Maine Cruise 2018 – Northeast Harbor

It’s hard to top our visit to Deer Isle.  Leaving the log cabin, casting off lines, and heading southeast down Eggemoggin Reach, we contemplated how very fortunate we are to be enjoying this life and having such good friends to share it with.  What next?

We decided we would venture off to Northeast Harbor.  It was a crystal clear, gorgeous day, and flat calm.  We were on the flybridge, and it was perfect for deconstructing the joys of our visit with Enzo and Renata, and contemplating how we wished to spend the rest of our cruise.

fullsizeoutput_4b4dWe picked our way through the densely-packed lobster buoys at the eastern entrance to Eggemoggin Reach, then proceeded through Casco Passage.  It was an uneventful run … almost.

We were half way between Casco Passage and Bass Harbor Bar when a Coast Guard ridged-hull 28-footer (?) came zooming towards us and circled under our stern, lights flashing.  I pulled back on the throttle and they came alongside.  Bruce climbed down from the flybridge to chat.

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…and… We’re boarded.

I couldn’t hear anything that was going on, but I assumed (correctly) that it was a routine boarding/safety check.  They went through their checklist and Bruce had all the right answers/gear/paperwork etc.  They were very polite, very professional, very friendly.  They loved our dogs, and were amused when they asked where our throw cushions were to discover that the throw cushions were under the table, where the Mattie and Pepper use them as dog beds!  We passed with flying colors.  It’s good to know that everything is in order.

We thanked the Coasties and proceeded on our way, across Bass Harbor Bar, up Western Way, and on in to Northeast Harbor.  Moorings were plentiful.  Everything has seemed very quiet and not at all crowded to us, but the Harbor Master did say they were having a busy summer, at least since early July.  Hmmm.  Doesn’t really seem that way to us, but we weren’t complaining.  We like quiet.

Cruising on the Tug is so different from cruising on a sailboat, especially since this is a “Lazy Man’s Cruise”.  It used to be that when we came into a place like Northeast on a sailboat we needed provisions, fuel, laundry, and sometimes water.  Not so on the Tug.  We are so much more self-sufficient, and can go much longer between provisioning stops.  It’s very nice.  Laundry in particular: Don’t.Like.Laundromats.  Especially when there are much better things to do!

We spent two nights in Northeast Harbor, and the day in between we did our traditional trek into Bar Harbor on the propane-powered, free, dog-friendly Explorer buses.  We have our annual lunch at the touristy-but-pleasant-enough Stewman’s Lobster Pound.  In the past we have really enjoyed this leisurely interlude, where we can bring the dogs, sit out on the deck, and watch the bustle of tour boats and kayaks.  This year it wasn’t the same.  I always get a lobster roll, which has been very good in past years.  This year, not so much.  I was so disappointed. Oh well.

On the bus ride we met some trawler folks and talked about the ICW and the Bahamas.  It’s always good to make connections and pick brains for helpful information.  We are growing our stack of boat cards and I trust they will come in handy as we continue our cruising.

I spent some time in the afternoon wandering around Northeast Harbor and poking into shops.  I always spend time upstairs in The Kimball Shop.  It’s a rather amazing kitchen supply collection and I can almost always find something I “need” for the boat.  And the gift shop downstairs is pretty nice too.  There are some very high-end clothing shops, some yuppy places, a good hardware store, and The Pine Tree Market, a good old-style Maine coast grocery.   As I walked back down the hill to the dinghy dock I walked sadly past The Docksider.  We overlooked it this year because it appears to have changed hands, been re-designed a bit, and thus didn’t appeal.  But I bet I could have gotten a better lobster roll there than the one I had in Bar Harbor.  *Sigh.*

aWv%tfzAQpSUbrSEZxQ9zAOur find in Northeast Harbor this year was Gelato Fiasco, Wild Maine Blueberry Crisp.  If you see this anywhere, grab it!  It was delicious!  I think we ended up having it three times this trip.

And on another front, with dinner back on the boat (I can’t remember what we ate) we enjoyed a remarkably nice Louis M. Martini red that we had picked up at the Tradewinds Marketplace in Blue Hill.  We tried to leave it with Enzo and Renata but they made us take it back.  For the record, here it is, empty…

ONlpB2hvT+Srls+8KQ+a0gSo Northeast was a lazy visit for us.  I always feel a little disappointed that we don’t get out to enjoy the National Park more than we do. It’s mostly because of the dogs: we don’t like leaving them alone on the boat, especially for longer periods of time.  We worry too much about what might happen.  Irrational perhaps, but that’s the way it is.  They are family.

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