Belfast to Bar Harbor, Maine

Sep 13th, 2022 Jayne Destinations

I have joked that every day of sailing comes with some sort of drama that offers us a challenge—thankfully normally minor!— to overcome. Our departure out of Belfast brought the first such drama to deal with.

This time it was a loose halyard shackle that kept us on our toes - literally. As we were raising the mainsail, the pin, shackle, and block attached to the halyard came loose from the mainsail, leaving the halyard dancing aroud the backstay. Trying to catch it reminded me of those metal ball tilting maze games I used to play, but this time I used the wind to our timely advantage to steer the boat to unravel the halyard. With the help of the trusted boat hook, James was able to reach up and grab the offending article. We secured the pin extra tight this time. Mainsail raised and drama over.

A shy bald eagle and no telephoto lens to hand.
A shy bald eagle and no telephoto lens to hand.

Our destination was tranquil Nautilus Cove near Castine with a beautiful bald eagle as our neighbor for the night. There is something quite patriotic and symbolic about our first bald eagle sighting. There might be other, equally conifer-heavy, granite coves in the world, but this sighting had us figuratively flying the US flag.

The next day we followed the procession down Eggemoggin Reach, and sailed under Deer Isle bridge that connects the mainland to the island. This was our first bridge navigation, and despite a clearance of 85 ft, Scout’s 65 ft height felt like its antenna was about to tickle the belly of the bridge, at least from the helm.

Tickling the belly of Deer Isle bridge.
Tickling the belly of Deer Isle bridge.

From the bridge we anchored over in Mackerel Cove on Swans Island before timing the current the next morning through Bass Harbor Bar. Another drama! Once we’d navigated the bar we noticed steam coming out of the exhaust pipe, despite a clean sea water strainer. As soon as we’d picked up our mooring ball in Southwest Harbor on Mt Desert Island we were off to the nearest hardware store to purchase what was the last drain cleaner snake in the store. What a find! It did the trick at unblocking a ball of seaweed from the sea water intake that was causing the steam.

Below the sole squeeze.
Below the sole squeeze.

While in Southwest Harbor we also picked up our Viking liferaft from West Marine. Despite previous meticulous measuring efforts during the online ordering stage, when we finally picked it up we weren’t sure if it would actually fit in the designated place beneath the transom step. It was a bit of a challenge transporting the box via dinghy in the thick fog, so were relieved we didn’t have to return it when we were finally able to fit it snugly in its slot.

Raft on a raft.
Raft on a raft.

Living on a boat means that we walk anywhere and everywhere—the hardware, supermarket, restaurants, you name it—and that includes those non-essential hikes on trails, you know, just for the fun of it! Today’s hike of choice was on the Flying Mountain Trail over to Valley Cove on Mt Desert Island and the view didn’t disappoint. Fortunately, the fog was well mannered-enough to stay offshore.

Green, blue, white, and blue again.
Green, blue, white, and blue again.

Our furthest destination ‘down east’ would be to Bar Harbor as we wanted to hike the somewhat-strenuous Gorge trail of Mt Cadillac in the Acadia National Park. The trail was well maintained, varied and tough-going, but we made it!

Catching the view and my breath on top of Mt. Cadillac.
Catching the view and my breath on top of Mt. Cadillac.

The next day the fog rolled in near to our anchorage reminding us of Maine’s many marine attributes. This was a dramatic taster of what was to come - which we will cover in our next post!

A sea monster rising out of the fog.
A sea monster rising out of the fog.

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