Friday the temperatures climbed above 90 degrees in much of central and western Maine – and surely elsewhere as well, but I didn’t take the time to verify. Today, the promised thunderstorms and rain came through. A strong wind blew across the lake and turned our backyard into a snowstorm of leaves. I’m told the lack of rain will negatively impact the fall foliage, but I’m still apologizing to my flowers and hydrangeas for this summer’s drought and refusing to acknowledge falling leaves.
So although tonight’s temperature is slated to dip to the mid-fifties, might we agree to think back momentarily to late August? That is when my husband and I took a day trip to Boothbay Harbor and enjoyed a three hour tour of the Kennebec River with Cap’n Fish’s Boat Trips. Here’s what the website description says about the tour:
This fabulous 44 mile trip offers a variety of the wide open sea and close-to shore cruising. Relive history dating back to colonial days along the Kennebec River. Then let your captain bring you up to date on the latest shipbuilding activity at bath Iron Works. Experience the thrill of passing through Hell Gates and don’t forget your camera to snap the seven lighthouses, seals and historic Fort Popham.
We snagged a seat on the open front of the boat (port – or left – side, actually) and promptly made friends with the retirees sitting next to us. (Mostly we shared the boat with people twice our age.) In the first 45 minutes of the trip the wind was considerable and so we ended up soaked by huge waves, which was really pretty funny, since the retiree-wife was wearing white pants and looked like she’d entered a naughty-contest.
Once we realized the waves had us beat, we moved into the covered seating area (staggered, actually, as I was wearing a knee-high removable walking cast and the boat was rolling and pitching). At least one woman was green, although her eight year old daughter was sound asleep. Another woman must have taken a strong pill, since she was flopped over sideways in the back of the boat, with her husband sitting nearby looking completely unconcerned.
For maybe 20 minutes we sat and recovered from our free-of-charge carnival ride. I sipped some water, rung the water out of my hair, and then foolishly tried to use the head (um, toilet) at the back of the boat. Because who doesn’t want to go pee in a tiny closet under those circumstances? Once we neared Fort Popham we tripped our way past the lady getting another mixed drink and went back to our soaking wet seats. We were cold in the shade, so we moved to the front of the boat with about half the other passengers. In the game of life, don’t expect to get good pictures when you are on a boat with highly enthusiastic retirees with expensive cameras, especially if you are in a walking cast and they are not.
We went on this same river cruise ten or twelve years (and ten or fifteen pounds) ago and enjoyed it then too. For this trip our captain was a relatively young guy who didn’t drive me insane with his commentary, unlike the gal who ran the microphone on the whale watch we went on in the summer of 2015. In fact, I learned some rather interesting things about how sailors and captains navigated the same route two hundred years ago (carefully and without GPS, if you can believe it).
The weather was beautiful and the day was relaxing. Before we boarded the boat we parked where we always parked, cruised the same stores we always cruise, and ate where we always eat (the pizza joint on the water). Hey, once a year it’s okay to pay $6.50 for a mixed drink at 11:00 am, right? We may have even wandered into a store that caters to high-end ladies by offering expensive jewelry and fine clothing, and I may have pretended to be high-end and bought a polished-clay necklace made in Kenya by a women’s co-operative. Living the high life. With gratitude. (And a pizza stain on my t-shirt.)