The Quoddy Tides

Eastport, Maine

2006 July 14

Boaters rally against LNG development

by Chessie Johnson

On July 3, between the celebration of Canada Day and the U.S. Independence Day on July 4, Save Passamaquoddy Bay Canada held its second annual Sailabration. The event was a celebration of the beauty, majesty and purity of the natural environment of Passamaquoddy Bay and a rally to prevent the building of liquefied natural gas facilities, which the group believes will pollute and despoil the bay.

Delayed by bad weather from the planned date on July 2, a large assortment of boats departed in a loose flotilla from Campobello Island's Head Harbour Light Station. The boats, some from Campobello Island, Deer Island and other ports in Canada and Maine, gathered just off Head Harbour, where the lighthouse is being restored, and floated on the tide through Head Harbour Passage and down to Eastport, following the most risky part of the route that the LNG tankers would have to follow.

"We wanted to publicize in a concrete way the beauty of the bay, the importance of protecting it, and the wish of our members to not industrialize and jeopardize the bay with LNG," said organizer Joyce Morrell. "It was a terrific feeling last year, seeing all kinds of boats from lovely yachts and sailboats to salmon barges and working fishing boats and kayaks." And this July, Sailabration had its boating supporters, all of the same mind in protecting and preserving the Passamaquoddy waters between the U.S. and Canada.

This year the celebration's organizers obtained a permit to sail into U.S. waters near Eastport. The collection of boats, many sporting Canadian flags and yellow "No LNG" flags or banners, slid quietly past a U.S. Navy ship in Eastport for the Fourth of July celebration, the colorful aggregation of small boats dwarfed by the massive, dull gray steel hull of the warship.

As the fleet of small craft reached Eastport, they were met with a crowd of enthusiastic supporters. Many people stood on the wharf and the shorefront yelling to friends on board the boats, waving flags and banners with the recurrent "No LNG" theme. The Sailabration seemed more a celebration and international party than a protest, but the underlying feelings of participants, from both countries and both on land and sea, was evident throughout.


© 2006 The Quoddy Tides
Eastport, Maine
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.