September 19, 2013

September 19, 2013  Day 120  Kennebec River
Mooring Ball at Maine Maritime Museum
Bath, Maine

We only had to cruise two hours today (13 miles) so we did not leave Boothbay until noon.  We decided to take the inside route which was shorter, but more challenging.  We left the harbor and entered Townsend Gut and waited about 20 minutes for the Southport swing bridge to open.  That took us into the Sheepscot River, lined with many homes. We then turned into Gooseneck Passage which had a much stronger current and a “ledge” to avoid – rocks at the surface in over 80 feet of water! 

Leaving Boothbay

Entering Townsend Gut
The swing bridge opens every thirty minutes
A lobsterman at work
From there we made our way to Robinhood, and called the dockmaster at the marina to confirm our timing was right for the next section of water. We were about to head into Lower Hell Gate with white water rapids and strong current – and we needed to arrive at 2 hours past high slack tide to minimize the impact.  A tour boat arrived just as we were about to leave Robin Hood and we let it go first – it is faster and this is its regular route.  It did a zigzag maneuver to avoid the rocks and to get through the pass and we did the same at an increased speed!  We came through just fine but timing is everything!
Entering Hell Gate

Calmer now but narrow - approaching Upper Hell Gate
From there we proceeded to Upper Hell Gate – a narrow passage but without the rapids. We passed under another bridge and entered the Kennebec River and arrived at the town of Bath.  We immediately faced the enormous Bath Iron Works, a major shipbuilder of destroyers and other ships.  We turned to port and arrived at the Maine Maritime Museum where we had reserved a mooring ball.  (It is next to Bath Iron Works.)   We picked up the mooring ball with no problem even though the wind and current were opposing each other. 

Bath Iron Works on the Kennebec River

Outbound was already moored here when we arrived at
the Maine Maritime Museum
Our mooring fee also included admission to the museum and all the buildings on the grounds. A good deal!  There was more to see than we could accomplish in one afternoon, so we may go back in the morning.  We toured the Maine Maritime History Building that has many displays in it.  We also toured a working boat shop, the shipyard owner’s home (built in1840 and renovated in 1890), the historic boat collection, and a shipyard including mould loft, mill and joiner shop, and more.  That was a lot to pack into 2 ½ hours!

We went back to our boat and had dinner on board. We had wonderful leftovers (lobster, shrimp, and crab casserole that we had frozen), a salad, and fresh steamed broccoli.  

Moon rising on the Kennebec River
We will go to a marina near South Freeport tomorrow.  That will give us a shot hop to South Freeport on Saturday. (the LL Bean Store -open 24/7- is beckoning), in the morning.  We will not leave here until 1:00 because of the current.