Thursday, October 9, 2014

Casco Bay Island Tour

It was a beautiful day today so we decided to take the Casco Bay Island Tour which is really a mail run to all the small islands in the area.  The Mail Run goes out on a commercial cargo boat out of the Portland, Maine harbor.  The locals also use it to come into town and do their shopping and transport things back and forth.

Mural near the Portland Harbor

Some of the Area

All the Ferries Lined Up

The Mail Run Boat That We Went Out On

The Mail Room Tour took about three hours and cost $14 each.  It was well worth the cost if you want to get out and see these islands close up.  You can also get off on an island on the morning run and they pick you up on the afternoon run and return you back to Portland.  The school kids also board the morning run and return to the islands in the afternoon.  It is a different life for the people on the islands.  The kids don't get home from school until around 5 PM.  
You can sit inside on the bottom level and that is where all the locals stayed.  Some sat and talked while others played cards.

And, we are off leaving the Harbor.

Views of Portland Harbor

The Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, also known as The Bug Light

One of the local ferry boats

The tourists were all on the upper deck.  The wind 
was mighty chilly but we were a hardy bunch!
The Bug Light

The Spring Ledge Lighthouse

The Spring Ledge Lighthouse is the only lighthouse 
in the United States that you can walk to.

Portland Head Lighthouse from miles away!

Fort Gorges - an octagonal fort built in 1958 on Hog Island

First Mail Stop at Little Diamond Island

Great Diamond Island

Unloading Cargo at Great Diamond Island

Stopping at Long Island

A ton of the locals got off at this stop with 
a lot of their own shopping cargo

A family who was dropped off on the early 
morning mail run is returning to Portland

The Mail Run guys get a lot of exercise delivering
 the cargo to shore.
The heavier stuff is loaded by crane

And dropped to the dock

Leaving Long Island

Only the hardy are out here now - 
the winds have gotten pretty cold!

We passed this island

A Lobster Trap - plenty of these along the way!

Cliff Island Mail Stop

This was the last stop for the mail run.  There are other islands farther out but this is the farthest out that the Mail Run reaches.

Heading back into Portland Harbor

We definitely had a nice time and would encourage anyone thinking about taking the mail run to do so.  You get a real feel for how the islanders live especially if you sit on the first floor with them for a period of time.  One lady talked about the fact that they had water during the summer but not during the winter and she lived there year round.  She apparently lived on the wrong side of the island for years round water.  A neighbor of hers tried to get water year round but the cost to do whatever they had to do to get it to her was astronomical - over $50,000!  I wanted to ask her what she did for showers and toilets but didn't have the nerve since I was just listening in on a conversation!  I was trying to imagine just getting groceries in town and transporting them the way they did in carry on carts and then delivering those to a golf cart and then home.  It didn't sound like much fun to me!

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