LOCATIONS: Isle Au Haut, Stonington, Schoodic Penninsula, Winter Harbor, Frenchmans’s Bay, Somes Sound, Northeast Harbor, Suttons Island.
VESSEL: The Wilbur 38 Flybridge Cruiser “Ariel’s Song”
NARRATIVE: We had a fabulous time on our 5-day, 4-night charter with Ariel’s Song! Our prior boating experience has been with smaller powerboats, so we hired a captain. This turned out to be a very wise choice for us because not only were there many things we had to learn about handling a boat of this size but also because Captain Andrew knew many beautiful and uncrowded spots to visit. The highlight for us was a trip to Isle Au Haut, where we did the Western Head hike with breathtaking views along the shore. (Be aware of your timing though — it is a somewhat challenging hike and takes at least 2 hours). Captain Andrew docked us at the ferry landing, which made it easy for us to get on the trail. Prior to that hike, we visited Stonington on Deer Isle, which is quite picturesque. Another day we boated over to the Schoodic Peninsula and had the best lobster rolls of our entire Maine stay at a pop-up lobster shop in Winter Harbor. We also boated to the northern edge of Frenchman’s Bay and up and down Somes Sound. One day, when the weather was a bit cloudy with a chance of rain, we boated into Northeast Harbor and docked by the Thuya Gardens. They are gorgeous and well worth a visit! From there, you can also walk over and visit the Asticou Gardens. On the last morning of our charter, we boated over to Sutton Island and hiked across it, through a very verdant trail in the woods. No one else was there and it seemed sort of surreal. Our boating venture was an incredible experience and we plan to do it again!
INSIGHTS: If you are not a very experienced boater, I highly recommend getting a captain. The waters around Mt Desert Island have unexpected shallow areas and other things you need to watch out for (like lobster trap buoys). Also, you might want to plan ahead where you want to spend your nights. We hadn’t done that planning, and we ended up spending all 4 nights at the marina in Southwest Harbor. It made it much easier in terms of going out for dinner each night. (Just walk out on the deck and into town or to our car). But if you want to experience sleeping on the boat in other harbors, you should probably plan it out beforehand, or at least have an idea of which harbors you want to visit and do a little calling ahead for mooring availability (call the harbormasters or a local boatyard for each harbor).