This online document is a means of sharing the adventure of traveling on America's waterways with friends and family. Last Dance is continuing to take her crew to historical, natural, beautiful, and interesting places. Enjoy the ride.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Maine - Belfast

Belfast is a small town located in the northwest corner of Penobscot Bay.  It has a long fishing and boating history and is still filled with boats.  The above image is of the outer portion of the harbor where it intersects with Penobscot Bay.  The entire multi-mile long harbor is filled with mooring balls.

The old downtown is lined with brick buildings, filled by active businesses.  Belfast is alive with commercial activity and many outdoor events.

Church steeples in New England are often topped with wind vanes.  Most include a codfish in the design.  This church chose an angel, possibly Gabriel.  As has happened in other communities, this church lost its congregation and has become a private home.

The churches in New England seem more accepting and loving of all people.  This church had a gay pride flag by the front door and a poster at the entrance to the fellowship hall.

After churches, the most prominent public buildings in Maine towns are the libraries.  Artfully designed and constructed by craftsmen of the highest skills, these buildings stand testimony to the value given by New Englanders to knowledge and education.

The design details and craftsmanship extend to the interior.  They create pleasant surroundings for people to read and learn.

As reported in the 2013 post about Belfast, the city art in downtown project is benches - Please be Seated.  Most are quite whimsical, however, the one located in the waterfront park has a strong art influence among its whimsicalness.  A curved horizontal log serves as the seating surface and face appears out of the vertical log.  Who knew that face was ready to glance out from this log?

Looking out from the park into the harbor as the tide falls, another face appears from the water.

As the tide continues to drop, more faces begin appearing out of the harbor's waters.  What were once old pilings are now a changing art display.

Art in the Park, a large and high-quality art show arrived on the weekend.  One of the artists displaying was Ron Cowan, a Belfast sculptor. He is the one that finds the faces that were hiding in the wood.  A different, but a most interesting art form.

Garden Faces

And a grand art show it was.  So big, that it may have doubled the population of Belfast.  A wide variety of art forms, tasty foods with unique twists, and fun music could keep one entertained all day.

A good number of the artists' work will be sailing home on Last Dance.  Just too tempting.  As Jill was making one purchase with an artist of functional pottery, a fellow Gold Looper was found.  Nancy and her husband completed the Loop in 2013.  A conversation ensued and an invitation was issued to visit their island near the Sheepscot River.  New friendships develop.

Rotary International was represented at the art show.  No, it doesn't seem that they have artists among their membership, however, they capitalized on the opportunity to promote their event that would be held at the Belfast Harborfest on the Waterfront in August.  They sponsor a boat- building contest.  Two people are given materials, using their tools, to construct a boat.  The time limit is four hours.  The winners are determined based on three measures: the time it took to build the boat, quality of workmanship, and the placing of the boat in a rowing race.  Unfortunately, Last Dance was much farther Down East at that time.

A business that has grown and become more prominent in downtown Belfast is the Front Street Shipyard.  Their services recently expanded to large boats, which have seemed to become a big segment of their clientele - pun intended.  Front Street has been a boost to the economy and has kept Belfast active and known in the cruising community.

Belfast has built a harborwalk that extends a few miles along the harbor and across the harbor on the old US1 bridge, including a section right through Front Street Shipyard.  A unique opportunity for boat lovers to stroll through some amazing boats.  A high-quality walking-the-docks event.

The harbor path can be seen on the left in this image as work continues on two sizable boats.

The tool that allowed Front Street to become a big-boat boatyard is the 440 metric ton travel lift and the ramps that support it out over the water.  A metric ton is a bit larger than the American measure.  The capacity of this travel lift is 970,000 pounds, quite a sizable boat.

This boat-hauling machine rides on 16 eight-foot-tall tires.  A massive and amazing machine.

Big boats become even bigger when out of the water.

Cape Race was relaunched during Last Dance's visit.  It appears to be a yacht capable of taking the owner anywhere in the world, and she does.

Cape Race does have the ability to go anywhere.  Her ice capable hull allows her to travel into the Arctic waters and her fuel capacity is sufficient to cross the Atlantic Ocean twice without refueling.  She currently serves as a pleasure boat and a research vessel.  This image is from the Cape Race web site.

The Cangarda lying at the Front Street docks.  A most beautiful boat with a long history.  She was built in 1901 and is the only steam-powered yacht in America.  Walking along the waterfront and coming in view of this boat takes one's breath away.  Obviously an object of love, beauty, and history.

Cangarda was built in Delaware and cruised with owners and guests for over 100 years.  She is 136 feet long and powered by her original 300 horsepower steam engine.   This photo, circa 1910, shows her during her original days of glory.

Cangarda went through a number of owners, and for many years was used more as a floating house than a cruising yacht.  Eventually, she was purchased by a man in Massachusetts who began a restoration effort.  But, it fell behind and in 1999, Cangarda sank in Boston Harbor.  Fortunately, she was found by someone who loved her enough to bring her back to her original beauty.  A venture capitalist from California purchased Cangarda, had all her parts shipped to California and a major restoration completed.  The link below is to a short video about her rebuilding.

Penobscot Bay has many old wooden schooners.  Bonnie Lynn is neither old nor wooden.  She is a steel hulled boat built just north of Flagler Beach, Florida, by Treworgy Yachts.  Her owners cruised her from Maine to the Caribbean for many years for their personal pleasure.  She now provides tourists sailing adventures on Penobscot Bay.  Another interesting boat encountered on the docks.

Across the harbor from Belfast, on the opposite shore, lies Young's Lobster Pound.  It is an operating lobster pound and a restaurant.  One that is visited by many.

Lobster prices are governed by supply and demand.  When lobster is plentiful, and lobstermen are having great catches, prices drop.  When the lobster catch falls, lobster traps come up empty, the price increases. Understanding this, lobstermen fenced off areas of the bays where they worked and stored some of their lobster during good times in these impoundments.  When their catch decreased and prices increased, they still had lobster to sell from the pound.

Today, the lobster pounds are controlled environments and indoors.  Thousands of lobsters await sale to the wholesale markets.  But, tourists are willing to pay a good price for lobster, so why not combine a restaurant with the pound?

So, sort a few out by size, get a steamer, and add a few fish dishes, let the customers sit out on the deck, and you have a restaurant.  The environment of the lobster pound and the view of the harbor provide a great setting for a lobster dinner.

A lobster salad and lobster roll on the picnic table behind the pound.  Young's technique on the lobster roll differs from the standard.  They use a light mayonnaise sauce as do many, but they choose a hamburger bun rather than a split top New England roll and add a piece of lettuce.  It was a great lobster roll, filled amply with fresh steamed lobster.

The docks where Last Dance berthed was a part of the working waterfront.  Some of the Belfast lobstermen were just beginning to put out their traps, or were adding to their trap count.

Off the trailer, onto the boat, ready to be dropped.  The Belfast lobstermen will be keeping Young's supplied.