Maine Cruise – Days 22 – 24 – Muscongus & Boothbay

We have only cruised through Muscongus Bay once before, almost 20 years ago on our the first Esmeralde, the little Able Whistler 32.  I remember it as being a little bit of a hairy experience.  It was thick thick thick fog, we were navigating with a new GPS, and the screen was indeed a chart, but it was about 2″ x 3″, black and white, and didn’t have a lot of pixels.  We didn’t have radar.  How things have changed. 

After getting quite a lot accomplished during our stay in Rockland, we decided to make a long over-due visit to our friends the Bouzaids deep inside Muscongus Bay.  Getting there is not for the faint of heart, partially because of the ledge-strewn waters, but also because of the gazillions of lobster pots that saturate the place.  I couldn’t believe it.

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Owl’s Head

We left Rockland on a gorgeous, sunny morning.  Perfect Maine.  Our route took us around the famous Owl’s Head lighthouse (we still need to check out the Owl’s Head Transportation Museum on some future trip to Rockland) and down Muscle Ridge Channel.  This can be a delightful ride or a nightmare, depending on the conditions: sunshine and a fair current are great;  fog, rain and a foul current, not so much.  We were lucky to enjoy the former on this day, and the flybridge was excellent after years of hiding under the bimini in a sailboat cockpit.

Normally on our route west we like to stop in at Tenants Harbor.  We passed it by this time, a little sadly, since Bruce wanted to indulge in the wiener schnitzel at The Happy Clam. We stumbled upon this curious favorite a few years back when we were holed up in Tenants for about four days of constant wind and downpours and were running out of things to do.  It is a surprising blend of New England seafood and Austrian favorites.  Such is the child of an international marriage.  We love it.  And now that The Cod End is no longer in business (except for guest moorings), there are few options.

At anchor off

Instead, we headed in around Mosquito Island and past Port Clyde, then picked our way through the islands and ledges towards Hornbarn Cove. Holy moly those lobster pots!  I’m still scratching my head that we didn’t snag any.  The final approach, just north of Crotch Island, is between two rather nasty unmarked ledges that are exposed at low tide.  We made it safely, and grabbed the mooring that was waiting for us.  Oh, so nice to have friends in beautiful places!

IMG_5003We had a little cocktail on board, then enjoyed a lovely dinner ashore with the Bouzaids. It was so nice to have a home-cooked meal featuring veggies fresh out of the big late-season garden in a big, open kitchen for a change.  We need to stop by here more often.

Morning dawned gray and cool, with rain in the forecast. We took the dogs in for a romp ashore, then cast off and re-traced our wake through the lobster pots around Crotch Island, south out of Muscongus bay, then west towards our old friend Boothbay Harbor.  We tend to be less adventuresome along this part of the coast, which is too bad.  There is a lot to see and there are plenty of lovely places to visit, but we always seem to be in “go-home” mode by the time we get here so we check in at the familiar, easy (and reliably fun) spots.

IMG_5010We stayed in Boothbay for two nights, and enjoyed some of our regular go-to’s.  The dogs always get a hot dog or burger at the colorful Dunton’s Doghouse, which is part of a nice loopy walk we take through the pleasant residential neighborhood on the backside of Boothbay.

The Gloucester fishing schooner Ernestina under restoration at the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard.

While on our walks we check in at the various shipyards to see if there are any interesting projects.  We were surprised to find the 1894 Gloucester fishing schooner Ernestina, familiar to us because she has been based out of New Bedford for many years, being restored at the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard.  She has a long and storied history, and is now the official vessel of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  It will be exciting to see her restored.  It is quite a project.

There was an American Tug in the harbor.  We caught up with the crew of Emilie B out of Cousins Island in Casco Bay.  We love the enthusiasm and camaraderie of our fellow American Tug owners.

IMG_5020We had another fun dinner at Ports of Italy, the surprisingly good Italian restaurant right on Commercial Street.  We have had great food there, and we usually sit at the bar where we meet a broad variety of locals and tourists and generally have an excellent time.

During the evening, Pepper began to show signs of stress once again: lethargy, coughing, trouble breathing, and a fever.  No vets were available within range of Boothbay, especially since it was Saturday night.  We reviewed our options, and decided that if Pepper wasn’t dramatically improved in the morning, we would cancel our plans to head to Kennebunkport, and instead go straight to Portland where we could get him to an emergency vet.  And that is, indeed, what happened.

Evening light in Boothbay Harbor.


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