Hangin’ Out – Short Handed

It’s a very foggy day over pretty much all of Penobscot Bay with a heavy mist thrown in….but this kind of weather has been the exception more than the rule.  It’s a good day to sit warm and dry in the pilothouse and catch up on the writing I neglected on the gorgeous days we’d been enjoying while sampling only a few of the Bay’s many outer islands and “thoroughfares”.   Thoroughfares are the favored, buoyed channels among groupings of small islands.  As such they bear the brunt of the both commercial and recreational boat traffic .   The lobster boats use them to run at speed to their favorite lobster grounds.  Recreational boaters, often less familiar with the smaller channels between rock outcroppings and myriad islands, speed through them as well.  But these well marked and heavily traveled passages are a mixed blessing in the fog…where speed and proximity to others are left to each skipper’s judgment.  Not all cowboys drive pickup trucks.

Off the thoroughfares, the sheltered coves are quiet and unspoiled.  Some of these small islands are privately owned, some owned by the State of Maine, and some by The Nature Conservancy.  The great natural wonders of the American West were saved by Presidents Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, and Congress.  But apart from Arcadia National Park, most of New England is truly in the debt of some far-sighted and generous private individuals who have understood the value of these island’s tranquility.  There are no fees or permits to drop our anchor in such a cove…just the expectation that we leave it as pristine as we found it.

Camp Island

Camp Island

There’s another type of beauty on display here, too.  On moorings, anchored in coves, or under sail or power there are more truly beautiful boats than anywhere I’ve been.  Not the working lobster boats, the migratory cruising sailboats, mega-yachts of the rich and famous, or long-range trawlers like Mosey On…each might be pretty in their context.  I won’t belabor the reader with my highly subjective definition of what I view as a “beautiful” boat, but submit the following as a small sample.

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Now the test…how many lobster buoys did you spot???

And about the title of this piece…..I’m here puttering around aboard Mosey On while my beloved crew is on ‘shore leave’ in Chicago to welcome our newest granddaughter to our family (I’ll get my turn later).   Mother and baby are both doing great.    I’m a sentimental sort (if you couldn’t tell from the photos)….and I’d say this has been a very good summer!

When my crew returns, we’ll Mosey On

The ‘Oh Lady…’ Factor

A good friend of ours, when talking about calling in a contractor to effect some ‘minor’ repair, describes that moment when (after peeling away however many layers to get at the problem) they say something to the effect that its a bigger problem than originally thought (hoped). Not a ploy or swindle, it’s usually just an honest assesment of the mess they’d found. It’s not gender-specific….The ‘Oh, Mister…’ is also in common use. We’ve all been there: the ‘small water leak’…somewhere, the electrical outlet that ‘doesn’t work’, the ‘funny noise’ from the furnace. Such a call from your mechanic is almost expected with today’s cars. We all know this, and learn to live with it.

And of course, so it is aboard Mosey On. I’ve written how we prefer to anchor out on our own ‘hook and chain’ as opposed to taking a mooring ball or tieing to a dock for the night. And we’ve done a lot of that this summer. But as we’ve cruised Maine’s coast, the anchor windlass (‘winch’ to landlubbers) has grown progressively noisy and its clutch more prone to slipping. I would tighten the clamping mechanism a bit and the slipping would stop so we could raise the anchor and its lengthy chain rode. We were having to do this more and more often. I knew there was ‘a little problem’ when a small metal clip fell out of the mechanism. After that, the anchor could no longer be raised by normal means. No trivial matter, our main anchor weighs 90 lbs. plus the weight of the chain (approx. 4 lbs/ft) between the deck and the bottom (typically 20′).
Once safely stowed back aboard, it was clear that another anchoring was not an option. As parts for this windlass are not readily available, I knew we would have to find a boatyard with ‘sources’.  Kinda’ like the parts ‘jobber’ that only your favorite mechanic knows about.

Mosey On at Front Street Shipyard

Mosey On at Front Street Shipyard

Which has brought us to the nifty, small town of Belfast, ME and a boatyard with a reputation for quality work. As their mechanic set to work disassembling the mechanism to replace the broken part I’d identified, we had our first ‘Oh Captain…’ [more nautically appropriate & gender neutral]. More little parts were missing than just that metal clip. Soooo… the requisite parts were tracked-down, ordered and delivered. Today he would assemble them and we’d be on our way.  You gotta’ know it doesn’t end this way…With the new parts neatly assembled in accordance with the manufacturer’s manual, one major part would no longer fit!  ‘Oh Captain…!’

Not Moseyin’ On Just Yet