I’m a fan of the Maine State Ferry Service. That’s because the MSFS provides regular ferry runs from points along the mainland to the islands found up and down the Maine coastline. If you’re a landlubber like me and just want to get out on the water, you don’t need to charter a boat — you can just hop on a ferry and move from point A to point B the same way the locals do.
Yesterday morning Kish and I took a ride on the Bass Harbor to Frenchboro ferry. For a mere $10 a person, the ferry takes you away from the harbor, past islands and working lobster boats, to the tiny island town of Frenchboro. If you’re just along for the ride, like we were, it’s a pleasant two-hour trip. And if you see a porpoise, as we did, it’s an even better deal.
When the left the dock at 8 a.m. sharp, some morning fog was still hugging the islands, wrapping them like a moist gray blanket, as shown in the photo above. On the open water, though, it was a brilliant, blue sky day, with lots of activity from the lobster-catching contingent.
After we cruised into the snug harbor at Frenchboro, a gaggle of locals came on board. For them, the ferry is routine stuff, and they sat up front, chatting away without a second glance at the no doubt familiar scenery. Kish and I, on the other hand, sat in the back, the better to get unimpeded views of everything going on around us. How often do flatlanders from the Midwest get a dockside view of a real working harbor and fishermen who think nothing of knocking back a can of beer at 9 a.m., the better to kick start their trip to the mainland?
When we looked into taking a ferry ride, the woman behind the desk at the ferry office recommended the Frenchboro ferry as more scenic than the Swan Island ferry, which uses a much bigger boat that also carries cars and trucks. It was good advice.