As we often do, we headed first to Steves Island. Rebecca checked things out on shore while I circled the island. It occurred to us that during the previous night it had hardly dropped below freezing, and it would have been comfortable enough weather to camp out. Off course, the nights are still long.
We headed across Merchant Row, and followed shorelines: Harbor, Merchant, Ewe, Hardwood. I had it in mind to stop on Ram Island for a break, but the seals had claimed it and were piled high on surrounding ledges. The south end of Hardwood Island, where we sometimes like to meander among the partially submerged boulders, was turning the moderate swell into some large breaking waves. We went around to the less active side and landed on the rockweed.
The south shore of Hardwood is sprinkled with good boulders upon which to perch, sip some hot cocoa and watch the waves come in. The sky began to cloud over, and though there was hardly any ice or show on shore to indicate the season, those icy clouds casting a halo around the sun have a distinct wintery look.
We followed Merchant Island's south shore, enjoying the gentle side to side wavy motion, with an occasionally bigger wave to keep it a little lively. By the time we reached the west end, with sunset imminent, we had to stop our dilly-dallying and head back.
The sunset saturated the sky over Penobscot Bay as we made our way below the bluffs on George Head, and across to Sand and Crotch Islands where the granite crane made a black profile against the pink sky. A couple of lobster boats came motoring along behind us. It had been a nice day and most of the boats had gone out, so there would be many more as it turned dark. We hurried across the Thorofare, back to the launch.