Sailing to Frenchboro in the Fog

Sailing to Frenchboro in the fog seems natural to us. The fog is familiar on our way to the little working harbor, we’ve seen it before. Under our quiet sails, with Frenchboro to windward, we’re safe moving slowly, hearing distant working engines and keeping clear of passing islands. After many trips, we know our way. Once we approach Long Island, I’ll aim for invisible Northeast Point — high, wooded, in deep water, and safely clear of hazards.

Sometimes youngest ears may hear land first, the gentle surf breaking on rocks. Other times the island will release a whiff of aromatic spruce trees from upwind. Or a nose onboard will pick up the pungent smell of bait from a lobsterboat hauling near the shore. We’ll keep referring to our depth sounder and chart plotter for confirmation that we are where we think we are on the chart.

Then we’ll see it. Thick in the fog, some part of Long Island will finally show, a few jagged conifer tree tops floating high above the fog, or perhaps a clearing glimpse of the rocky shoreline. When the island shows itself, that’s close enough to lower sails, start the engine, and cautiously head in.

The fog thins closer to the island and even more inside the little harbor. It’s always pleasant to connect with a Frenchboro mooring, having reached it in the fog.

On shore, happy to see the restaurant is still there (you never know on an island), we’ll reserve lobsters for dinner on the dock at Lunt’s Dockside Deli. Then we’re off for a hike around the familiar road that hugs the harbor edge. The Offshore Store is new and we have to check that out. Island stores can be elusive, and one like this is a good find.

A few tiny roads split off to wind up the hill away from the harbor, and we take them all, it seems, to stretch our legs. Sometimes a longer walk on trails to several coves around the island is the thing, especially on clear days. Or on foggy days, we’ll hang around the harbor and visit the library and museum. We never have too much of a plan on foggy Frenchboro, because fog is fickle.

Wild berries can be a distraction for my family. On foggy days, the dew-drenched berries glisten below in the brush. You have to look closely on Frenchboro for stuff. You might find some artifact, an ancient grave marker, a new porch ornament, a trail through the woods, or a cup full of plump bright red raspberries in the brush. If you look closer still, you could find a cup of Maine blueberries scattered like tiny blue gems in the wet grass. You just have to look closely.

A good fog disappears at dinnertime on Frenchboro’s docks to allow you to enjoy the view. If you look closely, you may see your dinner being carried up the ramp from a fishing boat as you enjoy the clearing vista of Mt. Desert Island, far in the background. Sitting on the picnic tables over the fishing boat docks in Frenchboro is the proper way to enjoy a lobster dinner on the coast of Maine.

A night in your berth on Frenchboro is snug. Hiking wears sailors out and sleep comes quickly. That’s fortunate, because morning fishing activity starts with the sun on Frenchboro. You don’t want to miss that.