Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall in Lincoln County

This morning brought a nice quiet time on the heels of months of travel, hectic schedules, and thrilling work.  We live on the Damariscotta River, a twelve-mile long tidal estuary (much like Norway's fjords).  We are eight miles from the ocean, and three miles from the twin villages of Newcastle and Damariscotta, on the west shore.  At our dock the tides average around 10 1/2 feet - the difference of water level between high and low tide.  There are seasonal and lunar high tides as big as 12 feet.

In the last moments of August this year, Hurricane Irene came up the east coast of the United States.  The National Weather Service predicted that the storm would come through our region at full strength, so we brought in all the outdoor furniture, and put away kayaks and canoes, and brought the motor-boat close to shore on the inner float, and laid on some extra fenders and dock lines.  The brunt of the storm blasted unexpectedly through Vermont and Upstate New York causing catastrophic and unprecedented damage especially in remote and rural areas, but the outskirts of the storm came through Newcastle whipping the place up for 36 hours, but thankfully causing little damage.

That storm was followed by a trip to Bermuda during which my colleague Amory Atkins and I finished an organ that the Organ Clearing House had installed in June for St. Paul's AME Church in Hamilton.  We returned a day late from that trip because Tropical Storm Maria caused the airport and ports to be closed in Bermuda, and from there we whipped through a series of trips and small projects - meaning that until yesterday we didn't have a chance to use the boat.

Yesterday Wendy and I went up the river in the boat just to get out - our excuse was to pick up the Sunday New York Times at the Maine Coast Book Shop.  And this morning, I drove the boat up the river to the public landing in Damariscotta to meet Scott from Broad Cove Marine Service who hauls the boat, winterizes it, and stores it for us until launch-day in the spring.  Wendy met me in town so we could transfer all the gear (lines, life jackets, anchor, etc.) into the car.

The ride up river was a nice opportunity to reflect on a long and busy summer and fall.  I saw six loons, all in their winter plumage.  Each of the Osprey nests was occupied by a Greater Black Back Gull - the osprey have gone south for the winter.  And there was a big population of seals running around near the oyster farm - no doubt finding lots to eat.

The water in our river is teeming with life, and in the warmer months when water temperature is above 60-degrees, it's full of algae and plankton - so it's very cloudy.  But today with the water temperature low enough to kill off the microscopic plants, the water is clear.  It was still and smooth, and besides the seals, my boat was the only motion.  A lovely way to start a day and end a season.

See in these photos Newcastle Harbor, the public dock and landing in Damariscotta, and our trusty runabout ready for winter storage.

See you in the spring.

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