Adam Poliquin has had more adventures in the past few years than most people do in their lifetimes. All thanks to the sea.

Poliquin, a senior at the Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, has spent the last few years studying, sailing and fishing — and, in between, visiting foreign lands, eating whale and relaxing in a hammock under the stars. When he graduates next spring, he’ll likely sign on to work on a fishing vessel.

So the adventure will continue.

Name: Adam Poliquin

Age: 21

Town: Lewiston


School/major: Maine Maritime Academy/marine engineering technology

What got you interested in the Maine Maritime Academy? I had no experience sailing prior to attending MMA. Therefore, I have to admit I’d be lying if I were to take full credit for my decision to attend. My father played a large part in steering me toward the academy. He knew it would provide me with a financially lucrative career, while challenging me and allowing me to have a lifestyle where I would have ample time to pursue other new-found passions along the way.

What was your first time sailing like? It was eye-opening, awe-inspiring. So much of our daily lives is dependent upon shipping, as it accounts for over 90 percent of the world’s trade transportation, yet the average person has no concept or grasp of the lifestyle, and sacrifices, one must make to provide these services, commodities, luxuries.

What’s been the most challenging part about the academy? My freshman year was a culture shock. . . . All of the sudden, I no longer had a name, I was “this MUG” (midshipman under guidance), and that was what I was to refer to myself as for the immediate future. I had to run to classes. . . . I’m reminded of it every year when I see the new recruits’ facial expressions that seem to say, “Am I really paying them to do this right now?” as the sweat rolls down their embarrassed faces. I want to look at them, and say, “Yes, my friend, yes, you are, but don’t worry . . . haha . . . we all did too.” What they have yet to fully grasp is that if they see it through, it will be a defining decision and, likely, one of the best ones they will ever make.

What’s been the best part? I’ve eaten true Italian, drank German been while watching them in the World Cup, visited Slovenia (who’s heard of Slovenia?), paraglided in Iceland, visited the Blue Lagoon and ate whale, commercial fished in Alaska, surfed in South Carolina, ate mahi-mahi tacos in Texas . . . been scuba diving, flown Cesna 172s, read great books in my hammock under the stars, developed life skills, steered a 500-foot-long vessel crossing the Atlantic Ocean, sky dived, white-water rafted, explored my thoughts and exercised them on paper while staring out a lonely window at the sea. . . . Most importantly, I have great people in my life to share these experiences with, people of quality, and in America I’m barely old enough to drink. My adventure is only beginning, and that is the best part about it.

You spent some time in the Bering Sea with the “Deadliest Catch” boats? I’ve worked on a 276-foot factory trawler called the Pacific Glacier, owned by Glacier Fish Company out of Seattle, Washington. That boat fished for hake off of the coast of Washington and waters south of that, and pollock up in the Bering Sea. We spent most of the time doing pollock, and offloaded in Dutch Harbor. I’ve also worked on the Independence, which is a processing vessel for Trident Seafoods. . . .  That vessel was anchored near King Salmon, Alaska, for a while before we moved to another location in Prince William Sound.


As far as the “Hollywood boats,” as they’re called where I’ve worked, yeah, I’ve been within 5-feet of the Time Bandit. They were bringing a part over to the Balaena, which I was on . . . . They’ve also been a tender for the Indy before. I’ve got pictures of them tied to the Indy while I was there.

Is it like it is on TV? Some people will act more civilized on camera. . . especially when they know regulatory agencies like OSHA (federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration) or the USCG (U.S. Coast Guard) can use anything on tape to incriminate someone. Others may try to put on a bit of a facade, a bit of a show, with the camera there.

Ever get scared at sea? The worst storm I’ve seen so far was crossing the Atlantic when we hit 20-foot swells. . . . Our huge hunk of floating steel was thrown about like a rubber ducky. Dishes in the galley were flying, people were being thrown into walls and walking as if they were the town drunkard. I remember going out on the 03 deck, staring out at the waves as the wind roared in my face and smiling. In truth, I had been waiting to see something like that. I have been scared at sea before, (and) part of me was nervous that day because I was so green, but I looked around at some of the more experienced engineers and saw that they weren’t worried, but respected the seriousness of the situation. I learned that I should do the same.

Ever get seasick? No.

Ever want to own your own boat? I’d like to live on a lake one day. The more I leave Maine, the more I value it. Maine is home, but the world is a big place. I see myself with a family, taking the kids and friends out on the lake fishing, tubing, wake boarding, water skiing. To me that’s the good life.

One thing most landlubbers don’t know about sailing but should: They . . . don’t know what life is like without the internet, a cell phone, every gadget available. It can be nice. I relish the time I have out there to focus on my character and becoming a better me.

Best fictional captain ever — Ahab, James T. Kirk, Jack Sparrow or Cap’n Crunch: I’m partial to Jack Sparrow, but I have actually never read “Moby Dick.” Funny, it’s on my nightstand a couple feet from me as I write this.

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