It gets more spectacular the further north along the Maine coast we travel. We depart Jewell at 6:30 AM bound for Pulpit Harbor on North Haven Island in the middle of Penobscot Bay. It is a cloudless morning with a chill in the air; 55F. A sweater and fleece jacket are in order till it warms up. The same large and long-period ocean swells greet us offshore but there are no wind waves and the ride is smooth. Water temp is down to 56F (from 85F in Florida). As a result the engine room is nice and comfy and the Lugger purrs along at 175F. We cross Casco Bay and pass the Cape Small Lighthouse. A photo op for Sea Dweller:
Lighthouses are frequent and picturesque on craggy islands with ocean swells crashing ashore. One almost grows immune to the striking beauty of this coastline. Another lighthouse? Seen a dozen already; ho hum. By noon we turn into Penobscot Bay. The Camden hills loom in the distance and countless islands dot the coastline. Lobster pots are everywhere; we are nearly always dodging pots….the great lobster pot slalom course. We spot a small whale off the starboard side but it was too far away to identify. A pod of dolphin surface off the port side. Our friends on Changing Course spot sea lions but we have not seen any so far.
A sailboat off Owl Point calls the Coast Guard to announce they are taking on water and requests a pump. The Coast Guard response is unimpressive. The first Coast Guard station to respond takes the boats information and finishes by saying “thank you for your report”! The sailboat captain is left wondering what, if anything, the Coast Guard will do to help. Fortunately, another Coast Guard station responds, takes the boats information yet again. They attempt to exchange telephone numbers and the Coast Guard struggles to remember their own number. Not impressed. Finally, the Coast Guard station puts out the usual pan pan call announcing the boat in distress and asking anybody nearby to assist. We are again left wondering if the Coast Guard is doing anything. Minutes seem like hours. We are not far from the vessel in distress and I am about to call the sailboat to determine if the Coast Guard is coming to their aid or not and offer to motor over to them with a pump. A Coast Guard vessel then announces they have the sailboat in sight. Finally, news that something is being done. This occurs frequently, the Coast Guard communications needs to be improved. Simply stating the Coast Guard is responding but if any nearby vessel could assist they should do so would help.
By 3PM we are approaching the entrance to the harbor at Pulpit.
Pulpit harbor is a well protected and beautiful anchorage sufficient in size to house a hundred boats or more. A 150-year old osprey nest tops Osprey Rock at the entrance. There are already a number of boats on moorings and at anchor but we find space and soon our fleet of two Krogens and a Nordhavn are at rest. We are, to use a British term, gobsmacked by the beauty of Pulpit. Granite shoreline, forested hills, a few quaint homes dot the countryside. By late afternoon a three-masted schooner, the Victory Chimes, majestically enters the harbor and anchors right behind Tivoli. The view from our back porch is stunning.
Precisely at sunset the ships colors are struck to the sound of a single cannon shot. All three flags come down; first the US flag from the mizzen mast, then the remaining flags. It is somehow comforting to know craftsmen still exist that can build and maintain such vessels.
Next morning we enjoy a leisurely breakfast while watching the Victory Chimes exit the harbor. What a beautiful sight. We get the bicycles off the boat deck; load them onto our tender, and take them ashore. We ride into North Haven and enjoy the spectacular setting, wander the local shops, pick up some goodies at the bakery, and ride back to the anchorage.
Docktails follow on Sea Dweller during which two more schooners enter the harbor and anchor. This is schoonerville. What an incredible setting. Camden hills in the background, setting sun, two schooners sailing into the bay. Hard to beat. We return to the boat before sunset to lift the tender aboard and prep the boat for a morning departure.