Tag Archives: Casco Bay

Polar plungers enjoy New Year’s Eve beach day | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Polar plungers enjoy New Year’s Eve beach day | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Sneaking a peek at Trader Joe’s | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Sneaking a peek at Trader Joe’s | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Fish passage is the next step for Presumpscot | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Fish passage is the next step for Presumpscot | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Coin flip ends lighthouse bidding war | Bangor Daily News

Coin flip ends lighthouse bidding war | Bangor Daily News.

‘Who wouldn’t want to own a lighthouse in Maine?’ | Portland Press Herald

 Bidders drawn by the charm, desire to preserve Ram Island Ledge Light take a closer look at Casco Bay lighthouse

 CASCO BAY – From his home in Cape Elizabeth, Scott Raspa can see Ram Island Ledge Light taking a pounding during nor’easters, or standing sentinel in calmer seas

On Thursday, the software consultant joined others on a Coast Guard vessel for a closer view of the lighthouse, about a mile northeast of Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth. The visitors were registered bidders in a federal government auction of the five-story tower, which has helped mark the main channel to Portland Harbor since 1905.

Conserving the lighthouse was a common motive among the bidders. A couple of them also thought ownership of the lighthouse could dovetail with their business plans. One had a notion that it could serve as a bed and breakfast for adventurous types, but wasn’t yet certain what he would do. All seemed charmed by the prospect of owning a wind-swept lighthouse off Maine’s rocky coast.

The Coast Guard doesn’t have the budget to maintain all of the lighthouse towers that house navigational aids, which in this case consists of a light and a foghorn. Under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000, lighthouses are offered to groups such as local governments and nonprofits at no cost before being put up for auction. The Coast Guard continues to maintain the navigational aids in lighthouse towers that are sold.

Raspa likes the idea of being the owner of a nearby lighthouse, with all its mystery and history. He doesn’t yet have a concrete plan should that become the case.

“We were thinking about having cocktail parties there. I don’t know if that’s possible,” he said.

Click for the rest of the story by Ann S. Kim in the Portland Press Herald.

Talk about your dream jobs – island caretaker

OK, there is something mystically adventurous and appealing about living on an island. You don’t have to worry about traffic, noisy neighbors, or getting too lost.

On the other hand, there’s only so much you can see on island, entertainment options are pretty limited, and help can be a long way away should anything go wrong.

Still, this ad on MaineJobs.com caught my eye. I kind of wish I met the job requirements.

“Summer community of approx 50 families in Casco Bay, Portland, ME, seeks year-round caretaker who is a self starter with strong people skills and can juggle multiple demands. Preference given to candidates with strong mechanical and trade skills, and waterfront capabilities. Compensation includes salary, aid to partner, benefits, housing, utilities, and a mooring. Owner of a sturdy boat is preferred.”

I can pass along the address if anyone is interested.

FEMA’s new flood plain mapping could cost coastal Mainers dearly | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

FEMA’s new flood plain mapping could cost coastal Mainers dearly | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Portland Symphony Orchestra pops again | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Cover Story: PSO pops again | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Experts see Casco Bay kayak trip’s tragic end as reminder | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Experts see Casco Bay kayak trip’s tragic end as reminder | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

From the BDN story:

Guides and safety experts recommend that kayakers always check weather forecasts before any voyage, get safety training and have:

• Open-water sea kayaks, generally 15 to 16 feet or longer, which have watertight flotation chambers. The boats are more stable in wind and waves.

• Spray skirts that can keep water from washing into a boat and reducing stability.

• Wet suits or dry suits, until water temperatures rise above 60 degrees, or until the combined air and water temperature exceeds 120 degrees.

• A waterproof VHF radio, or a cell phone in a watertight case.

• Signaling devices.

• Life jackets.

• Name and phone numbers written on the boat.

Deadly Portland kayaking trip: Young women die in ‘very cold’ bay | Portland Press Herald

PORTLAND – Two young college friends, one of them a longtime summer resident of Peaks Island, died after setting out for a short kayak trip Sunday and apparently falling into the cold and choppy waters of Casco Bay.

Irina McEntee, 18, and Carissa Ireland, 20, were found about 9 a.m. Monday by Coast Guard helicopter and boat crews about three miles off Cape Elizabeth and seven miles south of the kayakers’ original destination, Ram Island.

