Monthly Archives: September 2007

Crescendo


Good morning everyone. We had an amazing day yesterday. Anchored at Isle Au Haut for the morning we were able to get ashore for a good
long walk. Isle Au Haut is a magical place for me. I have camped
there on several occasions. I have hiked and sailed around almost all
of nooks and crannies. The first pencil sketch I ever made was of the
Robinson Point Light. We saw several bald eagles while we were
anchored and a coyote (we had heard them yipping away during the
night) swam across the Thorofare and shook itself on the Kimball Island shore before disappearing into the woods.

Underway we started the sunny day with a deep reef in the main which
we shook out after about an hour of going 2 knots with nothing more
than 5 knots of wind. The forecast was for gusts to 30 knots but
that sure wasn't what we found when we peaked out from behind Kimball Island. With all sails set flying we beat our way up to Eagle Island
before we took in the topsails and began to beat into a stiff NNW
wind up to Hog Island and then across to our final anchorage in
Islesboro Harbor. We have put down 100 great miles in these last few
days. We really have seen it all. We saw dozens of migrating hawks,
a lone goose, as well as flocks of white winged scoters arriving for
winter.

Sunrise this morning was just stunning and their is even a touch of
maple foliage in this quiet cove. Today will be a very busy day. By
days end we should have sails and mattresses, life jackets and
blankets all dry and safely stowed in mothball back at home. I am
sorry to see the sailing season come to an end. I will miss the bay
and all that it is about. I will miss the focus and intensity of the
crew (you should have seen them yesterday as we were tearing around
the bay!). I will especially miss the diversity of guests that make
this schooner come to life. But a winters rest is well deserved by
all and by evening this captain will be having a toast to the season,
the guests, the crew, the bay.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

One Last Hurrah

Good morning everyone. Well, here we are on our last windjammer trip
of the season. Can you believe it? I will not do a whole lot of
reflecting here but it has been a good summer. This is a very
bittersweet time. I am looking forward to so much ashore but I will
miss the bay.

This last trip seems to be cramming an entire season of highlights in
to 4 days. We left on Thursday morning with beautiful sunshine and
temps in the 80s onshore. Within the hour that quickly became a
series of thunderstorms. One passed right over our heads with a
crack of lightning that couldn't have been 1/4 mile away. That storm
passed off uneventfully and others passed just a few miles south and
north of us. Miraculously we were in a slot between much of the bad
weather. The rest of the day we drifted lazily up to anchor in Bucks
harbor in a light breeze.

Early yesterday morning the rain poured down as a cold front
approached the coast. By breakfast time the rains had moved off and
we took time to walk ashore while the thickest fog I have seen in a
while blanketed the harbor. Underway we sailed the clearing westerly
down the Eggemmoggin Reach for one last pass under the bridge. The
outgoing tide carried us out of Jericho Bay (huge tides here in the
wake of the full moon) and down to the village at Isle Au Haut . The
wind is NW at the moment and is supposed to get quite gusty this
afternoon. But first we will get ashore at this magical place.

Have great day. Be well. Do good.

Goose Music

Good morning everyone. Another beautiful day here in Maine. The
wind was quite light for most of the day. We had a chance to get
ashore in Stonington. The Granite Museum was closed for the season
but Jan and Evelyn Kok were in their store, The Sign of the Purple
Fish, making music and custom hand crafted bookmarks and greeting
cards. More delightful people you will be hard pressed to find.

While weighing anchor a flock of Canada geese flew overhead honking
away. My heart leaps when I hear geese. Aldo Leopold, in A Sand
County Almanac, wrote lyrically about "goose music". I have never
been the same since I read his words. Sawyer was asking about the
days getting shorter and the meaning of the equinox. It is
unbelievable to me that the seasons turn as they do. There is plenty
of science to explain all the changes but how does one explain the
emotional changes of seasons to an 8 year old. We have many guests
aboard from southern states that keep telling me how hot the summer
has been back home and how hot it still is. While I find beauty in
all parts of our country I am afraid that my body is not wired for
heat. I welcome the change of the seasons. The kids were telling
guests how excited they are to go sledding in the driveway soon. Soon
it will be. But a few more days of heat are forecasted before the snow
flies and we have more miles to sail yet. And for the present we are
thankful. Good weather, great guests, the beautiful bay. It is all
good.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

The Winter Star Doth Appear


Good morning everyone. We enjoyed a sunny sail yesterday and today
looks to be much the same. Can you believe we have temperatures
forecasted to get into the 80s again! This is crazy. The forecasted
gusty NW winds never really came to be. This time of year it is
tough to trust the NW wind. It can get some feisty as the warm Maine
waters exacerbate the cool Arctic air pouring in behind departing
cold fronts. We tucked a deep reef in the main underway as the winds
began to pick up and just as quickly they died away.

