New York to Maine (June-August 2021)

We arrived in Manhasset Bay in the afternoon. It was a beautiful evening and we wanted to meet on land for dinner together with ARIA and LITTLE CLOUD. Andrew and Michelle were already waiting for a table and after a while we got the most beautiful table on the pontoon…. of course the prizes were outstanding too but it is not very often that we go to fancy restaurants and this setting was simply perfect.

The following day we did some provisioning and Little Cloud left already. We were planning to meet them again on Block Island. And we did. Block Island is a place we can highly recommend. It is a peaceful small island with about a 1000 inhabitants, accessible by ferry or private boat. Very close to the dinghy dock there is a bicycle rental place where we could rent a tag along for Amina and a bicycles for André, Jaël and me. We cycled first to the North Lighthouse where we caught up with Little Cloud then had pizza for lunch ) a nice garden restaurant. After lunch we cycled all the way South to see the impressive Mohegan Bluffs. What a great day we had! We all loved it! The following day we wanted to check out the local library with Jaël and Amina. Luca and Lucia joined. As soon as we had arrived in the library, Amina was completely over the moon… the library had an incredible play corner for kids of her age including a diner with a lot of accesories. It was very difficult to get Amina out of the library again. The bar was set high from then on. We visited a couple of libraries since then but the one on Block Island remained Amina’s favourite.

After Block Island the three boats had different plans. LITTLE CLOUD was heading to Boston to visit Michelles family, ARIA wanted to see Newport and we planned to go through the Cape Cod canal and then visit Provincetown. We promised to meet again in Portland.

Provincetown once was known for it’s fishing and whaling industry but now is a colourful holiday destination of the gay and lesbian scene. In the 80ies it was one of the first communities where AIDS patients were treated with humanity and respect. Today you find rainbow flags everywhere and people of every kind living together in peace.

There is a beautiful causeway to walk over to the Wood End Lighthouse and there is a great library very close to the dinghy dock too. It looks like a church from the outside and as soon as you are inside you understand why the building is constructed this way. There is a half-scale replica of the “Rose Dorothea” schooner on the first floor. In August 1907 a cup was offered by Sir Thomas Lipton for a Fisherman’s Race in Massachusetts Bay. Two of the competing schooners were from Provincetown. Despite loosing her fore-topmast in the final leg of the race, the Rose Dorothea won the race and brought the cup to Provincetown. In 1977, as a tribute to the great fishing schooner, construction began in the Heritage Museum, now the Provincetown Public Library.

We enjoyed our days in Provincetown and headed towards Portland as soon as the wind was in our favour. We wanted to pick up our new Lithium batteries. André had ordered them when we were in New York. Our old batteries did not perform very well anymore and it was time to make the move to Lithium. Coming closer to Portland we slowly understood what everyone was saying about Maine and lobster pots… there were already some around Cape Cod but there were definitely more and more towards Portland.

We anchored behind the buoys of Handy Boat and the Portland Yacht Club in Falmouth. Later in the afternoon it was getting very busy around us…. We were in the first row for the Thursday race. The starting point was set very close to our boat. It was great to watch the yachts trying to get the best starting position. There was a blue x-yacht named PHOENIX that of course caught our eyes. 

André picked up the batteries and got rid of the old heavy ones with Karsten’s help. I left the boat on Saturday, 19th of June to meet my 18 year old “godchild” Leyla. After 3 months in Hawaii she was on her way home to Switzerland and we arranged to meet in New York. Meanwhile André was going to install the new batteries. Unfortunately there was some sort of stomach flu going around, which was bad timing… Karsten had got it first and then passed it to his kids. While André was installing the batteries Amina and Jaël had been playing with Luca and Lucia on ARIA so Amina got it Saturday! A day later Jaël got it as well.
Luckily André did not join the flu party this time. There was not a lot I could do for them as I was already in New York when it all started. But I felt very sorry for André for having to deal with two sick girls in addition to the installation of the new batteries. 

