South Portland Hiatus!

Great Chebeague Island to Portland

Friday (8/6) – Part B – Spring Point Marina, South Portland, Maine

At 9:15 am we left the mooring at Great Chebeague Island and headed through the waters of Casco Bay, passing the Wyman Energy Center on Cousins Island and in the distance Portland Yacht Club in Falmouth. It wasn’t long before we were passing near Fort Gorges, downtown Portland, and then Bug Light. Just after this landmark we turned into Spring Point Marina in South Portland; our home for the next week. We traveled a whopping 9 miles and it was only 10:00 am when we finally settled into our slip on “H” dock.  We chose this marina instead of DiMillo’s (where we stayed in 2019), because it was more reasonably priced and we knew the area; we stayed and left the boat here in 2017 when we flew home for a family reunion.  Although DiMillo’s is in the heart of downtown Portland, this area offers a safer and quieter spot for Denise, and will allow us to save time when we leave to cruise more of the Maine Coast.

We spent the rest of the morning getting caught up on work items before the weekend, especially Mark as he prepared for his on-site meetings at the client next week.

In the afternoon we were able to use one of the marina’s pickup trucks to go to the grocery store (Hannaford’s) to get a few items.  We also picked up some fish for dinner, as well as turned in some of our bottles and cans.  It was while he was redeeming the cans that he began speaking with a woman who also had a boat at Spring Point Marina.  Come to find out Kim (and husband Ken) used to be on “H” dock, but this season they moved to “I” dock. Somehow, Mark remembered their boat from our visit in 2017 because it was right near the “float” that houses the tables and barbeque grills. We learned that “G” dock now has the big parties that “H” dock used to have.

Later in the evening we cooked our fish onboard our boat and went for a short walk around the marina, before returning back to the boat to watch some TV and calling it a day.

Sunset at Spring Point Marina (SPM)

Saturday (8/7) – Spring Point Marina, Portland, Maine

It was a warm morning when Denise went for a run.  Not really acclimated to the humidity this season, she struggled on the run, despite the temperature in the high 60’s as the start.  Her trail took her from the marina out to Bug Light, which marks the entrance to the Portland Harbor.  From there she ran along the Maine greenway path that runs through South Portland neighborhoods and a few small villages for over 5 miles, eventually connecting to another path on the south end of Portland. It was a good run on a mostly flat course, but when she got back to the boat she was spent.

Path in Bug Light Park
Bug Light Park
View towards Portland Harbor from Path
Tree-lined path

During the day we worked on cataloging pictures, writings for the blog, talking to family and friends, and meeting some of the people around the marina.  In the afternoon, we used one of the marina crew-cab pickup trucks to go to evening mass at Holy Cross Catholic.  It was only a little over a mile, but because it was so hot and the street it was on was a busy road, we opted to drive.  We were given the truck because the marina loaner car (SUV) was already taken. It was a challenge for Denise to climb up into the cab, but once there, it was great to sit up high.

Loaner SUV and loaner pickup truck

After mass we returned to the marina, returned the truck, and went to dinner at the restaurant that is located on the marina property.  Our dinner at “North 42° Bistro” was as good as we remembered from 2017, and Denise was glad she had made reservations the day before. It was sold out for the night, and even the bar was full when we arrived.  We both got fish dishes and found them to be delicious!

After dinner, we went for a walk. Denise wanted to show Mark the lighthouse and park at Bug Light, so we walked through the condo complex adjacent to the marina, and up the path to the park. On the way to the light we stopped at the Liberty Ship Memorial (an open air museum of sorts) that tells of the history of the Liberty Ships built in the South Portland Shipyard.  It was very interesting to read about the shipyard’s importance, including the impact of women, who replaced the workers sent off to fight the war.

When we returned to the marina we found the people on “G” dock were living up to their reputation as the new partying dock. Fortunately, we had the air conditioning on and didn’t hear any of their noise into the late night.

“G” Dock party

Once back on the boat, we did a face-time call to our family in Tallahassee who were having a big birthday celebration for Denise’s sister and brother-in-law; both are celebrating significant milestone birthdays this year and opted for a single party.  We missed being there and seeing everyone, but sent our wishes as best as we could.  This is the downside to cruising and being so far from home.

Sunday (8/8) – Spring Point Marina, Portland, Maine

Waking up early to another warm morning, Denise went for a long walk to see the area southwest of the marina, a place we have not yet explored. The pathway out of the marina is really a continuation of the path from Bug Light Park, and cuts right through the entire Port Marine/Spring Point Marina complex.  Once through the yard, the path follows along the water and into the campus of Southern Maine Community College (SMCC). Immediately adjacent to the marina grounds is the pier and just beyond that is the Spring Point breakwater and Lighthouse.

From there the pathway leads to the old ruins of Fort Preble, built in 1808 to defend Portland Harbor, it was used in the War of 1812 and the Civil War. It is now in shambles, but you can take a path down to the beach area (strewn with granite boulders at this point), or you can take the rickety stairs to the upper area and get a spectacular view of Simonton Cove or the Gulf of Maine.  You can learn more about this fort here.

From there she continued her walk along the shoreline path, passing buildings for SMCC, and eventually the Old Settlers Cemetery – there are some very old graves in this cemetery!

Afterwards, she walked to the end of the path as far as possible, then back through campus and around to the marina before returning to the boat. Here are some more pictures from her walk:

In the morning, we used the loaner truck (again) to run a few errands; a trip to Walmart and Lowes for some boat repair/maintenance items, and a grocery store (Hannaford’s) for food items.  We got back to the boat in time for lunch and organize the purchases and stowed them.

