We woke early on Sunday to a one-sided conversation on the VHF about a lobster boat running aground just outside of Rockland (our destination that day.) Since we were up, we got underway early and listened to the progress on the VHF as the Coast Guard was dispatched to the scene. After several days of rain, the bright sunshine was quite welcome, and our two and a half hour trip to Rockland was a pleasant one. As we exited the Fox Island Thoroughfare, we passed a unique lobster boat – a young woman was alone at the helm, her long, blond ponytail flying back under her visor. As she passed, we caught the name of the vessel, in pink block letters on the stern- Tidal 9! Pretty cool. I managed to suppressed my inner urge to yell “You Go, Girl”, though. 😉
Coming into Rockland harbor, we passed Owl’s head lighthouse and Rockland Breakwater lighthouse. Not much further, we passed the grounded lobster boat, which was indeed very hard aground and kind of precariously perched atop a large rock. There was a very low tide that day, so he just must have misjudged his usual fishing grounds. A Coast Guard boat and a sea tow boat on scene, so we continued on into the harbor, hoping there wasn’t damage to his boat.
After setting the anchor, we heard over the VHF that the lobster boat was off the rocks and was heading into shore under its own power– good news! We decided to do the same, and took the dinghy into town to check things out. We took a stroll through the harbor walk and checked out the marinas, downtown area and shops. The city is home to the Farnsworth Art Museum and Wyeth Center, and we took a stroll through their sculpture garden. Rockland has a lot to offer visitors, and I’m guessing its waterfront is a little more scenic during the high season, but Sunday’s stroll took us through some muddy and somewhat deserted marinas. We walked past touring schooners, (now covered in shrink-wrap for winter,) several of which we’d seen full of weekend passengers earlier in our travels. But we found several fun things to do in Rockland anyway…
The following day we went in to tour the Maine Lighthouse Museum, which has exhibits on lighthouse history, Maine lighthouses and preservation, and the U.S. Coast Guard and Lifesaving Services. The museum has a very impressive collection of historic Fresnel lenses and foghorns and an expansive display of the advancements made at every stage in the mechanical and electronic control of lights. Also highlighted are fascinating stories of the sometimes lonely and often heroic lives of the light keepers.
After the Lighthouse Museum, we went to the Project Puffin Visitors Center. Project Puffin is an undertaking by the National Audubon Society to reintroduce puffins to the Maine islands where they were known to nest prior to near extinction in Maine 100 years ago. Unfortunately, Brad and I got to Maine a little too late to actually see any live puffins (they head out to sea in August – where they go over the winter is apparently still a mystery), so the visitor center was great. Puffins are ridiculously cute and much more entertaining than seals! You can check out the best of the 2012 Puffin nesting season webcam on their website.
We enjoyed our time in Rockland, but it is becoming difficult to escape the fact that our time in Maine is becoming all too short. Tuesday, we headed south to Tenants Harbor, and a short trip ashore reinforced this even more- everything was closed. Today, we plan to head around Monhegan Island and up to Boothbay Harbor, leaving the Penobscot Bay behind us.
As Brad has pointed out, we’ve climbed Penobscot Mountain, we’ve sailed Penboscot Bay, we’ve researched the failed Penobscot Expedition, we’ve circumnavigated Penobscot Island, we’ve crossed the Penobscot River, and we’ve been to the Penobscot Marine Museum.
We’ve covered “Penobscot.” Now it’s time to head south!