It's the End of the World Page 2

The sun shone a milky white. Its weak rays were barely able to drive off the damp chill of the early afternoon as we made our way eastward in the Deer Isle Thorofare, a passage snaking between Deer Isle and the beautiful smaller islands of Merchant Row in Down East Maine. I carefully checked the chart against the red and green buoys marking the channel, mindful that straying off course could mean
Author:
Publish date:
maine

Making our way east, we took a detour up Blue Hill Bay, which was blissfully free of lobster pot buoys. A gentle southerly breeze rippled the shimmering waters of the bay, as Elizabeth ghosted along, mainsail and genny set wing-and-wing. I found myself sailing by the lee as my mind wandered, and I eased the boat back on course, basking in the late August sunshine. The heights of Mount Desert Island rose majestically to the east. To the north was Blue Hill Harbor, a pretty little spot tucked away in the bay’s northwestern corner.

In the coming years, the enchanting mix of secluded coves, and the alpine scenery of these waters would draw us back time and again. Cadillac Mountain, the jewel of Acadia National Park, which occupies much of Mount Desert, soars to an elevation of 1,530 feet, making it the highest point on the entire East Coast. It’s an impressive sight from the deck of a sailboat, and from the summit at dawn you can be the first in the United States to see the sun of a new day.

Making our way toward Blue Hill, we passed Allen Cove, a popular anchorage and one of the few in Blue Hill Bay. With its high bold shores, the bay is known for its excellent hassle-free sailing. Swan’s Island to the south also offers some excellent anchorages and is a great stop before heading to Northeast Harbor. Mackerel Cove, west of Roderick Head, is snug and scenic.

A short time later, we nosed into Blue Hill Harbor, where we picked up a guest mooring at the Kollegewidgwok Yacht Club. The town of Blue Hill is a healthy walk from the yacht club, but worth the effort with its shops, galleries and fine restaurants.

The next day, we sailed for Northeast Harbor, heading south and east, in the process passing Bass Harbor, home to Morris Yachts. The wind remained light and fluky, but we didn’t care. We were on island time, taking it slow and easy.

Northeast Harbor lies just to the east of Somes Sound, the only true fjord on the East Coast. The fjord juts into Mount Desert some seven miles, and at its head is Somes Harbor, which is often crowded, but well protected by Bar Island from the prevailing summer southerlies. We headed right into Northeast Harbor, with its picturesque and laid-back town that is the antithesis of busy Bar Harbor further east.

Anxious to stretch our legs, we took the dinghy to the public dock and went ashore for a leisurely stroll up Asticou Terraces to the Thuya Lodge and Garden. The views of the harbor were spectacular. The 140-acre preserve was once owned by renowned landscape architect Joseph Henry Curtis, who used Thuya Lodge as a summer home from 1912 until his death in 1928. The lodge is open to the public (a $3 donation is requested), as is Thuya Garden, a magnificent spectacle of colorful annual and perennial flowers.

We never made it to Bar Harbor on that first trip Down East, but were sure to do so in subsequent years, grabbing a mooring or a slip and enjoying the many restaurants, galleries, boutiques and shops it has to offer. A guided bus tour of Acadia National Park is a must, with an ascent of Cadillac Mountain as the highlight. The views from the summit are breathtaking.

The fog returned while we were in Northeast Harbor, so we stayed…and stayed, until finally the fog lifted and we could leave. Headed west once again, though, Liz and I already knew full well that we’d be returning to the End of the World, where the sailing is so challenging and immensely rewarding.

Related

arc18-3981

Stories from the Cruisers of the ARC

Each December, the docks at Rodney Bay Marina in St. Lucia are abuzz as the fleet of the ARC—the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers—arrives to much fanfare. No matter what time of day or night, the staff of the World Cruising Club, organizers of the 33-year-old rally, are there to ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com A sign from outside the box  Rev counters on modern engines are driven electronically from a terminal on the alternator. If all is well, as soon as the engine fires up the revs will read true. If, ...read more

emSelf-tacking-jib

Ask Sail: Are Self-trackers Worth It?

Q: I’m seeing more and more self-tacking jibs out on the water (and in the pages of SAIL) these days. I can’t help thinking these boats are all hopelessly underpowered, especially off the wind, when compared to boats with even slightly overlapping headsails. But I could be ...read more

01-LEAD-hose-leak-CREDIT-BoatUS

Know how: Is Your Bilge Pump up to the Job?

Without much reflection, I recently replaced my broken bilge pump with a slightly larger model. After all, I thought, surely an 800 gallon-per-hour (gph) pump will outperform the previous 500gph unit? Well, yes, but that’s no reason to feel much safer, as I soon discovered. The ...read more

190314-viddy

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta: A Source of Hope

The tagline for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is "serious sailing, serious fun." However, for the inhabitants of St. Maarten, the event is more than just a festival of great music and some of the best sailing around. Local blogger Angie Soeffker explains the impact the race ...read more

SPOTX-1500x1500_front

Gear: SPOT-X Satellite

Hits the SPOT The SPOT-X two-way satellite messenger is an economical way of staying connected to the outside world via text or e-mail when you’re at sea. As well as the messaging service, it has a distress function that not only alerts authorities if you’re in trouble, but lets ...read more

_8105684

A Kid’s Take on the Northwest Passage

Going North—and West Crack! Crunch! I woke with a start to the sound of ice scraping the hull of our 60ft sailboat, Dogbark. In a drowsy daze, I hobbled out of the small cabin I was sharing with my little sister. As I emerged into the cockpit, I swiveled my head, searching for ...read more