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Published: September 10th 2009
Light House at Port Clyde
We found the design and setting for this lighthouse charming.
We were just preparing to leave Penobscot Bay to begin our migration South when last we wrote. That does not mean we were ready to leave MAINE, however. We still had a bit of Muscongus and Casco Bays to traverse and more family visiting in Portland ahead.
One of the sailing groups we belong to is the Ocean Cruising Club. They were having a gathering in South Bristol so we were heading that way as we set out. We had never been through Port Clyde since the charts show skinny water on one route and a narrow torturous second route through this port. The weather was calm and clear so we decided to put the new chart plotters to work and go the torturous route as Port Clyde has a reputation for being very pretty. A local fisherman said there would be plenty of water over the shallow part since we were on a rising tide but we wanted to wind our way through the very narrow and twisting second route. Just as we had sorted out the proper approach we noticed a large sailboat entering the channel from the opposite direction. It seemed clear to us that there was
We watched the saliboat negotiate the narrow channel before heading through
not room for two large boats to maneuver so we turned back to wait till they had cleared. We got to see a little better the orientation of the route by watching their progress. In the end it was fine and we are glad to have come through Port Clyde as it is lovely.
The anchorage in South Bristol seemed to provide adequate protection for a storm, but should Hurricane Bill materialize as an issue we scoped out hurricane holes further up the Johns River. You always need an exit strategy! South Bristol is a working harbor with few other businesses but we enjoyed our time there. In addition to the social aspects of meeting up with old friends and making new ones in the Ocean Cruising Club, we took hikes along the rural roads, picked more berries and found a spot with EXCELLENT ice cream for free. That's right— Mary's favorite price. The lady who owns the Bridge House just next to the swing bridge operates an interior design business in South Bristol and Boston. She had a fully equipped ice cream parlor inside and the Annabelle’s ice cream was on the house. We are not ashamed to
Lobster Dock in Port Clyde
Note all the traps piled on the dock. Prices too low to make it work setting them.
say we got to know this lady!! The bridge here is very narrow and has an alarming obstruction immediately after you pass through or under it. the high tide clearance is only a few inches so even small boats require an opening at high tide. This explains why this bridge opens with great frequency. When we chatted with the tender he confirmed that it opens more often than any other bridge in the country!
Bill was going to miss us for wind but we ventured out to the headlands to see the surf and the waves were very impressive. Sadly, tourists doing the same thing at Mount Desert were swept out to sea and required rescue. A seven-year-old girl did not survive. It makes you pause and consider the power of nature.
We waited an extra day to allow the seas to subside a bit and set out for Casco Bay. After a visit to the Salt Cod Café on Orr’s Island we headed for the Goslings which is a lovely area mid week when the day trippers are not in the mix. As we were leaving we saw a large herd of seals on the island just
off Lower Goose. We know seals are attracting great white sharks to Cape Cod but we have never seen one in Maine.
In the two weeks we have been back in the Portland area we have moved about among Falmouth Foreside, Great Diamond, and downtown Portland with each location offering a different experience. Falmouth is much more comfortable and we went to nearby Clapboard Island to anchor for Hurricane Danny, another non-event, but you always prepare! Services at Falmouth are quite a hike, though and Portland offers everything within an easy walk. We went to the movies with Lauren and especially enjoyed Julie/Julia featuring Meryl Streep as Julia Child. It helped to keep the "foodie" theme that we are usually keeping while in town. Sure enough the October Bon Appetit hit the stands while we were there and it voted Portland "America’s foodiest small town 2009" We were not surprised to read that many of our favorite haunts (Standard Bakery, Becky’s Diner, Micucci’s) were featured. Got some new places to check out, too.
Lauren was able to spend some time on board over the Labor Day weekend and as we were sailing towards Peaks Island we saw a
As the water falls you see that it is a shoal marker.
large ship called "Asphalt Sailor" and Christian and I burst out laughing. We had heard someone hailing this ship on the VHF radio but the name was garbled just enough so we THOUGHT they were calling a boat by a naughty name we have considered using when someone is acting very stupidly on the water. Lauren wondered what was going on that she was missing! We enjoyed some beach walking and sea glass collecting. For those who are unfamiliar with sea glass, it is simply glass that has been smoothed by being rolled in the surf for many years. It has a soft frosted appearance and is used for jewelry, stained glass art and other decorative things. Lauren makes jewelry and was pleased to supplement her stock. All this running around took its toll on our feet and we decided to try out "Soakology" which is a business offering lovely foot soaks and foot massage if you want. You sit in a huge comfy cozy chair and a huge clay "cache-pot" of sudsy hot water is rolled over. You sit and soak (and sleep in Christian's case) for a good long time. We opted for some massage, too and it
Hot in Maine?
The temperature was 85 in So Bristol and we can prove it.
Now restored, we were off to the farmers' market and a last walk around Portland’s historic district. I just drink in the architecture in this small city. As we returned to the waterfront we saw that the holiday weekend brought out the narrow gauge railroad’s steam engine. You usually have a diesel one so this is a treat. In addition to the unique sound of the whistle this train had folks dressed in period costumes which was fun for the tourists (and us!)
The weather is STILL sunny. We can only recall 5 days of foggy weather while underway this summer. Still, temperatures are getting more fall-like and it is time to head South so we can follow the milder temperatures rather than being caught by cold and stormy weather which cannot be far off. On the morning we were hoping to leave there was a distinctive red sky. "Red sky in morning, sailor take warning" is the old saying and it is often correct. We decided to wait an extra day to allow wind and seas to subside. From here we will head for the Cape Cod Canal, either directly or via the Isles of
Shoals or Gloucester.
More soon… Mary & Christian / I Wanda
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