Monday, May 27, 2013

Into the Wilds

[Kyle]I awoke at 3:00am completely rested and refreshed after nine glorious hours of sleep. Outside, it was dark, but I could see the moon! This meant that for the fist time in days and days, it was clear out. Finally!

Clear at night also means cold. I made coffee while Maryanne slept a little more. Begonia’s interior filled with steam from my breath and the kettle, neither of which would dissipate. The record rains of the previous week had made it really humid inside and out. I toughed out the cold as long as I could bear, then fired up the heater, lifting our indoor fog. {Maryanne: I've no idea why Kyle chooses to suffer so much, I'd have turned on the heating immediately!}

Maryanne got up and the two of us finished the last of our preparations for our early departure. Apart from having to bundle up against the freezing cold, it was a beautiful morning. The sunrise was the first non-gray one we’d had in a while. Once it cleared the hills, it burned off the dew coating the boat, and then the greenhouse effect from the enclosure warmed the cockpit.

A beautiful clear, calm morning

Once clear of the Somes Harbor mooring field we raised the sails in the light winds of the Sound. As we headed out of its protection, the winds gradually built until we were streaking along at full speed across Frenchman Bay in winds of the perfect direction and strength for fast sunny-day sailing.

With such great conditions, I was even able to sit in the sun on the forward deck and use our autopilot remote to dodge pot buoys and lobster boats.

Once across Frenchman Bay, we passed Schoodic Island. I was looking forward to this. Even though Mainers generally refer to the entire Maine coast east of Penobscot Bay as “Down East”, most of the cruising sources I have checked with seem to agree that Schoodic Island marks the limit of the Down East cruising grounds, beyond which lies a wild frontier. As you go east, we are warned, the tides get bigger, the currents stronger and more unpredictable, and marine facilities are all but non-existent, particularly for non-lobster “yachts”. It sounds to me a lot like Scotland. I’m sure Nova Scotians call it something like, “The Bunny Slope”. Since self-sufficiency and remoteness are our kind of thing, I couldn’t wait to see some of the less visited gems off of the beaten path.

We proceeded one point beyond Schoodic and rounded stark and lonely Green Island, just off of the end of the Petit Manan peninsula, before rounding up into the wind and beating towards a deserted spot on the beach along its eastern shore, where we dropped anchor for the night. Thanks to our early start and fast sailing, it was still well before noon.

Kyle steers the boat with the remote from the foredeck (dodging the minefield of lobster pot floats), and finds a patch in the sun to sit. Eventually we round at Petit Manan Island light (on green island) before anchoring in the lee of the wildlife refuge

From our anchorage, there are no signs of human habitation except for the giant lighthouse on Green Island; it’s associated buildings and the lobster boats tracing erratic paths around their traps in the distance. Our spot along the beach looks unprotected, but it’s an illusion. As the tide recedes, the slight swell turns into nearby surf, robbing the waves of their energy and flattening the water at the anchorage. Eventually, the surf itself stops, and a semicircle of rock is revealed, putting us in the middle of a horseshoe shaped bay.

Amazingly, in spite of our obvious remoteness, we have a WAY better cell-phone signal here than we did in the middle of Somes Harbor, surrounded by houses and within line-of-sight distance of the little village of Somesville. We even have 4G! How does that happen? It is a surreal experience to be able to surf the Internet where a search with our best binoculars doesn’t even turn up a lamppost. I still remember thinking a twenty-foot phone cord was a luxury.

So it looks like our blog backlog (backblog?) will get out a little sooner than we thought. {Maryanne: We spent the afternoon with the luxury of internet and great views, and watched the local bird populations swoop and squawk until finally settling for the evening}


Karen said...

So great to catch up - thank goodness for 4G! :-) The coast of Maine is beautiful... such a shame you had so much bad weather starting out. At least now it looks like things have cleared for a while so you can enjoy the scenery (and maybe some of the preserve?).

How much farther north are you going? The reversing falls at St. John are fun to see, if you haven't been already. Or are you going to Nova Scotia? Or turning around and heading for warmer waters? Looking forward to finding out. :-)

Happy sails!

SV-Footprint said...

Hi Karen, thanks for the message! We won't be making it to Canada this year (and our insurance reflects that so we won't even sneak over the border), but will definitely keep your tips in mind for the next time we are in this neck of the woods! We had a lazy day after a short sail yesterday; finally allowing Kyle to feel caught up with sleep, etc. Next stop we plan to go ashore and explore again (more like proper cruising).

Long live access to the internet from all places ;-)