Head down the east channel and spot the 'good-looking chap'

By Steven J. Pixley | Sep 05, 2010

In mid-August, there are a few givens for the Harbor docks. One is the copious amounts of ice cream sold and another is the familiar drone over my VHF marine radio: “Camden Harbormaster Camden Harbormaster. This is the vessel Desiterata. We are looking for directions to your dock”.

Many visiting boats that make reservations to stay at the Camden town docks have never been to our fine little harbor. Many of them, after relying on a pretty GPS navigation plotter screen for their entire trip, feel a little frightened when they round Curtis Island and find themselves at our harbor channel. Imagine having all that water and all that room to navigate and then bang! You find yourself about to enter Camden’s Inner Harbor!

If the myriad of small and medium-size boats coming and going don’t razzle you maybe the peewee sailing team, which consists of an endless stream of eight year-olds from the Camden Yacht Club, will. Or maybe it’s the age-old problem for all human beings in that we are afraid of the unknown. And quite frankly, even the experienced mariner has said that he has been a little daunted when first coming approaching the town docks.

But that’s why there is me. Harbor Steve, as most locals are calling me these days, and this is my basic response to vessels like Desiterata. I talk in a friendly and confident voice and I welcome them to Camden Harbor. I then immediately inform them what side they will be tying to the docks. I then ask them for their location so I can get a fix on where they are so I can then describe to them what they should be looking for.

The Wayfarer big blue travel lift is a great landmark. I tell them that at the travel lift to “bang a right” down the East channel and proceed down the channel until I tell them to “bang a left” and look for the rather good looking chap waving his hat at them on the dock that they will be staying at.

After all lines are tied the wise-cracker captains usually yell out that they were confused about where to go because they were looking for the good looking chap and all they could see was me. I like setting up my guests for this line and it is a rather good ice breaker so I have come to expect it.

Once all or most of our guests are settled in for the night I saunter down the docks and introduce one boat crew to another just so they get to know who their new neighbor is. My team and I suggest a hike up on Mt. Battie or some other exciting thing to do. This is the 10th summer that I am harbormaster and to be honest, I never expected to hold the position this long; however, I do like it when visiting folks say that their friends came last year and said that Camden has a real friendly garbormaster and gives good directions!

 

Respectfully submitted

Steven Pixley

 

 

 

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