Boston to Boothbay Harbor, ME: 2008

Boothbay Harbor, ME 2008:

Yellow mooring ball #24 at Carousel Marina in Boothbay Harbor has been our home for the past several weeks. We have a great location at the entrance to the outer harbor. From here we can watch the parade of traffic coming and going each day. The Pink Lady and The Island Lady make several trips daily as paying guest crowd along the bow with cameras in hand to get a closer look at all of the boats moored in the harbor.

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There is a constant stream of activity from mega yachts, day sailors, lobstermen, and kayakers. From our marina, it is only a short walk across the foot bridge into the town. Boothbay is very touristy with many stores selling t-shirts and souvenirs. The weather has been cold, wet, and foggy. We have even turned the heaters on several nights. The fog rolls in at all hours and reduces our visibility to almost zero. Just as quickly as it arrived, the fog will lift and we can once again see the rocky shore line. The harbor is especially beautiful at night with the Catholic Church at the head of the harbor glistening in the moonlight. This church sits on a hill at the harbor end and its three gold plated crosses atop the steeples light up the harbor against the church’s bright white paint. On several occasions we have seen rainbows appear in the sky directly above the church. It was quite a wonderful sight.

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While in Boothbay we have been busy with a stream of guests. We had a great time with our neighbors, Jack and Barbara. This was their first trip to Maine and we enjoyed taking them to some of our favorite places.

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We spent two nights on Hog Island and hiked several of the nature trails belonging to the Audubon Society.

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We learned that a group of seals lived nearby on Cow Island. One morning we decided to take our dinghy, Time Out, to this island which is about a mile down Muscongus Bay from our anchorage. Here we found almost a hundred seals basking in the sun along the rocky shoreline.

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As we approached, they started wobbling their fat bodies into the water one by one. Several seals surrounded our boat. They would pop their heads out of the water to investigate us with their big luminous eyes. As soon as we would look at them, they would dive underwater. Daisy and Sebastian were with us and didn’t know what to think. Daisy wanted to bark but was very well behaved and managed to keep her barks silent. I think the seals were just as interested in the dogs. We then motored to Five Islands on the Sheepscot River. Here we enjoyed a nice dinner of steamed lobsters on the back deck while taking in the classic Maine atmosphere. The fog soon appeared and made for a perfect ending to a wonderful day. My sister, Becky, and our favorite niece, Courtney, visited just after Jack and Barbara.

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We had a fun time with them just walking around the town doing all of the normal tourist stuff. We also went out on a day trip with Captain Fish’s tour boat in search of seals. We saw a few seals but nothing like what we had seen on Cow Island. Sebastian was especially happy to have all this company. Somehow he managed to work his way into the bed most evenings with each of our guests. He claims he was only doing his Cruise Director Job of keeping the guest happy and making sure their feet didn’t get too cold during the chilly Maine nights. They seemed to enjoy it as much as Sebastian.

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We have certainly eaten our share of lobsters while here in Boothbay. The lobster pound is just down the street from our marina. Here you can enjoy a variety of seafood while sitting on the wooded picnic tables overlooking the harbor. Another great place is Bet’s located on the town green. The haddock sandwiches are gigantic and easily feed two people. Our niece, Courtney, enjoyed her first try at lobster while visiting. She wasn’t quite sure about eating the whole steamed lobsters but did seem to enjoy the lobster rolls. Another great find was the homemade cinnamon rolls at Harborside Restaurant. Jeff’s Mom, having lived in Boothbay for many years, gave us the tip on this. They were made fresh from scratch each morning. We have enjoyed our time here but are ready to once again get moving. We look forward to continuing our trip “Down East” tomorrow.

