The road to Russell’s property on Cape Rosier passes this zig-zag waterway that, after multiple turns, eventually reaches open water. This small outboard craft is typically anchored at one end of the waterway, as far from the open water as possible.
I suppose the boat owner may park the craft at this spot because it is a safer place for a boat to weather storms. I also wonder, though, whether the existence of the zig-zag course influences the decision. I’d be tempted to leave the boat here because it would be fun to steer through the twists and turns every time you climbed aboard.
This morning’s walk produced a surprise—a “tall ship” in the harbor, towering over the outboards and the lobster boats. It was a perfectly clear morning with barely a breath of breeze, and I walked out to the end of a jetty to get a good look as the masted vessel rode at anchor. With my time in Stonington drawing to a close, I’m going to take in as many harbor and boat scenes as possible.
We visited Bar Harbor yesterday. Unlike Stonington, where virtually every boat in the harbor is a working lobster boat, there are a variety of different types of pleasure crafts docked in Bar Harbor.
I was struck by this scene of three boats docked side by side near the Bar Harbor Inn. The guy in the middle must have been feeling pretty good about himself when he eased his big, bright, gleaming boat into the harbor—until the huge yacht parked itself right next door. And some day, of course, the big yacht will be outdone when an even bigger super yacht shows up, because there’s always someone with a bigger boat, somewhere.
And what about the guy whose Boston Whaler looks like a shrimp in comparison to these two monsters? I bet he’s happy he’s not paying for their upkeep, storage, outfitting, maintenance, and crew. And I’d guess that he has more fun zipping around in his little boat than the other two boats combined.
One of the interesting things about living in a remote area is that you see things you would never see in an urban area. Like this scene, for instance, where an ark-like boat has been pulled up onto the rocks bordering the shoreline near on of the inlets on the Penobscot Bay. I particularly like the fact the one of the buoys is attached—even though the vessel is on dry land.
Last night we took a boat trip and headed due west to North Haven, an island community that is about a 45-minute boat ride from Stonington. On the way we enjoyed the sunshine and the salt air and the sailboats and the sighting of some seals lounging on a rocky outcropping in the water.
Our destination was the Nebo Lodge, an inn and restaurant on North Haven that is a favorite of ours. We had a fine meal at Nebo and brief walk around North Haven before we headed back to reboard the boat so we could make it back to Stonington before nightfall.
Our timing was impeccable, because the skies were clear, the sun hung low on the horizon, and the wispy clouds etched dazzling patterns high above as our boat steamed back east. We sat on the stern and watched the boats sail past, silhouetted by the sinking sun.
Dr. Science, the ultimate rationalist, observed the the sun was just the equivalent of countless hydrogen bombs exploding in an empty void. But the GV Jogger, Kish and I scoffed at his clinical analysis, knowing deep down that Old Sol was painting a brilliant canvas just for us, and we were going to enjoy every minute of the show — and take some pictures to remember it.
As we drew nearer to Burnt Cove, the sun dipped inexorably down and the horizon flared orange, leaving the waters a deep purple and the clouds fully backlit and glowing.
By the time we reached Burnt Cove harbor, the western horizon sill blazed with a warm but dimming celestial fire, while darkness was falling to the east. Our captain deftly steered between the docked boats as we took in the last scenes in the sun’s big show.
To the east, the clouds high above still caught the sun’s bright rays, and looked like wisps of pink cotton candy reflected in the waters of Burnt Cove. The blue sky looked vast and endless.
As we docked and disembarked, the sky was the color of cinnamon and salmon and every hue in between. Dr. Science may be right about the sun just being a colossal hydrogen bomb, but it really does put on a pretty good show.
Coastal Maine is a scenic place, and Stonington has its fair share of photo opportunities. Sometimes, if you keep your eyes open, they just appear in front of you, the result of a combination of weather, viewpoint, circumstance, and just plain luck.
I caught this picture of a lone boat at anchor just off the shoreline east of the mail boat dock during my early morning walk yesterday. The calm waters allowed for a clear view of the floating seaweed and the huge rocks just below the water’s surface. At the same time, the fog in the distance left the boats farther out in the harbor shrouded in mist. while totally obscuring the islands beyond, making the top of the picture look like a kind of unfinished artist’s canvas. The colors are subtle and subdued.
Against that backdrop, I was struck by the sharp image of the lone boat — which I am pretty sure is called a dory — all by itself on the placid water. The scene seemed to perfectly capture an almost mystical feeling of calmness, and solitude, and quiet.
