Saturday, August 07, 2010

Buckle Harbor, Swans Island, ME Part II

Click here to see our progress map.  Our current location is at the top of the list.

We took lots of pictures of this pretty place known as Buckle Harbor, so we just wanted to share them.  Yesterday we did a little exploring in the dingy.  We went over to one of the small islands.  The rock formations are just amazing.

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We found a path into the forest and decided to see where it led.  We have been on some of the small Maine islands before and wanted to see if we would find any ‘fairy houses’ as we have in the past.  These are ‘houses’ made of whatever is around; wood, shells, seaweed, sticks, and bird feathers.  We aren’t quite sure who makes them, it could be kids or it could be artists, maybe even fairies … but it is fun to see them.  They are all very clever.   We took a picture of Rick near one of them so that you could see the scale.  The smell of the conifer forest was just like the smell of Christmas trees, and occasionally mixed with the musky smell of the kelp and seaweed on the rocks below the tide line … mesmerizing.

  DSC04466aPath into the forest

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Several of the fairy houses

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     A view of Rickshaw and the island from the path

We kept walking and all of a sudden we saw this door!  It had a full frame, hinges and even a lock.  Written on the side in the direction that we were going was ‘Etheria’ and on the returning side it said ‘Reality’.  We were floored.  We came back to Rickshaw to look up the word Etheria and found that it is a fictional planet that was founded by a group of beings known only as The First Ones.  Their living spirits dwell in the Cavern of Fire, located in an underground kingdom.  I guess it is all about staying with the fairy theme!  Sort of amazing … someone actually took the time to haul this old door, complete with frame, over to this island, drag it into the woods, and erect it … just for fun!

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We did turn back and got into the dingy to do some more exploring of the other parts of the harbor.  There were several very small islands some with a house or two on them.  We learned that 91% of the islands in Maine are privately owned. 


Someone went to a lot of expense to build this rock wall/dock.

DSC04480Our first bald eagle sighting in Maine.  What a great way to end the day!

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   We love the rocky coastline

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           The size of the boulders is amazing               Mt. Desert Island in the background

It was getting time for a cold one so we took the dingy back to Rickshaw and enjoyed the rest of the day.  Yesterday evening was just beautiful.  Rick got a number of pictures of the sunset.  It was quite dramatic!

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Tomorrow we head out to the Cranberry Islands.  There are two of them and we are going to anchor near Little Cranberry Island, which is about 3 miles off the coast of Mt. Desert Island, and has about 75 year-round residents.

On our way to Buckle Harbor, Swans Island, ME

On Wednesday, August 4th, we were in Belfast on a mooring ball and trying to decide if we wanted to leave or hang out for another day.  The weather was overcast with fog as a backdrop.  We had checked the weather as we always do, probably 10 times a day, and decided that we were ready to move on.

We also decided to tow the dingy rather than put it back on the boat.  What you want to do here is have the dink ready to go exploring.  It turned out to be a fabulous day with sun and cool breezes.  Gotta love Maine! 

We cruised from Belfast through the Eggemoggin Reach which is a beautiful cruising area.  This was the first time that we saw so many other boats.  We have been wondering about why we saw so few pleasure boats on our trip in Maine so far.  But they were out in huge numbers yesterday.  We assume that it was because of the front that came through and brought up big winds for all the sailboats.

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We saw dolphins, seals and lots of  small birds called Guillemots, which swim underwater using their wings to bottom fish.

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             Our first picture of a seal                       A Guillemot…they dive as soon as you see them

We were on our way to a beautiful anchorage that we had heard about.  Our 4 hour trip was full of dodging lobster floats (that, obviously, are attached to lobster pots/traps).  We are pretty used to that by now and we actually don’t mind lobster pots most times, because it provides some interest as you are cruising along…dodging them can be interesting! 

We have been happy that we have dodged them left and right at the correct times so as not to get the lines drawn into our props which would be a BIG problem.  However, things just have a way of bringing you back to reality.  We were coming into the very skinny entrance of Buckle Harbor, our anchorage, which was full of lobster pots and we were trying to figure out where to set the anchor as, yup, we picked up our first lobster float.  Luckily it got wrapped around the rudder post instead of the prop, so we continued into the anchorage, dragging the float and trap with us. 

We got anchored fine, and Rick managed to grab the float with a boat hook and secure it to a cleat on the swim platform, so it wouldn’t get further entangled, and decided to figure out how to deal with the float in the morning.  If we couldn’t easily remove it, we would have to either cut the line and hope it fell off or one of us was going to have to go into the water and get it off .  We both slept fitfully thinking about what to do because the water is 55 degrees and we didn’t even think to bring our wetsuits.  What was up with that??? 

Anyway, we were very lucky because Rick was able to pull both floats and the trap onto the swim platform (they use two floats on each trap up here) and enough of the line to be able to take the floats off of the line, and pull the line off of the rudder post.  So, no lines had to be cut and no one had to get into the water.  Phew.  Rick retied the lines to the floats.

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So, we had a ‘lazy pajama day’ after taking the lobster pot and floats in the dingy and dragging it out to a place where it wasn’t going to be a problem.   It was a good thing that we decided to just hang out since the fog rolled in and stayed heavy most of the day.

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                   Our view from the aft deck                    A lobsterman as the fog starts to come in

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    2 sailboats in front of us                             The same view as the fog comes in

Pretty soon we could see less than 25 yards for most of the day.  Good day to hang and read all day.  We could do boat chores but, hey, we can do that when we get back to NC! 

Next blog will have more on our anchorage.  Such a beautiful place.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

More of Belfast

We really didn’t get to see much of Belfast yesterday, except for the laundromat and the co-op next door, which is very similar to Whole Foods.  We woke up this morning to rain and a bit of fog and decided that since we could, we would just hang out here for another day.  We had a lazy morning then took the dink into Belfast for a more thorough ‘look’ at the town and lunch. 

One of the things we like most about this little town is that they have all kinds of art and historic info as you walk the main street.  Much of the art is to be used…like a myriad of different kinds of bikes for kids to ride.  We saw many kids enjoying them (ages 4 – 65, RRT). 

So, here are some additional pictures of what the books call an ‘original’ Maine town.  We sure did enjoy it.

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                Downtown Belfast                             Lobster Bike…just for tourists!


Note the custom cut curved stone curbing.  It was on all the streets.  Not sure if this is unique to Maine, but it is interesting anyway.

DSC04356a                                                                               A Knot Board


                                Downtown                                                        The Welcome Center

 DSC04363              This was sort of a strange piece of art…   refrigerator doors with the magnetic word   game where anyone can make different phrases

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           LT window shopping                          Rickshaw in the harbor

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                                         Bears are big here in Belfast!

Our plan is to leave in the morning but we will wait to see what the weather brings.  We are supposed to have thunderstorms tonight so maybe they will push out the bad weather.  We shall see!