Saturday, August 5, 2017
Portland has been home for four days. Due to visits from friends we stayed longer then expected, and in the mean time saw a bit of the city. Carrie Rose is docked in South Portland, a community, as you would assume, just south of Portland proper. The marina is tucked into deserted freighter piers, so the entrance absorbs the swell from each boat that passes out on Casco Bay.
The north pier protrudes out into the bay. It is a long dock for unloading crude oil. The oil unloaded here is pumped to Montreal’s refineries. A tanker appeared one afternoon accompanied by three classic red and black tugs. It rose higher and higher as its cargo was discharged. The bulk of it, seen at such close quarters is arresting. Early this morning it let out a long low wavering horn blast to signal its departure. Half of Portland must have woken up.
The same tugs appeared, and amidst their toots and whistles the now more orange than black ship was quietly backed out of the pier. While I was monitoring the VHF radio channel13 (the channel designated for communication between ships) I heard the pilot announce that they were heading to sea and New York Harbor, bringing back memories of our recent trip through those very same waters.
We have been privy to several conversations here at Spring Point Marina concerning what to expect the farther north we venture. And though there seems to be agreement that mid and northern Maine are beautiful, its praises are spoken with a few caveats. The two most often cited are the number of lobster buoys and the fog with the peculiarities of the more isolated inhabitants coming in a strong third, and oh, I forgot about the rocks.
This caused me to temper my enthusiasm for the next portion of our cruise. The talk has a gnarled edge that can’t help but be reminiscent of Captain Willard preparing to enter the heart of darkness after Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now. Just like the movie, there is no turning back from riding the swell into the unknown.