Castine occupies the peninsula separating the Bagaduce River to the east from the Penobscot River to the west. The harbor is a deep, wide area of the Bagaduce, protected by the Castine peninsula, Cape Rosier, the mainland and outlying islands. The broad harbor entrance is marked by Dyce’s (or Dice) Head Light, a skeletal tower on the tip of the peninsula. The former lighthouse, a white brick tower, stands on the bluff above.
“The approach is clear, except you must follow the charts and avoid Middle Ground Ledge,” says Owen Reed, a Castine native and former assistant harbormaster.
The town is to port along the harborfront. Beyond Maine Maritime Academy’s docks and red brick buildings lie the town dock (transient dockage); Dennett’s Wharf Restaurant (dockage for diners); Eaton’s Boatyard (dockage and moorings); and, two blocks upstream, the Castine Yacht Club (transient dockage and moorings). All are downtown and within a block or two of restaurants and shops. The large mooring field stretches along the east side of the channel north of the town dock. Dinghies can be tied up at the town dock, Eaton’s or the yacht club.
Kenny Eaton, owner of Eaton’s Boatyard, warns approaching boaters of the strong currents. “If you use the current to your advantage, it’s [an easy approach].”
Holding is poor in the river because of the currents and 60- to 80-foot depths. Smith Cove, across the channel to the southeast, is the primary anchorage and hurricane hole. Well-protected and reasonably close to town, it can get crowded in summer. Locals say Holbrook Cove, to the south of Holbrook Island, is a good anchorage, but it’s farther from downtown. Both coves have buoyed rocks in their entrances.
NOAA chart 13309, Penobscot River, covers the Penobscot from Mount Desert Island to Belfast Harbor, including Castine, the Bagaduce River and approaches. Chart 13302 covers all of Penobscot Bay.
Where to stay
• The town dock — (207) 326-4502 — has dockage for boats to 120 feet in 12-foot depths at mean low water. Rates are $2 a foot per night, and there’s free two-hour dockage from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Water and 50-amp power are available. Restrooms and trash receptacles ($1 a bag) are on the dock.
• Eaton’s Boatyard — (207) 326-8579, VHF channel 9 — has a 190-foot face dock and slips with 14-foot depths at mean low water for boats to 180 feet for $2.75 a foot, including water. Moorings are $25 a night. There is a fee for power and showers. Gas, diesel, ice, marine supplies and repairs to hull, engine and prop are available. The facility also sells live lobsters.
• Castine Yacht Club — (207) 326-9231, VHF channel 9, www.castineyachtclub.org — offers guest moorings for members of reciprocating yacht clubs for $25, with a 24-hour limit. Overnight dockage may be available for $30. Fee for showers and trash disposal.
• Town dockmaster, (207) 326-9756
• Castine Merchants Association, www.castinemerchantsassociation.com
• Castine Kayak, www.castinekayak.com
• Castine on the Web, www.castine.org
• Maine Division of Tourism, www.visitmaine.com