Total Miles Traveled around Boothbay: 85
Total Miles Traveled Year to Date:1313

Homer’s Handout #6

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It has been a very busy week aboard Idyll Time and am I ever glad it is over. There have been numerous guests, both for the day and for multi-day stays, while we’re here in Boothbay Harbor, ME. As the head of Guest Relations (GR), it’s supposed to be my job to welcome everyone and make sure they are taken care of during their visit. Guess what? I didn’t do a thing! The way I figure it, if you’re nice to them, they will only end up staying longer, hence making my job tougher. So I took the approach of ignoring them. I don’t think it really worked very well however. Nate and I would yell and sing loudly every evening while out on our T-stand.

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I thought Jack and Barbara (Group 1) and Becky and Courtney (Group 2) would want to leave quickly but they loved it. Barbara even gave us crackers. What was I doing wrong? Jeff ( oh I forgot, Capt. Jeff) said I was going to have to take remedial GR classes to bring me back up to standards. He said a good GR should be cheerful, happy and glad to have guests aboard. Instead, he said I am mean, crabby and anti social. Me? I’ll go to his stupid classes but I won’t like it and won’t listen.

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Everyone seemed to have fun except me. Jack did some fishing and kayaking. Barbara also paddled with Capt. Jeff and worked on her jewelry. Courtney read her new book and Becky relaxed with Admiral Susie. Our daytime guests included Cornell ornithologist Dr. Steve Kress and his wife and baby daughter. Steve studies Puffins here in Maine but I swear he could read my every thought. It was creepy. He seemed to know so much about me it made me nervous. I let him know this by pinning my eyes, flaring my feathers and yelling “Hello”. He thought all this was great. I was just trying to get him to leave. What am I doing wrong here? These ornithologists know soo much about birds.

And let me tell you, that weenie Sebastian didn’t help one bit. He had to sit on everyone’s lap (especially Barbara’s – what’s with these two?) and snuggle up and charm everyone. He even volunteered to be the “Official Maine Bed Foot-Warmer” for both groups. I tried to warn everyone that he is that way towards all guests but it just landed on deaf ears. Barbara really fell for this one. You would think they all would take the GR advice but no. That little suck-up makes me soo sick. Having his picture taken every day. Can you believe it? If they only knew what a little lazy dog he is (you know he sleeps in the sun for several hours every day!) they would act differently.

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Actually, I think I would make a much better cruise director (CD) than Sebastian. We could trade jobs. Yeah, that’s a great idea! With me as CD, I could tell everyone where to go and when to do it. It would be great. I’m going to suggest it to Jeff (ugh-Capt Jeff) right now. I think he’ll go for it. Stay tuned for details.

Later,

Homer

Sebastian’s Story Part 7

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Oh Boy! Am I in trouble. Barbara and Jack were here visiting us in Boothbay Harbor, Maine for several days.

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They are our neighbors at home in TN and have been looking after our house while we are gone. Admiral Mom and Captain Dad were very excited about them coming to visit. I figured it was a great opportunity for me to get to know them better. As cruise director (CD), it’s my job to make sure all guests enjoy their visit aboard Idyll Time. Barbara and I spent a lot of tender moments together. Lots of quality praises, admiration and lap time were mutually enjoyed.

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I even volunteered to act as the official boat overnight foot warmer at the bottom of their bed (only after being invited by Barbara and Jack of course). After all, it does get quite cool at night here in Maine. However, Captain Dad let it slip that other guest in the past had also received such special attention and that’s when the trouble started. Barbara was quite shocked and hurt to find out about Carol, Marj, Sue, Pat, Courtney, and several others that had also enjoyed CD special treatment. Barbara started calling me “Dog Juan”, “Canine gigolo” (what is a gigolo?), and “slut puppy”. In the end, she came back around to my subtle CD charms. I will admit to you, it was touch and go there for a while. My reputation has only been slightly tarnished (I think). If only Capt. Dad had kept his big mouth shut, none of this would have happened.

