13 September, 2014

Goooood Morning.

Tied up and off to the Maine Maritime Museum, to catch the shuttle for the Bath Iron Works tour.  Ask a couple of folks where the museum is, and one says it’s this way, another says it’s that way.  Damn.  There’s a mailman up the block, so I hustle up and ask him.  He says it’s about 3 miles down the river; don’t know why all of us thought it was right here in town.  Gotta be there in 12 minutes, so walkings’ not gonna happen.  The cop shop is right here, so in goes the Admiral.  Desk sergeant calls us a cab, and 10 minutes and 5 USD later; we make our reservation with 2 minutes to spare.  The tour is really fascinating.  B.I.W. has been building ships here for a couple hundred years, under one company name or another.  Seems that the topography in this area was perfect for launching ships back in the day when they were “slid down the ways” into the water.  This requires an incline of from 4 to 20 degrees, and the Bath shoreline fits the bill perfectly.  Nowadays, the vessels built at B.I.W. are built in sections (like Legos), and welded together on a big trestle, then rolled out to the floating dock on modular transports that reminded me a lot of the ones that they use for rockets at Cape Canaveral.  After the tour, we head back to the museum campus, which covers a couple of acres.  Our ticket price allows us to enter twice in any 7 day period, so we bite off a small piece, and come back for the rest the following day.  The main building of the MMM is pretty modern, and has different rooms dedicated to all things shipbuilding from design to execution.  The history of shipbuilding in Maine, and the evolution of seafarers and commerce by Mainers are laid out nicely in this self-guided tour.  Throughout the building cases of artifacts bring a sense of reality to the prose and pictures.  Outside the main building, there are numerous others, including a blacksmith’s shop, painting, joinery, and sail makers lofts, as well as a lumber mill, complete with all of the appropriate tools.  A guided tour of the shipyard owners restored home, made Sue and the Admiral happy.  The museum maintains a large, well-equipped woodshop where boatbuilding classes are taught, and volunteers restore old wooden boats for the museums’ collection.  Every year, a bunch of 8th graders come in a day a week, and restore an old boat under the supervision of experienced craftsmen, which is then auctioned off to pay the costs of the class.  All in all, The Maine Maritime Museum is a “must see”.  Gotta catch the tide at 1400, so it’s back to The Girl in the pouring rain.  Current and wind are strong, so I call the lift bridge before pulling off the dock.  Bridge operator says she’s never lifted the bridge in high winds, and she’s not sure if it’ll go up.  Huh?  Well, it works and we’re off.  Ted and Sue follow.  They’re off to Freeport, and we’ll spend the night at anchor in a little hurricane hole called The Basin.  Well, we didn’t time the current so well, and we fight the tide until about ½ way down the 12 mile long river.  When we hit the ocean, there are “trees on the horizon”-waves, big ones.  They’ll be on our bow for 45 minutes or so, then on the beam for another hour and a half, then on our stern as we turn north.  Stuff’s flyin’ around inside the cupboards, but the doors are staying shut, as MDO has tied them closed.  On the AIS, we can see that Ted and Sue have turned back, and will probably anchor in the river for the night.  After doing the “lobster pot boogie”, we arrive at the Basin, and it’s all it was written up to be.  After lifting her skirt to make it through the winding, silted entrance, The Girl is treated to a calm, 14-20’ deep basin for tonight’s  anchorage.  What could be better?  Burgers on the grill and fresh corn on the cob (told you I was a cheap date).  We’re out by dawn, and take a sunny cruise to Freemont, ME, home of L.L. Bean.  We glide in to South Freeport before the dockmaster is there, so tie up to the fuel dock, get 2 water hoses going, and give The Girl a good shower, as she took a few salty, white ones over the pilothouse yesterday.  Kristen arrives and assigns us a mooring ball, and we’re good to go.  Ward and Richard from the 53’ Grand Alaskan, “Bagheera” swing by in their tender and ask if we’re headed into town, and do we want to share a cab.  We’re a half hour from being ready, so thanks but no.  After a quick breakfast, and launching the tender, we dinghy in, and there are Ted and Sue tooling in on “My Dream”.  We’ll head into the big city, as they need to get situated.  Up on the road, we get a ride from the third car that passes.  Our driver, Nancy, is a boater too and recognized the look.  