Enjoy a private cruise of the Saco River on the Ruby Belle. You and your guests will enjoy a quiet boat ride on the Saco River up to the dam in downtown Saco, then back down to the mouth of the Saco River in Camp Ellis. Weather and time permitting, we can venture down the length of the jetty and out into Saco Bay.Cruisers will need to keep an eye out for snowy egrets, bald eagles, blue heron, and leaping sturgeon in the river. There is no shortage of things to see!Capacity: 4 Passengers. A small child may be allowable as a fifth passenger.
Your cruise begins at Marston's Marina on Glenhaven Circle in Saco, Maine. The family owned marina is the halfway point between the dam in downtown Saco and the end of the river in Camp Ellis - two miles in either direction. This four mile tidal section of the river provides constantly changing scenery as the waters rise and fall ten to twelve feet every six and a half hours. Our cruise up river will carry us through Cocktail Cove and past Laurel Hill Cemetery. During the springtime the hillside is covered in blooming tulips! We'll need to keep an eye out for bald eagles here as a nesting pair has taken up residence in the area. A juvenile bald eagle has also been spotted.Our upriver portion of the cruise ends near the Cataract Dam in downtown Saco. The dam was built in 1937 and is producing 8 megawatts of power for NextEra Energy Resources. Adjacent to the dam is Saco Island and the old mill complex - both under redevelopment for retail, light industrial, and condominiums. It's great to see the rebirth of the Saco-Biddeford downtown!As we head back downriver we'll have the opportunity to stop back at Marston's, if needed, and then we'll progress downriver. Our first sight will be Marblehead in Biddeford, a popular boat launch which can be very busy on the weekends. We'll pass through the Narrows, and then the University of New England will come into view. Students and professors of its Marine Biology program appeared on the Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" in 2017! You may catch a glimpse of the Sharkology boat moored alongside the campus.Our cruise next arrives in Camp Ellis and the great stone jetties. A jetty of some form or another has existed here since the 19th Century to protect the mouth of the river. The last modifications were made in 1969. Since then, the hamlet of Camp Ellis has been losing a battle of erosion: over 30 homes have fallen into the ocean! Proposals on how to fix the problem have come and gone, but no changes have been approved.As we cruise out the channel, you will see the conical stone navigation monument on Stage Island, a glimpse of the Wood Island lighthouse, and the house on Ram Island, recently gifted to the University of New England. Cruisers may also request that we bypass our opening segment upriver, and simply cruise downriver and out into Saco Bay to spend more time viewing the beaches, islands, and wildlife here! Porpoises, seals, and the occasional minke whale are often seen in the Bay. Final Notes: Please park in the upper lot at Marston's Marina, 41 Glenhaven Circle East, Saco, unless we've made other arrangements. Plan on arriving about 15 minutes early so we can get aboard, cover basic safety instructions, and get under way. Life jackets are provided for all passengers 11 and older. We ask that you PLEASE PROVIDE YOUR OWN LIFE JACKETS FOR CHILDREN 10 AND UNDER. THEY ARE REQUIRED. See you soon!