Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Coastal Maine Cruise on the Andromeda

"There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way." ~Christopher Morley

August 20: During this entire trip, I've been corresponding with lots of folks via email. Some are friends, some are strangers to me but will become friends. Lots of people have helped me out with ideas of what to do and where to go. For most of my trip I have had to forgo the scenic route in favor of the quickest route. I've also had to forgo the sight-seeing and touristy things that most travelers enjoy in favor of sticking to business and visiting only brewers and breweries. Since I am with Jon for a few days visiting his family, we did a little sight-seeing with help from our family and friends.

One of those friends is fellow brewer, Bill Jenkins, Brewmaster at Big Time Brewing Co. in Seattle. You may have noticed a photo of Bill on my post about the Washington Cask Festival last March. Bill grew up in Maine and got me in touch with his parents, Julie and Bill Sr. who live in Southwest Harbor in another part of Mount Desert Island. Jon and I headed to their house on this clear and sunny morning.

The Jenkins took us to Bass Harbor where they dock their 32 foot powerboat. The Andromeda is no ordinary waterski-type powerboat. It is a pleasure cruiser built on a lobster boat hull with sleeping quarters and a "head" below deck. Jon took the photo at the top of this post of Julie, me and Bill.

Bill got out his navigational chart books and his laptop-powered GPS navigational charts. We motored slowly over to Swans Island. Jon is really into boats and powerboats so he kept Bill company in the cabin.

Bill let Jon steer the boat for awhile (photo above right). He even let me steer for awhile. I tried to avoid running over any lobsterpot bouys, but the tide dragged me off course a bit and I ran one over but it wasn't harmed.

Mostly, Julie and I sat in the back of the boat enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. The wind was low and the waves were small. It was the most beautiful day for a pleasure cruise. We saw thousands of lobster bouys and several working lobster boats hauling up their catch. We watched the eider ducks dipping into the waves and one lost butterfly flying in no particular direction. Bill and Julie showed us two lighthouses and we all had a marvelous time.

Jon and I wanted to be back at his brother's house by 2:00 pm, and Bill timed the ride perfectly to be docked back in Bass Harbor by 11:45 am.

Then the Jenkins took us to Bass Harbor's Thurston Lobster Pound for a lobster lunch. (Photo above left.) The lobsters we ate there were probably the freshest either Jon or I had ever eaten. The whole time we were there, we watched the lobster boats arrive to unload their morning's catch. There seemed to be one boat waiting while the previous one unloaded at the dock. We watched five boats unload. How fresh can you get?

On the way back to Bill and Julie's house, we stopped at Southwest Harbor's little liquor store. In Maine they sell beer as well as wine at the liquor stores. Just to the right of the front door was a huge selection of New England, local, and imported beer. Who would have guessed that a seemingly small provincial town like Southwest Harbor would have such an excellent selection of beer? Photo of one of the shelves above right.

Jon and I got lost and found an all-organic market in a tiny old fashioned roadside store and picked up a pint of Maine's famous tiny wild blueberries. They have a much more intense blueberry flavor than Oregon's beautiful but less flavorful giant cultivated blueberries.

My buddy Carolyn came home from YMCA camp and we spent several hours playing games from Aunt Teri's game bin. Joel and Carolyn picked fresh chives and garlic from their garden and Joel cooked up chive-garlic hamburgers for dinner. It was a pretty full day.

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