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!

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