After departing Warren Island we still had a lot of the Penobscot Bay that we wanted to see from the water. We’d seen a lot of the nearby towns, so now we wanted to sail through the channels and thoroughfares between the islands and explore some remote anchorages. Luckily the weather was nicer, so we enjoyed spending full days on the water.
We left Warren Island and anchored in Pulpit Harbor on North Haven Island on Tuesday the 16th. From Pulpit Harbor we headed south to the Fox Islands Thoroughfare. As we passed the rocks called the “Sugar Loaves” at the entrance, I was photographing Browns Head light when Sabrina said, “Is that a bald eagle next to that American flag?” I grabbed the binoculars to check it out, and it was a real eagle posed next to the flag. We headed back to take a few more pictures before he flew away.
We continued through the Fox Islands Thoroughfare which divides Vinalhaven Island from North Haven and continued past the Goose Rocks light headed for the Deer Isle Thoroughfare. The wind had picked up by this point, so we were able to sail across East Penobscot Bay until we reached Deer Isle. We passed the Deer Isle Thoroughfare light, the town of Stonington, and the quarry on Crotch Island. From there we wound our way through Merchant Row (near Hell’s Half Acre) and anchored by McGlathery Island Wednesday night.
McGlathery Island has what Sabrina and I call a “Bahamian Trail.” It seems fellow sailors had marked a trail on the island with old lobster buoys and various pieces of discarded rope. We walked the trail to the other side of the island where we found a beach in the sun. We walked back to get the dinghy and dinghied around the island to spend some time on the beach.
We didn’t need an alarm clock to wake us up Thursday morning at McGlathery, the lobster boats heading out the channel at dawn took care of that. From the anchorage we sailed around Merchant Row and motored through the Isle au Haut Thoroughfare and past the small town of Isle au Haut and the light at Robinson Point. Isle au Haut is part of Acadia National Park and there are hiking trails over a portion of the island. Unfortunately it was too rough to stop and we continued on to the south side of Vinalhaven.
Along the south side of Vinalhaven we passed Heron Neck Lighthouse and the Outward Bound Camp at Hurricane Island. Unfortunately the swells were too large at Hurricane Island so we ventured farther north and anchored outside of “The Basin.” Later that afternoon we took the dinghy into The Basin to check it out. It’s a small inland bay with only one opening to the ocean. With the 10′ tidal difference, the water roars through this inlet, and it’s like motoring up a whitewater river. There are many small islands and rocks, and the inside depths are over 100′ in places. We even passed a couple lobster boats that actually traverse this inlet daily to tend their traps inside the bay.
That night as the sun went down we were treated to seals on the rocks nearby. They clambered up on the rocks as the tide went out, and provided us with our first chance to observe seals on land. The next morning we dinghied back to The Basin to check it out at a different tide state. Now that it was almost low tide the raging water had subsided.
Friday the winds were howling so we headed around Vinalhaven, past North Haven and anchored in Seal Cove where we were better protected. We took another dinghy trip, this time up the Mill River, through the interior of Vinalhaven, under a bridge, and out the other side to Winter Harbor, Seal Bay, and Penobscot Island. The leaves were gorgeous and it was very protected on this inland waters. We went at high tide because the charts indicate that it fully dewaters in some of these areas at low tide.
Friday night we were treated to thunderstorms and a thick fog. For those of you that have never experienced it, when lighting strikes while there is fog the result is blinding, the fog is illuminated everywhere. It’s like driving through fog with your bright headlights on. It felt like the lightning was right on top of us, but the thunder always had at least a 5 second delay.
Saturday between downpours we explored the sleepy town of North Haven. It’s a quaint little place, pretty much closed down for the winter. Most of the traffic seemed to be from hunters that had come over to the island for the weekend and were now taking their trucks back over to the mainland via the large ferry. Sunday morning we made the short trip to Rockland.