Daisy, on the other hand, handled her security duties very well with no major complications. It was a little dicey just before Jack and Barbara arrived because Daisy had eaten some rotten crab pieces up in the parking lot and got a bad case of upset bowels and stomach. Capt. Dad was up with her on the front deck at 3 AM while she used the sod bathroom numerous times. She was very good about using “our yard”. Luckily, she settled down the day before our guests arrived and she was back to her normal self before we left to go cruising with them. Those of you who remember last year’s episode with Daisy and the dead starfish on Dog Island will recall her tendency to ingest dead stinky things and the resulting gastric distress. That girl will never learn!

Homer and Nate made periodic appearances on their T-stand but didn’t really pay much attention to our guest. They did accept a cracker from Barbara one night but you would think that Homer, being in charge of Guest Relations, would have had more things planned for them but of course, he didn’t. Capt. Dad was relieved that they were just quiet and well behaved. His expectations are quite low for those two but after all, they are just parrots, not highly skilled canines like me and Daisy.

I heard from Admiral Mom that Courtney and Becky arrive on Thursday for several days. Courtney and I will renew old ties and spend some quality time catching up. Becky and I have never had the opportunity to get to know one another in depth before. If Capt. Dad will keep his mouth zippered, maybe they too will need some critical foot warming service during these chilly Maine nights. After all, a CD has to do what a CD has to do. It’s a tough job but only one dog can handle it. I think I do a great job as CD.

Later,
Sebastian

Rockport, ME to Boothbay Harbor, ME:

Rockland is our first destination as we make our way towards Boothbay. It seems like no time at all from the time we start the main engine in Rockport until we are passing the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse and entering Rockland Harbor.

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The two towns are only a few miles apart. As we enter the harbor, we have a pleasant surprise of seeing another Krogen at anchor. This is the first Krogen we have seen in Maine and one of only a few trawlers. We were beginning to think we were the only trawler amongst the multitude of sailboats. The Krogen turns out to be Richard and Lori aboard Infinity. Their Krogen is hull #30 and ours is hull #31. Several years ago, we were both commissioning our boats at the same time and got to know each other. It is a great to see them again and catch up.

The Rockland harbor is not as picturesque as some. There are many old factories and commercial buildings along the waterfront. We do however enjoy the town with its assortment of specialty shops, restaurants, and art galleries. We also visit the Farnsworth Art Museum and their collection of the famous Wyeth family. After visiting the art gallery, we enjoy a great seafood lunch at the Rockland Café. From the outside this place doesn’t look like much although it seems to be one of the more popular restaurants in town. Here we find what has to be the best whoopie pie in the state of Maine. Next to those made by Jeff’s mom, these are by far the best we have tasted this year.

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From Rockland we make another quick trip to the quaint fishing village of Port Clyde. On our way, we spot yet another Krogen. It is the “Ethel Brooks” a 42 ft. Krogen. We enjoy chatting with the owners for a few minutes before heading our separate ways. As we make our turn into Port Clyde past the light house, we have to navigate around several rocky ledges and shoals which call for special care. To make things really complicated, there is a sea of lobster pots. We have never seen so many. How can we possibly get through this gauntlet of multi colored floating buoys attached to lines that attempt to snag our stabilizers at every opportunity? It is a miracle that we manage to get through this trap without snagging one. We are relived to finally reach the harbor and turn off the engine for the day. It was very stressful trying to negotiate through the maze of lobster traps. Most boats in these waters have a special cage fitted around their propeller to protect it from snagging on a lobster pot. With this cage they have no worries and can run right through the lobster pots. Right now we are wishing we had one also. It is unbelievable how many lobster pots are in this harbor.

Port Clyde is a great little fishing village.

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We enjoy watching all of the fishing boats as they come into the harbor to unload their cargo onto the docks.

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This is also home to the Elizabeth Ann and Laura B, the mail boats that serve Monhegan Island.

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The Port Clyde General Store with its green clapboard siding and creaky wooden floors inside has the atmosphere of a bygone era.

