Advice for Cruisers From Cruisers

aerial view of Belfast Front St. Shipyard
In the upper regions of Western Penobscot Bay, above Islesboro and Lincolnville on the route “up-bay” from Camden, a cruiser leaves behind the strong afternoon southwest gale winds and the open ocean swells. Take this calmer time to review those general misconceptions of what you were expecting when cruising in Maine waters. This ongoing learning […]
Ovens Mouth passage seen from the deck of a sailboat.
The calm waters in the Ovens Mouth basin provide a peaceful anchorage away from fog and tourists and a body of water conducive to paddle boarding, kayaking, or dinghy sailing.
Pink sunset behind moored boats; dock and floats in the foreground.
Falmouth Foreside represents an attractive and reasonably priced alternative for cruisers visiting the Portland area seeking a quieter anchorage with many of the city’s amenities.
ramp leading to floating dock, red lobster boat moored behind, houses on far shore.
Cliff Island, shaped like an H, is not very far from Portland but feels like a different world. The community is small – the smallest year-round island in Casco Bay – and welcoming.
rocky shore with seaweed-covered rocks beyond and moored boats in the distance
Another favorite anchorage in Casco Bay includes The Goslings, now owned by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust. It offers a trifecta of small islands sporting a couple of tiny delightful sandy beaches and almost-always-available strong moorings, especially on weekdays.
Jewell is a favorite spot for kids to roam about (carefully!) and play hide-and-seek.
Aerial view of the Islesford docks with boats moored in the harbor.
Anchoring in the Cranberries offers one of the most majestic sights in Maine – a view of sunsets over the Acadia National Park mountains from your own boat.
McGlathery is a 140-acre conservation island in the southeastern quadrant of the stunning Merchant Row archipelago. It is an easy and convenient place to spend one or more nights enjoying this spectacular area.
Boothbay waterfront with dock in foreground and buildings across the water.
Heading north past Fisherman’s and Squirrel Islands, you’ll find the buzzing metropolis of Boothbay Harbor, where you’ll be well-served by several marinas and a big shopping center where you can find all kinds of delights.
Near the eastern end of Merchant’s Row and adjacent to the Deer Island Thorofare, this is an easily accessed and convenient stopping point. It is also a lovely, quiet, and calm anchorage with wonderful views to the east, including the mountains of Mount Desert Island, often with windjammers reaching by. It is an excellent spot for exploring by dinghy/kayak, swimming, and lazing.
10 miles west of Jonesport, the closest large town. Eastern Harbor is a commercial fishing port dominated by a large fleet of lobster boats — it is the best natural harbor east of Schoodic Point and west of Jonesport.
Isle au Haut is Maine at its archetypal best. It is one of several off-shore islands supporting year-round communities, home to fewer than 100 year-round residents. It is also the remote wing of Acadia National Park.
Seguin is an impressive high plateau located 2.5 miles off the mouth of the Kennebec River. Crowned with a lighthouse built in the late 1700s under the rule of George Washington. Seguin is a great lunch stop.
Tenants is a popular cruising stop with plenty of guest moorings, a well-stocked general store, and a welcoming boatyard owned by renowned Maine artist Jamie Wyeth, who also has a lovely home on Southern Island lying to port as you enter the harbor. The lighthouse, perched on the island’s east end, presents a painterly vision […]
Port Clyde is a great place to stop briefly for supplies and a walk. It can be a busy place with the Monhegan Ferry coming and going and the large lobster/fishing boat fleet. So, with its ice cream store, well-stocked general store, restaurant, and rental moorings, this is also a good stop for the night.
hand holding berries with rocky shoreline stretching into the distsance
Maple Juice Cove is a popular anchorage for cruising boats traveling east and west along the coast. It’s an attractive rural area with perhaps one of the best holding grounds due to its clay & mud bottom.
Located on the north side of Trafton Island in Narraguagus Bay, this is one of the first good anchorages (if not the only) east of Schoodic and west of Cape Split. 
Federal Harbor viewed from the outside
If you have gotten as far east as Eastport and are looking for remoteness and solitude — a place where you’ll be entirely on your own (and if you’d prefer not to clear into Canada) — Federal Harbor is the place for you.
This remote port of entry in U. S. waters is a welcoming oasis of attractions and services for a boat on the way to the ambitious goals of Saint John or the rich cruising grounds of Nova Scotia.
Holbrook harbor
Pristine, quiet, 360-degree protection, some moorings, excellent cellular, extensive trails, shore access, multiple anchorages, adjacent to Smith Cove and Castine.  Be advised, however – the seals on Ram Island can occasionally be noisy .
Dark blue sailboat at anchor with fog creeping in.
If the weather is settled, and there’s room, this is a very special anchorage.  Pristine, private with a gentle sea breeze wafting through the anchorage, it’s a memorable destination.  If there’s significant wind forecast from the southwest, northwest or north, or there are more than three or four boats already present, it would be advisable to come back another time.
West of Vinalhaven lies fabled Hurricane Island. Once the industrial site of the Hurricane Island Granite Company, where hundreds of stonecutters and their families engaged in the granite trade, Hurricane re-emerged in the 1960s as the Outward Bound School hub. Since 2009, Hurricane Island has been the seasonal home of the Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership.
This is a beautiful, secluded anchorage that is easily accessed and well protected in most conditions. Incredibly, one can look directly out to the ocean, but there is virtually no surge.
For years, Biddeford Pool has been a popular harbor on Maine’s southern coast, where the options are much more limited than north of Cape Elizabeth. The somewhat shallow channel and anchorage areas will limit boats drawing more than 7 feet at low tide.
aerial view of Blue Hill
As one progresses about ten miles north from the Flye Island light, the bay tapers towards the iconic entrance to Blue Hill Harbor and the charming town of Blue Hill — all presided over by the eponymous Blue Hill Mountain.
Bartlett Narrows anchorage
Bartlett’s Narrows is a short but lovely passage between Pretty Marsh on Mount Desert and Bartlett’s Island (a Rockefeller retreat). 
Aerial view of islands in the distance and village of Stonington in the foreground.
Stonington is Maine’s largest and most productive lobster port and its many harbors support a very large fleet of fishing boats. A visit to Stonington allows for a close-up view of fishing activities, a walk through a classic small Maine waterfront town, access to several good restaurants and shops, and beautiful views across the Harbor to Merchant Row and Isle au Haut.
Buckle Island
Nestled on the western side of Jericho Bay at the eastern end of York Narrows just off Swan’s Island, this unobtrusive but delightful small anchorage is easy to miss. The island is privately owned, one of the original three islands of the Maine Island Trail. As such, you may encounter camping kayakers on the island. Cruisers are welcome to land and hike the island (though not the adjoining Spruce Island), with the understanding that nothing is left behind.
Pretty Marsh from Pirate's Point
Pretty Marsh is a small diverticulum just off the northern end of Bartlett’s Narrows. Those who choose to anchor here will often be rewarded with a rich abundance of diverse avian and aquatic life.

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