It was great to be back in New York. Another two and a half days to explore this incredible city. Saturday afternoon Xiaolei picked me up at the airport. After a city stroll through Central Park and 5th avenue we went for dinner and I could stay in her Air B&B. On Sunday I met Leyla for breakfast in Bryant Park. So fantastic to see her here and explore New York together. After breakfast we left the luggage at the U Hotel 5th Avenue, just two blocks away from the Empire State building. We grabbed a citibike and started our incredible city duathlon. We cycled all the way to Brooklyn, explored the Dumbo area and then cycled and walked all the way back up to the Lincoln Center, had dinner in the Hell’s Kitchen area and walked back to the hotel with a short stopover at Times Square. What a day! Don’t know how many kilometers we had made but it was a lot… we were very tired but very happy! Our flights were both on Monday evening, so we still had most of the day. After a delicious breakfast at the Hudson river we cycled all the way up to 79th Street boat basin and then headed to Central Park. It was a very hot day so we took it a bit slower. After an ice cream stop at Rockefeller Center we walked back to the hotel to get our luggage. We finished our city adventure at Bryant Park, where we had started the day before and then took the metro to Jamaica. These were unforgettable days and I was very glad that I took the opportunity.

When I got back to the Portland Yacht Club it was already about 11pm and the kids were asleep. André picked me up with the dinghy. He had done an incredible job! The batteries were installed and working! Amina had already recovered from the flu but Jaël was still very weak.

On Thursday I went ashore to do some laundry. When André came to pick me up we saw the X-Yacht PHOENIX at the dock. They were picking up crew for the Thursday race again. We walked over and started chatting with them. A very friendly couple, Sean and Kim owned the boat and they invited us to race with them on PHOENIX next Thursday. Doing regattas with Mirabella in Tonga had been a lot of fun but of course you are not pushing the limits when you are racing with your floating home. It is like racing with the breaks on, so we were looking forward to the next Thursday race.
But before, we moved to Yarmouth which was where Andrew’s brother Stephen lived. He had invited us for a real Maine lobster bake and we were all excited about that. Stephen had already prepared the fire at the beach. On top of it he placed an eternit plate and a thick bed of seaweed. On that he put a cheesecloth. On top of that cloth followed first potatoes then lobsters, onions, wet corn cobs, a whole package of eggs, clams and even sausages in a net. He covered all that with a second cheesecloth and covered everything with seaweed again and aluminium foil. So basically the lobster and all the other ingredients get steamed in this package.

When everything was cooked long enough Stephen carefully opened the package and put everything in a wheelbarrow to bring it up to his garden. Before we had quickly built up a party tent with the help of everyone as it had begun to rain. It was a delicious meal in wonderful company. We felt very blessed to be so welcomed by Andrew’s family.

The Thursday race of the following week was moved to Wednesday but then cancelled because of thunderstorms. They rescheduled it for Thursday and André and me were all excited to race with Sean and Kim on PHOENIX with their racing crew but unfortunately there was no wind at all and the race got finally cancelled again. Kim spoiled us with heavenly delicious charcuterie and cheese and we spent a nice evening together with them and their friends. Jaël and Amina were on ARIA in the meantime.

Stephen invited us for the 4th of July parade in his neighbourhood. The color code for the parade was red and blue of course, and after a little brainstorming for ideas together with ARIA we decided to do paint some special T-Shirts. Kim (from PHOENIX) was so kind to drive me to Walmart and some other stores, where I found everything that we needed. We had great fun on ARIA to create our T-Shirts and the result of our efforts was amazing. It was a rainy morning in Yarmouth on the 4th of July, but we made the best of it and were by far the most colorful group. Even our foul weather clothing matched the colour code. Stephen and David had organized coffee with spirit, hot chocolate and donuts. It was a beautiful get together. A neighbour invited us to a live music concert in his barn in the afternoon and we promised to come. Back at Stephen’s place we had a delicious potluck (means: a meal or party to which each of the guests contributes a dish) in his garage. Stephen and David grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, Betsy (Andrew and Stephen’ s sister) brought a delicious salad and garlic bread, we brought focaccia, guacamole, rillette de thon and a chocolate cake it was simply a delicious lunch in great company. In the afternoon we walked over to the neighbour’s barn and enjoyed the live music. It felt so good to dance again and listen to live music after all this lock down period. What a great 4th of July!

We moved over to Falmouth again to invite Kim and Sean for dinner on Mirabella before leaving. They gave us a lot of useful informations and tips where to find the best anchorages and nicest places. We promised to visit them again on our way back South in autumn. Uups… yes I think I forgot to mention that…. we had changed our plan again when we were in New York! Plans of sailors are written in the sand… we had proofed that saying multiple times… As the plan of returning to Europe over Greenland and Norway had become more concrete we realized that coming home in October might not be the best timing for a new start… so we decided to do a Northern loop in summer, then sail back to the Caribbean in autumn and then do an early crossing to Europe end of March beginning of April. So we would be back May/ June.

