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Ray Routhier

Portland Press Herald staff writer Ray Routhier will try anything. Once. During 20 years at the Press Herald he’s been equally attracted to stories that are unusually quirky and seemingly mundane. He’s taken rides on garbage trucks, sought out the mother of two rock stars, dug clams, raked blueberries, and spent time with the family of bedridden man who finds strength in music. Nothing too dangerous mind you, just adventurous enough to find the stories of real Mainers doing real cool things.

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Posted: February 6, 2018

Why wait for summer to party on the water? Board a Casco Bay ferry Friday

Written by: Ray Routhier

Casco Bay Lines’s annual Inter-Island Cruise, a winter boat ride for islanders and lovers of floating parties, will be held Friday aboard the Bay Mist.
Photo courtesy of Casco Bay Lines

Why wait for a Maine summer – all three weeks of it – to take a party cruise on Casco Bay?

You can actually get out and party on the water this Friday, during the Casco Bay Lines 11th Annual Inter-Island Cruise. The Bay Mist ferry will depart its Commercial Street dock at 6 p.m. with a full buffet, cash bar and the Delta Knights, a rockin’ party band.

The ferry will stop at islands served by Casco Bay Lines – including Peaks, Great Diamond, Long, Chebeague and Cliff – picking up people along the way. People can eat, drink and dance on board while watching the February mist rise off the ocean.

The annual event began as a way for people who live on the various Casco Bay islands to get out and socialize with each other in the dead of winter, said Caity Gildart, director of sales and marketing for the ferry line. People from Peaks, for instance, can take a direct ferry to Portland, so they don’t have a lot of opportunities to ride with other islanders.

But the cruise has morphed into a combination of a mixer for islanders and a fun winter excursion for anyone who loves cruising among the islands while eating, drinking and dancing. The cruise will feature a buffet from Moe’s Original Bar B Que that includes pulled pork, smoked chicken, baked beans, slaw, macaroni and cheese and cornbread.

Last year, there were about 125 revelers on a boat with a capacity of about 200. There’s usually room for dancing, which is a good thing because the Delta Knights play a wide range of tunes, including funk, Motown and blues. The cruise and dance floor are open to all ages.

How cool would it be to be able to tell people you just went dancing on Casco Bay – in February? Figuratively, yes, way cool, but literally, it shouldn’t be. The Bay Mist is fully enclosed – and heated.

11th Annual Inter-Island Cruise

WHEN: 6-10:30 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Casco Bay Lines terminal, 56 Commercial St., Portland
HOW MUCH: $25 for ferry ride, buffet and entertainment. Cash bar also available.

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