‘It was sure nice to be home!’

Posted June 28, 2009, at 7:45 p.m.

CASTINE, Maine — The State of Maine training ship returned to its home port Saturday, marking the completion of Maine Maritime Academy cadets’ mandatory 60-day training cruise.

Crowds were on hand at both Rockland, where the ship picked up family members, and Castine, where the ship is permanently docked. The cruise this year took 55 staff and crew members and 205 students to ports in Puerto Rico, Canada and the United States before returning to Castine.

Capt. Larry Wade wrote in his ship’s log Sunday: “Off Castine, we were met by our tugs and proceeded into Castine Harbor right on schedule to be greeted by a great crowd on both the town and MMA docks. It was sure nice to be home!”

Wade noted that on the trip into Rockland Harbor, the crew was forced to use radar due to heavy fog.

“Despite the lack of visibility everyone seemed happy to be aboard,” Wade’s log states. “I think the great lunch provided by the dining service staff went a long way to helping everyone feel at home.’’

Wade said the fog began to clear just in time to be able to view the entrance to Camden Harbor.

“Pretty soon we could see all the way to Searsport and we were treated to a view of a Maersk Tanker outbound to sea, passing down our port side,” he wrote.

The 500-foot MMA training ship left Castine on May 6 but developed engine trouble and was forced to head back to Searsport, where students and crew members made repairs.

In addition to replacing the damaged section of the engine’s exhaust manifold, they also performed other maintenance work, which included sending the engine’s turbo charger to New Jersey for new blades.

The State of Maine is a federally owned vessel on loan to the academy.

According to Capt. Wade, final room and ship inspections will be held Monday, then the students will be allowed to head for home.

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