Blog Entry #4 Thursday September 4 to Saturday September 6, 2014 – Adventures in Bar Harbor


9-6-14 motel in Bar Harbor, ME

Motel in Bar Harbor, ME

On September 4th we arrived at a “quaint” motel on the outskirts of Bar Harbor, ME adjacent to the east side of Acadia National Park. The motel provided a fitting setting for our NE Willys Trek, as I estimate it was built in the mid-20th century like our 1950 vehicle. We have really enjoyed our stay here. With its earlier, row-style layout and rooms opening out to a contiguous front porch overlooking one of the ocean bays, there is no need for formality in enjoying a morning cup of coffee out on the deck. The room was good-sized and well-kept considering its dated appointments. The view into the bay is accented by a giant “pine” tree whose form looked like the work of a giant bonsai artist owing to its huge size and ornate colors.

9-5-14 Southwest Harbor, ME coast

View from Lodging in Bar Harbor, ME

9-5-14 View from lodging in Bar Harbor, ME

 Southwest Harbor, ME Coast

Looking back on the past two days in the Acadia National Park region, I can see why so many people had told us that we would find the Park attractive and enjoyable. The rugged sea coast set against rolling mountains provides a wide variety of opportunities for exploration.

On Thursday, September 4th, Jean and I took a Whale Watching cruise out of Bar Harbor. Frankly, I was pretty skeptical (sure, whales, right), especially when I read the notice on the ticket that stated that “Whales are wild creatures, if no whales are sighted, we issue vouchers for another trip” – here we go. Well, was I wrong. Radio communications with a couple of tuna boats prompted our captain to abandon the routine whale search route and travel to an area where the fishermen had a recent whale sighting. Along the way to the location we encountered two large pods of dolphins (perhaps 100 each), some with young trailing alongside as they bobbed for fish. Then we came upon a small remnant of a deceased whale where several blue sharks were actively feeding. One could see the place where a shark had taken a large bite – the serrations left by its teeth we clearly evident – so much for a quick dip.

We also passed three or four mola molas; a kind of sunfish, about 4 feet in diameter, just going with the flow, laying on their side munching on jelly fish – quite a contrast to the sharks that we observed earlier. Ultimately, we came upon several right whales (as opposed to wrong whales??) blowing 20 foot streams of water vapor into the air as they took two or three breaths before to diving to the depths of the bay in search of a dinner of small fish. We learned that the combination of great tidal changes and mixing of ocean currents in that region stirs up nutrients that feed the microscopic creatures that feed the small fish that draw an abundance of larger water creatures. It was literally “teeming” with aquatic life. So, I guess I don’t need my voucher. Great day!

9-5-14 Jean at Our Lady of the Seas Catholic Church, Little Cranberry Island

Jean at Our Lady of the Seas Catholic Church, Little Cranberry Island

On Friday, September 5th we headed over to the west side of Acadia National Park to take a ferry tour of the Northwest Harbor area accompanied by an informative National Park Service guide. The trip was a study in contrast of a different sort. The mainland shore was studded with opulent mansions, some built in the eighteen hundreds as summer cottages by folks like the Vanderbilt’s; and others going up even as we speak. In contrast, we put ashore on Little Cranberry Island, home to less than one hundred year-round residence who subsists on lobster fishing. After talking to a few of the island’s residents, I wondered if, on average, they might be as content as the owners of the huge homes along the mainland shores. We visited a tiny, but well maintained Catholic Church on the island.

9-5-14. mushroom in Acadia NP

 Mushroom in Acadia National Park

Having traveled 1,500 miles since we last lubed the Jeep just before leaving on the Trek, it was time for a grease job. Those of you that followed our Park-to-Park Trek out west last year may recall some of the antics that we experienced finding someone willing (and able) to grease the old Jeep. Well, after a few phone calls to auto service stations in the Arcadia area, we found one young garage owner who was totally obliging; permitting me to get under the car with him to point out some of the less than obvious grease fittings.

We capped off the day with a trip to the local Laundromat to, well, do our laundry before heading toward Portsmouth, NH to join 99 other older cars on a weeklong tour of southern Maine and northern New Hampshire.


Blog Entry #3 Tuesday September 2 to Wednesday September 3, 2014 - Ticonderoga to Bar Harbor
Blog Entry #5 Saturday September 6 to Sunday September 7, 2014 - Bar Harbor to Portsmouth