“Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly.” ~ Van Morrison, Irish Singer-Songwriter
If there is one thing I wish I could have become more experienced in, it would be sailing. Very few things except, perhaps good coffee and the important people in my life, bring me as much joy as sailing. There is something so incredibly exhilarating about being in the middle of the ocean, feeling the wind at your face and cruising through the waves at high speeds. Hearing the sounds of the sea, and being gifted with the chance to see a smorgasbord of ocean creatures, there truly is nothing like it.
Every year on my birthday I go sailing. It was a tradition I began with my mer-twin. We would sail on hundred year old schooners, and even help hoist the sails and steer. I had grown up going on whale watches and even knew people who had boats and let me join them. Being at the ocean is incredible, but being surrounded by ocean? Is truly indescribable. You feel both so tiny and yet invincible. A bit of trepidation, and yet at peace. And no where more so, then boating off of Mount Desert Island, where the landscape is truly unique, and the history of exploration expansive.
I have gone sailing with Sail Acadia, and even ridden on the mail boats that go out to the smaller surrounding islands. But I had never done a larger boat tour, until now. And I am really happy I did.
Bar Harbor Whales
While the name makes it sound like they only do whale watching, they actually have all kinds of cruises, from Lighthouse tours, to bird tours, and even lobster fishing. I decided on the sunset cruise and it was so much fun! All the tours are narrated as well giving a rich history of Mount Desert island and Acadia as a whole. They are located on 1 West Street right in downtown Bar Harbor, and work with many of the hotels in the area, providing vouchers and discounts.
While the boat is more modern then the schooners I have sailed on, it is a much larger catamaran where you can have your choice of either outside or inside seating and they even have a concession area. Most of the tours, with the exception of the whale watching tour (which is anywhere from three and a half to five and a half) are approximately two hours long and you get on at the dock right by their headquarters on West Street.
As I mentioned, I decided to do the sunset cruise. With the sun setting later now, we boarded at six for the two hour ride and it was peak golden hour. It was busy, but not ridiculously so and we found seats at the bow on the outside deck. As all of their tours are, it is guided and we learned about the history of Mount Desert Island and Acadia, as well as some of its’ more illustrious residents, of whom we sailed passed their mansions. While it was a sunset cruise, we were lucky enough to see lighthouses, seals, and even porpoises, who were jumping and entertaining us exactly as the sun was setting.
It was absolute perfection, and I would highly recommend this tour, if you are a sunset lover like I am, because you truly get a combination of all their tours (minus the whale watching which goes farther out to sea) and get to view Acadia from a different vantage point. I definitely recommend bringing an extra jacket or even a blanket as it gets cold even in the hotter summer months out on the ocean. I would also pack sunscreen, as the sun is reflected off the water. It was a fun way to spend a late afternoon and I would hundred percent do it again!
Have you done a sunset tour? Have gone sailing off the coast of Mount Desert Island/Acadia?