03 September 2007 | Frenchboro, Maine
We have had a fabulous couple of days of sailing! It feels like we've been explorers and adventurers - but now we are sailors again.
Jim and I spent two days in Northeast Harbour, enjoying the atmosphere and the sights of this pretty place. The harbour is filled with mooring balls - we were at town ball 359 - and beautiful yachts are moored right alongside fishing boats. The shops in town are geared mostly to the summer crowd, and indeed, Jack (who sells the most wonderful blueberry pies and breads and cookies from his truck opposite the Pine Tree Store) says that by today one would be able to lie down in the middle of the street and not have to move for quite some time.
We climbed the winding path up to Asticou Terraces and Thuya Gardens and had a most wonderful time absorbing the beauty and peacefulness of the garden, as well as learning about Mr. Curtis who left such a legacy to the people of the area, and Mr. Savage, who developed it over the years into the place it is now. It is well worth a visit.
On a sunny Saturday morning we headed out into the lobster field again, put up our sails and sailed all the way to Somesville at the head of Somes Sound. Somes Sound is described as a fjord with soaring mountains and deep water - and I suppose it is - but after having traveling in the Saguenay, it pales in comparison. Nonetheless, it was a pretty place and even though the wind was on our nose yet again, we were able to tack back and forth all the way up. We dodged lobster buoys and even managed to avoid getting ourselves into the middle of a group of boats racing toward us with their colourful spinnakers billowing out ahead of them. Sailing among the buoys is MUCH more comfortable than motoring among them. The engine is off - the propeller blades are not turning and there is far less chance for misadventure. By the time we dropped our anchor, we felt like we had really done some sailing. Our arms were tired from the frequent hauling of sails, our cheeks were rosy from the wind in our faces, and our spirits were high.
Several more yachts arrived during the evening - we figure one of them had to be 75 or 80 feet. The two masts soared far into the sky and were lit up at night like spires, and the two crewmembers were busy cleaning and wiping and ferrying guests back and forth. As Jim said - "Just think - two very different boats, and we both have the same view."
Strathspey arrived on Sunday morning and we rafted together long enough to share a pot of tea as we consulted the guidebooks and charts and made decisions about where to go and what to do next. We are always finding the compromise between traveling southward and exploring the area. This is supposed to be some of the best sailing in Maine and we don't want to leave it too quickly.
On Blair's recommendation, we headed for Frenchboro on Long Island. It was one of the best decisions of the trip! We hoisted the mainsail, motor sailed back down Somes Sound, coasted around Southwest Harbour and gawked at the magnificent boats moored outside the Hinkley boatyard. We put out our staysail as we got into open water and had a glorious sail past Great Cranberry Island, Gott Island, Drum Island and onward to Long Island.
We pulled into tiny, remote-feeling Frenchboro after a very fine 3-hour sail. This is so very picturesque with small well-kept houses lining the road, fish sheds on wharfs, and a horseshoe shaped road that runs along both sides of the harbour. The Strathspey dinghy carried us all ashore to explore, and as we passed a fisherman on the dock, Mary had the bright idea to see if he had any lobster for sale. He did, and we bought it! That was a brilliant decision, since the man we spotted was David Lunt, written up in our guidebook as the man who runs Lunt and Lunt, and closes down sharp at noon on the Saturday of Labour Day weekend so his workers can enjoy a well deserved party in Ellsworth. We picked out our lobsters - $6.00 a pound for softshell - brought them back to Madcap and after a leisurely stroll around the bay, we prepared our repast.
I had brought a big seafood pot with me for just such an occasion, so the feast was held on Madcap. Mary made delicious scones and mouthwatering chocolate chip cookies. I roasted potatoes and steamed the lobsters. The wine was poured and we enjoyed a perfect evening savouring the sweet meat and toasting to our incredible good fortune in being able to be here.
This morning, we dinghied to the end of the harbour, climbed up many stairs (low tide) and walked up the hill to the library. This is one of the most delightful discoveries - it is open 24 hours a day. In an airy pine walled room are shelves and shelves of books - and not raggedy old ones either - comfy beanbag chairs, rocking chairs, a big pine table in the middle of the room, computer and wireless internet access - everything a library should be, and open all the time to everyone. Just imagine! Through the big windows I can see the evergreen trees swaying gently in the wind and the sun streaming down. Jim sits beside me answering e-mail as I send this post, and I feel like I am sitting in the middle of something that is just right!
We'll be off in another hour to Merchant's Harbour as we make our way to Penobscot Bay. I hope all of you who read this can find yourselves in the middle of something just right today too!