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Old 06-02-2013, 09:11   #16
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Re: Maine, and getting there

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I have made the trip from Cape Cod to Maine a number of times. I would recommend an overnight passage from the Canal (or Providence) direct to Tennants Harbor or Rockland. The Coastal route done in day trips is exceedingly long because the harbors and anchorages are off your track if you are interested in seeing the real Downeast Maine.
+1 on the overnight to Tennants, though I'd recommend starting in Provincetown rather than Providence. P'town is a delightful stopover in its own right with a beautiful harbor and a noisy and interesting street scene.

We do the overnight and pick up a mooring up inside the harbor. After a nap, we have dinner at the Cod End where the lobsters are unbelievably good and inexpensive and the extraction hardware consists of a rock and a plastic fork. My mouth waters just thinking about it.
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Old 06-02-2013, 09:30   #17
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Re: Maine, and getting there

I agree PTown is better. Fogged memory.

From Tennants you can work your way into North Penobscot Bay and East to Frenchmans Bay Most folks find a lifetime of anchorages between Tennants and Schoodic point. But the intrepid Maine voyagers make it to Mistake Harbor, Head Harbor and Roque Island sometime in their lives. Beyond Roque you don't have much til Campobello and you have mean tides and much fog to manage.
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Old 06-02-2013, 09:56   #18
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Re: Maine, and getting there

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I agree PTown is better. Fogged memory.

From Tennants you can work your way into North Penobscot Bay and East to Frenchmans Bay Most folks find a lifetime of anchorages between Tennants and Schoodic point. But the intrepid Maine voyagers make it to Mistake Harbor, Head Harbor and Roque Island sometime in their lives. Beyond Roque you don't have much til Campobello and you have mean tides and much fog to manage.
We did Mistake and Roque last year and it is so beautiful. End of August and we were 1 of 4 at Roque and 1 of 2 at Mistake.

We also love NE harbor which gives us a great place to re-provision and do some hiking at Acadia.
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:06   #19
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Re: Maine, and getting there

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Good advice so far in these posts.

Plan your cruising around the moon and tide (ie, don't fight the current), but keep the itinerary flexible for fog and other variables.

Anchorage depths: both opinions have merit. You can find plenty of shallow, muddy anchorages, but the ability to anchor in deeper water gives you access to some of the best spots. 100 ft of chain plus 150-200 ft of rope is good compromise.

"Virtually all fishermen run a string of multiple pots with buoys at each end." I don't know about Casco Bay, but this is not true in Penobscot Bay or Down East. In any case, do your best to avoid the pots. If you snag one, do your best to remove it without damaging the gear. As a last measure, if you must cut it off, so be it. The lobsterman takes this risk when he places his traps in navigable waters.

Blueman: Your friend's classic 44 footer is probably full keel with attached rudder, perfect for sliding through the lobster pots. Fin keel and long spade rudder is another story.
I lobstered commercially for years and have yet to see a commercial guy who did not run a pot buoy at both ends of a string. If they do not they should have their heads checked. Any commercial guy dumb enough to not run two end buoys is simply asking for trouble. Young kids just starting out often run single pots and no strings but they also fish closer to shore than you'd normally sail.

A pot buoy costs about $4- $6 but a tangle of strings on the bottom, because a boater dragged my string across the string of four other guys, costs in the HUNDREDS of dollars and sometimes HOURS to untangle. The losses in pot warp alone even in an easy tangle far outweigh the cost of a pot buoy. The sheer time it can take to untangle one of these messes can be astronomical...

Each locale/bay/territorial waters have their own lay rules. In one area it may be a NE lay and all guys lay the same way. The bottom is littered with strings side by side on the bottom all facing the same direction. Some times these strings are separated by meter inches. All it takes is for one sailor to drag one string across four or five other strings and it's an awe $hit moment for the lobsterman........

If you tangle and are in wind or current you are actually doing a good service to cut it free asap to minimize the damage costs of a string tangle.. Pot buoy's are expendable and we account for that. Hundreds and hundreds of feet of warp is not acceptable all because you tried to save my $4.00 pot buoy.....

Sure there are guys who will argue not to cut any buoy but any commercial guy would rather deal with a 30 second re-tie than a two + hour tangle resulting in a pile of knotted pot warp on his deck..

Heck half the time if another lobsterman pulls up your string tangled with his he will assume you laid over him, when a recreational boater may have dragged it there not you. If no one is looking he might just cut your whole mess free and sink it. Happens ALL THE TIME. So that buoy you saved may have still cost him an entire string.



Note the first pot buoy dragging behind the boat as he sets up the proper line for a lay. The last thing to go over is the second pot buoy....


