October According to my iPhone (in Vancouver, BC + Kelowna, BC + Portland, ME)

Rather than write you pages and pages about what we’ve been up to, I thought I’d let my iPhone snaps do the story-telling…

We moved to our ‘winter slip’. This means we’re tucked in closer to land (where it’s a little more protected). It also means we’re closer to the parking lot, the bathrooms, and the Starbucks across the street. These are all critical points for anyone contemplating a winter aboard in Maine πŸ˜‰

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One interesting aspect of our new slip is the depth. We sort of wallow in the mud during the super low-lows… but this seems to reduce the motion on the boat, so maybe we just call it a win?

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Our new slip also means I can get a picture of my car and Brio in the same sunset. That’s a definite plus.

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Jon and I had a quick visit to Vancouver for Canadian Thanksgiving. We’re trying to make this a two-turkey year πŸ™‚

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Vancouver blessed us with some fantastic weather…

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And we had a great time catching up with old friends (who have amazing balcony views)

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The other big highlight of this visit was not one I’d have predicted a few years ago… Dad and I ran a half-marathon.

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For anyone who isn’t aware, I was *LITERALLY* the kid that hid in the forest on “run days” in gym class, so this was a pretty big deal. With the finish line in sight, I sprinted the last bit… and then just about passed out on the guy giving out medals πŸ˜‰ Crossing that finish line was one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced though…

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My favourite part of visiting Vancouver is always getting to spend time with my sister.

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She’s a professional athlete and a pretty kick-ass gal. Watching her play rugby (with her ENTIRELY male team) is an incredible treat.

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Not that we get along very well…

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At all…

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Then it was back to Maine, where we had a weekend of chilly weather (including our first nights below freezing!) before the weather gods decided maybe itΒ wasn’t time to be winter yet. We’ve been blessed with unseasonably warm 60-70 degree blue-sky days!

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I’d be okay with a winter of this…

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In metalsmithing news, I SOLD MY FIRST PIECES OF JEWELRY. They were a part of a fundraiser at a local art college, and I was really nervous that nobody would be interested (“who am I to call myself an artist?!”). So this was seriously exciting and I may or may not have cried little tears of joy when I found out they’d sold…

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Here’s what I’m working on now: a *gorgeous* green amethyst set in sterling silver… this one might not be for sale πŸ˜‰

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And last but not least, we had an awesome Halloween complete with boat-themed pumpkins πŸ˜€

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And that’s it! October according to my iPhone πŸ™‚


PS: I read an article the other day that said we don’t think it’s strange to have our phones always within reach because we consider them to be a natural extension of our bodies. Phone on the table? No different than elbows. This is bothersome, maybe mostly because it seems to ring quite true…


Cruising Pen-bay (a recap)

Look, the truth of the matter is that we just moved into our winter slip, we’ve been running 1-3 heaters for the last week, and the shrink wrap arrives tomorrow. But I’m not *quite* ready to give up on the beautiful weather or summer adventures yet, so I thought I’d do a little recap of our “Pen-Bay Cruise” (aside: I have an inkling that you can only refer to Penobscot Bay as Pen-Bay if you grew up there, but I’m from away so I’m going to claim ignorance).

First, a little geography lesson. For my west coast family (*cough* I’m looking at you, mom! *cough*) let’s start with the big picture:

A geography lesson - where is Penobscot Bay?

Brio’s marina is in Portland. Penobscot Bay is the red circle.

Day 1: Halfway Rock Lighthouse and Bailey Island

We started our “two week” cruise with a fantastic stop: halfway rock lighthouse.

Approaching Halfway Rock Lighthouse to pick up the mooring

This is where Jon has been working (and living!) for much of the summer, so I was pretty excited to see the place for myself.

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Jon brought me up to the very tippy-top (7 stories up) and the view was absolutely incredible…

Brio on the mooring at Halfway Rock Lighthouse Halfway Rock Lighthouse - the tower

This rates as one of the best days, ever. EVER. Something about being on a wild lighthouse, 10 miles from shore, with waves crashing and seals barking and the fog horn blaring and your wee little boat hooked up to a mooring down below… magic.

Halfway Rock Lighthouse - from the water

Day 2: Seguin Lighthouse, Seguin Island

On the mooring at Seguin Island

Lighthouses were going well, so we thought we’d stick with the trend. We were so excited to find the coast guard mooring free, we decided to spend the night. At about 1:30 am, when we realized the persistent rolling was NOT going to go away, we realized that maybe there was a reason the mooring wasn’t occupied… Live and learn πŸ™‚

Day 3: Burnt Island, Muscongus Bay

Sailing in the fog with my favourite human

This was not the best day (due entirely to the lack of sleep and crazy thick fog) but Burnt Island was a very welcome anchorage. We slept well, woke up to crystal clear blue skies, and were ready to go again πŸ™‚

Sailing in the fog in Maine

Day 4: Rockland, Maine – start of the Penobscot

Cruising the penobscot to Bucksport and isle au Haut

Leaving Burnt Island, we were welcomed into the Penobscot with one of the most glorious sailing days in recent memory.

Sailing into Penobscot Bay Approaching Rockland, Maine

Through a lucky little series of coincidences, a friend of a friend let us borrow his mooring in Rockland. Staying on a mooring is something I could definitely get used to…

Exploring Rockland, Maine's waterfront

We walked around the sweet little town of Rockland, enjoyed a coffee and pastry at the Atlantic Bakery Company, and thoroughly enjoyed our first visit to Rockland.

