28 July 2019 | Head Harbour, Campobello, New Brunswick
We left Belfast just over a week ago on Saturday 20th July to sail down Penobscot Bay with the intention of spending a night at anchor in Seal Bay, Vinalhaven. Seal Bay is beautiful, well protected and not that far from the popular yachting centres of Camden and Rockland. Perhaps for this reason it was rapidly filling up as we approached in mid-afternoon. Several boats' presence in the bay was revealed by their AIS transmissions, and others were getting close. A change of plan was called for. We turned sharply to port and made for Merchant Harbour just north of Isle au Haut and at the western entrance to what is known as Merhants Row, a passage littered with small and very attractive islands. We had Merchant Harbour to ourselves and set the anchor in good sand before settling down to enjoy a lovely sunset and a quiet dinner.
The following day it was on eastwards to Lunt Harbour, Frenchoro, Long Island where we picked up a mooring and spent two nights. Frenchboro is reputed to have especially good lobster by virtue of the rather colder water in its offshore location, and so we treated ourselves to a lobster lunch. It was good, but we have had better.
After two nights on a mooring in a busy lobstering harbour (lobster boats tend to start work early, some being on the move at 4.00AM and so even before sunrise) we were ready to leave, and made the relatively short hop back inshore to Winter Harbour on the west side of the Schoodic Peninsula where we spent a very pleasant night at anchor.
A longer day followed, spent mostly under engine because of the light winds, that took us to the Roque Island archipelago. Most boats cruising Maine don't venture this far 'downeast' and for those US boats that do, this is where they turn back towards the fleshpots to the west whence they came. But Roque Island is a worthy reward for those more adventurous boats that make it. Here we shared the lovely and very large anchorage known as Roque Island Harbour with two other boats, both American. A harbour, in the sense that most people understand it, there is not. But there is a lovely beach more than a mile long to which Marilou paddled the dinghy in order to walk its length and back.
The next coast hop was as far as Cutler, the last small harbour in Maine as one sails downeast. And what a neat and tidy little place it is, and again, a small lobstering and fishing port. It is also very close to what I assume must be the most northeasterly US Naval Base. Quite what this comprises I am not sure, because we saw no evidence of a naval port. But what there is on a headland close south of Cutler is a very large collection of very large long wave radio antennas. We have read that these arrays provide worldwide, low frequency communications with the US submarine fleet. We have also read that as a consequence Cutler was on the Russian first nuclear strike list during the Cold War. Hopefully those days are gone forever and little Cutler will be able to continue in its peaceful ways long into the future.
From Cutler it was time to sail to Canada, which we entered towards the north end of the Grand Manan Channel en route to Head Harbour, Campobello Island in the Canadian Maritimes province of New Brunsick. After a satphone call to report our arrival to Canadian Customs and Immigration we were visited by two very pleasant Customs Officers who didn't mind at all tackling the obstacle course across the decks of the four fishing vessels that separate us from the wharf; we being rafted up to the outside one. We were cleared-in in short order and welcomed to Canada, and the Officers very kindly agreed to stamp both our passports. We like those stamps because then there is clear evidence to prove one has not been 'an overstay' in the country one has just left. The US is especially sensitive to this, as I well know from previous experience. It's a long and complicated story, but my record was cleared, thanks to the stamps in my passport proving innocence. Even so, it is not an experience I would wish to repeat.
So here we are on Campobello Island, a Canadian island connected by a bridge to Lubec in the USA, and because it was here that Franklin Roosevelt had a favourite summer home it is an island to which many Americans, perfectly understandably, feel a close attachment. Today we hope to move into the delightfully named Passamaquody Bay to visit the neat town of St Andrews, and in so doing we will sail within a biscuit toss of Deer Island, another Canadian island to which Marilou and I feel a close attachment. For now, we await the turn of the tide which on the flood will help us on our way. Tidal streams are strong here, and must be respected.