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Published: August 18th 2009
We have never seen such abundant wild blueberries as this year
I have always loved the word "Penobscot" since it was used for the obnoxious guy's name on MASH. Turns out it is a really lovely part of Maine that straddles the more 'civilized' or at least populated parts of the state with the more remote. So sometimes your cell phone works and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes you can pick up WiFi from the boat and sometimes you can't. Mostly you can't, though there are some GREAT connection spots if you need a fix (or if you have moved to on-line payment of bills). We have never found the urge to go a lot further East than Mount Desert Island -- pronounced "dessert" up here as they say it is French... though that would make it "mon day ZAIR" but don't go trying to correct Mainer pronunciation! We are sure that further East there are wonderful places and we will go there, maybe next year... but for now we feel like we have arrived where we want to be when we get to Penobscot Bay.
So what have we been up to? Lots of hiking, meeting up with old friends and making new ones, berry picking, pie making, lobster eating and
Moose on the River
The Sheepscott is not in Penobscot Bay but the moose was close!
a bit less searching for the perfect chowder, though we did get Orr's Island chowder at the Rockland Lobster Festival. We feel bad for the fishermen that prices are so low for them-- they are getting well under $3 a pound for their lobsters-- but we have been feasting getting them directly from the lobstermen, 4 to 5 nice sized ones for $20. We try and walk a bit every day and stash a few old yogurt containers in the back packs just in case we find berries. Careful to stay on in public areas not to infringe on the commercial blueberry fields we have still managed to find over 8 quarts of wild blueberries and a couple of quarts of red raspberries. Mixed together they make a very nice pie... not as many seeds as a raspberry pie and a bit more flavor than the all blueberry ones.
Islesboro is where lots of boaters gather for the annual "down east SSCA gam" which is a come as you are pot luck for anyone who shows up on a boat (or even by ferry) not just members of the Seven Seas Cruising Association. There were 60 to 70 boats
Bisous and the lobsters
Good thing the claws are secured as she went right up!
anchored in Gilkey Harbor, at Warren Island and another anchorage nearby. Weather took turns being awful and delightful and we had a good time.
After the Gam we went with several boats to Castine. Castine is famous for the Maine Maritime Academy, but we go for the elm trees. Not since my youth had I seen enormous stately American Elm trees like the ones you can still see in Castine. Many homes also have gardens with profuse displays of annual flowers, a delight for the eyes and a treat for the bees! In Castine it is an easy walk to the lighthouse at Dice Head. We went with Ruth from Windpower and had a great time! When we returned to the anchorage near Castine in Smith Cove we saw we had been joined by The Blue Guitar, a handsome power boat rumored to be owned by Eric Clapton. We often share Maine anchorages with the Blue Guitar and believe we have seen the famous guitarist... but it could be our imagination.
After Castine we headed around Cape Rosier to Buck's Harbor where you can no longer hear the great steel drum band "Flash in the Pan" and
Always a challenge to cook in a small galley but the reward is worth the effort!
the market no longer makes the best sticky buns in the world. We still spent 4 days there as the hiking and berry picking are good and we needed several days to catch up on news with Mike & Dawn on Anahata for whom Buck's is home port. Schooners still stop and you can still hear bag pipes in the fog from time to time, though we had mostly sun.
From Buck's we sailed down Eggamoggin Reach (don't you love these names? Like the Bagaduce river that flows by Castine?) and made our way into Southeast Harbor on Deer Island and thence to Stonington where you can still see stone cutters carving out huge building granite along the thorofare. Vinalhaven has many great anchorages and we usually hunt for mussels there at low tide. Not this year, though, as all the rain in June and July has cause one of the worst red tides in memory. We are told it doesn't harm the clams and mussels but will make humans very ill so we passed. Seal Cove and Perry Creek were lovely and we caught up with Allan and Cathy from Evening Star, last seen in Beaufort, SC at
Gilkey Harbor on Islesboro fills up with boats attending the Gam
their dock there.
We had never taken the boat into Camden before, fearing no room to anchor and too many tourists. Turns out there WAS room and we found the town lovely and fun, with easy dinghy access, lots of ice cream shops and, had we needed it, a convenient laundry. I especially liked their cross walk signs-- painted in the crosswalk-- "STOP, WAIT, WAVE!" While it could be to make your intent clear to drivers, I chose to believe it was just a friendly sort of place! We will come back.
We made one last stop in Rockland which is our provisioning stop in Penobscot Bay. There is a Hannaford grocery and good laundry within an easy walk, and several good coffee shops and book stores. There is also, inexplicably, the best housewares store this side of Zabars. It is called "The Store" with typical Maine restraint! As the fog stared to roll in we set off, through Muscle Ridge (I imagine Mr. Universe operates the lighthouses...) to Tenants Harbor. Tomorrow we will head out of Penobscot Bay and into Muscongus, starting our long trip South.
More soon... Mary & Christian / I Wanda
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