Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Burnt Coat Harbor

Tuesday August 28,2007

Duck Harbor, Isle Au Haut

Duck Harbor is a small place, just a cut between two granite walls filled with sea water leading to an inner cove surrounded by rocky beach. Dark green spruce surround the harbor where they can find soil between the granite outcrops. In some places where the soil is too thin for trees or they have been toppled by some storm, there are meadows of grass and low bush blue berry. A small landing protrudes into the harbor from the southern shore. The ferry from Stonington lands here several times a day bringing walkers to the National Park. Anchoring space is at a premium. We were one of half-a-dozen boats and there was space for only one or two more. Our spot was near the opening of the cove and would have been rolly (snogg if it had not been such a quiet night. I woke once as the tide turned after midnight to find we had swung on the outging tide and lay among quietly between the moonlight bathed outcrops which mark the entrance.

In the morning we walked the trail up which leads over the height of Duck Harbor Mountain at this end of Isle Au Haut. The mountain is not tall, perhaps about 400 feet, but the trail often leads up steep outcrops of rock where you must pick your hand and foorholds carefully, especially on the descents. I found this difficult, especially as I had sprained my right wrist when I tripped and fell walking to the outhouse in the morning and could not put weight on it. The scenary and views were spectacular. Peter Fifield and I set out before the first ferry of hikers arrived and so we had the place to ourselves. In several places we dropped off the granite outcrops to make our way through lush cool canyons among the spruce. White and green mosses carpeted the ground. After an hour and a half, perhaps two we emerged on at an open beach covered in cobbles on the south side of the island.

After walking along the coast for 15 minutes to the west we found the dirt road and followed it back to the harbor. Handling the dinghy lines and even getting into the dinghy revealed just how sore my hand was, but Fifield made an icepack, I took some Advil and an hour later the swelling had gone down and I was at the tiller again.

We sailed close to the coast and explored Moore's harbor. Here Pete saw some curious birds and more trees on shore decorated with lobster traps. (picture to come) After sailing through the Isle Au Haut thorofare with a nice following breeze and a quick reach up to Merchants Island, the wind died while we were admiring the schooners we would follow into Burnt Coat Harbor on Swan Island.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great blog! I like plotting your course in Peter's A Crusing Guide to the Maine Coast!