Sometimes, a couple of necessary boat projects lead us to marvelous locations; maybe Detour has it’s own agenda.
We’d made several attempts to refill our composite, 10lb propane tank; each time unsuccessfully. This is nothing new. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, in the United States people are terrified of composite propane tanks and refuse to fill them. Several US marine suppliers sell composite propane tanks, and although they are appealing because they are lightweight and don’t rust, I’d caution US mariners from purchasing composite because of the hassle to refill them (unless you are headed for foreign waters, then no worries!) In the interim, we connected our last remaining Campingaz and continued to make propane refill attempts when we could. Finally, Brian took the composite propane tank to a compressed gas company and had a shred of hope when the attendant demonstrated no hesitation about a composite refill. Instead of filling the tank, however, the attendant told Brian it was out of date. Yikes! Brian politely protested, noting the dated cylinder was only seven-years old. The attendant informed Brian that composite tanks are only certified for five-years, unlike their metal counterparts typically certified for 12-years. All of the attendants at the compressed gas company were helpful, and courteous. One of the attendants even gave Brian a lift back to the town dock. But now we were were faced with a new dilemma, the expired tank. You’d think this an easy solution. Not so easy. Composite has given us such strife that we were hesitant to re-certify the tank or replace the same. Of course, either of those solutions would take time and we’d need a back-up propane solution too because Campingaz simply does not exist in the US. We had to first measure the locker and determine what would fit, then price aluminium vs steel tanks. There are various sizes to consider, and the tank’s weight due to sometimes carrying tanks long distances to refill. Then, if we opted for a large tank, often when changing countries the tank must be temporarily replaced anyway because different countries have different fittings for refills; thus we’d need locker space for both or would have to abandon a tank. As we contemplated all these variables, at our anchorage we had zero data service so we couldn’t research anything without hoofing back into town to the nearest free wifi location. Ahhh, first world problems! The propane had distracted us from the actual boat issue being that the VHF and AIS weren’t working correctly. We’d assumed there had been some winter damage atop the mast that had gone undiscovered. At the next calm opportunity, Brian planned to be hauled up to inspect things. We’ve had antenna issues in the past, and so the resolution for this was to be hauled up the mast with a new antenna in hand to replace/repair all at once.
We sailed back into data service, and stopped for a lunch/research break on the west side of Deer Isle at Crockett Cove. Our determinations after lunch/research had us shortly thereafter sailing upwind up Penobscot Bay (a new area for us) with no exact end destination. We landed at Holbrook Island, for a very peaceful night, and the next morning took a jaunt up to Searsport where there was a Hamilton Marine just a short walk from the town pier. Things were looking UP! We were able to get a steel, 5lb, totally adorable mini propane tank to replace the Campingaz and get it refilled with ease (still determining how to best replace the composite 10lb-er). We were also able to get a Metz VHF antenna. Back at Holbrook Island the next morning, when all was calm, Brian had us reconnected in no time! There had been damage atop the mast from a blustery winter. Some things really are that simple, just not the ones you’d expect!
The sun had been shining all the while, and now we had time to explore! Holbrook Island Sanctuary had trails both on the island and mainland, and had easy docking access for the dinghy at both locations.