The Mythical Maine Swimming Hole (in “The Basin”)

I think I’ve been swimming in Maine a grand total of 3 times to date, and one of those times was a 10-second dip to confirm that our brand new prop was, indeed, too big for our boat, and was, indeed, trying to tear a chunk of our hull.

So when Jon mentioned that people really liked “The Basin” because of its warm swimming waters, I was… highly skeptical, to put it nicely 🙂

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But we wanted to go somewhere new for our spectacular Canada Day / 4th of July extra-long-long-weekend, so The Basin it was.

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A gorgeous downwind sail reminded us of how fun sailing can be…

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And an absolute idyllic, land-locked anchorage reminded us of how much we like being out on the hook…

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Drinking coffee at anchor might be my most favourite activity in the ENTIRE world…

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Oh and this was the debut of our new flexible solar panel (below) — so now we can actually see over our dodger when we’re docking, anchoring, or just generally driving around.

Personally I felt like being able to see exactly what’s in front of you might take some of the surprise and fun out of maneuvering a small, hard-to-maneuver sailboat, but Jon convinced me to give it a go…

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And she does look kind of nice with the cleaner lines…

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AND, surprise of all surprises — we got in the water and SWAM.

And not just a 10-second dip either! No, no, no, instead we discovered an additional fun aspect of the newly-made outboard throne — it floats! Since it’s stuffed with 4 adult lifejackets, it even floats quite nicely!

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It was heaven.

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And with a boisterous bash back to Portland, the whole long-long-weekend was complete!

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I think we’ll be back to The Basin soon!


A project only small-boat folk might appreciate… (in Portland, Maine)

We store our outboard on deck.

It’s not pretty. It’s not aerodynamic. It elicits charming comments from strangers like, “all that weight up so high up, tsk, tsk, tsk.”

But look, if you live on a 33′ boat and you want to have a giant outboard, you have to make some compromises. An unsightly outboard stored on deck is one of ours.

All of which might lead you to believe that I’m about to say we found a better solution for storing the outboard (wrong). Instead, I’d like to present the brand new outboard throne that is my new pride and joy 🙂

First, please admire my zipper panel (per Sailrite’s instructional videos… he says “Coo-shun” really funny but other than that the videos are amazing):

Finished zipper panel, per Sailrite's instructional videos

Next, please hazard a guess at the multi-purpose nature of this giant cushion…

Cushion made of lifejackets - dual purpose

If you guessed “somewhere to store all the required lifejackets while simultaneously protecting the deck from getting banged up by the outboard”, you got it right!

A peek at the lifejackets inside

I’d never tried sewing a piped cushion before. It’s seriously satisfying.

My first real piped cushion job

And the finished product. An outboard throne 😉

Big outboard on a little boat - cushion made of lifejackets

Like I said, I’m pretty sure you have to be a small boat person to appreciate this little project… but it’s pretty great from over here 🙂



Lofty Summer Goals (on Jewel Island, Maine)

You might’ve figured this out already, but we didn’t actually leave the dock very often last summer.

To be precise, we left twice.


To be fair, the second time was to go explore the Penobscot and we didn’t come back for a month, but compared to our lofty “we’ll sail every weekend and go for evening jaunts on weekdays” goals, we failed pretty miserably.

We can explain this away with a myriad of excuses (Jon was working a ton; we tackled some enormous multi-weekend boat projects like re-bedding both toerails; I have a fear of hitting boats while docking; we have a fear of docking in general actually, etc), but the point stands: for so-called boat-lovers, we did a crap job of actually enjoying our boat.

So our NEW summer goal (because Maine sailing season pretty much = summer), is to just have more fun. Ideally fun that includes leaving the dock and going sailing, but we’re trying to set achievable goals here 😉


Along this line, we left the dock last weekend, and it was amazing.

Sailing in Maine - Happy days on Jewel Island

We practiced our tacking through the Hussey Channel… I was seriously rusty 😉

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Anchored at Jewel, where we made our Maine landfall in 2014. We hadn’t been ashore together since my very first visit to Maine, in 2009 (!!!)

Jewel Island, Casco Bay, Maine

So we all went ashore to explore…

Dinghy on the beach at Jewel

Found a tower with an inviting ladder…

Tower from below

So obviously I had to give it a go (I may be smiling, but my grip on that rail gives my real feelings away…)

Leah at the top of the tower

Took the obligatory “from the top of the WWII tower” photos of Casco Bay…

Views from inside the WWII towers at Jewel

As well as a re-enactment of 2009’s tower climbing shenanigans:

Jon on Jewel circa 2009

What it takes to get those views

And beach selfies:

Leah and Jon circa 2009

Apparently 7 years brought more wrinkles, less hair:

Jon and Leah on the beach at Jewel


As if a perfect sail and hike of the island wasn’t enough, our awesome friends from s/v Meredith met us at the island and we had a great beachfire… confirming that I have patience for burning hot dogs, but not actually cooking them 😉

Beachfire at Jewel


s/v Meredith goes sailing by at Jewel

And by Sunday afternoon we were back in our slip, and I even managed to get the hammock up for a quick afternoon nap…

Hammock days in Maine

(Complete with a fleece blanket, because it’s really not that warm out yet!!)

Tropical days in Maine


And our lofty summer goals?

Well since the majority of the struggle seems to revolve around getting off the dock, we decided to just practice docking. What a novel concept, right? 😉

Plus now we’re one weekend in and we’ve officially left the dock 5 times this season. Mission accomplished.


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