Cruising World - - Contents - — David Gille­spie

Wak­ing up at an­chor in Somes Sound, the in­let that runs up the cen­ter of Maine’s Mount Desert Is­land, feels strangely sim­i­lar to our home wa­ters on the moun­tain lakes of Colorado: the crisp, cool morn­ings in the mid­dle of Au­gust, a brisk row to take the dog ashore in the early fog, and those beau­ti­ful pinecov­ered moun­tains (we’d call them hills in Colorado, but still). My wife, Sandy, and I sailed here from our new home base in New Bern, North Carolina, aboard our Tayana 42, Bel Canto, as part of our sum­mer cruise of New Eng­land.

Al­though this is our first time here, Mount Desert feels just like home, but big­ger. Big­ger wa­ter, big­ger boats, big­ger dis­tances un­der sail and, of course, big­ger ob­sta­cles. Nearly ev­ery­one men­tions the lob­ster pots, and while they aren’t as bad as I was ex­pect­ing, they are re­lent­less. Colorado sail­ing re­quires con­stant sail ad­just­ment be­cause the wind rarely blows in the same di­rec­tion for more than five min­utes. Maine sail­ing is con­stantly al­ter­ing course to avoid the pots be­cause there never seems to be a clear path for more than five min­utes. I’m not sure how any­one sails through here at night.

Mount Desert Is­land is home to Aca­dia Na­tional Park, and there you’ll find a full range of hikes — from easy walks around lakes to very ag­gres­sive rock-face climbs — all of which in­clude stun­ning views. My fa­vorite is the trail from Sand Beach to Ot­ter Point along the red, rugged rocks on the east­ern side by the ocean. They bring back mem­o­ries of so many great con­certs at the famed Red Rocks Am­phithe­atre at home.

Like many cruis­ers, we dreamed of Caribbean wa­ters and sandy beaches when we headed out our first year, more so than the type of wooded scenery we’d just left be­hind. I imag­ine that this ex­plains why we didn’t see the same pa­rade of boats headed north for the sum­mer as we did when we went south. Even in the peak-cruis­ing-sea­son months of July and Au­gust, we never had an is­sue find­ing space in an­chor­ages.

Vis­i­tors to Mount Desert Is­land will find plenty more to love be­yond the scenery. There is an ex­cel­lent bus sys­tem that will take you just about any­where on the is­land. Cruis­ers can eas­ily find what they need near a bus line, whether it’s a day of hik­ing, or laun­dry and pro­vi­sion­ing in Bar Har­bor. Add in the abun­dant lob­ster rolls and chow­der, and Down East Maine be­comes a very hard place to leave.

It’s a peace­ful, if slightly foggy, morn­ing at an­chor in Somes Sound, on the coast of Maine.

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