"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

August 11, 2013

Aug. 10 - Kittery, ME

Badger Island Marina East

We woke to heavy fog that burned off quickly and left a beautiful day. Our plan today was to go all the way to Gloucester, MA but as cruising plans go...it wasn't to be. Jewell Island is located in the outer edges Casco Bay, which opens to the Gulf Of Maine (Atlantic Ocean)...once we left the protection of the island we were greeted with large, very large swells. Our trip started out very unpleasant, but it did improve some what after we passed Cape Elizabeth. We reconsidered our destination and decided the Portsmouth area sounded much better. It felt like the longest 58 mile day we've had...at least to me.

We made a good choice, because we really were in the need of a good marina. We needed to charge our batteries, wash the boat, fill the water tanks, buy groceries and do laundry. Even with all our work we had a chance to see a little of Portsmouth. It's a pretty town full of historic buildings, shops and lots of places to eat...definitely a place we'd come back to. 

The best part of the day for me, was having a clean towel this evening. The luxury of burying your face in a clean towel, taking a deep breath, and smelling nothing but the fresh smell of laundry soap is something people living on shore can not comprehend. It's the small things you appreciate the most when you live on a boat. 

History Lesson: Portsmouth, NH sits on the west bank of the Piscataqua River, which is a tidal estuary with a swift current, but forms a good natural harbor. The west bank of the harbor was settled by English colonists in 1630 and named Strawberry Bank, after the many wild strawberries growing there. Strategically located for trade between upstream industries and mercantile interests abroad, the port prospered. Fishing, lumber and shipbuilding were principal businesses of the region. Enslaved Africans were imported as laborers as early as 1645 and were integral to building the city's prosperity. Portsmouth was part of the Triangle Trade, which made significant profits from slavery. The town was incorporated in 1653 and renamed Portsmouth. In 1774, in the lead-up to the Revolution, Paul Revere rode to Portsmouth warning that the British were coming, with warships to subdue the port.  

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard was built in 1800 as the first federal navy yard and actually is located across the Piscataqua River in Kittery, Maine. Submarine building began here in 1908 and at the height of WWII, 20,000 workers, mostly women, were welding away 24/7. The last sub was built here in 1973. The yard is now used for repairs and refueling of 300-foot Los Angeles class nuclear-powered subs. 

Howell and Jo on Why Knot from Port Aransas, Texas. Can you see that Texas flag?
Whaleback Ledge Lighthouse...our last Maine lighthouse for this year
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard...it's actually in Kittery, ME
Can you see the nuclear sub?
The Piscataqua River can get a little rough...it really gets churned up when the incoming tide fights the river currents. 
Lobster house that is on the other side of the bridge from the marina. Lobster prices in this area were the cheapest we've seen any where in Maine. 
Badger Island Marina
Looking at the marina from the Memorial Bridge that crosses the Piscataqua River to Portsmouth 

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