Thursday, Sept. 8 -- Having survived a few setbacks (final tally: five mechanics in five days), we were finally back to cruising the coast of Maine by Day 8 of our 10 days on board. Just enough time to enjoy a few cruising adventures!
Fittingly, we hosted the author of the book "Penelope: Down East" on board our charter boat, Kachina.
On Day 2 of our charter, Pope had been reading to us, from Penelope, a description of where to find oysters near Pulpit Harbor, where we were stuck with a defunct GPS, waiting for mechanic #1. Fortunately the dinghy was afloat and the outboard running well (never a sure thing; the dinghy attached to our initial charter boat, Edna, was a sorry substitute for a seaworthy vessel). So a shore party consisting of Pope and Larry was dispatched with godspeed to the town dock, which was actually out in the middle of nowhere--no town to be seen--to walk a mile along a deserted country road to the home of Adam and Mickey Campbell and their self-service oyster stand. Our first encounter with Cheney's haunts.
He knows our mechanic #2, however, quite well. In the book, he explains: "Should you be having problems with your boat, a call to the delightfully old-fashioned Brown's Boatyard in the nearby town of North Haven will bring help.... If you are lucky, help will come in the form of Foy Brown himself. Master boatbuilder, master mechanic, raconteur, and one of the great characters on the Maine coast...If you appreciate sly, understated Maine humor of the kind that was more prevalent a few decades ago, you are likely to be royally entertained. Meanwhile, whatever your problem, Foy will fix it, and the price will be right."
The only lightheartedness aboard our boat during our long waits for repairs were references to the goofy redneck humor in the Men from Maine videos from Boston radio. Though we weren't feeling particularly lucky while stranded in Pulpit Harbor a second day with a second problem--a dead battery--we were nonetheless pleased that help came in the form of Foy Brown himself. He not only diagnosed our alternator failure and loaned us a spare starter battery and jumper cables, starting the process of getting our boat problems solved; he also entertained us with wisdom and humor, slyly razzing passing lobstermen in his strong mid-Maine dialect.
Later, we encountered in person one of the local landmarks on Swan's Island pictured in Cheney's book: an artsy mailbox reflecting the ubiquitous Maine crustacean.