Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Dolphin Marina and Restaurant - Harpswell, ME

July 11 - 15

Calm seas as we passed near Portland
The weather improved steadily as we sailed towards Harpswell. The sun came out full and strong, the fog burned away and the ocean was as calm as could be. We had already made arrangements with the marina for a mooring ball for the first night and then a slip for three more days. We had, once again, accumulated dirty clothes, towels and bedding. We needed some groceries. As much as anything, we needed to dry out the boat. Several days of rain and fog left SeaClearly a little soggy. Everything feels damp. Nothing ever seems to dry out completely. When we park at a marina we can run the heat / AC and it feels better.

We make it a rule to go directly to the fuel dock whenever we arrive at a marina. It is usually an easy approach. It also gives you a chance to survey the surroundings. How is the marina laid out? What slip are they planning to put us in? Additionally, we can get Tilly off the boat for a quick land trip even if we aren't staying long. In this case, it gave us a chance to see that the marina was pretty tight. Only a few slips would be workable for our size. The marina owner offered for us to head directly to a slip instead of taking a ball for the first night. We filled our diesel tank and cans, water tanks and cans and even one gas can while deciding what to do.

Unfortunately for us, in that short time frame, the wind started building out of nowhere to 18 knots with gusts around 25.  It made it difficult to even get SeaClearly off the fuel dock because the wind had us pinned. In retrospect, we should have probably either taken the mooring ball until things settled down or just stayed at the fuue dock for a while. We didn't. Docking is almost always a calamity even when it goes well. Add a tight slip and wind and it becomes no fun. Without going through all of the details, I'll skip to the end of the episode. Nothing got broken and nobody got hurt. The four dock helpers helped immensely and we landed successfully.

We were just a bit too big for the marina
The restaurant

The operation at Dolphin Marina is just awesome. They are more focused on customer service than anywhere we have stayed. We had received a confirmation email anticipating our arrival. When we showed up at the fuel dock, they were expecting us and knew our plans. They were flexible with arrangements and helpful with boat handling. They checked on us regularly to see if we needed anything. Chris, one of the owners, stopped by to see us later that evening - not at the dock - in the restaurant to make sure we were settled in. One last thing. Each morning at a few minutes past 8:00 am, there was a knock on the boat and one of the marina folks delivered fresh coffee and blueberry muffins. Can you believe that?! And, not only to boats in the slips but also to the boats out on the moorings. How awesome.

All of these good vibes helped dim the memory of our arrival and we had a great stay. Harpswell is about 15 miles from Brunswick where we were able to arrange for an Enterprise rental car on Tuesday morning.

Tilly and her Black Lab friend, Louie

We took Tilly out in the morning to the 3 acre field behind the restaurant for some much needed exercise. What a beautiful spot to play with your dog - a mowed grass field, overlooking the bay, ringed by bushes that form sort of a natural fence. Really nice. Once she was worn down a little, we left her in the boat and met the Enterprise person. Yes, they did come pick us up. In the only car they had available - a Ford F250 Crew Cab - the same truck we drive at home. Except their truck was new and ours is 15 years old. We had all of our laundry with us so that when we dropped the driver off we could jump right into washing clothes.

We came back in the afternoon, and stopped at the lobster shack next to the marina, Erica's, for lobster rolls and blueberry ice cream. Then we took Tilly out again for a while and left her again (she was starting to get a little pissed off) to go to Walmart for groceries and supplies. We got pretty familiar with the road to Brunswick.

The next day was tourist day. First, we went to Cundy Harbor, one peninsula over, for another lobster roll at Holbrook's which was recommended by June's friend Mark who had some local knowledge. Cute place, working harbor and the best roll so far.

Cundy Harbor

Nice place

Lobster Roll, hand-dipped onion rings and fried pickles!

Then we drove to Freeport to visit the LL Bean flagship store complex. It was incredible. While we were out, we got a propane tank refilled. Everywhere we went, people were just so nice! We are loving Maine. One last stop - Ice Cream - always.

LL Bean boot

Tree carving at LL Bean
Really good ice cream

On Thursday afternoon, we had a neighbor drop by. Not a boat neighbor. A North Carolina neighbor from across the street back in Colington. Jack had a business trip to Portland and made arrangements to drive out to Harpswell to meet us at the marina. Jack and Marcia's son, Tanner, went to Bowdoin College in Brunswick so he was familiar with the area and the marina restaurant. It was great to see him. He even brought gifts - Billy's Seafood coozies from Colington and a Bowdoin Sailing cap. Cool. We had a nice visit and a great dinner. He also gave us some good, first hand information about our next planned stop Linekin Bay.

We left early Friday morning while the weather was calm but before there were any dockhands around. It went very smoothly even though it was just the two of us and we were on our way. Darn it! We left before the muffins showed up!

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