At bare steerageway, we felt our way through pea soup into Cutler harbor, dropping the hook at the first sensible opportunity.
Thick fog again prevailed the next morning, so we deferred any plan to push on. Instead, we “tithed” for most of morning, giving Windleblo some overdue attention. Topsides and interior wood were polished, and some marlinspike was attended.
Feeling that we had earned our shore leave, we rowed a short distance to the nearest fishing wharf. Climbing the ladder from the floating dock, we immediately encountered the wharf’s owner, a fisherman named Farris, who was finishing up a hot dog lunch grilled for him by his wife. They both greeted us warmly, insisting that we join them for a bite.
Standing and eating, we chatted. Turns out Mr. Farris (I never got his first name) has a daughter who graduated Colby. He talked at length about her career. She was a prodigal daughter, never having returned to Cutler after heading off to Waterville for college twenty or so years ago. She now lives in London where she works for an ad agency and is raising two children with her British husband. In the midst of this monologue, Mr. Farris advised that the fog was too thick for fishing today. Rather, he and his helper were tending to matters on the wharf, mending gear and generally idling the day away. The lobsters could wait for tomorrow. He proudly gestured towards his lobster boat, the Christina Marie, tethered to a mooring just off the end of the wharf. Speaking rapidly with a distinctive Down East drawl, eayyuh, he told of witnessing a bald eagle harassing a seagull on the rocks opposite the wharf just the other day, observing that bald eagles don’t like seagulls, particularly ones that try to steal their catch. We nodded politely as if such happenings were common in our neighborhood too. After a bit more, we took our leave, but not before Mrs. Farris pressed a very large chocolate chip cookie into our hands, shushing our protests that we couldn’t possibly accept such generosity.
We walked up the main road past a memorial to the town’s founders consisting of a very large ship’s bell engraved with the year of incorporation. A few hundred yards later we encountered the town library, a couple of rooms with several bookshelves and two computer stations. We used their wifi to check email and weather. Mike asked the librarian for directions to a nearby nature trail, which she happily provided.
The trail wound through mossy woods toward the Eastern Head at the northeast corner of the harbor. There, we found a cobble beach occupied by a napping young seal. On the return, a trail spur led to the Johnson Silver and Copper Mine where precious metals were extracted between 1878 and 1883.
Back on the road, a couple of large logging trucks passed us, a reminder of one of Maine’s traditional industries.
The fog dissipated at sunset, auguring well for tomorrow’s voyaging.