The Seven Seas Cruising Association gathering, or "gam" as they call it, started in late July with a dinghy raft-up with potluck snacks. We failed to make anything so ended up bringing potato salad from a local deli. We were the first to arrive and tied on to the back of the SSCA president's catamaran, and within twenty minutes were surrounded by 20+ dinghies. Everyone started passing food around between dinghies and swapping stories and tips. We stayed for about two hours.
The next day was a potluck lunch. On our arrival at the dock we were surprised to see Steve and Susie Dix of Thursday's Child who we had originally met in Stuart, FL (and "accidentally" borrowed their buffing tool). After eating, everyone took a minute or two to take the microphone and introduce themselves to the group. We were the youngest, and a few couples had owned their boats longer than Anna had been alive! There was a speaker from the Marine Stewardship Council who talked about their programs to "certify" different types of seafood and how they are able to positively influence the health of various fisheries.
That evening there was a social at a café in downtown Rockland and then a group of about eight of us went to see the movie Maiden which happened to be playing at the nearby theater. It is about the first all-female sailing team to compete in the Whitbread Around The World Race and was very good.
On Sunday Anna went to a Women Who Sail (Facebook group) meetup for lunch. During the week we sailed east about twenty miles and spent two nights in Deer Isle's Northwest Harbor. As we approached, there was a small rocky island full of seals basking in the sun. We passed a little closer to get a good look and there were plenty swimming in the water too. During the full day out there we took the dinghy about 5 miles south to Stonington where we met Janelle, a lady from the gam and Women Who Sail. Aaron tried a lobster roll there and was not that impressed. We sailed back to Rockland and decided to install an autopilot system, so we spent a day researching and ordering parts to be delivered to Eliot and Caroline.
The newlyweds arrived on a Friday to spend the weekend sailing with us. Saturday morning we headed east (actually mostly sailing!) and anchored on the SE end of North Haven Island by early afternoon. We took the dinghy to Burnt Island and hiked the ~3 mile trail around the island. For supper we had a feast of pot roast, rosemary olive oil bread, and brownies. We made it back to Rockland early Sunday afternoon and said goodbye to them.
We lounged in Rockland Harbor for a few more days and got the autopilot installed. Very exciting! Then we headed east about 30 miles to a spot just north of Swans Island. When we were about 5 miles out of Rockland we heard two super yachts (which we had seen for a few days around the harbor) talking on the radio and planning to go on the same route as us. Over the next hour or two they caught up to us and then passed us about halfway as we exited the Fox Island Thoroughfare. It is very fun to see the big yachts like that out and about. At the anchorage that night it was kind of close quarters, deep, and decent current so we ended up using a mooring ball that we found there.
The next day we came around the south end of Mount Desert Island (home to most of Acadia National Park) and anchored at the head of Somes Sound. This is billed as a fjord, the only one on the east coast (or something like that). It was very scenic to travel the 3-4 miles up it surrounded by dramatic granite outcroppings and cliffs mixed in with beautiful tree-covered mountains (hills).
We spent about 10 days there. The little village of Somesville has an association that maintains a landing which is open to visitors, so we were able to take our dinghy there. In Somesville there is a library, gallery, museum, and gas station. We never visited the gallery or museum but the library was a nice place to take a break and use Wi-Fi. Where the boat was anchored we had only intermittent cell service. There is a free bus service that takes people around the entire island so we used that a lot. It would pick us up at the library and then we would usually ride that line into the island's main town of Bar Harbor. From there most of the busses went to various destinations in Acadia National Park so it was a very nice way to get around. We saw all sorts of sights and one day rented bicycles. We ended up riding 25 miles on the "carriage roads" through the park!
On August 25th we sailed to Isle au Haut (eye-la-hoe) and grabbed a guest mooring in Laundry Cove which is just north of the little town on the island. Acadia National Park occupies part of this island so we went for a nice hike there up to the top of Bowditch Mountain. And the town had a general store where we had a couple beers and played cards on the waterfront.
August 27th we sailed back to Rockland. We chose a route on the ocean side of all of the little islands in hopes that there would be less lobster pot buoys to dodge. There was, but we also were exposed to waves. The ocean swell was 4 feet as predicted with a nice long period between waves so not that bad. We saw a couple waves that were 5-6 feet--our biggest yet. Watching these big waves crash on the rocky islands about a half mile away was quite nice. About halfway through the day the big swell died down, but smaller locally wind-driven waves kicked up and those weren't as comfortable. Anna really didn't feel well and Aaron felt it a little bit. But we made it into the Rockland Harbor and settled in to our familiar spot (have arrived here four times now). On the 28th we did laundry and cleaned up the boat a little, and we should be ready to continue south once we get groceries. We are keeping an eye on storm "Erin" and at this point it looks like it may send 5 foot waves towards shore where we plan to travel, so it may delay us a couple days.