Friday, August 27, 2021

Last hurrah in Maine

We are under way in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of southeastern Maine, headed southwest toward the Piscataqua River. It is a gorgeous day out here, with calm seas over about a one-foot swell. It's our last good day to make tracks before some nasty weather moves in and we are pinned down until next week.

Shortly after my last post we arrived to our usual spot in General Anchorage A in Portland Harbor. After dropping the hook and getting settled in, we splashed the tender and headed up the Fore River to the town dock in South Portland, where our friends Stacey and Dave had taken shelter from Henri. It was a good spot for that, in protected water and further protected by the large east pier of the Casco Bay Bridge. We made a note of the dock for the future.

Draft beer selection at Ruski's Tavern

The dock is a short walk from downtown South Portland (a different city from its namesake across the river), and we enjoyed a nice stroll, but even on a Tuesday most of the local restaurants were dark, leaving the well-rated taco joint packed. We all piled into Stacey's car and they drove us across the bridge to another of their favorite dive bars, Ruski's Tavern, where we enjoyed a nice dinner on a sidewalk picnic table. It was great catching up with them for a final visit before leaving.

I had need of a watch repair, and I spent some time Wednesday hoofing around downtown Portland to a handful of stores. I ended up at a place called Swiss Time, which does nothing but watches, and they were so good that I returned the next day with a different timepiece. A real find in a surprising place. I also made a trek to Whole Foods, really the only grocery store in (long) walking distance of the dock to top up the provisions, swinging by Mr. Bagel on the way for a few decent bagels.

Town landing at South Portland. Good to know.

I had picked the warmest day of the season to walk a couple of miles, but that made for very pleasant conditions when we walked to dinner al fresco at the Garden Cafe outside the Regency Hotel. The food was excellent, albeit at hotel prices, and it is one of the most pleasant outdoor spaces in town. The hotel itself occupies the old armory, and has retained the historic facade.

Yesterday would have been a good day out here for a passage, but it was clear that we'd be pinned down in the next stop for a few days starting tomorrow, so it did not make a lot of sense to rush out. "Hurry up and wait," as they say. We had another pleasant day in Portland instead, almost as warm as Wednesday, and headed ashore for a final dinner at Ri Ra, just off the dock.  We decked the tender when we got home.

This morning we weighed anchor on the very last of the ebb, for a favorable tide at our next stop on the Saco River. I had scoped out an anchorage there, and we could get ashore at a couple of docks with access to restaurants and other shops, a good place to hunker down. But another check of the weather as we were leaving the harbor persuaded us to press on a bit farther.

I have to walk down the ferry dock at the Maine State Pier to get to the dinghy; here I ended up behind some kind of group all dressed in white. An event at one of the islands, I imagine.

There are not many inlets along this stretch of coast. I called the harbormaster in York, Maine, which would be an excellent stop, but their moorings are limited to 50' in length. The lone anchorage in the outer harbor is exposed to the east, thus untenable for this stop. That leaves us with continuing to the Piscataqua and a familiar anchorage off Kittery Point, Maine.

I was really hoping for another stop or two along this coast, but we are in a part of the seaboard where weather dictates our movements more often than not. We've enjoyed our month in Maine and are allowing ourselves to be ready to move along as weather permits.

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