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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

CRUISING NOTES

DESTINATIONS: There are a number of harbors on Mount Desert. Bar Harbor:Bar Harbor Municipal Pier, contact the harbormaster (207?288?5571). Bar Harbor Regency Hotel (207?288?9723); Northeast Harbor: Northeast Harbor Marina, contact the harbormaster (207?276?5737); Southwest Harbor:Hinckley Service (207?244?5531), Southwest Harbor Town Dock, contact the harbormaster (207?244?7913), Dysart’s Great Harbor Marina (207?244?0117); Bass Harbor:Morris Yachts (207?244?5509); Blue Hill Bay: Kollegewidgwok Yacht Club (207?374?5581)

Sailing School: KSEA Sailing School in Blue Hill (207?374?5505)

Charter Companies: Bay Sailing, Buck’s Harbor Maine, Hinckley Yacht Charters, Johanson Boatworks, Maine Cat

When to Go: The peak sailing season is in July and August. In June and September, you’ll find few cruising boats. If you can arrange it, go sailing during September; it’s the best month of the year. Temperatures are still relatively mild, there’s little fog, and the winds are often from the northwest in crisp clear weather. The prevailing winds are from the south during the summer, and when it gets humid, you’ll have dense fog. Strong thunderstorms can also occur during the summer.

Navigation: Navigation can be challenging. Maine is famous for its dense fog, which is especially prevalent during July and August. However, aids to navigation are plentiful. Tidal currents can run swiftly in narrow channels and between islands, so careful attention to the GPS and the chart is essential; the tidal range at Mount Desert Island is 12 feet. Lobster pot buoys proliferate. A close watch is often required.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: A Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast, by Hank and Jan Taft and Curtis Rindlaub, 5th ed., Diamond Pass Publishing; Waterway Guide Northern Region 2009, Embassy Guide to the New England Coast, 8th ed., Maptech

CHARTS: NOAA Charts 13312, 13313, 13315, 13316, 13318; Maptech Chartkit Block Island to Maine/Canadian Border, Region 2

WEBSITES: An excellent online resource from the publisher of A Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast: Maine Coast Cruising Guides, (207?766?2337). Acadia Magic is a good source for information on Mount Desert and the surrounding region. Acadia National Park (207?288?3338, nps.gov/acad/index.htm). Also check out A Guide’s Guide to Acadia National Park, a downloadable guide with information about the park. Aerial adventures: Acadia Air Tours (207-667-7627) Scenic Flights of Acadia (207-667-6527). Oli’s Trolley offers Acadia National Park bus tours from Bar Harbor, including ascents of Cadillac Mountain; Island Explorer offers free shuttle bus service throughout much of the park.

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