At Long Last
Things were different this morning, Wednesday, as we awoke to greet the summer solstice; actual sunshine was pouring through the port holes. This was a most pleasant and hoped-for change. As the sun brightened the harbor it also brightened our outlook. Writing off Sunday was no big deal; Monday and Tuesday at the dock was not so great.
The only real task we had to perform before getting under way was to top off the water tank, a five-minute chore. The boat’s owner happened to be on the dock and we chatted for a few minutes and, of course, got the whole story of the name Diane, his wife and true love. I’m happy for him, but not critical information for us.
The slack water for the high tide was at 0842 so we left just about then. The harbor exit, without the fog, was pretty simple. We only had to dodge one small ferry and voila, open water.
I had not been feeling too great, maybe a cold or such; the weather was a definite downer and my mood as we left the dock was lacking in enthusiasm, something that is never true of Carol. There is something magical for me about being at the helm of a sailboat. We had not gone a ¼-mi. and I felt invigorated. We were under way, finally; I had not screwed the pooch getting away from the dock; life in the sunshine was suddenly great, again. Maine was, once again, a great idea.
Our plan was to get to Blue Hill Harbor, about 16 nm north and a little east of Bass Harbor. The cruising guides rated it very high as a sheltered harbor and as a picturesque place. And, why not? A simple, no-brainer is always a good idea for day one.
We motored for a bit to get ourselves in decent position away from any land or shallow water and decided that it was time to hoist the sail. This was a genuine first; we had never actually hoisted a sail before since our boat had in-the-mast furling. This was not quite a complete Mongolian cluster f__k, but it was fairly close. First of all, I had not attached the mainsail halyard to the sail. At the time, it seemed odd to me that they did not do this as a standard procedure. No hay problema and quickly done. The rigging on this boat is way different from that on our boat. It is set up to rig a spinnaker, which we decided not to use. It has a different reefing system than our boat did. The jib furling line is handled much differently than ours was.
After an indecent and frustrating interval, the sails were up and “sorta” trimmed. And it was way cool. We were sailing at about six knots, almost an impossible thing on our boat. A little weather helm but not too bad. Carol was “challenged” with the rigging but we got it done. At one point, we even did a down-wind run with the sails set wing on wing, a beautiful thing to see. It took me a while to figure out some of the intricacies of the chart plotter which is several generations newer than the one we had on our boat when we were cruising.
There were some “holes” in the wind. This is all new to us and it may be that sailing in the lee of the islands affects the wind. I had been looking at the charts for a good while and all the islands had contour lines indicating elevation. In the event, the height of these islands does not get much above 100-ft. On the chart is looks like going through Norway’s fjords; on the water, not so much.
Driving around the island we saw all the houses of the regular folks. On the water we saw the homes and estates of the not so regular folks. These are impressive, not so much for their size as we saw along the ICW in Florida, but for the setting in which the homes are placed. It would be hard for anyone to say that they are not beautiful. My New England roots seem to run deep and these appeal to me. But, not enough to leave our mountain fastness, a place I truly love.
So, a little sailing and a little motoring and about 1300, we were in Blue Hill Harbor. I’m guessing that the rise in the middle of the picture is Blue Hill; navigation charts are mostly agnostic about land features. In point of fact, the hill looked to be mostly green, although color perception is not my strongest point.
Today, anyway, it went well enough but I am still concerned about doing this in heavier seas. I suppose I should not worry since it’s not my dinghy and motor.
After getting a mooring ball and taking the dinghy to the marina, we buttoned up the boat and there were some high winds for a bit. Then I saw the reason for removing the main halyard from the sail: there is no way then for the wind to “fill” the sail. So, I removed the halyard from the sail and we settled in for the evening. Since the marina only had cold water showers I decided that I could do that on our boat without the long dinghy ride, so I did. This did not include putting my skinny ass in 500 degree water.
So, on a secure mooring ball, a gin and tonic was the order of the day. We had dinner in the cockpit while this tableau was over the stern.
We weren't really paying too much attention, but at the time it was about half tide. The next morning as getting ready to leave Carol noticed that the entire rocky outcrop was "gone," buried under a full high tide.
While we were eating dinner, we saw another couple hunting for their dinner; a pair of seals. It’s hard to see, but the spot in the picture is the head of one of those seals. Those guys can hold their breath for a long while, and they’re quick too.
So, the hard part now: rate the day. While we were not to be confused with an America’s Cup crew, we did OK for our 70 years. The fun is back. We have not forgotten all the moves. We can do this. We are doing this. We can relax and savor the day.