it's an hour and a quarter ride on the ferry onto the island and of course the first thing i had to do was get me that geocache that was going to get me map 9 for the delorme challenge.
no, seriously. there were some maps in the parking lot, so of course those took my FULL attention right off the bat, and some other people who had gotten off the boat with us seem to be vaguely amused by my extreme level of enthusiasm.
maybe other people are as excited by EVERYTHING as i am and they want to look cooler than i do, because if you were going to pay 34 dollars a person to go to an island why on earth WOULDN'T you be excited to be there?
so barb and i set off on our bikes and we were kind of heading toward some geocaches because if i find one at the other side of the island, i get maps square 15, too and that's kind of a big deal for me and barb is very tolerant of it as long as she gets to see some pretty scenery and have a nice ride.
she's a good traveling companion because her own agendas are limited and compatible with mine, and besides, she is skilled in map reading. and easygoing.
so we ride our bikes up the road toward the north end of the island and i think at first we were expecting it to be a walkover because we are used to riding bikes in VERMONT where we have MOUNTAINS, and i'll confess *i* was thinking that a little island out in the ocean just wasn't going to have that much in the way of elevation changes.
it's still nice riding.
we come to an unmarked parking lot pretty soon and it looks like a public area and there are signs all over that say NO SOAP so i decide we should ride in.
well, it turns out it's laswon quarry public park! it's the island swimming hole, in an old quarry, and the water is spring fed and clean and that explains why there are NO SOAP signs everywhere.
as we ride around the island (or more accurately, up one side of it) we notice the houses of the lobstermen. these are not like other houses in maine where they have a few traps and buoys out as decorative features. these are the piles of traps and buoys that get used on the boats, and you can see that some of them are out, and some of them are stacked and ready to go out.
we recognize some of the buoys from seeing the lines of traps on the boat ride over.
we get to the fox rocks park and we take the trail in to the cache and it is a stunning landscape of granite and scrub pines and a thing i could identify right away but had never seen before: bayberries! we picked some for barb to save.
next time i see bayberries i'm going to pick a whole bunch.
and maybe make a candle or something.
then we rode to the end of the island and looked out at north haven (you can't get there from here) (except by boat) and then we turned around and hiked in to another cache by way of some really pretty trails into the other end of the perry creek preserve.
it turns out that we would have had a much shorter walk if we'd simply gone direct from that other cache, but by the time i realized it, it was easier to just keep going.
that's all right. we got to see a lot of pretty scenery and that was really the whole point of it anyway.
by the time we got back to our bikes, it was TIME TO GO INTO TOWN FOR LUNCH.
we were thinking of having the lobster for lunch, but at the harbor gawker (and all the sources say you should go to the harbor gawker) they told us that we really should have the crab, since they'd just gotten in fresh and had been shelling it all morning.
the people who make the food know what's best that day.
and i got crab tacos and barb got the crab club sandwich and we traded one taco for a half sandwich and so each had both and it was FANTASTIC.
and right about the time we were sitting down for lunch a very dark windy little storm flew over us, pelting the island with rain, and if you're only going to be on an island for one day, i guess it's best to get the weather sampler.
it was too rainy and cold for us to tootle around main street for the last hour before we had to get on the ferry to go back to rockland (you do NOT want to miss the last boat), so we sat in the ferry station and read the newspaper.
or more accurately, barb read the newspaper while i played around with taking pictures of us reading the newspaper.
and then we got on the boat.