Monday, September 28, 2020

Catching Up, Part 3: Stage Island

We set sail for Stage Island immediately after launching from Portland Yacht Services on the morning of September 25. As I pulled away from the Travelift slip, I tested the sail drives, driving forward, reverse and turning in circles. All seemed to be working well and, as we headed down the Fore River to cross under the Casco Bay Bridge, the annoying "wobble" from the starboard prop seemed to have been remedied.

Heading out through Portland Harbor, trees turning into their fall colors dotted the shoreline. It's definitely not summer here any more. You can sense the colder weather coming, feel it happen, day by day.

It felt good to be on the water again. Once out at sea, we raised sail and there was enough wind most of the time from the right direction to sail along at a decent clip.  It was chilly out on the water, though. The few times I had to turn on an engine when the wind calmed it ran smoothly at cruising speed.

Stage Island and surrounding rocks, islets and land form a protected cove to the northeast of Cape Porpoise, 2.5 nm from Kennebunkport, of President G. H. Bush family fame. It's about a 25 nm sail southwest from Portland, a comfortable distance to sail in a day. 

I dropped sails just outside the narrow entrance to the cove and turned on the engines to motor through it. To my dismay, at low rpms, the starboard prop was vibrating again. Such a bummer. It must be a harmonic oscillation which tells me that the prop is bent or unbalanced. Oh well, I'm not going to haul out again for a while and I'm not diving to take the prop off in 58 degree F water, so I'll have to live with it. I aspire for Intermezzo to be in perfect condition, but reality does not cooperate and I work on letting go and accepting, "good enough". I can deal with a vibrating prop; life could be much worse!

After we anchored, we took the dinghy to shore and walked along the rocky shoreline of Stage Island. Despite several homes and a small town close by, the place felt very natural and isolated. The tide was flooding when we beached the dinghy and in just the 30 minutes or so that we walked, it was afloat, the nine foot tides here come in fast!

I decided to row the dinghy with the incoming tide to get some exercise and explore the inland part of the cove that is land at low tide and a lagoon at high. Very pretty, very peaceful, with red and orange trees dotting the tree-lined shore. 

We had the cove to ourselves that night and endured the chilly night with no heat, fueled by a spicy Thai curry and stoic resolve.  Every time I feel cold on the boat, I think about Shackelton and his ship, the Endurance, stuck in Antarctic ice. It makes me feel like a wuss and stop complaining about the cold.

Intermezzo at anchor off Stage Island

Fall colors beginning in the inland portion of Stage Island Cove