PENOBSCOT BAY RENDEZVOUS 2009
We converged at the Rockland ramp late morning on Friday and proceeded to rig our boats in the mid-90's degree sun. In attendance at this point were trip coordinators Dan & Linda of SPICE, Gib & Diane of ENDURANCE, Lloyd & Barb of SERENITY, and myself - Andrew of OVER EASY. Lloyd & Barb sailed their Morgan up the coast and had walked over from a nearby pier to help with the launchings.
Dan & I joked about whether or not to rig up our radar reflectors as insurance against the typical Maine fog. We did not, and fortunately Murphy wasn’t paying attention as we didn’t have any fog the entire trip. The wind forecast for the day was not promising, however, we were able to sail out of the otherwise calm Rockland Harbor under a light breeze.
We sailed / motored to Pulpit Harbor on North Haven Island, arriving at 6:30 PM. After setting anchor, I rowed over to SPICE for dinner with Dan & Linda. Afterwards, we all rowed over to SERENITY for dessert. After finishing my coffee, having been awake in excess of forty hours at this point, I fell fast asleep while sitting amidst the conversations in SERENITY’s warm and cozy cabin.
Before long, we were all settled in aboard our own vessels under a bright moon and calm evening harbor. Around 2:30 AM, I awoke to something feeling not quite right. Staring up thru the hatch, I realized my rigging was at play with another boat’s rigging. “Someone drifted into me” I thought, only to find out that I had drifted and tangled anchor lines with SERENITY. I admit that I forgot to set scope for the incoming tide. Lloyd, Barb & I secured the two boats together and stood watch for an hour before turning in again. At sun-up, I detached from SERENITY and proceeded to make multiple attempts at finding a good set on my alternate anchor.
Al & Karen of KARAMEL motored into the harbor fairly early Saturday morning, having launched only hours before. While others toured the harbor and ventured ashore, I remained onboard to relax and set up for the next leg of the journey.
As we emerged from Pulpit Harbor around 10:30 AM to a promising and spirited wind, it wasn’t long before it would be apparent that the best winds of the day were already behind us. Honest sailing / drifting lasted only two hours, then we all either motored or motorsailed for another five hours to Burntcoat Harbor on Swans Island. After taking up moorings, we dinghy raced across the harbor for a lobster cookout at Traftons Wharf. Tho the wharf was closed, someone friendly with the owner happened by and sold us lobster and steamers and set us up with the pots and burners to cook our own dinner. We had a huge spread of food to share with the mosquitoes at our shoreside picnic while watching the sunset.
Sunday morning started as cool & windy, turning to calm & hot as we met ashore for a captains meeting. Following the meeting we all walked up the road to the Hockamock Head Lighthouse, picking wild blueberries & raspberries along the way.
SERENITY & ENDURANCE planned to split from the group and head for Mt. Desert Island for the rest of the week, while SPICE, KARAMEL & OVER EASY planned to sail Stonington and area islands. Leaving harbor at 11:30 AM, the light morning breeze turned to calm and most of the crossing was made motoring. We tied up at the public dock and had lunch at a dockside restaurant, then went about wandering around town. At late afternoon, we motored out to McGlathery Island for the evening, with KARAMEL & OVER EASY rafting to SPICE on anchor.
Captains went ashore while Admirals stayed aboard. Dan, Al, and I explored the shoreline, had a rock-skipping competition, and made a Three Stooges show of time-delay-camera-setting for a group photo.
Monday was definitely the best day for sailing. We each found different tacks in a favorable wind
on Merchants Row. With our destination being the Fox Islands Thorofare, the run across East Penobscot Bay was spirited and exciting! Finally, this was the best sailing of the trip. The winds funneling thru the Thorofare gave a thrilling singlehanded workout. Once in the Thorofare, KARAMEL & OVER EASY performed a flawless, close-quarters, undersail food transfer.
Sails furled and motoring, we said goodbye to Karen & Al as they planned to continue on to Rockland for haulout and early departure. Dan, Linda and I planned another night on a mooring in Perry Creek, off Vinalhaven Island.
A popular anchorage, Perry Creek offered a peaceful respite from the day’s sail. Our late lunch of appetizers, snack foods and various beers should have been enough to forget about dinner altogether, but Linda wouldn’t hear of it, and cooked up a nice late-evening dinner. Previous to dinner, Dan and I made separate edge-of-darkness dinghy excursions up the outgoing tide of Perry’s Creek. Needing to “go ashore”, I discovered that beneath the mussel strewn creek bottom, the mud is exactly ‘knee deep’!
Taking two swims on our last day, I found the water was just the opposite of the warm and relaxing solitude on deck on the creek. We dinghied ashore to explore the island hiking trails followed by some hidden cove explorations by dinghy. Departing Perry Creek after lunch, we motorsailed out of the Thorofare into a light wind that carried us halfway across to Rockland before we had to motor. After motoring around the harbor, we hauled out and unrigged in the darkness.
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