At Great Cove, Brooklin, Maine
Sherlock Holmes was not the only one to experience and solve a mystery involving a curious incident in the nighttime.
On the cold and rainy night of December 27, we looked out our window and saw two lights moving slowly in the middle of Great Cove, where the wind was about 15 knots, judging by the pervasive whitecaps. One of those lights was white and well above the other, which was green. We later learned from our neighborhood Cove group emailings that some of our neighbors on the Cove also were watching at this time. We all got out our binoculars and spotting scopes to try to pierce the gloom.
We discovered to our surprise that a two-person crew in oil slicks was anchoring a cutter of about 40 feet in length (give or take five feet). The sea was very choppy, the rain was shearing in, and the temperature was descending from 20 degrees. We had seen her mast top and starboard navigation running lights. Something very unusual was happening.
Soon, the boat’s lights went out and all was blackness as only blackness can be on a rainy winter night in Great Cove. Were they bunking down? Were they in trouble? Was there to be a clandestine meeting with another vessel? Who were they? It seemed unlikely that anyone from around here would be sailing on a freezing December night.
The next morning dawned partly sunny, but cold. The cutter was still there and several of us went to the shore independently to photograph her. The boat had a strange pennant, similar to the Norwegian flag, but was too far out to decipher its foreign-looking name. Neighbor Dollie Gansz identified the pennant as one from a Norwegian Yacht Club.
The boat’s dinghy was on deck, but no one was topside. Concern was expressed about the condition of the crew and inquiries were made as to how to get a boat out there to check on them. (Most of the boats around here are hardscaped in storage or driveways.)
Neighbor Jon Wilson emailed the Sail Cutter Club Colin Archer, headquartered in Norway, asking about the boat and attaching a photograph. He got a quick response, indicating that the cutter was the Flekkerøy, a member of the club and a traditional Norwegian pilot boat. The club vice president knew and identified the man and woman who were on board. The Flekkerøy left Norway this summer, visited Iceland, went through a sea storm on the way to Greenland, and then proceeded to Labrador, before coming down here.
With this information, Jon was able to radio the Flekkerøy while she sat in the Cove with the weather getting nasty again. The friendly two-person crew spoke English and said that things were “very comfortable below.” Once the weather cleared, they intended to head for nearby Rockland, Maine, to celebrate New Year’s Eve with the woman’s sister. After that, they had no solid plans and were not especially intending to head south for warmer climes.
They had hoped to leave for Rockland today, but we got our first snowstorm last night and this morning, followed by sleeting rain. While ice began to form on the Cove, these courageous cold world wanderers decided to stay comfy below for a while longer. Maybe they’ll get out tomorrow.
Jon invited the two sailors to return to Great Cove, where we all hope to meet them in the New Year and celebrate their adventures. They didn’t say no.
Barbara and Dick