East Coast and Florida travel blog

Yes, it was cold! We stopped for gas and this limo had...

And the sun comes up on the ferry. Note the truck with...

It was a little foggy, but by the time we were under...

Farewell Nova Scotia and Canada and we're off

Fort Gorges in the Portland Harbour. Due to iron ships and long...

Our site at Wild Ducks Campground, a very pretty, well treed, natural...


The excitement for the day was taking the CAT (a 350' long catamaran high speed ferry) which goes from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia to Portland, Maine and doing the trip in half the time of a normal boat or to drive around. But to catch this early morning trip we had to be up and going before 7am. The stars were still out and Mike had to pack up the outside of the bus with the help of a flashlight while the temperature was hovering just above the freezing mark.

When we got to the ferry dock, we were put in line to be loaded, and we were parked to one side along with the other oversized vehicles. While we sat there and the sun came up, we watched across the parking lot, a single poor fellow directing traffic for the loading of the smaller vehicles. But the cars just drove around him, sneaking around, with no regard to his instructions, the cars weren't going to let a traffic guy stop them from loading. Then with some of the cars finally stopped in line, people would get out of their cars and start repacking the back of they car, or walking the dog one last time, even though the fellow directing traffic wanted them to be next to drive onto the ship. It was very very strange...

We were fortunate this 6 hour trip across to Portland was in calm seas. On board, sitting in oversized airline style seats, we watched a couple of movies, read our books and Michelle did some knitting. It was amazing to watch the frothing wake from this oversized Jet Ski as it zipped across the ocean. With only 3 of the 4 water jet engines currently working, we still traveled at over 30 knots per hour (almost 60 km/hr, or 35 mph). (The history of this vessel is interesting but you can search out the HST-2, formerly USNS Puerto Rico (HST-2), formerly Alakai, if you wish, only to know that it used to do island hopping in Hawaii and that the US Navy currently owns this and her sister ship.) During this trip, we missed seeing some pods of whales but when you're old hands at taking ferries like us, out in the ocean with a cloudless sky, it's all just another day at sea.

We had been one of the last vehicles loaded, and when we came to being unloaded in Portland, we were surprised to learn we had to back our 40' off the ferry. Not too bad since they had lots of room for maneuvering and it was a nice straight ramp (unlike when we were loaded up curving ramps in Yarmouth). Then we sat and waited 15 minutes in line for customs and when it was our turn, we were done US Customs in 3 minutes. A very pleasant experience, especially as we know it could have been a lot worse.

After our very early morning (of course, instead of 6 the brain woke us up at 4, 'gotta pack, gotta catch the ferry!') we were happy to get to our campsite early afternoon. Michelle happily put a new sticker on her state map as we set up. Pretty sure it will be an early night, too!



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