Mystery Harbor answer at last: Ragged Island

Editor’s Note: Wow, did I manage to bungle this one! After no one identified the photo to the right when it first ran in the July issue, I took the initiative to provide clues – both on our Facebook page and in the August issue of the magazine – that would help folks out. Well, the long and short of it is that there are at least two Ragged Islands in Maine, and of course I picked one of the wrong ones. The correct Ragged Island – Criehaven; some call it “Ragged Arse Island” – is in Penobscot Bay, not Casco Bay. For anyone who spent sleepless nights trying to solve my riddle, the famous artist who resided on the Ragged Island in Harspwell was Edna St. Vincent Millay, who sometimes used the pseudonym “Nancy Boyd.” The last name “Boyd” she shares with Woody Boyd, the dimwitted, but lovable, bartender on “Cheers.” Incredibly obscure, I know, but in the age of Google I wanted to make sure it was challenging. Mission accomplished.

One last thing: Very early after I posted the Facebook clues a gentleman from Maine named Nate Blake, seeing through my litany of red herrings, responded with the very succinct, “Looks like Criehaven Harbor.” Which I subsequently shot down. He was right, of course, and we owe him a hat. I’ve tried several different ways to get hold of Nate without success. If someone reading this knows him, please have him contact me at Onward, as ever . . .

This looks like Criehaven or Ragged Island. When I was a boy it seemed that we had sailed to the end of the world. A few houses scattered on the rocks. Two or three seasonal fishing boats. Explosive phosphorescent “fiery water“ and a heaven full of stars. We were hosted by the cute local Simpson girls. That magic memory and island never left my heart. I returned 50 years later with my daughter to prove to myself it was not a dream.

Chris Callahan
Shelburne, Vt.

Hey, that’s my photo!

I took this shot. That’s the southern shore of Matinicus in the background. The picnic bench should be the giveaway. The photo was taken from the steps of the old post office/library/community center. Fishermen told me that sailors don’t go there any more. Based on how long it’s taken to I.D. this photo, I guess they weren’t lyin’.

Jim Barr
Newport, R.I.


Great Down East starting point

For once I recognized your Mystery Harbor straight away! It’s Criehaven Harbor on Ragged Island, or Racketash, or even “Ragged Arse.” We use this island as our starting point each year, departing from Harpswell for one long day to get Down East. If either of the guest moorings are taken we just head across to Matinicus and pick up one of their guest moorings.

What made this one relatively easy was I had just been there two days before I picked up my August copy of Points East and noticed that the dock trolley was still in exactly the same location. The photo has been taken from the deck just outside Criehaven Library, a lovely little building, half-museum, half-library and half center of the village community, I know that’s one too many “half’s,” but it’s the best description I can come up with.

Attached is a photo I took while there this August. I hope by stating that this lovely, friendly island is such a great starting point for cruising Down East, I haven’t inadvertently let the cat out of the bag.

Ian Marshall
Harpswell, Maine

Matinicus is next door

So, the description of a private island in Casco Bay in your clues threw me, but I took another look this morning and the beacon at the end of the breakwater jumped out at me! It’s Criehaven, in Penobscot Bay. We’ve been there many times over the past 30 years. It’s a tight little rock-lined harbor – little space for visitors and no room to anchor. There is a tiny airstrip, and a small enclave of fishermen’s homes centered around the harbor with active fishermen who head out each morning. The owner of the island, Richard Krementz, died a few years ago, but his family is still there. The southern end of the island is undeveloped with a long mossy trail to the tip. Matinicus Island is nearby, with a double row of rental moorings. A bit more space for cruisers. In the Mystery Harbor photo there is a dark-hulled lobster pleasureboat named Rhum that friends of ours sail out of Friendship sitting on one of the moorings. I believe the picture was taken from in front of the little community building that houses the library and used to be the post office.

Jane Davin
Boxford, Mass.


Not fooled by bogus clues

It’s been 15 years since we’ve done any serious cruising. Still, this looks to me like Criehaven Harbor on Ragged Island, Maine. Thanks for the memories.

Gerard Galella
Cutler, Maine