Swimming at the Island

Not for the faint-hearted, an dip in the chilly Penobscot Bay waters is best done at on a hot August afternoon.

At the end of July we took some time out at the island, beginning with a small weekend gathering of friends to share music, good food, and camaraderie. After the weekend it was just us, enjoying some quiet time in a very peaceful place, a good opportunity to “recharge.” Lots of swimming at the beach, relaxing in the hammock, skipping rocks, curling up with a book, Parcheesi, cards, and whiffle ball (the boys had homerun derbies almost every afternoon).

One highlight for the boys was rowing over to a neighboring island to buy some lobsters from a lobsterman who lives there. Landon sat in the stern and navigated while Ben and I took turns rowing. It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon with little wind, which made for good rowing. In mid-summer the lobsters are mostly “shedders,” the term for lobster that have molted and are growing their new shells. The shells are softer, the meat inside more watery, so the price is less–Tom charged us only $3/pound, so we bought plenty (Marina’s brother and sister-in-law were visiting that day). Tom took us out in his skiff to his lobster car (basically a big box with a lid on top that floats in the water and hold the lobsters until they get taken to market), and Landon bravely reached in and selected 8 lobsters–although their claws are banded shut, it still takes a little courage for a 6-year old to grab hold of them. Needless to say we enjoyed a feast outside on the picnic table that evening and the boys each had their fill off lobster. That’s always one of the highlights of the summer for them. Of course they saved a little room for the after-dinner s’mores!

Skipping stones at the beach is a favorite pastime at the island, currently Ben holds the island record at 8 skips. Landon has improved a lot this summer, though, and got as many as 6. Key is finding the right stone, of course, flat as a pancake and not too heavy, not too light. The boys literally spent hours doing that.

At one point a fine-looking sailboat arrived and moored in the harbor, and we noticed it was a Cape Dory, a boat we’ve often fantasized about owning. The retired couple that owns it nicely invited us aboard to look around and talked to us about the boat. This was the 28-foot version, a nice manageable size but with room below decks for a family of 4 and associated gear, plus an inboard diesel motor. We had looked at a 25 footer years ago that was hauled ashore, but never were in one actually in the water. It felt great, and renewed our resolve to one day get a boat–the island is only 11 miles from Camden Harbor, perfect for an afternoon sail!

We came back to the mainland just as a heavy fog moved in for several days, perfect timing. Now only 3 more weeks until school begins, and another summer come and gone.

Categories: family


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