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Madcap Sailing
Heading Across the Gulf
Beth - 18 this morning; warmer this aft
05/08/2008/4:30 pm, Frenchboro, Maine

We had a glorious sail today from Southwest Cove on Merchant Island to Frenchboro on Long Island.

The sun came out, the air was fresh and the sails full. After a delicious lobster lunch on Lunt's wharf, we walked up to the library and checked the weather sites and made a decision.

There is still red around NS on the graphic but the wind is supposed to drop overnight. We expect that means that the red will be gone by tomorrow. Everything looks workable - reasonable winds - reasonable seas - no fog.

We'll catch a nap and head out of here tonight, arriving late tomorrow afternoon.

Stay tuned!

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Mother Nature Plays Games
Beth - 17 and overcast mornings, 23 and sunny afternoons
04/08/2008/10:56 am, Camden, Maine

We started off under overcast skies - headed for Camden. That's where we ended up but only after a whole range of weather conditions.

A short but intense electrical storm caused our hearts to skip a beat or two. We had seen the glowering clouds build up behind us and move ever closer so we pulled the mainsail down and put the insert in our cockpit "roof". The rain really pelted us for a bit and the wind picked up to 20 knots but it was the simultaneous lightning flash and thunder roar that startled us. Within 15 minutes, it was all over and the sun started peeking through the clouds. Some fog drifted in, lifted and moved off; then the rain came again and by the time we reached Camden it was a perfectly lovely afternoon. We asked if they'd had the storm, and they certainly did. It damaged the chimney on a big apartment complex and hit the very tall mast of a boat at the dock. We're not sure what damage was done - the boat looked good from the outside, and there was a blue tarp over the chimney on the building.

As we experienced the weather show, we wound our way through the narrow little passage under Thompson and Hupper Islands, by Mosquito Ledge and Mosquito Island Island - between shoals and ledges and points of land. We motored through Muscle Ridge Channel and into Penobscot Bay with a dozen other boats coming and going in both directions.

Last fall we stayed on a mooring ball owned by Wayfarer Marine but they were full this time and suggested we call Willey's Wharf. Fortunately they had a ball available so we tied up just inside the outer harbour. There is also room to anchor outside the mooring field.

This is such a pretty town - great stores to wander through - looking at books and fine art and pretty things -parks to sit in and look out over the harbour. I could happily stay another day but those "one more days" are catching up with us.

We revised our plan to cross to Nova Scotia because it looked like there would be a weather window on Tuesday. We planned to go from here to Long Island - probably to Frenchboro harbour where there is wifi - and then leave from there in the wee small hours of Tuesday morning for our 100 nautical mile crossing, arriving in Yarmouth sometime in the evening.

When we looked at the Environment Canada weather site this morning, however, we revised the plan once more. All that red area (strong wind warning) in the picture is a no go zone for us. We are now thinking of a Tuesday night crossing, arriving on Wednesday afternoon in order to make use of the flood tide. We must keep in mind the effect of currents as we cross the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. Every 12 hours and 25 minutes, water equal to the flow of 2000 St. Lawrence Rivers rushes into the Bay of Fundy!! That is a whole lot of water.

This is all subject to change again, of course. We don't want to do it in dead calm so we have to motor all the way; we don't want to do it in 25 knot winds or wind right behind us or wind "sur le nez"; we don't want to do the whole thing in dense fog. Aren't we getting picky?!

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Amidst the Pots
Beth - overcast, low 20's
02/08/2008/8:46 am, Harbor Island, Maine

Keeping to our recent pattern, we traveled for less than 3 hours on Saturday from Linekin Bay to wide and rock strewn Muscongus Bay.

We woke up to overcast but not foggy skies, and after a pleasant chat with the folks on Starfire - from Victoria BC - we headed on our way. In that conversation, we learned a thing or two about our GPS experience yesterday. They had heard a notice that the signal would be scrambled for parts of the day. Jim knew that George W. was supposed to be in the Kennebunkport area and that explained it all. Today, we heard an announcement that there will be interference later in the week too.

Our visibility was about a mile as we motored along, bare poled, into the 10 knot wind.
Harbour Island had been recommended by a couple of different boats, as well as receiving a nice review in the Tafts' Maine Guidebook; the forecast was for dense fog and chance of thundershowers later in the day, so we ducked into Muscongus Bay and anchored amidst the lobster buoys in the little harbour between Harbor and Hall Islands. (I figure I can spell the general word the Canadian way, but the name of the place is the way it's written on the chart.) Ospreys chirped loudly from the trees and black guillemots swam by our boat. They're pretty little black and white birds.

It is no small feat to weave a path through the hundreds of colourful buoys here, find a spot between the rocks and shoal areas, let out enough rode to be safe and yet still have swing room. We're anchored in 38 ft of water and Jim put out more rode than ever before. Backing down on it meant watching backward to make sure we didn't run over any of the pesky things. Further south on the coast, the watermen use a singly buoy system. There are several on a long string, but each one goes straight down. We're now into the area where they often use a double floater system. It's easy to see the larger float with a pointer on top, but it is connected to a smaller ball with the line connecting them just a foot or so under the water. One does not want to go between the two!

The owners of Harbor Island graciously welcome visitors to explore the trails and beaches so that's what we did. At low tide, we could see and walk on clear evidence of the enormous power of the earth. Layers of sedimentary rock were formed flat and then pushed up at a 90-degree angle as the plates shifted millions of years ago. I kept thinking of the difference between this pleasant day as we picked our way along the very edges of these rocks and the kind of force needed to make them look this way. In other places large boulders (I can't tell you what kind of rock) looked like they were dropped in place by giant hands as glaciers receded.

We got our own hands dirty as we plucked mussels from the rocks and mud at the low tide line. Jim did true hunter/gatherer service as he sat up on the bowsprit and scrubbed them all and then acted as taster. I steamed a handful of them and he ate 4 to make sure they were safe to eat. When he showed no signs of an attack to his nervous system, I steamed the rest of them and we had ourselves a feast.

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