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From the harbor we walk about a mile outside of town to the Marshall Point Light House. This lighthouse was built in 1833 and the light keeper’s house has been restored as a historical museum. Here we get a chance to watch as the boats come and go through the harbor.

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The view is spectacular. We finish the evening with another great seafood dinner at the Dip Net Dinner overlooking the harbor and then wander up the hill to Village Ice Cream for some homemade ice cream.

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From Port Clyde we decide to head to the upper reaches of Muscongus Bay to Hog Island. This 330 acre island is now owned by the Audubon Society and here they have held camps and workshops for the last 70 years. Muscongus Bay has a bad reputation for having lots of rocks and unmarked ledges so we must exercise extreme care while traveling this bay. Before making our way up the bay, we take a detour and circle around Eastern Egg Rock in search of the puffins. Today we see quite a few out on the rocky ledges. Our cruise up Muscongus Bay is once again a gauntlet of lobster pots. Somehow we manage to make it through this maze without snagging one. As we pass Crotch Islands and Crow Island we see the red buoy marking our turn into Hog Island. The Audubon Society maintains several guests mooring here.

We must leave the dogs aboard for our visit to Hog Island. Dogs are not allowed but we can take them ashore on the mainland which is just across the harbor. After checking in with the Audubon Society, we are given a tour of their facility which includes a dining hall, dormitories for up to 50 guests, a small library, and a great natural history lab.

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There are several hiking trails which traverse the island. We enjoy the rest of the afternoon exploring these fine facilities and the hiking trails. During the night a thunderstorm rolls over the top of us. The lightning dances all around and the dogs barely let us get any sleep. Luckily the anchorage is a very protected area and we hardly notice the winds from the storm. The next morning Steve Kress from the puffin project comes to visit and we give him a tour of our home on the water. We enjoying hearing about his puffin project and the success he is having with these special birds. Afterwards, we take the dinghy up river to the local marina where we purchase some fresh lobsters. For $1.00 they offer to cook the lobsters in their huge aluminum pots. We take them up on the offer and arrive back to the boat with fresh cooked lobsters for lunch. This evening we are invited to dinner at the Audubon Center. We enjoy meeting some of this weeks students and naturalists. Everyone speaks highly of their week long adventure. Dinner is served family style. We are treated to a beef brisket, broccoli casserole, wild rice, and homemade rolls. Hog Island is one of our favorite places visited this year and we hope to return soon.

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Our next destination is Boothbay Harbor. We delay our departure from Hog Island until 1:00 PM. We are waiting on high tide and also hoping the fog will lift. Just past our anchorage, we must pass through and area called the Lower Narrows and Hockomont Point. We must be careful as there is a rocky ledge at this cut and the channel is only about 40 feet wide. The Audubon boat captain assured us that there is 13 feet at high tide. High tide arrives and the fog lifts enough for us to cautiously navigate through the narrow cut. Our depth sounder shows 13 feet and gradually eases deeper as we safely traverse this passage. We are pleasantly surprised to find fewer lobster pots in this section of the bay. As we reach the mouth of the Muscongus Bay, we hit a curtain of fog. We are also experiencing five foot swells coming off the ocean. The fog continues to worsen as we approach Boothbay Harbor. Once we round Ocean Point and head toward Squirrel Island the fog begins to lift and we can now see Boothbay Harbor ahead of us. We are happy to soon see the flags of Carousel Marina. We radio the marina and she immediately tells us we are assigned to mooring 12. We soon spot mooring 12 but there is another trawler on this mooring. We radio the marina and she tells us to take #10. Well, we find #10 and there is a sailboat on that mooring. We hate to call her back but we do and we get a long pause. She then tells us to take #14. Guess what! There is a boat on #14. We radio back and tell the marina what moorings nearby are vacant. She then tells us to take one of these. Not sure what was going on but we are happy to finally be on our mooring ball #16. This will be our home for the next few weeks while both family and friends come for a visit.

