Down to the Sea

Barbara Dyer: Mr. Camden Harbor

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 3:30pm

Captain Phil Raynes is no longer seen in his boat, the Bog Onion. An important part of Camden Harbor is missing. He was a lobsterman for many years, knowing Camden Harbor and beyond, without a compass or any equipment.  If he wanted to know how the wind was blowing, he just wet his finger and held it up.  His boat was pretty much held together by paint, but he never missed a day in the harbor.  He always checked his lobster boat on a mooring in the middle of the inner harbor.

In 1971, the harbor was frozen all the way out to Curtis Island.  How would Phil make it to his boat today?  Soon he was seen with one knee in his skiff, and his other foot pushing across the ice to his boat.

Another time the fog was so thick ”you could cut it with a knife.” Captain Raynes was out hauling his traps, when he heard someone yell from their yacht, “Can you tell us how to get back in Camden Harbor?”

“Well,” says Phil, “You can keep on where you are going, but you will soon be on a ledge.  If you wait till I finish hauling these traps, then you can follow me.” 

The yacht had all kinds of electronics, radar, etc., but Phil could listen to the sound of the waves and tell if he was too close to shore.

Captain Raynes was probably the most photographed person in Camden.  He had a real Maine accent, but he thickened it a little more for tourists.  He loved looking and playing the part of a Maine character.


More Barbara Dyer

• Camden Harbor: As old as the last glacier