Monarch's Big Year

12 August 2022 | Belfast Harbor City Dock
11 August 2022 | Belfast Me
10 August 2022 | Somes Harbor Maine
09 August 2022 | Somes Harbor Maine
08 August 2022 | Somes Harbor Maine
07 August 2022 | Somes Harbor Maine
06 August 2022 | Southwest Harbor, Maine
05 August 2022 | Southwest Harbor, Maine
04 August 2022 | Southwest Harbor, Maine
03 August 2022 | Somes Harbor Maine
02 August 2022 | Somes Harbor Maine
01 August 2022 | Somes Harbor Maine
31 July 2022 | Somes Sound Anchorage East of Squantum Point
30 July 2022 | Somes Sound Anchorage East of Squantum Point
29 July 2022 | Mackerel Cove Swans Island Maine
28 July 2022 | Belfast Me
27 July 2022 | Belfast Me
26 July 2022 | Belfast Me
25 July 2022 | Rockland Harbor Maine
24 July 2022 | Rockland Harbor Maine

Getting Ready for a Visitor

12 August 2022 | Belfast Harbor City Dock
Mike
August 12, 2022 Friday

We dropped the mooring ball around ten and went into the town dock for water, pump- out and ten gallons of fuel and it all went smoothly with a very competent young man working the dock. A power cat was on the other side of the dock getting fuel and Sharon and a woman on the cat recognized that we had met before at the Dismal Swamp Visitor Center so while I took care of the fuel and Sharon filled the water tank the ladies caught up on each other’s adventures from this summer. The cat, “Bell Gatto”, was on their first trip to Maine and the information we shared with them at the visitor center in early spring has been very helpful for them and they have loved Maine.

After finishing at the fuel dock, we headed to a town slip which is a little expensive at $3.25 a foot but we wanted to make it easy for our son Andrew who was driving up from Boston to join us for the weekend. With Friday traffic we weren’t sure how late he would arrive so better to have a slip than trying to pick him up in the dinghy in the middle of the night.

We lugged three weeks’ worth of laundry to the laundromat and we started feeding coins into the big washing machines which were expensive. There were plenty of machines and only a few people around. I bought a pre-made sandwich at the Belfast Co-op and ate it at the picnic tables out front while Sharon finished loading the washing machines. I offered for a woman to join me as the other two tables were full and while we ate, I learned she had been in the area for twenty years and came into the “big town” of Belfast to do her shopping. She was from the Netherlands and had just been back this spring for a visit. Sharon came out and joined us for a little bit.

After lunch I watched the laundry machines and moved everything to the dryers while Sharon did some grocery shopping. Sharon returned with a load of wonderful looking vegetables and heirloom tomatoes and she help me fold all of the laundry.

We loaded up the groceries, some beer and the laundry and returned to Monarch. Sharon then did some more exploring in town while I straightened up the boat in preparation for our son’s visit tonight.
Sharon made a delicious chopped fresh tomato dish with lots of herbs and mozzarella cheese and we enjoyed it over pasta for dinner.

Andrew arrived around ten and it was great to have him aboard again. We shared some rum to celebrate his arrival as we sat in the cockpit and enjoyed the cool calm of the harbor while we talked.

Leaving Somes Harbor

11 August 2022 | Belfast Me
Mike
August 11, 2022 Thursday

We took our time getting ready to go in the morning reluctantly leaving our favorite spot on the East Coast but finally pulled the anchor around ten. The chain was full of mud so it was a slow process to wash the chain as it came up but finally, we headed out. It was an overcast day and cool when headed to windward, no fog, but the tops of the mountains were in the low clouds.

There were many boats out on the water moving along the channels that run between the islands. We put out the head sail when we reached Eggemoggin Reach for a little help but it was basically a motoring day constantly on the alert not to snag a lobster pot. On part of the trip the cross current was very strong which causes one to crabwalk the boat and this makes avoiding the pots very tricky because where the boat is pointing is not the true course you are going in. If your experience is limited to automobiles, you will not appreciate what I am talking about when I use the term crabwalk.

You have to keep an eye on the pots as you pass them to confirm they didn’t catch the keel and sure enough I had one pot start racing toward us so I quickly powered down the engine and put us in neutral. I was very glad to see the pot slipped past us without snagging the propeller. I put the engine back in gear, powered up and continued on.

