Conditions were good as we left Scituate Harbor on Saturday morning, early around 7:00 am, with plans to stop at the Isle of Shoals. In fact, the sea conditions were so good that we soon began to discuss other options. The thinking went like this —
- By all accounts, in books and online, the Isle of Shoals on a Saturday may not be the best choice. It is only a few miles offshore from Portsmouth, New Hampshire and many weekenders head there. It is inadvisable to anchor in Gosport Harbor so a mooring is a must. I would have liked to see the Isle of Shoals, but this wasn’t the right day.
- How far can we go? Why waste good sea conditions? After traveling in fog these the first 3 days, it was a joy to have good visibility and have benign seas.
- Biddeford Pool was an option.
- Richmond Island, off of Cape Elizabeth looked within reach for us. Almost 80 nautical miles from Scituate.
Just east of Gloucester we were in the midst of fishing boats, large, small, commercial, sport. We weren’t far out at all, and yet Al suddenly shouted – “Whale!!!” We slowed down and kept our eyes peeled for a spout of water. The whale blew a few times and then we got to see it surface and flip its tail at us. Soooo cool. I have no pictures and I am not apologizing. I knew that if I tried to take a photo, I would never catch the right moment and I would also miss seeing it all. I chose to just stop and watch.
I’m still amazed that we saw a whale in this location, but when I looked at the chart, Stellwagon Bank isn’t that far away. Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, “a wild ocean place near an urban world, sits east of Boston, Massachusetts between Cape Ann and Cape Cod. Historically important as a fishing ground, New England’s only national marine sanctuary now reigns as a premier whale watching destination and continues to support commercial and recreational fishing.”
The birds were loving this fishing trawler. I wonder if it is annoying to the fisherman to have them hanging all around like that. Reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock’s old movie, “The Birds.”
The day marched on and on. We did not have to watch the radar and squint into the fog, but we sure did have to watch out for lobster pot buoys. Most of the time, we easily maneuvered through patches of pots, knowing that this is nothing compared to what we will face farther north in Maine. Then, there, in 350 feet of water, was on one on our starboard side that looked strange. Al steered well clear of it, but things did not go well. This wasn’t just a regular lobster pot buoy. It appeared to be a jammed up cluster of two. Just as we passed it, Al looked over the side of the boat and saw a looong line trailing in front of the boat. It was too late and we caught it in the port stabilizer. The line had already been severed, one buoy had caught on the other as it drifted but left its 300+ feet of cut line floating. Drifting in neutral, Al grabbed a knife (why did it have to be the serrated bread knife from the galley?) and we set to work to free ourselves. Each of us holding onto an end that he had cut, we tugged the line loose with each rock of the boat. The boat’s gentle sway allowed the stabilizer to swing free so that the line could be pulled out. Fifteen minutes later we were on our way again.
79 nautical miles, 11½ hours and we were anchored in a cove at Richmond Island, Cape Elizabeth — We are in Maine! And alongside us is another Kadey Krogen, The Good Life. We had a nice chat by phone with Mark and Mary.
We were tired so after a late but quick dinner of chili, we checked the boat and went to bed.
Overnight, the weather turned cooler, and the sky opened up its faucets again. The rain continued into Sunday morning, which we expected. It was going to be a hunker down day. No exploring.
Charting chores – where do we go next? Magnolia decided to stop at Portsmouth so they will catch up with us in a couple days.
I spent the day weaving, blogging, reading and cleaning. Al tackled a few boat chores.
Richmond Island is a pretty spot. Quiet.
In this first week of our travels we received an early “baptism by fire” to cruising Maine, before we even arrived – FOG and LOBSTER BUOYS.