Thursday, August 5, 2021

Ayuh

We are underway eastbound in the North Atlantic, south of Quahog Bay. We're bouncing over three footers on a period shorter than we'd like, part and parcel of the Maine cruising experience. We've had a nice week in the Portland area, but we were ready to move along.

This graphic, perhaps 20' across, is on a wall in downtown Portland.

We had a pleasant evening Saturday in our protected anchorage at Seal Cove. The Corps of Engineers created this anchorage back in 1881 by constructing a breakwater connecting Richmond Island to the mainland, creating twin harbors in which schooners could take refuge as they plied their trade coastwise. The choice of one side of the breakwater or the other depended on the prevailing weather. Nowadays the harbors are used only by pleasure craft.

Sunset from our anchorage off Richmond Island.

Sadly, just before bedtime, something in the weather shifted, and swell wrapped around Richmond Island and made its way into the anchorage. We rolled gently all night, a motion which does not disturb me very much, but makes it nearly impossible for Louise to sleep. By morning it was mostly gone and we spent a peaceful morning in the anchorage before moving on. We did not go ashore on historic Richmond Island, which is private, but it is permitted to land on the beach and walk around the island on the perimeter trail.

Say cheese, Louise. We passed this joint looking for dinner, and could not resist a photo.

We arrived in Portland in the early afternoon, and spent a full hour driving around the mouth of the Presumpscot, looking for a more comfortable anchorage than the one we've used in the past. It did seem more comfortable there, but all the spots deep enough for Vector were already taken, and instead we dropped the hook in our usual spot in a corner of Anchorage A (map).

Our neighbor for a day, superyacht Amara. I watched her arrive in the wee hours; the next morning she deployed her helicopter. It came back the same night after dark, she weighed anchor, and left. The pilot boat escorted her in and out.

As it turned out, we need not have worried, because we had no swell to speak of during our three-night stay. There are wakes in the harbor, of course, but they tail off by nightfall and they're not intolerable during the day. We splashed the tender in the evening and went ashore for dinner. Even early on a Sunday evening, the touristy waterfront district was very busy, so we grabbed the first open outdoor seating that we saw, at a high-zoot bar called, simply, The Bar. For bar food, it was quite good.

The municipal dock was crowded every day, and I had to get creative with the dinghy. I was just able to get the bow to the dock cramming between these two boats.

Our good friends in town, Stacey and Dave, who are themselves in the middle of selling their house and moving aboard full time, were not available until Tuesday, and so I spent Monday getting things done around the house. Among other things, I broke down and stowed our free-standing air conditioner, "Mr. Roboto," which I had carefully set up in the stateroom at the beginning of summer, only to use it once. Here in the 65° waters of Maine, it's always cool in the stateroom no matter how warm it gets outside. We tendered ashore for pizza at old standby The Flatbread Company, which has its own dock.

I was a bit surprised to see a cruise ship arrive in town on our final day, ACL's American Constitution.

Tuesday, Dave was kind enough to pick me up and run me down to Cabela's for a project item. I had tried to order it on Amazon, but Portland seems to be the Amazon backwater, where Prime items that are one or two day delivery everywhere else, take a full week, even to a locker. We also swung by the grocery store for provisions before he dropped me back at the tender. In the evening they picked us up and drove us to their favorite local dive bar for dinner. We had a great time catching up.

While we were out shopping, Dave looked at anchors like this one. I told him not to buy, because I had a spare on board. We had salvaged this in Fort Lauderdale and I was happy to pass it on. Louise thought it was very salty of me to carry it through the ferry terminal on our way off the dock.

Yesterday morning I wanted to get a walk in before leaving town, and I headed off to explore a part of downtown that was new to me. Lots of history and culture here, and I snapped a few photos on my walk. Our visit thus concluded, we weighed anchor for the very short cruise across Casco Bay to a familiar anchorage in Potts Harbor, near Harpswell (map).

My walk brought me to the Portland Museum of Art, and this outdoor piece immediately caught my eye. Long-time readers may remember its doppelganger, wearing a mask outside the Cummer Museum of Art in Jacksonville from this post.

It was a good travel day and we would have gone all the way to Boothbay Harbor, but we wanted to catch up with friends Steph and Martin aboard Blossom, and Dori and Bob aboard Liberdade, who were staying at the Dolphin Marina there. Long-time readers may remember that we met the proprietor there, Chris, a few years back, when he hailed us on the radio on our way to the anchorage, having recognized Vector from Martin and Steph's blog.

Another outdoor piece at Portland Museum of Art.

We had a great time catching up with all four of them aboard Blossom for cocktails, and then we joined Steph and Martin for dinner ashore at the Dolphin restaurant. Chris was not around or we would have said hello. We are glad to have caught up with everyone, because it is unclear whether or not our paths will cross again here in Maine. 

More creative docking. The dock has a 2-hour limit, but the red boat next to us did not move our whole stay in Portland.

Even though today is a mediocre travel day, we wanted to make some progress further "down east," getting us closer to the real scenic beauty of the state and further from the relative bustle (and higher case rate) of the Portland area. The weather will deteriorate even further later this afternoon and into tonight, so we will be hunkering down in a protected cove somewhere until this passes.

This Civil War memorial, Our Lady of Victories, might be the largest monument in town.

Update: We are anchored in Moffat Cove, a small cove off Townsend Gut, a short distance from Boothbay Harbor (map). We expect the swell to come into the harbor tonight, and it's too cold and wet to want to go ashore anyway, so we stopped here with good protection. In the morning we will assess whether we can make some more progress or need to hunker down another day.

Monument to the bane of my existence, the Maine Lobstermen. I eat a lot of lobster in Maine, to get even with them for making me steer around pot floats all day.

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