Seems she’s also the president of the local theater group, too, and tonight’s opening night for “Almost Maine”, a supposedly hilarious series of vignettes about life in Maine.  If we can make it, she’ll drive us home afterward.  Shopped till we dropped.  Freeport, ME is one big outlet mall.  Looks like a town, but is actually one outlet after another, with a few 17 and 1800’s buildings thrown in.  We’re guessin’ that this was all built around L.L. Bean’s flagship store, which has about a million of everything that’s in their catalog, and is open 24/7/365.  Cruising the back streets, we spy the Jameson Tavern.  As we already have a coffee in hand, you know what’s next.  There’s a little plaque that explains that this is the very tavern that politicians met in sometime during the 1700’s to split Massachusetts into 2 states, ME and MA (the things you find out when foraging for an Irish coffee).  Sun’s getting low, and we spot Ted & Sue down the block, draggin’ their feet, and a bunch of shopping bags.  She’s gotten a lot of Christmas shopping done, but is ready to call it quits.  We share a cab back to the boats.  Over to “Bagheera”, Richard and Ward will join us, along with T & S aboard Alizann for a 5 to 7 in half an hour.  We had some great conversation.  Richard is a retired dentist, and Ward did some kind of real estate deal in their former life.  Now, they’re cruising pretty much full time-and so it goes.  Needless to say, we don’t make it back to town for the production-too many fun things to do.  Next morning, and we’re off to Portland.  Everything we are reading on “Active Captain” (a crowd sourced cruisers information site) tells us that the harbor is busy and really rocky and rolly.  When we call, there are no mooring balls available, but they’ll put us on the dock for the same $ as a ball.  That’s what I’m talkin’ about.  The floating dock is rockin’ and creakin’, but we think we’ve been on worse, so it’s all good.  We let Phillip, the dock dude know that there’s a 42’, and a 53’ coming behind us, and he says that the 53’ had a reservation for the last ball, but he can put the 42’ on a dock too-same deal.  As he’s heading in to the main office to do the credit card, My Dream calls on the VHF.  Put on my harbormaster hat, tell them about the mooring ball situation, and describe the 2 docking options available.  When we’re tying them up, Ted wants to know “What the Hell” I was doing on the radio.  Phillip returns, and all is good.  The tourist agenda for today has Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s house and a restored Victorian mansion on it.  Both were guided tours, and both are highly recommended.  Early dinner was agreed upon, so we “Yelp” the recommendations that the Admiral has garnered from other cruisers along the way, and head to “Eventide” for oysters and such.  They’re jammed, so off to “Duck Fat”, the new, trendy spot in very hip Portland, ME.-no soap.  I ask the hostess where she would eat (smooth, huh?).  “Blue Spoon” is on her list and ours too.  She says it’s off the beaten path, so maybe it won’t be as busy (2 cruise ships are in town).  I’ll say it’s off the beaten path.  I’m figuring on a mutiny about the time T, S, and MDO arrive, as I’ve run ahead to get on a potential wait list, but yahoo!, they can get us in.  Well…..it was worth the walk.  Panko encrusted trout with a Dijon sauce, ragu with handmade pasta, roasted eggplant pasta with prosciutto…..you get the picture.  Bad news, it’s unexpectantly raining, good news, we always carry our packable rain jackets in our backpack (well, ALMOST always).  The bottom falls out in the temperature department, and we’ve got a cold, drizzly walk home.  Now we’re happy that we’re on the rolly dock, ‘cause there’s electricity (heat).  We’ve whacked T & S out, so the next morning, Suz and I are out for a 4 hour tour of the town.  There’s a great running/biking trail around the peninsula, built on the old railroad right-of way.  We take it, and then crisscross through nearly every street in town.  We agree that Portland ME. Has kind of a “West Coast” feel, reminding us of Seattle, or Portland, OR.  We could live here.  Text up Ted & Sue after noon, and we’re all off to Shipyard Brewing Company for the beer tour.  Afterwards, down to the Old Port, and Boone’s Restaurant for some oysters and beer.  Happy Day!  Happy hour starts in 5 minutes-$1.5 beers.  T & S invite us over for a Margarita 5-7, so we head back to The Girl, and whip up some fresh guacamole.  Good company, good chats, but an early night so we can go home and plan out tomorrows’ destination.  Looks like it’ll be Portsmouth, NH, so we’ll contact Paul and Cheryl (Just a Splash), who live nearby and see if we can hook up with them there.                                            -Adios

Add new comment