National Geographic : 1968 Jun
home from Boston enjoyed prevailing winds astern-a "downhill run," in sailor's parlance. And along a shore where sail is still a familiar and well-loved thing, the name survives. Port of Call for Polaris Subs The Maine coast begins, for most visitors, when they cross the Piscataqua River from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and drive on into the little town of Kittery (map, next page). Few even lift their feet from the gas pedal, for the southernmost of Maine's vacationland at tractions-York Beach and Ogunquit's sum mer playhouse-lie only minutes ahead. But don't expect that kind of indifference toward Kittery from Uncle Sam's submariners. It's a big name in their lives, almost as big as New London or San Diego. The reason is an installation called the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and the ma jority of its 8,300-man force works on U. S. Navy submarines. (Oddly enough, the yard has nothing at all to do with Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It takes its name from Ports mouth Harbor and lies entirely in Maine.) When I was last there, three undersea ves sels were taking shape at once within fantas tic cobwebs of scaffolding and lights. Two, the attack submarines Sand Lance and Gray ling, would be propelled by the atom's magic. The third was an experimental deep-diving craft. But Portsmouth is even prouder of its role as a "service station" for some of the Na tion's 41 Polaris-missile subs, each of which patrols the seas with more fire power aboard than was delivered by all the bombs dropped during World War II. "They come here for servicing only once in KODACHROMFBYJAMESR HOLLAND1ABOVF)AND B. ANTHONYSTLWARI(C) N.G S Fingers work fine, a boy discovers as he tackles his first lobster. Last August, visitors at Rock land's four-day sea-food festival devoured more than three tons of the succulent crustaceans. Lazing a summer day away, vacationists at Kennebunk Beach drowse beside a sandy cove amid surf-carved rocks. Youngsters hunt in tidal pools for periwinkles and starfish. Only the har diest try the water, rarely warmer than 600 F.