The alarm sounded and we awoke this morning...slowly...but ready to get the day started! We were anxious to get to Isle au Haut and get our feet on the ground for some hiking. I crawled out of the v-berth and peeked outside only to see...nothing! We were still encased in fog.
Ok, no big deal. We're actually awake early and we can just enjoy breakfast while the fog clears. NOPE! Fog stayed...and stayed...and stayed. It was too thick to attempt to leave, the deck was dripping wet with fog. So we busied ourselves inside. I finally sorted and stowed all of the medical supplies that Ryan and Jocelyn had delivered.
Brian took inventory of our flares, many of which are expired. Expired flares may still fire, however according to Coast Guard regulations we must have at least three non-expired flares on board.
Brian etched Rode Trip's documentation number into a structural surface of the boat, as required by the Coast Guard, so that it is within view and cannot be easily removed. I added our EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) registration sticker to the device.
Brian then prepared the bosun's chair so that he can be hoisted up to set up the flag halyard. While he was reading the appropriate locations/types/etc. of flags, I was preparing a bite to eat for lunch when I spotted a break in the fog. Hooray!!
At 1300 (1:00pm) we set off via motor from Merchant Island to Isle au Haut. It was still foggy, but our visibility was "ok" versus "poor." This would be a short trip. We rounded Merchant Island and...rain. UGH! Plans changed again and we headed for Flake Island, rather than our intended Duck Harbor a bit farther south. We were in luck; once at Flake Island we were able to pick up a guest mooring, free of charge! There was one other guest sailboat on the neighboring mooring.
We waited out the rain with a game of Rummy. The results of this rematch may or may not be published...
Clear skies, warm breezes, and SUNSHINE! Time to get off this boat! About 1545 (3:45pm) I leapt for the kayaks eager to get ashore to explore. It was like a new day! We kayaked to the public dock and beached the kayaks.
About one-half of Isle au Haut is owned by the Acadia National Park; the remaining land is privately owned. The number of visitors allowed in the Acadia section of the island is limited for day trippers and campers are limited to one stay per year via reservation. There is a ferry that runs from Stonington to Isle au Haut. We walked to the ranger station, had a short chat with the park ranger and picked up a trail map. We had enough tide time for a short hike before returning to the kayaks, so we picked up the Duck Harbor Trail to stretch our legs. What a neat trail! Bogs (looked for floating bogs but not found yet), pine groves, and rock-top viewpoints all within about 1-mile. The mosquitos hadn't found us yet and we took our time to admire the scenery. Along the way we spotted Acadia National Park boundary markers, a fun cairn adorned with driftwood, a highly unusual swamp rat (aka adorable mouse), and carnivorous sundew plants.
On the way back to the kayaks we checked out the residential side of Isle au Haut, as this was near our mooring. We walked through "town." We found the post office to send some mail. We investigated The Island Store, open from 11:00-3:00pm. We enjoyed reading the bulletin board for local goings-on. We noted that gasoline at Isle au Haut goes for $5.25/gal. But there are only 12 miles of roads on the island so one shouldn't go through gasoline too quickly.
We admired some flowers on our walk back to the public dock. Can you tell I hadn't been off the boat for a while!? I enjoyed just walking about and observing island life.
Kayaking back to Rode Trip we very closely encountered what we think is a loon, possibly a young loon? We heard loons calling later this evening.
We also enjoyed a nice chat with the neighboring guest sailboat. The couple sails from Falmouth, ME and lives in NH. They made some recommendations for our cruising lifestyle, noting that some of these recommendations are now necessities for them having already enjoyed sailing for 25 years. But "they're young..." "they're going to have a great time!" Some of their recommendations are on our "eventually" list in varying priority. It was nice to talk with them as we had visited some of their frequented stops in ME. All in all a good day!