The women, both wearing life jackets, shorts and light shirts, were severely hypothermic and unresponsive and had no apparent vital signs when they were pulled from the 48-degree water, the Coast Guard said.

A helicopter crew rushed them to Maine Medical Center, where doctors tried to resuscitate them before pronouncing the women dead about 9:30 a.m., according to a hospital spokesman.

Forty-eight degrees “is very, very cold,” said Coast Guard Cmdr. Brian Downey. “Survivability is very short in that type of water condition.”

Click on the link for the rest of this story by John Richardson in the Portland Press Herald.

In search of pirate treasure on a Maine island

Tales of buried treasure have sparked the imagination of young and old for centuries. The high-seas adventure of boarding a ship or fending off marauders, the clink of clashing cutlasses and the boom of canons, it all stirs excitement in most of us.

Maine’s coast is a tough, rough, rugged fortress of surf-honed granite. It has been a favorite place frequented by pirates, smugglers, bootleggers, and drug mules.

So here is today’s trivia question from DownEast.com about buried treasure.

Trivia

On what island is Captain Kidd’s treasure reportedly buried?

Answer:

Jewell Island in Casco Bay is most commonly mentioned as the pirate’s hiding place, but before he was hanged he gave his wife a piece of paper with the numbers 44-10-66-18, which have been interpreted as the latitude and longitude of Deer Isle. Richmond Island and Squirrel Island have also been mentioned.

Mainers call for an end to offshore drilling | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Mainers call for an end to offshore drilling | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

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Casco Bay’s forgotten forts | Down East

[I attended the University of Southern Maine in the early 1980s and had the opportunity to take a ferry out to one of the 365 or so islands in Casco Bay. But I didn’t realize the significant military history associated with some of those islands. I enjoyed this story about some of the military forts that were built on those islands to ward off threat. — KM]

Karen Lannon and her brother Hal Cushing have perhaps the most unusual piece of waterfront property in Greater Portland: a twenty-four-acre island complete with an artillery-ready, three-bastion granite fort. The two-story fort is fully equipped with walls, parapets, parade ground, and cavernous munitions bunkers and is suitable for repulsing any hostile parties who might wish to attack the Old Port with nineteenth-century naval assets. All Lannon and Cushing would need to hold back the steamers of the old Spanish Navy is a shipment of ten- and fifteen-inch Rodman guns, sixty trained artillerymen, and a large supply of ammunition.

Fortunately, Casco Bay isn’t under any immediate threat, so the siblings concentrate on the more mundane responsibilities of fort ownership. They mow acres and acres of lawns — every few days in springtime, the grass grows so quickly — and keep the walkways and outbuildings maintained for the tour parties they bring over from the city four times a week in season. Over near the old Immigration and Quarantine station there are lobster bakes to stage and weddings to cater, but at least they don’t have to clean up oil spills anymore. After their mother, the late Hilda Cushing Dudley, purchased the fort in 1954 to save it from being torn down, the family would regularly have to clean up their beach whenever oil spilled from tankers at the South Portland terminals. (“When we get a spill we get down on our hands and knees and clean it up,” she told a reporter in 1977. “People aren’t going to come out here if there’s oil all over the beach.”)

Asked what the hardest thing about fort ownership is nowadays, Hal doesn’t have to think. “Paying the taxes,” he says emphatically, referring to the $35,000 annual bill from Portland, of which House Island and Fort Scammell are a part. “We don’t have any services, but we’re charged by the square foot so we’re in the top ten tax residents in the city.”

But previous custodians of Fort Scammell and the network of other fortifications protecting Maine’s largest port had even worse things than taxes to contend with. They were slaughtered in Indian attacks in the seventeenth century, bombarded by British cannons in the eighteenth, suffered for lack of supplies, heat, and entertainment in the nineteenth, and shot at by suspected spies in the early twentieth. On the eve of World War II, thousands of soldiers and sailors manned anti-aircraft guns, heavy artillery, watch towers, and the controls for remotely-detonated mines, alert for a Nazi surprise attack that fortunately never came.

Click on the link for the rest of this story by Colin Woodard in Down East magazine.

Acquire some mussels: Founders of a pioneering rope-grown mussel operation off Clapboard Island are ready to sell | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Acquire some mussels | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Maine at Work: Reporter spills the beans about factory where nothing is half-baked | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine at Work: Reporter spills the beans about factory where nothing is half-baked | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Study: Climate changing in Casco Bay area

Study: Climate changing in Casco Bay area