Good morning everyone. What a difference a few days make. From sunny, palm trees, 70s, pink flamingoes and white sand beaches we are now sailing in brisk no’west winds. Autumn is finally here and the first few maples are showing the true colors of autumn. We burned 15 gallons of dinosaur bones during the last cruise. I am guessing we will scarcely burn just a few gallons during this cruise. I like it when the yawl boat comes up and we don’t have to put it down for days at a time.
A few weeks ago I spied a big ship coming in off the horizon bound for the cargo terminal at Searsport in Penobscot Bay. In broken English the master of the ship requested the pilot meet him at 0915 at the appointed pilot boarding area just east of Matinicus Island. The pilot responded by confirming the arrival time and requesting a boarding ladder height 1.5 meters above the water, boarding speed 8 knots and a heaving line for the pilots bag. The weather was quite calm, clear and sunny, a day I am sure the pilots must be thankful for. Considering that pilots are available 24/7, 365 days a year you can just imagine the conditions they potentially face at each boarding. Fog, wind, snow, sea smoke so thick you can’t see the ship beneath you.
The Maine Pilotage Commission reported that in 2015 over 13.5 millions tons of product was carried. That cargo includes petroleum products, wood products, sand, salt and gravel and other miscellaneous items like wind turbine blades up to 150’ long. And then there are the thousands of folks who arrive in Maine by cruise ship. That makes Maine the second busiest waters in New England behind Massachusetts. Amazingly the pilots conduct themselves with a steady demeanor at all times, under all conditions including yachting traffic that departs from harbors like Camden and Rockland. By the conversations I hear on the VHF some of these yachts have absolutely no clue about the handling characteristics of large ships. Let’s just say these ships can’t stop on a dime or run up the bay in slalom course fashion. Pilots have to drive defensively at all times. For those of you that have been with me getting out of Camden you know things can get a bit dicey and how excited I can get. But that is for another blog. Thanks to the Penobscot Bay and River Pilots who keep our gas tanks full and our homes warm all winter long.
Have a great day. Be well. Do good.
Good morning everyone. Finally we have received a little bit of meaningful rainfall here in Maine. This has been one of the driest summers I can remember so Monday’s rain felt quite welcome. I call Monday an “appreciation day.” After so many months without rain we could all appreciate a little moisture falling from the heavens.
Since I seem to be on the “perspective” kick in recent blogs I thought I would throw one more in for good measure. (Probably not the last.) Last week we had the chance to visit and hike one of my most “favoritest” islands out on the edge of the bay. I don’t believe anyone has ever come back from that island the same as they arrived. It is truly one of the highlights of sailing in Maine, viewing the bay from the top of an island that would better fit into the Shetlands than Penobscot Bay. To hold one of its soft storm tossed stones in your hand is to understand how time and tide work their magic. How can a rock be described as soft? I guess it takes about 400 million years to earn that distinction. Maybe people react the same way to the time and tides of our short life span? Boots please. It is getting deep around here.
Anyhoo…. I certainly am in awe of any experience that helps me see myself a little more humbly and my world as a little more beautiful. That my friends is what we hope happens for guests on every cruise. Windjamming is a chance to gain a little perspective on the world from which we arrive. Maybe we go home a little softer on the outside, maybe a little more determined on the inside or maybe just a little bit more relaxed and rejuvenated from living to the rhythm of wind and tide.
Have a great day. Be well. Do good.
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Pharologists Ted and Jo Panyatoff are back aboard so you can be certain we are seeing lighthouses this week. Yesterday we saw Curtis I Light, Indian I Light and the Rockland Breakwater Light before crossing the bay to the Fox Island Thorofare to see Browns Head Light and the “Spark Plug” at Goose Rocks. Most of this was in the fog so those lighthouses proved especially reassuring. We never did see the Owls Head Light. Conspicuously absent from several of those lights were their fog horns which the Coast Guard has taken one step further into obsolescence. The Coast Guard’s new MRASS system has been put into effect requiring the mariner to key the microphone on their VHF radio 5 times on channel 83A to start the horn sounding. I have yet to figure out why this was necessary but someone in the Coast Guard brain trust down in D.C. thought it was a good idea. I have always said that GPS chart plotters and VHF radios are one twenty five cent fuse away from quitting at any moment. Then what? We keep a 50 lb. sack of spuds on the foredeck just for such an occasion. A deckhand with a strong arm and a well calibrated Aroostook Kennebec can sound the way ahead at least 100′. Plenty of time to hear whether the potato makes a splash or a thud. “Thud….ready about?” You get my point (if there is one). Sometimes the old tried and true is hard to beat. And that is why lighthouses are so important to keep alive. And besides that the preservation of lighthouses brings all kinds of people together and that kind of light is the finest kind.
I hope you have a great day. Be well. Do good.