NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Of Lobsters and Lights - Belfast and Owl's Head

While staying in Camden we made a stop in Belfast to have a quick meal and a look around.  I was hoping to check out the summer sandals on sale at Colburn Shoes but we didn't make it there before they closed at 5:00.  When we met up with my second cousin Nancy a day later she told us how Belfast used to be a place no one wanted to go because it had chicken processing plants that dumped in the Bay, causing the water to be polluted with globs of chicken fat and the stench filled the air for miles.

Belfast from the bridge over the Passagassawakeag River, 2015
Incorporated in 1773 there is a lot of history in town and I look forward to stopping in again sometime for a good look around.  It wasn't our first time for a quick lunch stop in town, we also stopped there for lunch with Nancy's mom, Great Aunt Rita in 2001.

Cory and Katrina with Great Aunt Rita in Belfast, 2001

The controversy over the chicken guts polluting Penobscot Bay may be over, but the new controversy involves the proposed dredging project to the harbor in Searsport.  When we visited the region we kept seeing signs on lawns supporting opposing the plan due to concerns over how it would affect the lobster industry.  The sticking point seems to be not the harbor being dredged, but the US Army Corps proposed dumping site for the dredged material and its possible mercury contamination that could devastate habitat and marine life.  Of course investors don't want to spend the extra money to haul it elsewhere, which seems to be the logical compromise that the lobster fishermen are suggesting.  Last week there was some good news when the application was withdrawn, but opponents are still vigilant as it is likely only a temporary delay.

When visiting the area in 2001 we took Aunt Rita and the kids on a lobster boat tour where the friendly captain told us all about lobstering as he hauled in his traps.  The kids loved it, and the grown ups did too!

Cory's fascination with crustaceans begins, 2001

Captain Katrina, 2001
One of the things we learned was that when holding a lobster you have to support the lobster's claws because they are heavy when out of the water.

Cory and Wayne saw a live blue lobster at Shediac, New Brunswick at the beginning of the trip and a fake lobster there too.  My men love lobster, but can you imagine eating one this big?

You'd need a crane to hold this lobster's claw up! Cory in Shediac, 2015

Another thing we learned all those years ago is that lobsters under 5 inches lay 2,00-5,00 eggs at a time while larger lobsters can lay up to 60,000 eggs!   Maine is careful to encourage reproduction of their lobsters and not overfish to guarantee many more years of lobster dinners for Cory and Wayne.

 But on this trip we skipped the lobster tour and toured the towns instead.  Southeast of Belfast and Camden lies the busy town of Rockland and just past downtown you can head to Owls Head and escape the craziness.

With a population of only 1,580 people Owls Head is my kind of town. And you've got to love their U.S. Post Office.

Don't forget to stop at the Owls Head Transportation Museum which I already reviewed, but we enjoyed just driving around and had no trouble finding things to gawk at.

I loved the collections of buoys on display everywhere, and if you're looking for buoys or anything else nautical to decorate your yard or home there are places for that including Downeast Nautical Salvage.

The buoys are different colors so that each lobster boat knows which pots to pull.  Want to know more about lobstering?  The Maine Department of Marine Resources has a website for that.  You can learn everything from the history of lobstering to its current regulations and even how to sex a lobster, which are things the lobster boat captain shared with us those many years ago too.  Take a boat tour or tour the world wide web, it's up to you!

 It's not all buoys in Owls Head, they have a lighthouse too!  Built in 1852 to replace the old one, the lighthouse is only 30 feet tall but can be seen for 16 miles due to its elevated location on the south side of the entrance to Rockland Harbor.

The lighthouse is located in Owls Head Light State Park. There is a large parking area near the lighthouse, and the grounds are open to the public with a vault toilet available.  A separate path from the parking area leads to a picnic area.  From spring to fall, the lighthouse is open on selected days; check the Friends of Rockland Harbor Lights site for the schedule.

The keeper’s house at Maine’s Owls Head Light Station is supposed to be open to the public and serves as home to the American Lighthouse Federation but was closed at the time we visited.  I thought Wayne had read a sign saying it was still under the domain of the U.S. Coast Guard but maybe I heard him wrong.  Anyone who knows the real status of the keeper's house please chime in!

Owls Head Light at dusk

Our main bathroom will be finished being remodeled later today but work started on the half bath which includes lots of sawing noises so I think I might pack up my car and head north.  Not only to escape the construction noise, but we had up to 5 inches of rain here in southeast Wisconsin last night and more is on the way!


  1. I'd love to visit this area - looks beautiful.

  2. How could anyone dump chicken gutts and fat into the bay! That is so gross. Glad they cleaned the bay up. I love when these communities have bouys all over.