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:
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.
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.
Jon brought me up to the very tippy-top (7 stories up) and the view was absolutely incredible…
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.
Day 2: Seguin Lighthouse, 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 🙂
Day 3: Burnt Island, Muscongus Bay
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 🙂
Day 4: Rockland, Maine – start of the Penobscot
Leaving Burnt Island, we were welcomed into the Penobscot with one of the most glorious sailing days in recent memory.
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…
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
I had asked a handful of people for their “can’t miss” lists for Penobscot Bay, and I got entirely different recommendations back 🙂 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)
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” 🙂
Day 7: 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 🙂
Day 8: Holbrook Islands, Penobscot Bay
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 🙂
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?”.
Day 10: Isle au Haut
Who knew tropically clear waters existed in Maine?
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….
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.
We did make the most of it by buying some lobsters… Who says you can’t drown your sorrows in lobster??
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 🙂
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” 😉