CAMDEN — When's the last time you saw the words "free" and "boat tour" and it didn't involve some smarmy time-share guy trying to shoehorn you into some backend deal in the Caribbean? Geesh, with an intro like that, I'd better turn this around quick.
The Betselma, a passenger-carrying vessel known to Camden residents for the last 66 years as operated by Capt. Les Bex, has switched hands this year. New owners, Alec and Erin Brainerd and Garth Wells and Jenny Tobin, earned the "Cool Award" of the week for offering to give Midcoast locals a free one-hour boat tour between May 24 and June 9. Too bad last week was a washout, but the coming week looks to be absolutely fabulous (Ab Fab!) for taking the new owners up on their incredibly generous offer.
The Brainerds, Wells and Tobin are paying it forward from all the support they got this winter when Betselma changed hands. Alec Brainerd has worked as a captain on a number of local boats, including Appledore, and he and his wife own Artisan Boatworks in Rockport. Wells and Tobin own the schooner Lewis R. French, which offers three- to six-day overnight passenger sails seasonally.
To kick off their new season, they are sharing the love with the locals. All you have to do to make a reservation is visit www.camdenharborcruises.com or call 236-6672 and choose a day and enter all your info, plus the coupon code LOCAL_FOLKS at the end. The reservation will change to $0.00 so you won't need to put in your credit card. But please, really be a local and honor your departure time.
To see more wicked ridiculously cool Cheap Dates stories and other local, insider things to do in the Midcoast, check out Penobscot Bay Pilot's Pinterest category, Cheap Dates.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.