09/05/2011, Seal Bay, Vinalhaven, Maine
Cruising Maine September 2011 IV Labor Day Monday, September 05, 2011 - 10 AM Seal Bay Vinalhaven, Maine Water temperature 62 F
We went exploring by dinghy yesterday but a low tide greatly restricted where we could go and where we could get ashore. We dinghied by sunbathing seals, but not too close so we didn't alarm them. We landed the dinghy on a gravel beach by Big Hen Island and walked on the shoreline for a ways but couldn't find a trail to go inland. We came back to the big boat and planned to go back out in the dinghy in the late afternoon when the tide would be in.
By noon, the flag was snapping and cracking with the wind gusting 20 knots. We decided it would be a good day to just hang out onboard.
09/03/2011, Seal Bay, Vinalhaven, Maine
Cruising Maine September 2011 III Sunday, September 04, 2011 - 9 AM Seal Bay Vinalhaven, Maine Water temperature 62 F
Yesterday was a blustery day and we canceled our planned dinghy ride from Seal Cove to North Haven. Instead, we pulled anchor and jib sailed from Seal Cove to Seal Bay. Coming into Seal Bay we passed a ledge that is out of the water at half tide or less and usually has seals sunning on it. True to form, there were sunbathing seals stretched on the ledge yesterday as we passed by. They were the first seals we have seen out of the water this year. We always see seals when we are moving the boat and often see them swimming around when we are at anchor but we seldom see them out of the water.
We worked our way back into the far end of Seal Bay where the water was smooth even though the wind was gusting twenty knots. There were four boats anchored there already and by the end of the day four more had come in. There was still room for twenty more so crowding was not an issue. It was a quiet night at Seal Bay.
09/03/2011, Seal Cove, Vinalhaven, Maine
Cruising Maine September 2011 II Saturday, September 03, 2011 - 10 AM Seal Cove Vinalhaven, Maine Water temperature 62 F
Thursday was "Pizza Night" on Kelly Rae and we spent an enjoyable evening catching up on who did what when and where since the last time we were together. As Patti and I got ready to return to Wayward Wind it was pitch dark out and our anchor light (which luckily I remembered to turn on) provided the only clue as to where our boat was.
We got up yesterday to a warm, blue sky day and jumped in the dinghy to go explore the cut into The Basin at low tide. As we didn't want to have a "white water" experience in our dinghy, we approached the cut very carefully. As we got closer, we could see what looked like a waterfall in front of us. We pulled the dinghy up on shore and walked up to look at the cut while standing on land. The tide was still going out and the cut we had brought our big boat through looked like a ragging mountain river. The water level was down ten foot from where it was when we brought our boat thru and we could see the rocks that we dodged on faith as our trusty pilot guided us in. After awhile the water levels on both sides of the cut equalized and it was then low slack water. We took the dingy into the cut and discussed our exit strategy with Rich (our pilot) while looking at the rocks we needed to dodge when we took the big boat out thru the cut later at high slack water.
After planning our exit strategy, we grabbed our backpacks with water bottles, cameras and snacks and headed to an access point to the Basin Preserve Trail. Rich had found a place where we could land the dinghy at low tide and still get back in it after the tide had come back up. With ten foot tides you really need to think about where you leave the dinghy. The trail was a pleasant walk though the woods, up and over granite domes, with views out over The Basin. There were Huckleberries along the trail and an old abandoned apple orchard with small green apples.
After the hike we returned to our boats for lunch and to get ready for our departure. We'd agreed that we would have our anchors up by 2:45 PM and to be at the cut at 3:00 PM. We wanted the tide to still be coming in The Basin so we would have better control of the boats. The trick was to time it so there was a little opposing current but not too much and to definitely not have a fast current pushing us out (and into rocks). We followed Rich (but not too close) and kept a tight sphincter muscle. The channel out requires two 90 degree turns to be made at about the right points and then a passage thru a narrow cut with rocks ten foot away on either side. We made the turns OK and lined up good to the cut. As we went thru the narrow cut we had a two knot opposing current and could see where the rocks were by the swirls in the water. No problem.
As we came out into open water we waved goodbye to Rich as he turned into Long Cove for the night and we headed for Leadbetter Neck and then onto the Fox Island Thoroughfare where we pulled into Seal Cove for the night.