On the 10th of July we left all these nice people in the Portland area with a firm promise to visit them on our way back South again. With all these islands and bays you have to plan your routing well, as you do not make as much progress. After a ?? mile passage which took us almost the whole day we arrived in “The basin” a beautifully remote anchorage with 360° protection as the entrance is very narrow and with a 90° turn. We went on a beautiful hike there, the Mika trail. The forecast for the next days was not brilliant so we decided to sail to Boothbay, a beautiful coastal town with a nice historic walk to do. That would also be fun when the weather is not so sunny. Stephen and David came up to Boothbay to join LITTLE CLOUD for a short weekend trip and we enjoyed pizza together in a small restaurant in town.

We headed on to Camden, another beautiful town situated in Penobscot Bay, the sailing mekka of Maine. The scenery of Penobscot Bay is stunning indeed and Camden has a fantastic library (to the great delight of the kids) and a few nice coffees, restaurants and breweries. We did a great hike on Mount Megunticook and Xiaolei, Michelle and me did a beautiful hike in the Beech Hill Preserve with lots of blueberries!!! One afternoon we went on land and decided to do a small apero in the public park. Jaël and Amina started playing with two other kids about their age. They were playing so well together that it would have been a shame to stop them. We walked over to their parents and asked if they would be ok with pizza for dinner in the park. It was the beginning of another beautiful friendship. Ned and Kristin told us that they seriously thought about buying a boat and go sailing with their kids like we do. What a funny coincidence that we met them here in this small public park. They came to Camden every summer for camping holidays. Their daughter Sophia was the same age as Jaël and their son was the same age as Amina. They normally lived in Cape Cod. We spent a wonderful evening together and invited them to Mirabella for lasagne and tiramisu on Sunday before they had to head back to Cape Cod. The kids got along perfectly well and we promised to visit them in Cape Cod on our way back South.

We moved on to Rockland  which was just a few miles South of Camden. We were a bit disappointed by the village itself as it appeared a bit run down. Maybe some businesses also had to shot down because of covid 19. There was a nice causeway to the lighthouse though which we explored together with Michelle and Cortland. 

The Fox Island Thoroughfare was a passage that everyone in Portland had highly recommended to us and it truly was one of the most beautiful sailing days we ever had on Mirabella. The sailing in this breathtaking scenery was simply magic and I will want to go back there probably for the rest of my life.  After the beautiful passage we sailed on and passed Stonington. There we realized that the impossible is possible which means you can even put more lobster traps than we thought are possible. We could hardly pass with our boat without touching one and of course did not want to put the engine on. Many of our friends had already had lobster pots around their propeller and we were not keen on making the same experience. The last few miles to the anchorage was a real challenge as we had to pass narrow passages (with lobster pots and changing winds). But we finally made it and anchored in a spectacular beautiful scenery just off a small inhabited island called “Hells half acre”. We dinghyed over to Stonington, a beautiful small town with (another) fantastic library. They had an art program going on where kids could paint a square canvas tile to decorate the walls of the library. What a great idea! This was an excellent Saturday morning program! On an other day we planned a beach BBQ and Jaël and Amina collected wood.

Will, a good friend of Andrew was there with his boat as well and they invited LITTLE CLOUD and us for dinner on their beautiful boat. Andrew and Michelle moved to Deer Isle the next day as Andrew’s sister Betsy was there on holiday. We would have loved to see Betsy again but also wanted to enjoy this beautiful anchorage as it was exactly what we imagined of picture postcard Maine. We still would see Betsy on our way South in autumn.

On Saturday we dinghyed over to Stonington, a beautiful small town with (another) fantastic library. They had an art program going on where kids could paint a square canvas tile to decorate the walls of the library. What a great thing to do! This was an excellent Saturday morning program. In the afternoon we were planning to do a beach BBQ on the small uninhabited island. We brought Jaël and Amina over a little earlier to collect wood while André and me wanted to paddle around the island with the kayak. We invited ARIA too. It became the best BBQ ever! Karsten had brought potatoes but had no aluminium foil. We were just thinking what to do, when Luca suddenly found a thin stone plate. Perfect! We cut the potatoes in thin slices and put them on the stone plate with garlic butter! Delicious! As Luca found another stone plate we decided to grill also the pork tenderloin on the stone plate! It was simply delicious!!! We really loved this anchorage and this definitely was hard to top….

