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July 29, 1999
Ellen, Sarah and I rowed to a beach area near the boat yard, pulled the dinghy up the beach and turned it over. While they walked up Reach Road to the general store to get lunch, I dug out every bit of suspicious caulking on the dinghy's upturned bottom. I scraped every cracked seam and generally searched for THE PLACE WHERE WATER WAS COMING IN. Everyone thinks this dinghy is cute. Who designed it? Who built it? Where was it built? It IS cute, but it floats like a sponge. When I get in, I set my shoes on the thwart beside me. For sure, they're not on my feet in 5" of seawater. The dinghy has an excuse. It was designed and built in 1963 and had suffered some abuse over the years. So there it was, bottom up ready for 'treatment'. As I worked some of the guys from the yard came over curious to see how a retired dentist deals with such a problem. I scraped, wiped, scrubbed with acetone and carefully placed caulking back into the suspicious seams. We had a great lunch from the store ($3 for bar-b-que chicken leg and thigh, potato salad, lettuce and carrot salad, two pieces of garlic bread and soft drink) while the caulk set tack free. We motored the dink back to Silver Heels and had dinner. I checked before bed with a flashlight, and miracle of miracles, there was only 1/2" of water in it and that was under the floorboards! Another fire has been put out!
July 30, 1999. We attended the Brooklin, Maine, Sesquicentennial Celebration, 1849 to 1999. There was dinner at the Brooklin School put on by the Boy Scouts. Ceremonies at the Boat Shed behind the Marine Store (where Silver Heels was stored last winter) included: an Invocation by Rev. Jim Lufkin, we sang "America, the Beautiful," heard a History of the Town by Rep. Paul Volenik, a presentation to Mr. James W. Wiggins, Grand Marshall, a beautifully played classical musical selection by Rosanna Sherman, and a Closing Prayer by Rev. Lufkin. Then, chairs were cleared for a dance featuring the "Boomers" playing music from the 60's. Tomorrow there'll be breakfast at the church, a special stamp cancellation sponsored by the Post Office, a parade (theme Brooklin's History), an auto show at the Town Green, rowboat races at Naskeag Point (bring your own boat), a Lobster Bake put on the the Fire Dept. and Ladies Auxiliary at Naskeag Point, comedy by Tim Sample (sold out) and ending with Danny Brown's Acoustic Rock and Roll. There's more on Sunday with a Special Church Service, baseball game, etc. ending with Fireworks at the end of Flye Point. This isn't Oakland, CA!
July 31, 1999. Right now we're in Northeast Harbor. We had a 3 hour trip from Center Harbor yesterday, and the fog moved in en route. Zero zero visibility. There were two very narrow, shoal lined passages that we made perfectly, in the fog, with the GPS and dead reckoning ... and Sarah on the bow with the binoculars and her good ears listening for the buoy's bell sound. We veered and avoided one powerboat bow on; he was going too fast for conditions. We had another sailboat follow us; I don't think they had any nav gear. The GPS was so accurate that buoys loomed out of the fog 100' away, right on the nose. At 150' we could hear the gong but not see it. Then, Sarah would point out a faint silhouette. We had to be careful not to run into them. We also snagged a lobster buoy. There must be hundreds (thousands) of them 'littering' the bays, channels, coves and even harbors. There were three of them just 50 feet from the dinghy dock right in the Belfast Harbor. They're all over the place. When we hooked one, I noticed the boat speed drop to 2k and steering became difficult. I went on deck to look over the bow, and there was this bright red and white, lobster trap buoy hooked under the stem. There was about 70' of line angled down and back into the water attached to a 2 x 3 foot lobster trap at the bay bottom. I didn't dive over the side with a knife and cut it away as they say you have to do. I pulled it off with the boat hook. Too easy. Silver Heels' keel is long and sloped and doesn't snare line as easily as the newer fin keel, spade rudder designs. As we moved on the fog thinned near the shoreline, and the entrance to Northeast Harbor appeared. Just inside there was a true 'sailing yacht' moored dockside that was at least 150' long with 60 people milling on deck. The hull side was painted dark blue, decks were teak and the spars were perfectly varnished. Ladies in dresses, men dressed in blue blazers; the boat dressed with flags. Late afternoon sun settling over the hills. What a sight. The boat was huge. I've never seen anything like it on the Bay.
Now for us, the harbor 'moorings were full' as we arrived. If there are no moorings, you have to go back out to the bay and anchor. Some boats were turned away (into the fog again) last night just after we moored. By chance, we just picked a mooring that belonged to another boat ... that boat, "Nanuk," was away for the night. Lucky, because the harbor mistress (PC?) rented it to us. Today we'll have to find another mooring here, and we can then go into town. It's Sunday, and even though it's foggy again, some boats with have to head home so owners can get to work Monday. That should give us access to a spot.
August 2, 1999 We're still in Northeast Harbor. Fog's gone! The sunrise is warm, and the water is perfectly calm. This beautiful cove and town has free bus service to Bar Harbor about thirteen miles away. Yesterday, we took the bus to Bar Harbor, rented bicycles and bicycled the 'carriage trails' at Acadia National Park. The Rockefellers owned the whole area, and for their pleasures they cut trails just wide enough for a horse and carriage to tour. The forest is rich with trees and foliage. The trails wind through the most beautiful parts of the land crossing the stone bridges that they built ... passing near waterfalls, creeks and lakes. Rockefellers donated it to NPS, and now everyone can bicycle or walk the area on those trails.
August 6, 1999. Powered from Northeast Harbor to Center Harbor in sunshine and CAVU weather. Went sailing with Wooden Boat Magazine writer and overall wooden boat authority, Maynard Bray. Although we sailed only 5 mi in light airs and despite my clumsiness with halyards and sheets, we had an incredible afternoon. A smaller fiberglass sloop 'walked' past Silver Heels' lee going to weather. Silver Heels doesn't point as close to the wind as the newer cleaner rigs. It doesn't make any difference to be passed by a smaller boat though. So what. The value in this old schooner is in the teak decks, the sheer line, the gaffs, the bow sprit and one's fascination with the myriad of lines that compose the 'rig'. From the gammon iron at the bow to the eagle on the stern she's still a beautiful sight that carries my fascination. As this smaller boat pulled ahead I kept an eye on her expecting her to tack across our bow and ask for room to tack. Her crew, a man and wife, looked back at us frequently. I looked at them. I thought they were about to come around across our bow when she took out a camera .... and took some pictures of Silver Heels! We slid below them and continued on. We sailed, and Maynard pointed out every cove, shoal and house on the shoreline.
Regards to all, Terry
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