It was a long day when we picked up a mooring ball in Belfast Harbor. We decided rather than cook it would be easier to go out to dinner which was a mistake. We walked past the free concert that runs every Thursday night in Belfast in the summer and went to the “Waterfront Restaurant”. Because of the seasonal labor shortage, it took forever to get service. All we wanted was a haddock basket with fries and a haddock sandwich with onion rings and it took three hours. So much for returning to the boat before dark.

We rowed back to Monarch in the dark and relax in the cockpit until bedtime.

Projects and a Play

10 August 2022 | Somes Harbor Maine
Mike
August 10, 2022 Wednesday

Sharon defrosted both refrigerators which entails taking out the food and melting the ice that forms on the coils. I cleaned and polished the transom which gets really dirty from the diesel exhaust and is difficult to remove. Next, with Sharon providing support I donned the scuba gear and cleaned the small amount of the bottom that hadn’t been done on my last dive and scrubbing from the dinghy.

I have been reading “Heavy Weather Sailing” 4th edition by Coles and Bruce which is a heavy read with lots of tales of race and cruising boats getting in all sorts of terrible weather. A good book to read when you’re in a calm anchorage.

We had rice and beans for dinner and then went into the dock and walked to the local repertory theater to see Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”. The cast did a great job with wonderful costumes and a fun set. There were three set changes and the full cast did them to music like a dance rather than the usual way of dropping the curtain and then changing the set. It was a fun way to make the best of a very small theater.

We walked back to the dinghy in the dark and rowed out to Monarch guided by the light of a moon hidden above the low cloud cover. We relaxed in the cockpit and enjoyed the view of the moon lit sound and anchorage.

Really Fresh Lobster

09 August 2022 | Somes Harbor Maine
Mike
August 9, 2022 Tuesday

It is glorious sleeping weather now that cool weather front has moved through the area. Somes Harbor is the calmest place to awaken with only a slight breeze, possibly a slight wake from a passing kayak or canoe. No traffic noise maybe a few birds. It is just a perfect place to get good night’s sleep and we slept late not wanting to disturb the peace.

We grilled the leftover blueberry muffins for breakfast with our coffee and Sharon searched for her next knitting project while I reviewed email and related documents and then headed out for more waxing. I waxed and polished the cockpit this time. I am beginning to think of waxing as a form of exercise so it feels a little less of my punishment for owning a boat. I use to scoff at those who paid others to “detail” their boats for them but I can see the attraction of leaving it to someone else now.

In the afternoon we headed out for a row/paddle when I spotted a small lobster boat headed into the harbor so I abandoned Sharon and rowed as fast as I could to catch the lobsterman before he finished securing his boat and heading getting into his dinghy. I figured once he was in his dinghy and headed for Miller time I would have lost my chance. “How did you do today?” I said as I rowed near and in a deep nor-east accent that puts mine to shame he replied “about average for Somes Sound, abot one keepa per trap.

The lobsterman sold me three lobsters for a fair price and I was so happy to finally have some of the tasty creatures. We had lobster in New Hampshire when we visited family but now we would have them in Maine and eat them on our boat.

The lobsters were in the softshell phase where they have lots of empty space in the shell for the lobster to grow into and if you boil them, you get a lot of hot water splashing out as you try to crack them open thus the plastic lobster bibs you see at restaurants. I steamed our lobsters in a pressure cooker for three minutes on high and thereby we had very little water to deal with. Only two lobsters fit in the pressure cooker so we saved the last lobster and had him for dessert. We had pasta salad and coleslaw as side dishes and yes lots of melted butter.

We ate dinner in the cockpit and enjoyed the heck out of ourselves and a bottle of cold chardonnay with the seals looking on jealously.

I heated up some very hot water to wash the butter coated dishes and cleaned up while Sharon had a long phone visit with our daughter.

Enjoying

08 August 2022 | Somes Harbor Maine
Mike
August 8, 2022 Monday

Sharon finished work on the shawl she has been knitting and it looks terrific although she says it still has to be blocked, whatever that is, and now she is searching for her next project. I spent an hour waxing and polishing more of the deck, we have a cloudy week which is good for waxing but about an hour seems to be my limit for that kind of work.

I took the dinghy into the dock and carried an empty 10lb propane cylinder to the Shell Station to get it refilled. The guy who came out to fill the tank was a real classic northern Maine grouch who complained about how the small tanks were not worth his time filling. Since he worked by the hour for a big corporation, I am not sure what his point was exactly.

