On not becoming a garbage barge
09 August 2007 | Robinhood Marine Center, Riggs Cove
NW winds 15 to 20 kt...diminishing to around 10 kt this afternoon. Seas 2 to 4 ft. High 73 low 57.
Maine is extraordinary. The beauty of the place defies words. Attempts like pristine forests, crystalline waters still don't capture the exquisite clean feeling of the place. I have loaded a new album of Maine photos in the gallery, and I hope you will check them out. When you click on the thumbnails, you will see the larger versions of the pics.
We have finally been able to do the kind of cruising I love so much spending days out on the hook in quiet anchorages, watching the wildlife, reading, writing, cooking up new recipes and snuggling under mountains of covers on these chilly nights. But on a cruising boat, there is a price you pay for all that time away from the dock. That price is learning to live with the volume of garbage we generate.
You would not think that two people and a seadog could fill up garbage bags so quickly. It really makes you stop and think about the amount of packaging that so many of our daily products come wrapped in. Why is it necessary for a package of cookies to come in a cardboard cylinder, which has a plastic tray inside which is wrapped in plastic wrap? Oftentimes it's clear that the packaging costs more than the product inside. We Americans have become so accustomed to convenience and eye-catching packaging that we don't notice it anymore. It's easy at home to fill up your trash and have the guys come and take it away a couple of times a week. On a boat at anchor, you live with it.
From Seal Cove, we motored around Cape Elizabeth and into Casco Bay. We saw a few ships as we as we passed the entrance to Portland, but after that it was just watching the many beautiful islands and doing the lobster pot slalom as we made our way up Quahog Bay to anchor next to Snow Island. Thus far, that spot remains my favorite place on this trip. There were several tiny islands in the bay and kayakers had pitched tents on a couple of them, and every evening we smelled the campfire smoke as we watched the sunset and listened to the ospreys chirping indignantly at the folks who had invaded their private domain.
We spent our days exploring by dinghy and walking through the piney forests and believe it or not I actually went swimming! One afternoon the sun was so warm, I put on my suit and dove in. While that first minute sort of took your breath away, it was wonderful! I didn't want to get out. I washed my hair and kept diving back in. Try as I might, though, I couldn't convince Bruce to join me. A little daysailer tacked under our stern as I was climbing up the ladder on the transom and the gentleman said, "Water's great, isn't it?" I replied, "It is - and I'm from Florida!" He laughed as his little boat caught a puff and he disappeared up into one of the many long coves that reach like fingers off that bay.
After two days, we left Snow Island and motored to an anchorage off the New Meadows River, called The Basin. You enter through a narrow cut into what looks like a completely land-locked lake and another gorgeous Maine anchorage. The little island in the center of that cove belongs to the Nature Conservancy and when we dinghied over to explore, the ospreys there really didn't like us visiting their spot.
By the time we rounded Cape Small and headed up the Kennebec River to Bath, it had been nearly a week since our last visit to anyplace we could take trash ashore. We had three big trash bags stuffed under the chart table when we picked up a mooring off the Bath Maritime Museum. The moorings are $30/night and they include the cost of admission to the museum. We figured it was quite the bargain and we didn't know why we were the only boat there. It may have had something to do with the river current that ripped past the boat and made the dinghy ride to shore an exciting adventure. It's a shame, but one of the best things about the museum for us at that point, was the fact that they had a dumpster and we were saved from becoming like that wandering garbage barge that plied the oceans looking for a place to dump.
A front came through that afternoon and we couldn't go ashore due to high winds and rain, but by 6:00, the rain had quit and the seadog needed a trip ashore. It was fun walking around the grounds of the museum after hours, and after running the dog back to the boat, we headed down the street for a dinner a nice little restaurant called The Cabin, just across the street from the mammoth shipyard, the Bath Iron Works.
We had planned to stay a couple of days in Bath, but the weather forecast turned grim and we decided to leave early and make our way back down the river and over here to Riggs Cove. We had seen our first colony of seals going up the river and we saw some of them swimming and fishing at the mouth of the river just about the time the fog closed in. For the next couple of hours, the visibility sometimes got down to less than a boat length. Fortunately, with the GPS chart plotter and the radar overlay, we were able to continue and the fog didn't lift until we were just off the marina. We kept saying it must be pretty all around us, but not only did we not see any of the land, we didn't even see the buoys -- we barely saw the lobster pots in time to dodge them.
Now we are on a mooring in another gorgeous spot. The marina ashore has a great restaurant with some of the most yummy clam chowder yet, but best of all from my standpoint is they have a library! Last night they had a lecture there by the dock master who spent a year in Antarctica at the South Pole as a meteorologist. He showed slides and it was fascinating. I donated four signed hard covers of my books that I had brought along and I don't want to have to take home.
The nights are getting colder and yesterday we had a pretty nasty front blow through, but the amazing thing about the Maine weather is that if you wait a few hours, it will change.
This afternoon, we are going to take the loaner car at the marina and go grocery shopping. We're almost out of everything fresh. But I know that I will be looking at things a little differently - the less packaging, the better. I want to be a better guardian of this earth in the future. Places like Maine are so unique and I don't want us to turn into a garbage barge or for this state to erect a Mount Trashmore.
I only have a few days left. I fly home on the 15th. It's time to get ashore to enjoy.