything we read discouraged us... a rolly harbor, rocky bottem and no moorings. And it turns out we made the right choice. We saw a couple of cruisers hanging on as they pitched and rolled on one of the few moorings. We watched one boat try 4 times to grab a mooring in the huge swells (in light winds) only to turn and leave, a sail of 25 miles for nothing.
View of Monhegan from the top of the lighthouse
Monhegan has a history as an artist's colony, with some bery well respected works coming from the islad. Today, it is even more so an artist's colony,,, there are more of them than seagills, scattered all over the island. It must be the most painted corner of the earth! As we landed, it seemed as if the visitors were just overwhelming the small island. But after a 10 inute walk to the lighthouse/museum, the throngs disappeared. We spent a very enjoyable hour learning about the history of the island, not just from the museum displays, but also from the volunteer attendant, a lifelong summer resident. The island has a winter population of 50 and a summer population of about 400.
By the time w3 left the museum, we were anxious to find a lunch stop as it was mid-afternoon. And we were happy to settle in at the Fish House, a no-nonsense take out on the beach. With one order of fish tacos and one crab roll we were well satisfied, and at a pleasently surprising price!
So off for a short hike, as our return trip at 1630 hrs was fast approaching. And again, after 10 minutes, we were alone, crowds fell away and we hiked a few of the many trails covering the island. Matinicus is a curious mixture of very touristy, very pretty and lots of beautiful hikes.
Back aboard the Elizabeth Anne, we sat, relaxed after a wonderful day... highly enjoyable and highly recommended!

Cradle Cove/Dark Hbr Boatyard Aug 5th

We have been listening to the weather forecast, and planning our next few days accordingly. The forecast for today was southerlies 5-10 growing to 15-20 with gusts to 25 by evening. Then tomorrow strong southerlies, 20-25 and severe thunderstorms in the evening. So...time to play hide the boat!
But having anchored, we went ashore and streched our legs. Seven Hundred Acre Island, home to the boatyard is a quiet island in the middle of Penobscott Bay, with no permenant residents and only a few summer ones. We walked the only road, a rough gravel affair and in one hour met only two vehicles, one off road and one small motor bike, both with drivers well short of the legal age. But that's summer life on these islands, a great way to grow up!

More Cruising

05 August 2016 | Cradle Cove
Sunny, Temp 77F, Wind S@12-15 (20)
Joanne with a crab roll, Southwest Hbr, Maine

Day's Ferry July 24-26th

Estelle moored at Day's Ferry

In light westerlies, we sailed out Boothbay Harbor, down the coast of Southport Island and rounded Cape Newgan, and crossed the mouth of the Sheepscott River. Across the Sheepscott, we sailed in the mouth of the Kenebec River where we furled our sails and began to motor up the river 14 miles to Days Ferry. The Kenebec is known for two things... strong currents and Bath Iron Works, a naval shipyard. We had been careful to time our arrival to coincide with the incoming currents, and shot up aided by a following current of up to 3 knots. As Bath came into view, we saw the shipyard with four ships in various stages of completion, two of which are, according to our friend Bruce Montgomery, the latest in the US Navy's attempts at stealth technology. But we didn't get too close as thete are two guard boats in constant motion off the yard, warding off the curious like us.
After a couple of calls to the railway bridge, we were through and continued up to Day's Ferry where we were met by the smiling faces of Bruce and Nancy, directing us to their empty mooring. We cruised with Bruce and Nancy for a number of years, covering the Bahamas, and the Western Caribbean, and had lots to talk about, including reminiscing about good times. We also took full advantage of the opportunity to re-stock, as we had pretty much emptied the larder. A late afternoon "cocktail cruise" up the further reaches of the Kenebec was beautiful.
Cocktails at Swan Island, Upper Kenebec River

Next day, after re-stocking, we went "lobstering". Bruce holds a license and fishes a few traps. So we ran down the river, through the Sasanoa River into Hockmock Bay and hauled the traps for an excellent dinner.

