CHICKAWAUKEE Hurray, we’re sinking. Overnight and at -5F sunup most of the lake is grey, waterlogged snow on sinking ice.
SEBAGOCAM.COM Shows what looks like new ice. Open water with waves yesterday.
DAMMYCAM Looks like snow still.
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It’s snowing in Maine this evening. We’ve had one of the most remarkable runs on amazing ice in recent memory. More than one guy compared these days with the epic ice of Winnipesaukee in 2010. About a dozen or so boats chased the rare puff today in the calm before the storm. It was very cold, so one of the neighbors living near the pits came out and built a fire out on the ice. Skaters and sailors gathered around to get warm and contemplate this great plate.
Thanks to all those who traveled long distances to sail with us. It’s the good company that’s the icing on the lake. Denis came down from Quebec a couple of times and made this video:
And one from Doug Raymond’s daughter Briana: http://youtu.be/BYuudk8cFQQ Note the amazing reflection of the clouds in the ice.
We also had a nice write-up in the Bangor Daily News:
‘It feels like soaring’: Ice boaters streak across surface of Pushaw Lake in Orono — Bangor — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine
Kudos to new iceboater Guy Polyblank for getting top billing.
Meanwhile, ice has been building everywhere. The snow is supposed to change to rain along the coast, so some of our new ice might survive. We’ll be rallying the spies after we all have a well deserved rest, and maybe even get a little paying work done.
After so many days of ideal conditions we had a reality check today in the form of Big Wind. Steady 20kts gusting easily to 25, measured between the pits cove and Dollar Island. And I haven’t even loaded my storm sail this season. Others found themselves in the same position, and still others had runners that had been dulled from all the hard work of these past days. One gust and you were going sideways faster than you were forward.
But on such flawless ice there wasn’t much to worry about, so we explored behind Dollar and Hardwood Islands. The bay there is easily as large as Chickawaukee with ice as lovely as everywhere else. A few folks ventured south, but with the pressure ridge running the same direction as the wind, crossing was tough. One guy lowered his sail to make it easier. His buddy didn’t, but probably will next time! But speaking of tough, at last sight Ramblin’ Roger and Paul Delnero met at the pressure ridge, introduced themselves, and rattled over the ridge, vanishing over the horizon. The rest of us had enough and flew back to the pits to de-rig.
There will be a bunch of sailors tomorrow taking advantage of the moderate winds and the last of the ice. Our paradise will be covered in snow by dawn Sunday. The more coastal lakes should be getting rain. We’ll keep an eye on things next week. Meanwhile, here’s something to meditate upon as you’re shoveling snow Sunday morning. It’s today on Phillips Pond.
Bob Lombardo photo.
Lastly, a tip of the helmet to Chris and his buddy from Nantucket. They get the furthest travelled award, and they brought storm sails, in spite of which they still got an awesome Nantucket Sleigh Ride!
IN THE MEANTIME
While everyone is focused on the Pushaw Fantasia…..
Everything else at home is freezing up.
Chickawaukee closed over New Year’s Eve with one or two holes toward SE corner as usual. 2 1/2 inches of lovely ice at Lloyd’s end for about 1/4 mile then thinning out to 1 1/2 with thinner 1 inch spots. Skated New Year’s morning out to the 1 inch stuff, marked with spruce branch.
Went on an ice drive by New Year”s afternoon. South Pond looks closed in, nice surface. Ditto Pemaquid Pond both at Rte 1 end and at launch ramp.
Damariscotta from several views up East Pond Rd. looked all closed in. From Damariscotta Farm road an open area could be seen off toward the state park.
Photo of Great Bay, Damariscotta courtesy of Dave Lampton.
Clary Pond has been mostly frozen for some time with a large open area west of the usual pressure ridge at the end of the narrow bay the ramp is on. This looked a bit messy from the road, probably now frozen.
Ice fishermen reported on ice at Bog Bridge on Megunticook.
Being forever optimistic, perhaps the snow forecast Saturday will get watered down by the forecast Sunday rain on these near coastal ice sheets to be firmed up and thickened by forecast cold weather early next week.
In the meantime we push off for Pushaw first thing tomorrow, Friday.
The hazzards are to the NORTH of the pressure ridge, not to the south as indicated in the post. Your editor is a bit wiped out…
It feels like too many sailing days to count, but it’s really about the boats. People kept showing up all day, and by early afternoon sails could be seen from top to bottom.
The racers set up the marks again to continue training for the worlds, later this month. We scouted the remaining hazzards south of the pressure ridge and put a cone at the western most hole. Leave it to starboard heading north. A small fleet did cat and mouse figure eights around the Twin Islands as the wind began to build into the mid teens.
After a restful line up we drag raced flat out for the final two miles to the top of the lake where we found a nice lee on the funky dock of swamp squatter’s camp. Back at the pits we met Michael Young from Mt.Desert and his son. They’ve built a narrow Gambit with tandem seating, much more aerodynamic than the standard model:
We know that aerodynamics are everything in iceboat design and building. Michael made some very nice inserts from solid aluminum with stainless blades.
Pushaw will be open for business tomorrow as usual. There’s a couple of more days before this comes to a messy meteorological end. Then we’re back into the other great iceboating activity: scouting ice and watching the weather!