It is the beginning of a brand new month and a reminder that our time here in the cruising paradise of Penobscot, Blue Hill and Frenchman Bays will be coming to an end all too soon. We must make the most out of the next two weeks.
We will eventually return to Northeast Harbor to enjoy the delights of Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park, probably sooner rather than later. But today, we sail 10 miles south to visit the tiny settlement of Frenchboro on Long Island. The population of Long Island is about 65. This is a lobstering community, but there are a few extra moorings in Lunt Harbor for visitors. There is a small ferry that provides service from Frenchboro to Swans Island.
We begin and end our journey today in fog. We dinghy ashore to the lobster dock and hike along the coastal trail to Northeast Point and Eastern Beach. The coast is rocky and rugged, except that Eastern Beach is covered with small stones, polished by the constant punishment from the waves. The seas today are calm. We try to imagine this scene during the height of a winter nor’easter.
Frenchboro is an interesting place. Children are educated at a school on the island up to grade 7. Beginning in the eighth grade, Frenchboro children move to the mainland where they pay room and board to continue their education. The State of Maine pays for their tuition.
Some Frenchboro residents are fearful that the way of life in this community may be headed for extinction, as fewer children choose to return to the island once they complete their education. In recent years, islanders have attempted to attract new families to the community. A grant was recently received from the State to build homes to attract new residents. But the winters here are long, damp and windy. It takes a special kind of family to move here and a courageous family to remain here.
One such family is Tammy and Jay DesJardin and their three children who operate a small restaurant in Lunt Harbor. Tammy serves us two freshly steamed softshell lobsters harvested earlier today by Jay and his son. This is the best tasting, most reasonably priced steamed lobster that we have ever experienced.
Back aboard Cutter Loose, there is zero visibility in Lunt Harbor. Another cold front will pass through the area tonight, bringing with it a chance of showers and thunderstorms. In an era of cookie cutter communities and big box retailers, we are thankful for the opportunity to visit places such as Frenchboro.