Friday, August 31, 2007

Wooden Boat

Thursday, Wooden Boat, Brooklin, Maine

Today began in the fog at Northeast Harbor, on Mt Desert. The previous evening we'd had a spectacular dinner in the village at a tavern on main street. Both of our meals were so good, we soon forgot there had been no hot water for our long sought hot showers. It takes an effort to keep clean on the boat. I do have a sun shower, which uses solar energy to heat 5 gallons of water on a sunny day. In the past I hung the shower from a halyard and bathed atop the cabin in a bathing suit, but recently I hang the shower from the boom over the cockpit and sit in the bottom of the cockpit, naked, while underway and well out at sea. I then wash as if in the tub at home. Peter Fifield snapped some pictures of me doing this the other day while we made our way into Burnt Coat. He is planning to download his pictures onto my laptop when we find a USB cable. I think those shots may disappear in the process.

The moorings in Northeast harbor are still only $20 a night. In Maine we have found when we wanted to moor the price has been between $15 and $20 -- much less than we often encounter in Southern New England. But there has been a lack of showers.
Northeast harbor was packed with boats and busy with craft coming and going from the slips and moorings, many dinghies loaded with people and their dogs, all going to and from shore. The dinghy dock must have had 150-200 inflatable or hard shell dinghies tied up, often two and three deep. Avoid the interior corners. We saw one red faced man tossing and shoving dinghies out of his way as he struggled to push his way out .

Despite all the busyness, the harbor seems to run efficiently, a place where a radio call to the harbormaster will be answered. You see them about in their boats or ashore in the office on the waterfront. We heard a rumor over at Friendship, Long Island that the harbormasters here had just ejected Steve Forbes's yacht -- for excessive generator noise.
Rental buoys are marked with numbers assigned by boat length. I learned the mooring fee collection agents are all school teachers this year. It was she who told us about the new place to eat in town.
There is always some uncertainly in entering a new harbor in your boat. Will the place be friendly to a visiting sailboat or too busy with fishing or other commercial activity to help? Bringing a sailboat into water where there is limited manueverability can be a challenge, and means pulling in the jib and lowering the main sail and getting the engine on. London is small and easy to handle, but like all full keeled boats, can be unpredictable when powering in reverse. For this reason I have been using reverse in manuervers this trip as much as possible. Which way will she go?
Tonight we tried to moor at Center Harbor in the town of Brooklyn, Maine. We attempted to get both the boatyard and the yacht club on phone and radio with no luck, but spotting a free mooring off the boat yard, with no dinghy attached, grabbed it. I then rowed in and found an employee leaving for the day. He said the boat which belonged on the mooring was away and we would probably be alright for the night. Unfortunately while rowing back to London I was hailed by another sailboat who said the mooring had been promised to them earlier in the day by phone. We dropped that mooring, and not wanting to anchor in the exposed water outside, moved a few miles back up Egemoggin Reach toward the harbor Wooden Boat uses with the intention of anchoring there. Here we found a mooring clearly marked for guests and a launch to welcome us. We were opting for a mooring for the night as another cold front was expected with all its forecast thunder and strong gusts of wind.

Once settled we set off on foot for a pub in the basement of the Brooklin Inn. The walk was a good 1.5 miles, but we had only gone .5 a mile when a man in a pickup truck offered us a lift. We hopped over the tailgate, sat in the truck bed and hung onto the bags of cement on the floor as he sped into town. Later after an excellent and very reasonable dinner at the pub, we found Larry had also finished his dinner at a residence nearby and driven to the Inn to look for us. He whisked us back to Wooden Boat and then used his flashlight to light our way down the gangway to the dinghy dock. Awfully nice guy. Maine has been consistently like that.
The sailing today varied between terrific and then non-existent, when we slid into pockets of calm, dead air. There was thick fog in the morning and I used the chart plotter with its radar overlay to help guide our way out of Northeast Harbor and out through Western Way. By the time we were through Casco Passage and had started up Egemoggin Reach, the tide was running strong against us, so I manuevered to run alone the eastern shore near the Babson Islands and then up a real race, wing-on-wing between Torrey Island and High Head.
After our pickup ride we rowed back out to London on her mooring. I had left the anchor light and a cabin light on so we could find her easier in the dark, and the flashlight I keep stuffed in a cockpit locker again came in handy. The phosphorescnce in the water was spectacular. Swirling constellations of pale green globules in three dimensions. We swung the dingy round a few times just to watch the show.

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