Bar Harbor, Day #4

View from the deck of the friendship schooner "Alice". (Click any image in this blog entry for larger version in new window.)
View from the deck of the friendship schooner “Alice”. (Click any image in this blog entry for larger version in new window.)
 Captain Karl readies the friendship schooner "Alice E" for her voyage.The Atlantic, en route to the Cranberry Islands, as seen from the bow of Alice.Captain Karl at the wheel of Alice.
 Bear Island lighthouse isn't open to the public or accessible by land.Buoy colors are unique to each fisherman and a buoy must be displayed on the boat.Lobster pots waiting for spring or higher prices, whichever comes first.

It would be more accurate to title today’s blog, “Northeast Harbor.” That’s where I boarded the friendship schooner “Alice” at Dysart Grand Harbor Marina for a two-hour sail past Bear Island and the Cranberry Islands to Otter Cove, then back again. Our captain, Karl Brunner, a sometimes lobster fisherman, explained many things to us, including the current state of the lobster business in Southern Maine.

It seems that lobster prices are so low now that catching them is a losing proposition. This explains the stacks and stacks of lobster pots on docks in Northeast Harbor and the many idle lobster boats. Too bad the price restaurants are paying for their raw materials isn’t reflected in what they charge for the finished product.

Karl let me and the two doctoral students who sailed with us hoist the sails, after which he tied them off. Then he gave us hot cocoa with brie and crackers and apples. I declined his offer of gloves, thinking I wouldn’t need them, but two hours in the wind on the water made my hands so cold I couldn’t even sign Karl’s guest register afterward.

All this was preceded by breakfast (smoked salmon and caper omelette) at Two Cats again, followed by espresso at the Opera House. Lunch was clam chowder and cranberry juice at the Drydock Cafe & Inn in Northeast Harbor. Dinner at Guinness & Porcelli’s was beer battered haddock.

The Bass Harbor lighthouse, my first foray of the day, was a disappointment. Just a squat white cylinder at the end of a short path. Blah. The Bear Island lighthouse, on the other hand, looks the way a lighthouse is supposed to look, perched proudly atop a rocky cliff. But because it’s on a tiny island that isn’t open to the public, the closest most people can get to it is a sail-by in a boat.

Exhausted after my day on the high seas. It’s good to be back at the Villager and in bed.