When we left Bar Harbor last time, we were advised to follow a special track that supposedly was free of lobster pots. According to the pilot and an agreement had been made between the port and the fishermen. I said supposedly, as there was as many lobsterpots on the intended track line as outside of it when we sailed through it. So we plowed straight through with no other place to go, with me being very happy with the fact that during last dry dock we put knives on the propeller hub. (That is the cone to which the blades are connected) If a rope gets into the propeller, it will be cut in pieces before it can come close to the seals on the shaft that keep the water out and the oil in.
Now we came back following the same track and a lot of pots were gone. Whether the fishermen had seen the light, or that the various cruise ships coming and going to Bar Harbor in the past week, had also removed their share of the pots from the track I do not know but there were a lot less buoys in the water compared with last time.
The route from the pilot station to the anchorage was reasonably clear and we found a narrow channel free of little buoys that let us get to the anchorage just off Bar Harbor. I arrived an hour earlier as scheduled because we had to do immigration. The ship was coming from Canada so all guests and all new crew had to be seen by the Inspectors of the Custom and Border Protection. However all of them had gone over to the Crown Princess also at anchor, so we had half an hour delay before they came to us.
By the time the clearance process was under way, we ran into problems with our morning tours. As the same buses were in use for the afternoon tours as for the morning tours (with two ships in port there is a limited amount of buses that can be had in Bar Harbor) some guests did not make it as they were still stuck in clearing process. These had to be rebooked to the afternoon tour. Still the Officials here are very helpful. They allow a system whereby each checked guest gets a card and is then allowed to go ashore. There are American ports where the local Chief Inspector does not want to cooperate at all and simply keeps everybody on board until the final guest has been seen. If this happens, then we have of course a lot of unhappy guests and the Front office gets a lot of flack. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do. We have to obey by the laws of the countries that we visit and the USA has this system whereby an official has to personally see the passport holder. So we have to live with it. This is one of the reasons that we try to avoid scheduling half day port calls at an American ports, if we come from another country.
The fact that it was a warm and sunny day did help a lot to make up for it. We were expecting thunderstorms in the early afternoon but the first drops only started to fall when we sailed away at 6 pm. Thus far the score for the cruise is: 7 out of 8 days have been nice. That is not bad going for the Canadian Maritimes. The thing is, when it is bad, then it is really bad and you have to cancel a port, as we did with Sydney, 3 days ago.