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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Castine.

     Today was a wonderful trip to Castine, the home of Maine Maritime Academy.  It was wonderful because we had five couples who have been camping together for a decade that met at Dennett's Wharf in Castine.  Castine is an hour plus from Belfast.  We can see it from the campground, but we have to go north, east and then south to find our way to the next south pointing peninsula.  
     Maine Maritime trains cadets to become qualified to be certified in the various specialties necessary to operate commercial seagoing transport.  There are elements of the training that are reminiscent of the military academies.
     A principal piece of their training environment is the "State of Maine"  It is a large commercial ship that provides them hands-on application and also serves as a platform for the summer long cruises.
     I thought it was noteworthy that the pleasurecraft activity has already started its late summer decline.  Note the dinghys which should be tied to deep water moorings.
     Dennett's wharf has been a well known restaurant in Castine for many years, and they did not disappoint.  
     They had some fine local oysters on the half shell and many varieties of beer on tap.  
     The crew included the Andrews, the Roths, the Cloutiers, the Dunns and the Pecks.  'Twas a nice lunch.  After lunch we (the Andrews and us) drove around the town looking at the fine old homes.  You might be surprised to learn that Castine was settled seven years before the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth.  On the way back I got a nice shot of a large sailboat sailing up the river.
     There were a few more pictures after we got back to the Moorings.  One was a magnificent sailboat illuminated by the late evening sun.
     As the evening was winding down, Durelle took Baxter for a walk and passed the "Bambi" that I included in a previous post.  They left and came back.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Late Summer Sunrise

     Every once in a while I wake up just as the sky is starting to get light.  It's usually much later.  The newspapers don't come until eight, and we've been known to sleep 'til nine.  It's fine with Baxter whenever we get up.  Since it was just before sunrise, I brewed a quick mug of coffee, slung the camera around my neck, grabbed a folding chair, and headed down toward the water to find a good vantage point.  I set up the chair and the camera and sat down with the coffee to wait for some good photo-ops.  There was some morning sea-fog, and nestled in it was a freighter waiting to move into the Searsport harbor.
     You can tell that this was gentle, pre-dawn light.  The colors didn't stay subtle for long.
     I suppose I should have had some sort of filter to shoot straight into the sun, but I didn't so I shot anyway.
   As it crept above the horizon it began to blast every pixel collector I had, so I used an oak tree for a filter.
     As I turned my back to the sun, it was nice to see the homes on the far side of the bay starting to reflect the morning light.
     These homes are in Northport or perhaps the southern edge of Belfast.  While I was sitting there, I saw a gull pick up a mussel and carry it aloft only to drop it onto the rocks below.  After he released it, he followed it down and had a tasty mouthful as it broke against the rocks.  I tried hard to capture it with the camera, but with no success.  The best I could do was to catch one guy ready to launch.
     The mussels are pretty firmly attached to the rocks, so it's hard for the gulls to rip them loose in the first place.
     Prominently located in the entrance to Belfast harbor is an aid to navigation called a monument   It has been there since the 1800s and has special meaning for several of our Maine camping friends.  This morning was low tide as you can tell by the black portion of the monument that is exposed.  The waterfowl are cormorants.
     This evening the full moon put on a display to compete with the sunrise.  It rose in the same place and was nearly the same color in a very muted way.  The first shot was when I was too lazy to move away from the campers and elected to shoot between them.
     Then I decided to move out to where I could see the reflection.
     When you consider that all of these shots were taken in one day from the same place, you have to agree that it is a very special place..

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Great Grand Daughter Brielle and her visit

     This weekend our great-granddaughter, Brielle, and her parents spent a very pleasant visit.  It was a four hour drive each way for them.  Carolyn worked Saturday and Dave has to go in on Monday morning.  We do appreciate the effort expended to come visit us.  They arrived Saturday evening and we went up to Papa J's for supper.  Dave had Jim's Portuguese steak to include the fried egg on top. It was a nice supper for all of us.
     This morning I cooked up a pound of bacon and made pancakes for five of us.  Speaking of five of us, the sleeping arrangements worked out just fine.  It was a late breakfast after which the girls; Durelle, Carolyn, Brielle and Baxter (non-girl) headed down to the beach.  Looking for beach glass at low tide is a universal Maine occupation. 
     You might assume that, since I am not in the picture, I took them.  You'd be wrong.  Dave was a great help with many things during the too short visit.  It started before he arrived as he brought us a couple of bottles of Absolut from NH saving me twenty bucks.  Assembling the sleeping arrangements, taking many of the pictures and driving the Jeep back from Camden were also appreciated.  They can come back anytime.

      Here is a small yacht heading into the Belfast Harbor.  
    
     Baxter soon declared the beach a sea gull-free zone, but it took more energy than he had.
     
    
     Carolyn and Brielle found a bunch of beach glass.



     This was a much larger yacht heading into Belfast.  It anchored offshore.




Later we headed south.  We did not take any pictures in Bayside, but we sure did in Camden.  We drove up to the top of Mount Battie and took some wonderful pictures of our great-granddaughter and her parents.  

