i could, i guess, tell you about the whole third day of the maine trip, but there's just too much stuff about the ferry.
we did not get up at crack of dawn to catch the first boat out of rockland, because hotel breakfast wasn't open until 0600 and we didn't see any point a-tall in wasting a perfectly good paid for meal.
so AFTER breakfast we hopped in the car and headed up to rockland.
now, it's a THING to go over on the ferry to vinalhaven. just because you can get a car over on the boat doesn't mean you can get one back on any particular day and parking and lodging, like everything else that far off the coast of anywhere is limited and expensive.
but it's the sort of thing you should maybe do once in your life as an adventure, plus i've been working for a lot of years on doing the maine delorme geocaching challenge, and caching this island gets me map squares 9 and 15. go ahead, check your maine delorme atlas. there is NOTHING on page 9 for which you do not need to travel by boat. if you do not own a suitable boat, it's the ferry for you.
here is the schedule for the vinalhaven ferry, and the rates. yes, it costs as much to go over with your bicycle as it does with your car. for two people traveling by bike it is $34 each, and by car it's $33.50 each, provided you split the cost. for $17.50 you can go on foot, but that will really limit your travel on the island. there is a very affordable excursion fare, but in order to take advantage of that, you have to return on the same boat on which you came, so unless what you really wanted was a three hour cruise, bring either your car or your bike for the day.
and if you're bringing your car, be sure to study up on that because there are PROCEDURES that have to be followed, including some kind of permit you have to get if it's your first time bringing a car over. at least that's how it sounded on the recorded information line at the terminal.
for amusement, you may wish to compare the ease of travel to vinalhaven with the ease of travel to matinicus. just sayin'. that is one ferry you do NOT want to miss.
so anyway, we buy ferry tickets and a parking ticket and we wait for the boat.
me, i am WAY TOO EXCITED about everything, but that's just pretty much how i get.
they have exotic multicolor lanes in the parking lot, with abbreviations that i HAVE TO DECODE because i'm like that.
it makes sense to me that on one side there are lanes labeled "VH" and "NH", which i suppose stand for "vinalhaven" and "north haven" but then each line splits in two and gets a second color and i figure that these are the lines for cars with reservations and ones without.
there appears to be no particular lane for the matinicus ferry which also leaves from this station because there's probably no need to mark out lanes you're only going to use every eight and a half weeks.
when the boat comes in, we get on it. it is the captain charles philbrook, the older and smaller of the two ferries that serve this crossing. there's a plate in the passenger cabin that identifies her as washburn & doughty hull #42.
while crossing, there is a lot to look at: islands, buoys, boats, more islands, and about a gazillion lobster buoys. they are very pretty in the water and if i had a camera with a bigger lens i'm sure i would have taken some very nice pictures of them.
i do get some decent pictures, though, and i have spent a happy couple of hours sorting them out and identifying them because you just can't take a picture of a navigational aid. oh, no. you have to look at maps and charts and figure out exactly which ones they are and where they are located on the map.
so, like, here's this awesome chart explorer thingy you can look at all this stuff with, and here's a sweet explainer of what all the thingies on the chart mean. i used them to figure out EXACTLY which buoys i had taken pictures of, because that's super important.
yeah, because looking at a pretty picture of a buoy will leave you howling with an ache that can only be relieved if you know exactly which buoy it is and where it is located.
on the way out from rockland we get to see the victory chimes in port; she is (according to the wiki) the last remaining chesapeake ram schooner. she is beautiful.
returning from vinalhaven we are on board the captain e. frank thompson, which is the state of maine's spiffiest and newest ferry.
back in the parking lot there are already truck and cars parked in the waiting lanes to get on the first boat in the morning. our parking is paid for until eight the next day and i hate to waste time on the meter like that, but the hotel is also paid for and we are cold and tired.
so we just find one more geocache (delorme page 14) and we return exhausted to the hotel.