Also be wary of the moon tides in Maine. These spring tides reach far up on the beach and drag every last bit of sea weed, logs, sticks, nets and flotsam and jetsam of broken docks and abandoned broken up skiffs back into the waters. Moon tides make for miserable conditions with all the crap floating in the water..
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:21   #20
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Re: Maine, and getting there

Just to clarify, when you said "Winter" in your post, did you mean "summer", or are you planning to winter over in ME? If you are planning to winter over then you will have some panning to do. No marinas will have dock water over the winter, and pump out facilities may be gone too. And many shut off dock power for the winter too, and that's if the docks are even left in.....Wintering over is not impossible, but not at all common. 99% of the recreational boats get hauled out for the winter.
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:29   #21
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Re: Maine, and getting there

Thanks, Maine Sail. It's interesting how practices vary from one part of Maine to the other. We mostly see individual pots in our parts, not strings, and 99% use toggles, which are far less common only 30 miles to the west.
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:18   #22
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Re: Maine, and getting there

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Thanks, Maine Sail. It's interesting how practices vary from one part of Maine to the other. We mostly see individual pots in our parts, not strings, and 99% use toggles, which are far less common only 30 miles to the west.
I though they were always laid out in strings, though from the surface you wouldn't know. There's just one buoy and a line descending to the bottom. Then somewhere else is another buoy with another descending line. Unless you dove down you wouldn't know if the two buoys represented two individual traps or the two ends of a string. And for a boater transiting the area it doesn't really matter since you can run between the buoys without issue.

One thing I noticed in Maine and we don't see further south in Mass are paired buoys connected by a surface line 10' long or so. Those you can't run between without ugly things happening. Perhaps MaineSail can say more about this practice. I could venture a few guesses, but don't really know why it's done.
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:22   #23
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Re: Maine, and getting there

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One thing I noticed in Maine and we don't see further south in Mass are paired buoys connected by a surface line 10' long or so. Those you can't run between without ugly things happening. Perhaps MaineSail can say more about this practice. I could venture a few guesses, but don't really know why it's done.
Those are toggles. Not generally used w of pen bay.
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:26   #24
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Re: Maine, and getting there

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Those are toggles. Not generally used w of pen bay.
What does it do? Why are they used?
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:34   #25
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Re: Maine, and getting there

I cannot give you specifics but MaineSail has a pretty strong opinion about them. He will likely chime in on the subject. For what I gather they are used more from tradition than any actual purpose these days.
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:46   #26
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Re: Maine, and getting there

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I cannot give you specifics but MaineSail has a pretty strong opinion about them. He will likely chime in on the subject. For what I gather they are used more from tradition than any actual purpose these days.
Well, they certainly serve the purpose of ensnaring boats
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Old 06-02-2013, 12:23   #27
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Re: Maine, and getting there

The toggle on the pot warp is used to keep the line vertical and from wrapping around rocks as the tidal current changes.
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Old 06-02-2013, 12:49   #28
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Re: Maine, and getting there

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The toggle on the pot warp is used to keep the line vertical and from wrapping around rocks as the tidal current changes.
Thanks, that's very helpful. My mooring has a somewhat similar setup designed to keep the tackle off the seabed, but the "helper buoy" is down deep enough to not pose a fouling hazard. Not that I expect to change how everyone in Maine sets their traps, but in theory could the helper buoy be down deeper so the surface hazard is just one buoy and one descending line?
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Old 06-02-2013, 13:16   #29
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Re: Maine, and getting there

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The toggle on the pot warp is used to keep the line vertical and from wrapping around rocks as the tidal current changes.
Yeah that's the old wives tale they like to trot out.. The reality is that they are 150% UNNECESSARY. Guys who use them lose MORE buoys than they supposedly "save" from the rocks. They are a danger to navigation too and cause many preventable accidents and damage to drive trains..

The vast majority of traps in Maine, probably 75% of the coast, does not use any toggles and they don't have any issues. I fished in and on the rocks when I was young and dumb. I never used a single toggle and never once had any pot warp wrap around a "rock"... Every year lobstermen wise up and stop using toggles. There are fewer in Pen Bay now than there were 3 years ago and they are finally almost entirely gone in Muscongus and the Rivers..

The ONLY reason most of them use toggles is because "My grandaddy did, my daddy did and damn straight, so will I.".. I once asked a guy I knew who fished them "Why do you use toggles." I just got a blank stare and the old regurgitated wives tale.. In a trick question, a few minutes later, I then asked how far down the line from the pot buoy he tied his toggles. "Oh I tie mine 40' from the buoy."

You can see from this brain surgeons comment that it has NOTHING to do with the water depth and keeping the line off the bottom because he sets them TOP DOWN, not bottom up.... As usual this guy was using toggles but had no plans to use them according to the "old wives tale" which he trotted out as the reason for using toggles in the first place.

In order for them to even come close to working, as the old wives tale says they do, is if the toggle is re-tied for every set based on DEPTH. Trust me this NEVER, EVER happens.. Guys tie all the toggles on in the spring before they even know where the traps will be set.

A group of us, which included some lobstermen, tried to enlist the help of a state senator to get this issue to a vote but no one would touch it because of fear of the lobstermen... These guys shoot each other they would think nothing of harassing a senator who put forth a bill to ban toggles.

So as luck would have it toggles are still allowed even though they DO NOTHING except for creating and increasing the hazards to navigation..

In a Catch 22 they also claim to like toggles because when the main buoy is cut the don't have to go to the other end of the string to retrieve the string, they just grab the toggle. So from that "perspective" they work.

However what they miss ENTIRELY is that if they had not had the toggle in the first place, and the line passed straight down into the water, instead of horizontally a few feet below the surface, the pot buoy would have never been cut in the first place.... Doh'..........

Rant over.......
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Old 06-02-2013, 13:39   #30
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Re: Maine, and getting there

You know, I have no problem steering around trap buoys, and I have the greatest respect for guys working hard to bang out a living lobstering. But in some parts of Maine, sharp cutters and more throttle is the only way to transit some of the waters.
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