Day 5: Butter Island, Penobscot Bay

Butter Island, Penobscot Bay

Butter Island, Penobscot Bay

I had asked a handful of people for their “can’t miss” lists for Penobscot Bay, and I got entirely different recommendations back πŸ™‚ Butter Island was one that popped up a few times though, and for good reason. A striking island, gorgeous hike, amazing views and calm sleep… all within 15 miles of Rockland. Oh yes, this is the kind of cruising you could do forever…

Day 6: Butter Island (again)

Butter Island, Penobscot Bay

We wake up, realize we’re having a great time on Butter Island, and decide to stay right where we are. This captures the best of the best of cruising; waking up, drinking that first cup of coffee in the cockpit, and wondering, “what should we do today?” Even better when the answer is “maybe absolutely nothing” πŸ™‚

Butter Island, Penobscot Bay

Day 7: Bucksport, Maine

Sailing to Bucksport, Maine

Jon spent a good part of his childhood growing up in Bucksport, so it was on our list to make it up the river for a visit. We timed the tides right, found an anchorage, groceries, some great pictures and an ice cream… and then it was a quick ride back down the river πŸ™‚

Day 8: Holbrook Islands, Penobscot Bay


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This was such a great little anchorage. One of the islands is a protected preserve full of walking trails and trees and views, and the whole little bay is full of nooks and crannies for boats to tuck in. No need to share the anchorage with anyone if you don’t want to πŸ™‚

Day 9: Torrey Islands (Eggemoggin Reach)

I think we officially hit ‘vacation mode’ at this point, as our days just continued to get shorter and shorter. “Should we go 15 miles today?” “Nahh, maybe let’s aim for 8?”.

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Day 10: Isle au Haut

Who knew tropically clear waters existed in Maine?

Wheat Island by Isle au Haut

We took a shortcut through the pass to Isle au Haut and spotted this little gem… “Wheat Island”. Thanks to our new-to-us 15hp outboard, we anchored Brio up by Isle au Haut and then zipped back to check out these white sandy beaches. #heaven and maybe my favourite spot in pen-bay….

Wheat Island by Isle au Haut Wheat Island by Isle au Haut Wheat Island by Isle au Haut

Day 11: Oops. Back to Isle au Haut

Look, we really, really liked Isle au Haut. But when we set out from Isle au Haut (intending to go to Brimstone, where the black stones awaited…) we didn’t mean to come back *quite* so soon. Like, before-noon soon. But the seaweed, and the overheating and the near-fire and… ya. Dinghy hip-tied towing us back.

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We did make the most of it by buying some lobsters… Who says you can’t drown your sorrows in lobster??

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We’re just gonna skip over the next 12 days (you might’ve already read about them anyways) and finish up with the last few pictures from Damariscove — one of our final stops before we were back in Portland πŸ™‚

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It didn’t go exactly as planned (as sailing tends to do), but all in all it was a pretty amazing month. And I can definitely understand how you could spend a lifetime cruising the Penobscot and never really see it all…


Next up, “Preparing for a Winter Aboard in Maine!” or “How to Freeze and Really Test Your Marriage” πŸ˜‰


Where’d the money go? (the Rockland refit, in Maine)

Sunrise in Rockland, Maine

I am definitely not a financial expert. But I find money interesting, and especially interesting when we’re talking about how money can be best used to make life more interesting.

In case you weren’t sure, boats are a pretty crappy investment.

Waxed and polished sailboat hull

This is nicely backed up with all sorts of unhappy little truisms, like “BOAT = Bring On Another Thousand“, or “Boat dollar: $1000 bucks” (as in, “honey, I need a couple more boat dollars to finish off this project”), or “Boat: hole in the water lined with fibreglass into which one pours money“.

This feels particularly true when I think about our little mini-refit. Specifically: how did we spend $4000 on our boat?? It breaks down as follows:

  • $1000 for the haul out in Rockland. This includes 12 layover days at $50/day (ie what they charge you to live in their work yard and do your own work). Added value: $0.
  • $1800 for the new prop, prop shaft, shaft coupler, and dripless shaft seal. The dripless shaft seal is very nice to have, but a future buyer probably doesn’t really care one way or the other. The prop is definitely not currently adding value, but with a little work might be a value-add in the future. Added value: unknown.
  • $1200 for a ridiculous assortment of expensive marine stuff, including things like new thruhulls, seacocks, hoses, epoxy, varnish, bottom paint, fasteners, tools, AWAB hose clamps (crazy but I think we spent $120 on hose clamps alone…), and the list goes on…. Added value: unknown.

So at the end of the day we spent an unplanned $4k on the boat, and have received an unknown amount of added value in exchange. NOT a good deal!

Sunrise at Journey's End Marina

But someone smarter than me said you need to spend around 10% of your boat’s value on maintenance every year, just to maintain the boat’s current value. You can get away with spending less, but you’ll be decreasing the boat’s value. And if you spend a little more, you might manage to increase the boat’s value just a little tiny bit.

To be fair, we have sailed Brio hard for the last 4+ years, doing just the bare minimums to keep her moving. So I hold no resentment towards her — she deserves a little care and effort from her owners.

And thankfully, living on a boat has all sorts of intrinsic value outside of the financial realm.

Splashing front view

I just want to make sure no one thinks boats are sound financial investments πŸ˜‰


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