October 06, 2017

Day 5 - Bar Harbor, Maine

During the night the skies are clear and there is a bright full moon, the temperature drops in to the twenties and we slowly make our way from Rockland to Bar Harbor over relatively calm seas of less than 6 feet. As has been the case every night so far, the cabin is very quiet. No drunks yelling in the hall ways, kids screaming, or mechanical vibrations from the engines or propulsion system.

I have a tour that gathers on the pier at 1:15 so there is no need to set an alarm. I awaken just after 8:00 and go to the Windjammer where I have a couple of eggs cooked to order for breakfast. By the time I gather my camera, phone, ID, and jacket the line for the tenders has diminished to non existant. I make my way to the loading platfrom on deck one and immediately board a tender.

Always being one to learn something, today I learned how to wash the salt spray from the windshield of the life boats that are used as tenders. A crew person opens the hatch, sticks his head out, and pours a bottle of drinking water on the windshield while running the wipers. Simple enough.

This harbor is surrounded by many islands and rocks protruding out of the water. Many boats are docked or anchored in the harbor, and the harbor is covered with many hundreds of lobster buoys marking the location of the pots below. It is a short ride to the shore side dock which is just a few steps from the center of town.

By mid morning the temperature has warmed to about 70, the sky is blue with no clouds in sight. There is a slight breeze, another perfect day. The fall foliage has barely begun to turn color, the weather has been unseasonably warm here this fall.

Bar Harbor is such a contrast to Rockland. Many stores and restaurants, all open and competing for the tourist dollar. By all indications Bar Harbor is a thriving waterfront town. There are two ships here today, The Vision of The Seas which I am on and the Norwegian Dawn which does an itinerary between Boston and Quebec City. Today she is Southbound. I believe 161 ships visited Bar Harbor this year compared to less than a dozen to visit Rockland.

I spend several hours walking around the town. I visit a few shops, but as usual purchase nothing. Since there will be no opportunity for lunch, shortly before I board my bus I purchase an ice cream cone. I don't know the brand, but it was very good, and not over priced.

The tour bus to visit Cadillac Mountain and some of the highlights around Bar Harbor is a small 14 passenger bus. The driver and guide, Bill, has lived in Bar Harbor for 42 years and now spends his winters in Florida, often in his RV at Lake Louisa State Park, very near where I live. I must add that I was in Bar Harbor about 55 years ago, I remember some of the National Park, but only a little.

I continue to be pleasantly amazed by the passengers on this cruise. When we get off the bus for a 30 minute visit at the summit of Cadillac Mountain, everyone is back on the bus and seated several minutes before the designated time. We are rewarded by taking a longer route back to the port.

I do need to tell you a story that our guide to Mt Washington told us about happening last week. He was guiding the same tour from the Port of Portland to Mt Washington for a group of passengers from a Princess ship. On the return trip there is a spot about 10 minutes or so from the port where you can see the ship anchored in the harbor, only this time the ship wasn't anchored, it was steaming out to sea. As the driver continued towards the port, the ship went out of sight. The passengers began to panic. Had they missed the boat? What were they going to do? This tour was booked thru the cruise line and they are supposed to wait, but obviously the ship was leaving.

It is a long process to clear customs and get to where the ship had been docked. Nobody can tell them anything. When they finally meet a Princess representative it turns out that low tide was approaching, and the captain was just moving the ship to deeper water, a simple procedure that caused panic among 45 unsuspecting passengers. They were tendered to the awaiting ship just outside the harbor.

Our tour gets us back to port about 15 minutes before the last tender. We are directed to a large luxurious catamaran for the journey back to the ship, added capacity to get the passengers back as quickly as possible.

There is no show tonight, just a movie being played in the theater. We need to turn our clocks ahead one hour to adjust to the time zone in Halifax, Nova Scotia, our next port. Our arrival is anticipated to be about 10 AM. I did not book an excursion, but will get off the ship.

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