Maritime Explorer: Captain Glenn W. Hodgdon

Sat, 02/25/2023 - 8:00am

    The 61st annual Windjammer Days will take place Sunday, June 25 through Saturday, July 1, 2023. This year the Friends of Windjammer Days is celebrating our rich population of Maritime Explorers. Those featured have traveled extensively on different bodies of waters either for work, pleasure or both.

    Glenn grew up in Boothbay on Hodgdon Island. He always loved working around and on the water as a young boy. He enjoyed clamming, worming, and collecting seaweed for local lobster pounds and worm dealers. When he got older, he worked on the charter boats in the harbor and helped Captain Winslow on his tugboats.

    Attending Maine Maritime was a natural fit. He applied to Maine Maritime along with his good friend, Captain Kevin Murray. While attending Maine Maritime, Glenn was able to train and travel to distant ports including to Leningrad and St. Petersburg, Russia while on the State of Maine Training Vessel. After earning a bachelor of science degree in business transportation and third mate’s license, his first job was on a 300-foot research vessel out of Texas.  After transiting the Atlantic and spending time off the shores of Malta and Lebanon, Glenn returned to the US for a new job offer with Gulf Oil.

    For the next six years he worked on oil tankers 500-600-feet long traveling up and down the east coast visiting numerous ports. Some trips brought him through the Panama Canal to several Mexican ports. Glenn’s wife Kim was able to accompany him one trip through the canal and up to San Francisco on the SS Gulf Queen, a 700-foot vessel. It was a once in a lifetime trip for Kim, who had a wonderful time despite a couple of days of seasickness. At the beginning of the ‘80s, Glenn sailed to Alaska bringing back crude oil to US west coast ports.

    In 1984 Glenn was hired by Keystone Shipping out of Philadelphia. He assumed his first command in 1986 as captain on the SS Chilbar, a 600-foot chemical tanker. For the next 25 years Glenn delivered oil and chemical products to a multitude of ports in the US. He was in a shipyard in Halifax, Nova Scotia when 911 happened. Subsequently the new attention to security changed the entire process to moving cargo.

    A transfer to a fleet which traveled to foreign ports brought another opportunity to see the world. On this fleet Glenn traveled to South America, Central America, North Africa, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Sudan, Sierra Leone, the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Egypt. One very interesting trip was transporting grain from Houston, Texas to Sudan and Djibouti. The people there were so appreciative to receive the grain as well as clothing and other goods that were distributed via the World Food Organization.

    After sailing for 30 years on tankers, Glenn was hired by a drilling company in 2010. He finished his career as captain/oil installation manager in charge of 900-foot drill ships. This job involved drilling wells for major oil companies, requiring flying to the rig via helicopter. Glenn recalls these years as the most interesting in his career due to the extent of the technology involved. Many of the wells were in 9000 feet of water and were drilled to 30,000 plus feet. A highlight of this time was spending two years in South Korea building, designing and delivering two new drill ships to the states. The voyage back passed the equator twice, an event that the crew celebrated.

    Glenn feels a great sense of pride when he looks back at his 44-year career in the maritime industry but says that it came with enormous sacrifice. He missed birthdays, holidays, school functions, and other momentous occasions while his wife and daughter Holly kept the home fires burning. The bonus was that when he came home from a 2–3 month trip, he got to be home for that length of time as well.