July 14, 2017
What ARE you guys doing??? Perhaps you’ve been wanting to ask us that question. Are we or aren’t we selling the boat? What are we doing this summer? Well, it’s all evolving. It’s true that we listed the boat for sale late last year. We know that at some point in the future, we will be done with cruising and will likely return to a home base somewhere on land. But we’re not in a huge hurry to do that. It will happen when the time is right.
In the meantime, the boat needed a bit of maintenance, so we headed here to Front Street Shipyard in Belfast, Maine. Since we were planning to do a fair amount of work, we decided we wanted to get a chance to enjoy it and planned a summer cruise north back to the Artic. But we ultimately decided that was too ambitious for this year. So the current plan is to cruise around Maine this summer, take a few months off the boat again in winter to ski in Colorado, and plan the Artic cruise for next summer. But, the old saying remains – cruisers plans are written in the sand at low tide. That is, they are always subject to change!
We did bid a fond farewell to Neil, our Aussie/Kiwi friend who had come to help us out while we were in the yard. Neil was a great help and we were fortunate to have gotten so much of his time! We have now welcomed our new deckhand Nolen, who will be with us for the next few months.
We’ve really enjoyed Belfast and spending a couple months here has really allowed us to get a great taste of Maine living. People here are incredibly friendly and welcoming and there is plenty to see and do. Some of the highlights include:
Parades! We LOVE Belfast parades. First was Memorial Day with a parade down Main St. It was not long – the entire parade passed by in less than 10 minutes! But the streets were lined with people and it was charming and somehow more heartfelt than some of the huge parades we’ve seen elsewhere. Then there was the Belfast Pride parade, similar in size and scope, with everyone just out to enjoy themselves on a great day. Each parade was led by a police car. We almost missed the third one – we heard a police siren coming down Main St and looked out to see a single police car followed by a yellow school bus. They came down Main St, turned around and went back up, with a small crowd cheering them on! Turns out it was the local middle school baseball team that had just won the state championship! So now whenever we hear a police siren, we think “oh, a parade must be coming”. That’s the kind of town Belfast is! The final parade was this past weekend as part of the Celtic Festival which featured a Dog Parade. Dozens of dogs were led around the waterfront by a bagpiper and drummer. Fun for everyone!
Freeport – we drove to Freeport, home of LL Bean and a bunch of outlets. Great shopping and lots of great restaurants.
Camden – another lovely town just south of us. We took our tender down, stopping at Dark Harbor and Isleboro on the way and returned by car to spend the 4th of July with old Landmark friend Beth, her son Jared, and her parents and other family.
Celtic Festival – A weekend long celebration including great music, food, and various competitions and demonstrations. The weekend also featured a sailboat race from Rockport to Belfast on Saturday and a return to Rockport on Sunday. I volunteered to be the official race photographer and we were able to get some great shots from our tender of the finish on Saturday and the start on Sunday. There was also an awesome fireworks show on Saturday night.
Hiking – there are plenty of great places to walk. The Belfast Harbor walk passes right through the boatyard, meaning you meet lots of people and dogs every day. This walk connects to the local Rail Trail, a 2.5 mile trail ending at a local railroad museum. This then connects to the Hills to Sea Trail, a 47-mile trail covering a variety of terrain between Belfast and Unity.
Golf – I did get out for a round of golf at the local course. Greens fees, a pull cart, a bottle of Gatorade, and a pack of crackers came to a total of $33. And that’s only because the peak summer rates had gone into effect! It was a great 9-hole course in excellent condition.
Community Events – there are always fun things going on. There is a new Saturday Farmer’s Market with lots of great vendors selling produce, meats, eggs, crafts, and lots more. Plenty of free samples too. There was the Chalk Walk where the Harbor walk was full of artists drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. Some amazing works! And there was a day when people came to paint lobster buoys (the small floats used to mark lobster pots). The 4th of July featured a local groups singing patriotic songs in the park.
We’re just wrapping up all the maintenance work and will report more on that in a future post. Now we are getting ready to do some exploring of the Maine Coast for the rest of the summer.