Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Apprenticeshop

There is a wooden boat building school here in Rockland called the Apprenticeshop and we visited there yesterday. It's a very friendly place with "Visitors Welcome" signs everywhere.

The students all start with this Susan Skiff as their first project. It has red oak frames, pine strakes, and a cedar bottom. We saw at least three of them in various stages of construction.

After the relatively simple techniques learned on the flat bottomed skiff, they progress to fully planked boat with round bottoms. These boats really are works of art; all the wonderful curves that come together just right are a treat for the eyes.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Beth's Farm Market

On our way home from Sugarloaf Sunday, we stopped at Beth's Farm Market for an extra dose of Fall and it didn't disappoint.

Mums were massed around the building, the scent of apples filled the air, and pumpkins, gourds, and ornamental corn abounded.
Everything was just so beautiful and fresh that I wanted to buy one of each, but we limited ourselves to one huge bag full of apples, carrots, tomatoes, beets, broccoli, onions, bell peppers, and green beans.
ps: If you're interested in online jigsaw puzzles, this one of mine was selected as a featured puzzle yesterday. Check it out at www.jigsawplanet.com
My username is fortunesafloat

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Fall Color in Carrabasset Valley

Thanks to a wonderfully generous couple we met back in St. Augustine, we had a weekend away from the boat in the hills of Maine enjoying the fall colors.


We drove past Flagstaff Lake where they had hiked and camped many times, and marveled at the brilliant red trees reflected in this little pond.

Next we drove up into the Carrabasset Valley where the colors were even more pronounced. Although this area is only around 4000' in elevation, it reminded us of the Sierra Mountains back in California.

On Sunday morning we rode the chairlift to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain where we were able to see the sleeping Indian across the valley. Can you see him? His feet are over to the left,  his hands are resting on his chest, and his headdress is trailing down to the right.

Our friends lived at Sugarloaf for many years and spent lots of time on the mountain skiing. Riding the lift back down, they said this was the first time they had ever ridden it DOWN the mountain. It was a beautiful quiet ride on the lift with views like this along the way. You can see our shadow on the trees.

On the way back we stopped by Mooselookmeguntic Lake and had this view out across the lakes in the watershed that feed the Kennebec River.

Thank you so much Jean and Bill for a beautiful weekend at your beloved Sugarloaf. We love you.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Stonington, Maine

A huge part of Stonington's history involves granite, and we were looking forward to visiting the granite museum, but it was closed for the season. So we walked around town, window shopping and talking to folks, and learned that there is an old quarry east of town that's now a park.
It's called Settlement Quarry and is near Webb Cove. There's no direct water access, but we parked our skiff (we call it a skiff now here in Maine) at the lobster packing shed nearby and one of the watermen told us how to get there.
We spent about two hours hiking around on paths like this....
and seeing things like this....
until we got to the top of the park where the quarry used to be. You can see a bit of the Deer Isle Pink Granite there. Although it wasn't from this quarry, this is the granite Jacqueline Kennedy chose for JFK's monument at Arlington.
From the top you can see across Webb Cove and Deer Isle Thorofare, and south all the way to Isle au Haut.
Here and there old pieces of mining equipment sit rusting amid the chunks of granite and in Webb Cove there's an old crane sinking into the mud.


Crossing the thorofare we saw this schooner heading west. Notice how their skiff provides the power? Lots of these old schooners have no engines, so they secure their skiffs at the stern, power them up, and motor around that way.
Back at our boat, we enjoyed this late season sunset and contemplated the arrival of a bad boy named José. It seems he might be coming this way.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

It's coming...

There's a certain feeling in the air now in Maine. It's that dry, breezy, leaves-crunching-underfoot kind of feeling that tells us that fall is coming.
Although the afternoons are still shorts and t-shirts weather, the mornings are chilly and we wish we had a heater. We are starting to see bits of orange here and there. Some of it, like these flowers and mushrooms is quite striking. The mushrooms were so bright, I thought they were crysanthemums at first!



We are beginning to see a few orange trees in the woods and fallen apples carpet the grass beneath their trees. Even the setting sun adds it's fiery glow to the boats in the harbor.


I picked up this leaf and carried it home yesterday. I tucked it into Thistle's logbook as a memory of our incredibly beautiful time sailing here in Maine. 

Castine, Maine


I know this seems hard to believe, but we walked into another storybook town here in Castine, Maine. The old homes are beautifully maintained and surrounded by huge elm trees and sloping lawns. Castine is also home to the Maine Maritime Academy and we saw cadets everywhere; even practicing docking their launches at the town landing. 

We walked about a mile out to Dice Head Light, which we had sailed by on our way in. There is a trail down to the rocky shore below the lighthouse where we were able to look out across the Bagaduce River towards our anchorage near Holbrook Island.

On our way back into town we stopped and read every one of the many historical signs. Castine was the site of many important events between the French, English, and Colonials in the 1600s and 1700s.
Castine has its share of gorgeous shingled summer "cottages" like this one, which also has a windmill!
After delicious Rueben sandwiches at Markel's Bakehouse, we walked out to an organic grocery store where we purchased some local tomatoes and lettuce. The sunflowers along the roadside took our minds off the long walk back.

Searsport and the Penobscot Marine Museum

When we arrived in Searsport we realized just how far off the typical cruiser's track we were. There wasn't a single sailboat in the harbor. 
We walked up to the Penobscot Marine Museum and spent several hours among the collection of buildings that represent a village from the 1800s. Each building houses a different type of display, learning opportunity, or collection.
My favorite was the Captain Jeremiah Merithew House which was filled with ship models, scrimshaw, foreign treasures, and Butterworth paintings.
This little gem is a ceramic lucky money bag from the Orient. The mice signify good luck. Purely decorative, but so cute!

The museum also has several outbuildings containing typical Maine boats and canoes. Isn't this peapod a beauty?


Walking back to the marina, we marveled again at the beautiful buildings in these old Maine cities. Just another gorgeous fall day in Maine. 

Corwith Cramer and SEA

One afternoon while anchored in Belfast, Martin, from the Dutch boat Princes Mia, rowed by and invited us to an event at the local boatyard. He said it would include a tour of the boatyard, so of course we hopped in our dinghy, because we love seeing boats and boatyards.

When we arrived we learned that the tour was arranged in conjunction with the Ocean Cruising Club and Sea Education Association, and would include a look at their tall ship Corwith Cramer. Not only were we welcome to join the tour, but for a small fee we could join their little cocktail party afterwards too.

After thirty years, the ship is undergoing a refit here at the Front Street Shipyard. This 134' steel brigantine was built in Spain and has sailed the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Mediterranean while introducing hundreds of college and high school students to life aboard a tall ship as they study our oceans. Based out of Woods Hole Massachusetts, the Corwith Cramer offers a wonderful experience for budding oceanographers and biologists.

The Front Street Shipyard is a recent success story here in Belfast. Started only six years ago, they are attracting large yachts and tall ships from all along the East Coast. They not only maintain and refit yachts, they also build them and have a modern marina too. This is their large lift. It's rated for 480 tons!

We also saw the Spirit of South Carolina hauled out. We last saw it in St. Augustine back in April.

I am so glad we joined Martin for an interesting afternoon with the kind folks from Ocean Cruising Club.