06/23/2012, McGlathery Island, Merchants Row, Maine
Cruising Maine June 2012 VII Saturday, June 23, 2012 McGlathery Island, Merchants Row, Maine Water temperature 56 F
We got up yesterday to another blue sky day. Our wind speed indicator was showing 8 to 9 knots and we were surrounded by trees so it looked like it would be a good sailing day. As we were pulling anchor, a trawler came into the bay and anchored about a quarter mile away. As we passed by them on the way out we called over joking about the "crowded conditions" in Seal Bay.
Once we were out of Winter Harbor and in Isle au Haut Bay, the wind dropped to four knots and was almost on our nose. We didn't have far to go and nothing better to do so we shut down the engine and sailed it anyway. At the blazing speed of two knots, we ghosted across the bay. As we got further from land we picked up some wind and the wind direction clocked around so we could sail the rhumb line. We hit four knots at one point before the wind almost completely died. Surrounded by lobster floats and our speed down to one knot we started the engine back up and maneuvered through the confetti.
As we came off of Isle au Haut Bay we entered Merchants Row, a collection of small islands close to Stonington. It's a very picturesque place that would be a real challenge to navigate through without the chart plotter. There are a maze of islands, rocks and shoals that would require very careful work with a paper chart to plot your course. Even with our big screen Furuno we had to put some effort into finding a course through the maze.
We arrived at our destination, McGlathery Island, and anchored. This was our first new (to us) anchorage this year and we had to explore by depth meter a bit to find our spot. With the anchor down and the boat secured, we dinghied into the island. We landed the dinghy on a sand/gravel beach and tied it to a boulder. McGlathery is open to the public and there are trails on the island. There was a lobster float hanging in a tree to mark a trail head near where we were anchored. It took us awhile to find the trail but then we saw the bits of string hanging on branches to mark the trail and we were good to go. Later in the year the trail will be easy to see after many feet have trod it but we may have been the first to use it this year. We hiked through the trees and the trail led us to the far side of the island. We came out of the woods onto a beach. We sat on a rock and enjoyed the scenery for awhile.
When we got back to the dinghy the tide had left it high and dry. It was still securely tied to the boulder looking slightly ridiculous; a boat on dry land tied to a rock. I dragged the dinghy back into the water and we headed home. It had gotten colder and we soon went below and closed up the boat.
06/22/2012, Seal Bay, Vinalhaven, Maine
Cruising Maine June 2012 VI Friday, June 22, 2012 Seal Bay, Vinalhaven, Maine Water temperature 61 F
As we left Long Cove yesterday morning the water was like glass. We motor sailed up the Muscle Ridge Channel in crystal clear conditions with unlimited visibility. The scenery was spectacular. We took Fishermans Channel out into Penobscot Bay and headed for the Fox Island Thorofare that runs between North Haven and Vinalhaven. I had hoped to pick up some wind when we got out on the bay but that didn't happen. We motor sailed across Penobscot Bay hand steering and dodging lobster floats.
A mile or two into the Fox Island Thorofare we passed two high domed rocks named the Sugar Loaves. A pair of Bald Eagles had a nest on top of one of the Loaves and a seagull was dive bombing the nest. We had to stop and watch this. The nest looked small for an eagles nest and we don't remember seeing eagles when we passed this spot in the past. So, it could be a new nest and the way the eagles were defending it there must be eggs or chicks in the nest. Until the chicks are big enough to defend themselves one of the adult birds will always have to be at the nest or the chicks will be seagull food.
As we reached the east end of the Thorofare and were going out into East Penobscot Bay, the wind picked up and the windjammer Mercantile sailed across our bow. It was time for a little fun. We unrolled the jenny, shut down the diesel and traded tacks with the Mercantile. In the light air we could keep up with this much larger vessel and it looked like we were pointing higher also. On our last crossing the Mercantile was on a starboard tack and we were on a port tack, so she had the right of way. We fell off just enough to safely clear her stern and gave the paying passengers a Kodak moment. The Mercantile sailed off to the east and we made a few more tacks until we could sail into Winter Harbor on a reach. We were headed for Seal Bay, one of our favorite anchorages anywhere. We sailed into Winter Harbor but when we turned into the narrow opening into Seal Bay the wind was right on our nose. We cranked the diesel and motored to the spot where we wanted to anchor. We were the only boat in Seal Bay and in the past there have been up to ten boats sharing the bay. It may be the third week in June but prime sailing season hasn't arrived yet in Maine. We were more than willing to have this lovely anchorage all to ourselves.
After the hook was down and the boat secured I gave the outboard the attention it had requested. Removing the carburetor and squirting WD40 through all the little passages usually fixes it and it did this time. We put the outboard back on the dinghy and went for a test ride and did not have to row home. It was time to call it a day.
06/21/2012, Long Cove, near Tenants Harbor, Maine
Cruising Maine June 2012 V Thursday, June 21, 2012 Long Cove, near Tenants Harbor, Maine Water temperature 58F
We bit the bullet yesterday and removed our autopilot computer and flux gate compass and mailed them to B&G Service in Fort Lauderdale, FL. I had spoken to the technicians there two days ago and had tried all the possible fixes they had suggested. But, our compass heading signal was still wacko. And, this is the signal the autopilot uses to steer the boat. So, when the compass heading signal goes wacko, the boat turns to follow the new incorrect direction.
We needed access to a post office and we needed to call B&G for shipping instructions. There is a post office close to the Town Dock in Tenants Harbor so we could mail it from here. When I tried to call B&G I discovered we had no bars on our cell phones. Thank you AT&T for your crappy coverage in Maine. We dinghied into town looking for bars, didn't find any but found a working pay phone outside the local grocery store. Got a handful of quarters, called B&G, got the shipping instructions, had a nice lunch at the Cod End and dinghied back to the boat.
The autopilot computer is mounted at the foot end of the quarter berth and the quarter berth on our boat is used as a storage locker and is completely filled with stuff. All of that stuff had to be removed so I could crawl in there and unwire and then remove the autopilot computer. I finally got all the wires disconnected and then removed the autopilot computer. With the autopilot computer and flux gate compass in a waterproof bag, it was time to dinghy back to town and to the post office. Patti was going to put all the stuff back in the quarter berth while I was gone. Once I got the pieces packed and shipped at the post office, it was time to return to the boat. Of course the outboard had to throw a hissy fit and try to stop running but I managed to coax it back to life and get back to the boat. I had had enough fix it projects for one day and the outboard tune-up could wait for another day.
Now with the autopilot computer and flux gate compass on their way to Florida, we will have to hand steer the boat. If we were making a long passage, that would be a problem. If we are under sail and offshore, our Monitor Windvane would be used to steer the boat. But inshore, where frequent course changes are needed, the Monitor is not practical. From where we are now in Maine, we will only be making short hops so the loss of the autopilot is not as bad as it could be. And when you are dodging lobster floats, you are hand steering anyway.
Today is another beautiful blue sky day and we will go somewhere today; probably.