Hiking Boots and Sail Ties at the Ready

Thanks to Kim and Steve C., we had a scrumptious breakfast and a few Bloody Marys to kick start our first day of mini-vacation.  It was shaping up to be a lovely day so we planned to spend it outside.  We first headed to Mount Dessert Island.

Just north of Southwest Harbor, we’d selected the Flying Mountain trail.  It was packed with other vacationers!  It likely took us longer to park the car than to hike this moderate trail.  Once we started out we admired all the sights along the way.  Brian, Brian F., and Steve K. captured many moments throughout the hike with their stellar photography skills.  We had beautiful views of Southwest Harbor and Valley Cove.  We chatted away, paused for viewpoints and photo shoots, and refreshed by the gorgeous Valley Cove.  (Check out more of Steve K.’s fantastic photos, you’ll love them!)

Amanda tackles the trail!IMG_5815


Yea, we can roll with Team [ocn] CrossFit.IMG_5816Um, can someone move that tree?  It’s totally blocking my view…

IMG_5817That’s better.


What a hike!  Back at the guest house we took a break for lunch before hitting the water.  Rode Trip was anxious for another pleasure cruise and a nice little breeze was blowing out on Union River.  We piled everyone into the dinghy and headed out to the boat.  I didn’t hesitate to let the guys help me haul up the anchor; it was buried below 30 feet of water.  Brian F., Steve K., and I each took a turn hauling chain.  Viola!  But we’re not done yet…still have to raise the sails so we can get this boat cruisin’.IMG_2219


Time for dark-n-stormies!

Who’s ready for sailing lessons!?IMG_5845

Emily took to sailing like a fish takes to water.  She kept the wind in the sails and blazed a trail at six-knots.  Emily set a course that avoided rocks (and conspicuous islands), veered away from lobster buoys, and pointed out the sights along the way…I’d say by the end of the trip she could have taught Brian a thing or two about captaining.IMG_5852

At the end of our sail, Brian F. helped to douse the genoa.  He pulled the downhaul with all his might and when both he and the genoa landed, safely, on deck I concurred that the sail was indeed all the way down.  We faced a bit of a challenge when re-anchoring at Union River.  The conditions were wind against current and we had a narrow stretch between moorings where we could anchor in 30 feet at low before the depth rapidly increased to 60 feet.  Attempt number one put our stern too close; smack between an empty mooring and a lobster buoy.  Brian and I switched places and I motored away from the mooring and buoy while Brian hauled the anchor.  Round two, I was back at the bow with Brian F. and Steve K. at the ready to assist.  My arms were shaky and I wanted to be done but as we backed down on the anchor something didn’t look quite right.  I’d dropped the anchor on the wrong side of the stay which runs beneath the bowsprit.  We couldn’t risk the anchor chain chaffing the stay through the night, it’s a vital piece of rigging.  Round three, Brian F. and Steve K. hauled the anchor up and helped me to get it back onto the correct side of the stay.  I was back at the bow for the final time dropping the anchor with all my effort to not fall right over with it.  The anchor set and we settled into a nice space between moorings.  PHEW!

I think it’s safe to say that everyone aboard had a new perspective of living the dream; there is (at times) grueling, risky work involved before we can just sit back and drink cocktails all day in the sunshine.IMG_2267But once the work is done…it just doesn’t get any better than this!


Tide Pools at Otter Cliffs July 3, 2012

Our morning in Southwest Harbor got off to a slow start…thank you, gin fizz. (Actually, we were TIRED and having a few beers the night before was the perfect combo for sleeping late.) We had breakfast in the cockpit at our guest mooring. The harbormaster paid us a visit. Our entire plan for the day was to get groceries. After checking the wind, weather, and reviewing Active Captain reviews, we also decided to move Rode Trip back to the anchorage that we scouted last night and do some exploring via dinghy to find a good landing ashore.

We anchored at the Mill Dam anchorage, just north of Southwest Harbor. We found good holding and no crowds. Once Rode Trip was settled, we took the dinghy ashore and beached near the Mill Dam just below the tennis courts of the Causeway Club. This area is affected by tides so we brought the dinghy as far up as we could to avoid it being cast away at high tide. We walked across the dam and took a footbridge across to South Causeway Road which led us into town.

Brian and I had plans to meet Ryan and Jocelyn to explore tide pools this afternoon. Once ashore we had about 45mins to waste, so we took in the sights of Southwest Harbor town. This, as it turns out, took only about 10mins…but we did find ourselves in West Marine and were able to finally get a rod holder so that Brian can do some trolling.

Ryan and Jocelyn took us to a fabulous restaurant, Eat-A-Pita, en-route to Otter Cliffs. So delicious! Brian and I shared a chicken curry pita complete with all the veggies and extra curry dressing. MMMMM!