     Here's Brielle and Carolyn on top of the tower at Mount Battie.  Is that a fine picture of Carolyn?
     This is Brielle on the stairway to the top of the tower.
     This picture of Carolyn and Brielle had a backdrop of the Camden Harbor, but I cropped it because this was such a nice shot of the two of them.
     Lest I leave Dave out of the picture, here's Dave and Carolyn.  Brielle is disappearing down the hill toward Camden.

     Here's Dave and Carolyn.  They are a great couple and we appreciate the drive that it took for them to pay us a visit.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Frogmore Stew 2013




     Ahhhh, Frogmore Stew.  It's the analog of a New England Clambake.  Crustaceans, corn, sausage, red potatoes, onions, lemons and Zatarains spices all in one dish.  It is a low country boil from the barrier islands of South Carolina.  I did the prep work yesterday...onions, sausage, lemon,  red potatoes, and spices.  I wrapped all the dry spices up in a cheesecloth bag.  Everything else went into zip lock bags.  When the time came to get started, all I had to do was to start the burner an add ingredients on schedule.  Of course there was a lot of logistic work that Durelle, Rick Feyler, and George Peck handled for me.  After the water was boiling, it was time to add the spices.  A bunch of halved lemons were first.


     Next were the onions.  Not shown were some lemon juice and a cheesecloth bag of Zatarain spices, Old Bay Seasoning,  Zatarains "Boil in Bag", a dozen bay leaves, and a tablespoon of cayenne.
    
 When the water was boiling, it was time to add the potatoes.  These are  red potatoes, scrubbed and halved.


     After the potatoes had gone for twenty minutes,next came the sausage.


      After the sausage had gone 5 minutes, the corn was added.


      Not shown is the addition of nine pounds of shrimp.  There were so many bags that your loyal photographer was too involved opening bags.  The result was outstanding!


     
You will notice that we covered the newspaper with paper towel as a deference to the newspaper ink.


     If that isn't a nice looking pile of groceries, I'll eat your hat.  Moments later the sun sat over Rick and Judy's rig to provide the perfect denouement to the day.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Old Friends

     The Moorings still has the wonderful, close-up views of Penobscot Bay, but it does not have the camaraderie of the old gang. Today was a reunion of sorts.  The Roths, the Dunns, Jeri and Cheryl all arrived for a lunch at The Anglers.  Would you believe that I did not bring a camera?  It was a fine lunch, and my hors d'ouerves of mussels cost more than my entree of fish and chips.  We came back to a very pleasant afternoon.  I sat the camera on the table, looking east, and took this gentle picture of the bay.


     I don't know about you, but evenings like this are what make this lifestyle so special.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Touring with the Poythress'

     To start with, today was a "Chamber of Commerce" day all along the coast...75 degrees, a  soft wind and a clear sky.  Before I start with our pleasant journey today, Let me show you another unusual RV.  On previous, recent posts I have shown you the tiniest Airstream, and another tiny teardrop camper.  Today I am going to show you a rig from the other end of the spectrum.  Behold the Renegade!







     This is a Class C.  As a matter of fact he has been rejected at Class A only campgrounds.  That second axle is not a tag axle.  He has eight driven wheels back there.  The long wheelbase moves the drive assembly well aft to support a heavy trailer, but the turning radius can be a problem in crowded campgrounds.  This 45 foot Class C has a towing capacity of 45,000 pounds!
     Paul and Judy Poythress picked us up at 1130.  We headed south to Camden which was clogged with its usual Route 1 traffic.  The first stop was the Waterfront restaurant, a long time favorite of ours in Camden.  


  

     We opted, of course, to eat on the deck.  The Camden harbor is a never ending, changing scene of pleasure craft of all styles and sizes.  Our lunch menu choices of entrees will give you a good idea of the sort of place it is: Lobster Cobb Salad, Crab Melt with Bacon and Avocado, a turkey wrap with everything but the kitchen sink, and I tried for the first time a grilled Portobello sandwich.  More conventional fare was available, but we all felt a bit adventuresome.   For appetizers I had some really wonderful, briny oysters on the half shell and Durelle had their famous clam chowder.
     Here's a shot of the Cobb salad.



     And here's my sandwich along with a four bean salad and a Dill pickle..


    
 My oysters were also worth a picture.



     This shot of Paul and Judy does not do them justice.  They have been friends of ours for several years, and I hope they are not offended.



     One of the most popular tourist events in Camden is a schooner cruise.  Below is a picture of one of the schooners heading out.  



     We then wandered south along the bay.  The Poythress' once rented a place in Camden.  After they showed us their old, lovely house, we traveled less than a mile further south to the path to the Curtis Light.  It is well hidden.  The Poythress' did not even know about it.  It now has a new, small (16 inch ?)sign.



     It is less than a hundred feet to the bench with a wonderful view of the outer end of the Camden Harbor, Curtis Island and the Curtis Island  Lighthouse  Below are a couple.of nice pictures of the lighthouse.






     From there we headed a bit further south to a large green, rolling farm which raises belted Galloway cattle.  They are a horn-less breed from Scotland with heavy, rough coats and a distinctive coloring.



     From there we came back to the campground and reveled in the end of the calm colors of a pleasant Maine evening.