Capt. Bob Pratt is a marine biologist and Master Maine Guide, which means not only can he sail the waters of Penobscot Bay, he also can explain everything there is to know about the marine life and coastal landscape. A former teacher at both the University of Maine and Maine Maritime Academy, he also possesses the ability to explain things gently.
Sightings of seals are common, porpoises are frequent, whales are rare. We cruised by Rockland’s Breakwater Light. We saw lobster boats hauling traps, Owl’s Head Light winking at us in the fog, and the Nathaniel Bowditch raise its sails and the Victory Chimes sail by under full sail. We watched the fog roll in and Vinalhaven and North Haven islands disappear into the fog; and we saw the state ferries plying the waters to those elusive islands.
Bob is accompanied on board by a first mate and his yellow lab, Poco. And dogs who meet Poco on the dock and are well behaved, are allowed on board for the sail—nice to know, especially if you’re traveling with a pooch. A two-hour sail is a wonderful way to explore Rockland Harbor, where it spills into Penobscot Bay, and it’s a nice intro to sailing aboard a windjammer. If you like it, consider a multi-day sail on one of the Maine Windjammer Association vessels.
And now, September into early October, is the ideal time to sail the Maine Coast. The breezes are more reliable than in summer, the color is beginning to fringe the trees, the bugs are gone, and even on a foggy day (despite my Hurricane Hannah-induced experience, these are rare in September), there are few activities that rival it. As I sit here on a spectacular September morning, I’m dreaming of that sail and mentally planning another.