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good-bye seal bay, hello seal bay

Posted by on September 8, 2012

August 28 – August 29, 2012

After much indecision as to our next move, we finally decided to say good-by to Seal Bay, and began a northerly course to Castine where we could possibly bump into another cruising boat that we’d met in Beaufort. Going north was backtracking about 20 miles, but it would be worth the fun.

Once the kids were settled into their school day, we picked up the anchor and exited Seal Bay. We had been underway for about thirty minutes when we received a VHF call from the kid cruising boat we’d met in Somes Harbor. They were approaching us from the bow, and they were headed to Seal Bay to see if they could find us. We ditched our original plans, did a 180 degree turn, and returned to Seal Bay. The kids were thrilled with the idea of some long-awaited kid time.

Shortly after re-anchoring, almost in our exact spot from earlier, another cruising boat from the same morning radio net, dinghied over with an invitation for drinks on their boat for later. We had finally caught up with the social life we’d been missing over the last little while. Even though we enjoy the solitude, there are times when it’s good to share cruising experiences with others.

Over the next couple of days, and after school was completed, fun was to be had. Colin clicked with the other boys. They sailed a sailing dinghy, went swimming in the frigid waters, and monkeyed around on the boats. Justine would play with the boys, but when things weren’t her cup of tea, then she would hang with the adults or read a book. She was waiting for a boat full of girls that would soon be arriving on the scene. We spent an afternoon hiking with the other family, and we had the other boats over for pre-dinner drinks.

boys enjoying some sailing time

achieved a circumnavigation of Penobscot Island

Getting to and from our hike is a story to be told. When you mention the mud in Maine to another boater, they all nod their heads in understanding. Every time you pull up the anchor, the anchor chain is caked with this thick, heavy mud that must be washed off, or you’ll overload your boat with its weight. It was this mud we had to contend with when getting the dinghies ashore.

Our 11 1/2 foot RIB dinghy with its 25 hp Yamaha is just too big to get all the way to the water’s edge without getting out of it first. This meant walking in the mud the rest of the way. We were aware of the mud, but until we actually stuck our feet in the mud, we truly had no idea.

As soon as my first foot touched the soft ooze, it seemed to immediately be sucked down and glued in place. My shoes were Keens with straps, but they were not up for this mud challenge. We literally sank to above our ankles and could not move. Anyone with shoes was doomed to be stuck, and anyone without shoes risked cutting their feet on the sharp mussels and other shells. With every step, I’d have to reach into the water with my hands, re-angle my shoes, and pull them up. Then I was free for the next step, only to sink right back down again. By the time we reached the shore, our feet, legs, hands, and arms were caked in the smelly mud. Our own personal spa treatment!

Once we were safely on the rocks, I looked over towards our new found friends. They had barely a speck of dirt on them! They had been able to get their smaller dinghy closer to the shore, and they had gone without their shoes. We must have been a spectacle for them to watch!

On the return trip, I managed to provide more entertainment for the crowd. While going through the same step-bend-lift procedure I’d come up with for myself, I managed to lose my balance and fall backwards, leaving me sitting in the mud with water to my mid torso. At that point, it was time to remove the shoes, regardless of the fact that I’d just cut my hand in three places when I’d fallen. It was definitely much easier to get through the mud without shoes, but we just had to step carefully. Maine mud . . . not a force to be reckoned with.

Seal Bay had been a refreshing place to be, but it was time to see what else Maine had to offer. Camden’s annual Windjammer Festival would be our next stop.

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