Thursday, July 21, 2016

Spirits are moving us - to Rockland

Let me preface this post by saying that we have nothing to complain about. We know how lucky we are to be doing what we do. We know that a lot a people would be glad to take our place. We know that nothing we endure remotely resembles suffering. That said, yesterday was a bad day. Nothing traumatic, no injuries or damage or anything like that. Things just did not go according to plan, expectations or common sense.

It started off innocuously enough. We got an early start leaving Linekin Bay. It was a beautiful morning and the breeze built as we moved out of the bay and turned east again. We raised the mainsail in anticipation of some breeze from the right direction and, indeed, we were sailing in no time. Despite Tilly's pouting at our audacity - leaving a perfect place yet again - we were having a nice sail. For several hours.

Somewhere past Monhegan Island, and about the time we were turning more to the north, we got blasted out of nowhere with 25 knots of gusting wind followed by sustained 22-23 knots. Totally out of the blue after jogging along nicely on 10 - 14 knots steady breezes all morning. Then came the lobster pots. Now, we have had lobster pots surrounding us at all times since we arrived in Maine. But these were thick. Had we done a better job reading this section of the summary of Maine sailing provided by our friend, Thierry, we would have known to avoid Muscle Ridge Channel for this very reason. They were everywhere and on top of one another. Sometimes, the floats were intertwined in groups of three or four because they were just so close together. There we are, trying to lose some of the sail power to deal with the suddenly gusty winds and weaving through lobster pots. The joy of sailing dissolved quickly.

We finally emerged from the worst of the thicket in time to make our last couple of turns into an anchorage between Birch and High Islands. We wove our way into the area we wanted and the downhill slide continued. Somehow, we couldn't quite get aligned to where we wanted to anchor. The area is a bit tight, the two charting options we use had a slight disagreement regarding depths and shape of the bottom and, of course, there were lobster pots. Trying to locate a spot to put SeaClearly in amongst all the pots and drop an anchor and miss the ledges and shallow spots (which will be called 'rocks' at low tide) became too much.

We finally picked a spot and Junie started winding out the anchor chain. As she did that, I sat at the wheel and watched as a lobster pot float drew closer and closer to our stern quarter and disappeared under the boat. I had already shifted to neutral and could not grasp exactly what happened. Two seconds later, Junie yells, 'We ran over a float! I just watched it go down!' I thought, really? Two floats? Wonderful. I ran to the bow to see a float underwater and wrapped on our chain. We started pulling the anchor back in to untangle but the float didn't come up with it. Turns out we must have laid the chain across the pot line - which explained why I saw one float moving on its' own and Junie saw onesink - same float.

That was the final straw for me. An impending sense of doom and frustration took over and I said, 'That's it. We are out of here'. We have a 'One No vote Wins' rule so we secured the anchor and picked our way back out into the deep water. It may be a lovely anchorage but not for us and not this day.

So, now we are disheartened and disillusioned. I'm upset about not making it work. We are sick to death of lobster pot floats (no matter how much we like lobster). Junie, rightly, says we need to get off of the water. So, we head to Rockland. Big harbor, mooring balls. We can regroup and restart.

But No. We call and find a mooring ball available at the Rockland Landings Marina - Ball # 3, just off the marina fuel dock. It is a very tight mooring field with every type of boat imaginable. We weave in to the ball, ready to wrap this day up. Alas, the mooring pennant, the piece of line attached to the ball, is wrapped around the ball's downline tightly and Junie can't get it with the boathook. Seriously? Do we need this?

Junie calls the marina and explains the situation and the guy, reluctantly, agrees to come out and free it. Once he finally came out in his boat, it took him 10 minutes to fix the issue. Ultimately, he had to disconnect the pennant and reattach it. I am sure he had been thinking we were idiots so we felt absolved of any stupidity on our part.
Our view from the mooring ball...

... of Rockland.

We spent a quiet evening wondering what had happened to the optimistic morning. And why did we leave Linekin Bay. Tilly was looking just a little too smug to me.

But, never fear. We have regrouped and revived. We decided that, since we are here, we will take advantage of the resources Rockland has to offer. We dropped the mooring ball this morning and moved out into the harbor and dropped the anchor. We are feeling much better and once again celebrating the adventure and the sunset. We are not, however, going back to the Birch-High anchorage anytime soon. I'm convinced that we were warded off by helpful spirits saving us from certain doom.
Our upgraded view at anchor out in the harbor


  1. At least you didn't catch one on the prop! When I move through one of these dense fields, I stand on the cockpit seats to get a better view.

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