John and Jamie on "Dream Catcher"
From Lake Sebago to Brandy Pond via the Songo River and Lock

The journey from Lake Sebago, Maine to Brandy Pond had some extra twists and turns this year...
... from heavy spring rains!

June 10, 2005

Songo Lock

mapWe left Kettle Cove Marina at 10:30 A.M. on May 30, 2005, and cruised by Bear Point, on the the way to the buoy makers, at the northern end of Sebago Lake, that mark the entrance to the channel into the Songo River. A 35 foot Carver was in front of us as we wound our way past the boat launch, in the Sebago Lake State Park and continued up river. The weather was clearing and turned sunny and beautiful for awhile.

We came around one bend in the river, to be hailed from the shore by a woman, in one of big two boats, tied to trees along the riverside. She warned us of shallow water in the next bend, near an eddie that was filled with flotsam and jetsam.

As we hugged the deepest water we could find, the rudders started to drag in the sand then kicked up a little bit, to let us continue upstream against the current that was running, from all the run off, of all the rainy weather we have been having lately.

We breathed a sigh of relief when we got through these shallows, that had been caused by the high volume of rain waters that made a current strong enough to shift the bottom sand around at the end of this eddie.

We waited in the pool below the Songo River Locks, until the operator closed the gates on the upsteam end and then opened the lower ones, so we could motor in to the locks and tie up. The downrigger board I had made, snagged a piece of wood on the side of the locks as we pulled to the side, to tie up with a little damage to it, where it stuck out past the side of the hull.

We were then greeted by the Milfoil Police, handing out brochures while waiting for the water level to raise, so we could continue on our way to Brandy Pond and the town of Naples.

After the water level filled up inside, the gates were opened and we headed into the strong sideways current, that went to our right and over the dam spillway. It had a tendency to pull the boat over that way, so I turned to port and gave it a little gas, only to clip a pine branch that was leaning down, with the top of the mast and bent the windex sitting on top of it, and we were greeted by a shower of pine needles.

The rest of the trip to Brandy Pond was a nice cruise in adequately deep water and then we entered the buoy markers leading into the pond. It is a shallow pond, 20 to 30 feet deep and set a course for the Naples Causeway bridge on Route 302.

Upon arrival at the bridge, we read the sign of the scheduled bridge openings, and we pulled into a dock near there and Jamie walked up to the causeway and bought a couple of delicious lobster rolls for lunch . We decided to not to try to make the run to the town of Harrison towards the billowing thunder clouds, that were heading our way.

We cast off and headed back down Brandy Pond and back into the river. We waited upstream of the swing bridge as the man spun it out of the way so we could approach the locks. This time I was wary of the pine branch and had to swing out in the current to avoid it. When turning back to go into the lock, the current caught the stern and swung it around, so I applied power, so not to hit the lock and we swung into the lock stern first. We walked the boat back to the end gate and waited for the water to drop to the Sebago Lake level and then we backed out of the lock and went on our way.

When approaching the shallows area this time, we loosened the rudder lines a little bit, so they swung up some and we stayed in the deepest water we could find and breezed through without touching bottom this time, at all.

After winding our way down the river and back to the lake, we set out a couple of fishing lines and trolled, until the clouds became too ominous. We pulled in our fishing lines and headed back to the shelter of Kettle Cove, just as the rain really came down.

This season very rainy weather has caused stronger currents in the river and also raised the water level but the only tree that we had trouble with was just north of the lock after you leave it and its on your port side going upstream. The shallows area, was right after a turn in the river, where a lot of washed out log crib work was seen, on the starboard shoreside heading up stream.

We will wait until the water level has gone down a bit and the current has eased, before we will make another attempt to go from Sebago Lake, to the town of Harrison through the Songo Locks.

It was a beautiful trip in the river, but it’s full of twists and turns, that keep you on your toes.

It took us a couple of hours to go from the Kettle Cove Marina and up the river to the Naples bridge and we just putted along at 4 or 5 knots .


John & Jamie
Dream Catcher

The New England Trailer Sailors

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