Great Day in Gulf of Maine
06 September 2008
We used our new windlass to deploy our anchor last night. We were anchored about 200 feet of a marvellous beach in about 20 feet of water. We have 100 feet of chain and 200 feet of rope for our primary anchor (a delta). We installed a windlass this year which is really a must for cruisers. The windlass is a powerful electric motor which winches in the chain and rope. It was a very complicated installation and I am very proud of the results. We also have another (cheaper but equally essential) accoutrement called appropriately enough "marriage savers". This is a set of head phones and microphones so the person at the wheel (helm) can speak to the person at the bow (anchor locker) and give and receive directions. They are termed "marriage savers" because the most tense times in a cruising couples' day is the docking or anchoring, with the attendant yelling, cursing and inevitably hurt feelings.
Anyway, Judy and I donned our "marriage savers" on our way in to Roque Island. It was a very tricky passage in to this haven but we made it fine. I directed Judy to where we wanted to drop anchor (via Marriage Savers - from this point on known as MS's) I used the down button on my windlass control, dropped 100 feet of chain, directed Judy to back down on the anchor, cleated it off with a "snubber" (poor non boaters; you shouldn't have to endure all this sailing jargon) and that was it. So our first use of both the windlass and "marriage savers" was a great success. Thanks to Jaquie Cox for the suggestion on the MS's and to Jeff Saunderson for his patience, help and advice for the windlass installation.
Had a quiet night with the surf gently resonating. Only two other boats in this spectacular place! Up early and underway about 6:30. What an easy run to Southeast Harbour. We've don't this section many times and rarely could see beyond our bow for the fog and sloppy seas. Well, after we rounded Cows' Yard, we could see the prominence of Mount Desert. Down side was that there were extremely light winds so we motored the whole way. Contrary to the usual, it was sunny, warm and clear. Many, many lobstermen (or as they say down here "lawbstrmn" out tending their traps. You would not believe the number of traps.
Short primer on lobster traps (or pots as us sailors like to say). You've all seen the traps, usually on the top of tourists' cars returning from their vacation down east. Well in the real world they are dropped to the bottom where the lawbtrs hang out often in several hundred feet. They are connected to a small, colored float by warp (rope). Each lawbstrman has his/her own distinct color of float with dayglo colors. The big deal for us sailors is that if we happen to run over one, it catches our prop, it will likely disable our engine and leave us semi-anchored to a hundred pound trap 200 feet below; needless to say it's a nightmare. Well (and apologies to Maine lobstermen) we have cutters on our prop which are intended to cut a trap line that we inadvertently run over. It is anything but sure that it will work and we certainly would be concerned for the hard working guy/gal whose trap we severed. So suffice it to say that cruising in Maine involves constant attention and dodging of lines. We have caught traps; rarely but with dramatic results (Judy had to dive in the frigid waters of "cows yard" to undo a piece of line).
Anyway, any day along the coast of Maine that you do not fetch up is a good one. We sailed uneventfully from Roque to Northeast Harbour in little seas, no wind, but incessant swells. Swells, for the uninitiated are those slow rolling, sickening, ups and downs of the sea; the left overs from old storms offshore. I don't mind swells but they cause the boat to constantly pitch and roll. Chopin is not fond of swells!
The way in to Northeast Harbour is via a passage where there are summer mansions perched on the steep hills of Mount Desert. Among the supposed denizens are Martha Stewart and heirs to the Ford estate. Northeast Harbour epitomizes yachtiness. Our boat would be one of the most modest by far; there are huge motor yachts as well as very proper sailboats the likes of Morris', Hinckley and Little Harbour. Nonetheless, we are here!
We pick up a floating dock (a small piece of dock, moored to the bottom with big weights) and settle down. We are likely to get the end of the tropical storm tomorrow and if there's any place to be, this would be it.