Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Gosport Harbor - Isle of Shoals

July 7 - 11 

We made our escape from Rockport and headed toward Gosport Harbor inside a group of islands called Isle of Shoals. Interestingly, this group of islands straddles the New Hampshire-Maine border and, as such, one side of the harbor belongs to each state. Several of the islands have been joined together by huge rock breakwaters that form the harbor. This gave us perfect protection from the northeast winds that ran us out of Rockport and were now predicted to last for days.

Still foggy arriving in Gosport Harbor
There are some mooring balls in the harbor that were placed there by a yacht club in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and, unofficially, anyone can use them for free as long as no club members want them. You run the risk of losing your spot at any time but, supposedly, no one has ever really been run off. Most of the balls are deep in the harbor close to Star Island which is in New Hampshire. But there are two balls out at the end near Smutty Nose Island which is Maine. We sailed in and took one of those. So, technically, we made it to Maine!

Star Island is a 'resort' of sorts. Kind of an old school hotel in a really isolated spot. They have group meetings, conventions, apparently some religious affiliations and positive energy kinds of events. You can take your dinghy there and visit, which we did. It's a bit weird, artsy in a way. The scenery is just amazing. There are several trails around the island including the main perimeter road which made for a nice walk. 

SeaClearly in Gosport
Star Island

Junie in the turnstile

SmuttyNose Island is uninhabited except for a small conservator's house that can be used by volunteers that support the island. There is a bit of sordid history associated with this island involving gruesome ax murders back in the day. Naturally, there are rumors of hauntings and such.

SmuttyNose Island also has a beach. Well, at low tide they have a beach. At this particular time, low tide came at mid-morning and again just after dark. Tilly was happy with the beach trip and took very well to scrambling around the rocky island. At one point, she was climbing on some rocks a few feet above my head and decided she needed to get down quickly. In one giant leap for Tilly-kind, she flew off the top of this 8 foot boulder wall and, without breaking stride, ran to the beach. It's great for her to be young and strong.

On Saturday, we decided to drop the mooring ball and move north despite the remaining swell and some wind from the northeast. We left the harbor and motored into the waves. Once we lost the protection of the islands, the waves were sloppy, the swell was slightly askew of the waves and the ride was annoying. After about an hour we were all thinking, 'Why did we leave that nice spot?' So we went back. We don't need practice at being uncomfortable. We have no schedule. We cruised back in, picked up the same mooring ball and waited for a better day. Tilly got to go back to the beach and we heated up some Chicken-Sausage Gumbo.
We finally left in an early morning fog on Monday that slowly yielded to clear skies moving in ahead of us. Looks like it's going to be a good trip. Next stop - Dolphin Marina in Harpswell, Maine.

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