Before we knew it, it was time for Mark to leave. He took a cab from the marina to the airport, and flew to New Jersey (via Detroit) for client work. Denise used the time to get caught up on some readings and videos she had been wanting to watch.

Monday (8/9) through Wednesday (8/11) – Spring Point Marina, Portland, Maine

During these days, Denise stayed on the boat and hung around the marina.  She got in another run along the South Portland pathway, and went for another walk around the SMCC campus.

On Monday (8/9), the surveyor for our insurance (BoatUS/Geico) came by to inspect the damage from the Belfast collision.  He was a retired USCG officer and loved his last duty station in Key West, and as a result owns a house there.  “Dave” spent a lot of time talking with Denise about the options and suggested a course of action we might want to consider, and later explained the same to Mark via telephone call.  Subsequent to his visit, we received his estimate for damages and repair, and will now pursue a claim against the offenders insurance (Allstate).

On Tuesday, (8/10) fog appeared in the harbor and just off from the marina, but it was not too bad. Denise spent all morning in the boat working, or working on boat-related items.  In the afternoon she borrowed the marina loaner vehicle and went for some self-pampering; she got a much-needed pedicure!

South Portland fog on Tuesday

On Wednesday morning, (8/11) the fog was so thick that you could not see the building on land from our slip, or even the fuel dock. It was stifling quiet and very warm and humid. Despite this, Denise went for another run through Bug Light Park and on the footpath through South Portland. In a few areas she took a slight diversion to run up and down the streets of Ferry Village; a community that runs along the east side of Portland Harbor.

Thick fog Wednesday morning

Wednesday afternoon (8/11) – Mark had an early morning flight and returned to the boat in the early afternoon.  For a few hours we completed some work items and boat chores, then put together an itinerary for the coming days, once we leave South Portland.

In the evening we borrowed the loaner car and went to Old Orchard Beach, a place we had heard of but never visited.  It is not a spot that we can get to on the boat, and the closest inlet (Saco River) is still a significant way and not worth burning fuel. We arrived and parked the SUV a little further uptown from the beach, affording us the opportunity to stroll by the shops.  As we got closer to the water we could see all the boardwalk amusements, which reminded Denise of Salisbury and Hampton Beaches where her parents took her as a kid when visiting New England.  There were all kinds of rides and carnival-type games and the place was quite crowded. It has been very hot and people just wanted to get in the water or be near the breezy shore to cool off. 

We went looking for a place to have a sit-down dinner on the water, and were sorely disappointed. Although there were lots of pizza, fried food, and sandwich places, and there was one very over-crowded bar and one lobster shack that was closed on Wednesdays, we found no place that appealed to us.  After 30 minutes of walking around, we decided to take our chances further north.  We returned to the car and headed north on the road paralleling the beach.  Eventually we found our way into Scarborough and found to the “Clambake Seafood Restaurant”.  Although this was not what we had intended, it was getting late and we were hungry.  An obvious local’s joint-turned tourist trap establishment, this was quite the operation.  It is a large restaurant that you order at a multi-station counter, find a place to sit, and then get your food when they call your number. There is also a bar in the center of the restaurant, which is where we chose to sit to avoid the crowded dining area, and where we could get a beer.

One of the best things about this restaurant is the view that overlooks a large marsh area (Scarborough Marsh) that buffers the Nonesuch River. It is not unlike those of Low Country South Carolina.  It is a vast area and much of it is part of a park preserve and on the way back to the marina, we stopped and took a picture of this beautiful and rather large area.

Thursday (8/12) – Spring Point Marina, Portland, Maine

In the morning Denise went for a short walk initially, which turned into a much longer walk and adventure.  What started out as “what were those lights we saw last night” (patio lights at a local pub), to “let’s go check out the pier on the other side of the marina”.  This prompted another walk through parts of the SMCC campus, and out to the pier.  Here she encountered a photographer who was trying to get photos of a young osprey in a nest.  He explained that he had been watching the bird try to fly for weeks, and any day now he will take off. Meanwhile, the parent kept encouraging it to flee the nest.  Sounds like some people we know who still have their adult children living at home.

Ospreys in nest

Once back on the boat it was mostly a work day and get prepared to leave for tomorrow’s journey back to Vinalhaven in Penobscot Bay. Mark wanted to go back to Seal Bay on the eastern shore, where we had been in 2017. It is a beautiful place and we looked forward to spending more time there.

Throughout the last few weeks, we had been in communication with Back Cove.  We wondered if there was anyone else that had put as many miles on their boat as we have (now at 22,000).  Mark had been emailing with the National Sales Manager (Jaime Bloomquist) and when he learned we would be in Maine this summer he said he wanted to meet up with us.  Although not originally planning to go to Rockland, he set up a meeting for next week and then made reservations at the Rockland Landing Marina for a few days stay. Rockland is a short distance from Vinalhaven so it made sense to go there after an overnight at Seal Bay.

In the evening we met with Joyce & Peter (”Grey Swan”) on their boat for happy hour.  They have been docked behind us for the last few days and we have been exchanging pleasantries and short conversations. It was fun to talk with them and share boating stories about places we have been.  Afterwards we returned to our boat and Captain Mark grilled us up some delicious hamburgers, and God provided a beautiful sunset to end our stay in South Portland.

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