Cranberry Cove will continue to serve passengers from the village of Manset after being denied dockage in Southwest Harbor. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Cranberry Cove Ferry to keep serving islands

CRANBERRY ISLES — The Cranberry Cove Ferry will continue carrying passengers between the Cranberry Isles and Southwest Harbor this year, despite not being allowed to keep using the Upper Town Dock in Southwest Harbor, says Steve Pagels, owner of Downeast Windjammer Cruises, which operates the ferry.  

He said the ferry can depart, instead, from the dock in the Southwest Harbor village of Manset that is owned by the town of Cranberry Isles. 

“We’re certainly not going to leave the Cranberry Islanders stranded,” Pagels said. So, we can run at least a minimal service out of Manset, and we are also looking for alternatives to that.” 

There has been a passenger ferry service between the Upper Town Dock and the Cranberries for about 75 years. Cranberry Cove Ferry has provided that service for the past 20 years. 

The ferry has been leaving the Upper Town Dock, then stopping to pick up passengers at the dock in Manset before continuing to the Cranberries. 

In January, on the recommendation of the Southwest Harbor Harbor Committee, the Select Board voted unanimously that the ferry could not continue to use the Upper Town Dock after this July 1. 

Harbormaster Oliver Curry said at the time that ferry passengers were taking up too many parking spaces at the Upper Town Dock lot and that more parking was needed for Southwest Harbor residents and other dock users. 

“Our plans are to provide the best facilities we can to as many people, especially those who are taxpaying harbor users, mooring renters and individuals,” Curry said.  

From the Upper Town Dock, ferry passengers can walk a half-mile along Clark Point Road, a mostly residential street, to the Southwest Harbor business district. From the Manset dock, it is 1.6 miles along busy roads. 

The town of Cranberry Isles owns a parking lot in Manset for use by property owners on Islesford, Great Cranberry and Sutton Island, with a few spaces available for day-trip parking. There were a few days last summer when all of those spaces were full. 

Voters at the March 12 Cranberry Isles town meeting authorized spending up to $20,000 for engineering and design services for the creation of additional parking at the town’s Manset property. 

Sea Queen back in business 

While the Cranberry Cove Ferry connects the Cranberry Isles with Southwest Harbor, the mail boat ferry operated by Beal & Bunker carries passengers between the Cranberries and Northeast Harbor. 

The larger of that company’s two boats, the Sea Queen, was out of service for repairs and refurbishment for several months, but it is now back in the water.  

Katelyn Damon, the town of Cranberry Isles’ public safety coordinator, told the Mount Desert Harbor Committee in early January that she had some concerns about the safety of the Sea Queen and the smaller Double B, which was filling in for the Sea Queen at the time. She said she wanted to make sure the boats were properly maintained. 

“I think the boats are relatively safe, and I don’t want to scare anybody,” she said at the time. “We’re just trying to get ahead of things before it becomes a bigger issue.” 

Beal & Bunker announced on Facebook on March 17, “The Sea Queen is back in the water and boy does she sparkle!” 

The boat had been at Ellis Boat Company in Southwest Harbor for new fuel tanks, a new fire suppression system and a number of other improvements. 

Damon told the Islander last Thursday that she had been on the Sea Queen two days earlier and was pleased with its condition. 

“The Sea Queen is great,” she said. “They did a ton of work on it, and it sounded good and ran well. I think it’s a big step forward.” 

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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