This online document is a means of sharing the adventure of traveling on America's waterways with friends and family. Last Dance is continuing to take her crew to historical, natural, beautiful, and interesting places. Enjoy the ride.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Maine - Seal Ledge

Up the Bagaduce River from Castine lies a small marina in natural Maine surroundings, populated with friendly, welcoming people.  You will not find postings on marinas in this blog, as the crew finds the pleasures in cruising to be in small coves, interesting towns, and the people along the way. But, this marina is an exceptional experience.

A view of the docks from shore side, looking down the Bagaduce, a seal permanently sitting on the ledge, gives a small glimpse into the tranquil beauty of this spot at the beginning of the river.

There are few docks in Maine, most marinas park boats on mooring balls out in the harbor rather than tying to a dock.

A couple factors create problems in building docks in Maine.  First, the bottom is usually solid rock, so installing pilings to secure the dock is impossible.  A second is that the tides are 12 feet or more.

The lobsterman that works out of Seal Ledge left a crate with 15 pounds of lobster for a lobster roll dock party.

A propane fish cooker quickly boiled a large pot of water and the lobsters turned the red color used to depict lobsters in artwork and advertisements.

Picking the lobsters to extract the meat is a communal event on the aft deck of Mad Hatter.  Lobster rolls on the dock is a participatory affair.

Fred, owner/builder of the marina, long-time Mainer and once lobsterman, chops the lobster and prepares them for filling the New England buns.  One of his tips for enjoying a lobster roll is a side of bread and butter pickles.  A good tip.  The Last Dance crew enjoyed the rolls, but more so the camaraderie and conversation.  A great time.  Willem supervises in this image - a native Mainer who now lives in the winter near Flagler Beach, and a new friend.  Maine 2015 was an experience of people.

Fred and Karen cruise the Maine coast, when work allows a break, in a 60' Hatteras Sportfish.

One of the joys of visiting Seal Ledge was observing Fred's ingenuity, creativity, and talent.  After buying Mad Hatter, the only boatyard with a large enough travel lift to pull the boat for winter storage gave an exorbitant price.  What to do?  Fred's answer was to buy a semi-trailer for the wheels and axles, then design and build a trailer so he could pull his boat out of the water himself.  A substantial boat trailer.

One of Fred's businesses is marine construction.  A barge with a crane was needed.  Fred got out a piece of paper designed the barge and built it.  It is a unique design with a catamaran hull and a retractable deck.  The deck can be closed when the job requires materials stored on deck, retracted so that moorings can be worked from the middle of the barge rather than alongside, and a huge bin can be placed between the hulls to haul gravel and riprap.

Fred may have inherited the creativity gene and the ability to work with his hands from his dad.  The bronze sculpture seal on the ledge and these porpoises are the work of his father, an elevator technician by trade.  A walk through the woods at Seal Ledge can bring many man-made surprises.

One of the long-time slip holders at Seal Ledge bought a new boat this year, a flying one.

Walking docks to admire all the different and interesting boat designs is an activity undertaken for pleasure by many a boater.  This boat is a bit different.  Much faster than the trawler design of Last Dance, but with greatly diminished carrying capacity.

Being on a cove at the beginning of a river provided many interactions with wildlife.  Here a loon swims by after diving for a fish, water beads glistening on its head.

Seal Ledge was an encountering of the beauty of Maine's environment, interacting with fascinating people, and seeing marvelous mechanical machines.  A wonderful experience.