Expedition - Part II

The view from Pollux anchored off of Brimstone.

Day 2: Morning, 6:30am

There is an intensity of pink light, electric stripes shooting across the sky against a dark backdrop of jagged trees. At the edges, lavender clouds fade into the blueness of dawn. It’s such a clear morning, and so quiet except for the birds and the occasional lobster boat.

I like sleeping without the tarps. When I inevitably wake up in the middle of the night, it’s nice to be able to see the sky, the puffs of cloud against the moon, encircled by a faint rainbow halo. I somehow thought we were aground because I couldn’t feel the boat moving under me; I couldn’t hear the gurgling lap of the waves against the hull. But when I sat up to get a better look, I realized the water was just extremely calm.

I suppose that won’t bode well for our wind today. You can see the current running in the channel, but the breeze is faint and the water in here, tucked in at Green’s, is glassy. Everything feels asleep, not yet touched by the routines of morning.

Day 2: Brimstone

Brimstone is one of my favorite places, starting with the approach. As you sail through the last stretch of islands tucked up under Vinalhaven, towards the small, balding head of Brimstone, the only thing beyond you is blue horizon. It feels like you might just fall off the edge of the Earth if you went any farther. As you near the island, you can hear the sucking sound of the smooth black cobbles being pulled back into the sea from the tombolo beach. We breeze in under sail and throw out our stern anchor, nosing in to shore with our oars. One brave soul makes an epic jump into the shallows and trudges up the beach with the bow anchor slung over his shoulders. The landslide under his feet is like an outpouring of dried beans from an upset jar.

Setting out to explore, scrambling over rocks spattered with bright rust-colored lichens, it feels like an otherworldly landscape. It seems as if it’s inhabited only by plants, birds, and insects - anything that can travel on air. They dodge in and out of sight against a backdrop of plush green peppered with fiery red grasses and snowlike flowers. The few trees on the island look shocked, like they’ve been frozen in place by a terrifying sight or turned to stone by medusa. From the top of the hill, you can see Diamond Rock, Saddleback Ledge Lighthouse, and Isle au Haut looming in the distance, a deep blue black, hazy through the miles of atmosphere.

One thing I like best about Brimstone: it’s virtually impossible not to find a pocketful of good skipping stones.