I transplanted from Massachusetts to Maine in 1980 to attend Maine Maritime Academy, where I was introduced to Penobscot Bay’s rugged beauty and rich maritime history. I forged friendships there that remain important, including my classmate and fellow sailing team member Skip Strong. For the past 27 years, Skip has been my business partner in the Penobscot Bay & River Pilots Association. We have taken countless photos over the years while piloting large commercial ships in and out of Penobscot Bay and River as well as on Frenchman Bay. Our mentors in training for this profession were Captains Gilbert Hall and Bill Abbott, who were also MMA grads. They instilled in us a deep sense of the responsibilities inherent in the piloting profession, and a deep appreciation for the history of shipping on the bay. Bill used to say that being a Penobscot Bay Pilot was the greatest privilege a mariner could hope for. Despite the unholy hours, rough seas, and icy pilot ladders that come with the job, Skip and I share this sentiment. Perhaps as you view this photo, you may appreciate why we feel that way.
SEE THEM IN ACTION: In a video by Skip Strong from the Penobscot Bay & River Pilots Association, watch a river pilot jump from one boat to a tanker, and then climb on board.