Captains Log – August 12 2016 – Biddeford to Isles of Shoales

Stardate 94215.98

Biddeford to York (for Provisions) to Isles of Shoales
Checked engine oil – both full
Air 21C
water 78.4F
wind calm
Pressure 100.9 kPa
Tide High 7:19      Low 13:16
T.O.D. 7:20

Excitement for the day – Lobster pot slalom – 20160812_085909It started out with the usual morning rituals, take the dog for a walk, make coffee and breakfast, check the weather and winds for the day at our current and destination locations. All looks good!  Another perfect day on the boat! For the full story…

We stayed at a boatyard in Biddeford last night which is about 7nm up Saco River. IMG_9212


I wanted to locate an ATM, as some mooring locations only accept cash, and this was the closest town that had one within walking distance. We were initially going to head back out the river and moor just behind the breakwater in Camp Ellis, but it was getting late and we found a decent, quiet location in Biddeford. After chatting with Sean the boatyard owner about our adventure he offered us an old copy of the New England Cruising Guide, (TL has been looking for one of these for weeks!), and a free place to moor for the night so we decided to stay.

7:20am – time to push off. The Saco river is a nice meandering tour through the countryside, very reminiscent of the rivers near home with lots of woldlife.IMG_9209

It takes about an hour to get out to the ocean from Biddeford. We had just exited the mouth of the river IMG_9205


Lobster pot slalom, just to the left…

and had set the compass to our next waypoint a few miles off shore where there are fewer lobster pots to manoeuvre around. Everything looked clear ahead, so TL asked me to touch up her sunscreen on her face. About ten seconds in, she started spinning the wheel frantically. One of those agile lobster pot markers had leapt clear into our path! First TL veered to starboard, then to port, it was going to be close! The waves, at about 0.5 meters were rocking us too and fro. We could see the whites of the little yellow and neon orange markers beady little eyes. We held our collective breath for just a moment… I checked behind us to see if the poor guy would resurface. Nothing… nothing… nothing… and then, there it was, a knock… not a loud knock, like the sound of the bottom end of an engine going, but a quiet little knock… more like a small wooden mallet tapping on fibreglass.

“Whoa! Full Stop!” I exclaimed.
“I think I hit it” she said.
“Did it feel like it was vibrating?” I enquired.
“I think so, I don’t know.”
“Well, idle down and shut off the engines.” I said. “Hopefully we didn’t wind 100 feet of rope around the drive shaft.”

I grabbed the GoPro on the selfie stick and probed around under the boat from the swim platform to see what the situation was.
Low and behold, TL had snagged our first lobster pot on our port driveshaft.lobPot02

I couldn’t see clearly how much line was there, but the marker was hanging off the prop and bobbing around just below the swim platform.
Time to break out the snorkel and mask along with a sharp knife in case I had to do any cutting!20160812_173456

Now, anyone who knows me may remember a time in my late twenties where a similar situation happen during a ski show in Belleville, ON. Long story, short: I was riding in a ski boat during a show we were doing. In between acts we managed to run over one of the ski ropes and wrap 75 feet of rope around the drive shaft. There were two boats running during the show, but we had little time to try and free the mess. Pulling wasn’t helping, so I dove into the water with my brand new leatherman and proceeded to cut the rope free. I was under the boat in rocky conditions, working blind as I had no goggles. The first two cuts were clean, the third cut I had my finger between the brand new, razor sharp, stainless steel blade and the entangled rope I was trying to cut free. Slice!

My first thought was, “That didn’t feel right.” followed by “ That didn’t feel good at all.” followed by, “that was really deep.” and not the ‘deep thoughts’ kind of deep. It was more like the ‘this may need a couple or three stitches kind of deep.

Nine stitches later the end of my middle finger on my right was sewn back together and off we go.

Not wanting to replay that scenario out in the ocean where sharks can smell a drop of blood in a million gallons of water, I decided to first, take my time, and second, wear a mask and snorkel so I can see what I was doing.

I prepped my mask, and tied a line to my knife so I wouldn’t lose it. lobPot01The water is 72F here luckily. The past few weeks we’ve seen as low as 55F and that wouldn’t have been pleasant. Time to jump in and see more closely what the situation was.

Luckily we only had a clean cut, 3 feet of rope loosely around the prop with the float dragging out behind the boat. lobPot05



lobPot06A couple of quick dives and it was free!  Yay! a souvenir from the trip and no major damage!

On to York for provisions. The rest of the passage to York was uneventful. IMG_9259We arrived just before  a light sprinkle of rain fell. We grabbed a few groceries and probably the most expensive water on the planet at $27 US for two 24 packs. Three weeks earlier we had bought the same amount of water for $6.50 CAN. I don’t know how there can possibly be that large a range in pricing for water, but it seems a bit absurd really.

The rain passed quickly and then we were on our way to Isle of Shoals for the night.

The Shoals have moorings only with one dock used by the ferry to drop off and pick up passengers going to the Star Island Hotel. We haven’t been able to find a reasonable dingy yet on our travels, but as you’ll recall, we did buy an inflatable kayak that makes it a little easier to get the dog to shore. (sort of)IMG_9279

Once tied to our mooring TL took the dog for a ride to shore to do her business, only there wasn’t really anywhere to take her. (TL note, for the dog to do her business, not me)IMG_9275


I guess dogs aren’t welcome on most of the islands here. The only one she could go on was across a fast moving channel. TL attempted to cross it, almost got sucked out to sea, and decided to turn back. On the way back she stopped at the breakwater, but the dog was afraid of the water making noise under the rocks, so back to the boat they went.

(mini-Wheat ended up waiting until morning, at which time I brought her to the dock before anyone was awake.)

Lessons of the day:

Don’t use lobster pots for a slalom course and don’t buy water in York!

Chow for now!


Author: Doug Law

A technology professional currently taking a three month sabbatical, doing the Down East Loop, aboard a 36 foot Express Cruiser, with his family.

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