10 September, 2014

Bon Jour mes amis,

Rockland harbor is pretty wide open, formed by a man-made seawall, enclosing a square mile or so.  We grab a mooring ball outside the Coast Guard station, and it’s clear that this will be a “rocky” day-pretty wavy.  No worries, we will be ashore until time for bed.  This area is the Wyeth family’s stompin’ grounds, and the Farnsworth Museum in town has an extensive collection of Wyeth works.  After that, Craig will pick us up for a campfire at their new home in Camden.  The Farnsworth turned out to be a “must-see”, spent several hours there.  Rockland itself is another one of those commercial fisheries-type towns that is trying to transition to a different economic base.  Most of the fish processing facilities are shut down, and a fair bit of the waterfront is lined by empty buildings, while downtown is sprouting art galleries and restaurants.  After the Farnsworth, we visit the headquarters of “The Puffin Project”, a 40+ year endeavor to reintroduce Puffins (a seabird) to islands off the coast of Maine.  This successful project, led by Steve Kress, is continuing to increase the population of these birds, which was nearly decimated by humans 50 years ago.  That evening, Craig picked us up, we grabbed Thai carry-out, and headed to Pam and his place for a campfire-no worries, we can take his truck back to Rockland and leave it at the marina when we’re ready to head back to The Girl.  Two other Krogens are in Camden, (“My Dreams”-Ted & Sue, and “Epilogue”- Phillip and Connie), so their owners, as well as P & C’s neighbors and boating buddies make for lively conversation.  Irish coffee and s’mores helped grease the skids.  When it’s time to head home, Craigs’ got his little tricked out Nissan pickup idling in the driveway for us, with the Coast Guard station dialed into the navigator.  By the way, “feel free to use the truck to go grocery shopping tomorrow morning”.  That’s boaters.  After shopping in downtown grocery stores in little villages for the past few months, Hannaford’s in Rockland feels like heaven (whattanerd!).

September 9, and on our way to Boothbay Harbor, on the recommendation of Jeff and Susie.  Jeff’s Dad was the director of the aquarium here, after a career as a researcher at Wood’s Hole, MA.  Lots of seals and porpoises on the way.  Boothbay is a cute little tourist town, which reminds the Admiral and I of Mackinaw Island, MI.  Since it’s after season, the crowds are minimal.  Unfortunately, the aquarium is closed today, and the breakfast joint that Jeff wanted us to go to is closed after Labor Day.  Oh well, we have a great walk around the bay, and scope out some shops, where everything must go, and on sale for 50% off.  We don’t need more stuff.  In the morning, we wake up and see “My Dreams” anchored in the bay.  They hadn’t planned to come here, but on their way from Camden, came upon a disabled boat, and towed them here, as this was the closest port.  I’ve heard tell of “Crazy Canadians”, but these guys take the cake.  Two guys in a 22’ inboard/outboard runabout on their way to Florida.  One guy has a bad arm, and their GPS doesn’t work, or they can’t read it-good luck.  Just keep the coast on the right side of the boat, and when you see palm trees, you’re there.  What’s the saying?  “….fools and Irishmen”-sump’n like that.  After an 8 buck breakfast at the greasy spoon, we’re on our way to Bath, Maine, home of Bath Iron Works.  Sound familiar?  Now owned by General Dynamics, this 150 year old builder of ships and boats is one of two remaining U.S. companies building surface combatants for the Navy.  Rumor has it that the first of the Zumwalt class destroyers is at their wharf, completion date 2015.  The Maine Maritime Museum is also in Bath, making the town an irresistible nerdstop.  “My Dreams” is headed there too.  Bonus.  We hit the tide just right, so the 5 mile trip UP the river is WITH a 3 knot current-get out the skis.  Rounding the last bend in the river, we encounter the Iron Works floating dry-dock, which is a behemoth capable of holding the destroyers built here.  Sure enough, sitting right there on the seawall, is the stealthy Zumwalt, all dressed in gray, and reminiscent of the Civil-war era vessel, The Merrimac, only on steroids.  I’d hate to be the bad guys with this beast prowling the coastal waters.  Ted and Sue are already on the City Dock, and have arranged a trolley tour starting at the Museum, and running through Bath Iron Works.  Gotta catch the bus.  You can be sure a full report will follow.            —Bon Jour

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