Favorite Harbors

Round and McGlathery Islands
The anchorage at Round and McGlathery has much to offer – a secure anchorage for the boat, beautiful surroundings, and easy shore access. Round and McGlathery Islands are located in Merchants Row, just south of Stonington. The anchorage is between the islands, north of the sandy spit on Round Island. There are numerous approaches depending on wind, but two that we have done are winding your way down from the Deer Isle Thorofare (taking Crotch close to starboard, turning to port when past Rock Island, and taking Saint Helena close to starboard, and finally turning south between Bare and Coombs islands) or the more direct route from East Penobscot Bay, keeping Crotch to port and George Head to starboard, then turning southward between Bare and Coombs.

Once at Round and McGlathery, pull in far enough to be within the protection of the islands. Allow for rocks making out from the islands at low tide, especially on the McGlathery side. These rocks are large and covered at high tide. The holding ground is good, but you may ride to the current once the wind dies – just allow enough space. There may be some pots with toggles in the anchorage. If you’re lucky, you’ll be the first boat in, in which case just anchor in the middle! Since we do not use all-chain, we usually drop a kellet to help limit our swinging. You’ll get some wakes early in the morning from lobster boats – except on Sunday mornings – but this is typical of most of Merchants Row.

There is a second anchorage off the northeast corner of McGlathery which also provides good holding ground, although it is more exposed to the aforementioned lobster boat wakes. If you go there, be aware that the ledge that shows on the chart just off the north end of the island is a bit further off the island than it appears on the chart.

Round is owned by the Nature Conservancy and McGlathery is owned by the Friends of Nature; they’re both open for exploring. We’ve often walked across McGlathery. There’s a beautiful beach on the north side, which is also used as an anchorage; it’s attached to an islet on the northeast corner at low tide.

There’s an informal “trail” across McGlathery, marked with strands of pot warp. The trail starts at a very small stream, trickling down to the beach, at the east side of the anchorage. There’s sometimes an old lobster pot, hanging in a tree, to mark the start. The best approach is to walk along the shore and watch carefully for these landmarks – the stream, a pot warp, a pot. The trail winds across the north side of the island back and forth between ledges, open scrub brush, and forest – if you think you’ve lost it, look around for the stray pot warp strands draped in the trees. In less than half a mile, you’ll pop out somewhere along the north side beach – be sure to look back where you came from, before exploring the beach!

Round and McGlathery has been one of our favorite anchorages for many years – a beautiful spot and a secure anchorage – it represents the best of Maine cruising.

This is the first in what I hope will be a series on favorite harbors in our cruising grounds. If you would like to contribute, please contact Ginny Travers, and I’ll add your contribution to this site.