We enjoyed a great lobster picnic on the beach at "Lobster Island".
A trail leading to the top of the island gave us great views of the
surrounding islands. There is a picture in our brochure of a woman on
a hillside overlooking the schooner. As we stood on that same hill I
realized that in the 20 years since this picture was taken the trees
have grown to the point where we can just see the topmasts but not
the hull anchored below us. It is always a little startling when you
recognize change after the fact even though you have been watching it
all along.

Speaking of change… with the passing of the autumnal equinox and
temperatures slowly heading south with the sun the stars are
beginning to change as well. At 0400 the constellation of Orion was
well above the southeastern horizon and the winter star, Sirius, in
the constellation Canis Major, made a brilliant appearance. Very cool.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Sunny Windjammer Morning

Good morning everyone. We had a good sail yesterday. All down wind,
all day long, in the fog. This wasn't one of those "thick as the
hair on a dog" fogs. We had about a half mile visibility all day
which is quite good by Maine fog standards. Not being gluttons for
punishment we anchored around 1530 and went for walks ashore here at
Fort Point 27 miles from Camden. Last night we had a sing along in
the main cabin.

This morning the sun is shining bright and the light NW wind promises
to carry us out of the river. We had numerous swimmers here this
morning. I can here the excitement up on deck right now. As I like
to say, the water is as breathtaking as the scenery. The foliage
here in Fort Point Cove is turning. The loons are singing. I think
it is going to be another good windjammer day.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.
A special good morning from Victor Hatherly who, along with his lovely wife, is enduring another
cruise.

God Bless You Mary

Good morning everyone. These short cruises take the most time and energy so the blog has been catch as catch can these last few days. Seems like we just departed and then we are back again only to spend a couple days getting the boat ready again. We returned from our last 6 day cruise to some very sad news.

The schooner’s namesake, Mary Day Hawkins passed away last Friday morning. Mary has been sick for the last few years, in and out of doctor’s offices with congestive heart failure. I think I might have given up long ago but Mary was never a quitter. When I visited with her in May she was short of breath but smiling just the same. I think that is what I admired most about Mary. I never felt like I had room to complain in her presence. Mary lived a very full life and though I only heard small snippets of it I feel honored to have known her. The medallion on the ice box belongs to the Hawkins family. Each spring for the last 9 years we have visited with Mary and she has insisted that we hang the medallion in its place of honor over the ice chest. Each fall have we returned it to her and told her about our adventures of the summer. She always loved to hear how the kids were doing. We have a picture of Mary holding Sawyer at the Christmas party we had during the rebuild of 99/00. She is beaming.
We asked to her to re-christen the vessel after the rebuild and she insisted Jen do it. Mary had the wisdom to accept that change was inevitable, and good, though perhaps not always easy. I visited Mary as much to hear her stories as to hear how much she appreciated everything that we have done to keep her namesake with as much pride as she had been built and launched. Her affirmation means more to me than any others I have ever heard.

We will miss Mary. We know she is in a better place. We are left to carry on her legacy. Hopefully we have gained a little of her strength, her wit, her common sense. On Tuesday we sailed by Mary’s childhood home on Benjamin River on Eggemmoggin Reach and fired a canon salute in her honor. The kids tossed a few flowers in her memory. I was choking back the tears. No one aboard would have understood how deeply we will miss her. As we sailed away we heard a cannon salute fired in return from somewhere in the harbor. Thank you to whoever it was that fired back. Perhaps you understood the tension still in my throat, the mist in my eyes, the loneliness we feel. God bless you Mary.

Turning of the Seasons


Good morning everyone. The season is clearly changing as summer winds down and fall begins to make it first appearance. A few of the maples are turning and the island fields are turning brown. The days are noticeable shorter. The deer are more active in the woods and fields. The first of the scoters are arriving.

Guillemots, eiders, and loons are all changing colors. We are savoring this time of year knowing that the end is coming too soon.

The weather here has been magnificent. The dew clings fast to the cabin houses even after the crew has chamoised but the morning sun eventually has its way. At coffee, guests line the rail, backs to the sun in solar collector fashion, drinking in the first warmth of the day.
I have still been swimming each morning as the "warm" ocean
temperatures mediate the change of seasons. Cooler evening
temperatures trigger us to light the wood stove each night. I think
everybody appreciates the cabin radiators this time of year. Pumpkins
have appeared aboard and the kids have carved a few jack o'
lanterns. Remember roasting pumpkin seeds?


Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Photos by Jen & Barry.

Sacred Places


Good morning everyone. We have had another great week. The fog came
in thick yesterday afternoon and with impending showers we came to
dock early. Had we anchored out I would have been underway as I
write gunning to get to the dock before the rain. Hardly a relaxing
way to finish what has been a great week.

After we finished playing music last evening one guest asked if we
ever have "bad" cruises. Well all cruises are different and this has
been a particularly high energy week. As human beings the crew would
have a difficult time sustaining this high energy pace for 22
consecutive cruises. Without any control over the mix of guests that
come aboard, each cruise becomes a reflection of the individuals
present even if the crew could spend the entire day doing cartwheels
and back handsprings. So is there such a thing as a "bad" windjammer
cruise? Hardly! Is every cruise different? You bet! Do I hope
everyone aboard has a good time? Of course. Can every windjammer
cruise meet everyones needs? Nope. But that may be missing the
point. The point here for me, and I hope our guests, is to enjoy
whatever it is that comes along. This is very much a Zen thing. Or as
Popeye always said, "I amsk what I amsk." It is what it is and it is
always different and it is always good. There is a sacredness and
mystery in every cruise if one is willing to find it. I am honored
that guests share themselves with us. I am happy to share the bay
with those who can appreciate its beauty whatever the weather may be.

Since I published a blog a few weeks ago one guest has been having
fun figuring out where "lobster cove" might be. I have been having
as much fun keeping that person guessing. Here is my answer to their
latest guess:

"Someday I will take you to this special place and when you see the
moon rise above Cadillac Mt. your heart will leap with joy. The
amazing thing is that every place can hold this meaningful space in
our hearts because we need so much to feel the sacredness of nature.
It is a long lost feeling in this day and age and it hurts when we
perceive others treading on our sacredness. I am not sure what the
mooring placers of the world think or feel. Perhaps they feel the
same sense of the sacred but express it in a very different way.
Some folks collect Star Wars glasses from McDonalds while other
photograph puffins. It is all the same, trying to feel special,
coming out in our own crazy ways. Many years ago when I spent time
on the Hopi reservation we were not allowed to use cameras in the
villages on the mesas. No fair trying to steal the spirit of the
place. And I thought taking pictures was pretty harmless but to some
Hopi that is as crazy as my friend who has the entire collection of
Star Wars glasses."

Have a great day. Be well. Do good. Respect the sacred and find new
sacred in each and every day.

Photo by Barry King.

A Long Sail


Good morning everyone. We enjoyed a very long sail yesterday.
Beautiful weather blessed us once again and we sailed off the hook in
a NW wind that carried us out of Blue Hill Bay and across Jericho
Bay. We sailed from the NW wind straight into the SW onshore breeze
without a hesitation, a rare occurence. Often the wind dies out for
a few hours while the sea breeze builds and I had planned to stop for
shore trips during the intermission but I guess the wind had
different ideas. Several bald eagles and porpoise graced us with
their presence. Sunset was spectacular. We are anchored here in North
Haven this morning and will get ashore for walks after breakfast.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Photo by Neil Parent.

Wooden Boat Rendezvous


Good morning everyone. We have had an awesome last few days. Tuesday we sailed in to the home of Wooden Boat magazine and the Wooden Boat School alog with the rest of the fleet. There were a dozen of the windjammers present. The rains just poured all night long but we were cozy by the fire under the awnings. There was even a brief brake in the rain, enough for a small fireworks display to put an end to a great day.

The wind swung around to the west and blew hard yesterday. We tucked
a deep reef in the main and along with the rest of the fleet flew up
and down Blue Hill Bay. The wind gusted to 30 knots at times and
with just 3 lower sails we were still clipping along, at times
exceeding 10 knots. We anchored here in "lobster cove" for an
evening picnic ashore. The stars last night were just phenomenal.
One of the guests brought a laser pointer and she was able to give us
a tour of the constellations.

I read some poetry from the islands by
my favorite Maine writer, Ruth Moore. The loons were our alarm clock
this morning with a half dozen diving and calling at sunrise. What a
joy to hear such an ancient sound. A bald eagle perched atop an oak
tree took flight after an osprey and the two danced in the air for
several minutes before the osprey disappeared over the island. I
went for a run ashore and saw 5 deer in a meadow. The first crimson
touches of autumn are tipping the leaves of the maples.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good. Have mercy.

Photos by Neil Parent.