Lost Colony?

Ahoy from Isle of Shoals, New Hampshire. Welcome back crew members and fellow adventurers!

The crew has seen many lighthouses this past week, but their favorite one is the Portland Head Lighthouse.

Summary of the Week

The crew left Rockland on Monday and headed west, dropping anchor in the Bay of Linekin (1) for the evening. On Tuesday, they took the back way to Bath (2) and took a mooring ball next to the Maine Maritime Museum. They cruised down the Kennebec River on Wednesday, and took another mooring ball at Cliff Island (3). On Thursday, they made way to Portland (4) where they also took a weather delay day on Friday. Saturday was a tolerable cruising day so the crew made way to the Isle of Shoals (5), about three miles offshore from Portsmouth, NH to end the week.

Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.


The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. How old is the National Park Service?
  2. What was the purpose of the tower on Little Mark Island?
  3. Who is credited as the first person to the North Pole with dogs?
  4. What is the skipper’s favorite burger joint?
  5. What is the name of the first ship built in the New World by the British?
  6. Who discovered the Lost Colony of Popham?
  7. Who was the Colony named after?

At the Box Office

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Sunday, August 25th

The U.S. National Parks celebrated their 103 birthday on Sunday.

Back in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson and Congress created the agency under the National Park Service Organic Act. Today, there are over 400 national parks and monuments under the agency’s care. From Acadia- to – Zion, there is a Park for everyone.

To celebrate the big event, August 25 was a fee-free day, when all national parks opened to visitors free of charge. In addition to the birthday celebration, there are two other upcoming national park fee-free days in 2019: September 28, 2019 (National Public Lands Day) and November 11, 2019 (Veterans Day).

Head to the parks and enjoy America’s best idea for free. Oh by the way, What is your favorite National Park?

Monday, August 26th

Prior to shoving off the dock, the skipper met a group of twenty teenagers who were about to board a boat for Hurricane Island. While waiting to board, the skipper noticed not a one had their nose buried in their cell phone like this kid back at Acadia National Park. What a shame, a beautiful Park to explore and he was tethered to the electric outlet.

But I digress, these twenty are going cell phone free, no internet, no social media, no contact with outside world for three days. The skipper wished them well.

However, our crew will continue to use these advances in technology to make their way to Boothbay Harbor. On the way they passed another sunfish basking on the surface. This time when the skipper tried to approach for a good photo, the sunfish disappeared down under the water.

The crew did manage to get a few more lighthouse photos though.

The crew dropped anchor off a small island with a wind blown tree. Pretty obvious which way the prevailing winds blow here.

Tuesday, August 27th

Today was a leisurely cruise day. The crew waited till about lunch time to weigh anchor and head to Burnt Island. As they approached the Island they got a good view of the Lighthouse from the water.

They then rounded the Island and took one of the two mooring balls. As the skipper launched the dinghy, the Admiral prepared a picnic lunch.

The crew landed on the dinghy dock and walked up to the Lighthouse. The crew picked a picnic table in the shade of a tree and enjoyed lunch. They then explored the Island some more and eventually headed back to he mother ship to continue the Voyage.

After getting back onboard Still Waters II, the crew timed their arrival at the Southport Bridge a mile up river to make the 1330 opening.

After clearing the Bridge, the crew took the back way winding around Islands and narrow passages to arrive at Bath. In one of those narrow passages named Upper Hell Gate, the head current was so strong that the boat was only making 1.5 mph speed over ground. Good thing the passage was not very long through the Gate.

After a couple of hours, the crew arrived in Bath and took a mooring ball off the shore of the Maine Maritime Museum. The museum was very good when the crew visited back in 2017, but the crew has decided to just chill on the boat for the evening and forego the museum this trip.

Can you make out the stern of a ship, six masts, and the bow of a ship on land?

Wednesday, August 28th

The crew timed their departure so they could take advantage of the outgoing tide and ride the current downriver back to the Gulf of Maine. Along the way down river, they passed several more lighthouses.

After making way back to the Gulf, the crew made a course to go to Eagle Island where the home of Admiral Peary sits overlooking Casco Bay. However, as they approached the Bay the skipper could see a large tower atop an Island. He navigated towards Little Mark Island to investigate the tower. The tower was built from rocks quarried on the Island. Back in the day, the tower had a cache of supplies inside to aid any ship wreck victims in the area. The tower was built in 1827, and was a functional replica of a similar structure built in 1811 at Cape Elizabeth, and in 1823 off Biddeford.

Just past Little Mark Island was Eagle Island so the skipper swung over and got a few pics of the Admiral Peary home. In 2017, the crew went ashore and toured the house, but it was closed today when they arrived.

The Guinness Book of World Records might surprise you as to the claim of who was first to the North Pole. The question has raged for years. Frederick Cook, claimed he had made the pole on 21 April 1908. He spent the next year trying to get back to civilization and finally encountered Robert Peary returning from his quest of the pole on 6 April, 1909.

Peary agreed to give Cook a ride back to America on his ship, but refused to take any records confirming Cook’s claim of achieving the pole the year before. Cook cached his records, but they have never been found and are lost to history, making his claim unverifiable. In 1989, an investigation into Peary’s claim proved he was still 5 miles from the pole, nullifying his claim to be first. So, the first person to reach the North Pole – on foot, with dogs- was Sir Wally Herbert (UK), on 6 April 1969. 

