Sailing on the Surprise

Boarding at the Camden Public Dock

Boarding at the Camden Public Dock

Step aboard Surprise and enter the world of Windjammers! Relax on one of our cushioned seats and get acquainted with your shipmates. Just before we leave, Capt. Jack or Barbara will give you a brief introduction to the vessel, her safety equipment, and the upcoming trip. Then it’s secure the lifelines and cast off the dock lines. As we slowly motor out of Camden’s inner harbor, you will pass the waterfront wharves which often have luxury yachts from exotic ports tied to them. A look back gives you a view of Mt. Battie that can only be really appreciated from the water. Truly magnificent!

Heading out from the Harbor

When we get out of the harbor, Capt. Jack will find a few volunteers to help raise the sails. No winches here, just block and tackle and muscle power! As soon as the sails are set, the engine is off and we let the wind take over. Passing by Curtis Island, you can get a great photo of the lighthouse which has guarded Camden Harbor for over 150 years.

Sailing The Old Fashioned Way

Curtis Island Light


Once we are on Penobscot Bay, Surprise will follow the breeze, perhaps toward Mark Island or Saddle Island, or maybe along the rocky shore toward Rockport or Lincolnville. The spacious deck of Surprise allows lots of room for viewing wildlife and scenery and walking about. There is comfortable, cushioned seating for every passenger on board Surprise!

Bound for the Bay. Photo by Holly Anderson


Penobscot Bay is home to harbor seals, harbor porpoise, occasional minke and finback whales, and a wide variety of birds including eider ducks, mallards, common loons, black guillemots (close relatives of the Atlantic puffin), ospreys, and bald eagles! Although we can never predict what wildlife we will see today, we’re never alone on the Bay. Of course, there are the overnight windjammers which ply the waters of the Bay and we often see them with their magnificent sails set against a background of islands, rocks, ledges, or mountains. Our area has the largest fleet of traditionally rigged sailing vessels in active service in the United States, several of which are over 100 years old! You can also watch lobster fishermen hauling their traps like they have been doing for centuries.




After sharing some sea stories and history of Surprise, Capt. Jack will shout “Ready about- hard a’lee” as we come about for the return trip to Camden. About now Barbara appears with her basket of fresh fruit and cookies, always much appreciated by the ship’s company. There is always time for photos at the wheel during the cruise. As we take down sail and head back into the harbor, you will be brought back to the 21st century with a feeling that maybe the old quieter days aren’t completely gone after all. We sail three or four times each day, so there’s plenty of time to sail with us as often as you’d like!

Barb serving Ed his cookies

*You are welcome to make a reservation online via e-mail. We always ask you for your lodging and your cell phone number so we may contact you if necessary.  Since we do not take credit cards, payment may be made dockside by personal check or cash. We ask you to confirm in person at least 30 minutes prior to sailing. Of course, all of our trips are dependent on the weather. We are most conservative in deciding about sailing conditions and we will always try to accommodate you. To quote our dear friend, the Major,  ”We only sail when conditions are perfect.. or better.”  We look forward to seeing you on board  SURPRISE !

Departure Schedule

Beginning May 24, 2014


(July 1 -Sept. 15)

10 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m.


(May, June and Sept. 16 – Oct. 15)

10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.

Sunset sail (May and June only)


  • All sails are two hours
  • We sail with a maximum of 18 passengers.
  • We take children 12 years of age and older.
  • All our cruises are non-smoking.
  • Price: $40 per person
  • We offer Senior Citizen (65+) and NEA discounts

Payment is by cash or check and reservations can be made online via e-mail.

See us under the umbrella at the Public Landing or call us at 207-236-4687 or e-mail us

Mailing address: PO Box H, Camden, ME 04843

Gift Certificates make great surprises!

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