I've always read stories or seen videos of when the Coast Guard Cutters take to the Penobscot and bust up the ice, but today was the first time I've ever seen it in person, as it's happening, and let me tell you, it was neat.

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I was driving across the Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Bridge into Brewer, as I always do when coming from Union St. in Bangor, and as I looked to my left-towards Veazie, I could see the ice was still covering the Penobscot River. But as I looked to my right, towards Hampden, I realized it was all broken up. I could see the water beneath the bridge, and as I scanned the horizon, I saw the cause; two U.S. Coast Guard Cutters were speeding across the water, in opposite directions, busting all the ice in their way.

I pulled off into the Save-A-Lot Parking lot and walked carefully towards the river. I wanted to get a better look, and I'm glad I did.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutters on the Penobscot River, Cori Skall
U.S. Coast Guard Cutters on the Penobscot River, Cori Skall

At first, you can hear the loud mechanics of the vessels from off in the distance. But then, as they approach and ultimately pass each other, and where you are standing, you can actually hear the cracking of the ice and then waves the boats make pass beneath whatever is left for frozen cover on the banks.

I didn't realize these crafts could move with such speed, or maneuver as gracefully as they do. The way they were able to turn quickly and head in the opposite direction, with what appeared to be no effort at all.

These boats truly live up to their name, cutting down any and all ice in their path. It was too neat not to share. So here's a peek of what I got to see today. Really impressive stuff.

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