A ship in Ship Harbor…

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…sort of. Maybe “ship” isn’t the right terminology to use… maybe it should be boat? Either way, this was a classic Maine summer morning spent on the Ship Harbor Trail in Acadia National Park. After a short walk through an oceanside forest, this trail opens up to the Atlantic, offering incredible views of the Ship Harbor coastline and islands laying offshore in the Blue Hill Bay. Just as we arrived, the lobstermen began pulling their pots, so we chilled for a while watching them work. Sitting on the rocks and enjoying the view, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a better way to start the day.

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The fleet at rest…

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So… I had grand plans to do some landscape photography while spending time in Acadia, but so far the weather has been somewhat uncooperative. It seems like on any day the weather is decent, the clouds roll in right on cue to deny any good evening light, and as for the early mornings… well, let’s just say my camera isn’t entirely waterproof, and with the rain comes far from ideal light. The end result… slim pickings so far, but the weather over the next couple of days is supposed to brighten up.

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Fingers crossed I can get out with the camera a bit more, but in the meantime, here are a couple from a foggy evening spent in Bar Harbor. If you’ve ever been to Bar Harbor, you will know how strong the draw of the oceanfront is as you walk down the hill toward Agamont Park and the harbor. On this particular evening, the pull was even stronger. The fishing fleet was anchored and resting for the night, and there was a remarkable misty calm laying over the water like a soft and soothing blanket.

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Cruising the Blue Hill Bay

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When visiting Acadia, there is so much to see and do if you stay on the land, but if you want a different perspective – and it is an island after all – then you have to get out onto the water. We considered trekking across the island to brave the throngs of tourists in Bar Harbor to take a cruise on the Margaret Todd, but in keeping with the quiet theme of this vacation, we instead decided to stay closer to home and made reservations to tour the Blue Hill Bay with Island Cruises out of Bass Harbor. As we left the calm waters of Bass Harbor, it was pretty cool to get a view of the famous Bass Harbor Lighthouse from the ocean.

Our captain was a great storyteller, so despite the amazing scenery all around us, we often found ourselves captivated by the history (and tales) he was sharing as we motored toward Great Gott Island. We learned the history of many of the island settlements, and about what life was like back in the day when these islands were once thriving communities. Our captain was a fountain of knowledge, and he gladly shared not only the history of the region, but also what it is like to be a modern-day lobster fisherman. He gave us a working demonstration of how to pull and bait a lobster trap, and he also explained the process by which lobstermen determine whether or not their catch can be kept and brought to market. As you can see, it isn’t just lobster that he catches!

The boat was rocking and the surf was up as we ventured beyond Great Gott, Little Gott, and Placentia Islands and then outside of the Blue Hill Bay. There was something about being “on the ocean” and outside the protection of the islands that made this trip pretty special, and as we cruised around and between some smaller islands, we were treated to some close-up views of all sorts of wildlife. On what was a two-hour voyage, we saw harbor and grey seals sunning themselves on rocky ledges, a bald eagle soaring high above, and all sorts of other sea birds nesting and feeding.

As we returned to the calmer waters of Bass Harbor around 5:00 p.m., we all agreed that this was probably the best Acadia boat trip that any of us had taken. Seeing things from off shore gave us a cool perspective, hearing about and being near the islands that we see from the mainland was exciting, and enjoying the wildlife was an added bonus, but I think what what truly made this trip was wonderful storytelling of our captain. Highly recommended!