We arrived at Otter Cliffs and met with Mr. & Mrs. Haley to explore the tide pools during the final hour of low tide. This was a very successful venture! We found hermit crabs, sea urchins, sea stars, and green crabs.












The boys had big sticks for poking critters…so you can imagine they were very curious! Brian and Ryan fished out a huge starfish and huge green crab from a deep, small tide pool. Brave boys!





More amazing sights were seen along the drive back to Southwest Harbor, including a man with a very thick, black toupee. Yes, not only was it clearly visible as a toupee from our car but it also clearly matched the thick, black hair of the large dog this man was walking.

We had the privilege of using Ryan’s car for grocery shopping while he and Jocelyn joined the Haleys for dinner. Many thanks! This significantly eased the transport of the restocking that was necessary. We walked and dinghy-ed our groceries to Rode Trip, then brought the car back to Southwest Harbor. We caught a beautiful moon-rise on our way back ashore. I love seeing Rode Trip with her anchor light lit because it looks like she has her own little star above.



Since it was late in the evening, we decided to have dinner in town. We found Sips and thoroughly enjoyed our experience there. From the beginning our drinks were tasty; a sailor’s martini (rum, orange juice, lime juice, and crystalized ginger) and Scottish stout. Our meals were scrumptious; chilled blueberry soup and an apple chèvre salad and duck sausage risotto with butternut squash and zucchini. Ryan and Jocelyn shared they also had a delicious dinner when the stopped by to retrieve the car keys.

We had an unexpected adventure on our walk back to Rode Trip. The tide was high when we approached the footbridge. So high, in fact, that water was rushing over sections of the footbridge and Mill Dam. Brian attributed some of this rushing water the the full moon, which by the way was beautiful and lit our entire walk until this point. We lit up our headlamps to investigate a bit further. The water was ankle deep and there was a cable/railing across most of the path. We moved out slowly across the bridge and continued over the dam. And then…the cable/railing ended! What kind of planning is that!?! I guess picking up that huge green crab had Brian still feeling brave. He walked across the un-cabled section of the dam and around the beach to the dinghy. Thank goodness the dinghy was still there! Brian rowed over to this damsel in distress and I was able to board the dinghy from the highest part of the dam. We paddled back under the full moon.


Tenants Harbor to Southwest Harbor

Motor, sail, motor, sail, motor…..it was a long day of motoring and sailing through Penobscot Bay. We left Tenants Harbor bright and early; by 7:30 we had finished our morning routine and hauled up the anchor. I feel like a Planet Fitness ad as well after hauling the 45lb anchor up along with 90lbs of chain.

The lack of wind had us start through the Muscle Ridge Channel under diesel power.

We navigated channel marker to channel marker through our first of four channels for the day. Serious navigation required!


It kept the sights interesting as there were rocks and islands on all sides as well as minefields of lobster buoys. Lobster boats were working throughout the channel and off to the sides where our charts clearly showed rocks… We had our first sightings for the day of seals and dolphins.




After successfully clearing the Muscle Ridge Channel, we had some open water before the Fox Island Thoroughfare. Stephanie took advantage of the easier sailing to read up on the sea life that we were seeing. We think that the dolphins that we have been seeing are actually harbor porpoises. We also tried to identify some birds, but were having some trouble with this one. Perhaps one of our bird watching readers can help us out.


The Fox Island Thoroughfare runs between North Haven and Vinylhaven Islands. The entrance was marked by this channel marker, with the letters “FT” on it for Fox Thoroughfare.


Stephanie picked out another future summer home. I think that she is trying to appeal to how much I like boats, this house seems to have a boat for every occasion.

Some other significant landmarks inside the thoroughfare included the Fox Ears islands partway through and the Goose Rocks lighthouse at the exit.



Upon exiting the throroughfare we had enough wind to sail…or so I thought. Stephanie thought that we needed more. We put up the sails and slowed…way…down. Most of our speed ended up being due to current, which was going sideways. After about 45 minutes, we couldn’t keep the sails full any longer so we restarted the motor and headed through the Deer Isle Thoroughfare.


This passage was a little different, it was clearly a working passage, and the lobster boats were commuting home. There was a lot of traffic! We passed the Crotch Island lighthouse (we can’t make this up) just before passing the town of Stonington.



As we exited the Deer Isle Thoroughfare, the wind built in for real this time and we set the sails. We cruised quickly in the direction of the Casco Passage, and caught our first glimpse of Mount Desert Island.


We sailed through the Casco Passage, and on to Southwest Harbor.

We scouted out a potential anchorage near Southwest Harbor, but couldn’t identify a good place to go ashore. We headed to the inner harbor and picked up a guest mooring for the night. Ryan and Jocelyn picked us up at the dinghy dock and drove us to Bar Harbor for dinner. Food and drinks at the Finback Alehouse were delicious. The night passed quickly as we caught up with our friends. We played a game of cocktail roulette for our last round while listening to live music. Mmm…gin fizz!