Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Ramp and Float Back in the Water

 Our cruising days ended when Stan had his stroke. He is gone but his spirit is still in me and in all the things he made and worked on. The nutshell pram is one that he built from Wooden Boat plans. 

My neighbor Jeff set up the ramp and float in our East Side Cove this spring and I enjoyed rowing around with my dog Hattie in the cove. It was also a very warm summer, so Hattie and I swam in the cove into part of September. Jeff took the float out of the water and is storing it in his yard. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sunshine, Deer Isle, Maine

Living in Sunshine, Deer Isle, Maine, full time since 2007. This is East Side Cove and the dock with the flag is ours.  Stan passed away in August, so I am planning to start documenting every island that he has introduced me to in our lives together. It is quite a long and interesting list.

Monday, April 02, 2012

We're planning and dreaming about our second Newfoundland camping trip, this time also visiting Labrador. The Newfoundland/Labrador tourist bureau provides the most user friendly, tantalizing travel information I've ever been provided. In 2011 we discovered that Newfoundland has breathtaking natural scenery that you can immerse yourself in. It has lovingly maintained hiking trails. And it has the most helpful and friendly people we could ever meet. Living in coastal Maine, Atlantic Canada is a neighbor we love to visit. To paraphrase a line from Casablanca, our sentiment is that Newfoundland is like Maine, only moreso.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

2010 Grand Manan Trip

Our annual June trip to Grand Manan via camper van was wonderful. We hiked 50 miles in 10 days. This picture was taken from our cliffside campsite at Hole-in-the-Wall Wilderness Campground. This private campground is a fantastic place to enjoy the beauty of the island. The trails wind around the campsites and can go for miles in either direction. There is even a sweet little pond to cool off in after a day's hiking, and a geological wonder to visit, the rock arch known as 'Hole in the Wall'. This campground is a wonder of the world. I hope that it is in business for a long, long, time.

The island has trails the entire length of the western side of the island as well as many trails on the eastern side and interior. Our favorite trail is from Southwest Head to Hay Point. The views of the 200 foot cliffside are spectacular and there is a picnic table at Hay Point that we got to have all to ourselves for a lunch with a breathtaking view.

Even with maps and a copy of the Heritage Trails and Footpaths on Grand Manan, it was good to have the handheld GPS since many ATV trails cross or combine with the foot paths, which can get confusing. Also, sometimes blowdown can mislead you since some of the earlier blazes were painted on the trees and when the trail is rerouted, the old blazes can cause some confusion. We are still very grateful to all the volunteers who maintain this amazing trail system.

Most of our stay we camped at The Anchorage, a provincial park on the island, which has a day park area and a camping area. The staff at The Anchorage is top knotch and very friendly and helpful. It was a great place to start our stay since we could have power for our van and also have relaxing, easy trails to walk after our long day's journey to get there.

There are plenty of things to do on so-so or rainy days, with a Farmer's Market on Saturdays and the Museum, art galleries, and stores one can visit.

The Grand Manan Ferry ride is about an hour and a half from boarding to landing. On our return voyage, we took the first ferry in the morning. Their hot breakfast selections are impressive and delicious. It was a nice way to end our Grand Manan experience. We were glad to leave on a rainy day. It made it a little easier to leave such a special island.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

2010 Boating Season Begins

We got to launch the boat early this year - April 27. Since then we've had a blast visiting several of the islands in the Deer Isle area. Yesterday we had a nice walk and enjoyed a picnic lunch on Hog Island. The erratic left in the cove when the glaciers receded is quite spectacular.

We've also enjoyed doing trail work for the Maine Coast Heritage Trust on three of their islands so far this year! We are so fortunate to be working with two of MCHT's wonderful stewards. We are also so fortunate to have such a 'backyard'!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Back in March we took advantage of the opportunity to visit college friends living in New Mexico near Silver City. What an eye opening experience. We were blown away by the amazing landscape of mountains and canyons. The most spiritual experience was exploring the Gila Cliff Dwellings. What an amazing feeling to be in a niche that people called home many hundreds of years ago. You can tell we haven't been out of New England much! This was the farthest we have even been from the East Coast and we survived! We had flown out across the 2 time zones this time. We hope to take the camper out next year. Sure is good to be home, though. Home is more beautiful when you've been away and return with a refreshed appreciation of what you have.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

We hadn't done the jungle walk on Compass Cay in many years, and the day we decided to do the walk, we tried to go across the 'underwater bridge', but the tide wasn't right, so we did other things on this hot day. Finally in fairly late afternoon on this warm day, we made it across and proceeded on the walk. Nobody must've done the walk in a while because there were several spider webs along the path. I made the mistake of leading the way with a stick to push aside the spider webs. A large spider, not the largest I've ever seen, but big enough to make this 'little girl' scream, landed on my shoulder. Poor thing disappeared pretty quickly and Stan led the way from that point. Though there are supposed to be large 'land crabs' and boas in the jungle, evidently they are only out at night. The only other wildlife we saw were the cute lizards everywhere and some happy birds.
On a following day, we took the kayaks over and had a much more enjoyable time in the jungle, exploring the ruins. Someone has done excellent home-made signage along the walk, such as "Trail to Creek", "Crabbie Flats", and my favorite, "The Snake that guards this Well is Our pet Willy the Water Boa".