But Maine has many beautiful places to offer. Our next stop, Mount Desert Island, was clearly another highlight of our sailing adventure. We first anchored outside Northeast Harbour. Not the best anchorage as it can be a bit rolly but Northeast Harbour is a charming little town that should not be missed. It is also a very good starting point to get to the carriage roads.

John D. Rockefeller wanted to travel on motorfree byways via horse and carriage into the heart of Mount Desert Island. His construction efforts from 1913 to 1940 resulted in roads that preserve the line of hillsides and save trees, align with the contours of the lands, and take advantage of scenic views. Today , carriage roads have multiple-user groups as they did in the past. Pedestrians, bicyclists and horse-drawn carriages share the beauty of these auto-free roads across the park.

We rented bicycles and made a tour up to the beautiful Jordan Pond, where we had picnic. It was like paradise… the scenery reminded me a lot of the Engadin area in Switzerland. The smell of the pine trees is divine and we loved the blueberries that we found everywhere. I even found a few chanterelles and made a sauce with them later. At some point we bumped into LITTLE CLOUD and ARIA. We had left Northeast Harbour at different times and we had great fun to cycle back all together to Northeast Harbour. It was such a great day, we loved it!! Another afternoon we did a great hike through the woods and ended up in the beautiful Thuya Garden. The woods in Mount Desert are magic. Like out of a fairy tale with lots of green moss, all kind of mushrooms and this heavenly smell of the pine trees. A little bit down the path from the Thuya Garden there was a perfect spot that Andrew and Michelle suggested for a small apero with snacks. All the “three down east musketeers” joined, which means ARIA, LITTLE CLOUD and MIRABELLA. 

Northeast Harbour is beautiful,  but as I already said the anchorage is not the best. Anyway we wanted to explore also the area of Southwest Harbour and especially Somes Sound. Somes Sound is a huge fjord. It is so long that it almost splits the whole island of Mount Desert apart. The anchorage Valley cove looked perfect. A very picturesque spot indeed. From the small beach you could even access the hiking trail. We did a great hike  there getting on the top of Acadia Mountain and then descending down to lake Echo on the other side. Blueberries everywhere on the hike and a refreshing swim in lake Echo made it a perfect day. Being in Maine with its beautiful forests felt so much like home. It made me realize how much I missed hiking in a cooler clima. The tropics are beautiful but for hiking the North is much better. This clima was simply perfect.

We stayed a while in the valley cove anchorage and visited the town Southwest Harbour with the dinghy. We were just about to move to Bar Harbour when a new boat anchored next to us. It was a family from Cape Cod with one girl and two boys. The girl was a little bit older and the boys seemed to be about the age of Jael and Amina. They were on their summer holiday with their sailing boat. The children got along very well and played for hours at the small little beach. They were building two huts and wanted to have dinner there by themselves. They even wanted to sleep there but unfortunately there was rain forecasted so they had to come back to the boat at some point. A fox came out in the dawn and watched the kids playing from a secure distance… Children connect so quickly with each other and nature is their best playground. It offers so many tools and leaves so much room for imagination and creativity. They fell into their beds tired and very happy full of excitement about their adventurous day with their new friends. Ed and Alison wanted to start their way back towards Cape Cod while we wanted to move to Bar Harbour to meet LITTLE CLOUD and ARIA again. We promised to visit them in Cape Cod on our way back South…

Our three months US visa was expiring beginning of August. Canada was opening its border for US citizens and as we had spent the last three months in the US we felt more US citizen like than anything else so we wanted to try our luck if they would let us in. But first of all we had to get a Covid PCR Test and that was not possible on Mount Desert Island. From Bar Harbor there was a public bus to Ellsworth where we could get a test. That plan worked out very nicely. After being told the price of one test (160$ per person) we decided that we do not get the kids tested… that would cost a fortune to get the four of us tested! Back in Bar Harbour we had to say goodbye to Andrew, Michelle and Cortland. They of course had no urgent need to leave the US and had way better cards to get into Canada as they were real US citizens. So we did not really know if and when we would see each other again. But somehow we hoped to see each other either in Canada or back in Portland, when we sail South again. It had been so much fun to cruise together with them.

We had enjoyed Maine and we would have loved to spend more time there. We can highly recommend it as a cruising area. It offers so many beautiful anchorages and great sailing ( just mind the lobster pots) But most of all we met some of the most welcoming and most friendly people there and we will keep so many beautiful memories in our hearts.













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