09/20/2011, The Goslings, Casco Bay, Maine
Cruising Maine September 2011 XI Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 9 AM The Goslings Casco Bay, Maine Water temperature 59 F
Sunday was another fine fall day here in Casco Bay, Maine and we took advantage of it by going to Jewell Island. Jewell is a popular location with a small anchorage but we hoped that by early afternoon on a fall Sunday there would be room to anchor when we got there. As we arrived at Jewell, one boat was pulling anchor and there was plenty of room for us to anchor. The bottom there is reported to be good holding mud but the first time we tried to set the anchor, it didn't hold. That was the first time this summer that the anchor didn't set first try. When I pulled the anchor up to reset it, it was covered with a thin, soupy mud; not the thick, heavy mud we usually see here in Maine. I think so many boats anchor at Jewell that over the course of the summer that they plow up the bottom. The second time we set the anchor it held.
Jewell is a State owned island that during WWII was an island outpost guarding the Portland harbor. There are two concrete lookout towers on the island and assorted bunkers, crumbling barracks, and gun pads. We climbed the tallest tower and were rewarded with a scenic view of Casco Bay..
By Sunday night, we were the only boat anchored at Jewell and we had the place to ourselves. Monday morning we pulled anchor and moved a few miles to The Goslings. This is another very popular weekend spot with many permanent mooring balls. We picked up a secure looking mooring and went ashore on the easternmost Gosling. After beachcombing for awhile it was time to head back to the boat and go to work. We are getting ready to store the boat here in Maine for the winter and the list of things that need to be done is fairly long. Yesterday I changed the engine oil and pickled the reverse osmosis water maker. Two chores down, 28 more to go.
It's time to drop our mooring and head to Royal River Boatyard. We pick up a rent car this afternoon and go retrieve our van and trailer.
09/16/2011, The Basin, New Meadows River, Casco Bay, Maine
Cruising Maine September 2011 X Friday, September 16, 2011 - 11 AM The Basin, New Meadows River Casco Bay, Maine Water temperature 61 F
When the front came through last night we hardly noticed it. We are surrounded by hills and trees that blocked the brunt of the wind and gusts and the most we saw was 15 knot winds with 20 knot gusts. The trip here yesterday through fog; relying on the chartplotter to tell us where we were and relying on the radar to tell us where lobster boats where; wasn't easy but was worth the effort. Once we cleared the harbor and got in open water we had about 300 foot visibility for the first 30 miles. Then it started to rain and visibility improved to about a mile. At least the rain wasn't cold and the wind almost completely died when the rain started. When we saw the first rain clouds on the radar we dropped the main. There had been a report on the weather radio that one rain squall packed 60 knot winds. We were lucky in that all squalls that passed over us dropped gentle rain with no wind. Once the squalls passed by, the last five miles up the New Meadows River was relatively pleasant. Once we worked our way back into The Basin, it was down right nice.
In the Gulf of Mexico, the Bottle Nose Dolphins are very social creatures who will always come up to the boat and will often stick their heads out of the water to make eye contact with us. In the north the type of dolphins here are not near so social and we don't see them as frequently. But yesterday, in the fog, a dolphin jumped completely out of the water not a boat length away. It probably wanted to see who was crazy enough to be out sailing in the fog.
Lobster boats typically have big diesel engines and they are noisy. Traveling through the fog yesterday it was reassuring to hear the lobster boats as they moved around pulling their lobster pots. The radar would show a red blob where the lobster boats were but hearing the sound of their engines off to the side made it more real and less abstract. When it was apparent that our course was going to take us too close to a stationary boat, we would make a ten degree course change about a mile from the other boat. A lobster boat will usually have several pots relatively close together. They will move from pot to pot in that spot and they charge off (Varoooom!) to the next location where they have pots. Our course change would keep us away from where they were currently pulling pots but there was no way to predict what their future actions would be. All the lobster boats have radar and their Captains are very salty watermen so I wasn't worried that a lobster boat would come charging out of the fog and nail us. The few times a lobster boat came near us they came close enough to see us (See who else was crazy enough to be out boating in the fog?), gave us a wave and then disappeared into the mist.
We've seen the last of summer weather in Maine. It is a clear, cool (60 F), windy day here in The Basin. Our foul weather gear is hung up in the cockpit to dry and the lifelines are draped with drying towels. Anyone observing us from onshore will know that the Nautical Vagabonds have arrived. The inside of the boat is wet from condensation and hatches are cracked open to dry the boat out. Other than do a few boat chores, I don't think we will do anything today but sit onboard and enjoy this glorious Fall day.
09/15/2011, The Basin, New Meadows River, Casco Bay, Maine
Cruising Maine September 2011 IX Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 4 PM The Basin, New Meadows River Casco Bay, Maine Water temperature 64 F
We stopped at Long Cove (Tenants Harbor) yesterday. We were anchored by Noon and spent a peaceful afternoon at anchor. We left this morning in fog; creeping out of the harbor with radar and chartplotter giving the only indication of where the boat was and were it was going. If the instruments had quit, I would of anchored. With one hundred foot visibility dodging lobster floats was a full time job. We could have stayed at Long Cove but a nasty weather system is coming through this evening and I wanted to be in Casco Bay before it hit.
I had the main up, anchor up, washed and stowed and the boat underway (slowly) by 6:30 AM. There were six foot rollers coming from Maria but not much wind or chop. We pushed the boat hard and by 2:30 PM had covered 45 miles and were anchored in The Basin off of New Meadows River in Casco Bay. We had never been at this anchorage before but it is rated as one of the most secure anchorages on the Maine coast. Once you get through the narrow slot coming in a beautiful cove appears on the port side. There are a few boats on mooring balls and one other sailboat anchored and there is room for fifty more boats.
Right now it is the quiet before the storm. I'm in shorts and a tee shirt and we are swatting mosquitoes. In another three hours the storm will be here and we'll be real glad we are tucked in secure spot. We'll be here until at least Saturday or until the wind and seas die down.