A man with his son was in line to get 3-20lb propane tanks filled ahead of me and when he was done they offered me a ride back to the dock which I accepted and I thought he was setting a very good example for his young son. The man has lived around these parts for years and explained in answer to my inquiry "where exactly is Somesville" that it was a bustling place in the past with saw mills and other commercial buildings and it was the first settlement on Desert Island but that all that is left is the mill pond by the library.

I did some rowing around the harbor trying to score some lobsters off a boat but it was a little late in the day to find them working. Sharon had a video call with her family that went well, we have good internet up here which hasn't always been the case in this remote harbor.

We had a simple dinner made on the grill with potatoes, sausage and beans and watched the fog out on the sound as it crept over the hills around us but it didn't come into the harbor. The fog adds to the beautify of the coast as you can see from some of the pictures.

Back to Somes Sound

07 August 2022 | Somes Harbor Maine
Mike
Some young guys getting unstuck from the rocky sandbar.

August 7, 2022 Sunday

For breakfast we had grilled homemade blueberry muffins with our coffee and then dropped the mooring after pulling the dinghy up on the davits. We headed across the bay to Northeast Harbor and circled the harbor dodging traffic while we waited for the dock space to access the only working pump-out in the area.

After circling for 45 minutes the tour boat on the dock left and we were able to access the pump and fresh water. Why they put the access to the pump-out inside the marina where you have to maneuver around numerous expensive yachts is a mystery but we manage to get docked with only a little squeal as the fiberglass met the wooden dock. We quickly got a fender out to protect the hull. A nice young man from the dockmaster's office came down to help pump us out while we filled the water tank. The water pressure was a little too strong and Sharon received an unexpected shower.

While we were working at the dock a small sailboat came in with several tourist and a very aggravated captain who yelled at us to move up so he could land. We moved and resecured and we thought he was mad at us but his ire was aimed at an unoccupied overpriced mega yacht's dinghy/tender that was docked across from us at the commercial dock. The small sailboat docked behind us and the captain yelled at the kid helping us wanting to know who's boat it was tying up the other side of the dock but the kid had no idea. After unloading his passengers, the captain of the sailboat could be heard loudly complaining to the harbor master about the situation.

By now the driver of the fancy dinghy came back from walking the owner's dog and got in the power boat and took off thus ending the crisis for now. We finished up our business and with help from the captain who did more harm than good we manage to get off the dock which was now a really tight maneuver with his sailboat, "my boss' sailboat," behind us and a bit of headwind but we managed it just fine without hitting anyone. We headed out of the harbor and turned north glad to be out of the two busy harbors of SW and NE and on our way back to the quiet of Somes Harbor. We sailed up Somes Sound enjoying the natural beauty before anchoring in the harbor.

I took a nap while some rain blew through and then I thought about a swim in the cold water. There were lots of others jumping in from boats around us so I figured it couldn't be too bad and after the initial shock it was a pleasure. It was a rather hot day and cooling off was welcome. Sharon decided to just soak her feet to cool off.

We rowed over and met a couple, Gregg and Vickie, on a 45' steel cutter rig sailboat named Janice B. who are mutual friends to Kirstin and James on Tatiana. Kristin had texted Sharon to let us know about Janice B and that is why we headed over to meet them. Janice B is an impressive looking steel-hulled boat that they have restored; heavy, strong, lovely it looked as it could take on a hurricane. We shared some of our knowledge of the area and said we would get together if they are staying here for a few days and then Sharon and I returned to Monarch.

We used the leftover cold cuts to make sandwiches and had a simple dinner.
Vessel Name: Monarch
Vessel Make/Model: Hunter Legend 40 1988
Hailing Port: Mayo Maryland
Crew: Mike & Sharon Crothers
About: We left our jobs and have headed out to explore, starting with the East Coast of the US in our sailboat.
Extra: We are looking forward to exploring towns we have never been to or seeing familiar places in new ways, having conversations with strangers and making new friends, seeing natural and man-made beauty, history, and life.
Monarch's Photos - Main
20 Photos
Created 15 January 2015
Coast of Maine, Islands, Towns, Acadia, Bar Harbor
No Photos
Created 27 August 2014
20 Photos
Created 1 May 2014
Leaving, Galesville, Wye River, St. Michaels, Solomons Island, Reedville, VA, Put-In Creek off Mobjack, Norfolk, Dismal Swamp
14 Photos
Created 1 May 2014