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Friday, February 19, 2010

There is a wonderful reward at the end of the 1 1/2 hour Cliff Walk on Compass Cay, especially if the tide is close to high.
Rachel's Bubble Bath is aptly named. At the right tide, the breaking waves from the ocean side spew into the cove and push you around in a natural whirlpool bath. The water fizzes and you feel like you are drifting in seltzer. The marine life here is also gorgeous. This is another lovely place to watch and take pictures of small fish flitting around among the corals, and live conch hobbling along the sandy floor of the shallow pools.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

One of the things Staniel Cay is famous for is Thunderball grotto. This is a cave in a hollow island, a short kayak trip from the Staniel Cay shore. You can enter the cave between 20 minutes before and after low tide. Other than that, the current is too strong and forces you in or out of the cave, or the entrances are entirely submerged. This is a great place for an underwater camera and you can take lots of pictures of fish without having to dive to do it. Twenty (or less) seconds of the James Bond movie feature this cave. A very special place.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Compass Cay Marina has 12-14 pet nurse sharks and numerous other fish. No fishing is allowed at the marina and there are several places on the island where there are protected conch nurseries. It's a very wildlife-friendly place. For more information about Compass Cay, see http://www.compasscay.com.

Monday, February 15, 2010

We had a very good year of travel in 2009 and are trying to top it this year, starting with a 2-week trip to the Exumas, Bahamas.

We hadn’t had a trip to the Bahamas since 2006 and assumed that once we were retired, the Bahamas would be forever out of our budget.  Well, we decided to splurge and make one last trip to two of our favorite islands.  We stayed at Staniel Cay (pronounced like ‘key’) the first week and at Compass Cay the second.  We really enjoyed the hiking and kayaking and swimming. 

We discovered that Staniel Cay has added an official ‘Staniel Cay Ocean Park’ with a nice hiking trail that starts, or ends (matter of perspective) on Pirate Trap beach, near the once famous Club Thunderball.  It’s nice to spend time on an island where the primary mode of transportation is golf cart.  We were sad to find out that Club Thunderball closed last year.  Now the only restaurant in town is at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, and that is much too boisterous for us.

Compass Cay is privately run by Tucker Rolle, who is someone to admire.  He has a lot of drive and vision. The island has gorgeous beaches, miles of trails and an unbelievably beautiful crescent beach. The trails include a real jungle walk and a ‘mountain’, Compass Peek (sic), that is 92 feet tall, with great views of the entire island. We discovered that the Cliff Walk is not a good idea on a hot day since, for the nearly two hours that it takes to make the walk, there is no access to a place to cool off.  We both overheated and were ecstatic when our bodies finally got to immerse in ‘Rache'l’s Bubble Bath’, another highlight of the island. 

We’re glad to be home in Maine, but can dream of returning to Compass Cay someday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yes, we are still alive and still exploring the islands of Maine and Atlantic Canada! This year we had a wonderful two-week September trip to Cape Breton where we got 'scenery overload', it was just too lovely. We also saw our first moose there. The trails are all wonderfully maintained and a joy to walk. They even have benches along the way on many of the trails for enjoying the scenery or taking a break. The provincial parks were lovely, too. Two of the trails even had clean and well-stocked outhouses!

For our September 2007 trip, we spent a week on Grand Manan island in Canada. What a wonderful island with kind and friendly people. We hiked about 8 miles every day and only covered half the trails. The Provincial campground there was very comfortable, beautiful and peaceful. The island also has a well stocked grocery store and a pharmacy, too as well as restaurants. There is more than one town on the island.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The islands of the Exumas are lovely too. We spent 2 weeks on the island of Great Guana in the Exumas (not the same as in the Abacos) in March. The town is called Black Point. We stayed at the loveliest rental cottage on the island. Our hosts were Lorraine and Uriah Rolle. Here's the link to their cottage rental page:

Friday, December 30, 2005

Welcome to our little acre in Sunshine on Deer Isle, Maine! It's the blue house in the lower right of the picture.