Camden to Christmas Cove
06 September 2007 | Camden
Camden is a lovely little New England town on Penobscot Bay. We have a great memory of visiting here on a camping trip one summer when our car caught fire, Alex broke out in measles and we celebrated Mary Beth's birthday with a candle in a piece of delicious chocolate cake while we waited for the car to be fixed. Fortunately there were no "incidents" during our stay this time.
Like so many of the towns we visit in Maine, the harbour is filled with mooring balls and there is little or no space to anchor. That makes us a bit cranky from time to time since our anchor would hold perfectly well in most of these areas and if we are not getting power or water and the holding is good, there are no particular benefits to a ball. However, it seems to be a revenue stream for many individuals, municipalities and businesses. The rental varies from $20 to $30, and in beautiful little Five Islands, they are free for the first 2 nights courtesy of the Five Islands Yacht Club.
In Camden, Wayfarer Marine owns the balls for transient boats, and while we would have preferred to keep the $30.00 in our pockets, we were impressed by this facility. They offer launch service to and from the marina and the town dock across the small harbour. The shower/laundry/lounge area is spotless and the staff is most helpful. We spent some time gazing at the magnificent yachts tied up on the dock and being hauled out for end of summer maintenance.
It took us about 3 hours to sail across to Camden from Pulpit Harbour. The first part was fast; the second part - tacking against the wind - was slower. We took advantage of a short sail day to try out different combinations of sail again, and as we entered the harbour we checked in with the Wayfarer dockmaster who assigned us a mooring. Once the essential chores of laundry and the showers were taken care of, we explored the town a bit. We admired the beautiful wares in the shops and purchased fresh bread, plump chicken and colourful produce at the local market.
We had decided to make a long day of it on Thursday so we were up early to get diesel, water and a pumpout when the marina opened at 7. It was calm and cool - one of these days we'll get a thermometer so we know just how cool it really is. It's definitely sweater weather in the mornings and evenings, and often gets quite warm on land during the day. The wind never did get as strong as we expected, but we needed to go straight into it for the first part of the day and then we took some curvy little trips inside islands so the motor was on for all except the last 2 hours of an 8-hour trip to Christmas Cove.
When we passed Old Hump Ledge a bald eagle was sitting atop the highest rock, and on Eastern Egg Island where we hoped to spot some of the puffins that have been reintroduced, we saw another eagle - but no puffins.
Christmas Cove is an interesting little place. We took a walk along the road in the evening and discovered many large and beautiful homes in the area. They have the look of summer homes - many of them unlit after dark this time of year - and they have fabulous views of the water while being tucked away among trees and shrubs on the road side. I can picture generations of family members coming here for the summers. All the Maine coast that we have seen so far has had pockets of houses like that, and I recently read that 30 and 40 rooms in some of these "cottages" is not uncommon.
We fly a big Canadian flag off the backstay of our boat, and it was fun to see it flying straight out as we looked out across the bay. It was even more enjoyable to see two other red maple leaves - Island Song II from Barachois, NS with Patricia and Colin on board, and Strathspey with our sailing partners Mary and Blair. We haven't seen very many Canadian boats down here, although I expect that will change once we get a little further south and we encounter the boats that come down the canal from Lake Ontario.
As I wrote this in Christmas Cove - on a mooring ball again - the wind was howling through our rigging and we were rocking and rolling. Jim decided he was grateful for the mooring because there would be no middle of the night anchor checks to do!