Friday, August 6, 2010

Rockland Harbor, ME

Rockland Harbor, ME
44 05.40 N 69 05.85 W

For coastal Maine standards we have been blessed with an unusually long period of absolutely perfect weather…. at least for the first part of this week’s posting.

After the worst of the climb was over
On Sat we went for a hike up Cadillac Mtn. in Acadia National Park. The free Mt Desert Island bus shuttle is a great plus. We can take one bus to Bar Harbor village green then transfer to one of 6 other busses going to different parts of the park. Mark convinced Kathy to take a steeper, but “shorter” trail up the mtn. We climbed the West Face Trail (which we knew from the trails map was already identified as a “strenuous” trail). In 1st 9/10th of a mile of trail we climbed 900 vertical feet. It was more like boulder scrambling…. straight up… rather than hiking and Kathy has vowed that there will be pay back for me selecting that particular trail…but wow, did we put the elevation on fast…. and the views looking out over the valley floor that dropped away below us were fantastic. What was more impressive were the views of the ocean and the countless islands visible as far as the eye could see. We were able to trace our own course between or around all the islands that we traveled past on Carina all the way from Vinalhaven Island, over 30 miles away.
Looking NW over Bar Hrb
from Cadillac Mtn
The summit of Cadillac Mtn is 1530’ high and also has an auto road so the actual summit was a zoo-rama of people all taking in the views under a perfectly clear day. Mark felt like he was back working in the CT state parks with all the vehicles parked in the summit parking lot - cars, SUV’s, motorcycles & campers … and the people - walking in flip flops or motorcycle leather, parents consoling cranky crying kids, dogs being walked on real long leashes. We took a different, easy trail back down the mountain, hopped another bus back to town where we treated ourselves to cold beers, steamers, lobster dinners and wild blueberry pie at an eclectic pub in town called Geddy’s.

Looking out over Somes Sound
from the Valley Peak Trail
On Sunday we awoke to another beautiful, clear day and we decided we wanted to try another hike. Mark agreed to choose a much less strenuous route and we decided upon a hike up a mountain that overlooks Somes Sound. We had seen and sized-up people up on the rock ledges along this trail on Friday as we were making our way up Somes Sound on Carina, so we figured we might as well take in the view ourselves. We hopped on the free park bus and arrived at the Acadia Mountain trail head which would put us on the Sauvier Mountain Trail leading to the Valley Peak Trail. The views from the ledges overlooking Somes Sound were spectacular. The trail was much more gradual and easy than yesterday’s climb making for a very nice hike and some spectacular views from the cliffs overlooking the water. Afterwards we came down off the trail and kept walking into the town of Southwest Harbor where we each ordered the double lobster special with a pitcher of local beer (we were both hungry & thirsty after the hike!) ... and we were able to get on the return shuttle bus back to Somes Harbor right out in front of the restaurant .

We left Acadia National Park and Somes Sound on Monday and made our way back west into Penobscot Bay via the Eggemoggin Reach. The weather over the next few days was predicted to be strong southwesterly winds and rain / T-storms as a front moved by on Wed. night so we anchored in another secure anchorage – Pulpit Harbor on the NW coast of North Haven Island. Ironically the last time we were in Pulpit Hrb. was exactly 10 years ago minus a week when we were on a 4 day Maine Windjammer Cruise with Mark’s son’s Alex & Ian. Needless to say we both remarked on fate and circumstances that led us back here on our own boat. We ended up staying In Pulpit Hrb from Mon PM until Fri AM.

Mark’s son Alex called after we arrived at Pulpit. He and his girl friend Genisa were able to get away from their jobs to join us for 4 days this upcoming weekend, so we’re just hanging out to meet them across the bay in Rockland, ME on Sat.

So what the hell did we do for 4 days ? It's not all relaxing and cocktailing as some folks might think.

We were in need of some provisions since our last real shopping was in Portland so on Tues. we dinghied over to the town dock and walked about ¾ mile along quiet roads to the North Haven Grocery store to get a few bags of food that we then walked / dinghied back to boat. Mark also changed water maker filters, serviced the generator and cleaned the streaks from the portside hull from the dinghy.

On Wednesday we did some other boat cleaning chores. Kathy has a certain cleanup routine she undergoes religiously every morning before we get underway... This consists of making the bed, cleaning the head, emptying cat litter box, cleaning floors or cushions of any Sinbad fur, shaking out area rugs, etc.); However, perhaps once a week, on a day that we are not going anywhere (and if we're so motivated) we tend to do a more thorough boat cleanup of cockpit, interior & topsides. We also have certain monthly tasks, like cleaning the shower sump, defrosting freezer, opening/ closing all sea cock valves so barnacle growth does not effect their operation.
So we took advantage of Wed. to do the more thorough cleaning.
Morning sewing project
Wed. was also the 2nd cloudy day without our solar panels able to charge our house batteries. After 48 hours, we also needed to make some hot water for taking showers. So, on came the generator for a few hours to charge house batteries and heat up hot water. Mark took advantage of the generator being on and brought out the sewing machine to repair a torn zipper on the main sail cover and sew a new organizer for the cockpit. The afternoon actually turned sunny, although it was a tad too choppy in the harbor to feel like any kayaking. The Schooner Timberwind came into the harbor in late afternoon dropping anchor next to us.
Sunny afternoon arrival of Schooner
Timberwolf at Pulpit Hrb followed
by next-morning departure in fog
Thurs. we awoke to fog. Timberwind departed at 7:30 on a schedule to return to Rockport. We never saw the sun the entire day as a warm front with high humidity kept us in fog. We spent most of the day reading books. We’ll typically watch TV for short periods to catch the morning & evening news / weather on a local station but that’s about all we care to watch.
On Friday morning the fog finally dissipated as the sun warmed things up. We traveled 10 miles across Penobscot Bay to Rockland. This is a large commercial harbor that is also home port to a large fleet of windjammers. We pulled up to the Landings Marina to top-off fuel, water and unload garbage bags. They were nice enough to let us stay tied at the docks for about an hour while Mark washed down the topsides and Kathy took 3 weeks worth of laundry up to the marina laundromat. While the laundry was cycling, we left the dock and anchored out in the harbor returning back to the laundry and lunch at nearby restaurant. This weekend also happens to be the annual Rockland Lobster Festival. Yummy... we still have not gotten our fill of "lobstah" yet!

Panorama of a portion of Rockland Harbor. With 4 Windjammers and the Navy
vessel USS Whidbey Island (LSD41) also enjoying the Rockland Lobster Fest.
As I upload this posting the cold front has just pushed through the anchorage. Should be another great 4 day window for Alex & Genisa who will join us tomorrow.

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