Category Archives: Charter Destinations

Local Cruising near Southwest Harbor

LOCATIONS: We had a wonderful week based on a remote island with trips to Blue Hill, Southwest Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Bass Harbor, Little Cranberry. We also spent one day exploring the Eggemoggin Reach.

VESSEL: An Ellis 36 Express Cruiser

Morning coffee (and some remote work) on our Ellis 36 Express Cruiser

NARRATIVE: We have found a perfect solution for our desire to get out and explore the beauty of Acadia and the Islands of Mid-coast Maine. Ellis is a trustworthy reliable company that has a fantastic fleet and great employees.

LOGISTICS: Follow your charts and be prepared to use radar in the event of fog. 

PHOTOS: A beautiful day on a Maine Island.

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A Maine Coast Boating Guide

We would like to recommend “A Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast” for dreaming, scheming, and general Maine Coast vacation planning – it is truly a great resource. This is the kind of book you will want to purchase IN ADVANCE of your soon-to-be Ellis Charter.


Also, every Ellis Charter Boat includes MAPTECH charts and a copy of MAPTECH’s New England Cruising Guide, which is a very useful guide for finding specific information on each Maine AND New England harbor. If you would like to view a copy of the New England Cruising Guide in advance, you can purchase their ebook version HERE.

A Four-Day Maine Cruise Aboard The Ellis 36 “Hathor”

We, three septuagenarian veterans of sailboat cruising in Maine, were curious what a power-boat charter would be like. So, when we saw a four-day window in Ellis Charter’s schedule, we thought that would be a perfect opportunity to sample the experience. We are accustomed to sailing at speeds between four and six knots while steering clear of lobster pot buoys, so the prospect of cruising at 15 knots without needing to be wary of pot buoys was very appealing. It would allow us to get between destinations expeditiously and enjoy exploring the many shores and hiking trails of outlying Maine islands.

Our cruise aboard “Hathor”, an Ellis 36 Express Cruiser, brought us much sunny weather to enjoy our shore excursions, punctuated with periods of rain, fog, strong winds, and choppy seas as we moved between stops. We welcomed the sense of shelter and robustness that Hathor provides, compared to the exposure to the elements aboard a sailboat. In our 96 hours with the boat, we made stops in the following places, as described further:

• Lunt Harbor, Frenchboro/Long Island (mooring) – pictured below
• Burnt Coat Harbor, Swans Island (mooring)
• Southern Harbor, North Haven Island (anchor)
• Duck Harbor, Isle au Haut (anchor)
• Seal Bay, Vinalhaven (anchor)
• Merchant Harbor, Merchant and Harbor Islands (anchor)
• Islesford, Little Cranberry Island (mooring)
• Northeast Harbor, MDI (dock)
• Southwest Harbor, MDI (dock)

Looking back at Mount Desert Island from Lunts Harbor – Stop #1

Day 1: After a boat-handling check-out from an Ellis technician that covered docking and picking up moorings, we left Southwest Harbor on Mount Desert Island for Frenchboro, Long Island in the early afternoon. Continue reading

A few great Maine Boating Destinations

As I sat down with my tax accountant a couple of weeks back (that time of year). I did not necessarily expect a conversation to ensue beyond the invariable discussion of tax codes, liabilities, and write-off potentials. However, as it turns out, my tax accountant is an avid boater with some valuable boating opinions. He discussed many “friendly need-to-see harbors”. Continue reading

Maine Harbors, Islands, Docks, and Passages…

LOCATIONS: Schoodic Peninsula, Ocean Drive, Eggemoggin Reach, Bucks Harbor, Frenchman’s Bay, Mount Desert Island Area…

VESSEL: The Ellis 36 Express Cruiser “Salty Furlough”.

I. For the nature lover head northeast to the Schoodic peninsula. Take the inside route passing Mark Island to starboard. Enjoy the scenery along Grindstone Neck and this less frequented region of Acadia National Park. Continue on to Petit Manan for bird watching. If you’re lucky you’ll see the elusive Puffin.
II. From SW/NE Harbor head north along the eastern shore of MDI. Enjoy seeing the magnificent turn of the century mansions. Continue north along Ocean Drive and consider how lucky you are to be on an Ellis as you observe the hoards of crowds and vehicles attempting to catch a glimpse of the Maine coast.
III. Cruise north and west to cross Eggemoggin Reach of your list of “must-sees” on the Maine coast. Sail into Bucks Harbor for fuel or an overnight assisted by the friendly dock and convenience store staff.
IV. Don’t forget Frenchman Bay for excellent deep water cruising and great views of the MDI mountains. While there check out Bald Rock for eagles and seals. Travel north to view the former terminal site for the Mount Desert Ferry where the trains met the steamers for the final leg of the rusticator’s journey to Bar Harbor and points beyond.
V. Short trips:
a. We visited Islesford and their Dock Restaurant for lunch and dinner.
b. We dropped the hook off Eagle Island for a nice lunch spot.
c. We stopped into Bar Harbor a couple of times for lunch and dinner.
d. We cruised around Baker Island for a different view of the MDI mountains.
e. We cruised to the end of Somes Sound for spectacular “inner-island” views.

PHOTO: Islesford Dock Restaurant, from

LOGISTICS: Bar Harbor – Check in with the harbormaster for the possibility to tie up for a few hours. We were able to accomplish this at no charge. Islesford Dock Restaurant – call ahead for reservations. Stock up on snacks and water for the week or longer to minimize provisioning trips.

