A trip along the coast of Maine aboard the charter yacht Nirvana is heaven on watery earth.
By Capt. Ken Kreisler — May 2003
The Charlene and the Kathy B, two wooden Downeasters, were hanging on their moorings in the Kennebunk River, their proud bows turned out to sea with the incoming tide. I had only been in Kennebunkport, Maine, a few hours--when I got onboard Nirvana, the elegant 118-foot charter yacht that would be home for the next few days, the tide was outgoing--and already I was beginning to feel comfortable. I was starting to unburden myself of wallet and watch and meetings and appointments. For me that's always a sure sign of good things ahead.
This trip would take me east-northeast from Kennebunkport to Boothbay Harbor, with stops at Bath, Christmas Cove, and Pemaquid Point. The distance, as the crow flies, is roughly 60 NM, but with the fjord-like Maine coastline, the actual distance is easily triple that.
Jim Raycroft, my photographer, had taken along his son MacKenzie, a.k.a. Mac, and accompanying me were my wife Linda and daughter Samantha. The kids' immediate bonding resulted in the duo being known as Mac and Cheese, since rather than partake in the wonderful food being served, they often preferred the pasta and fromage dish during the voyage.
The maritime history of Kennebunkport comes alive with a stroll through streets offering outstanding 19th-century architecture in both colonial- and Federal-era-style homes. We decided to spend the day in town, have dinner aboard, and on the morning high tide--the Kennebunk River can get pretty skinny at low tide--set out for Bath.
Nirvana, docked at Chick's Marina, was skippered by Capt. Will Keiser, a man who was as comfortable handling the big boat in tight quarters as he was doing duty as our sommelier during our Captain's Wine Tasting Evening. He and his crew (first mate Steve Fossi, chef Oanh Huynh, engineer Peter Kohler, and stewardesses Delly Dauvergne and Ann van Eck) officially welcomed us onboard with a late snack of tuna niçoise salad and dessert. The so-called "bite to eat" of sushi-grade fish and fresh veggies accompanied by a salad turned out to be one of Huynh's masterpieces, a dish that set the culinary bar so high, it was nothing short of remarkable that she was able to surpass her offerings again and again as the days slipped by.
Indeed, for dinner that first night we had a New England seafood extravaganza, featuring lobsters from Nirvana's own lobster tank along with the usual accoutrements. Afterwards, we all enjoyed homemade raspberry peach pie, got the kids settled in their bunks, and sat around with captain and crew for after-dinner drinks and conversation.
Next morning the way to Bath was thick with low-lying clouds, quite the contrast from our sunny day in Kennebunkport. But the crew was upbeat, and as we passed Cape Arundel Point, Cape Porpoise Harbor, and Goose Rocks Beach, I spotted patches of blue sky in the direction of Cape Elizabeth.
This article originally appeared in the April 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.