Tenants Harbour to Pulpit Harbour - Penobscot Bay, Maine

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Mon 12 Jul 2010 15:01
44:09.26N, 68:53.08W
We stayed two nights on a buoy at Tenants as day two turned foul with thick fog and rain making it a miserable sort of Sunday. When the wind dropped and the tide took over we started to drift close to our next door neighbour, an unattended yacht on the adjacent buoy. At one stage Phil had to push the boat away with the boat hook, but it just came back again, so we took up as much as possible on the mooring we were on to gain a few extra feet clearance and ensure a good night's sleep.
Our close neighbour                                                                            Leaving Tenants Harbour
Lobstering is huge in this harbour with thousands of pots strewn across the entrance and amongst the moorings.  Ashore various establishments have the big glass tanks with 100's of live lobsters treading over each other to hopefully avoid having a finger of doom pointed in their direction, with their claws all safely secured with heavy duty elastic bands. These are real lobsters unlike the 'namby pamby' crawfish things further south which have no vicious claws to attack you with. Most would be taking an extremely hot bath in the coming days!  Between the high and low water mark (range about 9 ft) thousands of bright red lobster carcasses were being picked over by the seagulls, all that was left from the previous day's menu. You don't come to Maine and not have lobster unless you are a veggie, although according to gourmet chef Rick Stein, British lobsters are still the very best - hooray!!
We walked ashore making our customary call to Homeland Security as we were now in Maine. Our recent offshore hop from Cape Cod meant that we had leapfrogged (perhaps that should read leapfogged) the state of New Hampshire in the process. We then walked the lanes surrounding the harbour enjoying the glimpses through the mist.
On Monday morning we navigated our way through the pots and headed for Pulpit Harbour on North Haven about 20 miles to the north. It sits in the middle of Penobscot Bay and is a cruisers delight with narrow channels and little bays and harbours to explore. The sunsets here are meant to be just brilliant. Out on the water we could see some windjammers with all sail set which made for a very traditional scene.
In our pilot book Pulpit Harbour has 5 stars meaning it's a 'must-see' location. By early afternoon with the fog having all but disappeared we entered the approach channel which was mercifully free of darned pots. Guarding the entrance is Pulpit Rock with what is reputed to be a 150 year old Ospreys nest on top. The nest is 150 years old of course not the Ospreys using it.  But they will be descendants of the original Ospreys that's for sure. Hope they clean it out every once in a while!
We dinghied ashore after lunch and walked the pine tree and wild flower lined roads surrounding the bay being 'escorted' by numerous flying insects that seldom get to spend so much time around people as most are in cars or on bicycles. (That's the people - not the insects).
 The dinghy dock in Pulpit Harbour harbour                          The small simple Methodist church
There is a small grass landing strip near the harbour where we'd already seen two light aircraft take off from. Their ascent was frightening steep with engines screaming at full throttle and we understood why when we looked at the barely quarter mile long grass strip which crossed a local road before terminating in a forest of 100 foot high pine trees offering any anxious passengers an immediate cure for constipation before even boarding the aircraft.
Drivers wouldn't want to ignore this..........                                  ...when pilots only have this much to take off on!
By late afternoon we headed back onboard ready to enjoy our 'special' sunset but the fog had rolled back in by then although we did have the pleasure of having the 82 ft windjammer Nathaniel Bowditch anchored close by. Built in 1922 it took special class honours in the 1923 Bermuda race. There are many of these historic craft plying their chartering trade in Penobscot - we hope to see most of them whilst we are here.
The Nathaniel Bowditch                                                              View of Pulpit Harbour just before the fog descended
Awaking this morning we couldn't even see the shore around the edge of the harbour. The Nathaniel Bowditch had already raised anchor and left along with many others. A bit of thick fog doesn't bother the locals although it becomes a little confusing with fogbound boats all radioing their position status at regular intervals whilst underway in the bay. Today we head for Camden as the laundry is piling up again and we can now see the shoreline to navigate safely out of the harbour.