Share your own Maine Boating Experience: HERE

Maine Boating Destination: To Rockland and Back

LOCATIONS: Nancy and I started in Southwest Harbor and, over a period of a week, visited Camden, Rockland, Castine, Little Cranberry Island, and Somes Sound. During our passages, we covered the Casco Passage, the Deer Island Passage, the Fox Island Thoroughfare and the Eggomoggin Reach (photo).

VESSEL: Queen of the Cove– A beautiful and very well equipped Ellis 36. The boat was easy to handle, very comfortable in all the sea conditions we experienced. In addition, the boat received several nice comments along the way from others at the docks.

NARRATIVE: We were given a nice reception in Southwest Harbor by Shane and the crew at Ellis Boats. Zach gave us a thorough briefing on the boat including a great tutorial on docking. It turns out the Ellis 36 handles very nicely at docking speeds – I was a bit nervous at first about docking the boat – but was comfortable after two approaches. We choose to use the services of a captain for the first day just to familiarize ourselves with the region. I have wide boat experiences but Nancy does not – and she felt very secure after the first day. The captain sat down with us and helped to work out a great itinerary for the week ahead. The trip started with a passage to Rockland Harbor in windy, bright sun conditions. We decided to stay at harbor docks when possible – and did so in Rockland, Camden, and Castine. The towns are very unique and we got in a lot of walking – exploring each area. The people we met, including the dockmasters, could not have been nicer – we just had a ball. We found the boat to be very comfortable and used either the generator or shore power most nights. The boat was fully equipped with bedding, paper products, galley equipment, etc.. In addition, the boat had a full complement of operational safety gear – very professional. We will do this again next year. Both Nancy and I are happily surprised that Ellis has developed this unique service – we had a great time.

LOGISTICS: Watch the water levels in the boat – fill up at the docks when you have a chance. The shower in the boat is so good you will use it often.

PHOTOS: Queen of the Cove Yacht Interior Photos

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Maine Boating Destination: To Penobscot Bay and Back

LOCATIONS: Penobscot Bay, Bucks Harbor, Belfast, Castine, Northeast Harbor, Somes Sound.

VESSEL: The Ellis 36 Liberty (formerly Eggemoggin Express)

NARRATIVE: My wife and I just completed a wonderful week cruising the Penobscot Bay aboard an Ellis 36 Express named Liberty (formerly named Eggemoggin Express). The boat was awesome in every way and our destinations certainly exceeded our expectations. The boat was very comfortable and stable and we found the systems very easy to manage and operate. Liberty was well equipped and all we needed was our clothes and provisions. Other than a few windy days, we found our first time navigating the area to be easier than we envisioned and the scenery was amazing. Navigation was straightforward and we found most areas to be very well marked even for first-time visitors. We found wonderful scenic anchorages in Bucks Harbor and Northeast Harbor and fell in love with small towns like Belfast and Castine. We ended our trip on a morning cruise through Somes Sound which was spectacular. Throughout the trip, the wildlife was amazing from the herons and osprey to playful seals that loved darting around our wake. Our week went by quickly and we only touched the surface on possible destinations, so we hope we get to return.

PHOTOS: Here are a few photos from our trip.

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Maine Boating Destination: A Journey to Castine

LOCATIONS: Somes Sound, Little Cranberry Island, Northeast Harbor, Eggemoggin Reach, and Castine at 44°23’14.6″N 68°47’43.4″W

VESSEL: The Ellis 36 Express Cruiser “Too Priceless”.

NARRATIVE: Two summers ago, we chartered an Ellis 36 called “Too Priceless”. We had two full days of cruising in beautiful weather. The first day we had a large crowd of 12-13 and stayed local, going toward Bar Harbor and visiting Little Cranberry Island, Northeast Harbor and exploring Somes Sound and the Western Way. The boat had plenty of room for the large group. The next day three of us made the trip by Bass Harbor up Eggemoggin Reach into Penobscot Bay and docked at Castine for lunch and exploring the town. About a month before our trip, I had read an article about Castine and really wanted to visit. We probably should have taken some extra time and visited Belfast, Stonington, or maybe Camden, but we had plans for an early evening. The boat was a nice ride and easy to handle. We generally cruised at 14-15 knots. We did not overnite on the boat, but I think it would be comfortable for a small group.


Share your own Maine Boating Experience: HERE

Maine Boating Destination: Sand Cove on Marshall Island

LOCATION: 44°06’27.7″N 68°30’11.4″W – Sand Cove, Marshall Island, ME
VESSEL: The Ellis 36 Flybridge Cruiser “Fulton Blake”.

NARRATIVE: This small uninhabited island is near Swans Island, just outside of Jericho Bay. It sports a great beach, nice hike, and overnight camping locations (although we never camped overnight). The anchorage is stable and the harbor fairly well-protected as long as you do not anchor out too far. The beach is a favorite spot for my kids, of course. And if you plan your trip later in the season, the swimming is nice. Bring a picnic and enjoy! – Shane Ellis, Ellis Boat Company, Inc.

PHOTOS: Here are a few photos from one of our trips a few years ago. The Island shot is courtesy (I could not find any photos that I took of Sand Cove).

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LOGISTICS: You will need to anchor – no moorings. Anchorage has always been solid. No services. Remote and uninhabited.

Share your own Maine Boating Experience: HERE