Hauling Traps

Dinner is served!

The Basin July 27th
After three nights of wonderful hospitality, we were off down the river, taking full advantage of the 3 knot falling tide. So after our usual slow start to the day, we were rushing past Popham Beach, crowded with swimmers and being squirted out the mouth of the Kenebec just at noon. In the lighr south-westerlies, we tacked down the coast, rounded Cape Small and headed up the New Meadows River and into the always beautiful anchorage of The Basin. The Basin is a unique spot, even for Maine... it has an entrance that closes to 150 feet, then requires a sharp left turn, opening into a "lake" about one mile in diameter. And not just a hurricane hole, it is a beautifully remote anchorage in mid-Maine where there are no more than a few other boats sharing its quiet beauty with you,
Safely anchored, we took off to find a spot for Jeannie to swim. At Day's Ferry, with the Kenebec's headwaters sweeping down from the shallow ponds, the water was 80F. Here in The Basin, close to the ocean, the temperature was closer to 60F. So, when we found a spot, her dip was quick. I was content to just cool my feet. Back aboard, we settled in to a quiet evening and grilled the best swordfish we have ever tasted.

South Freeport July 28-29
From the Basin, we headed out into yet more light southerlies. Motoring out the river to clear the outlying shoals, we hoisted the sails and drifted slowly into the well protected harbor of South Freeport.
Picking up a mooring, we made contact with Jeanie's cousin Patricia Bullis and arranged to meet the next day.
A walk ashore and it was time for dinner... tenderloin, medium rare, grilled on our excellent Dickenson BBQ. Over the years we have had a few BBQ's on the boat. Our Force 10 worked well until it just burned out. And since the company went out of business, we moved to a Magma. But it was a mess. In light winds it was so hot that everything burned. And if the winds were over 5 knots, it just went out. But the Dickenson is the best yet! If you want hot, turn it up; low, turn it to low! So now we cook just about everything, including corn, on it.

In the morning we went for a walk in South Freeport. It is a quiet community with beautifully maintained houses dating back to its halcyon days as a shipbuilding center. But today it is just a quiet suburb of Portland, just a few miles away.
At noon we met Patricia and her daughter Eliza, who took us to lunch and a tour of the area. And as we were in the area, we took the opportunity to visit the outlet capital of USA, Freeport. But we escaped without too much damage, and Patricia found a few things for Eliza's wedding, just a week away.
Vessel Name: Estelle
Vessel Make/Model: Bristol 41.1
Hailing Port: Charlottetown, PEI
Crew: Jeannie & Jim Lea
About: Flag Counter
Extra: After cruising the east coast of North America for 10 years, from Nova Scotia to Panama, it's time for a change. Estelle will be cruising the coast of British Columbia and Alaska beginning in 2017.
Estelle's Photos - Crooked Island
Photos 1 to 33 of 33 | The Voyage of S/V Estelle (Main)
Anchoring with Bruce
Anchor nor holding. Bruce checking the bottom with the "lookie bucket".
Sunset, Landrail Point
Checking the holding
This friendly dog quietly escorted us through the village.
Photo of Bird Island Lighthouse during a hurricane
Helicopter landing on Bird Island.
Beach with Bruce, Nancy and Jim from top of lighthouse. Photo by Jeannie.
Waves breaking on the reef, from lighthouse.
SJL at the lighthouse entrance
Lighthouse step detail
Sherika Wright, Librarian
Strict dicipline
Sjorelone scene
Marina Gibson and Jeannie
Greathouse remains
Bruce digging for treasure in the fireplace hearth. Apparently this was a commo place to hide valuables. No luck.
Nancy & Jeannie.
SJL sitting on the remains of the gatehouse.
Crumbling Great House
Crumbling Great House
Estelle and Seabird at anchor, Landrail Point.
Welcome sign at the small boat basin (marina).
Boat basin, Landrail Point.
Bruce atop the ruins of the Gate House.