Total Miles Traveled Rockport to Boothbay Harbor: 81
Total Miles Traveled Year to Date: 1228

Camden, ME to Rockport, ME:

We have only a few miles to travel down the Penobscot Bay to our destination of Rockport, Maine. Since it is a nice day out we poke around for a few hours exploring several other possible anchorages. One of these, Pulpit Harbor, is a nice spot which we hope to return to in a few weeks. We see quite a few other boats here taking advantage of this great location.

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Once we cross the Penobscot, we enter the broad approach to Rockport Harbor. This is a very easy harbor to enter. As the harbor narrows, the moored boats become more and more congested towards the head of the harbor. We call on the VHF several times trying to contact Rockport Marine for a mooring. No one answers either the VHF or phone. We next radio the harbor master for information on moorings. She is very helpful and offers to go over to Rockport Marine in her boat. She also gives us several mooring ball numbers which belong to Rockport. We travel up and down the harbor weaving between the moored boats in search of one of these moorings. After about 15 minutes, we spot the mooring balls which she had though we could use. They are all occupied by boats. We continue calling both the Harbor Master and Rockport Marine on the VHF. Finally, Rockport Marine answers and gives us a mooring ball assignment. After all of this confusion, we are now safely secured. We have a great location near the far end of the harbor away from town. Just a few hundred yards from the boat is the rocky shoreline where we watch as many people come to these swimming holes to swim or just sit on the rocks gazing at the harbor.

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Rockport is a pretty little town but there are very few active businesses. Just up the hill from the marina is the Corner Market, the only restaurant in town, although today they were only open for breakfast. In the town park, we find a granite statue of “Andre The Seal”.

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For 25 years, this harbor seal spent his summer months in the harbor entertaining the residents. Each winter the seal was taken to Boston’s Seaquarium for care. Andre was released back into the water each spring and would swim back to Rockport Harbor, a distance of over 150 miles. While walking around town, we happen upon a book signing party for a local author, Melissa Sweet. The book is called Tupelo Rides the Rails and is about a dog that has been abandoned and eventually finds happiness.

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There are many dogs at the party and Daisy and Sebastian have a great time enjoying all the treats and petting. They regale all the other dogs about their adventures while traveling on the boat. Both are now members of The Bonehead Club. Other dogs can enroll on Melissa’s web site www.mydogisabonehead.com.

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This afternoon Jeff takes a swim in the freezing water to scrub some of the grime off of IT’s hull. Other than a few storms in the afternoon, we have a pleasant evening enjoying the peace and quiet of the harbor.

Miles Traveled Camden to Rockport, ME: 28
Total Miles Traveled Year to Date: 1147

Five Island, ME to Camden, ME:

Our destination for today is Camden, Maine. As we leave Five Islands and enter the Sheepscot River, we start to encounter some huge ocean swells. These are the remnants of Hurricane Bertha which is off the coast of Bermuda. At the mouth of the Sheepscot, we round the “Cuckolds” which are a cluster of tiny islands at the tip of Cape Newagen. We bypass Boothbay Harbor as we plan to return there in a week when some friends from Chattanooga join us for a few days of cruising the Maine coast. We take the well marked “Fisherman’s Island Passage” which cuts between Fisherman’s Island and Ocean Point. The seas are gradually calming down and it is becoming another beautiful day on the water. We see very few boats out other than a few lobstermen working their traps. We soon find ourselves passing by Muscongus Bay. Just up this bay is Eastern Egg Rock, a seven-acre patch of boulders and grass in the middle of the entrance to Muscongus Bay. This is the home to a colony of puffins which have been reestablished by Cornell University ornithologist Steve Kress and the National Audubon Society. Several years ago, we were fortunate to become friends with Steve while on a trip to the Galapagos. We later visited Steve’s project at Eastern Egg Rock. Project Puffin has been highly successful in reintroducing puffins to the Maine coast. There are now over 100 nesting pairs just on Eastern Egg Rock. Project Puffin has also established colonies on several other nearby islands. There is a great web site, www.projectpuffin.org, for anyone interested in this worthy cause.

