I’m sorry, Maine. I know your lobster industry is huge – Capt John Nicolai spend three hours this morning explaining it to me in the greatest detail as I bounced up and down in his boat Lulu – but the end product is a disappointment. It has no flavour! Maybe it’s ok done Thermidor, or with more gutsy sauces than just melted butter, but simply boiled and served? No way, no how is it as tasty as a Kaikoura crayfish, bought from a caravan beside the sea, and eaten au naturel.
Otherwise, though, I have no complaints about Bar Harbor. We anchored in the bay and went ashore in a tender, scuttling beneath the immense and ugly bulk of the Regal Princess, whose 4,000 passengers were already cluttering the streets of this eminently touristy but still very pretty little town. I went straight out with Capt John, to see a lighthouse on Egg Rock and then to investigate lobster-fishing.
Several of his jokes were to do with lifeboats and the Costa Concordia, so when he kept referring, in asides to his crew-mate, to “that boat that’s sinking” I naturally assumed it was more frivolity. After the disappointment of the lobster lunch, though, I hopped aboard the (free!) Island Explorer bus out to Thunder Hole, where I got off for a bit of a walk and discovered, right there on the rocks, a super-fresh shipwreck.
The Tiger Shark, a charter fishing boat of dubious reputation according to the bus driver (“I’m not surprised at all that it was taking on water”) got into trouble, off-loaded its passengers and then was washed onto the rocks, comprehensively holed in the bow. Already taped off by the police, it’s clearly going to be a popular topic of conversation amongst the local folks for some time.
For me though it was an unnecessary dramatic interjection into a coastline that is already striking: a backdrop of rocky hills covered in trees well into their autumn foliage, the sea breaking on beaches of huge round pebbles, and in the sky above skeins of geese flying, presumably, south. Lovely!