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Bob's Boats

 

One of my favorite boating areas is Penobscot Bay. Camden, Maine is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful seacoast towns you may find anywhere. Its harbor is home to many sailing craft, including a number of traditional, wooden "windjammer" schooners. Camden is also the home of International Marine Publishing Company, publishers of a surprisingly large number of books about boats and boating. It was also the hometown of the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Whenever I see a photograph of the Maine seacoast in a magazine or on a calendar, more than half the time the photograph is of one of two places: Camden or Perkins Cove in Ogunquit. Because Camden is such a photogenic location, the movie Peyton Place was filmed here in the 1950's. One of my favorite places on earth is sitting on the deck of a restaurant by the water in Camden harbor. You can look straight ahead and watch the boats coming and going. You can look to the left and see green mountains, or to the right and see Penobscot bay.

If you have a desire to experience what sailing may have been like during the 1800's, you can take a cruise on a schooner from that era for a day, 3-days, or a week or more. My wife and I took a 3-day cruise several years ago aboard the schooner Nathaniel Bowditch. One night we stopped on an island and had a lobster cook-out. The lobsters were delivered right to our schooner by a lobsterman just before we landed for the cook-out. You can't get lobsters much fresher than that!

Another night on the schooner Nathaniel Bowditch, we anchored offshore from another island, just opposite Kirstie Alley's large summer home. As we dropped anchor, most of the people on our schooner were peering at Ms. Alley's house with binoculars. What we saw was a good number of people looking back at us through their binoculars! It was at this moment that I realized that our schooner was just as much a celebrity to them as Ms. Alley's house was to us.

I believe you will find books published by International Marine on ships and boats throughout the world. A sampling of just a few of my boating books that were published by International Marine include: The Elements of Boat Strength by Dave Gerr, Boats With An Open Mind by Philip C. Bolger, Building Classic Small Craft by John Gardner, Boats, Oars, and Rowing by R. D. Culler, Skiffs and Schooners by R. D. Culler, and Spritsails & Lugsails by John Leather.

There is a statue of Edna St. Vincent Millay in the park overlooking Camden Harbor where she can look out to the sea or up to the mountains, just as she did in her poem:

		Renascence

			All I could see from where I stood
			Was three long mountains and a wood;
			I turned and looked another way,
			And saw three islands in a bay.
			So with my eyes I traced the line
			Of the horizon, thin and fine,
			Straight around till I was come
			Back to where I'd started from;
			And all I saw from where I stood
			Was three long mountains and a wood....

Sitting in the park next to Edna with a cup of coffee and a newspaper is a very enjoyable experience. I never manage to read much there, though, because there are too many beautiful boats to watch, from schooners preparing to depart for another week to small rowing peapods heading out for a sunday morning row.

To my way of thinking, Camden is a boat lover's paradise!