I happen to like the name Boaty McBoatface — in fact, I like it a lot — but I can see why the NERC might conclude that it really doesn’t convey the seriousness of the vessel’s mission. Imagine a bundled up BBC correspondent, reporting from the rolling, windswept deck as the craft plunges through an iceberg-dotted seascape, beginning the report by saying in a high-brow British accent: “This is Jeremy Middleditch reporting from the deck of the Arctic exploration vessel Boaty McBoatface . . . .”
It’s probably not the message the NERC was hoping to convey, and the NERC gets the final say on naming the boat. So even though Boaty McBoatface got nine times as many votes as the second place name, serious types are urging the NERC to overrule the public and give the boat a more inspirational name, like the name of a long-dead polar explorer or adventurer — which is how the two current polar exploration vessels are named.
I hope the NERC avoids the temptation. Sure, the winning name sounds like a cartoon character, but we need more whimsy in our lives. I’m all in for Boaty McBoatface!
Freeport, Bahamas is a significant port. No surprise there — presumably, that’s how Freeport got its name in the first place. It’s very close to the American mainland, and a convenient stopping point for ships coming and going to the U.S. of A.
During our recent visit to Freeport we had the opportunity to take a boat trip past the port, thanks to our gracious hosts the Bahamians, and therefore got to see some of the larger ships up close. What’s interesting to me, as a dry landed Midwesterner, is the many different kinds of big boats you see around the Freeport port. Tankers, tugs, and tenders, construction boats and unloading boats — each with its own special design related to its specific function in making the port work.
We took a boat trip with friends yesterday, and I realized that boating technology has progressed about as rapidly as cell phone technology. The boat’s instrument panel featured RPM monitors, fuel gauges, depth finders, fish finders, engine monitors, more buttons and lights and switched than you could shake a stick at, a GPS link and map that could be scrolled up or down or in or out — and Sirius XM radio.
It all looked so complicated, like the cockpit of a plane, that I wondered if you needed a Ph.D to operate it. That turns out to be a slight exaggeration — our friends only took a week-long course to get up to speed.
We took the mailboat run out to Isle au Haut yesterday. After we started the trip a dense fogbank rolled in, moving toward us like a living creature and then finally enveloping our small craft in its damp, blank embrace on our return journey. It was like being in a dream, with small islands silently sliding in and out of the thick mist and bobbing lobster buoys adding the only dabs of color to the monochromatic scenes.
We were on a mailboat run on a very foggy day. The fog was all-encompassing, cool and damp against our skin and seemed to muffle every standard waterside sound. Occasionally the fog would break, however, and boats would appear, etched sharply against the fog bank behind.
We saw lots of boats on our mailboat run into the Casco Bay, and I’ll post another picture of one later today. Among all of the magnificent vessels, however, I liked the color of these three little working boats tied together at the floating dock off Cliff Island.
Whenever I visit a big body of water, like Lake Erie, I like to walk through the recreational boat docks. It’s always a colorful and interesting experience, as nimble boaters ready their crafts for a day’s outing.
I’ve never bought a boat, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the boat dealers play on the romance of being out on the water, captaining your own ship, catching prize-winning fish, spending marvelous, sun-dappled days with grateful children, and impressing your neighbors, friends, and clients.
If you walk regularly through marinas, however, you’ll inevitably notice that many of the boats are for sale. That’s because, after the thrill of buying a boat wears off, boaters quickly come to realize that boating is hard work, and expensive, too. You’ve got to find a place to dock your boat and paying the mooring fees. You’ve got to dry dock your boat during the winter. You’ve got to keep it painted, scraped free of barnacles and crud, watch for rust on those gleaming metal surfaces, and maintain the engines. You need to buy boater’s insurance, and God forbid if you have an accident. And you quickly learn that boat engines love to guzzle expensive fuel.
That’s why they say the day the boater buys his boat is the second best day he will ever have. The best day is when he’s lucky enough to sell it.
During our visit to Stonington, Maine, I ran across this boat tied to a dock. I didn’t see the owner, but Sherlock Holmes clearly could have drawn some significant inferences from the state of his vessel.
The owner clearly wouldn’t be pretentious, given the appearance of his humble, battered craft. He didn’t load the boat with creature comforts or fancy gadgetry, and indeed did not even treat himself to a seat cushion to make the ride a bit more bearable, so he obviously wasn’t a slave to luxury. And given the simple contents of the boat — a buoy, some oars, a life jacket, a beaten tool box — the owner clearly was focused on function, nor form.
I imagined a working man who had a vessel he had used for years and trusted completely, and who saw no need to mess around with something that was working just fine, even if it was somewhat the worse for wear.