Somes Harbor to Valley Cove to Southwest Harbor to Merchant Row

Not sure what day it is but we woke up before our alarm to a Loon call right next to our boat which was loud yet peaceful. Ahh Maine…

Then just as we were lulled back to sleep, someone hit the Distress button on their VHF which lets out an alarm on anyone’s boat nearby that is pretty jolting. You have to get up and press stop. You are supposed to wait for the Coast Guard first before you respond – which they did and it all turned out to be a false alarm. 

Okay then!…we’re up. 

We pulled up the anchor by 7:30 and headed back down Somes Sound for Volley Cove with the plan to hike to the top of Flying Mountain before it got too hot or crowded. Our friends on Star from JBY passed us on the way out for another friendly chat. On the short trip (30 minutes) I made breakfast before we anchored off the beach of Valley Cove, which very deep and  surrounded by giant Granite faces.

Steak and Eggs on Avo Toast

We decided instead of going ashore in the dinghy and having to haul it up the beach, since we were so close, we would just use a dry bag and swim to shore. It was brisk and refreshing but also nice to get some exercise. It was about 50 yards to shore where we doned some sneakers to start the trek. 

Valley Cove with Persistence in the background

The trails were so well maintained and it was only at 10 minute hike straight up to the top of Flying Mountain that had an picturesque overlook of Somes Harbor and out to Catallic Mountain. Our plan was to also go explore Man O War Brooke which is a freshwater stream that runs into the Sound. Apparently it’s so deep alongside that ships would pull right up to it to fill with water back in the day. So we headed to that path only to find out that it’s closed for another 10 days for nesting of Peregrine Falcons. 

View from the top

By this time is 0930 and families are starting to come to the beach, so we are happy to got here early to avoid the crowds and finally stretch our legs. So after another “refreshing” swim back to the boat we made plans for the rest of the day and headed down the sound. 

Next we stopped in Southwest Harbor to get some fuel and water. According the guide, Beal’s had both and monitored channel 16. Turns out only one of those is true. We just docked ourselves after no response and filled the diesel with 8 gallons. (We haven’t had to motor very much).

A cruising tool we need to add is a hose. Turns out places have water but its’ BYO-Hose. They pointed us to another Marina who would have water. That marina also has West Marine which we needed anyway because we actually don’t have a paper chart for this area. That is not really something we want to admit because you should never rely 100% on technology for charts. Also it’s really nice to have them just for helping you reference something you don’t have to pinch and zoom. (For the record, we have two individual devices with charts that are independent of each other and charts for the rest of our trip, just not Mount Desert/ Blue Hill.)

So I called the other Marina who said we would have to wait 2 hours to get water because some super yachts had appointments to fill up 3000 gallons of fuel (as you would). Then I asked if I could just land a dinghy there to go to West Marine. She said that was fine. As soon as I jumped in the dinghy, I could see half the marina was empty and there were hoses everywhere. So when I landed (Brandon is just doing circles as this point off the dock) I asked politely again in person and the General Manager said “Yea grab that spot and fill up, no problem.” (At this point we have just used up one of two tanks for the trip which is 40 gallons but not sure when will get the chance again so just trying to be conservative.)

Well once again we learned that you need to still have your own hose, we borrowed one from a super yacht parked near by and Brandon filled up while I went to West Marine. Turns out West Marine doesn’t sell the Chart Books for their own area. I could buy Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands  but they didn’t realize they were out of this area. They had individual charts, so I did get one but I had to laugh…

Having accomplished replenishment of our boat and a hike all before noon, we set off on our next destination…which still was yet to be determined but we knew we wanted to go west and south.

So of course, as is typical of Maine, the wind was from the south and west but luckily the water was flat. We sailed out of Mount Desert, back across the Bass Harbor bar and then sailed upwind to Casco Passage, a narrow channel north of Swan’s Island where we made landfall the first night. By this point, we have made a little circumavigation of Blue Hill Bay and Mount Desert. 

From the other side of Casco Passage, we made the plan to sail the 4.4 miller to Merchant Row and McGlathery Island. From there, we had the best sail I have ever experienced (yesterday was the best and then it was dethroned). We sailed upwind through Merchants Row which is a channel between numerous islands tacking every few minuted meandering our way through lobster pots and wind shifts. Checking the chart frequently to avoid shoals, ledges, and rocks, we managed to dance our way south and west to eventually find a bight between McGlathery and Round Island.

At first, we didn’t want to anchor because there was one other boat anchored so peacefully in the dropping sun. But we decided to join them anyway and were quickly followed by one other boat. The bight has a beach on one side and was still very warm at 1800 so we poured two to-go cocktails and some towels and headed in for a swim and a sunset drink.

Towels and cocktails in the dinghy

We met the two other couples on the beach who passed along cruising tips (there is a camaraderie here among sailors cruising). We even made the small world connection with another couple from Portsmouth, NH that they knew the previous owner of Persistence as he was from their home club.

Under another setting sun, we came back to the boat for what I call “lazy man’s lasagna” where I buy frozen stuffed shells (or ravoli) then cook some sausage (in our case chicken sausage on the stovetop) then spinkle the sausage on top of the pasta then top with tomatoe sauce and bake in the stove. The hearty comfort food was so good that Brandon didn’t make it much past dinner.

I took the night to post all these blogs. If anyone ever reads them, that would be great but is also just so we have a record of everything we are doing each day! Now off to bed for tomorrow’s next adventure.

Food:

  • Breakfast – Avo Toast with Steak and Eggs
  • Lunch – Crab Cakes (leftover from wedding) topped on Cucumber with Siracha Mayo
  • Dinner – Lazy mans lasagna – Stuff shellds with chicken sausage and sauce

Cheers!

Lunch! Leftover wedding crab cakes

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