Carol said she needed to do some shopping, not in the sense that we needed stuff on the boat or else we would perish of thirst or hunger. No, she just needed to go shopping. Shopping is elemental for her, like oxygen, necessary to sustain life. So, I told her that the cruising guide said there are lots of stores in Belfast, Maine, a mere 10 nm west of Castaine, so off we went on this Sunday morning.
And a great morning it was. When we slipped the mooring the water's surface was like glass. Great for some photographic shots, but not so great for sailing. A warm sun was shining on us motored west. For a while we were the only boat in motion, at least that we could see. It was like we owned the moment, not having to share it with any other boaters.
After a couple of hours a light breeze came up from the SW, not even close to being a wind. It was just enough to fill the sails and to push the boat. We only topped 4 knots a couple of times and those times were quite evanescent. And with the breeze other sails started to go up. It was like white flowers blooming from the sea.
Belfast was a surprise. A lot of sailboats, including two schooners that take folks out for day cruises. I guess that I still have schooner envy. I would love to sail one of those vessels but I see no way to make that happen. I would guess that there are at least 100 mooring balls here, probably more. Maybe one in three is in use.
For the first couple of days we spent a lot of energy dodging lobster pots. They were thick ... in the harbors, in the channels and in the open water. About halfway through Eggemoggin Reach they almost disappeared. Not coincidentally, we started seeing really nice homes lining the coasts of the islands and mainland. Best guess: this place is too expensive for lobster men to live and too far away for them to waste time and fuel getting here.
For all the time that we spent fogged in we are both pretty red in the face. Some sun, some wind and my face looks like a crispy critter and so do the backs of my hands. For all the sunscreen and SPF 50 clothing, Carols is also pretty pink.
We are now on the western side of Penobscot Bay, an area that I never even considered in the original cruising plan. The trick is to get back east without going over the same ground. So, the new plan is to head to Pulpit Harbor on the island of North Haven. There is an old inn there, the Pulpit Harbor Inn, which is supposed to have good food. I'm sure Carol can be talked into forgoing cooking on the boat. From there, a couple of nights at Isle Au Haut, a tricky bit getting to Mackerel Cove and then back to Bass Harbor.
I had thought that renting a boat might not be a good idea, that I would endlessly compare this boat to ours and not like the differences. And, there has been some of that. But mostly it has been about accepting the boat for what it is and learning to work within those constraints. With our boat we were married. With this boat it's just a first date.