Today we enter Penobscot Bay which is the largest of Maine’s coastal indentations. This bay is 20 miles wide and almost 30 miles long. With its hundreds of islands and inlets, the bay is a popular cruising ground. As we travel up the bay, we spot many windjammers out for a day sail.

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We later learn that there is a regatta being held today from Rockland. It is beautiful seeing these majestic three and four masted schooners on the horizon. The “Hills of Camden” soon come into view.

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Curtis Island with its small lighthouse marks the entrance to Camden’s outer harbor.

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As we enter the harbor, we radio Wayfarer Marine for our mooring assignment. They send a launch out to show us to our mooring which is in Sherman’s Cove. This is considered the outer cove of Camden harbor. The inner cove is completely taken up with small floating docks which are moored in the center of the harbor. Local boats are rafted on each side of these docks.

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The big schooners are docked along the waterfront. Although a very busy harbor, it is very efficiently organized. Traffic travels in a counter clockwise direction around the center floats. Traffic seems to flow quite well. Other towns should take notice of how things are organized here.

While wandering the streets of Camden, we spot a shop called The Maine Dog. Here Daisy sees a pretty yellow rain slick which is similar to the one we purchased earlier in the year for Sebastian. Although she never asks that we buy her anything, she is happy that we purchase it for her.

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We have lunch along the docks at a place called Bayfront. They are very dog friendly and have no problems with Daisy and Sebastian sitting under the tables. They even bring some water out for the dogs. The town seems very dog friendly. Jeff usually waits outside the stores with the dogs while I go in and check out the merchandise. Here we have several store owners tell us to bring the dogs inside. Cappy’s Bakery is our next stop. It just happens to be Jeff’s birthday so he is treated to a whole fresh blueberry pie still hot out of the oven. Happy Birthday Jeff!

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Just outside of town is Camden Hills State Park. From our mooring, we have an unobstructed view of both Mt. Battie and Mount Megunticook as they tower above the shoreline. Mount Megunticook is the highest mainland mountain on the Atlantic coast with an elevation of 1385 feet. The dogs enjoy our six mile round trip hike of these two mountains. The hike is extremely rocky and there are several boulder scrambles.

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We have to carry the dogs over some of the steeper inclines because their feet loose traction and we don’t want them sliding off the mountain. The view from the top is well worth the effort.

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We are rewarded with spectacular views of both Camden Harbor and Penobscot Bay. While admiring the views from Ocean Point, we spot several wild blueberry bushes and pick several handfuls of these to snack on. We arrive back to the boat tried but pleased to have reached the mountain summits. Although Camden is a nice town and the harbor is very attractive, the anchorage is very uncomfortable at night. As the tide changes, huge swells come into the harbor and rock the boat each evening while we try to sleep. Jeff pins our stabilizers which helps cut down on the constant motion but it is still very uncomfortable. We are happy to be moving on to our next destination.

Total Miles Traveled Five Islands to Camden: 59
Total Miles Traveled Year to Date: 1119

South Freeport, ME to Five Islands, ME:

Today we retrace our steps, carefully avoiding the submerged rock while rounding Pound of Tea Island and are soon back out into the Harraseekett River with its thousands of lobster pots. The lobstermen are out in full force retrieving the lobsters from these traps. There is barely navigable room between all of the pots. Our greatest concern is catching a lobster pot in our stabilizers. We have line cutters to cut the line if it gets tangled in our prop but have no means to prevent hooking one of these with our stabilizer fins which stick out from each side of the hull like tiny wings.

We soon exit the Harraseekett River and give the buoys marking Drunker’s Ledge a wide berth. We see the tip of a sailboat mast barely sticking up out of the water on this reef. Someone made a serious navigational error. Today we have four to five foot swel

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