Isle au Haut to Long Cove, Vinalhaven

Everytime we think the next day can’t better, it has. I know, this sounds like a load of &!$!, but it’s honestly been an adventure every day that leaves us speechless.

We did wake up very early in the morning to breeze-on and hearing the auto pilot on (?!) Turns out the towels we drapped to dry over the helm were damp enough to turn it on! So the auto-pilot was attempting to keep us steady around 5 am. It was shockingly also blowing 18 kts at 5am.

Within a few hours, that settled so we slept our tired muscles in late (the hike yesterday took a lot out of us). I made omelets because I could only buy a dozen eggs yesterday at the market instead of half dozen so what does one do with a bunch of eggs…make omelets.

Leaving Isle au Haut

We made plans for the west coast of Vinalhaven because we are now trying to make our way east and south but also trying to continue to avoid populous spots. I read about a few interesting anchorages over there. Since it was already blowing from the southwest and our destination was the same direction, we decided to head back the direction we came and go back through the Fox Island Thorofare.

Fox Island Thorofare

We also knew there was a boat yard in North Haven in the middle of this channel with diesel and water, both of which we needed to replenish before we head south. So pulled up to JO Browns Boat Yard which actually has a self serve fuel station much like you would have at any gas station for your car: put in your card, the pin, and then flip the handle to fill. There was also a hose on the dock to fill your water tanks.


However, they also advertised lobsters so I donned my face mask for the first time in days and walked up the gang plank to the office. She first explained the self service of the fuel/water which we wanted to confirm and then introduced to me to her 6-year-old grandson who would help us with lobsters. The little boy dressed in a bright tie-dyed t-shirt introduced himself as Sigmund and led me to a row boat on the dock with a salt water pump. This adorable dock hand asked me to help him open the hatch containing the lobsters but then asked me which ones we wanted all the while pointing out the ones he thought we best.

I relied on this little lobsterman’s opinon and watched in awe as he dunked his little hands into the tank to grab one that weighed 3lbs! We knew just how to flip it and get into the bucket. He advised me and caught one more then scurried away to weigh them before presenting them all wrapped up for grandma to ring me out. I left a tip for the kid to get some ice cream!

Once the boat and the galley was topped off we headed out east through the rest of the throrofare and turned south. We passed next to a few islands and through Leadbetter Narrows before turning into Long Cove. This recommended anchorage’s name is exactly what is. The cove extends into the island of Vinalhaven a quarter of mile but is barely 100 yds wide. All the way in, there is one boat on a mooring but we anchor just north of the mooring balls in 20 feet.

Long Cove is tucked back there

It wasn’t long before another 4 boats shuffled in behind us but everyone grabbed a mooring. We heard these private moorings can become $$$ if the owners come to collect so opted for the less of a gamble. It was sunny and warm and no wind in here. I read my book for a bit basking in the sun like a day at the beach.

Around 5pm, which was also high tide, we decided to explore the nearby Basin we read about and saw on the chart. This “tidal lake” has a small entrance of only about 20 feet wide where the current runs strong but then opens to 1.5 mile long by .5 long (at it’s widest) cove that is at points 111 feet deep! Apparently you can sail in here at high tide, we opted for the dingy.

Entering the Basin in the dinghy at high tide, apparently you can sail in here…

As we approached, you could see the water in the Basin was lower than the sea, so no wonder the current ran strong. We were just 45 minutes shy of high tide and still it was running strong.

The Basin

We stayed to the shoreline and explored the entire “lake.” There wasn’t a dock, a boat, or a person in site. It felt truly remote. We finally see a family on the shore line, a handful of kayaks, and then some fishing seals but that’s it. As it’s hot even at 5pm, we tied up to a sloping granite shelf to go for a swim that felt like swimming off a sandless beach.

The “beach” in the basin
The tidal lake

We wound around the shoreline into even more coves but eventually headed back to the entrance where the tide was now slack. We concluded we could have brought the boat in here…next time.

After heading back the mooring, I made up some coleslaw and pasta salad to accompany yet another lobster dinner. If anyone asks us if lobster has gotten old, the answer is no. We are 3 for 10 nights so 30% is deliciously a good percentage of lobster.

3rd lobster boat dinner

Long Cove is a beautiful spot. The boat next to us arrived with three young boys, one is fishing off the bow, another is hanging from a hammock he strong up himself, and another took their rowing dingy to go fishing. It’s been comical to watch thier interactions which included one hooking the other by the t-shirt while casting. Clearly we have found a pristine spot to just enjoy. As I was writing this, Brandon said to pop my head outside, it is a clear night and you can see every star and the milky way perfectly.

Sunset in Long Cove

Tomorrow we will be headed to Tenant’s Harbor about 15 miles southwest to head to a grocery store and maybe even a restaurant (our first of the trip!) before we head back to Rhode Island on Friday morning which should take us 36 hours. Trying not to think about that part yet. Just keeping the adventure alive until then…

Basin dinghy ride

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