"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

August 29, 2016

Aug. 27 - Stonington, ME

Devils Half Acre - Anchorage

"We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us." – Joseph Campbell
Today our anchorage was in an archipelago of islands called Merchant's Row. These 30-40 islands that lay between Deer Isla and Isla of Haut are unsurpassed for beauty anywhere in Maine. The islands are wooded and fringed in pink and white granite. The islands are close together and are a wonderful place to explore on a dinghy or kayak. At low tide there were sand beaches on all the islands surrounding our anchorage...a great place to enjoy a warm late August day.

Stonington is a working harbor, busy with lobstermen bringing in lobsters to sell to the coops. The town flourished in the late 19th century in the granite industry. Stonington granite built parts of Rockefeller Center, the Smithsonian Institution, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts and several NYC bridges. While exploring some of the islands we could see where huge granite blocks were cut from the shoreline. You can see hundreds of huge blocks of granite scattered like toy blocks on several of the islands. Only one quarry is still operational today.

Granite rubble left behind on one of the little islands in Merchant's Row
The quarry on Crotch Island 
We've stopped in Stonington before but never spent any time exploring the town. So this afternoon we took the dinghy to town, walked through the small village, visited a few shops and bought lobsters from the coop. The harbor is very busy with lobster boats scooting around everywhere. We enjoyed a wonderful evening in our quiet anchorage grilling lobster, gazing at the amazing scenery and watching a beautiful sunset.

A few of the boats we saw before we got to our anchorage in Hell's Half Acre
Low tide...six hours later this was a small harbor
Stonington water front
Lobster Coop where we bought our lobsters off a boat
Fresh Maine lobster...right from the boat
 ...to the grill

August 28, 2016

Aug. 26 - Swan's Island, ME

Opechee Island - Anchorage

“Life’s a beach and I’m just playing in the sand.” —Unknown
We could probably stay on Mount Desert all summer and find plenty to do, but that nomadic urge to keep moving pulls us away to the next new adventure. Our stop today was just 15 miles west in a little archipelago of islands north of Swan Island.

We spent the day beach combing the shores of Opechee, Black and Sheep Islands. Here in Maine we're not looking for the normal beach items like sea glass, sponges and shells...although we have found some nice pieces of sea glass and a few large shells. Our prize is a little more unique to Maine...lobster buoys. We're a little limited on space so we can only keep the best ones and we found a lot of great buoys today. In fact we found so many wonderful buoys today we had to take some of the ones we found earlier back to the beach...it'll make someone's day to see the pile we left on Sheep Island.

Maine has over 5,900 licensed lobstermen, they work about 3 million lobster traps and more than 30,000 are lost every year and their distinctly colored buoys wash up on shore. Each boat has their own unique color for their buoys and the colors have to be displayed on their boat. These colorful buoys help the lobstermen locate their traps.
Thanks for reading our blog and spending part of your day with us. The Pearl is also on Facebook - stop by and say hi or follow us on Google+.

August 26, 2016

Aug. 25 – Northeast Harbor, ME

Northeast Harbor Mooring
Mount Desert Island

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” —Helen Keller
We woke to another beautiful day here in Northeast Harbor, but high winds were predicted for later in the day...so we decided to spend one more day hiking the trails of Acadia National Park instead of moving on. There are so many wonderful trails and carriage roads in the park; we could spend weeks hiking all of them.

This morning we headed over to the eastern shore to hike the Gorham Mountain Trail and part of the Ocean Path Trail. These trails gave us views of the rugged east side of Mount Desert Island, Sand Beach, the Atlanta Ocean, Egg Rock Lighthouse and the Otter Cliffs. The trails are closer to Bar Harbor and were a lot busier than the ones we did the past two days. Despite the crowds we enjoyed the views and finding more berries. The mountain is covered in blueberry bushes and we picked at least a quart of the delicious little berries.

We began our hike at Sand Beach and made our way to the peak of Gorham Mountain and along the ridge before we descended toward the ocean and met up with the Ocean Path trail. It was fun at Otter Cliff watching climbers repelling the cliffs that are 110 feet high...one of the highest headlands north of Rio de Janeiro.

I have an app on my phone that keeps track of how many miles I walk in a day and how many flights of stairs I climb. According to my app we've hiked over 19 miles since we arrived and climbed the equivalence of 146 flights of stairs.

