2014-06-20 / Front Page

Taxi’s route avoids roadway tie-ups

By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer


Hydi Dixon, right, acts as a tour guide of sorts for Susan Walters, Lorraine Barra and Dayton Goudie during the maiden voyage of Dixon’s water taxi service, HydiWave. Dixon’s taxi service will travel between Lower Village in Kennebunk and Perkins Cove in Ogunquit. (Alex Acquisto photo) Hydi Dixon, right, acts as a tour guide of sorts for Susan Walters, Lorraine Barra and Dayton Goudie during the maiden voyage of Dixon’s water taxi service, HydiWave. Dixon’s taxi service will travel between Lower Village in Kennebunk and Perkins Cove in Ogunquit. (Alex Acquisto photo) KENNEBUNK – Hydi Dixon has started a taxi service that allows visitors to circumvent the headache-inducing congestion that clogs roadways in much of southern Maine during the summer months. Instead of driving on the road, Dixon’s taxi will travel over the water.

Dixon moved to Kennebunkport in 1983. Many residents will likely recognize the name of her first business, HydiDrive, a car service that ferried people during local festivals, private functions or to and from nearby airports.

Two summers ago, Dixon added a golf cart to HydiDrive for transportation to local weddings and private functions.


The HydiWave docks behind the Pilot House in Lower Village Kennebunk on Saturday morning. Hydi Dixon, owner, has started the water taxi service as a way to avoid high traffic areas in southern Maine. The taxi will travel, for the time being, between Lower Village and Ogunquit. A one-way ticket costs $40. Round trip is $80. 
(Alex Acquisto photo) The HydiWave docks behind the Pilot House in Lower Village Kennebunk on Saturday morning. Hydi Dixon, owner, has started the water taxi service as a way to avoid high traffic areas in southern Maine. The taxi will travel, for the time being, between Lower Village and Ogunquit. A one-way ticket costs $40. Round trip is $80. (Alex Acquisto photo) The idea of a water taxi struck Dixon a few years ago. “I’ve been traveling up and down these roads, and I’ve just noticed more bumper-to-bumper traffic,” Dixon said.

“I ended up going over to the Kennebunkport Marina about two years ago and rented a Boston Whaler and took it out for the day. I said to myself, ‘Wow, here we have two fabulous destinations — Ogunquit and Kennebunk/Kennebunkport — but you can’t get here in the summertime because of traffic and parking,’” Dixon said.

Soon after that boat ride, Dixon, while dining at Barnacle Billy’s in Ogunquit, overheard a conversation between a group of six people who expressed a desire to travel to Kennebunkport, but frustration at the traffic that would have to be endured to get there.

After that conversation, Dixon said, “I just decided to pull the trigger and make it happen.”

For the time being, or at least until demand increases and Dixon can better gauge public interest, the taxi service will be offered between Perkins Cove in Ogunquit and Performance Marina in Kennebunk.

The maiden voyage of the taxi service took place Saturday, June 14, at noon. The morning was cool and cloudy; and Dixon prepared by donning her HydiWave raincoat.

Dixon’s boat, a 24-foot Boston Whaler, is clearly designated with the words HydiWave Water Taxi painted on its side, and is large enough to taxi six people, including the captain.

Each of Dixon’s captains, who work at the Kennebunkport Marina, are U.S. Coast Guard certified. Matthew Camp, owner of Kennebunkport Yacht Sales, helped Dixon navigate the water taxi business by connecting Dixon with his brother, who owns a water taxi business in Sausalito, California.

Dixon was full of excitement as she and the captain, Gary Mulsow, climbed aboard. Four people had made reservations for a noon ride. As HydiWave made its way toward the Mat Lanigan Bridge, Dixon waved at her first patrons, who stood on the dock and waved back.

On a flat day, it takes between 20 and 25 minutes to get to Perkins Cove from Kennebunk, Dixon said. Rougher seas will likely mean a trip lasting between 30 and 35 minutes. Saturday brought a rougher sea and swells about 5 feet high, which the patrons found equally exhilarating and nerve wracking.

“It’s perfectly safe,” said Dixon, who maintained a wide stance as the boat skidded over the swells. “I call it, experience the experience.”

In addition to providing transportation, the taxi service offers an experience and view. Dixon also acts as a docent, relaying facts and pointing out interesting landmarks.

“The monastery is the only Franciscan monastery in the York County area,” Dixon told patrons as she pointed right. “The River Club is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year,” Dixon said as she pointed left. “It’s one of the oldest river clubs on the eastern seaboard.”

Once the ferry arrived at its destination, passenger Susan Walters of Kennebunkport said, “When you see it from the water, it’s totally different. Going to Ogunquit is an adventure.”

Walters’ sentiment is exactly what Dixon wishes to share with passengers. “I think it’s sort of unfair. You come all the way up to Maine, but it’s hard to get there. I just want everyone to enjoy the state of Maine. We have a great seacoast.”

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