After the photo op was complete, the crew completed the day’s cruise by taking a mooring ball at Cliff Island, just west of Eagle Island.

Thursday, August 29th

The crew was less than 10 miles from the marina at Portland where they planned to stop and re-provision. Consequently, they dropped the mooring ball late morning and headed towards the Portland Head Lighthouse. After getting a few pictures, the crew headed for the marina.

After getting settled at the marina, the crew used the courtesy car to go make a Walmart run. But before that important task, the crew finally had a ‘Welcome Back to the US’ celebratory lunch at the skipper’s favorite burger joint. The last time the skipper had one of these burgers was at Burlington, Vermont. He had a near miss in Halifax. The grand opening was two days after the crew left Halifax. But today, well today was the day.

Friday, August 30th

The wind and waves have combined today to take the pleasure out of pleasure boating. Consequently, the crew decided to stay in Portland one more day to allow the weather to pass. Tomorrow is predicted to be a much better day.

The delay in departure allowed the skipper to do a little research on Fort Popham that sits on Hunnewell Point at the mouth of the Kennebec River from Bath that they cruised by the other day.

The skipper was wondering who the Fort was named after, as well as the Beach carrying the Popham name also. The Fort was used during both the Civil War and WWI, but has never seen any action. However, during the research, the skipper found an interesting story about the Lost Colony of Popham.

Crescent shape of Fort Popham

Way back in 1606, King James I granted the Virginia Company a land grant to establish two settlements in the New World. The Virginia Company created two competing entities, the Plymouth Company and the London Company.

The London Company got the southern area, while the Plymouth Company got the northern area. Part of the competition was for the land in the middle. Whichever company was most successful would be given the middle ground. The London Company landed in the New World in May 1607 and formed Jamestown. The Plymouth Company landed on Popham Beach and constructed a star shaped fortified village they named Fort Saint George.

Once the cabins, chapel, and store house were completed, the 120 colonists began work on the Virginia of Sagadahoc, the first ship built by the British in the New World. The colonists were apparently good builders, but lacked negotiating skills to trade with the native population. Consequently, food shortages were already wearing the new colonists down. So when a supply ship arrived in December, half the colonists returned to England, while the other half suffered through the harsh winter.

In February 1608, the leader, George Popham died. The new leader was Popham’s second in command, Raleigh Gilbert. In May, the storehouse accidentally was burned down. But a supply ship also arrived in May to bring much needed food, so the colonists soldiered on. In September, another supply ship arrived at about the same time as cooler weather was setting in. The supply ship also brought some interesting news from home.

Turns out their leader was now sole heir to the family riches. He decided to return to England and claim his nobility title and inheritance. The remaining colonists joined him and all returned to England and abandoned Fort Saint George.

The Fort fell into ruins and would probably have been lost to history except for the discovery of a drawing of the Fort that was discovered in 1888 in the Spanish National archives. The story of how it got there was very interesting also, bit that is a story for another day. The drawing was made by one of the original colonists named John Hunt on October 8, 1607

Hunt’s drawing

In 1994, Jeffery Brain had ‘found’ the drawing and was able to match it with the land along the Kennebec River. By 1997, excavations confirmed he had found the Lost Colony of Popham. A rock now sits on the site commemorating the Colony and their historic building of the first ship.

The green patch of grass was where Ft Saint George was built. The rock is circled in red.
The rock with Fort Popham in background

Saturday, August 31st

The crew left Portland and made way towards the Isle of Shoals, 55 miles south. The wind was relatively calm, 5-10 mph, but the waves were still churned up from the blow all day Friday. The ride was a bit rocky, but tolerable.

The last look at the Portland Head Lighthouse.

When the crew arrived at the Islands, they got a quick reminder that it was Labor Day weekend. The mooring field was full of boats, with many of the mooring balls with three or four boats attached. The skipper looked around and there was no room in the cove to anchor. He decided to go around to the other side of the Island and anchor on the south side out of the wind. Turned out they were the only ones here for the night which was nice.

The view from the crew’s anchor spot

Boat Name of the Week

Seen on a Catamaran: A Cool Cat

Next Week –

The crew hopes to make it to Newport, RI early next week and spend a few days. After that, they are not sure what their next move will be. They will be keeping one eye on the weather and the other eye on Hurricane Dorian.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

4 Comments on “Lost Colony?

  1. Yes, you do maintain a Great blog post. For those of us that dream of someday cruising the loop, yours and other blogs keep our dream alive. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great blog post, as always….We had the dad of Five Guys do burgers for loopers at the Corinthian Yacht Club about 10 years ago. He has a home a few doors down from the marina and apparently back then it was a tradition that he cook for the members once a year. They planned it in conjunction with a gold looper gathering there. That was before they sold shakes. David, being David, told him that was the one thing missing from the menu….Don’t know if that helped or not, but sure enough the last time we were in one, they sold shakes.:)
    Barbara & David
    PDQ “Miss My Money”

    Liked by 1 person

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