By 0730 we had departed Monhegan Island and were headed for Eastern Egg Rock. We let the kids continue to sleep, and we figured we would wake them once we’d found the puffins.
As we neared the tiny, rocky island, Wil was at the helm and I was trying to see if there were puffins in the vicinity. At the same time, we were having to dodge the many lobster pot buoys that float in the waters of Maine. We decided to call the kids on deck, so they could help in the search.
With Wil at the helm, creeping slowly near the rocky shore, the rest of us were trying to spot puffins. The best sighting we got was that of a bald eagle. It was pretty impressive as it flew over the island and then perched upon one of the rocks. There were no puffins to be seen. We had heard that the puffins were there the previous week, but by the time we got to the island, they had already taken off for their winter grounds.
Wil began calling out for us to help him spot lobster pots. The kids and I were hoping to still find a puffin, but also needed to watch the water around us for the pots. Before we knew it, we’d lost track of one pot. Wil took the engines out of gear while we drifted, waiting for the pot to pop out from under the boat. It never showed itself, and we couldn’t tell if we were hooked on it, or not. Wil engaged the starboard engine, and within a split second, it was obvious there was something tangled on the prop. He immediately went back to neutral.
With a knife tied to a boat hook, Wil was able to cut us free from the line to the pot, but the rest of the line and buoy remained under the boat. He did a quick attempt using reverse to see if the line would unwrap itself. Some of the line and the buoy popped out in pieces, but some of it remained in place.
There we were with one engine, in a sea of lobster pots, and the wind blowing us towards a rocky shore. We needed to do our best to not let another lobster pot catch in the other prop. The puffin search came to an abrupt halt, and we sadly moved away from Eastern Egg Rock. The was frustration and disappointment in the air.
As soon as we could reach protection from wind and waves at the next nearest island, we dropped anchor, and Wil went for a very cold swim. With knife in hand, he cut the remaining lobster line from the prop. It appeared that the rest of the line would have come untangled earlier when we had tried reverse, if it wasn’t for the plastic insert to the buoy that had bent itself around the prop. Once the prop was free, Wil took it as an opportune time to scrap some barnacles off both props. Now maybe we could pick up some speed!
During Wil’s swim, he managed to give himself a nasty cut on his thumb with his knife, as well as scrape a couple of knuckles on the barnacles. You’d think he was bleeding to death with the amount of blood that got scattered all over the transom and cockpit once he was out of the water! We joked that he was trying to attract the sharks.
After the lobster pot ordeal, we continued our journey on a northeast course to Long Cove, a large shallow cove about 9 miles southwest of Rockland. We had to get a good night’s sleep because the kids needed to be fresh for their first day of school.