Part 2: The day dawned bright and clear.
By Capt. Ken Kreisler — May 2003
If you've got the time, Cape Elizabeth is worth the stop. There's beautiful Crescent Beach and Two Lights State Park, celebrated by American artist Edward Hopper in his 1929 oil entitled The Lighthouse at Two Lights. If you're lucky enough to be there on just the right day, when the light is bright and the sky is clear, you can stand right where Hopper had once stood and, as we did, see what he saw.
We were docked at the Bath Maritime Museum pier by late afternoon, with just enough time to peruse its fine seafaring collection. Bath, famed for the Bath Iron Works shipyard, is nestled on the banks of the Kennebeck River, and that's what brought us here. This is striped bass country, and I made arrangements with Forrest Faulkingham of the Maine saltwater guide service and Chris Grill, who runs the prestigious Angler tackle shop in Bath, to take us out on their skiffs early the next morning.
In the meantime, with the memory of Huynh's lunchtime repast of sea bass in sundried tomato-basil vinaigrette still as fresh in our minds as her ingredients, we were looking forward to her dinner menu of butternut squash bisque, veal chops with cornichons-caper demiglace, sweet mashed potatoes, and some homemade strawberry shortcake. The kids had found the galley and decided it was more fun to be in there with the crew than with us.
Morning dawned gray with misty rain. By eight we were set up for a drift on the Kennebeck about a half-mile downstream from our dock. "Howyadoin, Forrest?" "Well, Frank," Faulkingham replied to a fellow guide fishing in a boat nearby. Grill, on his own boat, had landed yet another fish. Both men looked his way as he slipped the striper back into the water. "I got up this mawnin and took some nourishment, so I guess I'm doin alright," smiled Faulkingham. "S'pose so, Forrest," said the guide. "I'm on!" said Cheese as her rod bent almost to the water. "Me too!" cried Mac. "Got to get going now Frank. These kids are keepin' me plenty busy," said Faulkingham as he released both kids' catches. After fishing it was back to the boat for lunch underway.
Coastal Maine is rugged and beautiful, and our late August afternoon cruise was blessed with sunshine, calm seas, and mild temperatures that made the vistas even more stunning. We sighted seals and whales on our way up to Christmas Cove.
The inlet was a minefield of lobster buoys that forced Keiser to push on up north to Seal Bay, where he could safely drop the hook. There were fish splashing on top, and we could see their silver sides catch a glint of sun as they pursued their prey. A brown head appeared and, just as quickly, dove back down and came up again, this time with a fish in its mouth. Another seal popped its head up, also looking for a meal.
The bay is at the head of the fjord, but instead of cliffs, we were surrounded by thickly packed evergreen and oak trees, all very tall and all very old. The water reflected the sky and was hued with shimmering shades of dark, almost black-blue from where the late afternoon sun still hit it. That night we, along with Keiser and Huynh, dinghied ashore and dined at the excellent Coveside restaurant as the crew took care of the kids.
The day dawned bright and clear, and we headed back to Coveside in the dinghy to meet up with Wild Bill Michaud, our kayaking guide for the morning. After a brief lesson, we were off to explore the beauty of Christmas Cove. Michaud, an energetic and knowledgeable man, was the perfect host for our four-hour tour. If you're a newcomer to the sport, he has the patience of a saint. Want a cardio workout? Well they don't call him Wild Bill for nothing.
This article originally appeared in the April 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.