Moseying in Maine

We hauled anchor under sail and proceeded back into Eggemoggin Reach; winds began out of the northwest. Once again we were tacking through the reach. Fortunately, winds shifted southwest and we were able to sail on a reach as we approached the suspension bridge.

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This bridge connects Deer Isle to mainland Maine. It has a clearance height of 85 feet at its center. Rode Trip breezed underneath among numerous sailboats out enjoying the day.

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Exiting the Eggemoggin Reach we entered East Penobscot Bay. That nice southwest wind that carried us through the reach was now right on our nose. Rather than tack back and forth once again racing sunset to make Islesboro we decided to anchor. We selected the western cove on Pickering Island. Pickering Island is privately owned and a preserve of the Nature Conservatory; landing on the western cove is permitted but we didn’t go ashore. Good holding, mind the shoaling on either side. We had the cove all to ourselves for about one-hour and as the day came to a close we were joined by three other sailboats.

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The next morning we hauled anchor under sail with just enough room to turn out of Pickering Island’s cove and head toward a foggy backdrop. A southwest wind was forecast; sometimes we had southwest wind and sometimes none. This was yet another foggy day with islands appearing and disappearing and ships passing silently nearby.

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We had full sails up, genoa down engine running, genoa up with one reefed main, all within 18nm. It was warm, long sleeves and pants were enough. I was missing our passages where for days at a time we’d sail along one tack and not make any adjustments.

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We had a nice view of Islesboro before rounding the southern end of the island.

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The mainland was entirely obscured and only Camden hills could be seen reaching out above this fallen cloud.

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We sailed up Gilkey Harbor with just the main sail and made our way to the east side of Warren Island where we’d anchor.

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Our arrival didn’t phase the locals.

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Are We Reaching Yet?

One can never experience Maine the same way twice. With 5,500 miles of coastline (Fact Sheet) and countless coves and islands there is something new to explore literally around every corner. Having anchored once again at Swan’s Island, we certainly didn’t want our visit to Maine to be a repeat of familiar places. So we departed Mackerel Cove, Swan’s Island with no specific plan but just to let the wind determine the day’s route. Our final destination was Rockland, Maine…or so we thought… The wind was not holding true to the forecast; instead of the predicted south winds when we exited the Casco Passage and entered Jericho Bay we had west winds. Do we head west through the Deer Island Thorofare (turn left) or northwest through the Eggemoggin Reach (turn right)?

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After some quick chart plotting, a consult with the calendar, and a review of our ship’s food stores we devised a plan. With the west wind we agreed we’d get the most sail for our efforts by traveling through Eggemoggin Reach. Heading north our new final destination would now be Islesboro, Maine where we’d have ample time to explore a new place prior to attending our next scheduled event. As we crossed Jericho Bay, having shifted gears, just when the entrance buoy to Eggemoggin Reach was in sight, the wind stopped.

Eggemoggin Reach runs between Deer Isle and mainland Maine. This stretch of water is roughly 10-miles long and one-mile wide. Eggemoggin Reach had been described by A Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast (Hank & Jan Taft) as, “…an exhilarating sail in either direction.” This majestic reach, bordered by rocky shorelines where New England homes were tucked neatly between evergreens, sat awaiting Rode Trip as our forward momentum slowed near the entrance buoy. No wind. Brian was determined to sail the reach and painstakingly tweaked sails to catch every last breeze.

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Soon (or at least within the hour) we were nosing our way into Eggemoggin Reach. There were 10-15 knots of wind being funneled down the reach but it was coming from the northwest. And so we began our exhilarating sail, not on a broad reach, but instead tacking back and forth sailing upwind. Thank goodness the sun was shining! We held another crew meeting at the helm to adapt the day’s plan. To avoid racing the sunset and inevitably losing, we decided to anchor so that we could enjoy the afternoon and maybe catch a break for a broad reach sail the following day.

We anchored at Greenlaw Cove; approximately five miles from the entrance buoy on the south side of Eggemoggin Reach. Upon entering we were blasted with a headwind and pushed by a strong current northbound current. I took down the genoa and Brian steered under the main for a while without making much headway against the current. When we’d backed far enough the main came down and the engine came on to motor us through toward the southernmost end of the cove. We anchored in 14 feet of water with good, mud holding. This was a large, open cove with protection from west which we’d recommend only during settled weather.

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A Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast (Hank & Jan Taft) agreed with our assessment that Greenlaw Cove looked intriguing on the chart, “…but has little scenic beauty or interest.” Now I don’t know how to rate scenic beauty, but we more than pleased with our surroundings. We kayaked the perimeter of the cove admiring sprawling fields, rocky shorelines, dense pine forests, tidal nooks and crannies, beautiful homes…and of course wildlife including herons, guillemots, gulls, seals, minnows, and mackerel…it was lovely! And not another cruiser in sight!

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