Looking out of my hatch at 5:30am into the thick fog, I glanced over about a hundred yards away to see Jason doing the same thing. The next leg of the trip was a sizeable one, 56 nautical miles to Linekin Bay, on the eastern side of Boothbay Harbor. It would be a full 9 hour day at best, but not in this fog.
I went back and caught a few more hours of sleep, got up around 7:30 to make my usual bacon, eggs and coffee. I still needed to get into Kennebunkport one more time to try and get a working phone, I didn't want family and friends getting too worried. It looked like the visibility might improve later in the morning so there was a chance we could make a shorter run to the Biddeford Pool.
Off I went in the dinghy to the commercial dock and unloaded my Dahon Mariner folding bicycle for the 2 mile ride into Kennebunkport. I've got to say that this little folding bicycle from the 1980's is an amazing little piece of human ingenuity. Despite the small wheel size, I can keep up with, and many times pass a standard bicycle because of the way that Dahon engineered the gearing. It has racks which allow me to carry two Ortlieb panniers for grocery shopping, and it can carry a surprisingly heavy load. I've begun calling it "La Mula" (the mule). Everywhere I went on this trip people wanted to know about the bike, and little kids were constantly amazed when they would watch me fold or unfold it. Once I arrived in town, I ducked into the little coffee shop I was at the day before to see if the baristas might be able to help me find a phone store. The closest one was in Biddeford, exactly where I was headed. So back to the boat I went under clearing skies to make the quick sail to Biddeford Pool.
The sail to Biddeford Pool was a pleasant two hour trip, I anchored and loaded the bike back into the dinghy to motor in to the dock and head for town. The thing I did not realize however, is that town was 9 miles away! Off I went undeterred, and about an hour later I found myself in what seemed to be an alien environment. After 10 days of sailing the ocean, and spending my time in little quiet islands and coastal towns, I found myself in what James Howard Kunstler calls "The Geography of Nowhere". Strip malls. Big box stores. Two lane divided highways with large trucks and impatient drivers that were never meant to have someone riding a bicycle on them. All of it was a shock to my senses and I realized how much humans have become desensitized to all of it, how this type of living arrangement, at this moment, was an affront to my soul. I found my way to the store only to be told that I couldn't get a new phone then and there, they would have to mail one to me. Great. So back I went, to the comparative serenity of Biddeford Pool. It was time to rest up for the trip to Linekin Bay tomorrow morning.
After going north for so long, it was funny to see the rugged Maine coastline on the horizon turn east as I pulled out of the pool around 9:30am heading northeast. I put the sails up before even hauling the anchor and had a nice little 5 and a half knot run through the lobster pots out into open water. The batteries needed charging, so I left the motor running.
The forecast was for some unsettled weather in the afternoon, which I could hopefully avoid. The wind held up for a while off the starboard quarter as I motorsailed; this was a challenging point of sail to maintain with the shifty winds and took plenty of focus. As I approached Cape Small in the early afternoon I could see dark anvil-like storm clouds forming to the northeast. I turned on my VHF to get an updated forecast and altered my course a little bit more easterly; it was going to be close and for a while I thought I might be able to stay just outside the storm clouds in the bright blue skies that I had enjoyed all morning.
Quickly though, the storm veered to the southeast, and i knew I was in for it. I saw a lobster boat coming out to haul his pots, abruptly turn around and pin the throttle back to port. I was still about 40 minutes from my closest refuge option, Seguin Island, which was not a great option as it's a very rocky approach. As it would turn out through, I never had the chance.
I quickly took down the mainsail and shortened to a storm jib. As i secured the last sail tie the winds immediately built to 30-35kts and it began pouring. I held my course at 60 degrees and made some decent progress through the maelstrom. There were some big lightning strikes off to the southeast which I was extremely thankful to have missed, I found out later that 3 people were injured on the ground due to these same strikes. I continued on, past Seguin Island where there were half a dozen sailboats who had taken refuge from the storm in the small rocky harbor, and proceeded quickly into Linekin Bay as a second storm front was approaching from the same direction as the first, with more lightning strikes that looked like something out of "War of the Worlds". I rounded Squirrel Island and headed for the anchorage off of Cabbage Island..this time I got lucky and the weather missed me.
By this time, I was pretty tired after being at the helm for almost 9 hours, but a few porpoises and seals came up alongside which gave me a much needed shot of energy. A few minutes later I was anchored in an amazing little cove with tall cliff faces rising up all around. The entire cove smelled of the pine trees that sat in and on top of the cliffs. This is Maine.
Linekin Bay at low tide.
Trying to get a shot of the storm, ended up with a selfie.