Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cruising Penobscot Bay With Small Children...And Enjoying It!

My wife and I have always enjoyed cruising throughout Maine, but the logistics becomes a little more challenging when you have small children.  Now that my daughters, Zoe and Ella, are 4 and 2 respectively, they are much more mature and able to contribute with docking and emergency operations.  You know I am kidding!  I was pleasantly surprised how enjoyable it was to take young children out on the water for the day.  In fact we were evenly matched...4 adults, a 2 year old, a 3 year old, and two 4 year olds!

We left the Hampden docks early at 9:00 a.m. to accomodate our afternoon nap schedule.  We were supposed to join several other early rising, childless boaters that morning...surprisingly they were nowhere to be found.  It was Father's Day of course, and there were plenty of obligations to go around.  I have to admit that a few years ago, I wouldn't have dreamed about departing before 11:00 a.m., nor would I have enjoyed the company of unknown toddlers.

Interestingly, we did run into most everyone in Penobscot Bay that afternoon.

Here is a picture of the Payson family enjoying Father's Day aboard our demo 2012 310 Rinker Express Cruiser

There was actually one other vessel that was brave enough to join us, even thought there was a very high risk of mutiny!  Harmoney hailing from Stockton Harbor met up with us in Bucksport.  We warned them several times of the horrible experience it is to be exposed to the "Terrible Twos".  The crew of Harmoney was unfazed by our warnings and fell in line on a course for Castine and the famous burgers of Dennett's Wharf.

Pete Hardester and Barbara Money spend their summers in beautiful Stockton Harbor.  We recently re-powered their Grady White with a Yamaha F250 .  Harmony runs quite well wide open or in a rough sea.

Lunch at Dennett's Wharf was incredible as always, and the kids stayed busy with playdoh, coloring books, and this incredible model oceanscape in a box set up on the deck.  They were entertained for over an hour with no major outbursts!  I thoroughly enjoyed my Wharf Burger which I added blue cheese and bacon...hey, it was Father's Day!

Seascape at Dennett's Wharf

Crew with Baby Sea Creatures

After lunch, we followed Harmoney across Penobscot Bay to their home port of Stockton Harbor.  Although we were in a 31' boat, the seas were very rough as the wind had picked up.  Amazingly, my 2 year old seemed at home in the pitching cruiser:

Ella weathering out 4' Penobscot chop

The biggest surprise of the day was Stockton Harbor.  I must have cruised past the entrance to this harbor two dozen times without ever thinking to explore.  This harbor is one of the best kept secrets that I know of in Penobscot Bay.  It is very protected and home to nearly 100 vessels at a first class marine facility with sloping manicured lawns, picnic facilities, and even a playground. 

Make sure when you visit to stay in the channel, because the northern entrance to the harbor is very shallow and hard!

Harmony headed into the marina, and we headed back into the rough stuff for our return to Hamlin's Marina and McLaughlin's at the Marina for well deserved ice cream cones with the kids!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Father's Day Cruise to Castine

What's the best thing to do when you live in greater Bangor on a beautiful day?  Leave!

So that is what Hamlin's Marina and the Pen Bay Explorers are planning on doing next Sunday the 17th of June, which also happens to be Father's Day! 

So, treat your Dad to some family time on the high seas as we cruise to Castine.  All you need is a boat that floats and is capable of a little rough water (please no canoes, kayaks, rubber duckies, 10' jon boats, etc.)  We are departing from Hamlin's Marina at 9:00 a.m. on a course that will take us past Winterport, Bucksport, Stockton Springs, and on to Castine and the Bagaduce River.  For those interested, we'll tie up to the town wharf and grab some great food at Dennett's Wharf

After lunch, we'll head up the Bagaduce for some people and wildlife watching before heading back to Hampden. 

The Pen Bay Explorers is a loose group of people who love boating and sharing their secret spots in return for good company.  Here are some photos of past trips:

There is a full schedule of cruises and events for the Pen Bay Explorers and Hamlin's Marina available at:

If you are interested in joining on of the cruises or even interested in boating, contact me at or give me a call at 207-907-4385

Can't wait for next Sunday!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Prepare Your Boat For The Maine Coast

The best advice I have to someone who is interested in exploring the Maine Coast by boat is... Be Prepared!  When you are prepared, it makes boating an enjoyable and relaxing affair. 

Being prepared includes having the proper safety gear, and that includes electronics.  Electrical componets are prone to failure; you should have a good understanding of traditional forms of navigation using a compass, soundings, and a chart.  A good chartplotter, radar, sonar, and  VHF radio will make your adventures safe and fun.  The features available on today's electronic suites include all the standard fare plus enhancements such as weather overlays, emergency Coast Guard calling, even satellite radio.

Today at the Hamlin's Marina, we are outfitting a 2012 Scout 245 Abaco.

Scout 245 Abaco

The owner has chosen to install a Garmin 5208 flush mounted screen in the dash.  The unit features an 8" touch screen for navigating menus and information.  The unit also allows you to overlay valuable information on the map including radar and satellite Doppler weather radar.  An added bonus is that the 5208 acts as a receiver for XM radio (sometimes its hard to tune in WTOS twenty miles offshore!)

Helm featuring Garmin 5208 and Standard Horizon Eclipse VHF with GPS

Installing the correct electronics includes owning the right boat.  You can see that the 245 Abaco is well suited for coastal cruising and it has ample space for mounting screens and antennas.  The helm features a large, flat dash for handling todays large, high-definition screens.  More importantly, it features a fiberglass hardtop which is perfect for mounting a raydome, multiple antennas, and even a remote spotlight.
Justin "Reno" Bennett Chasing Wires to the Hardtop


Hamlin's Marina has everything you need to safely enjoy the Maine Coast.  Make sure you stop in before you venture out on the high seas!