The beginning of the Beehive and Gorham Mountain Trails
A view of Sand Beach
Part of the trail
This guy was eye balling our lunch...and berries.
Over looking Sand Beach and Egg Rock Lighthouse
The trail on the way down
Views from the Ocean Path Trail
Looking back at Sand Beach and Gorham Mountain
Climbers enjoying the day at Otter Cliffs
Thanks for reading our blog and spending part of your day with us. The Pearl is also on Facebook - stop by and say hi or follow us on Google+.

August 25, 2016

Aug. 24 – Jordan Pond, Mt Desert, ME

Northeast Harbor Mooring

“You must go on adventures to find out where you belong.” – Sue Fritzmaurice
Our intentions today was to hike the North Bubble Loop trail and then hike up to South Bubble to check out Bubble Rock. The northern trail would have given us views of Eagle Lake and the northern portion of the island before leading to the north peak. Some how we missed the loop trail and took the direct route straight to the top. Once at the top of North Bubble Mountain we had a great view of Jordan Pond and the surrounding peaks. We took a little time at the top to enjoy the views before back tracking down the mountain and taking the trail to the South Bubble Mountain and Bubble Rock. Bubble Rock is a famous boulder that was deposited by glaciers at a seemingly precarious spot by the edge of a cliff.

From the top of South Bubble we wanted to descend to Jordan Pond. We had two choice…go back the way we came and meet up with a trail that goes around the mountain or take a more strenuous and exposed trail down the south face towards Jordan Pond. After checking out part of the face trail we decided to take the easier, safer route around the mountain. Both trails led to the Jordan Pond Path that runs around the lake. Once down to the lake we took a leisurely stroll along the eastern shore to the Jordan Pond House where we had reservations for a late lunch.

The Jordan Pond House was founded as a restaurant in the early 1870's and established the tradition of having tea & popovers on the lawn while overlooking Jordan Pond and the North and South Bubble Mountains. It seems to be the place everyone goes when they visit Acadia. We didn’t make it to the restaurant on our first trip in 2013, so we definitely wanted to give it a try this time. We had a wonderful meal on the lawn over looking the lake, it was a great way to relax after a busy morning of hiking. 

The beginning of the trail leading to North and South Bubble Mountains  
View on the way up to North Bubble Mountain. That is the north end of Jordan Pond.
The Bubble
The view from the top of South Bubble Mountain
The beginning of the south face trail down the moutain
Jordan Pond looking back at South Bubble Mountain
South Bubble Mountain. You can see a few people on the peak where we were. The south face trail comes down the mountain on the left of this picture.
Jordan Pond is a glacier formed lake with a depth of 150 feet. The water is exceptionally clear with an average visibility depth of 46 feet. The is no swimming in the lake, but I did soak my tired feet in the cool water for awhile.
Path going around South Bubble Mountain
Path along Jordan Pond
Enjoying the cool waters of the pond
Lunch at Jordan Pond House
Popovers and homemade Maine strawberry jam

Thanks for reading our blog and spending part of your day with us. The Pearl is also on Facebook - stop by and say hi or follow us on Google+.

August 24, 2016

Aug. 23 – Northeast Harbor, ME

Northeast Harbor Mooring
Mount Desert Island

"How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!"—John Muir
What a beautiful day we had...the sun was back and the temperature was in the low 70s…a perfect day for hiking. We caught the bus to Parkman Mountain parking lot and hiked the Parkman Mountain/Bold Peak trail. The hike was a little steep and rocky near the summit, but it took us to the top of two barren granite peaks that gave us amazing views of Somes Sound, Northeast Harbor, Upper Hadlock Pond Great Cranberry Island and the Atlantic Ocean.

We enjoyed the hike and didn’t get in a hurry; we took in all the views and spent time picking blueberries along the trail. The trail was covered in wild blueberry bushes…they were everywhere and we ate as many as we could and brought about a pint home. We enjoyed a picnic lunch at the top of Bald Peak…there’s just nothing better than lunch with a view.

LL Bean pays for the Island Explorer...it's the free shuttle bus service on Mount Desert and Acadia National Park. It makes getting around very easy. You can hop on and off anywhere you like. Just wave the bus down and they pick you up. The buses came pretty regular so we didn't have to wait long for our bus back to the marina.

Blueberry bushes along the trail.
One of the trail markers
The trail we just came up
The trail
The view from Parkman Mountain...looking out towards Somes Sound
The trail...going up
Our lunch spot...all those bushes in the foreground are blueberries
Looking down the trail to Upper Hadlock Pond, Northeast Harbor and Great Cranberry Island.
Going down.....
Looking back at the trail
Trail map of where we hiked today.