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No foul currents

Sep 1, 2006

On a recent 14-hour delivery trip along the Maine coast, Ocean Navigator advertising manager Charlie Humphries and I had a wonderful and somewhat baffling experience. We were taking a boat from Hancock Point in Frenchman’s Bay to Christmas Cove via the inside route; plenty of ledges, islands and lobster buoys to avoid, we were often only a stone’s throw from shore. The passage tended southwest, but we also steered magnetic headings of west, north and south. Here’s the fun part: no matter what our heading we nearly always had a positive current kick. On those few times when we did not have a boost, we were in slack water (this effect was ridiculously easy to observe, given the dense flocks of buoys we twisted through).

Coastal tide experts can dig and delve through the tide tables and current charts to explain the mechanics of this, but at the time it seemed less important as a technical question and more a source of awe and amusement to Charlie and me. Almost like a boon from above — a feeling that was further heightened by the spectacular sky at the end of the day. As we crossed Muscongus Bay the clouds faded to vermilion scales, a quarter moon waxed and the glow of the departed sun back lit the western sky in dissipating rays of copper.

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