Cruising Log:  7/1/04 - 7/6/04

We wanted to get away from it all for the 4th of July weekend, not normally being interested in the hype, hubbub, and mayhem of ordinary 4th celebrations.  With 4 days and an extra night at our disposal, we decided to head slightly further afield than we might have for a normal weekend.

I had fond memories from the early '80s of the Cross River, located far up the Sheepscot River, near Wiscasset and Boothbay.  I thought it would be fun to go there; plus, as far off the beaten path as it is, I figured it would probably be uncrowded.  With a decent weather forecast for the weekend, we headed out to the boat Thursday evening, arriving at just after 1900.  I had spent part of the morning preparing the boat for cruising by loading clothes, food, and other cruising gear that hadn't yet made it on board for the season--stuff like the sailing dinghy parts, swim ladder, and Bruce anchor. 

Thursday night was uneventful aboard, other than some spectacular and constant heat lightning that we could see through much of the night.  We experienced no severe thunderstorms, and had no particular wind or rain, but the lightning was something.

leavingfalmouth1.jpg (20652 bytes)Friday morning, we hoped to get underway around 0800 to allow plenty of time to make the 27u mile trip to our planned first destination:  Five Islands, a couple miles up the Sheepscot River.  We had been there back in 2001 on our way to Pemaquid, and had fond memories.  The atmosphere in the morning was extremely thick and somehow threatening, and NOAA was forecasting possible severe weather for the day--when was not exactly clear, and it sounded as if thunderstorms could possibly come through even in the morning.  I carefully considered whether or not to leave, but the western sky was not overly threatening in appearance, so I decided we might as well head out and just be prepared should something happen later.  

pycto5islandschart.jpg (93741 bytes)
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offragged1.jpg (47532 bytes)We departed at 0810 under motor with the main up, with no wind.  We motored our usual route out past Hope, Chebeague, and Little Mark Islands; once we got outside Little Mark, a nice southerly wind had picked up, at about 12-14 knots.  It was perfect for a close reach across the remains of Casco Bay, which we enjoyed at speeds of 5-6 knots for most of the way.  Throughout the morning, I kept a wary eye on the western sky and some building clouds t here, ready to make a move should any of the weather approaching appear severe at all.  Fortunately, it appeared that the clouds were tending to move more along the shore, rather than straighter out to sea, so for now we were all set.

sheepscot2.jpg (47363 bytes)We sailed all the way around Cape Small and  inside Fuller Rock, but at this point the wind became very light, leaving behind a confused choppy sea that shook any remaining wind right out of the sails.  After giving it the ole' "college try", I decided to give in and motor, so that we could get where we were going before any thunderstorms came through:  the weather still looked threatening enough on the horizon, though the day was sunny, hazy, and pleasant otherwise.  But it just seemed like that kind of a day, so prudence ruled.

5islandsthunderhead.jpg (28688 bytes)We arrived at Five Islands and picked up one of the free moorings in the small, cozy harbor.  Shortly after we arrived, I could feel the wind picking up a bit, and, looking out towards the Sheepscot River running just past the narrow entrance to the harbor, I watched as fog quickly blew in on the fresh breeze, obscuring all visibility outside the harbor.  We had gotten in just in time, apparently.  The afternoon passed uneventfully, with the fog coming in and out depending on the wind strength at any given time.  Tall clouds dotted the western sky all day, with a few minor showers but no real thunderstorms, despite the threatening appearance.  You just never know.

5islandsnorth.jpg (29519 bytes)     maldenisland.jpg (50640 bytes)

     fog1.jpg (25539 bytes)     fog2.jpg (33444 bytes)
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sargassosea.jpg (20592 bytes)There was a huge amount of seaweed, kelp, and debris in the water, particularly in the harbor, since it had just been a full moon with spring tides--real beach-washers and drainers.  It was sort of like being in the Sargasso Sea, and the weed was so thick and constant that I almost couldn't row through it.  It seemed as if I could have gotten out of the dinghy and walked across.

fognorth5islands.jpg (21175 bytes)I spent some time rowing around the harbor, taking pictures and just enjoying the sights.  It was great fun to watch the fog, which would ooze into the harbor around the islands in mere seconds, only to clear again moments later.  And so it went for most of the afternoon and evening.

glis5islands70101.jpg (32563 bytes)

cocktailsontable.jpg (31598 bytes)As our first real cruise of the year, this was our first opportunity to audition the new cockpit table I built during the spring.  It was an unqualified, fantastic success:  moments after setting it up, both Heidi and I were marveling at its awesomeness, and wondering aloud how we ever managed without it.  The height, position, and size were perfect in every way, and it was a cinch to set up and break down as needed.  In addition, its position and height made it a perfect arm rest when sitting at the aft end of the cockpit facing forward, as we tend to do.  Build one of these things:  fantabulous.

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Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

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