When we departed Jewell Island, we really didn’t know where we were going to end up. We only knew that we were headed east. I had looked at the charts and picked a harbor at Damariscove Island. We set out early enough in the day, so that if we couldn’t find a good anchorage for the night, we would have time to reach the next harbor or island before sunset. For us, a good anchorage is defined by protection from prevailing winds and swell, no mooring requirements, good anchor holding, and enough swinging room for our size boat.
As we were approaching Damariscove Island, we realized that Monhegan Island was within our reach with time to scout for anchorages, so we continued on.
Nearing Monhegan, we began to doubt if there would be a spot for us. It’s steep, rocky shoreline quickly disappeared into the water, and the main harbor, not only faced the southwest swell, but also had many moorings. We aimed for a cove on the northwest side of the island. There we found the ferry wharf where supplies were being offloaded for the quaint little fishing village that sits on this island. While we were doing our usual first pass, there were some people sitting on their converted fishing trawler, so we asked them if there was a place to anchor. We were in luck. There was a small cove right between the rocks. We wondered why this cove was named Deadman Cove! (Note: After the anchor was set, that’s when we realized we were anchored in a cable area . . . Oops!)
Monhegan Island is about 10 miles from the nearest mainland and accessible only by boat. The island is barely one square mile with no cars or paved roads. The island inhabitants live completely off the grid and are responsible for obtaining their own power to their homes. Water is the only resource supplied by the town. Long before explorer John Smith visited this island in 1614, this area was prime fishing grounds for the Native Americans. In addition to being a fishing and lobstering community, it also became an escape mecca for artists and those who long for isolation.
We dropped the hook and enjoyed the beautiful sunset and rainbow that nature presented to us. Wil went for a quick paddle on the SUP before dinner, while I planned an escape route just in case the wind picked up and switched to a northerly direction.
Wil chatted with the couple from the fishing trawler. In conversation, he learned that puffins reside on Eastern Egg Rock just to the north of Monhegan. Apparently, years ago puffin chicks were brought to the rock from Canada for protection, and now they’ve flourished over time. During nesting time, a caretaker lives on the island to protect the eggs from seagulls. Puffins had been sighted just the previous week, so there was a chance they could still be there.
That’s exactly where we were going next!